How Much Does Commercial HVAC Service Cost?

Commercial hvac service image

With new accounts we frequently see units in disrepair with clogged or dirty filters, non-working control systems (thermostats), and failing component.  In this case our objective is to get the unit running as quickly as possible in an energy-efficient manner.  Please also note, that if the unit is 20 years old and in disrepair, we will not want you to ‘throw-good-money-after-bad’ and strongly recommend that you replace the unit as quickly as possible.

Know the difference between Service & Maintenance:

The second thing is to differentiate between service & maintenance.  Your car needs periodic oil changes, surprisingly many people believe that mechanical HVAC systems with all sorts of moving parts, electronics, belts and pulleys, and sophisticated controls will work perfectly with no skilled human intervention for an indefinite period of time!

Cost of Maintenance:

So, let’s start by discussing quarterly maintenance.  The cost of this service on a roof-top unit in decent operating condition can run around $1,000 annually including tax.  Less for a gas furnace, more for a large complex piece of equipment.  If there are parts that need to be replaced or added diagnostic or cleaning time these costs could double, and if the unit is in disrepair maybe even triple.  But more on that later when discussing service.

What key things are performed during quarterly (four times per year) maintenance?  Twice a year it will be filter changes with a quick visual review of the system.  The other two times are full-service maintenance, and cleaning.  Let’s start with the big three:  controls, filtration & power.  The tech will review your thermostat to make sure it is working properly, then ensure your filter is clean (or replace it), and finally make sure voltage and amperage is proper.  With gas furnaces there will be a manometer check on the gas pressure, review of venting and condensate, and ensuring your heat exchanger is clean and in working order (which will include a carbon monoxide check).  With air conditioners and heat pumps (including ductless) there are a variety of electrical and refrigerant components to check as these are highly sophisticated systems and if out of kilter can ‘go sideways’ very quickly.

Cost of Service:

Now let’s talk about service (repairs) and the typical things that can breakdown:

  • Starting Cost

    It will cost about $400 to get to your door and look at your unit.

  • Common Services to all HVAC Systems

    As mentioned above, improperly working thermostats, plugged filters & coils, and line voltage issues from the power source are a huge factor in underperforming HVAC units. Also note that problems in the ductwork or condensate drainage systems can really mess things up.

  • Gas Furnaces / Gas Packaged Units

    The single biggest part we replace every winter are hot-surface-igniters. You can tell this is an issue when the unit ‘clicks’ but cannot ignite.

  • Air Conditioners / Gas Packaged Units

    There are a lot more items here that can break than gas furnaces. The two most common are contactors and capacitors.  The second area is refrigerant leaks in the connections and coils.  What you do not want is the failure of a Compressor and/or Thermal Expansion Valve (very common in poorly maintained units).  Not keeping the unit maintained (with working contactors and capacitors) is more key here.  A compressor failure can cost several thousand dollars.  Anyone who does not do annual maintenance with their air conditioning system is playing Russian Roulette with their HVAC system, you will be saving pennies and spending dollars here.

  • Heat Pumps Split & Packaged (including Ductless)

    See above with respect to air conditioners, as the heat pump is essentially an air conditioner that works in reverse. Added components here are Reversing Valves, Defrost Boards & Sensors, and a second Thermal Expansion Valve.  Annual maintenance on heat pumps are of critical importance.

If your system is not working properly, or reading this you feel it needs a ‘good cleaning’ please give us a call.  One of our dispatchers we set you up with an expert technician.