One of the most important duties of property managers is maintaining property. Property managers execute this mandate by resolving tenant complaints as well as carrying out their own independent investigations on the state of their property and its appliances. At the top of property management issues are HVAC repairs. HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) repair costs can easily get out of hand. It is however important to note that the costs can be kept in check by observing maintenance schedules. Property managers are guilty of overlooking HVAC maintenance. Although HVAC systems are prone to breaking down, most of these units break down because of neglect/poor service. Like any other machines with moving parts, regular HVAC maintenance is required to make sure HVAC systems are working effectively at all times. Furthermore, it is cheaper to perform regular HVAC maintenance than deal with a serious system damage/malfunction. In aAir Conditioning Duct And Vent Repairn effort to help you (the property manager) understand the importance of maintaining your HVAC system, below are the top HVAC repairs that can cost big bucks.
1. Cooling Tower, Chiller And Pump Repair
This is by far one of the most expensive HVAC repairs to undertake given the complexity of chilled water systems and their significant contribution to lower energy bills. Chilled water systems are made up of cooling towers, chillers and pumps. These HVAC systems offer a relatively inexpensive way of cooling which makes them very popular in commercial buildings. In fact, cooling towers are among the cheapest HVAC systems for cooling applications. They are popularly used to cool condensers in water cooled chillers.
There are two main types of chilled water systems namely air-cooled and water cooled chilled water systems. As the name suggests, air cooled chilled water systems use air as the main cooling agent. Water-cooled systems use water as the main cooling agent. These types of systems are the most common. All their main components namely; a cooling tower, a condenser water pump unit and a chiller must be regularly maintained for them to operate optimally at all times. Cooling towers are prone to failure when they aren’t properly serviced. They are simply heat rejection devices which are used to channel process waste heat into the atmosphere. The towers use water evaporation or air to cool working fluid.
Condenser water pump units are most prone to failure because they are the most mechanical components. Condenser water pump units use mechanical forces to move condensed water. Chillers remove heat from liquids via vapor compression or absorption refrigeration cycles. The cooled liquid flows via pipes in an entire building passing through coils in fan-coil units, air handlers among other systems. In a nutshell, chilled water systems are made of complex parts which must all work together at all times for efficient operation and for this to happen, regular maintenance is inevitable. The cost of repairing (let alone replacing) cooling towers, chillers and condenser water pump units is very high. Regular maintenance costs are however manageable.
2. Boiler Repair
Boiler repair is also among the top HVAC repairs that can cost you a lot of money. There are many benefits of servicing your boiler as required. For instance, a boiler that is working optimally is more energy efficient which results in lower water heating bills. A serviced boiler is also safe i.e. the boiler doesn’t leak poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide which is life threatening. Boiler repair is usually costly because of many factors. One, boiler components which are prone to failure such as the condensers are very expensive to replace. This is not to mention the additional heating costs incurred when a boiler isn’t working optimally. The average cost of servicing a boiler ranges depending mainly on the size. For a commercial property, the annual average cost ranges between $1,000 and $3,000. The repair costs are however higher when you consider the inconvenience caused by a malfunctioning boiler as well as the cost of using an inefficient boiler or providing alternative water heating etc. The importance of following a regular boiler maintenance schedule can’t therefore be overlooked.
3. Air Conditioning Duct And Vent Repair
Air conditioning systems tend to become clogged overtime if the ducts and vents aren’t cleaned regularly. Regular maintenance helps prevent this problem. Unfortunately, most property managers wait until it’s too late. Clogged ducts and vents compromise interior air quality. With time, the indoor air is filled with dust among other airborne particles and pathogens like fungi and bacteria. Airborne particles are known to damage air conditioning systems completely resulting in huge costs. Poor air quality can drive away your tenants resulting in losses. Poor air quality is also a fire hazard especially when you have dryer vents filled with dust and debris. Clogged vents and ducts also reduce your air conditioning system’s lifespan and energy efficiency. All these can be avoided by carrying out regular air conditioning system duct and vent cleaning which costs a less compared to the cost of clogged duct and vent repair.
4. AC Unit Repair
An air conditioning system is a very important appliance in any property especially during hot weather. AC units are however prone to malfunctions which can be reduced through regular maintenance. Luckily, most AC units today display warning signs before they stop working. It is therefore possible to detect and solve a problem in time before the need for major and costly repairs arises. Regular maintenance helps identify signs of future malfunctions i.e. unusual noise and inconsistent cooling/warming. Identifying such signs ahead of time prevents complete breakdown which can be very costly. Besides, it saves you from the inconvenience of finding an AC repair expert under pressure from your tenants.
Example of Lack of Maintenance
Here's one example where lack of maintenance resulted in a circulating boiler pump not pumping at Portofino Condominium in West Palm Beach.
The above information summarizes the top HVAC repairs that can cost big bucks for property managers. Radiant heating system repairs, boiler repairs, AC duct and vent repairs as well as AC unit repairs can easily get out of hand because of poor maintenance schedules. From the above information, it is clear why you need to focus on servicing your property’s HVAC systems as opposed to waiting for the systems to malfunction so that you can perform repairs. Although there may be other HVAC repairs that can easily get out of hand, the above repairs are the most notable.