Should I Replace My R-22 Equipment?
With the phase out of R-22 refrigerant, you may wonder if you need to replace all of your equipment. While it is not a requirement, it might be advantageous, both logistically and financially, to do so.
While there are other options besides replacing equipment to phase out R-22 from your building, such as drop-in refrigerants, retrofits, refrigerant recovery and recycling, there is money to be saved now by upgrading older or problematic equipment.
One of the biggest drawbacks to new equipment is usually the upfront cost. However, upfront cost is only part of the equation to look at when considering an equipment replacement. Comparing the efficiency and maintenance costs of your current system versus a new system is key. These factors will help clarify how an equipment replacement will affect your bottom line.
As equipment ages, it loses efficiency, which causes it to use more energy during operation. By replacing older equipment you can increase your efficiency, which will reduce the cost of your utility bills.
Due to the ever improving technology, new systems are becoming exponentially more efficient. According to Energy Star, HVAC systems that are 10 years old may run up to 20 percent less efficiently than Energy Star models.
So, as you consider replacing your equipment to phase out R-22, remember to factor in the increased efficiency and savings on your utility bills the new equipment will provide. By investing in upgrades now, you see financial savings on your energy bills and operational costs. Building owners will also gain an increase in asset value. The EPA states that “a commercial building owner can generate $2 to $3 of incremental asset value for every $1 invested in energy performance improvements.”
Maintenance and Emergency Calls
You should also consider the cost of maintaining equipment versus replacing the equipment. This is especially important to consider for equipment that breaks down a lot or is nearing the end of its useful life.
Not only do older pieces of equipment require more frequent maintenance and repair, there is an increased chance for expensive downtime due to unplanned repairs. Unplanned repairs are more costly because of the necessity to acquire parts using expedited shipping and have work performed on overtime. This also leads to dissatisfied tenants because of comfort issues, which can also contribute to a loss of productivity. When you add up the value of time and money associated with all of these factors, it is evident that maintaining a problematic piece of equipment can be pricey. When equipment continues to fail because of age or lack of maintenance, it could be costing you more than installing new equipment would. New equipment is more reliable, especially when maintained properly.
R-22 Costs and Shortages
The cost of R-22 is predicted to continue rising as supplies decrease to meet EPA regulations. Besides being stuck paying high prices, it may become more difficult to obtain R-22. Longer lead times to get R-22 can mean longer downtime for your equipment, which affects the operation of your building and ultimately your bottom line.
Equipment replacement might be an appropriate plan of action to phase R-22 out of your building. Remember to consider all factors: equipment age and life expectancy, current versus future efficiency, maintenance and repair costs, as well as rising R-22 costs and possible shortages. All of these aspects affect your bottom line and building operation.
There is a lot to think about, but we are here to help. Feel free to contact us and we can help you determine the best plan for your equipment and company.