Refurb Or Replace? That Is The Question


It’s a perennial question – when the time comes, should you replace or refurbish HVAC equipment? The answer depends on a wide range of factors including the age of the equipment, the short and long-term financial implications of each option, and how ‘mission critical’ the system is and, therefore, how reliable it needs to be.

Many facilities managers still operate under the mistaken impression that older assets exhibit higher failure rates. In fact, a well-treated HVAC system will have a lower failure rate than an ill-treated one, regardless of age. Treatment, in this context, means how well they are maintained.

That’s why, in most cases, I would recommend refurbishment and repair over replacement. There are several more good reasons for this. For example, modernising and optimising an existing system is less expensive than swapping it, and offers the opportunity to upgrade the existing specification by taking advantage of the latest energy efficient technology such as EC plug fans and components.

Refurbishment also minimises disruption by increasing installation flexibility, reduces downtime, overcomes the transport and access difficulties associated with replacing a unit, and is more environmentally friendly because it re-uses existing equipment rather than introducing new plant with all the embodied carbon that this represents.

Furthermore, repair or refurbishment can extend the service life of the components in HVAC plant such as the air handling units, it leaves existing services such as ductwork, pipework and wiring unaltered, and it can dramatically reduce energy consumption.

And operators are familiar and comfortable with the HVAC systems they’ve been using which eliminates the learning curve associated with new equipment.

So, refurbishment can offer a host of advantages including extending the lifespan of existing systems.

But it can also do more, increasing operating efficiency, saving energy, boosting performance, and reducing running costs. Refurbishment implies restoring it to its original condition by reassembling and replacing components to restore the equipment to its state when originally manufactured. However, it can do so much more than this by offering the opportunity to upgrade rather than simply maintain the existing specification.

Some companies, including my own, have the expertise and in-depth knowledge needed to offer refurbishment and repair services. The ECEX service covers the repair and replacement of all types of coils, belt drives, motors, fans, bearings and spares.

Using skilled engineers, ECEX can also undertake a complete range of mechanical engineering services. From replacing pipework and valves to upgrading or downsizing water storage tanks, we can offer a turnkey solution to suit a wide range of needs.

For more information about our full range of mechanical engineering services, click here.