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To Repair or to Replace: Looking Beyond HVAC Equipment Efficiency Ratings

When clients are considering replacing their HVAC equipment, MSC is often asked to compare the energy efficiency of old equipment vs. new in order to justify the replacement. Efficiency is, indeed, a key consideration, but an efficiency rating is only a small part of the equation. There are a number of other important factors that must come into play when determining overall savings.

Many facility owners and managers base decisions largely on efficiency ratings and will often nix replacement when ratings of old and new equipment differ by only a few percentage points. Though repair is often the better choice, savings gained through replacement can be significantly greater when the increased costs of maintaining and repairing older equipment is factored in. Like houses and automobiles (and human beings, for that matter), HVAC repair costs usually increase with age, and things like bearings, compressors, and gas-fired heat exchangers are increasingly likely to fail as units grow older.


New warranties, sizeable rebates, and energy incentive programs like New Jersey SmartStart Buildings can be of considerable value and should always be taken into account when deciding whether to repair or replace equipment. Existing equipment sizing may no longer be appropriate due to changes over the years in how the space is utilized. Parts become obsolete as equipment ages, and retrofits can be challenging as well as costly.


The bottom line is that energy ratings should never be the main deciding factor when weighing the benefits of repair vs. replacement, as there are many other important elements to consider. MSC is expert in complex HVAC systems in commercial and industrial environments and can help guide clients in making the best choices for their business.