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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.

  • Purchase a Higher SEER to Reduce Cooling Costs

    SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a specification that homeowners should take into account when purchasing a new air conditioner. This number, which ranges from 10 to 30 in newer units, indicates the amount of energy required to meet a specific cooling output. Higher numbers indicate greater efficiency. Homeowners with older air conditioning units may have a SEER of 6 or less, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Upgrading to a higher efficiency unit will save many homeowners money in the long term.

    What level of SEER efficiency is cost-effective for a homeowner though? Our 2.0 ton air conditioners have 14, 15 or 16 SEER ratings available. A customer that wants to purchase a Rheem air conditioner may spend up to $600 more for a SEER 16 as opposed to a SEER 14. Is it worth the extra cost? That depends on the temperature fluctuations in each homeowner's area. Let's look at some examples using the SEER Savings Calculator.

    Our first example customer lives in Phoenix, AZ. His current air conditioner has a SEER rating of 10 and he wants to upgrade. With an upgrade to a SEER 14, he will save 29% of the energy cost of his original air conditioner. However, by upgrading to a SEER 16, the same homeowner can save 38% of the energy cost of his original air conditioner. With the typical energy rates in Phoenix, Arizona, after five years, the SEER 14 will save $932 and the SEER 16 will save $1224. At this point, it doesn't seem like upgrading to the SEER 16 is worth the extra $600. However, air conditioning units are intended to last for 10 to 15 years. After 10 years, the increased cost of the SEER 16 will be offset by the savings in efficiency.

    It makes sense to upgrade to a high efficiency SEER in hot areas that require regular use of the air conditioner. No matter if the homeowner decides between the SEER 14 or the SEER 16, the reduced energy cost will offset the cost of the new air conditioning unit in about 10 years. That's also assuming that the current air conditioning unit is decent with a SEER of 10. Many people have much less efficient units, which means that upgrading saves even more money.

    Homeowners that live in cooler regions may not be as impacted by the SEER ratings. For example, in Seattle WA, there is little need for cooling except for one week a month. Upgrading from a SEER of 10 to a SEER of 14 will still save 29% of the cost, but the cost is much less. Many Seattlites spend only $65/year on cooling. Upgrading will not have such a large impact on the energy cost because the air conditioner is not used that often.

    To determine the right SEER for their needs, homeowners should evaluate how often they cool their homes. The more cooling that is required, the more it makes sense to upgrade to a high efficiency air conditioner.

  • Do I need an air handler?

    Sometimes the number of components that make up an HVAC (heat, ventilation and air conditioning) system can seem overwhelming. Part of the reason is that HVAC systems are extremely flexible. You can pick only the components you need to heat and cool your business or home as efficiently as possible. In some cases, this involves buying an air handler.

    An air handler has a simple task, to take in air and send it around the home or business. Air handlers often include blowers, heating and cooling systems and filters. It handles much of the “ventilation” port of the HVAC system. Air handlers are commonly used in conjunction with air conditioners. The evaporator coil in the air handler can remove additional heat before sending the air throughout the house.

    Am I in the right climate for an air handler?

    An electric split system for air conditioning in a warm climate, like Florida, will benefit from an air handler. Working in tandem with the air conditioner, the air handler keeps the air cold and blowing.

    However, air handlers can also be beneficial in slightly cooler climates. They can contain both heating and cooling elements. The cooling element would be the evaporator coil, which removes excess heat from the air. Heating elements, like electric heating strips, can also be included in an air handler. In this case, the air handler adds additional heat to the air before blowing it around the home or business.

    While beneficial in cooler climates, air handlers are not as commonly found in cold truly climates, like Minnesota. A gas or electric furnace is commonly used in place instead. Pairing a heat pump with an air handler is typically not sufficient to warm a home or business in a climate that repeatedly drops below zero. A gas or electric furnace is a more effective way to heat the location.

    How do I select an air handler?

    If you live in a warm climate, where the combination of an air handler and air conditioner or heat pump provides sufficient heating and cooling, it's time to look at air handlers. The first step is to do a load calculation, which determines how much heating or cooling is required for the home or business. A Manual J calculation is standard and the most accurate, but rules of thumb can also be applied. The resulting number is the tonnage size of the HVAC system that you ought to purchase for the best efficiency.

    The next item to evaluate is what type of refrigerant the air handler uses. The most common types are R-22 and R410-A. Newer HVAC systems typically use the R-410A refrigerant, which is generally accepted as the more environmentally friendly and efficient refrigerant.

    Air handlers can also be sold with heating elements. This may or may not be necessary in your climate. If your home does not already have heat pump, the heating elements may be a good choice to warm the air in your home when it gets a bit chillier. The heating elements can also work in tandem with a heat pump for greater efficiency. It depends on the system you select for your climate.

    If you need any help determining if your home or business would benefit from an air handler, you can check with an expert or call National Air Warehouse at (888) 997-5160 for assistance.

  • The Importance of Proper In-Door Air Quality

    In-Door Air Quality

    People are exposed to pollutants in the environment by the air that they breathe indoors. These pollutants can come from anywhere – daily use products, materials and activities. As compared to outdoor air, the air indoors is said to be more polluted by about 2 – 5 times. In schools and offices situated in polluted areas, this could even be as much as 100 times. The importance of proper in-door air quality cannot be underestimated because it can lead to sickness, allergies and an uncomfortable environment.

    The following are some important points about proper in-door air quality:

    • Health Problems Can Be Avoided – Various health issues occur because of poor air quality indoors. This can lead to irritation and dryness in skin, throat, eyes and nose. Headache, fatigue, allergies and hypersensitivity are also common symptoms. Other symptoms include nausea, dizziness, sneezing, coughing, sinus congestion and fatigue. All these problems can be avoided by simply maintaining air quality indoors.

    • Air Contaminants Can Be Cleaned – The indoor air has many contaminants like carbon dioxide, asbestos, fiberglass, dust, VOCs, toxic vapors, odors, gases, dust mites, bacteria, fungi and other microbial contaminants, and ozone. These air contaminants might occur in small quantities but for children and people with a weak immune system, they can cause a lot of problems in a short exposure time.

    • Serious Conditions Can Be Avoided – Sick Building Syndrome or Tight Building Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Building Related Illnesses are a common result of poor indoor air quality. These are serious health conditions which come with clinical symptoms. For example, Legionnaire’s disease is a BRI that is caused due to the bacteria that clogs ACs in a building.

    • Avoidance of Mold Growth – Every homeowner knows how, once mold starts growing in your house, you have to go through a proper cleaning and decontamination process to get rid of it. Mold is attracted to areas that have a lot of moisture, and this’s why the pipes and ducts of ACs and ventilation systems need to be cleaned regularly. Avoiding mold growth can make the entire family healthy.

    The best way to keep in-door air clean is to get air filtration systems which include:
    • Humidifiers
    • Dehumidifiers
    • Germicidal lights
    • Ventilation systems
    • Filtration systems
    • Air purification systems

    These systems are installed at the appropriate place and their job’s to keep the indoor air clean and germ free, replace stale and contaminated air with fresh air, and improve circulation of clean air. It’s important to look for air filtration systems that are up to code and certified. There are various great systems in the market and the situation of indoor pollution should be properly examined before buying an air filtration system.

  • Tips for Replacing a Universal Condenser Fan Motor

    Tips for Replacing a Universal Condenser Fan Motor pic

    As we're in the heart of air conditioner season, you may find yourself dealing with an expired condenser fan motor. Fortunately, this is a repair that can be done by non-professionals. Start by confirming the issue is in fact a motor in need of replacement. Begin by turning off the power to the A.C. unit. Then manually try spinning the fan blade. If the blade does not turn freely, the motor is in need of replacement.

    Most air conditioner models will allow you to replace the expired part with a universal condenser fan motor. But in using a substitution, certain criteria must be met. So before purchasing a replacement make sure you taken notes from the original unit on the following:
    • Motor Diameter In Inches
    • Horsepower Rating-be aware the some A.C. units have more than one
    • Operating Voltage-units can range from 115-460
    • Motor Shaft Size In Inches
    • RPM Speed
    • Direction Of Rotation
    • Mounting (not all units are mounted in the same way)

    This is not exactly a DIY project unless you have the technical expertise to do it. Please do not attempt to perform this service unless you are a qualified professional and have all the proper tools and safety equipment. If in doubt, please contact a reputable local HVAC company that can install your new fan motor for your condenser.

    Once you're ready to install your universal fan motor, start by shutting down all electric supply to the AC unit via the breaker box for safety precautions; it's very important that you do not skip this step. Before removing anything, take note of the motor's wiring (what colors of wiring, how they are connected, etc.). The fan and motor can now be dismantled, which is generally done by removing bolts on the band that secures the motor. In some units, these bolts are actually attached directly to the motor. Now remove the fan blade. Before doing so, take note of the blade's position on the shaft. Loosen the screws, and remove the blade from the motor shaft by twisting and tugging. Once the old unit is out, to install the new one, simply reverse the process described above. Be especially careful when reinstalling the fan blade. Make sure the blade is centered in the fan motor's opening.

    But you're not quite done. Every time you replace a condenser fan motor, you should also replace the A.C.'s run capacitor, which is a cylinder-shaped device that helps to start or run motors. To replace it, again take down all technical data on the unit, and note wiring colors and positions before removing it with a screw driver. As with the fan condenser motor, your run capacitor replacement selection is based on its technical data, not shape or size.

    To install the new capacitor, reverse its removal process, but before replacing any covering and reactivating the A.C., go stand outside by the A.C. and wait for the contractor to come on. When it does, it will buzz or hum and may take several minutes to do so. After hearing the contractor, replace the covering and restore power. Test the A.C. to make sure fan and cool air production are normal before you resume using it.

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