5 Steps to Control Your Commercial Building HVAC Maintenance Costs

  • Expert Tips

Commercial building maintenance costs can get out of hand quickly, and HVAC systems account for roughly 40% of energy costs of the average commercial building, as well as a big chunk of the repair spend. Your HVAC system may be part of the problem.

Here is how you can fix that.

1. Banish Reactive Maintenance

Research shows that most facility managers still take a reactive approach to HVAC maintenance and repair. The same old contract scope is renewed without looking into how you could tweak the scope to prevent costly repairs, and avoid utility costs that could easily pay for your maintenance. It’s even worse when maintenance is deferred altogether. Instead of sticking to a regular preventive maintenance schedule, they allow small problems to accumulate over time, which results in greater costs. Reactive maintenance and repairs are the single worst thing you can do with an HVAC system, and should be the first thing you ban in your building. Planning and sticking to a predictable schedule can save up to 50% on total service costs (including maintenance and repairs). In fact, a top service firm will be able to predict and guarantee these savings for you.

2. Proper Record Keeping = Better Business Decisions

The current availability of mobile hand-held devices makes record keeping electronic and easy to track online, with information gathered by the HVAC service technician from each maintenance work order and repair.

Make sure that your HVAC service provider can document everything meticulously. Ask for an annual review of maintenance findings, and repairs made on each unit. ASK WHY, and identify units that seem to have excessive historical repair costs. Is it because of design defects, poor installation, or maintenance?  If you can identify and correct these problems through continuous improvement of system conditions, you will significantly reduce your operating costs over time by using historical service data to make better decisions.

3. Consider Stocking Common Parts on Site

Depending on the kind of system you have, and which HVAC company you use to repair and maintain your systems, they might not always have all of the commonly required parts on their truck when you need them. It may be worth asking your HVAC company to store commonly used replacement parts on site, so that if they are required, there is no waiting, no hassle, or extra costs for getting them there when you need them.

4. Buy Consumables In Bulk

You already know that there are items such as filters, belts and other parts that will require replacement frequently. You probably even know how many you are going to need for a year or two. Why not stage these types of items in bulk and replace as needed while the maintenance is being completed? Ask your service provider if they can lower costs if you provide them space onsite to ship and store replacement filters and other parts and consumables.

5. Consider a Building Management System (BMS)

Whether you have been making do without a management system or whether your controller and BMS is old and outdated, you’re not getting all of the benefits this type of system can offer. Even older buildings can be made smarter and more energy efficient with updated controls and an annual control maintenance and monitoring plan.  It is a proven fact that a BMS can cut operational costs by 15%, and since the systems in your building will be running at optimal levels at all times, it will also save on maintenance and repair bills as well. Intelligent buildings with remote access on secure ports allow your service company to monitor and troubleshoot repairs remotely. This enables them to arrive on site with the right parts, saving time and money.

If you need more tips on cutting HVAC repair, maintenance and running costs, talk to your commercial HVAC provider. The best companies will have a range of suggestions and solutions to cut costs while maintaining quality in your commercial facility.