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Replacing Rooftop Units Before They Fail Can Bring Significant Benefits




August 15, 2011 - HVAC

Today's tip comes from Building Operating Management: Look at the big picture to persuade top management it's worthwhile to replace rooftop HVAC units before they fail.

If your organization has made a practice of replacing rooftop HVAC units only when they fail, there are several arguments that you can use to try to persuade top management to replace them proactively instead.

The biggest consideration is the impact on business. Rooftop units often fail on the most extreme temperature days. Suppose one fails in the midst of a heat wave. Depending on the building, the indoor environment will be anywhere from unpleasant to unbearable.

How important is that? The extent of the impact will depend on the type of organization. An office building may be able to stay open and put up with grumbling from employees. But in a retail facility, customers can't be told to stay. And even with office space, if it's a leased building, the tenants aren't likely to forget the inconvenience.

Getting a replacement in as quickly as possible will be a top priority, of course. But that may mean having to accept a less than optimal replacement unit because it is the first one available.

When making the case to top management, remember to focus on business issues. Talk to department heads or other business leaders whose functions will be affected by failure of a rooftop unit. Find out if they can provide any estimates of cost to the organization. Talk to contractors about how long it would take them to install a new unit and what impacts a rush order might have on choices, then translate all of that into business terms such as higher first costs, overtime costs, or higher long term energy costs.

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