Various silver-colored HVAC pipes

What Is a HVAC Retrofit?

As your building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit ages, it is destined to lose its efficiency. The less energy efficient your HVAC becomes, the more energy it uses to perform the same job. When this happens, you’ll likely find out by your climbing monthly energy bill. While your first instinct may be to have the equipment replaced, that may not be necessary. 

What Is the Meaning of Retrofit?

It should come as no surprise that the cost to replace an HVAC system can be pretty steep. It can also be highly disruptive to business operations if the process isn’t properly planned out. So what’s a business owner to do if you’re in a financial pinch or you’re expecting to move soon so it doesn’t make sense to invest in new HVAC technology? Are you just stuck with your high energy bills?

The answer is no.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to replacement known as retrofitting. Instead of completely replacing your HVAC with a new system, retrofitting optimizes your equipment by integrating new components that improve HVAC efficiency. In addition to allowing you to avoid replacement, retrofitting an HVAC system provides a number of benefits.    

The Benefits of Retrofitting

Avoiding the cost of total replacement is the biggest benefit that comes with retrofitting, but what are the other benefits?

  • Energy Savings: Since the goal of a retrofit is to make your equipment more energy efficient, you’ll end up seeing lower monthly energy bills. In fact, a retrofit could save your business up to 25-35% on energy costs according to Environment + Energy Leader
  • Better Comfort: An optimized system will normally have better humidity control and more consistent temperatures throughout the building than an inefficient system.
  • Extended Lifespan: Every HVAC unit has an expected service life that ranges anywhere between 10-20 years. As your unit gets older, a retrofit can add a few additional years to that service life expectancy.
  • Rebates: Some utility companies will offer rebates to businesses that get a retrofit. So before you get started, have a talk with your utility company. If they offer rebates, it will allow you to see faster return on investment.

Is Your System a Good Candidate?

There are scenarios where retrofitting won’t really help your situation, like when your HVAC is on its last legs. You could get a retrofit in this case, but you’ll probably need to have it serviced again within a year or two. Before you get a retrofit, you’ll need to determine if it’s a good candidate for the service. Here is how you’ll be able to tell:

  • Condition: Your HVAC will need to be in relatively good condition. It also helps if you’ve kept it maintained with regular maintenance. 
  • Size: Larger HVAC units tend to be better suited for retrofit than smaller units. 
  • Usage: The more your commercial HVAC is used, the more you have to gain from energy efficiency improvements.
  • Time of Use: You’ll receive better return on investment if you’re expecting to keep your current HVAC for at least another 18 months. 

Retrofitting Options

Since retrofitting is based on replacing parts of your unit, you’ll have a few options on what components you want to replace. However, what parts you’ll be able to replace will depend on the type of HVAC equipment you have. For example, packaged rooftop units are one of the most customizable types of HVACs and they allow you to add components like:

  • Air-Side Economizers: This uses outside air on cooler days to assist in cooling, taking the burden off of the compressor.
  • Fan Speed Controls: These controls automatically change the fan speed to adjust to room temperature needs.
  • Cooling Capacity Controls: This component reduces the load on the compressor when you don’t need the system running at full capacity.

Where Can I Get HVAC Retrofit Service? 

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the benefits that come with retrofit service, you’ll want to reach out to the mechanical service experts over at A&G Services. The A&G Services team has worked with numerous commercial and industrial clients to implement retrofit solutions that help save money and minimize downtime. When you call us, we’ll take a look at your system, provide advice on what will work best for your business needs, and install your new components. 

If you’d like to learn more about this subject or other services we offer, contact us today.