Should you renew or repair and reuse older HVAC equipment? This perennial question has left building owners scratching their heads for decades. There are, of course, pros and cons to both renewal and overhaul. Buying new means you gain freedom of choice; you can specify precisely the equipment you want. You also gain the advantage of the very latest technology.
I would argue that the benefits of refurbishment vastly outweigh those of replacement. Modernising and optimising an existing HVAC system, for example, is far less expensive than replacing it. It also eliminates disruption because it overcomes the transport and access difficulties associated with replacing a unit and it reduces downtime.
Furthermore, refurbishment is more environmentally friendly because it re-uses existing equipment rather than introducing new plant with all the embodied carbon that this represents. And it leaves existing services such as ductwork, pipework and wiring unaltered and allows operators to use HVAC systems they are familiar and comfortable with, eliminating the learning curve associated with new equipment.
Finally, it offers the opportunity to upgrade the existing specification by taking advantage of the latest energy efficient technology such as EC plug fans and components, and can extend the service life of the components in HVAC plant such as air handling units.
So what’s not to like about refurbishing your HVAC equipment?
However, before they even consider refurbishment, progressive building owners put in place an effective predictive and/or preventive maintenance strategy.
As its name suggests, predictive maintenance is designed to predict when equipment failure might occur and to prevent its occurrence via appropriate servicing. If the predictive maintenance plan is working well, machines are only serviced when required. Predictive maintenance tools such as vibration analysis, infrared thermography, ultrasonic testing and motor current analysis can be used to diagnose problems in advance.
Preventive maintenance is servicing that is regularly performed on a piece of equipment to lessen the likelihood of it failing. It is in two parts – making certain that the system is operating at its highest possible efficiency, and maintaining this performance.
Some companies, including my own, have the expertise and in-depth knowledge needed to offer refurbishment and repair services. Indeed, in a bid to realise the significant benefits of refurbishment, ECEX has launched an air handling unit (AHU) refurbishment and repair service designed to extend the lifespan of existing AHUs, increase their operating efficiency, save energy, boost performance, and typically reduce running costs.
Complete replacement of an AHU is not always the best option. There are many compelling reasons to choose refurbishment and repair. For example, it is less expensive than replacing an AHU (just 35 to 50% of the cost of a new unit according to some estimates) and offers the opportunity to upgrade the existing specification by taking advantage of the latest energy efficient EC plug fans and components (see also the box).
The ECEX service extends the lifespan of existing AHUs, increases their operating efficiency, saves energy, boosts performance, and typically reduces running costs. It covers the repair and replacement of all types of coils, belt drives, motors, fans, bearings and spares.
The new AHU refurbishment and repair service joins ECEX’s existing services, which include access safety and metalwork fabrication; mechanical engineering (from replacing pipework and valves to upgrading or downsizing water storage tanks); and energy saving and building compliance solutions such as the revolutionary ECEX Air Intake Screen.
Call ECEX on 01635 244100 for a free site visit, or go to http://www.ecex.co.uk/services