Mystery RTU

Mystery RTU

March 11, 2018


If you have buildings that are older with equipment that original to the building or aged, you have challenges that are different from building owners and managers of newer buildings.  This can be even more problematic if you ‘inherited’ this building and don’t have the original construction documents, drawings, equipment data, etc.  Like any good building manager, you take the time to try to inventory the equipment and catalog it. 

Then you run into the problem above:  An aged RTU with a nameplate that you can’t read, rusted components like the gas line, some questionable maintenance techniques used in the past (like the zip-tied conduit) and no idea what sort of service it has received over the years.  What do you do with this?  Most would prefer to simply change it out for a new rooftop unit, but sometimes that isn’t an option and you need to make the best of what you have. 

Start by gathering all the information you can on the unit.  If you can find out who has been servicing the unit over the years and can gather information there, that would be a great start.  If not, the next best thing would be a thorough service of the unit.  By disassembling it to access the internal components, more can be learned about its overall condition.  Corrections can be made as well, such as re-securing the conduit properly.  If you need to get more years of service from this equipment, consider overhauling key components such as the compressor if it is in rough shape.  Lastly, replacing or repainting the rusted components such as the gas line would be a good idea as well.

This only addresses this one rooftop unit.  There is a good chance that there is more aged equipment in this building that also needs attention.  This means that this same exercise will need to be performed on all of them.  If this is the case, the better approach may be to make an initial evaluation of all of the equipment for the purpose of prioritizing them.  Some may need to get changed out sooner than others.  Some equipment may have years of life left in it.  There are times when this sort of analysis and review is best performed by an outside party that can provide an objective analysis with financial projections that can be reviewed by management.  If so, look for an engineering service provider that has experience in this field and can help produce an independent study that provides the level of detail and analysis that can help you justify the repairs or replacement needed.

There are likely even more issues here.  Can you spot them?  Post them in the comments on

There are likely even more issues here.  Can you spot them?  Post them in the comments on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.