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.

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  1. I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Very helpful information, thank you! Chris Johnson

  2. These HVAC tips for energy efficiency are kinda helpful for me. And these ideas emerging my intelligence to go beyond the limits. Heating and Cooling Toronto