Challenges of Upgrading and Replacing Central System Equipment

Challenges of Upgrading and Replacing Central System Equipment

High temperatures are already making themselves felt across the country. Even the East Coast is starting to see temperatures well above 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 90+ degree days, so it’s a safe bet that this coming summer is going to be a scorcher. If you think your central air needs an upgrade, or even a replacement, now is the time to look into it. Having it fail at the height of summer would be uncomfortable, to say the least.

How Expensive Is It to Replace a Central Air System?

The average replacement cost for a home system is usually between $7,000 to $13,000, with the average floating at roughly $10,000 before installation fees. Commercial and industrial systems are obviously more expensive, but the final cost of the project is dependent on several factors:

  • The difficulty of the project: Some questions and concerns will need addressing. Will new ductwork need to be run? Does the architecture pose additional complications?
  • The size of the building: A ten-story high rise will require different solutions and equipment than a three-story school, and that school will have different needs than a five-story hospital would. No two buildings are alike, but the larger the area to be cooled, the larger the HVAC system needed.
  • AC size/tonnage. A ton, in this case, is not a physical weight of an item, but rather indicates the amount of heat removed by an air conditioning unit in one hour. For example, 1 ton of AC removes 12,000 BTUs of warm air an hour (BTU means “British Thermal Unit,” which is a measurement of heat).
  • The existing system. Some systems have intricate equipment that can take longer to replace.
  • Special considerations: Does the facility have special needs? A hospital or rehabilitation center might require items like UV light air purification that are just wish-list items or may be optional for another type of facility.

Depending on these and other factors (such as existing ductwork), a guess of $15,000 to $50,000 on average is possible. However, since each building and situation is different, it’s best to call a professional for an inspection and estimate.

How Long Does a Chiller Last?

Most chillers have an average lifespan of roughly 15 to 20 years. The most common reasons for chiller replacement include:

  • Outdated controls
  • Controls that are no longer supported
  • Leaks (especially leaks in the internal evaporator)
  • Compressor failure

When Should I Replace My Chiller?

If you’ve been performing regular maintenance, it should improve the lifespan of your chiller. Regular HVAC preventative maintenance includes annual cleaning of condenser tubes and yearly chemical analysis of oil and refrigerant for contamination. Even with these preventative measures, a chiller replacement will be necessary at some point. A good rule to go by is that if the number of annual repairs reaches 30% of the replacement price, then it is usually best to replace rather than repair. (This also has the advantage of often providing a new warranty starting on the replacement date.)

When Should Cooling Towers Be Replaced?

Cooling towers generally have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, and plate heat exchangers last about 10 years. Regular upkeep and maintenance, or the lack thereof, certainly influences how long the equipment lasts, but those are the best general guidelines.

Henick-Lane Can Handle All of Your Commercial HVAC Needs

As experts in commercial HVAC needs and requirements for more than five decades, our team specializes in providing affordable and practical solutions for all types of high-rise and commercial buildings. Contact us today; we can custom design an HVAC solution that will keep your tenants comfortable and satisfied. If your building requires service, maintenance, and/or repair, contact Henick-Lane Service Corp..