March 29, 2024

How to prolong the life of your HVAC systems

HVAC unit

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is essential to maintaining healthy, comfortable conditions within your business, from filtering out contaminants in the air to maintaining temperatures at an appropriate level.

Getting the longest operational life out of your HVAC is very similar to caring for your car. Even if you don’t follow the manufacturer's guidance in terms of care and maintenance, it will operate and get you from point A to B. But if you fail to look after them properly, you’ll store up expensive problems that inevitably need to be fixed when you can least afford them. In the long term you’ll also face having to replace it much sooner than your neighbour, who is diligent about getting their car serviced regularly. 

Standard HVAC maintenance includes replacing air filters, cleaning systems, changing belts and lubricating bearings, all of which helps the system run longer. But maintenance alone is not enough to prolong the life of your HVAC system—usage is also a big factor that is under your control. It’s similar to driving a car 100 miles a day versus driving it 1,000 miles each day. We all know which one is going to have a longer usable life. That’s why proactive management of your HVAC equipment, to ensure it is only running when necessary to maintain the optimal comfort in your premises, is so important.

The average HVAC system lasts 15-20 years, but by being proactive and performing regular maintenance, management and monitoring of your equipment, it’s possible to extend that up to 25 and even 30 years of operation.

Invest in quality equipment

The best bit of preventative care that you can do is by starting with good quality equipment. The biggest cost associated with your HVAC system is going to be the initial purchase. While it might be tempting to try to save dollars by finding cheaper equipment, you will likely end up paying for this on the back end—either through more frequent repairs or the need to purchase a replacement sooner than expected.

Consider the following when selecting your HVAC system:

  • Efficiency rating: An HVAC system that operates more efficiently is going to cost you less in the long run. Look for indicators like Energy Star certification to find systems that operate most efficiently.
  • Performance metrics: Look into Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for cooling and Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) for heating to get an idea of how equipment will likely perform. SEER ratings typically range from 13-23, and the larger the number the more energy efficient the product will be. AFUE ratings for heating tell you how much fuel is converted to heat and range from the federal minimum of 80% up to over 98% for the latest fuel efficient furnaces. Also consider information like how long a system is rated to operate at full load and how many start and stop cycles it is designed to go through.
  • Materials and components: A better built HVAC system will typically last longer. Look for systems built with stainless steel or aluminum for components such as heat exchangers, corrosion-resistant coatings for outdoor units, and high-quality insulation for ductwork.

Remember, your HVAC system will be running every day, so the more efficient the system is, the more it will save you over time. Typically, higher-end systems will be more efficient and built with more durable materials and components. The price tag may be bigger to start, but you’ll see it pay off in the long run.

Audit your current energy usage

One of the best indicators of the effectiveness and health of your HVAC system is energy usage. If your energy costs are higher than expected, it may mean that something is wrong within your system. If you’re seeing excessively high bills it also likely means your HVAC system is running for longer than it needs to which will reduce its lifespan, as HVAC equipment is rated to operate for a set number of hours over its lifetime. The more hours it runs each day, the sooner you’ll need to replace or repair it. 

Some HVAC systems come with monitoring tools that can give you insight into your current energy usage. If you have a smart thermostat, it may also be able to provide you with information regarding heating and cooling patterns that may reveal unusually high usage.

You can also use a service like David Energy’s proprietary software platform, which can automatically flag abnormal usage patterns and highlight opportunities to lower consumption. On average, nearly half of a commercial building’s energy consumption comes from its HVAC system.

Implement SOPs tailored to each location

A simple but important way to extend the life of your HVAC system is to establish standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are specific to each facility. By creating these parameters, you’ll ensure that your HVAC system is operating within a predictable and expected range at all times. This prevents your machines from running at extremes, lessening the overall burden on the system over time.

David Energy’s software platform has tools for establishing SOPs that can be tailored to each facility that you operate. The software integrates with your smart thermostats to provide insight and control over your system. From there, you can set up operating parameters for your HVAC to ensure that it is running at peak efficiency.

With our software, you can automate your SOPs to:

  • Adjust setpoints to match business hours
  • Auto-resolve at the end of the day when the temperature is manually overridden
  • Eliminate temperature holds

If you need help establishing SOPs for your business, our team of energy experts can review your operation, make recommendations based on your energy goals, and help you implement schedules and SOPs that are unique to your business.

Don't ignore small issues

One thing to remember with HVAC systems: little issues can become big ones fast. Because this system is predicated on everything working as expected, the smallest of leaks can lead to lower efficiency and lead to larger costly breakdowns over time.

To avoid this, be vigilant about monitoring your systems for any obvious warning signs that something isn’t quite working right. Some early indicators include:

  • Strange noises
  • Abnormally high energy bills
  • Delays in reaching the set temperature
  • Uneven heating or cooling throughout the building
  • Frequent cycling

Perform these checks regularly and you will be able to catch these issues before they have the opportunity to grow. Regularly monitoring your energy usage can also alert you to the fact that something is off and whether you need to do further checks for issues in your system.

If you do spot a potential issue with your HVAC system, contact a professional for help. They can perform both routine and more complicated fixes that will get your system back up and running efficiently. Having an expert in your corner for servicing and repairs can add years to your HVAC system by avoiding catastrophic situations like machines failing.

How can David Energy help?

Going back to our car maintenance analogy, you can think of David Energy’s platform as acting as the engine check light for your HVAC system. We’ll highlight issues with your electricity consumption that indicate something is amiss with your HVAC and allow you to take preventive action. 

Our platform also allows you to monitor how long your heating and cooling systems are taking to reach your preferred setpoints and maintain the comfort parameters you’ve selected for your premises. If it’s taking longer than normal to reach those points there’s something wrong that merits further investigation. 

The auto-release feature of our software also ensures that any settings that have been overridden by staff during the day are automatically released at the close of day. This ensures your HVAC settings are reset for the next business day and will follow your SOPs. This means you don’t have to worry about unnecessary wear and usage of your HVAC equipment. 

Have questions or want to learn more?

Book a meeting with our team here.

Join the Better Grid Movement
Get Started Today