Commercial HVAC installation
If you’re a business owner in the market for a new light commercial HVAC system, you have probably realized that the cost of the equipment is not the only factor you need to consider. The commercial HVAC installation cost can vary widely from one installation vendor to another. So how can you compare quotes and understand exactly what you’re paying for and what you’re getting for your money? Since you’re probably not an HVAC expert, it can be a challenge to understand the quotes and what’s included.
Every proposal for commercial HVAC installation cost includes both labor and materials for installation tasks. You might assume that the best way to compare is to look at the hourly labor rates and the markup on materials, but actually that practice can be very misleading.
Here’s an example. Some companies have a higher hourly labor rate because it includes costs such as insurance, supervision, warehouse costs, and project management. On the other hand, you might get a proposal with a much lower hourly rate, but the vendor adds some of that cost in as separate line items for things like insurance, truck delivery or “general conditions.”
Our best advice?
ASK FOR A BREAKDOWN. A reputable HVAC company should be happy to break down their numbers for you so you can more easily compare what’s included in quotes that are structured differently. Once you get that detailed breakdown, you’ll be able to compare commercial HVAC installation cost for the following categories of installation tasks:
- Piping & Curb/Fabrication
- System Startup
Commercial HVAC Installation Cost
Brand choice may also affect the equipment component of your commercial HVAC installation cost. Especially in Chicago where space can be a major constraint, you may need to choose a more expensive brand just because the unit is small enough to fit where it needs to go. Your vendor may also be recommending a more expensive brand due to its superior reliability and longer equipment life.
TIP: Always be suspicious when an installation company is recommending rock-bottom priced equipment for a commercial installation. Some installers may recommend cheap equipment on the initial quote, then talk you into upgrading during the install process.
In addition to the type of controls you need, the number of connection points also affects your commercial HVAC installation cost. If you run a wire from a unit to a thermostat, that’s two points. Add in a remote sensor, and it’s four points. So if your design plan calls for 25 VAV boxes each with a remote sensor, that’s 100 connection points that need to be installed.
Once again, the labor cost for startup depends on the number of units and the complexity of the system. For each line and each unit, there are thermostats, wells, gauges, thermometers (known as “trim” in the industry) which all need to be tested before the system can be used.
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