Repair or Replace: How to Decide Whether to Fix or Swap out Your Commercial Chiller

Restaurants, stores, laboratories, and many other businesses rely on commercial refrigeration to keep food and other things at the right temperature.

What do you do when your chiller is no longer working properly? There are two options: repair it or replace it. In some cases, it can be difficult to know which option is best. After all, there are several factors to consider.

Keep reading to learn some of the signs it may be time to replace your chiller and some indications that calling a repair company would be best.

When to Repair a Chiller

Let's first look at three situations in which you will want to repair your refrigeration system rather than replace it. In most cases, this can help you save time and money.

Issue is Maintenance-Related

Sometimes, a chiller isn't working because it hasn't been well maintained. Parts may have become dirty which has caused them to wear out faster. Often, cleaning or replacing these parts will resolve the problem.

If this is the issue, then you should also create a maintenance schedule to ensure it doesn't happen again. This will greatly prolong the life of your current chiller and prevent needing to replace it before the end of its expected life.

Unfortunately, in some cases, it may end up being more cost-effective to replace a unit that's been damaged by improper use. If this is the case, it's even more important to be ready to properly maintain your new unit.

Repair Costs Less

Obviously, if a repair is going to cost significantly less than replacing a chiller, it makes sense to do so. However, you also have to think about the remaining life of your current chiller when weighing the costs.

For example, if your refrigeration unit is already over 20 years old and has an expected lifespan of about 25 years, you can only safely hope to have it for another 5 years.

In this case, if the cost of the repair is over half of what it would cost to replace it, you may want to go ahead and get a new unit since you'll have to do it within a few years anyway.

Time is Critical

There is one glaring exception to the above guideline, and that is when time is a factor. It can take quite a bit of time to replace a chiller between removing the old unit and installing a new one.

For this reason, if you can't wait weeks for a new refrigeration unit, you may need to pay a high repair bill. Once again, you'll have to calculate your potential losses during the wait time.

An example would be a restaurant that only has one chiller. If it had to wait to replace it, it could lose thousands of dollars of stored food plus thousands more in lost business if it has to close its doors while waiting.

In this case, time is critical and it may make more sense to repair an older unit as long as the repair will take a day or two compared to the weeks it may take to bring in a new one.

For this reason, we recommend replacing your unit before it reaches this point so you can limit the impact it will have on your business.

When to Replace a Chiller

Now let's look at three situations in which you may want to replace a refrigerator rather than have it repaired.

Old Unit

The first thing you need to consider is the age of your unit and how much life it may have in it.

Check your manufacturer's information to see how long your particular unit is supposed to last. If your unit has less than 10% of their lifespan left, it may make more sense to go ahead and replace it now.

When dealing with older units, there are only so many repairs that you can make before they will need to be replaced. In most cases, it makes more sense to replace an old unit rather than keep waiting for another problem to pop up.

Replacement is Cheaper

Particularly when dealing with aging units, it may be cheaper to replace it than to repair it. As previously mentioned, consider the amount of time you have left on your unit and whether or not it would be worth replacing.

To calculate this cost, divide the cost of the repair by the number of years left on the unit. Then, divide the cost of a new unit by the number of years it's expected to last.

By doing this, you'll be able to see how much you will be spending per year keeping your old unit alive compared to having a new unit installed. You will inevitably have to purchase a new unit sooner or later, so see if it makes financial sense to do that now rather than waiting.

Keep in mind this is a rough estimate since it doesn't factor in operational costs, maintenance, or possible future repairs. However, it should at least give you a rough idea to determine if you should replace or repair your chiller.

Higher-Efficiency Models Available

The last thing you want to consider is how energy efficient your current model is. If it's older, there may be newer models available that are far more energy efficient.

Over the course of 23 years, an energy-efficient unit can save you around $55,000 compared to other units. You can also get certain business tax credits which can help your bottom line even more.

If you're looking for a way for your business to help the environment and cut operational costs, you may want to replace your older unit. This is especially true when facing an expensive repair near the end of its life.

Ready to Repair Your Refrigeration Unit?

Now you know when it may be a good time to repair or replace your chiller. As you can see, there are a few things to look for that will help you make this decision.

If you've decided that refrigerator repair is your best option, contact us today. Based in Dallas, we serve the greater Texas area so you can get quality service no matter where you are.

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