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HVAC maintenance is a crucial part of running a commercial establishment. Business owners need to ensure the functionality and efficiency of their HVAC systems in order to reduce the chances of equipment failures and hefty downtimes. Regular maintenance and tune-ups can be very time-saving and productive because they allow your HVAC systems to do their best and last longer. By investing in such maintenance programs at least twice a year, you can address visible problems, detect red flags just in time, and prevent much costlier repairs ahead. In this article, we will take a look at commercial HVAC maintenance costs per ton to understand how the cooling or heating capacity affects the overall budget.
The Importance Of Commercial HVAC Maintenance
Keeping a well-maintained commercial HVAC system can bring several benefits to a business owner. Both the commercial activity of a business and its HVAC system are closely tied, which is why a slowly deteriorating HVAC infrastructure will eventually impact the business and even cause emergency shutdowns. You can prevent this by scheduling regular preventive maintenance and reap benefits such as:
- Improved energy efficiency throughout the commercial building.
- Reduced operating costs and repair frequency.
- A longer HVAC lifespan with reliable units and ductwork.
- Continued eligibility for HVAC equipment warranties.
- Healthier indoor air quality.
- Precise temperature controls for climate-sensitive establishments like cold storage warehouses.
- More responsive HVAC automation and smart zoning for offices.
- Improved commercial refrigeration for restaurants.
- Renewed efficiency to keep up with continuous heating or cooling needs in both hospitals and warehouses.
That said, commercial HVAC maintenance costs per ton will actually differ based on your business’s specific requirements. In general, you can expect your commercial HVAC contractor to focus on the following maintenance aspects:
- Air filter cleaning and replacement
- Thorough unit cleaning
- Safety checks
- Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing inspection
- Ductwork maintenance and replacement
- Leak detection
Commercial HVAC Maintenance Costs Per Ton
In HVAC terms, the word “tonnage” is used to describe the cooling or heating capacity of an HVAC system. This could be to either remove heat from the commercial building and make it cooler or add more heat to it to make it warmer. So, “ton” can be the amount of heat removed by an AC unit from a commercial building in one hour. As an example, 1 ton of air conditioning removes 12,000 BTUs of heat in an hour, and this is the cooling capacity of the AC unit. Commercial establishments have more heavy-duty heating and cooling needs than residential buildings, which is why their tonnage specifications are also larger. For context, residential air conditioning can have a tonnage requirement of 1-5 tons, whereas commercial air conditioning will range from 6-30 tons and even go up to 50 tons for larger establishments.
Before buying and installing your commercial HVAC units for the first time, it is important to define the right tonnage requirements to suit the heating and cooling needs of your commercial building. Insufficient tonnage will cause the HVAC unit to overwork itself in order to heat or cool the given space, whereas excessive tonnage will simply be repetitive and wasteful. So, by ensuring space and tonnage compatibility, you can benefit from both optimal everyday use and tailored maintenance down the road.
Average Costs Per Ton
On average, commercial HVAC maintenance can cost around $1000 – $1500 per ton depending on the size of your HVAC system and your specific maintenance checklist. Factors like zoning, ductwork replacement, and thermostat upgrades will also affect the range. Larger tons will naturally cost more for maintenance. Some commercial HVAC contractors offer flat rates and hourly rates in their bids, so you can expect to work with estimates like:
- $5,500 per year for full-scale HVAC maintenance
- $75 to $150 per hour as labor charges
Earlier, we saw some of the key maintenance aspects involved in commercial HVAC. Keeping these in mind, your budget can be less than $1000 per ton if you have a smaller tonnage setup and just a few units to work on. However, for more heavy-duty configurations, your budget will increase based on the number of filters you need to replace, the amount of hardware cleaning required, the number and severity of leaks within the system, and so on.
To sum up, routine preventive maintenance is essential for businesses to ensure the efficiency and longevity of their already expensive HVAC setups. You can plan a maintenance program at least twice a year to help your HVAC system gear up for the seasonal load. Spring and fall are the ideal times of the year for scheduling seasonal maintenance. This is because – as a business owner – you want your commercial HVAC to be fully functional before the summer and winter seasons begin, so most of the key maintenance will actually be pre-season maintenance to prepare for the upcoming heat or cold.
Professional HVAC experts who specialize in commercial projects offer personalized services for different commercial establishments. In addition, they address and fix emergencies like unexpected system failures, malfunctioning units, leaky ductwork, etc. so that everything is up and running before the peak season hits. Regular upkeeps can be as simple as debris removal or vent cleaning and extend to include ductwork replacement, part replacement, automation upgrades, and similar technical tune-ups.
You can reduce the overall repair frequency by planning such programs so that hidden red flags can be detected soon before they grow into bigger concerns. Since HVAC exists “behind the scenes”, it is very common to forget about checking each unit, especially if you do not have a scheduled plan or a management tool to remind you. While the damage can be reversible for small businesses, larger establishments are definitely more vulnerable to hefty losses and downtimes due to HVAC-dependent operations that will be halted until everything is back in action. For this reason, it is always recommended to work with reliable commercial HVAC experts who know their numbers well AND can meet your business’s seasonal and annual expectations.