Friday, August 30, 2013

It is getting close to Fall / Why adding Humidification to a room and/or a Building is Required ... or Not


Humidification or No Humidification, that is the question

ESD, these three simple letters of our alphabet are the sole reason for adding moisture, via a Humidifier are even in our lexicon.
Electro Static Discharge, this occurs when an electrical charge (Static Electricity) leaves one mass and Zapps another mass.  Typically it is when you walk across the room in the winter, then you grab the door knob and Bam!, you get that little zap.  Well, in a computing environment, that little Zap! can be deadly to the computing process.  The Zap can contain up to 10,000 volts or more, see:
Routinely humidifiers are part of the original design of a data processing facility, computer room, UPS room, etc... It makes sense.  Add moisture to a dry environment to keep the ESD at bay. Well, that works great but historically it can cost a lot of #OPEX dollars to keep the moisture at the desired 40% +/- 5%.  This cost was mainly due to the method that moisture was being induced into the air.  Either large open pans of water with a series of Infra-red bulbs hoovering over them or a cylinder/canister full of water with electrodes immersed in water were energized, then the steam was pulled into the air stream by the #CRAC or #CRAH unit for distribution, works great ... costs a lot to operate.
Many people simply choose not to operate their humidifiers because of the cost, this isn't a good option, just one that has been accepted due to costs.  The data center was designed for humidifiers, if you operate without on, allowing your rooms RH to fall, are you outside of the SLA's that you sold to your customers?
The solution to this:  Ultra Sonic Humidification.  This technique of inducing moisture into any given environment is 93% cheaper to operate than the two methods I described above, the cylinder and the Infra-red pan.  So for every pound of moisture you add to the air, with Ultra Sonic, if it cost SEVEN CENTS vs. the $.93 for the two old methods.  Simply amazing technology.  There is certainly an exact science to this system, but essentially, it adds water to the air stream by breaking the surface tension of water with a high frequency, much like a tweeter in a high quality stereo or music system versus HEATING water to create the steam vapor.  Why would we want to heat water in a DATA CENTER when the number one mission is to REMOVE HEAT FROM THE DATA CENTER?
Can the same be said for a commercial or medical office building, ABSOLUTELY, in fact, the medical business loves Ultra Sonic.  It allows MRI. CT, PET, CAT scan rooms to be maintained at the proper humidity levels.  This allows for optimum patient comfort, as well as excellent magnet operation.  In the office environment, nothing increases office productivity like HUMAN COMFORT.  Happy people work and don't have to worry about their environment, this is simply one way of helping people smile.
Much more information is available on this methodology, Stulz is the #1 maker and science leader of the technology, see: to get a brochure on the subject. Go here for more information in general: 
If we can help with your education on Humidification, please let us know, we would love to explain as much as you would like to learn.  Contact if you want more, mention Humidification in the subject line.

Enjoy your Fall,

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The most often used word in contracting: "Green" Sarcastically said or not ... It is real & it is prominent

A Contractors Guide to Green Products / AirTight

By: Jack Floyd & Greg Crumpton /
As energy efficiency becomes a much hotter and hotter topic, contractors and manufacturers representatives alike are having to really focus on products to deliver to their customers that works.

For years we have heard the pundits talking, selling, promoting, etc… We are now at the time in life where the rubber has to hit the road. Products that work on energy reduction are abundant, however, like many other emerging markets and/or ideas, communicating how as well as how to most benefit by them is vital.

AirTight,, has found a couple of really niche products that do a great job of performing and allowing us to measure and present the savings to the customer. They are both unique in what they are designed to do, but deliver equally impressive results.

First: The Stulz Ultrasonic Humidification concept. The concept is fairly simple and straightforward. Rather than using heat to create a vapor as you typically do in an infrared or immersion heater type humidifier canister, the ultrasonic technique using a high frequency to break up the surface tension on the water within the humidifier, where it is then drawn into the air stream. An ultrasonic humidifier, as compared to the normal infrared humidifier that is factory provided in a CRAC or CRAH unit, operates at a 93% energy savings. Meaning for every dollar of energy used to create humidity within a traditional CRAC style unit, the same amount of moisture will be induced into the air for only SEVEN CENTS.

This is a revolutionary concept; we have installed it into some rather high-end data centers with excellent results. The customer likes to get a whole lot more bang for the Humidification buck. This information is available on line at or from your local Stulz equipment representative. The rep locator map is on the same web site,, as the data on the humidifiers.

The second innovative, energy-mizing technology we have embraced early is, low voltage, Power Over Ethernet lighting. Today data centers are under constant pressure to find ways to improve power usage effectiveness (PUE) and drive higher uptimes. Our current partner, Redwood Systems, , Building-Performance Lighting Platform provides on average a 75% reduction in energy usage from lighting and serves as a single system to monitor disruptions to uptime. The system scales well across a variety of environments from large Fortune 500 data centers and co-location facilities to smaller mission-critical facilities.

Lighting remains the low-hanging fruit to quickly and easily capture energy savings. By controlling LED’s that are highly-efficient at dimming and giving per-fixture control, Redwood delivers best-in-class energy savings for data centers. See how at:

As the world’s only smart building platform to power and control lights and a high-density sensor grid using low-voltage category cable for low cost installation and ultimate flexibility. This approach enables “lighting on demand”. Lights and controls can be easily installed or moved by pulling category (CAT 6) 6 cable to new locations. No line voltage is required for true POE, LED fixtures.

The unique web interface allows for adjustments and improvements on your system by using analytic trends to identify energy saving opportunities and implement continuous commissioning of your energy management system. Real time comparison, as shown below, can be used to capture the energy savings for up to a year with a base line comparison of the original power consumption. 

There are a tremendous number of brands, items and ideas that will lead you to energy savings. The secret? Stay doodling and dabbling .... Waiting and watching will only get you left behind.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

An open letter of thanks to Ryan Gunto:

An Open Letter of Thanks to Ryan Gunto:

 I have watched this RTU replacement job develop over the last couple of months.  The precise nature of your pre-planning and the Execution of Excellence that I saw (a little bit of, due to schedule) today, along-side of the customer being thrilled, is/was incredible.
This morning while getting up and having coffee, I was thinking about the job today. I
took just a little mental vacation/trip with my Dad (John Crumpton (1937-1994)) and the comfort of knowing he would have thought that this day was cool, let alone what we do as AirTight ( in general, day in and day out.

Then, knowing your Dad, only as briefly as I did, I knew that Andy Gunto (1952 - 2008) would have been Most Proud of You, his boy and what you do every day.

Great Job. Thank you.

Thank you all who participated:  From the physical part, to the GoPro Cameramen, to all that coordinated and made this a success …
You all should be proud.

G & Company

Saturday mornings: 6 Years ago Versus this Morning

Six years ago, Saturday mornings on the sofa looked different

This morning as I was was doing my current Saturday morning deal, which is great, fresh ground coffee from @CommonPlace in Pittsburgh, PA, some reading material and a 3.5 lbs. Yorkie (Phoebi) in my lap, it occurred to me how different this looked form just a few years back.

Way back then, I had a copy of the Charlotte Observer and a cup of coffee, not coffee mind you and maybe, just maybe, a laptop near by, just in case and whatever book I happened to be reading at that time.  Probably, @Tom_Peters or @ThisIsSethsBlog Godin, as he is the original Man on the Move.  Seemed pretty normal to me and Phoebi.
New era:  Coffee, Mac PowerBook running for @Twitter feed and LinkedIn perusing, iPhone down loading a book to listen to on an upcoming trip, a hard-copy, yes paper, book I am reading, ... Think @MitchJoel, @BreneBrown, @JonathanFields or maybe @Nilofer, the iPad handy for looking up words that true genius writers use to stretch my gray matter & an old school hand written journal for thought keeping ... And yes, Phoebi.

This kind of got my brain gnashing around with some material that I recently read in @JayBaer 's new book #Youtility.  Jay quoted a gent named, #GeorgeColony, CEO of  Forrester Research,, who laid it out this:  "As the web becomes the AM radio of digital, the mobile App Internet will rise.  This market will be dominated by two or three ecosystems ... semi-closed worlds built on a closely fitting set of apps, phones, tablets, computers, operating systems & partners." 
I guess after reading Mr. Colony's quote, that/This time has arrived.  As an example of this, according to #Apple, the company sold more iPads in April through June of 2012 than any other computer manufacturer sold of their entire product line.  In support of this fact, Gartner, Inc., @Gartner_Inc, reported that app downloads will increase more than 600% between 2012 & 2016. 
Why is all of this important?  I think it is important & very relevant as it pertains to the economy.  More of this type growth and the proliferation of data & data issuing and consuming devices will help drive us to a more robust economy.  Think of it in terms of a small business owner like AirTight.  As more and more people come on line, in a mobile way, we will, as a nation, state, city, and company be impacted in a positive way.  Business develop things, hardware, software and #DataCenters and #CoLo environments to support all of this mobility in a digital sense.  So those people and companies do well, it even trickles all the way down to our size company, as we specialize in removing heat from data centers & colos.
So no real earth-shattering facts here, just a realization that we as a people have changed, we tend to be embracing technology at an incredible rate and this is how we are going down the road. 

I love it.  And judging by the way Phoebi nestles in ... She's pretty good with it as well.
Enjoy technology and your own way of using it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ever wonder what the HVAC "guy" ISN'T telling you

, that which he could to promote #Energy efficiency as well as longevity for you equipment?

We thought this through with an actual homeowner to get her opinion.

What she said:

They don't tell you that you can do some basic maintenance yourself, they want you on their service plan. · The Basics: All HVAC equipment, especially residential is based on very basic science. The number one tenement of those principles is Heat Transfer capability. By keeping the coils clean from debris, dirt, ant beds, etc... you can really help your systems cool as efficiently as possible, especially the outdoor unit that us most likely lurking behind the Azaleas. A simple routine of turning off the power to the outdoor unit and flushing the coils, the thing that looks like a radiator, can really help keep you in much better shape. This address' the first point of:

Point # 2: They don't tell you that you can install a programmable thermostat yourself.

A higher-end programmable thermostat can be a great ally for you and your space, work or home, in saving money by reducing the operating hours if the HVAC system. These thermostats are fairly easy to install, usually a direct wire to wire installation. Hint: Make a drawing and label the existing ones as you disconnect them. There are even WiFi enabled thermostats that allow for remote connectivity, these are a great fit for a weekend home or a remote office with little traffic. You can dial in the desired set-point before arrival as well as check the settings after your weekend guest leave to ensure things are back to normal.

Point # 3: They don't tell you the best programming for your thermostat.
Obviously this will require tweaking based upon your personal preferences, do you like it a little warmer or a little cooler than the average bear? 75*F or so should be a great starting point, you can adjust up or down to suite your needs, same for heating, try 69 as a start and go from there. 

Number 4: They don't tell you the best programming for your thermostat.

We suggest a five degree rise or lowering mark as a starting point. The goal is you do not want your equipment running any more than required while you are away, but you do not want it so far from set point that it has a hard time recovering either. Five degrees will save you a lot of power and allow for a graceful recovery. Over time you can continue to adjust up or down accordingly, remember, every minute that your equipment is off, it isn't costing you anything.

Five: they don't tell you to check your condensation pumps and drains regularly to keep from getting water damage.

Insurance companies will tell you the most expensive claims are those involving water. One way to ensure that you keep your claims and therefore your insurance costs in check are by ensuring you are doing what you can to keep the HVAC system draining well. Dehumidification is a naturally occurring benefit to air conditioning. You remove heat out of the air stream by having a cooler surface for the air to interact with that is cooler than the ambient air temperature. With the laws of physics, it so happens that in order to cooler houses, buildings, data centers, etc... That cooler surface is the evaporator coil of your HVAC system. In a normally operating unit, the coil temperature is around 40* F, plenty below the dew point temperature of the air in your house or office. As the warm air collides and moves through the coil, most of the moisture within it falls into the drain pan where it is removed from the coil area. These drain pans and the associated drain lines and condensation removal pumps can be maintained by the end-user or home owner. A simple 50/50 solution of household bleach and tap water dumped into the drain pan periodically, maybe twice during the summer months, can possibly save an overflow of the drain and stop an insurance claim from occurring.

Lastly at # 6: They don't tell you they'd rather convince you that you need a newer system than work on older equipment.

The HVAC industry in not all that unique from other industries in regards to craftsmanship ... Better said, the dying art if craftsmanship. The industry at large has seen a shift over the last 20 years or so and has become dependent upon "parts changers" versus the tradesmen who over the years have devolved and utilized craftsmanship to ply their trade. The down side to that can be witnessed in the industries obsession to replace versus repair broken HVAC systems.

Yes there are many times that a system could benefit from a new indoor, outdoor or both unit. Energy use, age, general conditions should dictate these decisions, not the lack of talent by the guy performing the diagnosis. So, if you are told, "you just need a new one", don't be shy about refusing that and asking for a proper repair of your existing unit.

Keeping the image of any industry in the right light can be challenging, we are only as a good of a group as we are as individuals. Not all contractors or "HVAC Guys" are described above, in fact, our industry is full of well-known and not-so-well known companies and people.

Like in any other aspect of life, do your homework, find the right person/company that suites YOU and build a relationship with them Friends always take care of friends.

Read, Learn & Share


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Have you ever been asked or ever wonder, "Is Refrigerant, especially R-134a, heavier than air?

Is Refrigerant Heavier than Air You Ask

I was asked just this week this very question.  Thinking I knew the answer right away, I was able to contain my natural, blurt it out style of an answer, at least until now.  Now that I have indeed verified this data and not relied upon my 49 year old, filled with million of bits of USELESS Data, brain to produce a quality answer.

Yes is the correct answer, Refrigerant, and in this case, I am speaking specifically to and about R-134a, but it is a typical gas.  Always check with the or a refrigerant manufacturer, as the chemical composition of R-134a is all the same regardless of the name on the canister, it is just branded as, Freon or Aspen and a host of other "Names to Make You Think Col or Cold Thoughts".

If you are curious for the actual verbiage, see section 7.1 of the MSDS that this link will take you to.

Why does this matter to people?  Well if you are a building manager or the safety officer within you company, this could be an integral part of your safety SOP's and or helping people understand what to do in the case of a reported refrigerant leak into the office space.  Knowing that these refrigerants will lie close to the floor versus rising within the occupied spaces could be very helpful.

Secondly, if you have a refrigerant evacuation duct system, some instances are dictated by state and local mechanical codes to do so, it will help you understand why it is important to keep the intake grills free of obstructions and debris.

Lastly, if you operate a building of any size, you may want to consider how many other people handle and are prepared for refrigerant related issues.  Having a Refrigerant Management Process is a great idea. 

The link below will take you to an example of how California regulates stationary HVAC systems and the associated refrigerants are to be handled.  Know your local code, that is the only way to ensure that you are covered.

Refrigerant Management Process Link to Info

Remember that each local jurisdiction can and frequently does act independently of any other party.  Different refrigerants also have different characteristics insofar as Global Warming Potential, GWP as well as Flammability levels and ODP, which is Ozone Depletion Potential. We all have a responsibility to handle refrigerants in a safe way to us, others as well as the Earth herself.

Learn and understand what refrigerant or refrigerants, as many buildings contain multiple units that can utilize unique refrigerants, that you are responsible for or have the potential to be exposed to.

Like everything else, knowledge is the key to understanding, then educating others.

I truly hope this will help you structure or refine your system or process.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

VAV versus PIU, have you ever had to try and figure out the difference?

VAV versus PIU, .... WTF (Where's the Fan)?
In many commercial Air Conditioning Air Distribution systems, there is a strange phenomenon.  That is, what is a VAV and what is a PIU and why do many people call all of these one or the other?
Great questions indeed.Unlike your home, commercial and/or industrial duct systems work at substantially higher internal duct air pressure, this is called static pressure.  Static pressure allows the air to flow (move really) from a higher pressure within the duct system to a lower pressure area within the duct system.  This creates the air flow that we all love to feel when we are hot.
In the common fan unit, it can be called an Air Handling Unit (AHU) in many instances, but could located within a Roof Top Packaged Unit (RTU) or a built up air handler, this is where many components are assembled in the field to make an AHU, usually on rather large equipment, there is a fan of some variety that produces static pressure.  This fan(s) could be a typical fan as you would have in your furnace (Forward curve), a backward incline a fan axial, etc... Many types, all trying to do one thing, produce static pressure within the duct to allow the Air Distribution System to deliver air flow.
The Air Distribution System is made up of the fan, as we discussed above, the duct system as well as incorporates all Terminal Units.  These terminal units are the VAV's and PIU's that brought us here to begin with.
                          VAV = Variable Air Volume     PIU - Powered Induction Unit
Both of the devices incorporate a damper than automatically adjust the air flow when the building controls (#Tridium as an example) ask for cool air to be delivered into the space that particular VAV is serving.  These areas being served are referred to as Zones.  In most modern layouts and engineered buildings, the VAV's serve the interior parts of the building, the areas that typically do not require heat.  The heat in these areas is provided by lights, people, solar warmth, etc...
The PIU is an assembly that takes the same concept as the VAV, but once the controls tell the damper to close due to the space set point being satisfied, the PIU will in fact completely close the medium pressure air from the duct system then start a small internal fan that will recirculate return and/or plenum air to begin to temper the space if the temperature still continues to fall, once the fan moving this non-cooled air cannot suffice, the PIU can start to heat, many times this is a single or multi-stage electric heating element or possibly steam or heating water.  These PIU devices are typically located within the exterior zones of a building where heat is required to keep the occupants and or goods at a comfortable temperature.
Knowing a bit more about what is lurking above the ceiling tile may never wind up helping you in your day to day, but at least you will have a good idea of whom to call if things were to get hot and sticky in the office.
For more on HVAC for Office Buildings, Data Centers and any Mission Critical Environment, please visit or The Tech Corner @

DISCLAIMER:  Verbiage within our wacky Mechanical Industry can vary greatly, I have tried within the post to capture the general essence of what "most" people call "most" of the devices.  We try to get along, this is what happens when things go wrong!