Reduce Your Business Energy Costs

For property managers and commercial building owners, saving money is synonymous to doing best commercial HVAC practices. Energy waste can cost your business high utility bills; and when you are trying to have a successful business operation, every dollar counts.

Taking steps to lower energy costs can also help in the longevity of the equipment you use. Gaining a reputation for being energy conscious and environmentally friendly can serve beneficial for your company as it can attract potential customers who value those things as well.

Don’t allow energy waste to keep your business from prospering. To maximize the money and time you invested in reducing your energy costs, here are some tips and strategies you can apply to your commercial property.

Conduct an energy audit

Before you can even take steps to lower your energy consumption, you need to know when, where, and how energy is being used throughout your commercial property. Building owners should gather and assess their property’s energy bills for the last two to four years. Try to determine some patterns. Is there a spike in energy consumption that is not related to the changing of seasons? Are there tendencies for your commercial HVAC system to run less effectively? The more you know about your building’s energy usage, the easier it is to determine what the issues are and address them.

Do routine preventative maintenance

One of the most effective ways to control your commercial energy costs is by ensuring that your commercial HVAC systems are running at the peak efficiency. To achieve this, create and follow a preventative maintenance schedule. When you put off the cleaning, replacing dysfunctional parts, and other maintenance tasks, you will most likely experience everything from minor consumption loss to expensive major unit failures.

Don’t delay repairs

It can be incredibly tempting to schedule an HVAC repair for next week, next month, next quarter, or even next year – especially when you think that you will have more money to budget for repairs as you wait longer. However, that is not a good strategy, especially when you factor in the consistently growing expense of an incompetent HVAC operation to the repair cost.

Take advantage of smart technology and programmable thermostats

Energy used when there is no one in your commercial building is energy wasted. When your heating and cooling systems are still running at the preferred temperatures of the building occupants – even after they are gone for the day or the weekend, then you are contributing to your energy waste. Install a programmable thermostat that will allow you to have energy-efficient settings. As the name suggests, you can program the thermostat to the preferred temperature of your building tenants while they are inside the premises, and then have the thermostat turn off when the tenants leave. On the other hand, thermostats equipped with smart technology can detect the absence or presence of people in the property and adjust the temperatures accordingly.

Opt for variable refrigerant flow systems

Variable refrigerant flow systems provide advanced solutions that instantly move refrigerant from one area to another. This process allows the efficient transfer of heat to where it’s needed within the building. These variable refrigerant flow systems can give you substantial energy savings.

Make structural changes

The design of a building, especially of older ones, causes heating and cooling inefficiencies. In many cases, it’s worth the investment in time, money, and effort to reconstruct and redesign the problem area to correct the issue. For example, if your commercial property has a shipping area that is continuously exposed to outside temperatures, then it should be separated from the rest of the structure with thick doors that seal correctly and insulated walls to save energy.

Perform a consistent check for energy-wasting acts

Building managers and property owners tend to focus on more systemic issues. Thus, energy consumption within the property is often overlooked. For example, when occupants run space heaters because it gets uncomfortably hot or cold, or when they are continually opening doors or windows even when the commercial HVAC is running, wastes a tremendous amount of energy. Assign someone to check the building on a regular basis so the administration can detect these bad practices so that they can be corrected right away.

Educate the building tenants and employees on energy-saving habits

Many of us would gladly use energy wisely if we are made well aware of what the best energy-saving practices are. If you’re a property manager or building owner, educate your tenants on the actions that will have positive effects on energy costs.

To Repair or Not to Repair Your Heater, That Is the Question

Replacing or repairing any appliance or equipment at home can be discouraging; not a lot of us look forward to that task. However, the experience can be a little less daunting if we know what warning signs to look for. If you suspect that you are in need of a water heater repair, look to these signs and plan ahead.

  1. If you have no clue when the last time your heater was replaced, then it’s probably due for a replacement. The lifespan of water heaters is between 10 and 15 years. If you suspect yours is older or you don’t know when you got it, then it may be closing to the end of its life.
  2. When you try to turn on the water heater, the water that comes out is a rusty color.
  3. When there is no hot water coming out when you turn on the hot water, it might be because: a) the circuit breaker has been tripped; or b) the hot water heater is not functional anymore.
  4. When there is sediment buildup in the tank, sandy or muddy water will come out. Most of the time, you can drain the contents of the tank; this will make the water heater function normally again.
  5. When there is a metallic smell, or even taste, to the water when you turn on the water heater; this happens because the flakes and the grits from the inner tank is incorporating into the water in the tank. This is a clear-cut sign that you’re heater is breaking down; and you are in need of a water heater repair or service.
  6. Instead of hot water, only lukewarm water is coming out. This might be because the heating element is burned out. Try adjusting your thermostat to between 120 and 140 degrees – anything lower can only produce lukewarm, not hot, water.
  7. How often do you turn on the water heater in your house? A household with many members who use hot water will have a more active heater than a person living alone. Thus, if you know that your water heater is used more frequently, then you should watch for more wear and tear signs.
  8. If your water heater is making is noise, then it shouldn’t. Loud pops and cracks may be a sign that the heating elements inside the heater are reacting to some mineral or sediment buildup within.
  9. If you’ve already had a water heater repair done, but it still keeps breaking or causing issues and inconveniencing you, then it’s time to replace the equipment altogether – before it starts any major damage that will negatively impact your and your family’s life.
  10. When you notice leaks or water puddling around the water heater, then that means the inner tank has broken down. Slow leaks and drops escalate quickly and can cause serious flooding when the tank breaks.

Repair or Replace?

When you see a leak, then a water heater repair isn’t an option anymore. On a positive note, new and modern models of water heaters are more energy-efficient and environment-friendly than older ones. Manufacturers incorporate foam insulation between the tank and the outer part of it to help in increased heat retention. Glass liners also make tanks less prone to decay and decomposition.

Furthermore, high-efficiency models that are Energy Star-certified can save you up to 25% in energy costs. Solar and tankless water heaters and heat pumps can also offer more savings and even a federal tax credit opportunity. They may cost more to install, but you will be getting savings in other aspects.

Water Heater Costs

Replacing water heaters is not as plain and simple as taking out the old one and installing the new. There are local building codes and regulations that require you to get upgrades on the following:

  • Venting system
  • Water heater mount
  • Supply pipes
  • Drain pan

Before starting any water heater repair or replacement, ask the contractor to give you a breakdown of all the costs. As for doing a DIY water heater replacement, most manufacturers give detailed instructions. However, you will also need to be familiar with local building codes.


Care and Maintenance

Whether you replace or repair, your water heater will last longer and work better if you do regular check, care, and maintenance. To remove sediment buildup, flush the tank once a year. Eliminating the muck inside the tank will allow your water heater to run more efficiently, saving you money in the long run. Furthermore, the anode rod needs to be checked every three years. Also called the “sacrificial rod,” it’s a probe inside the tank made of magnesium or aluminum that gathers corrosive components. It often gets eaten away; replacing the anode rod will only cost you about $30, neglecting to do so will result in higher repair and replacement costs.

Commercial Fire Alarm Systems And Your Options For Safety

Installing a fire alarm system to alert your staff to a fire in your building is excellent fire protection.

With a system of protection in place, you are keeping your employees, your clients, and your business safe from fire-related damage and injuries.

The cost to install a fire alarm system is a small price to pay for the safety it affords your business, your employees, and your clients.

The Difference Between Commercial Fire Alarm Systems and Fire Sprinkler Systems

The installation is only the first step in ensuring full fire protection. The second step is educating your staff on how these systems of protection work. You and your staff need to know how to operate commercial fire alarm systems, no matter how advanced.

The average person thinks fire alarm systems and fire sprinkler systems are the same. Easy to understand since they are usually in a bundle. But they do differ from each other.

Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

These are early warning systems that provide immediate and life-saving alerts in the event of a fire. They not only alert anyone in the vicinity but also alert the local authorities to an emergency in your building.

Fire Sprinkler Systems

fire sprinkler systemsThese are designed to contain or extinguish a fire until firefighters arrive. They even work in conjunction with firefighters in putting out a fire.

A standard fire hose releases up to 125 gallons of water per minute, while quick response fire sprinklers release 24 gallons per minute.

According to the American Fire Sprinkler Association, a combination of fire alarm systems and fire sprinklers could reduce overall fire injuries, deaths, and property damage by a minimum of 50%.

The latest commercial alarm systems are so well-engineered and well-designed that they empower the people in the building, allowing them to communicate to those outside the building or facility via text messaging, email, voice messaging, and outdoor speaker systems.

Automatic Fire Alarm Systems Versus Manual Fire Alarm Systems

There are two types of fire alarms you can have in your commercial space: an automatic or a manual fire alarm.

The automatic alarm detects heat or smoke and sends an audio-visual alert to all occupants of the building.

The manual alarm system features pull stations stationed throughout the facility or building, which anyone can pull in the event of a fire.

The 3 Types of Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

manual fire alarm system

Conventional fire alarm systems

Conventional fire alarm systems also called “four-wire fire alarm systems,” are widely used in smaller places of business such as shops and restaurants.

These systems are the most affordable to purchase. They work by dividing the building into detection zones. There are detectors and call points within each zone (even multiple ones) hardwired on dedicated circuits to the control panel.

If a detector is activated, the control panel identifies the circuit that contains the triggered device and indicates the zone from which the fire alarm sounded.

With this type of fire alarm system, you would have to search the area to locate the triggered device.

Analog-addressable fire alarm systems

Analog-addressable fire alarm systems also called “intelligent fire alarm systems” can provide details such as the exact location of the fire, fault, or smoke on individual detectors. With the advancement away from zones and circuits, this system allows increased flexibility, a broad scope of control, and rapid identification.

This type of fire alarm system is for large commercial premises and more complex networked systems. It is much more expensive and more complicated than conventional fire alarm systems.

Wireless fire alarm systems

These fire alarm systems are easier to install and provide as much protection as the wired fire alarm systems. There are no cables between detection devices and the control panel. Therefore, there is no need for long-term cable tests.

Today’s wireless fire alarm systems need to comply with the EN54-25 standard and can eliminate signal blocking and collision.

Most suitable for buildings or facilities where wired installations are prohibited such as grade-listed properties.

How To Determine The Right Kind Of Alarm System For Your Business

Alarm System Features

There are different aspects of a fire alarm system and what you need depends on your type of business. Some examples of which are smoke detection and heat detection.

These are add-ons and the installation of which depends on your preference and how much fire protection you desire for your business.

Minimum Fire Protection Requirement

There are city code requirements and local regulations in place that dictate the minimum standards for fire protection in facilities, buildings, and other places of business.

Check with city officials or the fire department to make sure you comply with their regulations. Once you have the basics in place, you can then add additional fire protection features that you deem essential.

Hire A NICET Professional For Inspections and Testing

It is one thing to know the basic requirements for fire protection and another thing to implement them.

A professional will help fit your building with the proper fire alarm systems and ensure they are in the best places for optimum fire protection and safety.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to fire protection and safety. A warehouse will have different safety needs than that of an apartment or office building. And data centers and research centers require specialized commercial fire alarm systems.

It’s crucial that you work with a reputable commercial fire protection company whose responsibilities don’t end once installation is complete.

Keep Your Business and Staff Safe with Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

An alarm system is designed to alert the authorities not only during office hours but even after once everyone has gone home. With fire alarm systems in place, you have a team monitoring your place of business at all times.

It has to go through proper testing, inspection, and maintenance to ensure that the system will work when the need arises, and it needs to go through regular inspection.

A reputable fire protection company will work in compliance with NFPA regulations and ensure your business and staff are safe from fire-related damages and injuries.