Commercial Rooftop Unit Installation
Staring down a commercial rooftop unit replacement? You're in the right place.
Tips for saving money
Replacing a commercial HVAC rooftop unit (often shortened to RTU) can be a very expensive proposition. No business owner wants to do it, but unfortunately sometimes the situation calls for it. The silver lining is that there are some ways to reduce the investment:
1. Get all the utility rebates and tax credits you can. Commercial HVAC rebates and tax credits do exist — and sometimes they can be quite substantial. For example, SWEPCO has rebates of $0.99 per kWh saved post install and the 179D tax deduction allows a deduction of $1.88 per square foot for energy reducing projects. For a complete list of commercial HVAC rebates and tax credits, see here.
2. Think hard on repair vs replacement. A lot of the time people are stuck in the predicament of having to choose between an expensive repair for an older rootop unit vs just getting a new one. A couple things need to be considered:
- I. Age of your system. According to ASHRAE (industry organization that sets the standards and guidelines for most HVAC equipment), the average lifespan of a commercial rooftop unit is 15 years. For systems close to that age, you should probably consider replacement if facing a significant repair. For younger systems, repairing your current unit is likely the way to go unless you are facing some sort of catastrophic repair.
- II. Type of refrigerant in your system. If your rooftop unit uses R-22 refrigerant and is more than ten years old, it's probably wiser to skip the repair and get it replaced. R-22 was banned from manufacturing on January 1, 2020 so pricing for is it is obscene. That said, if your system isn't super old, you can actually replace the R22 with a blended refrigerant that mimics the attributes of the original R22 refrigerant. As of February 2022, pricing for the replacement refrigerant (there are several types) is about 1/3 of R22 so you'll save a good bit of money. The catch is that all of your existing refrigerant has to be pulled out (it's illegal to mix refrigerants) so it's not worth doing unless you have some sort of catastrophic leak and there isn't much refrigerant left in the system.
3. Get multiple quotes. Being a business owner, you probably don't need to be told this, but you'd be surprised how many people go with the first quote they get. It's always worth getting two or three quotes to make sure you aren't getting ripped off.
Need a commercial rooftop unit install quote in Northwest Arkansas? Call Franklin at (479) 282-0003 or just tap the message bubble in the bottom right to schedule.
A little bit about rooftop units and how they are priced
There are a lot of misconceptions out there on rooftop unit pricing. Here are the main factors that determine the price of a commercial rooftop unit:
- I. Capacity of the system. This is kind of an obvious one, but basically the more capacity a system has, the more expensive (i.e. a 10 ton system will cost more than a five ton).
- II. Efficiency of the system. Similar to capacity, the more efficient a system is, the more expensive it is.
- III. Three phase or single phase. Three phase systems use less energy, create less vibration, and last longer. Unfortunately they are also a good bit more expensive than single phase systems. As a general rule, if your existing system is three phase, you should go back with another three phase unit, although technicially you can convert a single phase to work.
Fun fact: Residential package units are basically commercial rooftop units that have been converted to work on the ground, rather than a roof.
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