Boiler units are one of the most important components in commercial and institutional facilities’ Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition Systems. They need a notable investment to install as well as maintain. They are also one of the most significant energy users in most facilities.
Beyond these problems, the failure of these things during the heating season can cause disruptions to operations and significant damage to features and their contents. That is why it is no surprise that maintenance, as well as engineering managers, need to pay a lot of attention to the operation of their property’s boiling unit.
As with every asset in the property, boilers have a short service life. Even with regular upkeep, they usually need replacement. The challenge for property managers is to find the tipping point. Is it in the owner’s best interest to repair the existing device, or is it time to buy a new one? If the owner waits for too long, the cost of the maintenance could become very expensive, or the unit could fail.
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Although if they replace it too soon, there is a good chance that the money will be wasted. Making the right replace-repair decision requires property managers to understand the system’s condition. They also need to understand the way these things serve the facility, as well as its needs in the near future. They can develop an understanding by carefully examining important factors concerning this system.
Age is more than just a number
While these things are lifelong assets, they don’t last forever. Cast iron ones have the usual 30-year service life or more if they are regularly maintained. Condensing boilers have a fifteen to twenty years’ service life, again assuming that proper maintenance was done. These ranges don’t mean the device will always need to be replaced when it reaches its service life.
It is a good indicator of the unit’s remaining life; a key factor people need to take into consideration when facing the replace-repair decision. The maintenance cost of this thing increases as it ages. Property managers should look at the trend line for upkeep.
If it has flat trend lines, repairing it might be a good option, even if it is approaching or has passed its service life. If the maintenance costs are pretty high and are increasing, buying a new one might be a good option. If the unit is approaching the end of its service life and needs important repairs, the age of the device can tip the scale toward the replacement side. Although, if it is a reliability problem, managers should determine the main cause.
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The operating history of the system is another important factor people need to consider when making a replace-repair decision. Frequent breakdowns suggest that either something is very wrong with the installation or that there is a good chance that it is no longer reliable. If the problem is the installation (like improper piping), HVAC experts can correct problems before managers consider a replacement.
Supervisors can also check the unit’s maintenance records. Is the problem always the same, or are new problems developing? Are the problems minor and easily solved, or are they signs that the chance of a huge failure is on the way? Again, people should look at trend lines to see if the number of maintenance problems is constant or if it is starting to increase.
Increasing maintenance requirements means an increase in operating costs. It is a sign that the unit might be approaching the end of its service life. The biggest issue with frequent breakdowns is that they tend to happen when least expected – the middle of the heating season, usually the coldest night. If the device breaks down, then building contents and systems can freeze.
If the damage is pretty serious, it might need to relocate operations to another place while repairs are underway. If the unit has a history of constant breakdowns, supervisors need to weigh the risk of possible costly damage against the cost of buying a new system.
Innovation of new furnaces is never-ending. Digital tech has replaced mechanical controls when it comes to new-generation heaters, allowing experts to control operations remotely. Significant improvements in heater designs have resulted in higher work efficiencies.
By considering these factors when evaluating the heater replacement-repair option, managers can make the replacement or repair decision from the owner’s point of view. They can factor in the present and future needs of the property, the condition of the existing heaters, the cost of maintenance, and the installed cost of new systems. By evaluating every factor available, people can identify the best possible option for their system.