Four Maintenance’s to Two should Cut my Costs in Half. Right?

Commercial HVAC filter maintenance

Our commercial HVAC representatives are frequently asked “Why four per year?  Seems like overkill to me.”  Some equipment will only need one or two per year (gas furnaces, unit heaters, swamp coolers, some exhaust fans).  But others, we recommend four visits, twice (spring & fall) for full service, and twice (summer & winter) for filter replacement only.

Why is Maintenance on Commercial HVAC Equipment Important?

Best to start with the ‘oil change’ analogy.  Commercial HVAC equipment runs 24/7, lots of moving parts, lots of air filtration, lots of possibilities for things to go wrong (just like a car).

While we do have customers that claim they have maintenance folks to replace filters, in reality we don’t see this happening on a scheduled basis.  HVAC units are on the roof and in hard places to find, high-turnover maintenance personnel changes, process tasks get forgotten.  The result is a jammed-up unit with a plugged filter.  This is the most important part of any maintenance, full service or otherwise.


The True Cost Reduction in Going from Four to Two per Year

A typical full-service maintenance can be an hour or more per unit performing all the diagnostics and cleaning needed.  Large and complex units even more.  These are also performed by expert HVAC journeymen who know what to look for.  Filter changes are quick and can be done by a less experienced apprentice in a fraction of the time.

Maintenance cost is over 80% labor, and so full-service maintenance is much more expensive, even though we charge customers the same price whether full or filter out. Essentially by doing this we lose money during full service but make it back in filter outs. So, when a customer requests us to eliminate the filter outs, we only reduce the annual price by a small amount and charge more for the two full-service maintenances.


The Value of Having Four per Year

Best to start with the value of not having a plugged filter.  In three months, a filter gets really plugged in most commercial applications.  Some applications, like veterinary clinics and manufacturing sites need monthly filter changes.

A plugged filter puts huge pressure on motors, fan blades, compressors, etc.  This shortens system life, increases utility bills, increases repair costs, creates discomfort for employees and tenants, etc.  This applies to indoor Mitsubishi ductless heads as well as central rooftop units with ductwork.


What would be my best plan?

The best thing to do is invite a professional HVAC representqaitve in to review your system.  It is also worthwhile to pay for a system review by a journeyman or foreman to check out the condition of all your equipment.  Likely you will have some equipment that only needs one or two times per year, but some that will need four times.


Give us a call to check things out.