Reduce Costs and Increase Tenant Satisfaction by Outsourcing Your HVAC System Maintenance

By DAVID BAVISOTTO | 06/28/2012

As company budgets are slashed, HVAC maintenance programs are often among the first things to be reduced or eliminated. And, in most cases, internal staff simply doesn’t have the time or technical skills to pick up the slack.  When this happens, many building managers are faced with having to make breakdown repairs only and must deal with the many headaches involved with emergency repairs.   The fact is that lack of proper maintenance can be extremely expensive to building owners, reducing equipment life expectancy, creating tenant comfort problems, affecting system reliability and performance, and increasing energy costs.  That’s why outsourcing your HVAC system maintenance is well worth the investment and will pay dividends down the road for a variety of reasons.
 
Training
 
HVAC system maintenance is a job for skilled service technicians. Service technicians are industry trained on most major types of equipment, and are equipped with the most current specialized testing equipment and tools.  Owners or managers who outsource their HVAC maintenance also don’t need to plan for safety training, tool and equipment investment, licensing, certifications, employee staffing, inspection scheduling, obtaining or stocking parts, and continual industry training.  When outsourcing HVAC services, you have complete assurance that your system will be serviced the right way, the first time.
 
Regulations
 
With the recent phase out of R-22 refrigerant, all new equipment now utilizes alternative refrigerants which may operate at much higher pressures. These new refrigerants require specialized training and special tools.  HVAC specialists also keep apprised of other related regulations that can have an impact on your HVAC system so you can be assured your systems are complying with all regulations and safety requirements.
 
Air Quality
 
Indoor air quality (IAQ) in your building should be checked periodically. HVAC air distribution systems circulate air throughout the building, while mixing with fresh air and filtering airborne particles.  Contaminants such as carbon dioxide, radon, mold, mildew, ozone, and bacteria affect air quality.  Poor air quality can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness and respiratory problems.  Improperly ventilated buildings can pump contaminants continuously throughout the building.  What is the impact?  The result from employees calling in sick or leaving their jobs early cost employers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost productivity.  Diligent inspections of HVAC system equipment are essential for the proper delivery and quality of building air.  A well-run building will have a preventative maintenance program in place to ensure the proper functioning of its HVAC systems, eliminating IAQ problems.
 
Energy Services
 
Utilizing a service contractor to perform HVAC services will allow you to get the best performance out of your building.  Trained service providers who know your building can take you down the path to increased profitability and asset value through lower operating costs.  The first step begins with a simple building benchmark.  Through a process of benchmarking, followed by an assessment your contractor can identify savings opportunities, including no-cost or low-cost options which can immediately help reduce your energy costs.
 
Make the Right Decision                                                                         
 
As a building owner, property manager, or facility manager, ask yourself the following questions:  Is your in-house maintenance staff trained in the most current HVAC technology?  Is the maintenance staff certified or licensed to work with the current and new refrigerants being introduced today?  Does your staff have the proper tools and equipment to maintain your system properly?  Do you have a safety program? Do you receive just a handful of complaints about air temperature or air quality from employees or tenants?  Are your energy bills reasonable? 
 
If you answered “No” to any or all of these questions, you can save money, protect your investment, and increase tenant satisfaction by outsourcing the maintenance of your building’s all-important HVAC system.
 
David Bavisotto, LEED AP, is Vice President of Service at Illingworth-Kilgust Mechanical, West Allis, WI