HVAC maintenance is one of those things you know you should be doing, but may not be completely confident in how to select a quality provider. Consequently, like many other building owners or managers you end up selecting the least expensive one.
With this article, we hope to provide you with some valuable information designed to help you make better service provider selections, whether or not you choose to do business with CMC Corporate Solutions.
Lets start off with some information you should have on hand during your selection process.
A good starting point is to collect a detailed list of all the HVAC equipment you have in your facility. Include all equipment that heats or cools. You may have a commercial refrigeration unit in your cafeteria. You may have a small residential style unit that serves a closet or hallway. It doesn’t matter where the units is or if it is a commercial, industrial or residential in nature add it to your list.
The data you collect needs to include manufacturer, model and serial number and installation date. The importance of this information will become apparent on the day you are looking for a manual for one of these units.
Maintenance & Repair History
Maintenance and repairs are inextricably connected. You should also keep records of the maintenance performed on each unit as well as the repair history. Some manufacturers require proof you were providing maintenance on the equipment in order to collect on a warranty claim.
The importance of this information will be clear on the day you try to collect for a warranty issue. It will also be valuable information at some point in the future, like the day you are trying to decide whether or not to replace or repair the unit.
For example, if a new unit cost $20,000 but you can get it repaired for $9,000 you might decide to have it repaired. However, if your equipment repair history shows that you spent $11,000 on it last year, you might opt to replace it.
You also want more information than “PM done on some date”. You want a list of the tasks performed. If you have an in-house staff this will be easier to get. Some service providers are reluctant to turn lose of their task lists. They view these as proprietary information, but the fact is you can find them all over the internet, for almost any type of equipment. Worse case scenario, call the manufacturer, they should be able to provide you with a detailed task list.
Keeping track of both repairs and maintenance will also demonstrate how important maintenance is to the overall function of your building. While you can save a few dollars in the short run by reducing your maintenance activities, it will only be a year or two until the repairs increase meeting or exceeding what ever you saved cutting your maintenance.
When selecting a provide there are a few subtle things to remember.
When you offer a service company your list of equipment, do they just assume it is accurate? A quality provider will want to see the equipment. They will want an initial inspection.
An initial inspection is the only way for a service company to assess the condition of your equipment. How could anyone design a maintenance plan without looking at the condition of the equipment or the environment in which it operates?
Do they talk a lot about having a fast response time and their emergency services being available 24/7/365? That should tell you where their focus is in relation to their current customers.
Service companies tend to stress the things their current customers complain about. Those are also the areas these companies tend to work to improve.
The problem is, few service providers are really focused on comfort. Comfort and productivity are the reason you installed an air conditioning system in the first place. I am absolutely certain you did not install that expensive HVAC system so some service company can give you fast emergency service 24/7/365, that would be a waste of money.
Pick a service company that, or course has 24/7/365 service that is fast, but that is not the focus to their service department. Find a company who focuses on keeping your system running without failure.
The fact is 24/7/365 emergency service is by far the most expensive service you can get. Well planned, managed and executed service is inexpensive by any comparison.
Well planned, managed and executed service will also give you the most comfortable and productive environment your systems are capable of providing.