There is a common misconception among owners of new or newly-renovated buildings that HVAC preventive maintenance is unnecessary during the first year or so of operation, but this old fallacy can lead to some costly consequences. The fact is, maintaining an HVAC system from day one is far more important than one might think.
First, failure to perform a manufacturer’s prescribed maintenance puts equipment warranties at risk. The vast majority of factory warranties stipulate specific PM items that must be performed within the warranty period for it to remain valid. Building owners who defer first-year PM are in for a rude awakening when a warranty is voided because maintenance records cannot be provided.
Secondly, when it comes to PM, many new building owners fail to account for the time new equipment is in operation during construction. HVAC systems often run for many months before a project is completed, and the notion that the PM clock doesn’t start ticking until the building is turned over is just wishful thinking. When maintenance is finally performed after multiple PM calls were disregarded, a large accumulation of neglected PM procedures must be performed all at once. Not only has system performance suffered, the owner experiences a bad case of sticker shock when the PM contractor’s bill arrives.
There are numerous, undeniable benefits to performing regular PM including improved HVAC system performance, increased equipment lifespan, greater energy efficiency, fewer emergency calls, less downtime, and a healthy, more comfortable environment. Owners of new and newly-renovated buildings should have a comprehensive preventive maintenance contract in place from system startup in order to reap these benefits and ensure the validity of manufacturer warranties in case something should go wrong.