Showing building owners what to look for during an inspection can help them decide whether to repair or replace equipment.
As building owners and facility managers prepare HVAC systems for the peak heating season, the decision to repair or replace aging systems with newer, higher efficiency systems looms large for some property owners. Contractors are in a position to influence the decision as they provide building owners with detailed service histories, perform routine maintenance, and prepare cost comparisons between old and new commercial equipment.

"As a contractor, you can help owners make an informed decision by providing them with records of the original installation, periodic maintenance, and repairs, as well as the model and serial number and individual unit or site reference numbers," said Andy Fracica, brand manager for York International's Unitary Products Group.

According to Fracica, installation and operating instructions are also important, as is warranty information and factory or contractor-based service and maintenance agreements.

Providing building owners with model information will help them make an informed buying decision.
Fall is also a good time to recommend regularly scheduled preventive maintenance inspections, which can go a long way in helping owners assess their equipment. Said Fracica, "Contractors can use this opportunity to educate owners by showing them what to look for during an inspection, including identifying problems, and providing quotes for corrective action. You're also in a position to take advantage of Web-based marketing tools like York's Build-A-Brochureâ„¢ tool to create custom quotes and effective marketing materials that speak directly to the needs of your customer."

Following the inspection, confirm the applicable manufacturer and contractor-supported warranty coverage that remains on each unit. This information becomes important as the contractor sits down with the owner to review the results of the inspection. Projected repair costs depend on warranty coverage and impact projected operating costs of equipment. Dealers are in a position to compare these expenses to those of new, high-efficiency equipment and determine any significant savings that accompany a decision to replace aging equipment.

Contractors can influence the buying decision by providing detailed service histories.
"As you explore purchase options with building owners, explain the value of extended warranties and scheduled maintenance programs," added Fracica.

"These important after-the-sale programs can be negotiated into the initial purchase price for new equipment and offer owners an affordable approach to future maintenance and repairs."

In fact, whether owners opt to repair or replace their equipment, it is always a good idea to work with them to define a maintenance and monitoring program for existing or new installations. By keeping accurate records, contractors can help owners estimate operating expenses and budget for repairs throughout the lifetime of the equipment. "In addition," explained Fracica, "this positions you to work with owners when the question of replace or repair arises again."

For more information on York International's Unitary Products Group, Norman, Okla., visit the group's Web site at

Publication date: 11/17/2003