The most common question in the HVAC industry: Should I repair my HVAC equipment or replace it? If you can get a few more years out of your current equipment simply by fixing it, it may be worth the effort. Yet if you’ll have to keep putting money into it in the coming months, it may be time to reap the benefits of installing new. But how do you know?
One reason its such a common question is there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Many factors go into making the final decision, and more than often its left to a gut decision by the property owner. Consider the following.
How old is your equipment?
Most light commercial equipment has a useful life of around 15 to 20 years under optimal conditions. The more stress equipment has been under, the shorter the time span. For instance, if the HVAC equipment is outside on the roof, it will experience harsher conditions than if its located in the basement of a building. The closer your equipment is to the useful life of 15 to 20 years, the harsher the conditions your equipment faces every day, the more you should consider investing in new equipment when a problem comes along.
What’s the service history of your equipment?
How well the HVAC equipment has been cared for has a major impact on the lifespan. Has it been cleaned and serviced regularly by trained HVAC professionals? If so, then many of the parts may be in good shape and you can expect a longer life out of your equipment. It also helps if you are under a HVAC service contract in which the same company routinely checks and maintains your equipment. They will have a running track record of what’s been done, what’s changed, and any problems or concerns that may be in place.
What’s the current problem?
Some problems are easier to
fix and aren’t as impactful as others. If it’s a simple fix, like an electrical connection for instance, a repair is probably the way to go. If, however, the compressor goes and its an older unit, it may be time to replace. When a key component of a system breaks down and the equipment has reached a certain age, you’re almost always better off replacing beca
use of the increase in technology and the energy savings you’ll gain.
Is it time to go green?
Let’s face it, as business owners, we’re all trying to do our part when it comes to making our properties more energy efficient. And if you read any industry publication, you’ll find many ways to accomplish your goals. If its been more than a few years since you’ve replaced old technology, updating it can provide you with a wealth of savings. Today’s units use more environmentally friendly refrigerants that don’t deplete the ozone layer. They also have energy savings technology built in to make them run more efficiently and provide the savings on to you through your energy bills. Environmental issues also come into play when replacing a unit – ask your HVAC contractor about recycling old equipment to keep it out of the landfill.
Newly installed roof top unit in Walla Walla, WA.
Is it time to improve comfort levels?
In the property management world, nothing stays the same. The tenants you had in place and the structure of the building at the time you installed your original HVAC equipment have all changed many times over. With those changes comes reconfiguration of ventilation, and in some cases your system’s capacity might not be adequate for your current space. If you’ve noticed temperature variances in the building, air quality problems, hot or cold spots, humidity issues, odors, or even “sick building” symptoms from your occupants, it may be time to replace your HVAC equipment with new technology. Your contractor can evaluate your current situation, usage and capacity needs, and increase the comfort level of the building by providing proper equipment throughout.
If you are in a repair or replace situation, the best place to start is by calling a HVAC company like Total Systems Services Inc. We have been providing commercial HVAC services to the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years, and we’d be happy to assist you with all of your needs.