Average PTACs lost per cleaning service is about 3 units per building, for an estimated cost of $1,800.
If the cleaning cost for 70 rooms is $1,800, the total after unit losses, may be in the range of $3,600, excluding downtime waiting for repair or replacement, which can move the expenses above $5,000.
The reasons for losses during cleaning are:
- Breakage from mishandling; covers, coils, sensors, frame shape, sleeve damage
- Getting the circuit boards wet
- Spraying water directly into fan motors
- Poor quality re-installation
- Leaving sensors in the wrong position
- Using the wrong chemicals, especially in Styrofoam lined units
- Age of the units
All of these are easily avoided with good cleaning crew leadership and training, but typically are not covered by warranty.
As an example, we serviced the PTACs of a 132-room hotel which had previously been cleaned by someone who had no idea how to do the job. The units had Styrofoam airducts. If you have ever seen anyone, put gasoline in Styrofoam, you know the result is it melts right through. In this hotel, likely a petroleum-based product was used. Every single unit in the building had the air ducts melted, at an overall replacement cost of about $79,200 plus labor and downtime. This is an extreme situation.
In a less extreme version of using the wrong chemicals, some cleaning companies will use acid-based cleaners which slowly eat away the electrical connections, plastic, coils, pressure lines, protective coatings, paint, and drip pans. The result is less immediate, but the units still must be replaced years early, increasing the overall cost of building maintenance. Divide the same $79,200 by six years instead of 10 and the Annual equipment expense estimate goes from $7,920 up to $13,200. That’s a strain on the bottom line.
But you be the judge. Is quality cleaning service important to your bottom line?