- Most refrigeration equipment operating on R-22 is likely many years old. Compare the age to the life expectancy of the equipment.
- Is the unit still under warranty? If so, what type of repairs does the warranty cover?
- Review maintenance logs to determine the service vs. repair history of this equipment. How often has it required service?
- What is the nature of the current problem? How significant is it?
- A typical 25-ton commercially packaged unit will require about 25 to 30 pounds of refrigerant. If there is a leak, the entire system will need to be drained before testing can be done to isolate the leak. Those two steps alone may cost $1,000 or more.
- How much refrigerant has already been lost?
- If the leak can be repaired, what is the cost of the repair and the cost to replace the refrigerant? The price of R-22 is subject to supply and demand. Prices have been steadily increasing with little to no new R-22 production.
- It is not uncommon to see service/repair calls increase with equipment that is beyond the midpoint of its expected lifespan. If your unit needs too many services and repairs, it may be more economical to replace the unit.
- You can no longer replace just a compressor or evaporator. Components manufactured today are designed
for newer refrigerants and are not compatible with R-22.
As a facility or building manager, you face numerous decisions daily. Some of those may involve repair or replacement decisions for air conditioning or refrigeration equipment. Cooling technology is evolving to meet environmental standards and these changes could impact your decisions. In this article, we will discuss changes in refrigerant technology and their implications to daily operations.
For many businesses, backup generators serve a critical need. If they fail to perform when needed most, it can have a significant detrimental impact on business functions. Consider the critical nature of a backup generator at a hospital where a surgeon operates on patients or a call center with 1,000 agents waiting to close deals. One is life-and-death and the other could be if the call center is a 911 helpline.
Facility managers are often the people responsible for the proper care and maintenance of backup generators. After years of installing and servicing generators, our team of electrical contractors has identified a list of reasons why backup generators fail as well as a guide on what can be done to prevent these failures. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does represent the most common problems throughout the facilities that we service:
Electronics are vulnerable to electrical spikes: surges in voltage that occur for several reasons such as:
· a power line or phone line being struck by lightning,
· utility power being restored after an outage,
· utility services being interrupted from construction,
· an accident or a fire, and/or
· high winds that cause power lines to cross and acr.
Even seemingly small occurrences, such as normal motor or compressor cycles within a facility, can render small but damaging fluctuations to electronics.
When commercial HVAC systems breakdown, it can be a huge negative impact on the business. We have found that preventative maintenance can assist in reducing or even eliminating the risk of breakdowns and failures. Below is a case study to illustrate.
In mid 2013, Baxter Commercial Services was approached by a client who owned and managed a retail shopping center with 20 individual units. The problem was that the HVAC systems were frequently breaking down.
This caused several problems including lost retail revenue, ongoing costly repairs, angry tenants and lease renewal implications. The landlord wanted to discuss preventative maintenance programs as the breakdowns were becoming far too frequent and costly.
Following the discussion, Baxter Commercial Services
technicians performed complete diagnostics and inspections of all 20 units. The team discovered
clogged coils and filters on many units and other signs of little to no
maintenance had been performed on units.
The experts further advised
landlord that some units were older and the lack of maintenance had cumulative impact that would likely result in the need to replace several units during the
It was also advised that after the initial round of maintenance, ongoing maintenance would be performed every six months. During the first year, 5 older HVAC units failed and were replaced.
Once Baxter Commercial Services was in charge of the HVAC system upkeep, consistent maintenance was performed every 6 months over the following 3 years. During this period, there we no unit failures nor breakdowns. The before and after contrast was significant. The landlord avoided costly repairs and could either re-invest those dollars into other projects or increase the operational profit margin.
Moreover, the landlord said that tenants reported lower utility bills
and were happier in general resulting in a higher percentage of lease renewals.
Ever notice that the light bulb section in your local hardware store is getting bigger and the choices are getting more complicated? Bulb size, wattage, base type, dimmable or not, color temperature and more are all decision points today. Not to mention price. If you have ever come home with the wrong light bulb, you have plenty of company. For commercial lighting applications, multiply the difficulty level several times.
A simple looking ceiling fixture may not be as simple as it
looks. Historically, commercial buildings have used fluorescent lighting for
office areas and a combination of other fixtures for warehouse and even parking
. Many businesses are converting both types of
lighting to LED lighting for energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, and
improved light coverage. Converting from
fluorescent to LED may be as easy as swapping out one light bulb for another,
but, given all the nuances of commercial lighting fixtures, spending some extra
time researching and planning will save time and headaches in the end.
To make a comparison, with automobiles, some parts like wind shield wipers are interchangeable between vehicle brands and models, while other parts are very vehicle specific. The same concept applies to commercial lighting fixtures. To add a level of complexity, if portions of a commercial building were built at different times, light fixtures may appear to be the same, but, can actually be different.
The enactment of the Montreal Protocol came with implications for owners, equipment operators, and managers of commercial buildings. The international environmental agreement requires nations and states to phase out all the refrigeration and air conditioning systems , that uses the R-22 refrigerant, a commercially-produced hydrochloroflourocarbon (HCFC-22). This substance is listed among the most notorious ozone depleting substances. It was expected that by 1st January 2015, all the existing refrigerators running on the fluid, would be phased out. However, some companies and individuals are yet to do so.
Simply defined, smart lighting is lighting technology designed for energy efficiency. This can include everything from the light bulbs to light fixtures, to switches or electronic controls that adjust lighting automatically.
When systems fail or equipment breaks, there are often far-reaching implications. For a manufacturer, it could mean that a production line is shut down. A restaurant may not be able to prepare food. Or a senior living center may have to make provision for patients that are sensitive to temperature swings.