I have just finished reading Hossein Noshirvani’s blog article with the same title as this one, and I could not agree with him more when he says that “we value price above cost and that leads us to make short-term decisions that are in fact awful.”
Let me give you an example that we at TMI Salt Pure have seen from time to time.
The market is flooded with cheap residential chlorine generators that the manufacturers have paid to be approved to commercial standards (NSF-50). Their residential dealers are now offering these units to commercial facilities. Due to the small production of each unit, these have to be multiple unit installations which are installed in a manifold, or “ganged” together. The client is told that this system is a better option than a single large commercial unit because if one or two cells fail, the other cells will continue to produce chlorine. I personally have seen up to 21 cells mounted in series! This, in fact, is a terrible idea, both for the person footing the bill and for the maintenance staff. Let me explain.
Financially, the upfront cost may be lower, depending on the dealer’s markup, but the warranty is typically only one year. If the cells are plumbed in series, the cells toward the end of the line can get starved for salt water and may expire at a more rapid pace. The cost of replacing those cells year after year adds up. Maintenance is also more difficult and time consuming, since each cell will need to be removed and cleaned from time to time. Personally, I would not want to be responsible for cleaning that 21 cell array!
So, a small amount of money could potentially be saved up front, but the cost down the road will not be worth it. When all is said and done, a properly sized commercial unit would likely have been the better option from the start. Like my dad always told me, “The best time to do the job correctly is the first time.”