Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cheap Is No Bargain

First Composed by Jim Bartolotta (HVAC – Mechanical Contractor & Friend), Chicago, IL / Tweaked add images added by G. Crumpton / AirTight


“It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little.  The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot … it can’t be done.  When you deal with the lowest bidder, it is wise to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better!”

                                                                   John Ruskin (1819-1900)

This simple fact regarding cost was written in the late 1800s, but it still holds true today.  The HVAC industry is full of companies who claim to offer discount service, when in reality they perform “breakdown maintenance”.  The scenario usually goes something like this:  the building owner or manager calls for service (oftentimes, it’s an emergency); the “discount” company sends someone out to patch things up, and the building owner is led to believe that everything is working fine.  A short time later the system fails again, and this cycle continues until the system is in such disrepair that it must be replaced.  Now the building owner is faced with a large, unexpected expense. 

Maintaining a complex mechanical system in this way is like putting a band-aid on a serious injury.  Without routine testing procedures there is no way of knowing what trouble lies ahead.  So why then, when it comes to a building’s HVAC system, which is mechanically very complex and represents a large investment, that routine maintenance is often put off or forgotten?

One reason is because in commercial buildings, heating and air conditioning systems are usually housed where they’re not readily seen, like on the roof or in a basement mechanical room.  Their location makes it easy to forget that like anything mechanical, they need attention.  The functions they perform are also easily taken for granted, until the system ceases to operate properly.

Quality mechanical contractors take a different approach to mechanical systems.  Due to lack of maintenance, many building owners are spending far too much on their HVAC systems and related costs such as higher energy bills, loss of production, emergency repairs, and ultimately, premature replacement.  Long-term success comes from the contractor sharing their customer’s concerns and providing a planned maintenance program that offers solutions.

Because HVAC systems are extremely complex, quality contractors provide experts in all facets of operations, ensuring their customers get the right person for the job and information on technological advances.  Regularly scheduled visits guarantee that the system is constantly monitored and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.  An offensive approach to maintaining such valuable equipment allows for budget control and just makes good business sense.

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