Midwest Mechanical - An HVAC Blog

Commercial HVAC Issues that Could Be Wasting Money

Published: March 15, 2017

Written by Midwest Mech

Just like any other business, a commercial building needs to bring in more money than it costs, or it’s not going to last long. Many building owners are shocked to learn how much money they’re wasting due to relatively simple HVAC issues that go unresolved. If you’re looking for ways to economize, here are three areas you can look into with the help of a professional commercial HVAC company:

Neglecting planned maintenance

Your car, your smartphone, and the appliances in your house all need some level of routine maintenance to keep them operating well and make sure they last as long as they should. Since it’s also a complex machine, your building’s HVAC system requires a long list of routine maintenance tasks done on a specific schedule to optimize performance. If this gets neglected, or if it’s not done right, it can affect both how well the system runs and how much energy it uses, and both these factors come directly back to cost.

Commercial HVAC Issues that Could Be Wasting Money

Low energy efficiency can instantly create higher utility bills. And, like a car in desperate need of an oil change, if the system runs too long without proper maintenance, components will break or wear out before they should, boosting repair and replacement costs.

The easiest and most effective way to offset this issue is to set up a planned maintenance program to ensure your system is always running at its best and you’re protecting your investment.

Choosing the wrong HVAC equipment

One common discoveries our technicians make when inspecting a new client’s facility is that some or all of the HVAC system originally installed in the building was not the best choice for the size, layout, or how it’s used. Sometimes it was a budgeting decision, or changes in how the building is used. But more often it can be traced back to relying on a service provider that didn’t keep the client’s best interests in mind.

Regardless of why it was installed, an inadequate system will always struggle to heat or cool the building, using more energy throughout its shorter lifespan. A system that’s too big for the building is also going to run inefficiently, probably cycling off and on far more often, and using more energy for each cycle than a smaller system would.

Obviously, if you’re considering replacing your commercial HVAC system, you’ll want to get the professional opinions of HVAC technicians you trust. Regarding the system currently in your building, you’ll also want trusted techs to evaluate it and present options for retrofitting or replacement with a system of the proper size and strength that’s going to be more energy efficient.  

Old, inadequate control systems

Many commercial buildings today contain “smart” sensors and control systems that link together building monitoring systems, automation, and analytics platforms. The more automated your commercial HVAC system is, the more energy efficient it is.

If the terms “smart sensors” and “building automation” are new to you, you’re probably spending far more than you should on energy.

Of course, even if you don’t currently own a building automation and analytics system, the control system you have needs to be accurately calibrated and functioning properly to ensure that all HVAC components are cycling on and off appropriately, the building is properly compartmentalized based on needs and usage, and the system isn’t functioning unnecessarily when there’s no one in the building.

Similar to the issues above, having a trusted HVAC service provider inspect and test the existing control system is the best first step in resolving this issue. They can discuss with you any recommended adjustments or upgrades to improve your ability to monitor, analyze, and automate the system. Not all recommendations will require huge capital expenditures. There are often relatively small and inexpensive control improvements that can result in noticeably lower operating costs.

These were just a few examples of the kinds of simple, costly issues you could be facing with your HVAC system. Commercial facility managers and building owners in the Chicago area who want to save money should request a full operational assessment to determine exactly where energy is being wasted and what it will take to fix the situation. Then, you can start making incremental improvements and seeing immediate results.

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