When you seek out the services of a mechanical contractor, there are certain questions the contractor should ask you in order to understand the current performance of your building and the required repairs and/or the upgrades your building needs in order to operate efficiently. These questions also help ensure that you receive the services and results you expect.
1. How would you rate the performance of your current mechanical system?
Mechanical contractors have the ability to repair, maintain and upgrade all types of building systems, including HVAC, ventilation, Building Automation Systems (BAS), plumbing, lighting and electrical systems. Before a contractor provides you with an estimate and begins work on the system, they should ask you how well the system is performing and if it meets your needs. If it’s not performing well, increasing your energy bills or requiring lots of maintenance and repairs, your mechanical contractor in Chicago needs to know that information up-front.
2. How old is your mechanical system and building?
As mechanical building systems age, they tend to develop more problems. This is especially true for plumbing systems, HVAC systems and electrical systems and lighting. If your building contains all original equipment, knowing the age of your building and the systems can give the contractor a good idea of what to expect and the expected time-frame for repairs, upgrades and replacements.
3. Are you experiencing any problems or malfunctions with the mechanical system right now?
This question allows you to discuss the current problems you are having with the specific mechanical system. For an HVAC system, you may have noticed hot or cold spots in your building and gotten increasingly frequent complaints on the comfort of your building. For lighting, you may have noticed dark areas in your building or on your property, and you may have one or more light bulbs that burn out more frequently than others.
4. How many times have you needed to call for a repair in the last 12 months?
When you think back on the specific system, like your HVAC, lighting, plumbing or electrical system, how many times have you had to call for a repair? If it’s been several times in the last year and the repair bills seem to be increasing, the contractor may need to perform an inspection of the system to see if it can be efficiently repaired, or the contractor may suggest an upgrade or replacement of the system. This is especially true if the system is past its expected or manufacturer recommended useful life.
5. Do you receive a lot of complaints regarding the specific mechanical system in your building?
Answering this question helps give the mechanical contractor an idea of the types of failures you are experiencing so that they can start working on efficient and effective solutions. For example, if your residents frequently complain about the temperature, humidity or air quality in your building, you may need to have your HVAC system inspected and repaired or upgraded, or you may need to implement new technology, like a BAS system so that you can monitor the system, receive reports about the operation of the system and better control temperature settings in the various part of your building.
6. Are your energy and/or water bills higher than you expect or have they increased over the last year?
High energy bills can be the result of mechanical systems that are operating inefficiently, longer than normal or that your equipment is outdated and needs to be upgraded to a more energy efficient model. Higher energy and water bills can also be the result of having more occupants in your building. Your mechanical contractor should ask you these questions along with other relevant questions so that a plan can be developed in order to help you reduce electricity, water and gas usage.
7. When was the last time you had a load calculation performed on your building for heating and cooling?
It’s no secret and heating and cooling make up the majority of the costs associated with operating a building, and if you are speaking with a mechanical contractor about your rooftop HVAC system or about performing energy-efficient upgrades in order to lower your building’s operating costs, they should ask you when you last has a load calculation performed as well as if your building has undergone any expansions since the installation of your HVAC system.
Load calculations are essential for determining the correct size HVAC system that your building needs. If your building has undergone expansions that have added additional space that needs heated or cooled or if the original load calculations were inaccurate or an estimate was used to determine the size of your HVAC system, you may need another load calculation performed in order to determine if the size of your HVAC system meets your building’s current needs or if you need a new, larger HVAC system.
8. How would you rate your building’s air quality?
If you are discussing energy efficiency and/or the performance of your rooftop HVAC unit, your Chicago mechanical contractor should ask you about your building’s indoor air quality. (IAQ) Do you experience indoor allergy systems that increase while you are in the building and decrease once you leave or do your employees or residents complain of these issues? An increase in indoor allergy symptoms indicates that your HVAC unit is not filtering allergens effectively. Upgrades to your system’s mechanical ventilation and installing air filters with higher MERV ratings can help improve IAQ.
9. What are the future plans for your building?
Your mechanical contractor should ask you about the plans for your building’s future. Do you plan to renovate or perform expansions? Renovating and expanding your building can put increased demand on your existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. You’ll also need additional plumbing pipes, wiring, lights and heating and cooling. When the future expansion plans of your building are known, your contractor can recommend energy efficient upgrades to help curtain the extra usage caused by the increased space, including scalable rooftop HVAC systems, low flow water fixtures and energy-efficient lighting upgrades.
10. What’s your upgrade or installation budget and timeline?
Your mechanical contractor should always ask you about your budget for upgrades, installations and repairs as well as your expected timeline. This helps your mechanical contractor develop and recommend upgrades and system installations that meet your needs while remaining within your budget. Knowing your timeline helps ensure that the required projects are completed on time and to your specifications. Some mechanical contractors, like Althoff, can even help you find energy rebates and incentives that can help you save money on your mechanical system improvements and upgrades.
Althoff Industries: Trusted Mechanical Contractor in Chicago
Here at Althoff, we offer the mechanical contracting services you need to keep your building running efficiently, effectively and safely. We upgrade, repair and install plumbing systems, HVAC equipment, mechanical ventilation systems, electrical systems and energy efficient lighting, and we perform energy saving services, like air/water testing and balancing, BAS development installation and upgrade and retro-commissioning. We also offer building operations and maintenance, energy and sustainability and strategic operational planning. Our mechanical technicians will even ask you all of the pertinent questions about your next project so that we fully understand your needs and the needs of your building before we design, install and test your new systems.
To schedule a consultation for your HVAC, plumbing or electrical systems and to learn more about our mechanical contractor services in Chicago, call us at 800-225-2443.