An HVAC system is vital in commercial settings as it maintains a comfortable indoor environment for all occupants. The best ones offer programmable and on-demand control of the relative humidity and temperature and provide air filtration to maximize health. The worst still cover the essentials: heating, cooling and ventilation.
Whether you’re replacing your building’s HVAC or purchasing one for a new property, a commercial unit can be incredibly expensive, so you’ll want to pick the right one. To do so, you must consider a number of different factors and features. That way you end up with the correct size, model and type for your property.
1. Outline Your Needs
HVAC systems come in different types, sizes and strengths, so the selection process can be a bit daunting. Outlining your needs is the best way to narrow down your search and determine the best unit for your commercial property. Square footage, number of workers and ventilation code requirements will all come into play here.
For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises that employers maintain relative humidity between 40% and 60% in the workplace. Most units can sustain these levels. However, a hospital might require tighter control over temperature and humidity, so they may need a more advanced system.
2. Review Part Load Efficiency
Most contractors install HVACs that are designed to handle a full load and are way too big for daily operation. In this case, heating and cooling can become a major expense — not to mention a huge energy waster. That’s why it’s so important to choose a system that’s designed for part-load operation.
Technological advancements have made HVACs most efficient at full or maximum loads. However, efficiency rates decline after the load falls below 90%, a scenario that’s much more frequent than a full load. If you purchase with efficiency in mind, you’ll end up with a system that can handle all but the most extreme conditions and is way more cost-effective.
3. Consider the Cost
To understand the true cost of an HVAC unit, you must consider two factors: initial investment and operating costs. Your initial investment will include the purchase price and installation cost. The operating costs include maintenance and monthly energy bills, both of which depend on everything from your filter’s MERV rating to the system’s energy efficiency.
Ultimately, upgrading, replacing or installing a unit will cost you thousands of dollars. However, it’s best to look at it as an investment. After all, plants can only filter out so many toxins, and HVACs are much more effective for improving ventilation. And just think of the energy savings. Even replacing a unit that’s just 10 years old can save you 20% to 40% in cooling costs during the summer months.
4. Determine Its Reliability
Reliability is essential to every HVAC unit, especially ones that serve commercial properties. Just imagine what might happen if the cooling system stopped working in a cheese shop or candy store. You need a trustworthy system that’ll hold up under pressure and require few fixes over the course of its life.
Make sure yours is reliable by choosing a newer model that meets — and will continue to meet — ventilation requirements and air quality standards. Under average demand, most HVACs last 12 to 17 years. Ensure peak performance by conducting frequent inspections and performing preventative maintenance to avert serious disasters. Read customer reviews to understand just how reliable a system is before making your final purchase.
Making Your HVAC More Efficient
Once you’ve chosen an HVAC for your commercial property, you can always upgrade it by making small refinements. For instance, you could add CO2 sensors to meeting rooms to determine occupancy levels and adjust ventilation accordingly. Even the smallest changes could mean a huge difference in cost savings and the company’s bottom line.
Regardless of how or when you make these small improvements, remember to switch out your HVAC filter to keep your office clean and your employees healthy. A safe work environment is priority number one, after all.
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