The HVAC system is the single largest user of energy in your building, making it one of your biggest monthly expenditures. If it is not maintained in proper working order you will be sacrificing indoor comfort while seeing increased power usage, and will likely incur higher repair costs and premature equipment replacement costs.
A quality contractor will conduct an inspection of your systems and suggest corrective actions that are based on the industry-recognized Standard Practices for Inspection and Planned Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems.
The HVAC planned maintenance plans that contractors offer vary in scope and pricing from all inclusive to minimal inspection and filter change. The first step in choosing a contractor is to know what basic items are included in competing contractors’ maintenance plans in order to effectively compare relative plan values.
‘What to Ask the Contractor’
The following is exerted from a 2014 ACCA document that can be viewed here. The checklist below will help you evaluate maintenance proposals. The questions found in the ‘What to Ask the Contractor’ column are designed to help you determine whether or not the contractor is complying with industry recognized standard maintenance practices.
When filling out the checklist, simply write a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ reflecting the contractors’ response to each question in the box provided. After the interview, you will have an indication as to whether the contractors’ proposed services meet the requirements in the Standard Practice for Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems (ANSI/ASHRAE/ACCA Standard 180-2012).
Always remember that before signing any agreement, you should compare the contractor’s written maintenance agreement plan with the interview responses to make sure that they are the same. The time to clarify questions is before the contract is signed.
A partial/low bid maintenance plan may seem appealing from an immediate economic point of view, but you should consider the hidden costs that come with one. Hidden costs can include higher operating expenses and an increased likelihood of early equipment failure and replacement.
The contractor you choose should take the time to tailor your inspection task list and maintenance plan to your particular situation. A quality contractor will conduct an inspection of your systems and suggest corrective actions that are based on the industry-recognized ANSI/ASHRAE/ACCA 180-2012 (Standard Practice for Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems).
Maintenance information on varied commercial HVAC equipment is contained in that standard (see table below for examples):
Up front interaction between the building owner/operator and the professional contractor is required by Standard 180 protocols. Thus, your contractor should welcome your questions and integrate your operational needs to develop a maintenance plan specifically designed for your location, building schedules, equipment types, and budgetary needs.