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Costs are always a concern when operating a business. Weighing costs against revenue and trying to strike a balance of profitability is the type of juggling act with which any business owner is familiar. Yet there are some things on your balance sheet that you should consider taking a closer look at — not only because it can help you to understand where your business spends money, but it can also allow you to identify areas of potential savings. What you pay to run your HVAC systems every month or year is one such cost category to reconsider. How much does your commercial heating cost?

More importantly, what could it cost? Answering these questions is mostly dependent on factors unique to your own business and whether you’re in the process of replacing or installing a new system. However, there are broad principles you can use to develop a clearer understanding of the costs your business may face in this area. Equipped with the right information, you can make more informed decisions about how to implement the most effective system for your company.

Separating installation and operating costs

Commercial Heating CostDepending on your perspective, the answer to the question of “What will commercial heating cost my business?” can be very different. Are you considering the installation of a new heating system, its maintenance and service, or the actual energy costs incurred by the company? The reality is that the most accurate answer is the one that combines all these factors into one overall cost consideration. The good news is that if you’re moving into a building, it likely already has a heating system — though if it’s ancient, replacement may become a concern.

Energy costs will vary widely between businesses, so providing an exact figure on operational costs is difficult. Consider that changes in gas prices, electricity rates, outdoor temperature, and interior heating demand will all influence what your business pays. However, roughly 40% of your energy bill can likely be attributed to heating and cooling costs — so consider your monthly utility bill and work backwards.

Figuring out what your commercial heating will cost

In terms of installation, electric heaters are among the least expensive to install, while gas furnaces and boilers reside at the other end of the spectrum regarding cost. According to one broad look at furnaces, the average gas furnace will cost about $1200 for the unit itself with an additional $2400 for installation. Compare this to an electric furnace, where similar figures clock in at $6-700 for unit costs and about $2000 for installation. Oil furnaces, particularly rare these days, can run upwards of $8,000 for the total package.

Actual prices will vary with brand, unit size, efficiency, and many other factors, but these averages make the disparity clear. Keep in mind, though, that despite a gas furnace’s higher up-front costs, they will often “pay for themselves” in time in the form of energy savings. This is especially true in comparison to electric furnaces, whose low higher power bills may offset the initial low cost.

This same spectrum is generally true with maintenance and service. Electric heaters, owing to their small number of moving parts and simple design principles, only experience component faults infrequently and typically perform very reliably for much of their early life. Gas-powered commercial systems almost demand annual service for safety and efficiency’s sake, but make up for it due to their improved effectiveness.

Finding ways to reduce your heating bills

Even while you may accept that the costs of installation and operation can be a significant figure to your budget, there are opportunities to achieve savings. Consider the advent of especially high-efficiency furnaces in both the gas and electric categories, as well as their improved effectiveness when combined with a well-insulated building. It may also be time to consider some form of thermostat automation for the business. When you can automatically ensure that you are not paying to heat an empty building, you can quickly begin to realize tangible reductions in your monthly energy bills.

Do you still feel as though you’re paying too much for heating and cooling in your building even after examining everything? When you aren’t sure how to drive down what you pay in search of a lower commercial heating cost, you may simply not know where to look for areas of improvement. Consider contacting an installer and servicer of heating equipment that can come to your business and assist in troubleshooting. You may have dusty, dirty ducts hampering airflow, or there may be an issue with your furnace itself that reduces its efficiency. It may even be time for an upgrade, in which case an experienced opinion and a detailed quote can prove valuable too. As you explore the cost to your business, be sure to consider every angle for savings at each stage of your commercial heating considerations.

Valley Comfort conducts commercial heating and furnace services in the following communities: Santa Rosa, Napa, Rohnert Park, Healdsburg, St Helena, Calistoga and Windsor.