As a building owner or facilities manager, you'll eventually be confronted with the decision to replace your current commercial HVAC system or keep it in service for a bit longer. There are several factors that may influence your decision to maintain or replace your existing HVAC system, but chances are your decision will be based on the five criteria listed below.
Consider Your System's Age
Although they're are designed to be a bit more robust than a typical residential HVAC system, commercial HVAC systems can still age just like any other type of equipment. The average lifespan of a typical commercial HVAC unit can vary based on a broad range of factors, from the type, make, and model of the unit to maintenance patterns, operating environment, and other external factors. In most cases, you can expect an average of 15 years of trouble-free service from a typical commercial HVAC system.
It's not out of the ordinary to coax several years or even several decades of additional life out of a well-maintained commercial HVAC system. But as you push your building's heating and cooling system well beyond its expected lifespan, the chance of a catastrophic and expensive breakdown becomes more likely. A proactive replacement of your commercial HVAC system after 15 years of service is usually a prudent step that can help prevent these issues from happening.
Consider the Ongoing Costs of Maintenance and Upkeep
When faced with the initial outlay of purchasing a brand-new commercial HVAC system, it becomes all too easy to table the expense and stick with the smaller costs of maintaining your current system. Unfortunately, this tends to land building owners and facilities managers into a catch-22 of sorts—in an attempt to save money, you'll wind up spending more money instead.
Given enough time, the costs of repairing and maintaining your current HVAC system can easily balloon past the costs of buying and installing a new system. This is why you should consider buying a new commercial HVAC system when the costs of repairing your current system exceed roughly 50 percent of the purchase price of a new system.
Consider Your System's Track Record for Breakdowns and Other Downtime
How often and how much time does your commercial HVAC system spend out of service? That's an important question you should ask yourself when weighing your replacement or maintenance options. Even if your heating and cooling system goes down for minor issues like blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers, constant breakdowns and lengthy downtimes can have a significant and often negative impact on your bottom line.
When dealing with HVAC system failures that occur more than once a month and last for several hours or even days, it's usually prudent to replace the offending HVAC system with a commercial solution that offers a significantly higher level of reliability and dependability. If breakdowns are relatively rare occurrences with your current commercial HVAC system, then you may have a better argument for keeping your current unit.
Consider the Potential Energy Savings
It's no secret that older commercial HVAC systems often become less energy efficient as time goes on. The cumulative effects of component wear and tear can cause an HVAC unit to gradually increase its energy usage in order to maintain the same level of performance as before. The resulting increase in energy costs is especially noticeable in large-scale commercial HVAC systems tasked with cooling large warehouses, server farms, and other similar spaces.
Newer commercial HVAC systems feature a wide variety of new technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency as well as longevity and comfort. These range from improved water chillers and refrigerant compressors to digitally controlled thermostats that log climate control statistics for easier and more precise programming. These features can help your facility save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on annual heating and cooling costs.
Consider the Comfort of Your Employees and Customers
Lastly, the comfort of your employees and customers should be a top concern when assessing your HVAC system's eligibility for replacement. If they're not happy with the performance of your current commercial HVAC system, it could mean a severe loss in office productivity or lost sales due to the discomfort.
Contact a commercial HVAC contractor for more information.