- Construction engineer, U.S. Dept. of State »
- Use your skills to help build a better world »
- Vice President, Facilities »
Replacing HVAC Equipment? Take a Fresh Look at Options
October 5, 2010 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Today's topic is replacing HVAC equipment.
It's easy to think that the best replacement for a piece of HVAC equipment is an updated version of the same piece of equipment. If the old equipment basically did the job, a new unit will do even better. It will be more reliable and more energy efficient and will likely offer more control options. What's more, you already know that it will meet the needs of the space it is serving.
But replacing in-kind — that is, buying essentially the same piece of equipment — may not be the best route. For one thing, the needs of the space may have changed. If the cooling load has increased, more capacity may be needed. Or perhaps there is now a critical load that justifies redundancy in the cooling system.
It's also possible that changes in technology may offer new options that are worth considering. Or perhaps a different configuration of equipment — two smaller chillers instead of one larger unit, for example — might match the load better.
Replacing a unit in-kind may be easier, faster and less expensive in the short term, but it can be a mistake in the long run.