If an HVAC technician told you your furnace was old and needed to be replaced, even if it was currently running OK, would you replace it?
For most people, perhaps myself included, the answer is no! In my head I would think that my boiler maybe has another 1–2 years of life left. I would also think that if it did fail, I would call up my tech, he’d say “I told you so”. Then I’d pay a premium for an emergency install. But at least I’d think I got my money’s worth from that piece of equipment!
It’s not quite the same situation in a commercial building or in a school, but I still run across this scenario pretty often—even in facilities that can’t afford to lose a single day because of the lack of heating (or cooling).
Equipment failure can cause heartburn – from the increase in cost of an emergency installation to lost days of occupancy. Additionally, since during failures time isn’t an available commodity, one scenario that isn’t often considered is whether it would be best for the entire system to be replaced.
Waiting to replace equipment until it fails typically locks a facility to the existing system for another 25–30 years.
In buildings that have 50+ year old hot water pipes, does it make sense to install a new boiler when the pipes should also be replaced?
Does it make sense to replace a water cooled chiller when the entire system—from the cooling tower to the air handlers—also needs replacement?
Sometimes, the answer is yes, sometimes it’s maybe, sometimes it’s no. Before committing another 25–30 years to an existing HVAC system, understand there are many ways to provide for a clean, comfortable space.
Talk to your provider and explore your options before equipment fails.
— Ryan Terry (firstname.lastname@example.org)