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  • Industry HVAC Trends Increase HVAC Performance

    In March 2017, Technavio published a report highlighting technology trends in the HVAC market. Building automation and remote control of HVAC systems were identified as major market trends. The report also noted that regular maintenance and incorporation of green technologies were trends. These trends are great for businesses and consumers because more efficient monitoring and maintenance are likely to reduce the cost of running an HVAC system. Here is how to capitalize on these trends.

    Purchase a smart monitoring system

    Businesses can choose from a variety of building monitoring systems. These monitoring systems often include other major building functions, like fire suppression and security. All the functions can work together for optimal efficiency.

    Homeowners can invest in a smart thermostat, like a NEST. These monitoring devices learn how the homeowners like having the heating and cooling in each portion of the house. The program balances these needs with energy saving measures to reduce home energy bills. NEST recently received an Energy Star rating in the U.S., which demonstrates that meets federal regulations for saving energy.

    Technavio adds:

    The rise in smart infrastructure projects around the globe is propelling the demand for new heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning components...

    This statement implies that HVACs will soon be joining the Internet-of-Things (IoT), smart devices controlled through the internet. HVAC components are being re-designed and optimized to work within this new system. New components, released in the near future, may work better with the IoT capability, leading to even greater cost savings.

    Complete maintenance at regular intervals

    Both homes and businesses can benefit from regular HVAC maintenance. Energy costs can be reduced by up to 40% with regular maintenance. Many homeowners and businesses owners don't take advantage of these costs savings because they wait until something is broken. While waiting till a component breaks may be simpler, it is more costly in the long-term, especially since the HVAC system may have more downtime in order to complete a major repair.

    Although many homeowners and business owners might not be surprised by the need for regular maintenance, the rise of the smart monitoring devices for HVAC systems can have huge consequences on cost. Not only do these smart monitoring devices reduce the energy bill, as they become more advanced, they could incorporate more functions. For example, a smart monitoring device could alert business owners when it was time to complete regular maintenance. By adding a smart monitoring device, HVAC systems now have the potential to add many new and practical functions.

  • A Checklist for Heat Load Calculations

    To have an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system run at optimal efficiency, homeowners and business owners need to know the heat load of the building. This metric, measured in tonnage, determines which size of HVAC system to purchase. Selecting the right size system is important for efficiency. For example, over-sized systems don't properly de-humidify the air during the summer. Under-sized systems may not be able to effectively heat or cool a building. Homeowners and business owners want the right size to have efficient heating and cooling.

    The most common way to determine the heat load of a building is a Manual J calculation. A licensed HVAC contractor can complete this calculation for a fee. However, there are some online Manual J calculators that allow home and business owners to complete their own calculations. The key piece is not the calculation, however, but the inputs. Owners must know many details about the building in order to complete a Manual J calculation. The checklist below contains the inputs required to do a Manual J heat load calculation.

    Materials for Walls, Ceiling and Floors

    A heat load calculation takes into account the insulation properties of the house. For this reason, it's not enough to know that a home is “brick.” Homes with brick walls also may or may not have insulation. The insulation can be various types. The same principle applies to ceilings and floors. A building plan or an HVAC contractor may be required to find out this information.

    Window Type

    The insulating properties of windows can also vary, depending on whether the window is single or double paned. Even the frame type (usually metal, wood or vinyl) has an impact on the heat load calculation.

    Door Type

    Surprisingly, there are differences in insulation properties between wood doors. In fact, there are multiple types of wooden doors in the heat load calculation. The insulation depends on whether the door is hollow or solid. Metal doors also have drastically different heat properties.

    Ceiling and Window Height

    The ceiling height helps to determine how much air needs to be warmed or cooled. Window height also has an impact on the heat load calculation.

    Length x Width x Height of Walls, Windows and Doors

    This information helps determine the size of the home or business and how much air needs to flow through the building for proper heating and cooling.

    Orientation of the Building

    The orientation of the front door and windows can be north, south, east or west. Southern exposure tends to be warmer in the northern hemisphere, since the sun hits that surface year-round.

    With this checklist, home and business owners can begin to complete a heat load calculation. There are online resources available to assist. However, it's important to note whether the calculation assumes the house is a “block” or it asks for the inputs for “room-by-room.” Block calculations are simpler to complete, but they don't tell owners how much heating and cooling is required for each room. To properly size ductwork and maximize efficiency, a room-by-room heat load calculation is preferred.

  • Top Reasons to Pay Attention to your Heating System During the Summer?

    Heating System Heating System

    In every season, you should expect to have HVAC maintenance carried out in order to have your cooling and heating system working efficiently. Bear in mind, though, it does not mean that you have to focus your attention on your air conditioner unit in the summer months and the heating system in the winter. It is important to take the appropriate care of your HVAC system throughout the whole year so that it will always operate to its full capacity.

    Summer Preparation

    Yes, you may be hanging out on the beach during the summer and a heater is the farthest thing from your mind. Yet, you cannot wait until the winter is upon you before taking care of your furnace or other heating system. The season may arrive and that is when you discover problems with your heating system. It is better to approach a season, being confident that everything inside your home is working properly. Below are some of the top reasons why you cannot afford to neglect your heater during the summer.

    Don’t Regret Your Decision

    If you need to have a heater repair done as the winter comes to a close or if the heater is providing warning signals of malfunction, you may need a new heater. For this reason, you should not ignore the signs. If you don’t take immediate action, you may regret your decision. You should not wait to schedule a repair at the last minute. If so, you may be put on a waiting list and who wants to go through winter without a functional heating system? The HVAC technician needs time to inspect the situation and conduct the necessary repairs so that you can be comfortable during the winter months.

    Advanced Maintenance

    One of the things to prevent being an uncomfortable situation is putting your HVAC maintenance on a schedule with a HVAC contractor. Therefore, try to have a healthy heating system at all times by frequent maintenance. There are various tasks that are involved with furnace maintenance and some of these include cleaning dirt and dust, inspecting the air flow, lubrication of moving parts, and thermostat testing. Doing this in the summer makes you prepared for the winter.

    Heat Pump

    Heat pumps are generally used both in the winter and in the summertime. If you do not have your heat pump repaired, then the choice will also affect your air conditioner unit. You will be switching your system to cooling during the summer, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore any heating issues until the winter.

    Proper Ventilation

    Both heating system and cooling system utilize the same ventilation to function, especially when your system uses forced air. For this reason, you have to keep the air ducts clean, not only to improve air quality, but also to prevent this from negatively impacting your HVAC system’s efficiency. When you have problems with your heating system, it can also result in an increase in your summer’s energy bill.

    Conclusion

    Be sure that you change your air filters on a frequent basis, even during the summer. Contact a HVAC contractor or HVAC technician today to schedule an overall check on your heating system and cooling system.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/13118275535/

  • Commercial and Residential HVAC System Comparison

    Commercial HVAC System Commercial HVAC System

    There are a wide range of HVAC systems, but the two main ones are commercial HVAC system and residential HVAC system. Residential systems are used in people’s homes and commercial systems are used in major retail stores, warehouses, office buildings, and other large buildings.

    Both Systems

    Both of these systems have similar functions such as ventilation, heating, and cooling. However, they do have just a few differences such as:

    • Size
    • Power
    • Drainage
    • Location
    • Complexity
    • Manufacture
    • Features

    There are HVAC companies that do specialize in commercial and residential systems. There are others that only specialize in cooling systems or heating systems. This will help to explain the reasons for the services being different. Some of the differences have exceptions, but they are mostly the same. Let’s take a closer look.

    The Complexity

    Due to the size and complexity of the commercial HVAC system, it has to be installed on the building’s roof. The reason is to ensure adaptability and space. The type of commercial system chosen will depend on various factors such as the number of occupants in the building, the varying temperatures, scheduled events and the number of hours the business operates. Other factors include items being sold, type of inventory, and number of windows in the building.

    The Size

    Of course, the commercial HVAC system is going to be larger than the residential system. This is a visible difference and the reason is that one heats and cools a larger space. So, the size will be different between the two and so will the power. The thermostats and dampers are also different in size and scope.

    The Location

    Residential HVAC systems are usually found at the side of a house. In some cases, you may find it in someone’s backyard. On the other hand, commercial HVAC systems are located in either swamp coolers or roof of a building as mentioned before. The roof tends to be the most common installation area chosen by most HVAC contractors. Why? Here are some reasons:

    • The indoor space is needed to conduct business in a commercial aspect and so a large HVAC system would only take up too much indoor space. It also can be less attractive if placed inside the building and more importantly, it functions better when installed on the roof
    • A commercial system would be too noisy and could be a disruption to business
    • It is easy to maintain on the roof. HVAC technicians can do repair and maintenance work without disrupting the business day
    • Vandalism and damages will be at a minimum because of less traffic on the roof where the commercial HVAC system is located

    Conclusion

    It is important to have a HVAC contractor to handle the maintenance of your air conditioning unit or heating system. It is still your responsibility, however, to make sure that you call a professional when it is necessary and before any malfunctioning occurs.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14866511080/

  • A Look at HVAC Maintenance for Each Season

    HVAC Maintenance HVAC Maintenance

    One of the poignant facts in life is that nothing is perfect and that includes your HVAC system. One day, everything may begin to fall apart. Therefore, landlords and homeowners alike have one main responsibility and that is to make sure that the tenants or family members can live inside the building comfortably all throughout the year. What does this mean? It means that your home or apartment will be kept cool during the warm months and whenever you need to have air conditioning unit turned on.

    The Truth

    One more regrettable truth about this is that HVAC maintenance and repair needs to have specialized expertise and skills as well as necessary equipment that many homeowners and landlords do not have. For that reason, you are going to need the services of a HVAC repair contractor. The trick about saving money is to schedule an appointment with a HVAC contractor as soon as possible. You cannot procrastinate, but you must know when to make that phone call.

    Do Not Procrastinate

    If you wait too long, or until the AC system is broken, then you may have to wait for weeks or days to get the contractor to come to your home. Remember, these specialists are always busy serving other clients. Below are some suggestions on when you should call the technician so your system can run smoothly all year round. Let’s look at the different seasons.

    The Summer Time

    During the summer, you will definitely need your AC. It is important to get preventative maintenance done during the spring so that you don’t encounter any problems during the summertime. If your air conditioning unit is running, but it is not doing so efficiently, you may want to have the air filters changed and get rid of dust in and around your AC unit. Otherwise, you should solicit the services of a HVAC technician to see what the problem is.

    During the Fall

    As summer ends, the temperature will begin to drop. This is the ideal time to contact an HVAC contractor to inspect your heating and furnace system. The goal is to try to apply preventative measures prior to waiting until issues arise. Furnaces are like any equipment. They need frequent tune up. This is the perfect time, too, to ensure that you have enough filters for your furnace and that they are changed as needed.

    Winter Weather

    There are not many things that are more risky and uncomfortable than to be inside a home with no heat during the winter. While you may have had preventative maintenance done on your heating system, something can still go wrong. Make sure you have the phone number of a reputable HVAC technician that you can call on a moment’s notice.

    The Springtime

    A reasonable time to contact an HVAC contractor is in the middle of spring. At this time, the contractor will look at your HVAC system to see what kind of preventative measures need to be performed. The HVAC contractor may conduct a check and balance on your refrigerant levels, replace filters and clean your system.

    Conclusion

    Lucky for homeowners, most of the HVAC problems can be fixed. However, these problems will usually need specialized skill. Always include your HVAC contractor when heating and cooling system issues arise, no matter the season.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14539555336/

  • How Natural Disasters can Adversely Affect your HVAC System

    HVAC system HVAC system

    Even though, you may be keenly concerned about your uprooted trees, windows, and roofing system, after you have experienced a natural disaster, your HVAC system could also be in jeopardy. Once the natural disaster passes and your electricity is restored, it is crucial that you become familiar with the ways that a storm or hurricane could damage or destroy your HVAC system.

    Lightning Effect

    When lightening does strike, it can adversely affect your air conditioning or cooling system since this relies on electricity in the home to function properly. When the electricity is disrupted, it could cause issues to your air conditioning system. The additional power resulting from a lightning strike could flood the circuit breaker in your home. It could damage electronics and appliances. It would be recommended that you install a surge protector prior to any natural disaster. This can absorb most of the electricity before it can damage anything in your home. A surge protector is also important in saving your HVAC equipment.

    Hail Effect

    When a tornado strikes, it comes with high winds, but also lightening. Hail, on the other hand, could follow a tornado or severe storm. It comes with heavy pelts that could subsequently damage your HVAC system. To protect the fragile parts of the condenser coil, it would be ideal to install a hail cover over the air conditioning unit. It may not deflect everything since small debris can go through the guard, lodging in the equipment. When this happens, you should contact an HVAC contractor for some assistance before even making an attempt at using your air conditioning again.

    Water Damage

    A storm or hurricane comes with lightening and heavy rains, causing water damage. In fact, when the storm hits an area, its slow movement could cause a significant amount of water to accumulate in your yard and around your HVAC system. Debris and grass could wash into the HVAC unit as water rises.

    Conclusion

    Before you experience severe weather, it would be an excellent idea to contact an HVAC contractor to inspect your outside HVAC unit. The HVAC professional would make sure that the unit is elevated to a height to keep out as much standing water as possible. You could also consider placing a mesh cover over the condensing unit. The mesh cover will be able to keep water from heavy rains from getting inside the unit. Always be mindful, though, that you should remove the mesh cover when you want to use your air conditioning unit. If you don’t, it will block the air flow.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16549050914/

  • Hysteresis Thermostat and What You Should Know

    Hysteresis Thermostat Hysteresis Thermostat

    Individuals get hung up over complicated terminologies like ‘hysteresis’ and more often than not, these terms can be simplified with an easy explanation that can be understood by anyone. In the same manner, hysteresis is considered an engineering terminology that is used to explain a simple ‘lag.’ It is specifically the way that a reaction lags a step or an action. Let’s take a closer look at this simple example below.

    An Example

    If you were to squeeze a piece of foam and then release it, you would hear a popping sound as if it popped back to its original form. However, it does not do so immediately. It goes back to its normal state in a slow motion. It lags this action until the release of your hands. Other forms of hysteresis are the same way.

    The Thermostat

    The common use of hysteresis is during the use of magnetic and electronic systems. Thermostats are a perfect example. Without using technical applications and definitions of hysteresis, let’s look at how it applies to thermostats. The hysteresis thermostat also goes through a similar motion; it lags inputs from the surroundings for the main purpose of saving energy as well as preventing a furnace or air conditioner from enduring wear and tear as it frequently turns on and off.

    Poor Insulation

    If you live in a house that is poorly insulated and the temperature outside is a scorching 104 degrees, your main concern is how long it will take for the heat to penetrate your house while the air conditioning unit is running. Believe it or not, this would not take long. With a good HVAC system, your house will cool to about 72 degrees, which is quite comfortable. When the insulation is insufficient, in about one minute, the temperature will increase to 73 degrees and your air conditioner will kick in again. This cycle continues to be repeated frequently as your air conditioning unit is overworking due to the poor insulation. It is, therefore, difficult to maintain the comfortable temperature in the home.

    Saving Energy

    You would not classify this thermostat as a hysteresis thermostat because of its lack of hysteresis in the programming. For that reason, it will constantly turn on and off. With a hysteresis thermostat, you can set your temperature to 72 degrees and be able to maintain it. Why? The temperature will go up to 74 degrees before cooling it to down to 71 degrees, allowing the HVAC system to relax. This saves on wear and tear and also fosters energy efficiency.

    Conclusion

    It is important to get your HVAC system working efficiently and therefore, you could consider using a hysteresis thermostat. It will definitely work in your best interest. Speak to a HVAC contractor to discuss your immediate needs.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rvthereyet/9098037736/

  • What the HVAC Contractor Thinks About the Trane and Lennox Brands

    Lennox and Trane Lennox and Trane

    If you are going to purchase an air conditioner unit or heating system, you want to do a comparison brand. In this case, let’s take a look at the Trane and the Lennox brand. Comparing these two will give you a general idea on how to compare others.

    Lennox

    Lennox provides materials and equipment that may equally compare to the competition. However, their parts are difficult to find. The competition, Trane, provides a wide range of logistics supply chains and Lennox does not since its supply chain is proprietary and does not give as many choices to the consumer. What does this mean for the consumer? Well, if you were to order replacement parts from Lennox, you would have to wait sometimes for weeks for it to arrive. If you were in need of repair, it is best to hire a professional HVAC contractor. If you sent your air conditioning unit, for example, for a Lennox repair, you would have to wait much longer for their technician to get the parts. Not that the Lennox brand will break down often. It is that when they do break down, it is difficult to handle the repair aspect.

    Expensive Brand

    On the other hand, the Lennox brand tends to be more costly than the Trane brand. Many people think that the more expensive brand is superior to the other. However, this is not necessarily true in all cases. Both brands can break down does as its competitors and none of these two seems to offer any advanced technology that the competition does not have. The point is you are looking for the best value for the money you spend as a consumer. Many consumers tend to think that the customer service offered by Lennox is poor, even though, their equipment has a warranty. They are hard to deal with and don’t have many distribution centers to handle customer complaints efficiently.

    Trane Brand

    Trane, on the other hand, does not have the issues that Lennox does. However, many consumers found that warranty payouts were hard to get. Trane and aluminum coils go hand in hand. In the past, most air conditioners were made with copper and there weren’t as many repair problems. Aluminum coil is used by Trane and other brands to reduce the cost, but it does not necessarily help the consumer in the long run. Air conditioners with copper coils are easier to fix.

    Conclusion

    The bottom line is that the HVAC contractor that you use for your air conditioning or heating system installation is far more important in comparison to the equipment brand you choose. However, at the end of the day, despite the fact that Lennox brand has a good reputation, there are too many issues that can go wrong with its HVAC system. It is best to conduct an extensive research, but even better, it would be more ideal to hire a good HVAC contractor. You cannot afford to hold back on on this part of the equation. One more point to make is that you should take care of your equipment and try to have a contractor provide regular maintenance.

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/reuserecycle/19102456369/

  • Is a HVAC Zoning System Right for your Home?

    HVAC Zoning HVAC Zoning

    Is your existing HVAC zoning system appropriate for your home? It is important to note that you would probably benefit from having a zoning system for your home’s heating and cooling needs. When you have such a zoning system, it allows your A/C and heating systems to activate on the basis of the areas where they are being used. Those areas have to show heating and cooling efficiency more than the rest of the home that is being heated and cooled with a central air conditioning system. With the HVAC zoning system, you will end up saving more money and increasing your home’s energy efficiency.

    HVAC Zoning Systems and How They Work?

    If the lights were located on a single switch in your home, what would happen? When you go to sleep at nights or you are away from home, it is obvious that you would probably switch off all lights. However, what happens when you are actually home? If you were to turn on the lights with that one switch, then all lights would be on at the same time. That is a waste of energy and more importantly, you would have to constantly replace light bulbs. Many homes are cooled and heated with that same concept. Each room, whether someone is in it or not, tends to be equally cooled or heating with a central air conditioning system. If you were to create specific zones, then this would change the dynamics.

    Different Thermostats

    HVAC zoning systems incorporate different thermostats in each zone. For that reason, you are able to control temperature in each room, dictating how much energy is used to heat or cool a specific room. In the end, you will save on utility and you will improve the comfort that your air conditioning unit or heating unit provides.

    Zoned Temperature

    When the temperature is zoned, then each zone in the home has an exclusive thermostat to turn the temperature to various comfort levels. All of these thermostats then have one control panel. With this control, the environment in the home is dictated by the homeowner. If you wanted to keep a specific bedroom cooler than it was without having this affect other areas of the home, zoning would work for you. The zoning system depends on a sequence of automatic dampers located in the air ducts. These shift the heating or air conditioning systems according to your needs.

    HVAC Zoning System Installation

    For homes that would receive the largest energy savings with an HVAC zoning system installation, there would have to be specific architectural features. Here are some of the features of the home to bear in mind:

    • Many large windows
    • Higher ceilings
    • Above garage apartment or room
    • Attic living space
    • Basement living space
    • Sunroom
    • Loft
    • Two or more story homes

     

    Conclusion

    With a zoning system, you will end up paying a lower monthly utility bill. The environment in your home would be more comfortable and the wear and tear on your HVAC system would be reduced. If you want to discuss your zoning system options, it is best to speak to an HVAC contractor.

     

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3399593230/

  • Typical Maintenance Services to Expect from a HVAC Contractor

    HVAC Contractor HVAC Contractor

    The efficiency of your HVAC unit can be increasingly improved if you adapt to the idea of regular maintenance. In addition, in so doing, you will end up saving on energy costs and avoiding costly replacements and repairs. Many homeowners don’t realize the dramatic results that can be gained from regular maintenance.

    General Services

    There are some general services that the HVAC contractor can perform in your home to make sure that your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system remains efficient. For that reason, you will feel warm inside your home when it is cold outside and cool when the weather is warm outside during the hot summer months. If regular maintenance is not performed, then your HVAC system will be overworked and eventually run into instances where repairs and parts replacements are unavoidable.

    Poor Maintenance

    When your HVAC system is poorly maintained or not maintained, it will use more energy to regulate the necessary temperature. If you already have an inefficient AC and heating system, it could be that you have not had them regularly maintained. It is then time to call on a HVAC technician for an inspection and assessment. Let’s take a closer look at the type of general services that you should consider with regular maintenance of your HVAC system.

    The Inspection

    An HVAC contractor will start by giving you a free estimate for an inspection. The technician will evaluate the system and the space where the system provides ventilation. If you have a centralized air conditioning and heating system, the contractor will have to do a more intense inspection, which will take more time. Find out if your HVAC contractor offers free inspection estimates or a special package.

    Repair and Cleaning

    If you have an HVAC system that is fairly new and in good condition, your technician may only need to clean and repair your system. Some HVAC companies will utilize advanced and sophisticated technology with specialized tools. So ask about the pricing first before moving forward.

    Installation and Replacement

    If you have had your HVAC system for a while, you may need a replacement or possible repair. If you have to replace your system, then the HVAC contractor can usually do the installation of any brand. Your contractor may be able to suggest a specific brand selection for more efficiency and energy saving. It is best to have a professional do the installation because of the technicalities involved in the process.

    Continual Support

    After the installation of your HVAC system, you should consider employing the services of the contractor for continued support and maintenance. You will be able to get answers to pertinent questions and have your cleaning and repair done.

    Conclusion

    Be sure to use the services of a reputable HVAC contractor, one with years of experience and the right licensing and insurance. Regular maintenance will ultimately extend the life of your HVAC system.

     

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heather_north/6332589215/

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