2015 is on pace to be the hottest year on record so our air conditioners (ACs) are working harder than ever. It not unusual for more than half of the energy used in any given Caribbean commercial building to go to cooling. Most AC systems are supposed to last about ten years, but in the Caribbean, with its humidity and salt air, some commercial building owners are replacing their AC systems every five years (or less). The lifespan of an energy efficient AC system, and the potential savings that go along with it, can be maximized by decisions building managers make before they even purchase a new system.
Work with an experienced professional: When investing in a new AC system, it is key to work with a qualified professional who will make sure that the technology chosen is the best for the building and is that it is sized and installed correctly.
Technology Selection: It can be hard to find a qualified professional who is not a sales representative for a particular AC manufacturer. If working with professionals who are not “technology agnostic,” make sure to do your research and get a few different quotes. Make sure you consider the warranty provisions, installation costs, and required operations and maintenance factors when comparing technologies. Make sure that these are part of the return on investment analysis.
Sizing: Going big is not necessarily better. A system that is too large will not only be more expensive, but will actually be less energy efficient, using more power and costing more to operate over its lifespan.
Installation and Maintenance: Don’t skimp when it comes to installation and maintenance. Installation by a certified professional not only preserves the warranty on an AC system, it ensures that installation will occur properly so that the system works as promised. We all know building managers who wanted to save money by self-installing or using uncertified installers and ended up voiding warranties, destroying the efficiency of the system, and killing their return on investment. Similarly, maintenance, especially in the humid salt air of the Caribbean, is a must for making sure AC systems are working well and last as long as they should.