Is Your Commercial rooftop unit getting old?
Summer would be the time of year to think about making the change if your RTU is older and showing signs of failure.
The average life expectancy of a rooftop unit is 15-20 years. And because the RTU is exposed to extreme weather, it can shorten the time to 11-12 years or less. Things like constant running, buildup of dirt, or poor maintenance can impede the mechanical functions. The dampers may begin to fail to open and close. Refrigerant could leak. Damage from the elements such as hail, ice and snow can also wear down your unit/s. This loss in efficiency can greatly increase the cost of running the unit/s in energy dollars.
When considering replacing a system, this is what one industry listed according to The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS:
The idea is to have and maintain more energy-efficient units that will: 1) be better for the environment, 2) reduce store downtime from emergency replacements, 3) maintain a more comfortable shopping environment for the customers, 4) keep the RTU technologically current with more efficient units, and 5) keep up with the federal mandate for more environmentally friendly refrigerants.”
Looking at the savings in utility dollars, repairs and maintenance, and add to that new equipment manufacturer rebates and government offers can make a big difference.
Would you Need to Make Changes?
Rooftop units comprise over 45 percent of commercial real estate HVAC systems. Manufacturers rate an RTU by what is known as an energy efficiency ratio, or EER.
There are many types, manufacturers and sizes of RTUs, making it difficult to know the best model and size for a space and building involved. Most common light commercial rooftop units run 5-tons, 7.5-tons and 10-tons in capacity.
But the system you currently have may no longer be (or never was) correct for your building. The ‘ton’ reference of an A/Cs capacity is rated by heat removal, not the amount of air it handles, or its physical weight.
Also, if you’re the type of person that likes to have some insight into these things, here is a quick rough estimate of how to determine size:
(Square footage times 25, divided by 12,000) – 0.5 = required tons. So a 1,500 square foot home would calculate like this:
- 1,500 X 25 = 37,500
- 37,500 / 12,000 = 3.1
- 3.1 – 0.5 = 2.6
You would need a 2.5 to 3-ton central air conditioning system. Now use this model to determine what you might need for your facility.
But there are other variables to consider:
- The type of climate where your building is located.
- The comfort level of your workers, your industry type, the average inside humidity, and air quality.
Evaluating your System
- Equipment Failure – service calls and repairs add up over time.
- Higher Energy Bills – RTU HVAC systems average about 30 percent of a building’s energy consumption. A worn system can increase energy consumption from 20 – 50 percent.
- Early Compressor Replacement – This is the most expensive repair.
In other words, regular checkups and maintenance, and making minor adjustments, is far less expensive than waiting for failure to occur. With the help of a trained technician, you’ll know better when the unit is reaching its life expectancy and when it would be most cost effective to replace it.
With the heat of summer upon us, you don’t want the possibility of a system failure, costing you production time and employee discomfort.
Hail Damage – One of the Dangers to a RTU
Hail can cause damage to a condenser coil and bend the fins, which prevents the proper airflow across the coil. This in turn inhibits cooling the refrigerant. The system will overheat. There could be enough damage to warrant replacement of parts, or of the entire RTU itself.
A trained technician can help you to determine how best to decide.
Need help? At Abel we’ve been working with companies throughout the western Twin Cities area, providing service and advice to decision makers about their HVAC and rooftop unit needs. Taking advantage of Abel’s Performance Program – Commercial can help maintain your present or new system. Click for more information.
Give us a call at 952-472-COOL (2665) or Contact Us