Last fall I purchased my first home, and as any home-buyer, I did a walk through with a licensed inspector who told me for the most part that everything was in great shape. He warned that at some point in the next five years I’ll want to consider replacing the furnace, but for all intents and purposes, it was in working order. Being eager to sign the contract and get my keys, I took him for his word and didn’t ask any specific questions about the current furnace.

I didn’t have any issues during the winter, other than a high electric bill (my furnace, which is actually a fan coil, is an electric system). The first hot day this summer however, I learned very quickly that my AC wasn’t going to make it through the summer. I called in for an inspection and discovered that the entire system was nearly 40 years old.

I could possibly repair it, but no one wanted to give any guarantees that would last through the end of the summer, and everyone suggested I might want to consider replacing the system as it wasn’t nearly as efficient as some of the newer options out there.

So here I am, not even a year into home ownership, researching SEER ratings, smart thermostats, Energy-Star-qualified systems, and so on. It’s a daunting task for someone who has never had to purchase a major home appliance before.

But it’s not just the homeowner that has to consider upgrades to equipment. Many of you have had to make decisions in regards to upgrading your fleets and plants in order to be more efficient and productive. Many of you are in the process of researching the options now. I’m sure you have much more to take into consideration than I do when it comes to upgrades.

In our last issue of TCP, we published an article on Smart Fleets. Fleet management systems, or telematics, can help producers increase productivity and the bottom line while improving the efficiency of the entire fleet. Early this year, TCP published an article on how to prepare your plant to meet tomorrow’s challenges.  The most common reason producers are replacing old equipment is that plants are just wearing out, much like my 40-year-old heating and cooling system.

I’m curious, what are some of the challenges you are facing when it comes to making a decision about upgrading? And, if you have any advice about a good heating and cooling system, let me know!