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    Save Your HVAC Energy Bills

    The HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) takes up approximately 30-40% of the electricity bill of the average commercial building owner or homeowner. However, one needs a good HVAC system to maintain a healthy and comfortable interior environment. Over the years, many HVAC owners have asked me for a solution to help reduce their HVAC energy bills. These individuals want a detailed plan that allows them to reduce their energy bills without sacrificing their interior environment conditions. Any technician who specializes in HVAC and energy will tell you that it is possible to improve HVAC system performance while substantially lowering energy bills. The data given below will help building operators, building owners, and homeowners make knowledgeable decisions about their current HVAC systems or future upgrades.

    Load Reduction

    Load reduction is the primary step to achieve HVAC system and energy optimization. This procedure typically involves a long-range strategy that itemizes the actions to take found on the best ROI. Reducing the load of your building load permits the present HVAC system to function more efficiently. In case you are considering a new system or systems, you can save more money by designing for the decreased load as opposed to the present load. Some of the common strategies for load reduction include: Add additional insulation and tighten the building shell. In certain cases it might not be possible to add insulation in existing buildings; therefore, you should aim for more consideration at the exterior shell, especially doors and windows. Installation of energy-efficient windows. It is high on the list of buildings that have windows with a single pane. For a great ROI, install dual-pane windows with a thermal break. Ensure that these windows are ENERGY STAR qualified. It is better to opt for low E-coatings or tinting. Upgrading lighting systems. On average, the lighting density of commercial buildings is 2-3 watts per sq. ft. This maintains adequate lighting levels. Such lighting systems reduce the load on the HVAC system and decrease the building’s cooling requirement too. You should not consider architectural lighting (also known as accent lighting) if you want to reduce HVAC and energy costs as they are not always energy efficient. Lighting systems that are energy-efficient discharge less heat into conditioned space compared to incandescent lamps. Think about using light troffers if you have a return plenum box rather than return air ductwork. It ensures that a portion of the heat from the lights returns to the HVAC system rather than going into the occupied area. You can reduce the sensible gain of heat in the space by opting for efficient electronic equipment and devices having a power saver option. Consider items such as refrigerators, computers, kitchen equipment, and copying machines. Having your outside air balanced allows you to control ventilation. The majority of building owners possess blueprints of the installation of their original HVAC system. Get a mechanical engineer to review the blueprint to make sure that the outside airflow rates follow the latest code requirements. The mechanical engineer can make improvement recommendations if no blueprints are available, your technician should still be able to suggest rooms for improvement.

    HVAC Systems

    Having knowledge about your system is the second step to achieve HVAC system and energy optimization. Your HVAC system is responsible for inflating your power bills, but it is also critical to your interior environment. Modern generation HVAC systems are more energy-efficient. It is time to upgrade to new equipment in case your HVAN equipment is 13+ years old. Well-maintained domestic HVAC systems seem to fail when they are required the most even though they are expected to last for roughly 15 years or so. Therefore having a replacement plan ready is worth it in case your equipment fails. The lifetime is the same for commercial systems if your house uses split systems or packaged equipment. The HVAC system may be more complex for industrial applications and larger commercial systems and need the help of a mechanical engineer for individual analysis. As mentioned above, HVAC systems differ and one-size-fits-all analysis does not work for larger systems. The common factor is that all these systems are generally powered by electricity. Power costs money; therefore, any efforts towards increased efficiency is a bonus.

    Tips on HVAC System:

    Find a reputable HVAC mechanic or company to maintain and evaluate your system if you are the owner of a small commercial building or a homeowner. Owners of large commercial buildings should find a good mechanical engineer for specific guidance and a commercial HVAC company for normal maintenance. Find a third-party technician for honest information rather than depending on a technician employed by the HVAC company. Verify the load of your HVAC system. While owners of homes ought to depend on ACCA’s Manual J calculation method the rest ought to depend on a mechanical engineer to have a load conducted. As far as code conformance is concerned, commercial buildings have more requirements such as minimum ventilation rates, which are unique to each building. Read the information above for load reduction. Instead of oversizing, choose equipment sized for your load. Bigger-sized equipment does not apply to HVAC systems. Get the equipment selection and load properly the first time, as you will have to spend more to buy the gadget and operate it. Purchase Energy Star or high-efficiency equipment. Quite a few of the new HVAC systems have variable speed drives for compressors and fans. You can regain the cost paid for such systems many times over the ownership duration. Match equipment that has a high efficiency to standard efficiency equipment in terms of life cycle costs and initial cost. You can obtain this information through any mechanical engineer or a good HVAC company. Think about conditioning the external air with a devoted outside air unit for large commercial buildings. Apart from allowing for further downsizing of the gadget, it eliminates humidity control problems in most instances. Consider economizers on your equipment if you are the owner of a commercial building. According to existing codes equipment, over 15 tons in size require economizers. Small commercial building owners and homeowners should install programmable thermostats. Additionally, owners of the commercial buildings should install a DDC (Direct Digital Control) system. They can recover more than the cost of the DDC in a small amount of time.

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    Heating Issues That Are Causing A Cold Bedroom

    All homeowners know when they are cold. However, there are things many typical homeowners don’t know, such as how to air seal an attic floor, show to light a pilot light, and how to balance their home heating system, but they do know when they are cold.
    Of all the rooms in the house, the bedrooms are often the coldest. Unfortunately, this is the room where many people spend the bulk of their time. When the bedroom gets too cold, there are things you can do to keep warm. For example, if your child is cold, you can throw an extra blanket or two on their bed. When you get cold, you can dress warmly and put an extra blanket on your own bed.
    It can be frustrating when your bedroom is cold. You can turn up the heat to keep your room warm, but this will make the rest of the rooms in the home too warm. Some people will try to close the heating registers in every room in the house except for the bedroom; however, this can put too much back pressure on your furnace, which can cause problems. When you try to adjust the temperature in one room by closing the registers in other rooms, your heating system will have to work overtime to keep the home at the setting on the thermostat.

    The heating system in your home was designed by an HVAC professional. These professionals are required to go to school for several hours a day for multiple years. Before an HVAC tech can be licensed, they must pass an apprentice program. When they pass the apprentice program, they must pass a test to earn their journeyman license.

    HVAC Education

    When a person takes classes to become licensed in the heating and cooling field, they learn how to perform a heating load calculation in a home.
    Using the heating load, they can create a designed heating system that includes:
    *The size of the furnace
    *The capacity of the fan
    *The duct size
    *The air flows
    *The register size
    When designing the heating system, the objective is to heat every room evenly so that it works as a complete system when all the registers are open.

    If there is a bedroom in your home that is always cooler than the rest of the house, there are two possible reasons. The first is that the heating system was designed by an HVAC tech who could barely pass the test. The other possible reason is that your heating system isn’t functioning properly.

    If you have a room in your home that is colder than the rest, an HVAC tech will test the airflow at the register in the colder room compared to the rest of the house. If the tech finds a significant decrease in airflow in the colder room, they can remove the register grill to take a look inside the heating duct using a mirror and a flashlight. The mirror is necessary because it allows the tech to see around the initial elbow.

    During the inspection, the HVAC tech will check the flow damper valve installed in the heating duct. They will also inspect every heating duct in the home, which is installed close to the registers. During the inspection, it is possible that the damper in the colder room is closed most of the way. Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t realize that the flow dampers are part of their home’s heating system.

    Heating Duct Damper

    Flow dampers are relatively uncommon, and they aren’t used often. Flow dampers are often added to a heating system to allow the homeowner to manually adjust airflow to the registers. The dampers allow you to balance the conditioned air, so you won’t need to deal with warm or cool areas in the home. If you want to prevent putting excess pressure on the furnace fan motor, you need to open one damper when another is closed down.

    Problems can arise when an HVAC tech isn’t sure how large to make the heating ducts or the number of registers necessary for one room.

    Five Ways To Boost the Heat In a Cold Bedroom

    #1 Repair the Heating Duct

    The reason your bedroom is cold could be an issue with the duct system that has to be repaired. The duct could be partially or completely disconnected, and the flexible ducts could be pinched off, or it may have collapsed. This is the first thing that should be checked, and it is one of the most important. Not only will repairing the issue keep the bedroom warm, but it can also save energy, which will help save money on your energy bills. The first step of the inspection involves checking the duct that goes from the plenum to the register, ensuring it is secured completely. Next, the duct will be checked for holes, collapsed areas, and crimping. Finally, the duct will be inspected for damage caused by animals in the ducts. If the heating duct is disconnected, reconnecting it will solve the problem. However, if the heating ducts are damaged, they will need to be replaced because it is difficult to make this type of repair.

    #2 Check the Damper

    The HVAC contractor who installed your system may have installed a damper in the heating duct and didn’t mention it during the installation process. To find out if this is why the bedroom is cold, you can remove the register cover and the insulation from the outside of the duct, particularly near the register. When everything is removed, check for the signs that a damper was installed. If you see a metal rod with a small handle and a couple of screws, there is a damper inside the heating duct. If you find a damper, opening it will heat your room, resolving the problem.

    #3 Balance Room Pressure With a Cross Over Duct

    There is another test to help you determine why your bedroom is cold. Crack your bedroom door open about an inch and turn on the furnace. If the pressure builds up in the room, the door will close. Your heating system works like a circle of air. First, the air is heated in the furnace; then, it moves through the air ducts into each room. Next, it is sucked out of the room by the furnace and back through the return air ducts back to the furnace. If the air in the room is unable to get back to the furnace, air pressure will build up in the room, restricting the airflow of heated air into the room. When too much pressure builds up in the bedroom, the heated air will be forced to pass through a different duct in a room next door. Fortunately, there is a way to fix this problem. You can have a cross-over duct installed over the door or in the ceiling to allow the air in the bedroom to get back to the hallway, even if the bedroom door is closed. If you have the money in your budget, you can install a return air register in all the rooms in your house. If the room pressure balance is causing the problem, there are two simple ways to resolve the problem. The first is to install a cross-over duct through the wall. You can also cut a portion of the bottom of the door, so there is a wider gap between the door and the floor.

    #4 Increase the Size Of the Duct

    If the HVAC tech installed your system used the wrong sized duct, it could be why your bedroom is cold. If they ran out of 8 inch ducting and decided to go with 6 inch, your room will be cold. If it is a back bedroom that is cold, the heating duct system may not have been properly engineered. If this is the problem, you can have the smaller ducts replaced with larger ones. If your home is fairly new and you can call the same HVAC contractor, they might do the work for free. Making the repair will allow the cold room to get more heated air coming from the furnace. If you don’t want to call a professional, you can make this job a do-it-yourself project. You can purchase both ridged and flex duct material from your local hardware store. You will also need to buy zip ties, sheet metal screws, a pair of tin snips, and a sharp knife. These items are essential in handling the repair yourself. If you don’t want to replace the small duct, there are two other ways to resolve the problem. The first is to install a booster fan in the duct. You can also add a complete second duct with a register.

    #5 Duct Booster Fan

    You can place a baffle in the heating plenum, which is a section of the main heating truck. This adjustment is effective mainly in manufactured homes. A section of the main heating trunk can be opened to install a metal shield in the main trunk line. This will help direct more air into the heating duct in the cold bedroom. The shield will pull more heated air that passes through the heating trunk and direct it where you need it to go. This is an inexpensive repair, and it will solve the issue permanently.

    With thanks to Total Comfort Solutions, a Barstow HVAC contractor.

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    The History Of Air Conditioning Systems

    In the early 1900s, there’s very little that a person could do during the hot summer months to lower temperatures except to escape to the seashore or to the mountains. However, this has changed today; thanks to the modern air conditioning system. With the modern AC unit, you can stay cool and comfortable anywhere regardless of outdoor temperatures. Most stores, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, and offices have air conditioning systems.

    Air Conditioning Defined

    While the main function of air conditioning systems is to make you feel cool, these systems can do much more than this. For instance, they control humidity or the moisture content of air circulating in a room. Secondly, air conditioners filter air to ensure that air circulating in a building is free of impurities. During cold winters, air conditioning systems can add moisture to air circulating in a room to ensure the humidity levels are optimum. As you can see, air conditioning helps to create an artificial environment inside an enclosed space. This can be a house, office or business premises.

    Air conditioning in dry climates can be as simple as using a fan to pass dry air through a soaked fiber mat. As the air passes through the mat, water evaporates, absorbing heat from the air as a result. Please note that the added moisture will not cause any discomfort. Also note that this type of air conditioning is not possible in hot humid environments since air already contains excess moisture. In addition to improving comfort in homes, offices, schools, restaurants and business premises, air conditioning also has many other uses. Many industries use air conditioners to keep air circulating in their plants cool, clean and at the right humidity level. In the textile industry, for instance, air conditioning is used to prevent cotton and wool, among other types of textile fibers, from shrinking or stretching due to temperature and humidity variations.

    Excessive humidity can cause metallic parts to corrode, and this can lead to serious problems especially when precision instruments or rocket components are involved. In the health care industry, the wrong temperature can lead to spoiling of a batch of vaccines or antibiotic culture. That is why air conditioning systems are widely used in the industry. In the deep gold and diamond mines of South Africa, air conditioning is used to enable mine workers to operate in an inhospitable environment without suffocating. In the US space program, air conditioning is used in every aspect.

    For centuries, researchers and innovators have brainstormed and experimented with various air conditioning methods. For instance, the ancient Romans and Egyptians used to hang wet woven mats across the entrances of their homes, so hot air was cooled as it circulated within and around the house. In the 15th century AD, a famous inventor and artist invented the water-powered fan. As man became more interested in science, more air conditioning systems were developed. Hundreds of ideas were developed, but none worked. In fact, some techniques made things worse by increasing humidity. Air is known to absorb moisture, thereby increasing humidity levels.

    Highly humid air feels sticky and is uncomfortable to breath. It is was not until 1902 when Willis H. Carrier developed the first machine that cooled air and kept humidity low at the same time. That is why Mr. Carrier is considered the father of modern air conditioning. He built the machine for a Brooklyn, New York, printing plant that had issues printing in color due to humidity variations. Normal paper usually shrinks when air is dry and stretches in humid air. At the time, each color had to be printed separately, so printing multiple colors on the same sheet of paper was challenging as the colors did not line up properly due to the changes occasioned by variation of humidity levels. Carrier saved the situation by inventing a machine that maintained a constant humidity level at all times. In addition to improving the quality of color printing, Carrier’s air conditioner also made the working environment more conducive for workers at the printing plant. The invention marked the advent of modern air conditioning.

    After the first Carrier machine was developed, more plants adopted the invention. In the period leading to WWI and the war period, air conditioning was being used in ammunition factories. However, the average consumer was not aware of the invention until 1920, when hundreds of restaurants, departmental stores, and movie theaters installed air conditioners. People used to get into these places just to escape the hot and sticky air outside. In the 1930’s, air conditioning systems became more and more popular, leading to the development of the central air conditioning system.

    This new system had the capability of cooling whole office buildings as well as apartment buildings from a central location. In the same way, buildings could be heated from one central location. In the same period, smaller air conditioners that could cool a single room were invented. After World War II, these small units could be found in private homes. Later on, a system that combined both heating and cooling in one unit could be found in both private and public buildings.

    How Air Conditioning Systems Work

    Air conditioning machines simply extract heat from the air, leaving it cooler than it was. The working principle is similar to that of a refrigerator, but air conditioners are not designed to produce extremely low temperatures. The air conditioner has a metallic tube that coils its way from one end of the compressor pump to the other. A compressed refrigerant is released from the compressor pump and expands as it moves through the refrigerant tubing. As it expands, it extracts heat from air passing through the air handling unit. This reduces the temperature of air. After extracting heat, the refrigerant is condensed into a liquid, dumping heat through the condenser coils in the process. The cycle continues until the desired room temperature is attained.

    An air conditioning unit has a thermostat, which helps to maintain a constant temperature by turning the air conditioner on and off as required.

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    Tips & Tricks

    Do you find yourself spending hours on social media scrolling through feeds and profiles? Do you feel like your life is incomplete without constant access to the internet? If so, this blog post will be perfect for you. Here are some tips and tricks that can help make your time spent online easier and more enjoyable.