The chorus of voices making requests (and sometimes, demands) upon commercial property owners/managers grows louder every year. Honestly, replacing a commercial air conditioner system before it is absolutely necessary seems to be an unwise decision. “If it ain’t broke . . .” rings in the ear. But there is more to the decision than the bottom line. Here are some things to consider beyond the surface line item for a capital purchase.
Wishing is not the same as planning. At some point, an existing air conditioner WILL end its usefulness and fail; the failure rate of 100% is consistent. The average for commercial air conditioner systems is between 15 and 20 years: with impeccable maintenance, they last about 5 years longer. When these facts are applied to the age of an existing system, an estimate of useful life can help owners/managers plan for the eventual replacement of the system. The remaining years can be used to budget and schedule changes, and planning for replacement is a much better decision than waiting for a catastrophic failure.
Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy regulate refrigerant gases and the efficiency of air conditioner components. This affects decision-making since the refrigerant gases in older systems are no longer being manufactured. The remaining stock of these gases can make recharging an air conditioner system an extremely expensive proposition.
All new air conditioners sold after January 1, 2023, must meet a new, higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rate, upgraded from SEER 13 to SEER 14. The last time a SEER upgrade was required was in 2006, seventeen years ago; this upgrade was planned decades ago, so the change was not a surprise. These Department of Energy requirements are good news for both building owners and the environment. The new systems will use the latest in refrigerant gas and serve businesses efficiently for a couple of decades.
Statistically, replacing a commercial heating and air conditioning system can recoup the capital expenses of both equipment and installation. However, it is folly to guarantee a business that “it will pay for itself in no time!” Here are a few factors and incentives to help decision-makers.
Local sales/installation contractors will have the latest information concerning financial incentives that can blunt the impact of this large capital expense.
Ultimately, air conditioning is provided for the benefit of tenants, staff, and guests who use commercial property. When the efficiency of an air conditioning system declines, these are the people who will notice and bring it to the attention of managers. The complaints may come in questions about:
People who spend significant time in commercial buildings are good judges of how the air conditioning system is functioning. A call to a repair technician can uncover the extent of the problem and make the appropriate repairs.
In need of Commercial HVAC System Repair or Maintenance?