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Comparing Commercial HVAC Retrofit to Replacement

November 6, 2021

Is Retrofitting Your HVAC Better than Replacing Your Existing HVAC?

Commercial HVAC systems get old. With time, existing HVAC systems eventually wear out and decrease their energy efficiency with age and as a result of new technology. For building owners and facilities managers, retrofitting or replacing your HVAC system are two viable options for improving air quality and flow.

But what’s the difference between retrofitting and replacing an existing HVAC system in your commercial building?


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While not every system is a candidate for retrofit, modifying and retrofitting systems offers certain advantages.

Why Retrofit Your HVAC Unit?

If you don’t have to replace your HVAC unit, opt for retrofitting instead. Doing so can be cheaper, help you save energy, and provide a faster solution. Let’s take a closer look at these advantages.

Reduce Repair Costs

In many cases, not every HVAC component will need to be replaced. By targeting only those components that are worn out or that can benefit from a replacement and upgrade, you’ll also reduce repair costs by swapping out the most worn pieces and extend the life of your system overall.

Greener Commercial HVAC Equipment

Your existing HVAC may be old and technologically obsolete in terms of its energy efficiency. By retrofitting, you’ll swap in new parts with the latest technology, meaning your system will use less energy to heat and cool rooms and keep air flowing.

Retrofitting Means More Energy Savings

Even the most high efficiency systems require energy. Energy bills and energy costs are the result of HVAC systems doing their jobs. By retrofitting, inefficient components can be replaced for better-performing, cost-saving components.

In fact, the costs associated with retrofit service could be paid for by savings and reductions in your energy bill.

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Rebates and Retrofit Projects

Some utility companies offer rebates and other incentives to upgrade to more energy efficient HVAC systems. Rebates and tax credits, therefore, help to more quickly realize your return on investment and cover retrofit costs.}

Retrofitting Costs Less Than System Replacement

In almost all cases, a commercial HVAC retrofit job is cheaper and less involved than outright replacement. While system replacement is the best option for some building’s HVAC systems, as described below, it’s typically cheaper and easier to retrofit.

When is Retrofitting Not a Good Idea?

In some cases, certain buildings and commercial HVAC equipment just aren’t candidates for retrofit. Below are some examples.

Systems that use Freon

Would likely need to be replaced, as the refrigerant chemical, widely used in older commercial cooling systems, is now banned for environmental reasons.

Historic buildings

And those on the National Historic Register of Historic Places should be given special consideration before an HVAC retrofit project occurs. Preserving as much of the existing HVAC and the building’s structure is optimal.

Overhauling and system replacement

Could be better options for very outdated systems that would require virtually all parts to be changed, costing the same as full replacement.

Repair, Retrofit, or Replace: Let United Mechanical Help

When it comes to HVAC solutions, United Mechanical does it all. From system replacement, to retrofit solutions, to repairs, the service providers at United Mechanical have worked with all types of commercial HVAC equipment.

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We welcome our clients, potential customers, and anyone interested in learning more about HVAC to view our resources.

Why United Mechanical?

We deliver cost-effective, quality HVAC solutions with a commitment to excellent customer service.

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