By National Refrigeration December 3, 2019
The best property managers and HVAC contractors will tell you, the time to start scheduled maintenance on your heating and cooling systems is when they’re brand new.
As a rule of thumb, HVAC equipment loses roughly 5% efficiency every year maintenance is neglected, according to ConsumersAdvocate.org.
However, homeowners and business owners often purchase properties with existing heating and cooling systems. Or, due to expansions in living space or work area, the entire HVAC system needs to be reexamined.
Major mechanical systems can mean big money, and it’s important to know when to repair, upgrade, and replace HVAC equipment.
The Assess, Invest & Maintain (A.I.M.) decision-making system is a powerful, 3-step hack to spending the proper amount of money to uphold the optimal home or commercial mechanicals systems.
In our example for homeowners, the A.I.M. approach is applied to heating a new addition.
In our example for business owners, the A.I.M. approach is applied to upgrading a commercial water-chiller to be more energy efficient.
Homeowners and business owners both need to take a close look at the existing heating and cooling systems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found “many” existing systems are oversized for the spaces they service.
HVAC equipment properly sized to the heating and cooling loads they’re servicing optimizes the performance of the equipment, which reduces nuisances (like noise) and repairs, while extending the life of the equipment, the EPA reports.
Residential customers, businesses, and municipalities in Rhode Island have a variety of funding programs, incentives, and financing available to support energy improvements. Learn more about them on the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources website.
Rhode Island homeowners may be eligible for a free home-energy audit from National Grid. In addition to inspecting your existing furnace or boiler, the energy auditor also assesses how the entire building uses energy and makes recommendations for improving energy efficiency.
The homeowners in our example should assess the limits of their current heating system, as well as the climate control needs of the addition.
The business owner in our example needs to assess each component of the air conditioning system individually as well as the interactions among components, recommends the EPA.
Finding the best solution typically requires an investment of time and money. By doing some of the work yourself, you can save money and get a superior solution.
For example, a home energy audit is a free service that saves you time learning about how to test your home for energy efficiencies.
Likewise, getting quotes from at least three fully licensed and insured contractors for every job is another free way to gain expert insight into the problem at hand.
Both the homeowners and business owners in our example invested time meeting with three nearby HVAC contractors. They both spent time researching financial opportunities to save money by purchasing energy-efficient equipment.
When it was time to decide on a solution, both customers were surprised by the choices they made.
The homeowners learned their current gas furnace was the proper size for their home, but it was working too hard because of poor insulation. They also discovered purchasing a new, larger furnace and installing new ductwork to the addition wasn’t cost effective.
Instead, they added insulation to their home with the help of a state incentive program. Then, they installed a ductless mini-split in the addition to provide year-round heat, air conditioning, and humidity control.
The business owner in our example learned “focusing on the efficiency of the chiller will not necessarily lead to the most cost-effective savings,” says the EPA. Instead, the owner decided to make operations and maintenance adjustments to yield substantial energy savings.
Once you have your new equipment, systems, and procedures in place, it’s imperative they are well maintained up to the specifications of the manufacturer.
Keep all the owner’s manuals and important paperwork for your major appliances and equipment in a central location. If you don’t have the benefit of a building operations manager, set reminders on your calendar for regular service and tune-ups so nothing gets skipped.
Homeowners can have the luxury of a building operations manager by hiring a local HVAC contractor offering a service program. The best HVAC service programs provide high-priority emergency service, lower energy bills, equipment that performs better and lasts longer, and much more.
The homeowners in our example subscribed to a service plan offered by the installer of their mini-split. Now, a single HVAC contractor can oversee climate control for the entire house and provide repairs and maintenance to the gas furnace and mini-split. As a bonus, the HVAC contractor also handles plumbing, which makes maintenance and repairs even more turnkey!
The business owner ended up saving money by sequencing the chillers and cleaning the tubes, as well as replacing the standard valves with low-friction units and insulating the chilled-water pipes.
Deciding to repair or replace any major piece of equipment is a big decision. A.I.M. to make the most informed and cost-effective decision you can in order to maximize the return on the money you spend on a solution.
National Refrigeration is a unique family company: one where we share our focus on our family of employees with yours. That’s why we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We know that our reputation is on the line with every job that we do and will settle for nothing less than perfection. It’s been that way since our modest beginnings in 1969.Visit our website.
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