When operating a business in and around Las Vegas, you rely on your building’s commercial air conditioning system. Especially during those scorching summer months. The last thing you want is for it to break down in early August when temperatures are in the three-digit range for weeks at a time.
Perhaps, last summer, you noticed the premises weren’t as cool as they should be. The issue was making your employees and customers uncomfortable and increasing your overhead. Or maybe you’re moving operations into a new facility, and it’s time to install a new commercial HVAC system. In either case, there are financial and performance-related advantages when your system is customized to meet your climate control needs.
The Advantages of an HVAC Unit Replacement
Thanks to advances in heating and cooling technology, the financial and environmental advantages of a new commercial HVAC unit outweigh any initial upgrade costs.
- You’ll enjoy reliable indoor temperatures. Do some of your employees have personal desk fans while others store extra sweaters in their desks mid-July? Older systems can lead to temperature inconsistencies within the building. A new system won’t completely solve airflow issues (which causes one room to be colder than another). However, having an HVAC specialist check for airflow issues before installing a new system will prevent these issues from happening again.
- Your employees will be healthier. Have you ever heard of ‘sick building’ syndrome? Older HVAC systems and unclean ductwork can circulate dust and other debris through the air, leading to more sick days and lowered productivity. Having someone clean the ductwork before installing an HVAC system will solve this problem.
- Your employees will be more comfortable. People have more difficulty being productive when they’re too hot or cold. When temperatures are comfortable, you can potentially save $2 per employee per hour in productivity costs.
- Your energy bills will lower. Today’s systems are designed for energy efficiency. Your utility bills will go down, leaving you more money to put back into the business.
- Your business will be ‘greener.’ If your company is already recycling and cutting down on paper, a more energy-efficient HVAC system is the next logical step. Taking steps to make your company greener projects the image of an environmentally responsible business.
- Maintenance appointment costs are lower. In general, the cost of maintaining a new commercial HVAC system is significantly less than an older unit.
Now that we’ve got you convinced, there are several factors that you need to consider for your commercial HVAC installation. Nevada weather makes heavy demands on your heating and cooling system. The following are areas of consideration that can help ensure your new installation is up for the challenge.
Commercial properties can take up a lot of power to meet their cooling and heating needs. To prevent energy waste and short cycling, you need the right size equipment for your company premises. The larger your facility, the greater the chance you may need more than one HVAC system.
A knowledgeable HVAC technician will carry out a load calculation to determine the correct size and number of units for your building. This process evaluates all the property’s characteristics to determine how much cooling and heating will be needed to meet your comfort requirements.
Several types of HVAC systems are used in commercial buildings today, many of which differ from those used in residential applications. Here is a summary list of the various options that may suit your needs, depending on your building size and configuration.
- Single-split systems are popular for small offices, shops, cafes, server rooms, and other smaller spaces. They consist of interior and exterior units connected by a copper pipe. The indoor unit cools or heats ambient air using an appropriate heat exchanger. The outdoor unit dissipates the heat and lets refrigerant flow back into the indoor unit.
- Multi-split systems consist of several indoor units connected to one larger outdoor unit. They are often used in places with multiple floors, large rooms, and different climate zones. A higher-capacity air conditioner can be installed in a product showroom, while smaller and quieter ones run in your office and the reception area. This allows you to control the temperature in the building on a room-by-room basis.
- Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) or variable refrigerant volume (VRV) systems is a heat pump that uses refrigerant in the cooling and heating lines. Multiple evaporators connect to one condensing unit. These systems are common in medium to large spaces and come in two varieties:
- heat pump systems that provide heating or cooling
- heat recovery systems capable of heating and cooling
- Variable air volume (VAV) or constant air volume (CAV) systems use a setup with a single-duct supply and return and use varying airflow or constant airflow to keep temperatures at set points. These systems are often seen in single-zone buildings and are less expensive to install than others.
The geographical position of your building may provide it with unique heating and cooling capabilities. Sometimes this is done intentionally. One common example is passive solar design, which uses exposure to the sun’s rays to heat and cool spaces. Other design strategies include rooftop units and window positioning.
If your building experiences a heating or cooling effect from its geographical position, the HVAC system you install should be chosen with the effect in mind.
Internal Temperature Factors
Some commercial locations have internal processes that have a noticeable effect on the ambient temperature. For example, if your building contains a kitchen or a manufacturing area where machines generate heat, those zones will have higher temperatures. Meanwhile, the dining or reception areas may remain cooler, making zone-controlled systems more appropriate than a centralized heating and cooling source.
The equipment you install has to be the right size for your commercial space. In this case, sizing doesn’t refer to the actual physical dimensions of the unit. Actually, it is the process of assessing your heating and cooling needs and finding a system with a functional capacity that can meet them.
If the system you select is too small, it will have to be run continuously to keep the premises cool. This can raise energy costs and even incur repair charges if it breaks down under strain. On the other hand, if it’s too large, the building will cool too quickly. It will speed up the on-and-off cycle, making it impossible to dehumidify the air sufficiently.
To determine the correct size, you need to consider factors such as:
- Building size
- Building’s layout and thermal characteristic
- Personal comfort preferences
By installing energy-efficient doors and windows, you can control the size of the HVAC system needed and, therefore, your installation and energy costs. In addition, this will help ensure the building is properly insulated.
An energy-efficient HVAC system will lead to high savings on your electricity bill. To identify the most cost-effective solution, check the following ratings for each unit being considered:
- EER: Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER, is a ratio derived from dividing a system’s cooling output (measured in BTU, or British Thermal Units) by the energy used in watt-hours. For example, an air conditioner with 12,000 BTU that uses 1,200 watts of electricity has an EER of 10. The higher the EER, the more energy-efficient the system is. In Nevada, the minimum EER rating is 12.2 for units less than or equal to 3.5 tons and 11.7 for systems equal to or more than 4 tons.
- SEER: Seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, indicates the energy efficiency of air conditioners and heat pump cooling functions. The higher the rating, the more efficient the equipment is. Air conditioners in the U.S. are required to have a SEER rating of at least 14. A rating of 15 and up is regarded as a high-efficiency system. Those with the highest ratings have SEER numbers in the mid-20s.
- HSPF: The heating seasonal performance factor, or HSPF, deals with the heating processes of HVAC heat pumps. A high-efficiency system will have an HSPF of at least 8.2.
- AFUE: Annual fuel utilization efficiency, or AFUE, covers heating system efficiency ratings of heating systems. It indicates how much energy in the fuel used by the system is transformed into usable heat. The higher the number, the more efficient the system. For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 90 turns 90% of its fuel into heat.
- Energy Star: Designed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Star rating verifies a product’s energy efficiency. Any HVAC system marked with its logo has met strict requirements during testing by a neutral third party.
The Condition of Your Ductwork
Before installing a new HVAC system, confirm that your ductwork is in good condition. Aged or inefficient ducts can leak up to 20% of cooled air. An HVAC technician can check your duct system and advise whether renovations, improvements, or adjustments are necessary before your new system can be installed. Older buildings, in particular, may need brand-new ductwork. A remodeled or renovated commercial property could need custom ductwork for the HVAC system design to be ventilated properly.
If there is no centralized ductwork in your building, you’ll need to decide whether you want to invest in ducts or install a ductless system.
Once you confirm your budget for the installation, start collecting estimates from local HVAC service providers. Each one will include the price of both installation materials and labor.
Ask for a detailed breakdown so that you can compare costs for the following categories of the installation:
- Ductwork and piping
- System startup
While cost is an important consideration, remember it’s not the only one. Many business owners automatically select the lowest estimate to save money on upfront costs. However, they quickly find themselves spending more money in the long run because the resulting system or installation does not meet their needs. When you work with an HVAC company that helps you properly size your system and provide one that delivers maximum energy efficiency, you will save more and avoid unnecessary future expenses.
Indoor Air Quality Needs
For many businesses, indoor air quality is important when choosing an HVAC system. Cleaning chemicals, paint fumes, and even allergens such as dust can all lead to employee illness and diminished productivity.
Other examples of special air quality needs include:
- Special humidity maintenance
- Special temperature maintenance
These factors are only some of the determinants that can guide your final decision. Once you select and install a new commercial HVAC system, one of the best ways to leverage its energy efficiency is to use a smart thermostat. These controls, which are highly versatile and sophisticated these days, can prevent energy from being wasted by allowing you to set daily, weekly, or even weekend usage schedules. You can even set them up from anywhere via your phone or computer.
Get Ready for the Winter Season!
We want to have your HVAC system working at peak performance. Your HVAC system’s job is to keep all in the building comfortable, and our team of experts can make that happen! With our years of experience and your goals of customer satisfaction, we can partner together to have your commercial HVAC services up and running in tip-top condition.
At The Cooling Company, we can show you additional ways to get the most out of your purchase whatever the season. So be sure to contact us today!