Category: Blog

Operations: ACs and HVACs

A vital part of hotel guestrooms, packaged terminal air conditioning units must be properly maintained in order to perform effectively and efficiently, according to Jim Clements, VP of operations for Innworks.

“PTACs are vital to a good guest experience,” he said. “They must be in appropriate working order to offer that experience.”

Clements, who has been in the hotel/hospitality operations business for more than 30 years, has created a PTAC checklist for Innworks’ three properties to follow in order to maintain good PTAC systems.

Clements gives the Innworks’ GMs and the maintenance staff a checklist each month for PTAC maintenance. Every room’s PTAC is checked at least once a month and as needed.
The cleaner the PTACs are, the better the units run and the lower the utility costs are, Clements said.

◾ Each month, every PTAC filter is cleaned.
◾ Drip trays are cleaned every month or as needed because “they can smell,” Clements said.
◾ The coils are cleaned twice a year or as needed.
◾ The outside grills are checked regularly to make sure none of them are bent, which affects air flow.

“This is just the basics that should be taken care of,” Clements said. “Air conditioners can last a significant amount of time — as long as you take care of them properly.”

Clements has a sign-off form that each GM needs to check off on each month. Several times a year Clements visits each property and checks the units in each room, among other maintenance checks.

Every PTAC manufacturer recommends a complete cleaning of each unit at least once per year or more, if conditions warrant.

In dusty or corrosive environments such as near construction sites or salt water, cleaning must be performed more often, sometimes up to four times a year. In addition to cleaning the filters, fans, fan shrouds, drain passages and base pan, all coils in each unit should be thoroughly cleaned.

Recommendations for HVAC, PTAC maintenance and prolonging product life

Keep the unit clean.  Dirty filters impede the flow of air across the (indoor) evaporator coil. This makes the heat exchange process less efficient and forces the compressor to run longer to achieve the desired temperature.

■  It is recommended that the air filter be cleaned twice a month or more depending on the environmental conditions using lukewarm water.
■  The chassis/coils should be cleaned every three to four months depending on environmental conditions. Nonpressurized water and a mild detergent are recommended for cleaning.
■  Do not use any cleaner containing acetone or ammonia,  that is alkaline-based or any acidic cleaners.

Make sure the housekeeping staff adjusts the temperature when they are cleaning a room. If they continually forget to do this, you can have units running anywhere from 12 – 14 hours per day with no occupants; this wastes large amounts of money and energy.
Watch for signs of poor working order. Banging noises are a sure indicator that the unit is in need of service. To ignore this problem will lead to unit failure.

If the unit seems to be running all the time or overly long, this is a clear indication of a problem. If this happens, the unit is not reaching the temperature set point or is operating inefficiently. Have the unit repaired immediately so you don’t waste energy or money running a unit that can’t handle the workload.

Source: Ben Broido, national sales manager, PTAC, LG Electronics USA.


Are your PTAC units in proper shape to keep guests cool?

Many Choice Hotels International franchisees use packaged terminal air conditioning systems to heat and cool their guestrooms. PTACs help franchisees reduce utility costs because the systems are localized and only heat and cool occupied rooms. But proper maintenance and cleaning are essential to keep these systems working efficiently and to ensure that every guest has a pleasant stay.

PTACs that are not cleaned regularly have a tendency to emit odors that guests often find unacceptable. In fact, many Choice franchisees have failed QAR inspections due to poor maintenance of their PTACs.

Most PTAC manufacturers recommend a complete cleaning at least once a year. If local conditions warrant, cleanings may be required up to four times each year. Frequent cleanings are particularly important in dusty or corrosive environments, such as near construction sites or salt water. A well-maintained PTAC system could last seven to 10 years, with that figure dropping significantly when units are neglected.

PTAC filters, fans, fan shrouds, drain passages and base pans can be cleaned with basic equipment — bristle brushes, towels and vacuum cleaners are usually sufficient. Keeping the filters clean is essential for energy efficiency. Dirty filters can restrict airflow, which makes the engine work much harder. In addition to using more energy, this could shorten the life of the PTAC system.

It is also extremely important to clean the base pan. The most common cause of unpleasant odors from PTAC systems is the accumulation of condensation. If water sits in the base pan for an extended period of time, it becomes stagnant and the base pan becomes a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria.

While cleaning most parts of a PTAC system is fairly simple, cleaning the heating and cooling coils is not. This process usually requires that the PTAC system be removed from the wall and taken to a remote work area. The chemicals used to clean coils can be toxic. If they are applied to the PTAC system in a guestroom, the chemicals could get onto carpeting, curtains or upholstered surfaces. This could be dangerous for future guests and it could damage the fabric.

While some companies sell products that they claim make it easy to clean the coils in the guestrooms, hotel operators should take every precaution to ensure health and safety. This usually means removing PTAC systems from guestrooms prior to cleaning so that the chemicals can be applied and discarded safely.

Removal of the systems from the wall requires care to ensure that electrical cords and other PTAC components are not damaged. Removal of PTAC units typically requires two people because PTACs can weigh 150 pounds or more.

Hotels with large engineering or maintenance staffs typically handle PTAC cleaning themselves. Smaller properties often hire contractors because the hotels may not have the equipment or personnel necessary to move and clean the systems properly. When PTACs are removed from guestrooms for cleaning, the rooms are unusable for at least one day, sometimes longer.

When the systems are returned to the guestrooms, the maintenance staff should check for anything near the PTACs that could restrict airflow. Trees or shrubs on the outside of the hotel may need to be trimmed, and mulch or debris may have to be removed. Inside the room, furniture should not be positioned too close to the system.

These simple maintenance suggestions should help franchisees extend the life and performance of their PTAC systems. Guests will have more comfortable visits and owners can reduce their operating costs. Proper PTAC maintenance is a winning proposition for everyone.

Source: Choice Hotels International.

Cleaning PTAC coils efficiently

Various methods have been used to clean the coils in a PTAC, including the use of a soft bristle brush and vacuum or blower, a garden hose and pump spray bottle, pressure washers and steam cleaners. Traditionally, the PTAC is removed from its wall sleeve and taken to a remote work area where cleaning is performed. This cleaning process is time consuming and leaves the room unusable until the PTAC is reinstalled. Additionally, extra care must be taken to protect electrical components from overspray when hoses, steam cleaners or pressure washers are used.

What temperature should I set my thermostat to in the winter to save money?

Find out the best temperature to heat your home and more ways your thermostat can help save you money this winter.

Is there a perfect temperature to set your thermostat?

Constantly battling with your significant other over what temperature to heat your home? Good news, we’ve found an ideal temperature that keeps things cozy and saves energy too.

SET YOUR THERMOSTAT TO 68 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT IN THE WINTER

According to ENERGY STAR, setting your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) when you’re home is the ideal balance of comfort and energy efficiency. So why is 68 degrees the magic number? The energy saving key is lowering the temperature (about 10-12 degrees Fahrenheit or 6-8 degrees Celsius) at night or when you’re away.

DON’T TURN THAT DIAL!

You can save as much as 10% a year in heating and cooling costs by turning back thermostats 7 – 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day. Constantly raising or lowering the temperature throughout the day or forgetting to set it to the proper temperature can actually cost you more over time.

WHERE YOU PLACE YOUR THERMOSTAT MATTERS

Knowing the ideal home temperature and using your thermostat correctly won’t matter if you place it in the wrong part of your home. An interior wall, ideally near the center of the house is the best place for your thermostat. Also, keep in mind which rooms people use most since these are the rooms where you want the temperature to be the most comfortable.

5 AREAS TO AVOID WHEN PLACING YOUR THERMOSTAT

  1. Areas in direct sunlight
  2. Locations above air vents
  3. Kitchens
  4. Hallways
  5. Near doors or windows

UPGRADE YOUR THERMOSTAT TO SAVE

Today’s more energy efficient heating and cooling systems can deliver whole home comfort while using less energy. But to get the most out of them, it’s best to pair them with an updated thermostat. While you can manually set your thermostat daily, programmable or “smart” thermostats can help you achieve energy savings, especially when you’re away from home.

PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS
Programmable thermostats allow you to set a variety of temperature preferences during the day for each day of the week. As great as programmable thermostats are – they only work if you use them properly. If you constantly adjust the temperature (or your significant other does) you’ll end up spending more, not less, on your energy bill.

SMART THERMOSTATS
Why not take the human element out of it and upgrade to a connected, smart home thermostat. These next-gen thermostats do more than just keep your home warm and cozy all winter (which they do very well), they learn your patterns and automatically adjust the temperature for max efficiency and energy savings. You can program them remotely, get real-time performance alerts and even hide the digital display with a screen saver of your choice. When connected, you can control lights, locks and several other smart home appliances. Check out the Trane ComfortLink™ II XL1050 or ask your local Trane Dealer to recommend the best thermostat for your home.

The Difference Between Flexible And Metal Ductwork

flexible-ductwork-metal-ductwork.jpg

Kaempf & Harris’ sheet metal fabricators give you an inside look at the basics and differences between metal and flexible ducts.
What’s a metal duct?
 
Metal ducts (also called rigid or hard ducts) offer a more permanent solution to a commercial HVAC systemGalvanized steel and aluminum ductwork last longer. This is especially true when proper maintenance occurs on a regular schedule. 
 
It requires computerized design, measurements, and careful ductwork installation. Experts consider the existing components of the commercial building’s heating and cooling system. These considerations include the furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, and more. 
 
The width-to-height ratio in a commercial building is also a consideration. It should provide space for metal ducts to optimize energy efficiency and performance. 
 
What’s a flexible duct?
 
Flexible or flex duct is an integral part of an air conditioning system. The flexible ducting connects the heating and cooling system ductwork to the air distributionThis is comprised of grills and registers that are mounted in a commercial building’s ceiling or walls.
 
Flex duct is convenient for attaching supply air outlets to more rigid ductwork made from sheet metal. It’s often attached with long zip ties or metal band clamps. 
 
Rubber, PVC, stainless steel, silicone, polyurethane, and neoprene-dipped polyester fabric are popular types of flexible ductwork material
 
Rubber, PVC, stainless steel, and silicone are best for commercial buildings in extreme climatesThis is because of an inherent resistance to heat and cooling ensures long-lasting productivity. Rubber and polyurethane offer the best abrasive resistance.
 
Silicon can’t handle interior damage during extreme weather resistance. Yet, silicon and PVC offer the highest quality for air handling environments. This is because each offers flexibility for any heavy duty hose. 
 
How do these ductwork designs differ?
  • Price. Because metal ductwork lasts longer than flex duct, it’s more costly to create, transport, and install.
  • Flexibility. Flex ducts are better for existing trunk-and-branch heating and cooling systems. This is because they’re more versatile and flexible. Metal ducts are more rigid due to the nature of steel, making them ideal to build an entire HVAC system. 
  • Installation. In comparison to metal duct, flex duct is easier and faster to install. Yet, this leaves more room for contractor error. Contractor error can cost you in high energy bills, excess maintenance, or sudden repairs and replacements.

    Metal duct is a pricey upfront investment for a commercial building, yet it saves money by maintaining high indoor air quality and regulating indoor temperature – no matter the outdoor climate
Which is best for your commercial building?
 
A lot of contractors have issues with flex duct because a lot of ductwork installation jobs with flex are haphazardAccording to Green Building Advisor, the most common problems are the following: 
  • Kinks and sharp turns
  • Lengthy and unsupported duct runs
  • Radial systems with an excess number of ducts coming off the plenum
  • Unmeasured takeoffs that are too close
  • Extra duct length
  • Poor fastened and sealed connections
  • Unsupported butt joints
While flex ducts work best for short runs in a trunk-and-branch system, metal duct works best for entire air distribution systems.
Metal ductwork needs design, measurement, and installation by or with the help of an HVAC professionalMetal also offers a lower resistance to airflow, and many of the problems listed above are irrelevant to sheet metal rigidness
 
The choice depends on what you’re looking for in an HVAC system. Factors include location, number of building occupants, square footage, and more. Talk to a sheet metal fabricator or HVAC technician about your commercial building. 

5 HVAC TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS EVERY HOMEOWNER SHOULD KNOW

At this point it shouldn’t be surprising that in order to have your HVAC system function effectively it needs to be properly maintained. Proper maintenance includes; regular maintenance checks, changing air filters throughout your home, and calling professionals when you detect any issues with your system. Even if you do all of these things it’s possible that your HVAC system will suffer from minor problems. What can you as a homeowner do to troubleshoot some of the issues?

Tip 1: Check the Air Filters

You should check and replace your air filters every 2-3 months, that means you should always have a few spare air filters on hand. Changing the air filters in your home will help ensure the unit is running properly. It also helps improve your home’s air quality. Air filters that aren’t frequently changed force your system to work harder and circulate common household allergens such as pollen, debris, and pet hair.

Tip 2: Check the Outside Unit

It’s likely that when you think about checking your HVAC system you overlook the outside unit. However, this part of your system is extremely important as it is the central point for airflow throughout your home. Obviously because the unit is located outside debris such as leaves and branches can get stuck within the unit causing it to suffocate. Removing the debris from in and around the unit will help to keep the system running more efficiently.

Tip 3: Monitor Your Thermostat Usage

There are a couple notes to make about your thermostat. If you suspect there may be a problem with your HVAC unit then monitoring your thermostat may answer your questions. If you set your thermostat and find that the temperature doesn’t adjust accordingly that could be a sign your unit is not functioning properly.* It’s also important to note that you should set your thermostat at a constant temperature at all times. Around 68-70 degrees is ideal year round, constant temperature fluctuation may cause problems for your system.

*Note: If your unit doesn’t adjust properly to the temperature you set it may also be a sign that your thermostat batteries need changed.

Tip 4: Make Sure the Unit has Power

Although this seems obvious, sometimes it won’t be obvious if you’ve lost power. During a storm or due to some issues in your area you may not realize your power is out until it gets really hot or really cold in your home. If you think the power to your unit is not on then you can do a quick check of your breaker box.

Tip 5: Fighting High Utility Bills 

We’d all like to save some money, and saving money on your utility bills seems like a great place to start. You may find that you pay close attention to your utility bill, and there will be obvious increases during heavy usage times (i.e the summer). However, if you start seeing unexpected increases in your bill that may indicate there’s a problem with your HVAC system.

Overall, there are lots of ways that you can keep your HVAC system working its best. Not only that but these tips may help you notice an issue with your system. We recommends regular maintenance on your HVAC system by a professional to ensure the system is functioning efficiently. If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Signs That You Need a New HVAC System

In the US and around the globe, the majority of the warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.

Understanding HVAC system costs | Tennessee Mechanical Corporation

As climate change affects everything from temperatures to extreme weather, being able to control the climate of our homes becomes increasingly important. Because it heats your home during the winter and cools it in the summer, your HVAC system is essential to your comfort.

But when is it time for a new HVAC system?

If you think you’re HVAC isn’t working as well as it should be, it may be time for a replacement. We’ll tell you what signs to look for before replacing your old system – and why it’s a good idea to do so. Keep reading for more.

5 Signs You Need a New HVAC System

If you notice any of these 5 signs, it’s time to replace your old HVAC system for a new model.

1. Increased Running Time

When your system gets old and requires a replacement, you’ll notice that it starts up more often. It might also stay on longer in order to reach the desired temperature.

It can be caused by bad coils as well as a failing blower motor. So check these parts before ordering a new installation.

If your coils and blower motor are fine, then these are signs that your HVAC system can no longer produce and circulate the air in your home efficiently. As a result, it requires more time to reach the desired temperature.

If, even after repairs, your system runs for a significantly longer period of time more often than it used to, it’s time to replace the unit.

2. Loud Noises

It’s normal for older HVAC systems to get louder with age. But when you notice that the following noises, it might be a sign that you need a replacement:

  • the blower is humming louder
  • the outdoor unit is making more noise
  • the furnace is groaning and banging
  • noise before the air conditioner starts up

Some of these noises can be explained by a loose part or a part that needs to be replaced. Others may be related to problems with fans, motors, blowers, and other moving parts. But if the odd noises increase or remain after repair, it’s likely that it’s time to replace your system.

3. Lots of Repairs

A lot of the individual parts in an HVAC system are repairable and replaceable. But all HVAC systems will eventually wear out and require complete replacement.

And when a compressor, motor, or coil fails, replacement is far more worth it than repairing. The cost of parts, as well as labor for repairing these essential components of your system, are high.

While the upfront cost of an entirely new system seems like a lot, the cost of constant repairs when one of these parts fails isn’t worth it in the long term. That money is better invested in an entirely new system. And when you get that system, be sure to have a professional help you maintain it to extend the life of your investment.

4. You Don’t Perform Regular Maintenance

Most people don’t realize the importance of performing regular maintenance and checks on their HVAC system. Checking your HVAC system at least once per year ensures they’re working safely and efficiently.

Maintenance helps you catch problems before they lead to bigger issues. It keeps your system in the best working order to increase its lifespan. If you don’t perform regularly scheduled maintenance, it’s more likely that the problem has reached a point of no return.

If you notice a dangerous pilot light situation, frayed or exposed wires and conduits, or other visible damage, your HVAC system may actually be posing a safety risk in your home.

5. Your HVAC System Is 10+ Years Old

If you maintain your HVAC system properly, it might last you a little longer than a decade. Without maintenance, a 10-year-old HVAC system is considered outdated, inefficient, and a good candidate for replacement.

Beyond the 10 year mark, you can expect an HVAC system to start costing you in repairs. They’ll also cost you more in energy bills as they lose efficiency.

Even the most state-of-the-art technology from 10+ years ago doesn’t come close to matching the energy efficiency of today’s systems. Newer units also have digitized and programmable thermostats that are easy to use and help make your home smarter.

Why You Should Replace Your HVAC

What is HVAC System - What Does HVAC Stand For

The initial cost of an HVAC system is high, but there are many ways you benefit from a new system. In case you need some convincing on the initial investment, we’ve listed all the reasons you should replace your HVAC when the time comes.

Energy Costs

It’s inevitable that your HVAC system becomes too old and/or damaged to work the way it once did. When an HVAC system becomes inefficient, it uses more energy to reach the desired temperature. As it uses more and more energy to create conditioned air, you’ll notice that your energy bills continue to increase.

If you’re spending money on maintenance and your energy bills continue to rise, you need a new HVAC system. Replacing your old unit with a new HVAC system could save you anywhere between 20% and 40% on home cooling costs.

Outdated Technology

In the last 25 years, the air conditioning industry has shifted the refrigerants they use. While old HVAC systems used R-22 refrigerant (aka Freon), new units utilize R-410A (aka Puron).

Puron keeps your unit running cooler because it absorbs and releases heat more efficiently than R-22. In addition, R-410A is able to function at a higher pressure than R-22.

Air conditioning units have to be built specifically for R-410A refrigerant. Because of the benefits of this refrigerant, these units are less likely to burn out their compressors. They’re also better able to withstand cracking and other stresses.

Replacing your old HVAC system with a new system means you’ll get more reliability from your unit. As a bonus, these new units are better able to control dust, excess humidity, allergens, and mold. Ensuring that your family is safe and comfortable while you save on efficiency costs.

Get it Right

Replacing your HVAC system gives you a chance to get it right in terms of installation as well as the unit you’re using in your home.

In terms of installation, if your current unit wasn’t installed by a professional, it’s possible that the unit and ductwork weren’t done properly. That means that your HVAC system could be both faulty and dangerous.

Replacing your HVAC system gives you an opportunity to have it properly installed. That means that the measurements, angles, and electrical installation were all done correctly and to code. It gives you the best chance of having an operable and efficient system from the start.

Replacing your HVAC system also allows you to choose the right unit for your home. If your system was in before you moved into the home, it’s possible that the previous owners tried to save money by installing a smaller unit than your home requires.

When your HVAC system isn’t powerful enough to cool and heat your home, it’s inefficient and costly. Replacing it with the correct size can save you money and make your home more comfortable.

Higher Resale Value

If you’re planning on selling your home, remember that smart home buyers will look at your HVAC system when making an offer. They can ask for a significant discount on the asking price in exchange for having to repair an old or damaged HVAC system. Replacing your HVAC system prior to your sale can help you get more for your home.

New HVAC System Cost

The cost of a new HVAC system depends on a number of factors. Most importantly, it’s dependent on the square footage of a home. But it can also vary depending on the local costs of installation in your area.

A homeowner can expect to pay anywhere between $6,000 to $12,000 for a new HVAC system. This could include the cost of a new furnace, ductwork, as well as an air conditioning unit.

That price may increase depending on the complexity of the setup, the efficiency of the system, and the exact square footage of the home.

Additional Costs of a New HVAC System

The cost of the system itself is only 1 cost to consider when looking for a new HVAC system. You must also consider the following costs:

Base Upgrade

The outdoor unit of an HVAC system typically sits on a base. When replacing your HVAC system, you might consider replacing this pad. That’s especially true in the case that the new unit is larger or smaller than your old unit.

Insulation

To ensure your HVAC system operates as efficiently as possible, you’ll need to have the proper insulation in your home. The appropriate amount of insulation is dependent on the size of the room.

Electrical Work

When installing your new HVAC system, you may need to upgrade the circuit breaker box, breakers, wiring, and service panel. You may need to hire an electrician to do this work if your HVAC installer isn’t licensed to perform electrical work.

Maintenance Costs

To make sure you get the most out of your HVAC system for the longest time possible, you’ll have to schedule regular maintenance. The cost of maintenance should be considered with your initial investment.

However, most HVAC units come with a warranty or service agreement that covers problems for a specific period of time. Any costs incurred while under this time frame shouldn’t be added to your initial bill.

At some point, those costs will come from your pocket. Think about buying an extended warranty plan to cover any problems that arise down the road.

Preparing to Install a New HVAC System

Before purchasing a new HVAC system and installation, there are a few things you can do to prepare. These will help offset the costs of your installation and being prepared will make the process run more smoothly.

Before an HVAC installation, perform the following check-ups:

  • Inspect your HVAC ductwork for any issues. Inform your installer of these prior to installation.
  • Look for holes in your ductwork or detachment. Inform your installer of these prior to installation.
  • Look for dirt and debris buildup and have your ducts cleaned prior to installation.

The importance of proper ductwork can’t be understated. Even the most efficient HVAC units can’t do their job properly if there are problems with ductwork. It’s not uncommon for ducts to deteriorate with age, so having them serviced ensures that your system is working to it’s greatest efficiency.

Is It Time to Replace Your HVAC System?

Guide to Air Conditioners

You’ll know your old HVAC system is ready to call it quits when you notice it’s running for longer periods more often or it’s making a lot of noise. If you’re having to perform constant repairs or the unit is more than 10 years old, chances are it’s time for a replacement. The cost of paying for repairs outweighs the cost of a new system when you’ve reached this point in your HVAC system lifespan.

And while a new HVAC system carries a large upfront cost, it can make your home more efficient and save you money in the long run. It also ensures your home is not only comfortable but safe. So when it’s time to replace your HVAC system, contact us for more information on how we can help you.

5 Reasons Why Every Building Should Have an HVAC System

HVAC systems are responsible for the regulation of heat, airflow, ventilation, and air conditioning of an entire building. You won’t see the machines when you enter the building but you will most certainly feel the effects of a comfortable and well-ventilated workplace.

Here are some of the top reasons why business owners opt to have reliable HVAC systems in place for their office buildings.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning - Wikipedia

  • HVAC systems control the overall climate in the building. They also make the proper adjustments whenever we experience changes in outdoor temperature. During the winter season, the HVAC systems (mainly the boilers or heaters) work to keep the indoor temperature at a comfortable level. In hotter times of the season, the HVAC systems regulate air temperature by providing the necessary cooling to keep the entire building comfortable.
  • Having a comfortable office climate increases the level of productivity and increases morale amongst the workers and employees. If you let your people work in settings conducive for work, they will surely be motivated to perform better because they feel good in their work environment. No employee will enjoy working in an office where it is freezing, or in an office where you frequently have to ignore your perspiration just to focus on your computer screen. Having a proper HVAC system installed is guaranteed to make your employees happy, hence, giving you better work results in return.
  • HVAC systems not only regulate the temperature inside the building, they also improve the quality of air. The quality of air pertains to humidity, and a typical HVAC system will reduce the amount of humidity in the air so your workers and employees can continue enjoying a cozy and pleasant atmosphere at work.
  • Proper HVAC systems are a worthy investment for any business or building owner because it gives you energy savings. HVAC systems today are automated, which means you no longer have to manually adjust the temperature settings or the time settings of each machine. Given that your entire HVAC system operates in an automated system, proper adjustments will be made right when they are needed. This makes your energy consumption more efficient as it gets rid of energy wasted on improper settings.

Automated HVAC systems can also tell when your workers or employees are no longer in the building. It will then automatically decrease the amount of energy used to maintain proper indoor temperatures.

  • Another important contribution HVAC systems have on the workplace is that it is believed to also lower the attrition rate of employees. Studies on corporate workplace behavior and employee motivations suggest that workers are more enticed to keep coming to work if their office is properly cooled and/or heated. Having the proper temperature at work is seen to be one of the most understated factors for building a solid team at work.

How HVAC Systems Are Getting Even Smarter | Knowledge Centre | Essentra  Components UK

Not all HVAC systems are created and installed equally, which is why it is also important to consider the tenure and skills of the HVAC team you will be hiring. Setting up your building for HVAC automation will require the following intricate processes: reviewing the overall building design, reviewing the construction and installation of each heating and cooling component, an inspection of the entire building, provision of a startup checklist, testing the air and water for balance, end-to-end testing to achieve fail-proof operations, as well as troubleshooting each part of the HVAC system to fully prepare it for day-to-day operations.

All of these tasks will require further fine-tuning to ensure that everything is in its place, and that each part is performing its most basic function. Once your HVAC system has been installed, you can then rely on your chosen HVAC team to respond to your calls any time of the day.

If you are looking for the perfect corporate and industrial team to automate your building’s HVAC system, contact us for more information.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS November 21, 2018 Traver Freeman

Learning more about climate control systems and HVAC appliances helps to ensure that property owners are able to navigate their equipment options and make effective decisions with greater ease.

Understanding basic information can often go a long way, especially for those who have little experience with their newest piece of equipment or technology.

Home and property owners would do well to learn the basic differences between various climate-control equipment, home appliances, and heating and cooling systems.

Heating Equipment

The furnace is the most essential component of any heating system.

While these appliances may be powered by either gas or electricity, they operate using the same basic principles. Furnaces generate heat which is then circulated throughout the home through a series of ducts and vents.

Space heaters are very similar to furnaces but operate on a much smaller scale.

These devices are ideal for providing room and area-specific heating and may either work together with a larger furnace to produce a greater output or individually.

While gas-powered radiators serve the same function and do exist, the added cost of installing gas-delivery pipes has made them a less economical option than their space heating counterpart in recent years.

 

Cooling Systems

Air conditioners function using a substance known as refrigerant which is compressed and circulated throughout the system in order to transfer and ultimately remove unwanted heat from the environment. It does so by using a series of coils and cooling fins.

Central AC units are large enough to cool the entire home and several core components of its system, such as the compressor, fan and condenser coils, are typically located in a self-contained unit which is installed outside of the home.

Portable stand-alone and window-mounted AC units are very similar to space heaters in range, but their purpose is to cool the environment rather than provide a source of warmth.

Ideal for smaller homes as well as specific rooms and areas where a larger AC system may be unable to fit or cool effectively, these units need to be installed in a window or attached to a vent in order to ventilate heat safely outside the home.

Other Climate Control Equipment

While full-featured climate-control systems utilize both an air conditioning unit for cooling as well as a separate furnace or heater, such systems often utilize the same peripheral components.

The ducts and fans that are used to circulate air throughout the home are used by both heating and cooling systems.

Other components, such as air filtration systems, which can eliminate debris and foreign particles that may be circulating within the system or throughout the home, may also be incorporated into a climate control system.

Superior Equipment Ensures Superior Comfort

Equipment that is outdated, inadequate for the needs of the household, or that may have begun to suffer from a variety of mechanical issues can make it all but impossible to maintain an ideal temperature.

Possessing a better base-level understanding of your HVAC components, home appliances, and climate-control equipment ensures that you will be able to seek out and select the best options for your building’s needs when the time comes.

From more dependable system performance to finding equipment and appliances that are able to provide more efficient home heating and cooling, understanding the difference between heating and cooling systems is a concern that no home or property owner can afford to ignore.

8 HVAC Tips for Homeowners

7 Important HVAC Questions to Ask Your Contractor

1.  Keep up with routine maintenance

If you don’t already have a proactive maintenance program for your HVAC system, it’s a good idea to schedule semi-annual service with a qualified HVAC service company.
They can make sure your system is operating at its most efficient settings and that parts or components are in good working order.
2.  Operate your HVAC system at optimum and stable temperatures
The temperature you set your thermostat is largely a matter of personal comfort, but many systems have optimum temperature ranges that ensure they’re using energy efficiently.
Consult your owner’s manual or with your service technician to find out the most energy-efficient temperature range.
It’s also a good idea to avoid fluctuating temperatures too frequently, as this can make your HVAC system work harder and less efficiently.
3.  Seal your home from drafts
Most people think about stopping air infiltration in colder winter months, but it’s also crucial during AC season.
Any air leak in your home robs your HVAC system of efficiency since that heated or cooled air is lost.
Ensure that all windows are shut and that doors have good weather seals before turning on the HVAC system.
4.  Beef up your installation
Particularly in older homes, inadequate insulation is another factor that can lead to losing heated or cooled air from the HVAC system.
If you’re unsure about your home’s insulation levels, consult with an energy auditor or insulation professional for guidance.
5.  Turn down the thermostat
Setting the thermostat to the coolest temperature in the winter or highest temperature you find comfortable can seem like a small step, but the energy savings can be substantial.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing your home’s temperature 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours at a time during the heating season can save you 5 to 15 percent in heating bills each year.
6.  Use a programmable thermostat
If you don’t have, installing a programmable thermostat one can go a long way in to help reduce energy use when you’re not home.
The less your HVAC system has to work to maintain comfortable temperature levels that aren’t necessary because no one is home, the more savings you’ll see on your heating or cooling bill.
7.  Change your filters regularly
Changing your HVAC system’s air filters once a month, or as directed by the furnace or filter manufacturer, helps ensure your system has smooth, uninterrupted air flow.
New filters can help your system work more efficiently, saving you money in the process. For example, new filters in your air conditioner can account for an energy consumption savings of 5 to 15 percent.
8.  Use window treatments to help control temperature
Window coverings can have a big effect on your home’s heating or cooling load.
In cooler months, harness the sun’s free warmth by keeping curtains, blinds or drapes open on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight in.
Close them at night to add an extra layer of insulation between the glass and your home interior.
In the summer, keep window coverings closed during the day to reduce temperatures.
History of Air Conditioning | A Brief HVAC History - When & How {TImeline}
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TOP TEN THINGS CONSUMERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AIR CONDITIONING

What is Air Conditioning?

Can Air Conditioning Transmit the Coronavirus? | Wirecutter

The first functional definition of air-conditioning was created in 1908 and is credited to G. B. Wilson. It is the definition that Willis Carrier, the “father of air conditioning” subscribed to:

  • Maintain suitable humidity in all parts of a building
  • Free the air from excessive humidity during certain seasons
  • Supply a constant and adequate supply of ventilation
  • Efficiently remove from the air micro-organisms, dust, soot, and other foreign bodies
  • Efficiently cool room air during certain seasons
  • Heat or help heat the rooms in winter
  • An apparatus that is not cost-prohibitive in purchase or maintenance

HOW AN AIR CONDITIONER WORKS

A Homeowner's Guide to Air Conditioner Repairs - Modern Diplomacy

The job of your home air conditioner is move heat from inside your home to the outside, thereby cooling you and your home. Air conditioners blow cool air into your home by pulling the heat out of that air. The air is cooled by blowing it over a set of cold pipes called an evaporator coil. This works just like the cooling that happens when water evaporates from your skin. The evaporator coil is filled with a special liquid called a refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs heat from the air. The refrigerant is pumped outside the house to another coil where it gives up its heat and changes back into a liquid. This outside coil is called the condenser because the refrigerant is condensing from a gas back to a fluid just like moisture on a cold window. A pump, called a compressor, is used to move the refrigerant between the two coils and to change the pressure of the refrigerant so that all the refrigerant evaporates or condenses in the appropriate coils.

The energy to do all of this is used by the motor that runs the compressor. The entire system will normally give about three times the cooling energy that the compressor uses. This odd fact happens because the changing of refrigerant from a liquid to a gas and back again lets the system move much more energy than the compressor uses.


WHAT A ‘TON’ OF COOLING IS

Before refrigeration air conditioning was invented, cooling was done by saving big blocks of ice. When cooling machines started to get used, they rated their capacity by the equivalent amount of ice melted in a day, which is where the term “ton” came from sizing air conditioning.

A ton of cooling is now defined as delivering 12,000 BTU/hour of cooling. BTU is short for British Thermal Unit (and is a unit that the British do not use) The BTU is a unit of heating – or in this case, cooling – energy. It’s more important, however, to keep in perspective that a window air conditioner is usually less than one ton. A small home central air conditioner would be about two tons and a large one about five tons.


WHAT GOES WRONG

Unlike most furnaces, air conditioners are complex mechanical systems that depend on a wide variety of conditions to work correctly. They are sized to meet a certain “load” on the house. They are designed to have certain amount of refrigerant, known as the “charge”. They are designed to have a certain amount of air flow across the coils. When any of these things changes, the system will have problems.

If you produce more heat indoors either from having more people or appliances or because of changes in the house, the air conditioning may not be able to keep up.

If the refrigerant charge on the system leaks out, it lowers the capacity of the system. You will simply get less cooling and system will not be able to keep up when the load gets high.

If airflow across the outdoor (condenser) coil is reduced, the ability to reject heat outdoors is reduced and the again the capacity of the system may go down, especially at higher outdoor temperatures.<

In dry climates such as the Southwest United States, the same issues happen with regard to the indoor (evaporator) coil: higher airflow helps, lower airflow hurts. In humid climates, the situation is more complex. At higher airflows, there will be less dehumidification, leading to high indoor humidities. If the airflow gets too low, however, the evaporator coil may freeze. This makes performance worse and can damage the compressor until it fails – leaving you with an expensive repair bill and no cooling!


WHAT THOSE FILTERS DO

Why It&#39;s So Important to Change Your Air Filter Regularly

Almost every air conditioning system has a filter upstream of the evaporator coil. This can be in the return grille or in special slots in the duct system and can be a fuzzy-looking or a folded paper filter. This filter removes particles from the air stream to both keep the air conditioning system clean and to remove particles from the air.

As the filter does its job, it gets loaded with more and more particles. This actually has the effect of making it more efficient, but it also increases resistance and reducing airflow. When this happens, it is time to change the filter. How long it will take to happen depends on how dirty the air is and how big the filter is.

If you don’t change the filter, the air flow will go down, and the system will not perform well. Not only that, but if the filter is too dirty, it starts to become a source or air pollution itself.

If you take the filter out completely, you would solve the low air flow problem, but this victory would be short lived. The particles that the filter would have taken out will now build up on your evaporator coil and eventually cause it to fail. A new filter is a lot cheaper.

When you do buy a new filter, ASHRAE recommends getting one with a Minimum Efficiency Rating Value of MERV 6 or higher.


MAINTAIN THE SYSTEM

Routine maintenance such as changing filters can be handled by most consumers, but others require professional service.

It’s a good idea to brush dirt and obstructions from the coils and the drains at the start of each cooling season. Depending on the system and the consumer, this may require a service call from a professional.

If the system is not producing as much cold air as is normal, it could also be an indication of a refrigerant charge or airflow problems. These problems may require servicing.


DUCTS MATTER – A LOT

Another reason systems may appear not to be producing enough cold air is because of duct leakage. Duct leakage can sap 20 to 40% of the energy out of even a well-operating air conditioner, if the ducts pass outside the cooled space (this includes attics, crawlspaces and garages). Ducts outside need to be well insulated. Various products exist specifically for insulating ducts that can be installed by a keen home owner or a professional contractor.

You might be able to get an extra half ton of air conditioner capacity for free, if you seal your leaky ducts. If the ducts are accessible, handy consumers can seal ducts with mastic—that white sticky stuff you can paint on the ducts. Otherwise you would need a professional to seal the ducts.


HOW TO INCREASE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Sealing leaky ducts may be the biggest single thing you can do to improve efficiency, but a lot of the issues mentioned above will help as well: replace dirty filters, keep the right charge and airflow, clean the coils.

Another thing to do is to make sure the outdoor (condenser) unit is not so hidden from sight that its air flow is blocked or that leaves or other matter are not clogging it.

If you are replacing the air conditioner, look to buy high efficiency equipment. The most generally known efficiency rating is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). SEER 13 is the minimum efficiency you should consider, but higher efficiencies are likely to be quite cost effective.

Depending on your climate, you may wish to consider other efficiency numbers as well. For example, in hot, dry climates you should look at the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) which says how well the system will work at peak conditions. If you live in a hot, humid climate you need to consider how well the unit can dehumidify.<


LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD

You can make your air conditioner work better by reducing the size of the job it has to do. You can do this by improving the building or reducing the internally generated loads that your air conditioner must deal with.

Improving the building “envelope” includes things such increasing insulation levels or shading windows or reducing air leakage. Such improvements will reduce energy spent on heating and cooling, but may require substantial time or investment. When putting in a new roof or new windows, it is usually cost effective to use high-efficiency products. “Cool” roofing, for example, can save half a ton of cooling and a lot of energy over the year.

Reducing internal loads can be simpler. Shut off unneeded electrical appliances, lights and equipment. Shift appliance use (such as washers and dryers) to cooler times of the day. Use local exhaust fans to remove heat and humidity from kitchens and baths. Buying Energy Star or similarly efficiency appliances helps as well.

In some climates other techniques can be used to reduce the load on the air conditioner. In dry climates evaporative air conditions (the modern version of what used to be called “swamp coolers”) can provide substantial cooling. In climates with large temperature swings, such as the hot, dry climates, you can reduce the load by bringing in large amounts of cool outdoor air. Such systems can be called “night cooling” “ventilative cooling” or “residential economizers”.


VENTILATE

The previous points have focused on cooling, but the original definition of air conditioning contains more than that; an ideal air conditioner should heat, cool, clean, ventilate, humidify and dehumidify as needed to provide health and comfort. In fact the second most important objective of the original definition is to provide ventilation. Whether or not the piece of equipment we call an air conditioner provides it, ventilation is needed.

Without adequate ventilation, contaminants generated indoors will can lead to significant health and comfort problems. ASHRAE recommends that there be at least enough ventilation to exchange the air inside house once every four hours, depending on house design.
Older homes tend to have leakier walls and leakier ducts and mostly get sufficient ventilation through such leakage. Such leakage and infiltration may not be the most energy efficient approach to ventilation and is an opportunity for savings.

Most new homes and some existing homes are relatively tight and thus require mechanical ventilation to meet minimum ventilation requirements.


IT’S NOT THE HEAT, IT’S THE HUMIDITY

Humidity control was the problem that originally spurred the need for air conditioning. Lack of humidity control in hot, humid climates, in particular, can lead to mold growth and other moisture-related problems. High indoor humidities can lead to health and comfort problems.

Modern air conditioners dehumidify as they cool; you can see that by the water that drains away, but this dehumidification is incidental to their main job of controlling temperature. They cannot independently control both temperature and humidity.

In hot, humid climates the incidental dehumidification that occurs may not always be enough to keep the indoor humidity conditions acceptable. (ASHRAE recommends roughly a 60% relative humidity maximum at 78F.) The maximum dehumidification happens not at the hot times of the year—when the air conditioner is running a lot—but at mild times of the year when the air conditioner runs very little.

Although there are some leading edge air conditioning systems that promise to independently control humidity, conventional systems may not be able to sufficiently control the problem and can cause comfort or mold problems in certain situations. Some current high-end systems have enhanced dehumidification, but when the existing system cannot sufficiently dehumidify, it may be necessary to buy a stand-alone dehumidifier. ... Read More

Air Conditioning Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide (2021 Update)

Air Conditioning Maintenance_ The Ultimate Guide

You rely on your air conditioning system to keep your home cool and comfortable, but your A/C system requires regular maintenance to function efficiently for that to happen.

Just like any other home appliance, it’s normal for your air conditioning unit to experience some wear and tear from regular use and develop mechanical problems at some point during its lifetime.

Keeping your system up and running smoothly requires proper attention to its maintenance and service needs. System maintenance can also save you money and headaches from unexpected breakdowns that can leave you sweaty and fuming!

If you are looking to keep your home comfortable (and who isn’t?), then keeping your A/C running is a must.

Let’s take a look at what you can do and when you need to call in the pros when it comes to air conditioner maintenance…

air-conditioning-maintenance

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Chapter 1

How Your Air Conditioner Works

If you recently moved from a home where you mostly used fans, window-mounted air conditioners or are thinking of installing a central air unit, you may not be too familiar with the central A/C system. Don’t worry… we can help.

Central air conditioning units operate in the same way that your refrigerator does, but on a larger scale. Essentially, your air conditioner quickly converts gas to liquid and back again using chemicals that move the heat in the air from inside your home to outside.

For a more in-depth look at how your A/C unit works, check out these resources.

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Chapter 2

Why Does My A/C Need Maintenance?

Just as your car requires regular maintenance to run smoothly and properly, your A/C also requires regular care. Proactively taking care of your air conditioner not only extends the life of your unit but can also save you a substantial amount of money on repair and replacement costs. Something as simple as changing the air filter in your unit can prolong its efficiency and improve the air quality in your home.

What other steps can you take to keep your unit running like new? Check out these resources to find out:

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Chapter 3

How to Shut Off Your A/C Power

When repairing or installing your A/C unit, it is essential to turn off the power to your unit. Turning off your air conditioner’s power not only protects your equipment and the unit itself but also protects you from getting an electrical shock. Always check to see if you’ve successfully turned off your system by attempting to turn heating and cooling on from your existing thermostat.

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Chapter 4

How to Clean Your Outdoor A/C Condenser Unit

Cleaning your condenser unit outside yearly will increase the efficiency of your air conditioner and protect your investment. This is an easy DIY cleaning project, but you can also hire a professional to clean your unit for you if you don’t have time. Cleaning the condenser is especially important if dandelions grow around your unit or an abundance of leaves or grass clippings.

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Chapter 5

How to Level Your Outdoor A/C Condenser Unit

Moving your air conditioning unit can be a daunting task, but if the unit is not leveled correctly, it may fail to function properly and could cause refrigerant leaks. Be sure to use a level to check your unit at least once a year, as the earth under your unit is constantly changing and settling.

Below are a few resources on how to level your unit:

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Chapter 6

How to Clean Your Evaporator Coil

The Evaporator coils in your A/C unit are essential in cooling your home. Not only do they help cool things off, but they also remove the moisture in the air that causes that sticky humidity. Since these coils are typically moist from the condensation, they can easily collect dust and dirt and become dirty. Dirty coils prevent your central A/C unit from functioning efficiently, but they are also easy to clean.

Here are some helpful resources:

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Chapter 7

What if Your Condensate Drain Line is Clogged?

Remember that evaporator coil we talked about? To prevent all the moisture in that coil from living in your A/C unit, the condensate drain line removes that moisture from the unit. Since this drain line is almost always moist, it’s a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can cause the drain line to get clogged. This is one of the most common reasons a pro is called in to fix an air conditioner, which means cash out of your pocket.

Luckily, this can be prevented with some simple maintenance once or twice a year:

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Chapter 8

Changing Your Blower Filter

Just as your dressers and countertops collect dust, so does the air filter in your air conditioner. Imagine if you never dusted inside your home; it would get pretty stuffy and hard to breathe after a while, right? Well, that’s what’s happening inside your air conditioner if you don’t replace the filters regularly. You’d be surprised how much gunk and dust gets collected in a relatively short time. Fortunately, cleaning your air filter is an easy task and helps your unit run efficiently while also improving your air quality.

thermostat

Chapter 9

Why Use Programmable Thermostats to Adjust Home Temperature

When installed correctly and configured properly, a programmable thermostat will help maintain a comfortable home and adjust the home temperature automatically throughout the day. It can help save money and manage to cool your home without hovering over the older dial models.

Here are some helpful resources:

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Chapter 10

When You Should Call a Pro

As we mentioned, keeping your air conditioning system running smoothly and efficiently requires proper, consistent maintenance and service needs. While most of the problems we discussed can be easily fixed at home, some issues require the attention of a certified technician. They have the knowledge and experience to diagnose the problem quickly and get your system up and running safely.

Here are some tips on contacting a pro…

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Chapter 11

Air Conditioner Maintenance Tips You Can Do Yourself (Checklist)

Is your air conditioner ready for summer? There is nothing worse than feeling hot and sticky.

Use these quick tips to have your A/C running smooth. And it will help prolong the life of your air conditioner and help it run more efficiently.

AC Maintenance Tips Checklist

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Outdoor unit…

1. Keep it Clean

Check and clean the unit of any debris. Over time dirt, grass, leaves, and more can surround your unit, reducing airflow. Clean the area before turning the A/C on for the summer and trim any shrubs to keep the air flowing.

2. Level the Air Conditioner Unit

Make sure your air conditioner pad is in a stable position. Compressors on concrete pads can settle over time. This places strain on the coolant lines.

Level the condenser for better performance.

3. Fix Your Fins

Fins on an A/C unit are fragile. When the fins are bent, heat can get trapped within the unit. This can lead to performance issues and controlling temperatures in your home. Bent fins can be fixed in a few simple steps.

HVAC gives you the steps to carefully fix bent fins. “What do I do if my outside air conditioner has bent fins?

4. Unclog the condensate drain tube

The condensate drain removes the condensation produced by your air conditioner’s evaporator coils.

If the line is not cleaned, mold can grow inside, clogging the drain.

5. Clean the air conditioner coils

If your coils are blocked, it will decrease airflow and the efficiency of your unit.

5. Check the insulation

Check the insulation around the line to make sure everything still looks good.

Indoor unit…

6. Check the air filter

The most critical maintenance task that will improve the efficiency of your air conditioner is to replace or clean the air filters routinely.

You should be able to see the light through the filter.

7. Clean the drain line

Make sure the drain line is not clogged.

Part of your summer ritual should be to have your system checked by a trained technician. Once a year, have a Certified HVAC technician tune-up and inspect your A/C unit.