Timberline Blog

5 Benefits of Retrofitting Your Commercial or Industrial HVAC System

September 25, 2023 by Timberline

Years ago, your company (or the owner of the building out of which you operate) made a substantial investment in designing and implementing a commercial or industrial HVAC system to keep occupants and visitors comfortable, healthy, and happy. Now, imagine the system is beginning to “show its age.” It happens to even the most advanced solutions and typically includes symptoms like:

  • Short or more frequent cycling. An HVAC system that is functioning optimally will run less often than one struggling to maintain the desired temperature.
  • Energy bill increases that are not due to rate hikes. If it is costing more to achieve and hold the same temperatures in your building, you should investigate.
  • Leaks. Fluid draining from or pooling near an HVAC system component can be a symptom of a significant decline in the system’s “health.”
  • Blowing air that doesn’t support the thermostat’s temperature setting. If you’re seeking to cool the building and the airflow from your system isn’t particularly chilled (or the opposite when heating the building), that’s a red flag.
  • Insufficient airflow. For your system to heat or cool your building effectively, it has to produce adequate airflow. Reduced airflow is something that should get your attention.
  • High humidity. If occupants or visitors report that it feels “damp,” “humid” or “sticky” in your building, the HVAC system may be failing.
  • Unusual or loud sounds. HVAC systems have various moving parts, and those components are expected to make a certain amount of noise. However, if the sounds change significantly or the noises get noticeably louder, that is a concern.
  • Bad smells. It is not a good sign about the condition of your system if you start to notice unpleasant odors.
  • Rising repair bills. HVAC systems—like all systems—need maintenance and repairs occasionally. But if your repair expense seems to be climbing, it may be time to consider your next steps.

HVAC Engineers reviewing equipment installation.

Every HVAC solution has a unique configuration and, consequently, a specific functional life expectancy. But as a rule of thumb, if the components of your system are more than 15 years old and you notice performance problems, it may be that one or more subsystems are failing.

If that is true, your first thought might be, “Well, I guess it’s time for a new HVAC system.” That thought is often accompanied by regret over the anticipated cost of replacing the existing solution.

The good news is that while your building may need new equipment, it is possible in many instances to arrange for a company like Timberline Mechanical to retrofit your old solution with new components. As the government’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy notes on its website, “There are ways to retrofit existing HVAC systems to improve indoor air quality and save energy.”

What Exactly Is an HVAC Retrofit?

Retrofitting an HVAC system involves replacing targeted components (rather than the entire system) with upgraded equipment that brings it up to current standards, extends its life, etc. An HVAC system retrofit is not appropriate or possible in all cases. But when an HVAC company can take this approach, it delivers several benefits.

What an HVAC Retrofit Can Do for Your Building

If your HVAC system performance is declining and simple repairs will not provide effective, lasting improvements, the idea of a retrofit might come to mind. When it does, you may wonder, “How will an HVAC system retrofit affect our building?”

The answer is that it can reduce or eliminate many of the symptoms of a failing system listed above. For example, retrofitting your HVAC system can:

  1. Reduce energy consumption (and your building’s environmental impact).
  2. Lower your energy costs.
  3. Help other system components last longer, reducing your replacement expenses.
  4. Improve indoor air quality.
  5. Increase compatibility with other modern technologies.

Whatever advantages you get from an HVAC retrofit project, you enjoy them essentially immediately. If an HVAC tech completes work by close of business today, you will already have accrued benefits by the end of the day tomorrow.

Or, more accurately, you will start capitalizing on the work from the moment your system kicks on after the tech wraps up the project!

What Parts of an HVAC System Does a Retrofit Affect?

It is safe to say that retrofitting an HVAC system is both a science and an art. An HVAC technician’s recommendation for replacing or updating components is based on many factors, including the system’s performance, the tech’s experience with similar systems, and several others.

That being said, virtually any part of a commercial or industrial HVAC system can be a candidate for retrofitting. That includes things like:

  • Thermostats
  • Air conditioners
  • Furnaces
  • Chillers
  • Boilers
  • Condensers
  • Air handling units
  • Compressors
  • Thermal expansion valves
  • Terminal units
  • Ductwork

And retrofitting can be an iterative process. You might improve system performance today with specific component replacements, additions, and upgrades and then, several years from now, have your HVAC provider complete additional retrofits.

This approach—as opposed to extensive retrofitting or full system replacement—creates immediate, cost-effective system improvements with an eye toward future work when conditions warrant and your budget allows.

Get Expert Assistance With Your Commercial/Industrial HVAC Retrofit

There are many advantages to retrofitting your aging HVAC system and its components. However, to fully realize the benefits, you have to work with an HVAC provider with extensive experience, highly trained technicians, and a commitment to quality work. Going with a provider that is unfamiliar with your equipment or doesn’t understand your objectives can be very frustrating and costly.

At Timberline Mechanical, we meet all the criteria above and more. Our expertise covers a wide variety of commercial and industrial HVAC disciplines, from problem diagnosis, preventative maintenance, service and repairs to special projects.

Contact Timberline at your convenience to learn more about our commercial and industrial HVAC retrofitting services. We are happy to discuss your challenges and explain how we can address them.

Tags: , ,

Site designed and developed by The Creative Alliance.