Would you be surprised to learn that aircon servicing can actually save you more money than you spend? Well, read on to find out more.
Cost can vary significantly from one company to the next, one service type to the next, and is dependent on the number and type of air conditioning system/s you have. There are many other factors involved that determine the cost of servicing air conditioning that we will explore here.
By paying more, are you getting a better service? Not necessarily. It’s more about finding the commercial air conditioning servicing arrangement that best suits your business requirements.
We’ll explore the cost of servicing commercial air conditioning in this article. Hopefully this will help you weigh up the array of service options available and find the best solution for you.
Is AC servicing necessary?
Air conditioning servicing is designed to support heating and cooling systems in place and ensure they are operating correctly, now and into the future. It is designed to help extend the functional life of the air conditioning units. In turn, fully operational and well-maintained AC systems are designed to provide comfortable conditions for occupants within the building.
Maintenance is particularly important for commercial air conditioning. Commercial AC is typically designed to function as a larger Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. HVAC systems support business operations, systems, equipment, and heavily impacts the health and wellness of all occupants. Such occupants can include:
- Family members,
- Vulnerable populations, and,
- Anyone who enters the indoor environment.
Adequate air conditioning servicing is required to help reduce the spread of germs in the workplace. Furthermore, AC units can actually be a source of disease themselves if not properly maintained.
Condensate (moisture) within an air conditioner is a normal part of air conditioner operations. Dust and matter also enter the unit as part of the standard flow of air. This dark, moist, nutrient-rich environment within the AC creates the perfect home for bacteria, mould, fungi, and other organic matter to thrive.
Filters are designed to help filter out dust and other particles that otherwise serve as fuel for microorganisms and reduce matter build up on the internal heat exchanger coil. However, regular internal maintenance is also required to effectively manage the air conditioning system. Air blown out of an air conditioner is only as healthy as the internal environment of the unit.
HVAC systems impact the health of building occupants in many ways, including but not limited to:
- Temperature management,
- Humidity regulation,
- Moisture control,
- Air filtration,
- Fresh air provision/intake,
- Exhaust ventilation,
- Air purification,
- Pollutant removal,
- Ozone removal, and,
- Indoor air quality (IAQ) improvement.
What is done in AC Servicing?
It is a requirement of Australian Standards (3666.2.2011, 1851.6.1997, 2467.13.1997, HB32:1995) and the Workplace Health and Safety Act that commercial air conditioning equipment and plant be inspected on a monthly basis to maintain an acceptable commercial environment.
Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) also calls for monthly maintenance of commercial heating and cooling equipment. Some aircon servicing tasks are recommended monthly (e,g. checking/clearing drains, checking/adjusting major components, etc), while a combination of other service tasks are prescribed at three, six, and 12 month intervals.
Some of the checks on an annual level service visit include but are not limited to:
- Full inspection of the AC equipment,
- Remove, clean and re-install filters where required,
- Check/clear condensate drain,
- Check/clear drain tray,
- Check/clear safety drain where required.
- Flush drains where required,
- Place condensate tablet/s in tray of main drain,
- Check for signs of oil or refrigerant leaks,
- Check refrigerant charge where required,
- Check for signs of animal/vermin damage,
- Check condition of evaporator coil,
- Check condition of condenser coil,
- Check belts,
- Tighten/realign belts where required,
- Check bearings,
- Check motors and mechanical components,
- Check pipework for damage to insulation,
- Check operation of reversing valve where required,
- Check electrical terminals,
- Tighten/adjust terminals where required,
- Check air flow,
- Check air temperatures,
- Check for fault codes,
- Check thermostat/sensors,
- Adjust/calibrate sensors where required,
- Check voltage reading,
- Check full load amps reading,
- Check general operation and condition of unit,
- Make minor adjustments where required,
- Report on and/or rectify any issues found, and,
- Complete life cycle assessment on equipment.
How much does AC service cost?
Commercial air conditioning service costs are often worked out by calculating the number of hours required over the year, times by the hourly labour rate, then divide it by the service frequency.
- 36 hours of servicing required over the year,
- x $100 per hour,
- = $3,600,
- ÷ by 12 months of the year,
- = $300 per month.
To calculate the hours of servicing required, a good AC company will use Australian Standards to work out all the tasks required for all equipment over the year. The hours and subsequent cost of servicing depends will depend on many factors, including but not limited to:
- Complexity of components,
- Access to equipment,
- Type of equipment,
- Size of units (physically and capacity),
- Nature of controls system,
- Skill level of technician/s required, and,
- Frequency of visits.
In a direct sense, commercial air conditioning servicing may be more expensive compared to home air conditioner servicing over the course of a year. However, the indirect costs (or rather cost savings) make commercial AC servicing an overall positive return on investment (ROI)
What happens if AC has no service?
There are many benefits of air conditioning, IF the systems are maintained correctly. If not, the list of possible issues is endless.
Failure to implement adequate commercial HVAC maintenance has a range of negative outcomes. For example, lack of routine aircon servicing can have extensive impact on business equipment preservation, including but not limited to:
- Increased operating costs as equipment works harder when not cooled sufficiently,
- Decreased efficiency of operational equipment,
- Decreased lifespan of equipment due to working harder and burning out quicker,
- Increased power costs,
- Increased equipment replacement costs,
- Increased unreliability of equipment,
- Increased down time due to failing, faulty, or completely broken equipment,
- Decreased satisfaction of workers due to issues with equipment,
- Decreased production and output,
- Decreased sales due to time spent dealing with equipment, rather than sales activities, and,
- Increased risk to business operations.
As you can see, lack of air conditioning servicing creates costs, reduces returns, and introduces unnecessary risk into business operations. The impact of aircon serving on business equipment is just one example!
The health of building occupants is a major focus of air conditioning servicing. As discussed, lack of commercial aircon servicing results in negative staff and customer outcomes, including but not limited to:
- Poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ),
- Increased illness and disease,
- Poorer health outcomes,
- Increased staff sick days,
- Decreased productivity,
- Decreased sales,
- Decreased staff satisfaction,
- Negative customer experiences, and,
- Decreased repeat business.
Routine scheduled maintenance is key to ensuring HVAC equipment is managed in the most appropriate way. Failure to maintain commercial air conditioning can have a wide range of compliance implications, including but not limited to:
- Failure to comply with Australian Standards,
- Failure to comply with Building Standards,
- Failure to comply with Workplace Health and Safety Requirements,
- Failure to comply with Health Regulations,
- Failure to comply with Lease Agreement (where applicable), and
- Failure to provide an acceptable commercial environment.
As you can see, there is certainly a direct cost involved in implementing and continuing commercial air conditioning servicing. However, the indirect costs of failing to implement such critical maintenance into a business far outweigh the direct costs involved.
Hopefully this article helps highlight the importance of aircon servicing and benefits to a business far beyond the obvious costs involved. For an obligation-free air conditioning maintenance proposal, please do not hesitate to contact our commercial HVAC servicing team today.