5 Signs Commercial HVAC System Needs Repair or Replacement
Diagnosing the status and health of the HVAC systems in your commercial building may be the job of a qualified contractor. However, you can still detect if your HVAC system is having problems by observing its performance and other factors. Here are the 5 signs commercial HVAC system needs repair or replacement
In many cases, smaller overlooked issues can turn into big issues and costly repairs and even entire replacements if you aren’t alert and regularly maintaining your HVAC equipment.
So how can you know if it’s time to repair or replace your commercial HVAC system? Consider the following warning signs:
If your HVAC Units Are Older Than 18 Years
The lifespan of most HVAC units is 15-18 years unless they were well-maintained. Well maintained systems can last much longer. Older HVAC units tend to be less efficient and more liable to regular malfunctions. You can find out how old your systems are by providing the model and serial numbers to your local service provider.
On the other end of the spectrum some units will need to be replaced much sooner than 15 years because of neglect. Major repairs like compressor replacement can occur in a few as 4-5 years if the equipment is left to run unattended.
Frequency of Malfunctions
If your HVAC system is experiencing regular malfunctions and you’re calling your contractor for service more and more frequently, that could be a telling sign that you’re nearing the end of your HVAC equipment’s useful lifespan.
Frequency and severity are the two keywords connected to impending system failure. Overtime, units start to fail more often and the cost of repairs tend to increase.
Additionally, if your HVAC units are making sounds louder than usual or overheating and consuming too much energy, that could be a warning signal about the status of your unit.
If the Unit Is Outdated
The US Environmental Protection Agency has been working over the last few years on “phase-out” plan to withdraw R-22 refrigerant from the market because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer.
Due to the efforts of the EPA, the market saw a drastic reduction of R-66 of 57% in 2015, and it set to become illegal to manufacture or sell in the United States by in January 2020. So it’s recommended to consider a more environmentally friendly option.
If you are on a tight budget you can upgrade to R-407C or R-134a for just a few years until you are financially capable of the costs of a better, sustainable refrigerant.
If you smell unfamiliar odors coming out of your air conditioning units, or it smells like something is burning in the unit, it means there’s undetected problem that you shouldn’t overlook.
If your furnace heats are uneven and some rooms are getting less or more heat than others, it’s probably that the equipment is too old and you should consider replacing it or calling a qualified contractor.
How to Choose Between Commercial HVAC Repair and Replacement
In many cases, a simple repair or retrofit can do the trick and your HVAC units will perform optimally again. Retrofits are particularly effective since you will be replacing parts of your HVAC system with newer, more technologically advanced equipment. In fact, one research done by the U.S. Department of Energy by Pacific Northwest National Labs found that small offices and retail companies achieved 35 percent saving in energy consumption by simply investing in retrofitting their existing HVAC systems.
Nonetheless, there are cases when replacing your entire HVAC system, even though it’s a long drawn, expensive process. If your unit is older than 15 years and have been malfunctioning regularly despite technician checkups, or if it’s over consuming energy, you should definitely consider a replacement of the whole system.
One major consideration is the cost of repairs verses the cost of replacement. If, for example a repair will cost $10,000 and a replacement will cost $12,000, most people would choose to replace the system. But if the repair was $5,000 and the replacement was still $12,000 many would choose the repair.
To add one more twist to the issue, what if the repair will be $5,000, but it has also been $5-6,000 in 4 of the last 5 years? Now the decision become a little more difficult for some.
In any case, if you are working with a reliable service provider they can give you lots of helpful information.