When Is It Time To Replace Your HVAC System?

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

Air conditioning is a major investment in your business. It’s therefore important to know what signs to look for to let you know when it’s time to replace your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system. In this article we look at the signs you may encounter when your HVAC starts to have fail and how to choose the right system for your business.

Older Systems

Your HVAC won’t last forever. Just like everything in this world your HVAC is going to get old and with old age comes problems. Of course you can extend the lifetime of your air conditioning simply by having planned preventative air conditioning maintenance in place which can address or circumvent issues before they become major problems, however there will come a day when even your maintenance plan won’t be able to keep your HVAC going indefinitely.

The typical lifespan of a commercial HVAC system, where regular maintenance has been in place is around 15 years. If you’re lucky your system may last 20 years but this will be pushing the unit’s lifespan. If your HVAC is not maintained, the life expectancy can be reduced to 5-10 years, depending on the circumstances. Once your HVAC reaches the median life expectancy set by the manufacturer you should start to look at replacing the system.

On average an HVAC system makes up around 40% of a buildings energy usage. The majority of air conditioners installed before the beginning of 2006 will cost up to 20% more to operate when compared to the more energy efficient models of today. Given that older HVAC units will be far less energy efficient, a more efficient system could drive significant savings given the current energy prices will be made purely from upgrading to a newer HVAC.

HVAC R22 HCFC Refrigerant Gas

On a similar note, if you have an HVAC that is 15 years old or more it may be using R22 which is a hydrochloroflurocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant gas. Since January 2010 R22 has been banned for use in new HVACs. In 2015 it was made illegal and an offence to use any HCFC gas to top-up or maintain refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. Existing equipment that contains HCFCs can legally continue to be operated after 1 January 2015, but additional HCFC gas cannot be added to the system to maintain its function.

If your R22 system is having issues especially where the problem lies with the R22 being used within the system it’s advisable to begin looking for a replacement HVAC system. This is especially true in businesses where the cooling system is heavily relied upon to keep equipment and goods at a consistent cool temperature, such as server rooms and production facilities.

HVAC Breakdowns

Every piece of equipment, especially complex equipment will suffer from the occasional problem. However once your air conditioning system starts to experience frequent breakdowns or issues especially more serious problems you may find the day a total breakdown occurs is sooner than you think. When your HVAC starts to experience regular issues it’s time to start looking at a replacement HVAC system.

While planned preventative maintenance can play an important role in maintaining your air conditioning and keeping it going there comes a point where you will be wasting your money on constant repairs when it could be going towards a new, more efficient and less troublesome HVAC unit.

Higher Energy Bills

As an HVAC system gets older it will become far less efficient at controlling the room temperature and humidity and therefore needs to use more energy to do its job.

With energy prices already rising and future rises on the horizon you may start to see significant increases in your businesses energy bills as your inefficient air conditioning battles to keep your workspace warm or cool depending on the outside temperature. As previously mentioned a business’s air conditioning makes up, on average, 40% of a company’s total energy bill. Given this and ever increasing energy prices a more efficient air conditioning system should be a priority.

Changing Your Workspace

If you are thinking about changing the layout of your current workspace, opening up areas, closing off other areas etc or moving to a new office space you may need to look at replacing, upgrading or installing a new HVAC system depending on its age.

Changing office layout may mean you have to create “zones” so that you can control each area independently to ensure comfort across the workspace e.g. areas where large numbers of people congregate may require more cooling when occupied and less when they are empty; some areas e.g. server rooms may need to be cooler are year round; kitchen areas will need to be able to control higher humidity levels and individual offices may also require different temperatures depending on the occupants.

The Right HVAC For Your Business

Having decided the time is right for an HVAC replacement how do you decide on the right heating, ventilation and air conditioning for your business? Deciding on the right HVAC system for a building, floor or space primarily depends on the size of the property.

Large commercial properties with multiple levels and individual office spaces should install a VRF or VRV air conditioning system. One VRF or VRF air conditioning plant can accommodate up to 64 indoor units. A multi-split air conditioning system can connect from two to eleven indoor units would suit an average sized office. For a small office the best cooling option is a split air conditioning system that connects to one indoor unit.

When determining the type of indoor air conditioning units you will need, you should think about your interior design and layout. There are a number of options including cassette air conditioning units which are mounted into the ceiling space, usually within a suspended ceiling; wall mounted units or ducted units which are installed behind a wall or ceiling and hidden by a discreet vent.


Synecore offer air conditioning installation and air conditioning planned preventative maintenance packages to suit your air conditioning system. We cover Kent, London and across the UK. Our maintenance projects are overseen by an experienced project manager so you know you are in good hands.

If you would like to learn more about how to keep your air conditioning system in top shape, through a PPM, contact Synecore on 01795 509 509. Our team will book an appointment for one of our engineers to visit your site and discuss your options.

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