Tag: air conditioning

Air Conditioning Tips From a Professional

An efficient HVAC system is very important when it comes to maintaining a comfortable, healthy interior environment. Throughout the years many people ask about a strategy to reduce their cost of power and HVAC. They don’t want to sacrifice the interior environmental conditions, however they do want a-point-by-point plan to follow. The great thing that always happens is that energy bills are decreased by quite a bit and of course the HVAC efficiency is improved. This is a standard function of any mechanical engineer specializing in energy and HVAC.

Energy Optimization

The first step to achieve system optimization is load reduction. This step normally consists of a well thought out plan which itemizes the actions to be taken based on best return on investment. Reducing your home load allows the existing HVAC system to operate better. If a new system or systems are now being considered, it will be more cost effective to design for the reduced load as opposed to the existing load. A few common load reduction strategies include:

1. Tighten the building shell and add additional insulation. Upgrading insulation in existing buildings may not be achievable for some, so more thought ought to be aimed at the exterior shell, above all the doors and windows.

2. Installing energy-efficient windows. This is a very expensive for some properties that still have single pane windows. The replacement of double pane glazed windows with a thermal break is a great bang for your buck. Make sure they’re ENERGY STAR qualified windows. Tinting or Low-E coatings may even be better.

3. Changing the lighting system. The average industrial structure has a lighting density of 2-3 watts per square foot which maintains proper lighting levels. That is a big part of an HVAC system load and almost any efforts to optimize this specific area will reduce the cooling requirement for the building. Vanity lights (sometimes called architectural lighting) are not guaranteed to be energy efficient and should not be considered if you wish to reduce energy and HVAC expenditures. Energy-efficient lighting systems release less heat into a cooled evironment than older incandescent technology. If you have a return air plenum instead of return air ductwork, consider light troffers so that some of the heat from the bulbs is sent back to the HVAC system instead of going into the occupied space.

4. Choosing efficient equipment and electronic devices that have a power saver choice will decrease the heat gain in the space. Items to think about include copy machines, kitchen equipment, computer systems and fridges.

5. Balance outside air with controlled ventilation. Many building owners have sketches of the system installation. Have those drawings reviewed by an outside professional to verify your air-flow rates comply with the most recent code requirements. If no blueprints can be found, your contractor should still be capable of making tips for improvement.

Addressing these items is your first task to reducing energy and HVAC overheads.

HVAC Systems

The second step to realize system optimization is knowing it. Your HVAC system is crucial for your interior environment, it also represents a big component of your utility costs. While it is past the information in this article to discuss every system, a couple of suggestions could be discussed. Every HVAC system component has grown in effectiveness during recent years. If your system is more than 13 years of age, it is time to begin arranging for replacing the system. Properly serviced residential systems have a life span of around 15 years or so, but seem to shut down at the worse times. Have a replacement plan ready for when your equipment fails.

Business systems vary, but if your building is using specially designed systems, equivalent lifetime can be likely. For larger commercial systems and industrial applications, the HVAC system could also be more complex and require an individual analysis by a mechanical engineer. As I said, HVAC systems will vary and no one-size-fits-all assessment works for larger systems. What most of these systems have in common is they’re normally fueled by electricity. Electricity has its price, so any attempt in the direction of increased performance is a good thing.

HVAC System Ideas:

Find a qualified heating and air conditioning service contractor you trust. Assuming you are a home owner or small commercial building owner, find a good HVAC contractor or technician to evaluate and work on the system. If you are a large property owner, look for a commercial HVAC contractor for regular upkeep and a good mechanical engineer for unbiased advice. We do advise against using someone who works for the HVAC Company; find a 3rd party company for impartial information.

Validate your HVAC system load. Industrial structures have more complex settings regarding code conformance, minimum ventilation rates, etc and therefore are different to each building.

Opt for equipment sized for the load. NEVER OVERSIZE! More-is-better does not work for HVAC systems. It is going to cost more to buy the apparatus as well as run it. Get the load and the equipment selection right the first time.

Buy high efficiency or Energy Star equipment. Many of the new systems come with variable speed units for fans and compressors. Over the years of ownership this is paid back many times over. Contrast standard efficiency equipment to high efficiency equipment when it comes to the installation cost and life cycle expenses. Any good HVAC company or mechanical engineer will know this.

Think about some kind of energy recapture for any air exhausted from the building and use it to enhance the incoming clean air. This is the air you’ve paid to condition, so extracting some of the energy before exhausting it ought to be necessary.

For large commercial properties, think about preparing outside air with a specialized outside air unit. This will eliminate any concerns with moisture control in most instances. It may also increase comfort levels and enable further equipment optimization.

Commercial buildings should think about equipment economizers. Many current codes want economizers on equipment over 15 tons. Often available at a low initial cost during set-up, these units draw in fresh air from outside when the temperatures (or humidity) outdoors is lower than the temperature inside.

Both home owners and small business owners should install thermostats you can program. Large buildings can setup a custom digital control system. This type of investment will pay back more than the price very quickly.

Different Types o Control Systems

The third step to realize system optimization is controlling the system.

The Digital Thermostat: One of the best investments for anyone is a programmable thermostat. These are really easy to use and incorporate strategies based on time scheduling. Most companies offer seven day programs which will control the HVAC system timing and temperature. This is a wonderful way to make sure the system is used only when needed.

DDC Systems: For a large building, I consider this as an essential system. Installation costs have steadily decreased and performance reliability has steadily increased. They are often incorporated into any system and expanded as required. Some of the more accepted elements of these systems are optimized start/stop, multiple zone controls, temperature sensor and venting control. A key benefit of these solutions might be their ability to be integrated into any size system. This implies you’ll be able to install a somethng simple at first then add more controls later to incorporate everything. Again, the payback is short and really worth the investment.

Coil Cleaning: This is usually a big thing ignored by residential and commercial building owners. Condenser coils collect dirt and debris on their surfaces because they’re outdoors. Diry coils make the compressor work harder and results in a higher refrigerant temperatures in the refridgerant system. Dirty evaporation and heating coils collect dust and fibers that circulate inside your home or building. Clean them at least once every year

Operation and General Maintenance

The fourth and last step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimization is consistent upkeep. The most effective systems are well serviced. You can ensure dependability, efficiency and a longevity for the HVAC system by using these suggestions.

Find a qualified company you can trust. Find the best company or mechanic to assess and take care of your system. If you are a large business owner, find a commercial|an industrial} HVAC contractor for normal up-keep. Make sure you keep track of servicing with when they vist and what they did each time.

Home owners must always get a regular check up. The operation of your system will fluctuate with the seasons of the year.

Change air filters on a schedule. Always use quality filters to make sure most of the dust is captured. Clean filters will save fan energy.


Optimizing your HVAC system will reduce electrical fees. General knowledge of your system and becoming familiar with improvement strategies will reduce your costs and boost the life of your system.

Tips on Keeping The Air Conditioner in Good Working Order

In today’s rough economic times the last thing you need is a surprise air conditioning repair bill. While all mechanical systems require repairs from time to time, many are preventable. Indoor air quality is one of the most important aspects of healthy breathing for anyone with asthma or any respiratory problems. Regardless of your families general health it is wise to keep the air conditioning unit running at peak performance to avoid unnecessary repair bills and health expenses.

In no particular order, here are the ten most common problems we encounter every spring and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Dirty Filter

If you have a 1″ disposable filter, it should be replaced monthly. It’s out of sight and out of mind, so it’s easy to forget to change it. Yet, every year we go on service calls where the air conditioner isn’t cooling and the cause is restricted air flow from an extremely dirty filter. Dirty filters reduce indoor air quality, make the home less comfortable, and can result in frozen indoor coils, eventually leading to serious repairs.

2. Switch Turned Off

Some heating and air conditioning systems have a wall switch at the indoor unit for safety and convenience that can be confused with a light switch. If this is accidentally switched off or left off during mild weather, your air conditioner will not start. Always check the condition of this switch before calling us.

3. Tripped Breaker

One of the most common causes of no-cool calls is a tripped breaker. Reset it before calling us. Hopefully, it won’t repeat. If it does, call us. Something is causing the breaker to trip. Often, it’s something simple, like a bad breaker, loose wire, or a bad capacitor. However, if not addressed, some simple problems could lead to far more expensive repairs.

4. Refrigerant Leaks

An air conditioning system is a sealed system. It should never leak refrigerant. When it does, bad things happen. Your air conditioner efficiency falls and electricity use rises. Your air conditioner may not cool. The coil may freeze. The compressor could become damaged. Plus, refrigerants are greenhouse gases. We use a variety of tools to track down refrigerant leaks. Often the problem is as simple as a bad Schrader valve or a weakened connection between fitting and refrigerant tubing.

5. Thermostat

Some thermostats must be switched between heating mode and cooling mode. If the switch is in the wrong position or breaks, your air conditioner won’t start. Quality digital thermostats rarely fail. Some of the cheap ones available from the big boxes might. So what goes wrong? The switch might break; a voltage spike might cause a malfunction, and so on.

6. Clogged Drain Line

Air conditioners pull moisture out of humid air while lowering the temperature. The moisture is typically drained out of your home through your plumbing system. A drain pan should be present as a back up with a secondary condensate drain. Algae can grow in these lines, clogging them up. This can lead to water damage in your home. We clear the drain lines as part of our spring air conditioning tune-up or you can have it done separately, as needed.

7. Contactor

A contactor is an electro-mechanical switch in your air conditioner. Sometimes the silver coating on a contactor will wear off and the contactor will stick, causing the outside unit to run continuously, which is expensive. Sometimes ants are attracted to the electricity and get squashed between the contactors, blocking them from closing. When this happens, the outside unit won’t run. Contactors can also fail electrically. We check these as part of a spring tune-up in a regular air conditioning service. We clean the surface of the contactors if needed, and recommend replacement if failure appears imminent.

8. Dirty Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is located inside your home… Periodically the coil needs to be cleaned or dust and dirt build up will restrict the coil’s heat transfer capabilities and reduce system air flow. Dirty coils increase operating cost and reduce the comfort of your home. * Should be done by heating and air conditioning HVAC Professional

9. Dirty Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is the outside portion of your air conditioning system. A dirty or restricted coil is inefficient, increasing electricity usage and reducing system cooling capacity. Keeping it clean will go along way in reducing energy costs and reducing the wear and tear on your air conditioning system.

10. Duct Leaks

With a forced air heating & cooling system you pay to condition air. The ductwork delivers the air to the different rooms. If the ductwork that supply’s this air is located outside of the area you want conditioned like basement, crawl space or attic has leaks, you are paying to condition a space that you do not want to condition and reduce the amount of air that could be conditioning the rooms you want to condition. This causes longer run times and higher energy bills. Inefficient ductwork (your air distribution system) is a major energy waster in most homes. I will have more on this in future articles.