According to the Building Efficiency Initiative, you can save anywhere from 5 for 40 percent on your energy bills with regular service in your commercial HVAC system. That’s a huge range. But then again, there’s a lot that falls under this.
Think of this as scheduled maintenance. Bottom line, having us come out before there’s a problem helps your system work better. The better it works, the less energy it uses. And, when it’s in good condition, it’s much less likely to break down. That costs even more.
We get asked about this a lot at Bovio. You get a small business owner, and the last thing on their mind is whether their air conditioner is in tip-top shape. Sometimes, even building managers think they’re getting scammed when someone wants to show up a few times a year and “fix” something that isn’t broken.
But, the stakes are high with a commercial system. Maybe you’ve got tenants who rely on it. Or, you want to keep your overhead low. And, no one wants their business — or their tenants’ businesses — to lose money because it’s suddenly too hot or cold to work.
So, what do you get from scheduled maintenance? And, how does it help your bottom line? Let’s see how this all shakes out.
What are the benefits of regular service for commercial HVAC?
- Better energy efficiency
- Longer life
- Better warranty protection
Energy efficiency is probably the biggest benefit. When you get annual tune-ups, your system uses less energy And, overall, it just runs better.
Great example: We go out to a body shop out in Haddonfield every November for a tune-up. Sometimes, the manager there isn’t crazy about us coming out. It’s not like the place was too cold, and we would fix it.
We understand the mindset. But, this year, we noticed the pilot light burning was burning yellow, not blue. Seems like no big deal, right? Well, it’s not.
That yellow flame means not all the natural gas going into the system is burning. Turns out the shop was paying for fuel that wasn’t heating the place. There must have been a problem since we were out the year before.
It was an easy fix, but that meant their heating bill that year was a little lower than the winter before. As for the manager, he felt a bit better once there was something different he could actually see.
Another time, we got a call from a new building manager for an office park. His first order of business was setting up regular servicing.
He told us about the time he had a fan belt go at another place he was working. A bunch of offices didn’t have heat for two days. His ears were ringing from all the angry calls he got about it.
Now, it’s not like we have a crystal ball that can see this coming. But, getting in there a few times a year means we spot worn-out equipment and replace them before there’s a problem. Fan belts are a common one.
And, overall, these kinds of repairs help your unit last longer. When all the parts are in good shape, there’s less wear and tear on the machine.
That’s why warranties work the way they do. You read the fine print, and a lot of times you need to have regular maintenance or the manufacturer voids the warranty. The manufacturer doesn’t want to replace a unit just because you didn’t take care of it.
When you prove you had a certified technician check it every year, and there’s still a problem, that’s when you get a replacement without making another significant investment.
What do you get with regular service?
Regular service for commercial HVAC equipment includes:
- Seasonal cleanings
- Tune-ups and inspections
- Changing air filters
First up is that seasonal cleaning. We go in before you fire up the furnace for the winter or start using the AC in the spring. A good cleaning means nothing’s getting gummed up. We’ll also notice if anything, like that fan belt, needs replacing.
That’s part of the tune-up, too. And, we make sure the thermostat is calibrated correctly.
You’d be surprised how often this simple problem is why everyone in the building never gets quite to the right temperature. It could be all that’s happening is the thermostat isn’t reading the temperature.
And, we’ll change those air filters, too. Although, really, you should do that way more than once a year. For a big commercial system, every 12 weeks is best.
If you wait till we come out for an annual inspection, the filter will be clogged. Then air won’t flow properly through the system. The system uses more energy to create more pressure, but probably still won’t give you the climate control you want.
In fact, once your system gets old enough, you’ll want us out more than once a year. After the ten-year mark, it’s a good idea to have us out at least twice every year. As your unit gets older, parts are more likely to break. You want us to catch that before it happens.
Do I need a service contract?
Now that you’re planning on seeing us a few times a year, you need to ask yourself: Do I need a service contract?
The answer is yes …. But there’s more than one option.
First, let’s clear up what we mean. A service contract is when you pay either an annual fee or monthly installments for regular work. You can get different levels of contracts for different prices.
The bare-bones ones usually only cover the annual inspections. After that, you can pay more to cover the cost of replacing some parts. And, you can opt for priority service. That means if your heater breaks down in the dead of winter – and that’s when it’s most likely – you won’t get put on a waiting list.
Bottom line is, you want to keep your system in good condition. That requires at least some regular maintenance. The question, then, is which plan is right for you?
The most significant factor is the age of your system. If it’s more than a decade old, a contract is a good idea. Older systems break down more often than newer ones. That extra protection goes a long way.
Meanwhile, for a newer system, a lower-tier service contract is all you need. That way, your regular service is worked into your budget and schedule.
Do you need regular service for your commercial HVAC system? Contact us, and we’ll find a service contract and schedule that’s perfect for your needs.