When is it time to throw in the towel on your old HVAC system?
No matter how successful your business, we know saving money wherever possible is always a top priority. Indeed, there’s a reason Warren Buffett still lives in the same house he and his wife purchased in 1958 for $31,000, a decision he’s called “the best investment I’ve ever made.”
For that reason, we don’t casually suggest our commercial property owners simply buy a new HVAC system whenever some new product shows up in the marketplace or their equipment goes on the fritz. Quite often, an inexpensive repair or a minor upgrade can turn your existing heating and air conditioning into an energy saving powerhouse. No one likes giving or getting a high priced cost estimate for making it right.
But hear us out. If you’re interested in keeping operating budgets low and indoor comfort levels high, sometimes a total air conditioning replacement is not only necessary, but also the most cost-effective decision you can make. With today’s rebates and tax incentives for businesses upgrades, it can be a prudent investment in your real estate asset that pays off now and well into the future.
So what kinds of “red flags” should you look for when weighing the benefits of repair or replacement?
Age Is a Factor in Air Conditioning Replacement Questions
Most commercial HVAC lasts between 15-18 years, though in some cases it can operate successfully for much longer. However, if your system is on the old side, you’re probably using outdated refrigerants that used to be inexpensive, but are now cost prohibitive. Furthermore, your HVAC is probably no longer in compliance with federal and state standards for energy efficiency. Why does that matter? Chances are your utility bills are far higher every month than they need to be. In other words, any cost benefit that’s coming to you from sticking to patchwork repairs is being erased by a huge monthly energy spend. If the problems with your existing system cannot be fixed by a simple retrofit or repair, it’s time to think about something new.
Could a Retrofit Be Your Solution?
In some situations, your HVAC professional can replace existing parts with newer ones that allow your system to function more cost effectively, saving you energy month after month while keeping your building’s interior comfortable. Obviously, we strive for that solution whenever possible. Indeed, one U.S Department of Energy study found that small businesses could lower their energy usage costs by up to 35% simply by retrofitting existing HVAC systems, rather than outright replacement. However, if the cost of repairs becomes too expensive and too frequent, you need a new system. Consider what’s called the 5K rule in our industry. If it costs less than that to fix something, you don’t need a new system. If it costs more, or if the repair won’t necessarily last beyond a few years, you may want to replace instead.
Either way, regular maintenance and responsible use are always your best bet. Take care of your existing system, and stay on top of any problems as soon as they occur, to ensure you get the most value out of your heating and air conditioning.
Need repairs for your commercial HVAC system? Call Air-Tro at (626) 357-3535.