Commercial HVAC Units: Repair or Replace?

Do you, your coworkers, or employees have to adjust the thermostat in your building to stay comfortable frequently?

Does the A/C unit or furnace make noises when it powers up? Does the air feel stuffy or damp? If you said yes to any of these, it might be time to consider repairing or replacing your commercial HVAC unit.

If you are reading this, chances are the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit in your business is not running properly. Don’t panic! It’s not easy to know when, or if you should repair or replace a commercial HVAC unit, but this decision is something that every business faces.

Often, because of the high initial cost of a new HVAC unit, a decision is made to repair an older, less efficient system instead of replacing it with a newer, energy-efficient unit.

While there’s no ironclad rule on repairing vs. replacing an HVAC unit, the decision has to be made strategically. Here are some things to take into consideration when you’re trying to make the right decision for your company.

Cost of Repair Vs. Cost of Replacement

This is probably the most common factor. A general rule that most people follow is if the HVAC equipment repair will be more than 50-60% of the replacement costs, it may be best to part ways and replace the equipment. Consider the differences in cost between repairing or replacing, to see which one is more feasible for your company’s budget.

Potential Energy Saving

Air conditioners and heat pumps (both commercial and residential) have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, while furnaces can last around 15 to 20 years. If your equipment is within those ranges, it would be wise to budget for more repairs shortly. This all comes down to personal choice in the end, as there is no ironclad rule about HVAC equipment life expectancy.

Tax Credits

If you own a small business in Ontario, you may be eligible for provincial tax credits.** Small business (businesses with residential-type systems) owners in Ontario who have purchased and installed eligible HVAC equipment through a participating contractor can participate in this incentive program.

Incentives for commercial HVAC equipment is available for businesses using:

  • High-Efficiency Furnaces
  • Energy Star® Certified Central Air Conditioners
  • ECM Circulator Pumps
  • Air-Source Heat Pumps (ASHP)
  • Adaptive Thermostats

Renovations & Improvements

Upgrades to a business place that improve energy efficiency, such as new windows, roofing, and insulation can also affect the efficiency of an HVAC system. Depending on what improvements were made to your business, you might benefit from downgrading to a smaller commercial HVAC unit. This will provide better comfort at a lower operating cost.

Age Of The System

Air conditioners and heat pumps (both commercial and residential) have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, while furnaces can last around 15 to 20 years. If your equipment is within those ranges, it would be wise to budget for more repairs shortly. This all comes down to personal choice in the end, as there is no ironclad rule about HVAC equipment life expectancy.

Other signs can indicate it’s time to replace the commercial HVAC Unit in your building. Consider how frequently repairs are being made to the unit, or whether energy bills are fluctuating.

With the help and support of Tri-Air, you can accurately decide whether it’s best to repair or replace your commercial HVAC unit.

To properly gauge the condition of your existing commercial HVAC unit, schedule an inspection with a Tri-Air HVAC technician today!