Every piece of equipment has a life cycle, and most facility operators hope to get equipment to exceed the manufacturer’s suggested life. To do so, of course, requires regular maintenance throughout the equipment’s life. But there comes a time when facility managers must come to a decision about whether to repair or replace.

Most of us have the same decision to make with automobiles. At what point do you quit taking the old car to the mechanic and buy a new one? Many factors contribute to that decision.

img14rooftop.jpgAt Alpha Energy Solutions, we provide the expertise to extend a product’s lifecycle, and when necessary, to make a smart decision about buying a new piece of HVAC equipment.

“In any system’s life-cycle, there comes a point where you need to decide whether it’s fiscally and practically feasible to continue maintaining and repairing an aging, degrading piece of equipment,” said Gerry Lewis, director of sales at Alpha. “It’s important to do a life-cycle cost analysis when determining if you should repair or replace an aging HVAC system component.”

If, for example, a 30-year-old chiller is requiring more money than anticipated on maintenance; and, new chillers have twice the efficiency of the old chiller. The decision to replace is an easy one if you run a life-cycle cost analysis.

Experts say the ratio of spending for HVAC systems should be 70-percent preventive maintenance and 30-percent corrective maintenance. These numbers are benchmarks that professionals use in charting the effectiveness of client maintenance programs.

“If the corrective maintenance level is up to 70 percent, you know your program is out of control,” Lewis said. “The buildings where the numbers are in reverse are the buildings that people don’t want to be in. That’s what happens when preventive maintenance isn’t instituted.”

While every piece of equipment will need to be replaced eventually, following a stringent, comprehensive maintenance schedule will prolong your building’s HVAC system and maintain not only a healthy bottom line, but happy, satisfied, and comfortable tenants.

“For the most part, facilities [managers] understand the exposure they have in large capital expenditures with negligence when it comes to preventive and predictive maintenance, especially [with] air-handlers, large chillers, and pumping systems,” said Lewis. “They are aware of the necessity and the [responsibility] they have financially if they neglect it.”