The Top Commercial HVAC Problems: Solved

Studies have shown that your employees’ productivity, work satisfaction, and mood while at work can be affected by the temperature in your building. Even further, your health and the health of your employees is impacted by the air you breathe all day and that air is impacted by your commercial HVAC system.

We encourage all of our commercial customers in the same way – to take preventative maintenance seriously and to monitor system function. However, even in the best-case scenario, problems can happen and repairs can become necessary. Look for the following warning signs to know it’s time to take care of your system.

Commercial HVAC Problems: Warning Signs

  • Poor-quality of breathable air
  • Knocking, or other strange sounds
  • Airflow issues or a lack of temperature performance
  • Quick-rise in costs to operate your system

These warning signs – or any other anomalies in your system’s performance or behavior – could indicate that you have one of the following common commercial HVAC problems.

What are the Top Commercial HVAC Problems?

1. Your Air Filter Needs Cleaning or Replacement

One of the quickest and easiest ways to self-diagnose and DIY repair your commercial HVAC system is to check on the filter. If you find that your system isn’t performing well enough or that it is behaving erratically, checking in on the filter and changing it out is a great instant-fix. If your filter is filthy, your air conditioning or heating system will need to work harder to push air through the filter. Further, the quality of air that you and your employees breathe will obviously be affected. For optimal performance, replace your filter quarterly. You may find – especially if your building is industrial or involved in dirty work – that you require more frequent filter replacements as well.

2. Your Refrigerant is Leaking

Refrigerant is a liquid substance that allows your air conditioning system to work; it cools the air that moves through your system. With too little refrigerant, your system will perform poorly and your building’s air conditioning will feel too warm. This is a dual issue – your employees will be hot and mad at you, but your system will also be doing overtime and this could lead to issues.

3. Your Thermostat is Malfunctioning

If your building is too hot, too cold, or if the temperature fluctuates more than you’d prefer – your thermostat may be the cause. Troubleshoot your thermostat by testing various temperature settings and testing your system’s ability to meet the determined temperature with a thermometer. Many commercial building owners “set it and forget it” and neglect to check in on their thermostat, so they fail to realize that it is displaying an error or a blank screen.

4. Your HVAC System Needs Maintenance

Commercial HVAC Systems require as much – or more – maintenance than residential HVAC systems. Routine maintenance provides that minor HVAC issues that come up – and they do! – can be taken care of before they become highly expensive and complicated.  Complete system failure is common mostly among systems that do not receive consistent maintenance. If you find that your system is performing unsatisfactorily or behaving in a way that concerns you, we always suggest

As the owner and operator of a commercial building, it is important for you to understand all of the systems that make your building work while you work. Your air quality and the temperatures your team lives with while working every day impact your productivity, your health, and your happiness. By being proactive about the maintenance of your HVAC system you can preven the issues covered here today.

We would like to help! If you are ready to set up a proactive and preventive maintenance plan with a dedicated professional OR if your system is underperforming and you require a check-up, call us. We’re waiting by the phone!

Is There Asbestos in My Home?

In the 20th century, asbestos was a popular material for home builders. It has excellent insulating properties, and it’s naturally fire retardant. Unfortunately, it’s also rather dangerous. So much so that it’s been banned in more than 50 countries around the world. For homeowners, it can be pretty stressful to consider. So how do you know when you should be concerned?

The Health Consequences of Asbestos

To understand why it’s dangerous, you must realize the consequences of asbestos exposure. When the fibers enter your lungs, they can embed within the tissue. The damage results in large amounts of scarring and eventually tumors. Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer can all be caused by the material.

Asbestosis is an inflammation. It affects the tissues of the lungs so strongly that the swelling can result in continual shortness of breath along with coughing and pain. Mesothelioma, on the other hand, is a type of lung cancer. Your lungs are surrounded by a special membrane that keeps them safe and controls input and output for the cells. The membrane is affected by this kind of cancer, depleting the lungs’ condition. Over 100,000 people are killed by these diseases annually.

Gauging The Risk of Asbestos in Your Home

Homes built prior to the 1980s will likely contain asbestos in some form. Many building materials included it, and you may be surprised to know that it could be lurking in your:

•    Ductwork (many old systems feature white tape holding portions together; this fabric is most often found on metal ducts)

•    Floor and ceiling tiles

•    Insulation

•    Roofing and siding

•    Paint

Even if you’ve got examples of each of these, does that mean you’re automatically at risk? Actually, it doesn’t. There is a small chance that even brief exposures could have consequences, but it’s not very likely. Those who are afflicted with one of the big three diseases almost always have extended records of exposure. The most prominent source to blame is asbestos mines and mills. Workers within the facility as well as those in charge of transportation, received the greatest about of exposure. Other industries were affected too, however. Any product that contained asbestos, such as automobiles and ships, exposed workers to contamination.

Even if they weren’t involved directly, people could still be impacted from afar. When family members worked with the substance, they often endangered everyone in the household by unknowingly dispersing fibers from their clothes and hair. Those living near mines or mills faced lots of exposure too.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone will come in contact at some point, and the majority of people are unaffected. Continuous exposure at high levels is what creates the conditions for disaster.

Just in case…

If a suspicious material has you worried, don’t be afraid to call the professionals just in case. At $25 Plumbing, we also specialize in heating and air conditioning. Since old ductwork is the most common source of asbestos in American homes, we have the knowledge you need to keep your family safe. We’re more than happy to replace your outdated system with modern, efficient, and asbestos-free materials.

Stop Mold Growth in Your Business HVAC System

The family of fungi known as mold can seriously damage the quality of indoor air if they establish a foothold and start multiplying. Regrettably, commercial buildings, with their complex HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, can easily provide near-ideal conditions for the growth and spread of mold. If you own or manage a business, you can take some important steps to help keep your HVAC system mold-free.

Why Is Mold So Bad for Indoor Air?

Mold gains a footing and multiplies whenever it can take advantage of three supporting factors: warmth, dampness and relatively high humidity. During its spread, it shoots out particles known as spores, which can build up to fairly high concentrations in an indoor environment like an office building or commercial property. While some people don’t react badly to the presence of mold, others develop a range of symptoms, which can include eye irritation, breathing difficulties and congestion. In a person with a serious mold allergy or a damaged respiratory system, these symptoms can grow extreme enough to pose a genuine threat to health and well-being.

Commercial HVAC Systems and Mold Infiltration

During warmer parts of the year, the HVAC systems in commercial buildings often provide favorable conditions for the growth and spread of mold. That’s true, in part, because these systems typically contain a number of moisture-rich localized environments. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of commercial HVAC setups, it can be difficult to isolate the presence of mold in specific system components. In addition, mold infiltration can occur in out-of-the-way components that don’t provide easy access for cleanup.

Stopping Growth in Your System

The only way to ensure that your customers and employees don’t suffer from HVAC-related mold exposure is to stop mold from spreading in your system in the first place. This takes diligence in the form of regular, thorough inspections of each susceptible part of your HVAC setup, It also takes a conscious, ongoing determination to keep your system in peak working condition throughout the year. As a rule, it takes an HVAC specialist familiar with commercial units to conduct a proper inspection and perform all required system maintenance.

If you need to stop an active case of mold in your business’ HVAC system, it’s best to call a professional service that employs technicians trained in the proper cleanup and correction of mold infiltrations. Qualified technicians will know how to prevent the further spread of mold while disinfecting all affected system components, removing all contaminated materials and using treatments designed to reduce the chances of future mold growth.

For assistance with mold prevention or suspected mold growth at your place of business, be sure to give us a call. Keep reading the pages of this blog for more tips on ways to keep your commercial HVAC system running smoothly.

Is the Lowest Price the Best? Reasons to be Wary of Bargain-Rate HVAC Repairs

We’ve all heard the one about how “if it looks too good to be true it probably is.” Unfortunately bargain-rate HVAC companies prove the truth behind this aphorism time and time again.

In life it is always tempting to accept extremely cheap offers when they come our way. But you should never do this when your HVAC system needs repairs. Trust us, if you do the chances you’ll live to regret it are excellent.

When a Bargain is No Bargain

When we warn you about “bargain-rate” HVAC companies we aren’t talking about established businesses that come in with quotes a bit below their competitors. We are instead referring to operators who quote prices so low they don’t seem realistic. When this happens there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark and you would be wise not to go there.

So what kind of service can you expect from mega-low-cost HVAC installers and technicians? History provides some appalling answers to this question.

If you hire a bargain-rate company, you may:

  • Be charged for repairs you don’t actually need.
  • Get a bargain quote with hidden extra charges you don’t find out about until the bill comes due.
  • Receive an initial pre-repair diagnosis that is later changed to something else—something that will cost you a lot more to have fixed, naturally.
  • Be told that failure is imminent and that you need to replace an expensive part in your HVAC system immediately.
  • Be left in shock and dismay when a newly-installed HVAC component breaks down shortly after the bargain company’s installer leaves your home.
  • Be forced to let the bargain-rate company’s incompetent employees back in your home again and again, when they repeatedly fail to correctly diagnose and fix your problem.
  • Lose valuable funds you need to feed your family and pay your other bills, all because of what you had to pay that “bargain-rate” company you chose to repair and maintain your HVAC system.

It’s not a pretty picture, is it? Sadly these are common results when the lowest-price quote is accepted without deeper investigation.

Look Before You Leap

Before you hire any company to handle your HVAC affairs take an extensive look into their background first. Read as many reviews of their work as you can find, and talk to their representatives on the phone or in-person to get a better sense of who they are and what they’re about. Find out if they’re a factory-authorized dealer for a respected line of HVAC products. Ask to see the credentials of their technicians and find out what kind of training they’ve had and what kind of certifications they carry.

In HVAC as in everything else it is always best to look before you leap, and that means never contracting a company to do your repair work simply because they give you a super-low upfront quote.

Follow us for great tips and insights that will help you keep your HVAC systems running safely, smoothly and efficiently.

Do HVAC Systems Emit Greenhouse Gases?

Do HVAC Systems Emit Greenhouse Gases? The answer is an emphatic yes. All heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. This is not an unfounded allegation by advocates of a safer environment. It is a scientific fact and it is backed up by strong evidence. To understand why this is true, it is vital to look at the way heating and cooling systems work.

An air conditioner, for instance, has a number of electrical coils and an electric pump. This pump transfers air between the interior of a building and the exterior. This cooling system also has a condenser and an evaporator. The condenser moves hot air outside while the evaporator moves cool air to the interior of the house. Meanwhile, refrigerant moves through the system and facilitates the movement of air. The function of the refrigerant is to transform gas to liquid and liquid to gas so it is a vital part of the HVAC system. Unfortunately, refrigerant is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases because it contains both chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)and halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

When greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, the result is a gradual depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer protects the surface of the earth from the harmful effects of UV radiation from the sun. If the ozone layer is depleted, more radiation gets through to the earth’s surface and this leads to a global increase in temperature. This phenomenon is described as global warming and it has terrible implications for the earth.

It is not as if the authorities concerned are doing nothing to combat global warming. Already, the relevant environmental protection agencies and consumers in the US are working to halt the emission of greenhouse gases. By the year 2030, the US government wants to phase out HCFC production completely. Already, producers of HVAC systems have been compelled to switch from CFCs to HCFCs. The plan is to phase out HCFCs completely because this will create a safer global environment and make the world a better place for everybody.

As a consumer, you can help win this war by patronizing only HVAC system manufacturers who produce safe cooling and heating systems. Follow us for more informative articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running smoothly.

All You Need To Know About Replacing HVAC Heating And Air Conditioning Systems

You rely on your home’s heating and cooling system to keep you comfortable year round while improving indoor air quality to create a healthy living environment. When your old system is no longer effective, it is time to start thinking about HVAC system replacement. Finding the right HVAC contractor will ensure you invest wisely when choosing a new system for your home.

A reputable HVAC company can provide you with a free home evaluation and estimate of cost for purchase and installation of a new system. Your written estimate should provide all relevant details, including prices for parts, labor costs, energy efficiency and details about the warranty. The company should provide an estimate with no obligation to you.

An experienced contractor can help you choose the right size system for your home. Purchasing a new system that is too big or too small decreases your home’s energy efficiency. Comfort suffers because the wrong size unit will not be able to maintain the optimal temperature and humidity level.

Depending on your home, a heat pump or radiant heat system may be more efficient to operate than a forced-air heating system. Heat pumps are more cost-effective for central heating in locations where the climate is mild and stays above 37 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. Radiant heating is installed in the flooring and operates without losing heat through the ducts. This option is more expensive and is often more suitable for new construction.

If your utility bills keep increasing for no apparent reason or your air conditioner is making strange noises, it may be time to start considering a new energy efficient unit. You can expect your heating system to last approximately 15 years and your air conditioner to last about 10 years before normal wear and tear will require replacement.

You need to research your options whenever you make a major investment in your home. When it comes time to replace your home’s HVAC system, you can depend on a reputable heating and air conditioning contractor to help you make the best choice.

Follow us for more helpful articles to keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

What Is Thermal Comfort?

Thermal comfort of a place is determined by environmental factors such as the air temperature, humidity, air velocity and radiant temperature. But personal factors such as physical characteristics of a person, the clothes he is wearing, his metabolic rate, etc. are also important determinants of thermal stress or comfort.

Air temperature which is normally given in degree Celsius is the most primary thing influencing the level of thermal comfort. But humidity also plays a big role. Humidity is referred by the term relative humidity of a place which is the ratio of the amount of evaporated water contained in the air and the maximum amount of water that the air in a particular temperature can hold.

When the air is too humid (for example, whenever the relative humidity is more than 70%), the sweat produced in our body cannot evaporate quickly since the surrounding air is already enough saturated with water vapor. Another determining factor is the radiant heat source. In fact, this may often play a greater role than air temperature in deciding the thermal comfort level of a person. Close proximity with any radiant heat source such as sun, fire or other objects that emit heat (kiln walls, ovens, electric fire, molten metal) will increase heat stress.

When discussing thermal or heat comfort, we also need to take into account the air velocity. Air velocity refers to the speed of the surrounding air in a place. If the air can circulate freely at a good speed and if it is cooler than the air outside, this will result in heat reduction. On the contrary, if the air inside a place (especially an artificially heated place) is stagnant or still, this will create stuffiness and will affect thermal comfort.

Apart from these factors, personal effects also play a part. For example, what kind of clothes you are wearing. Clothes that provide ample insulation will keep you comfortable both in warm and cold weather. However, if you are working at a job where you need to wear uniform or personal protective gear which is not insulation-friendly, this will lead to heat stress and thermal discomfort.

For more on the subject and for other articles explaining how to keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently, please follow our next posts on this blog.

How Does The Office Temperature Effect Your Productivity?

The air temperature in your office plays a big role in your overall productivity. It appears that working at a comfortable temperature will make you more productive, yet people tend to take the effects that a few degrees makes for granted.

There have been numerous studies done on the temperature your office needs to be in to effect maximum productivity and the more studies that are done, the more the topic is debated. The bulk of research shows that a temperature of between 70 to 73 Fahrenheit is conducive to increased worker productivity.

Another study performed by Cornell University suggests that 74 F is the optimal and most comfortable temperature for offices. According to the study 70% of workers would be pleased working in this temperature. These studies also suggested that just giving or taking a few degrees could have a significant effect in productivity across the floor.

Finding the right or perfect temperature for everyone presents quite a challenge. There are also many factors that contribute to the room temperature and must be taken into consideration. The season plays a big role in the office temperature that we are comfortable with. In winter people may be comfortable with the temperature a little cooler and in summer they may be okay with a slightly warmer temperature. People wear thicker and warmer clothing in winter, so a cooler temperature is comfortable. In summer people wear more cooler, cotton clothing, so they are able to cope with warmer temperatures. It is also believed that your weight determines how warm or cool you feel, with larger people feeling warmer than thinner people. The older you get, the more prone to cold you become, so an older workforce may benefit from a warmer work environment. Your climate also makes a difference when it comes to the average temperature being used in offices around the country. A relative humidity level of 40% must be maintained throughout the seasons. This is necessary for people to be comfortable with the commercial HVAC. In summer the air is naturally more humid, so a dehumidifier may be used, however, some level of humidity must be maintained in order for workers to be comfortable.

Follow us for more articles on how to save money and keep your home’s plumbing system running efficiently.

Preventing Legionnaires Disease In Buildings

Legionnaires Disease was first discovered during an outbreak of pneumonia at an American Legion Convention held in Philadelphia in 1976. Conventioneers who attended the event went down with high fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and fatigue. Eventually, the causative organism as identified as Legionella pneumophila and the disease was called Legionnaires Disease. Poor ventilation systems at the convention center were blamed for the spread of the disease and new regulations were put in to force to ensure that all building HVAC systems were disinfected and safe.

 

Can This Happen In Modern Day HVAC Systems?

Although most contractors and builders follow the new regulations, problems have cropped up frequently. Outbreaks are frequent during summer months and they are usually caused by higher temperatures and a greater use of water-spray based cooling towers. Ideally, Legionnella bacteria dies at temperatures above 70 degrees C but studies have shown that all HVAC systems show variable internal temperatures that may range from 20-50 degrees C. Apart from these ideal breeding temperatures, some cooling towers also contain waste biofilms that resulted due to stagnant water and poor maintenance. Even a short period of water stagnation could result in rust, scale and corrosion accumulation which will guarantee the growth of Legionnella bacteria.

 

How Can This Be Prevented?

Proper maintenance is the keystone to eliminating or reducing the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease. Currently, all HVAC systems companies have to follow ASHRAE Standard 188P while designing, installing and maintaining home ventilation systems. Most HVAC system companies follow a three-pronged approach involving regular on-site and office system assessments, monitoring of installed systems, and maintenance of heating and cooling systems. This will include the level of risk of a HVAC system for legionnaires disease, control regimens to ensure safe conditions, documenting of system maintenance checks, hiring adequately trained designers and maintenance engineers, and adhering to federal and national HVAC standards.

However, you have to work with the company as well. You do have to ensure that your home or office HVAC system is checked regularly. Apart from regular maintenance, non-chemical devices like pulsed electric fields, ultrasonic cleaners, hydrodynamic cavitation, and magnet cleaners can be used to ensure a clean and disinfected ventilation system. For more information, do get in touch with us through the comments section. Also, follow our blog.

Is The Air In Your Building Unhealthy

Commercial indoor air quality, and whether or not the air in your building is unhealthy, is not always one of the first things that pops into one’s mind, but the truth of the matter is that it is vitally important. The health of the individuals working in that building, as well as those just visiting from time to time, can be truly affected. It goes without saying that one’s bottom line results may also be heavily influenced by any unhealthy, negative air quality concerns as well. And the National Energy Management Institute has released the results of a study they conducted, which shows more than 30% of commercial buildings ranking as unhealthy!

The fact of the matter is that there are so many positive reasons to take the time, and make the efforts needed to make sure that air quality is safe, efficient, and healthy. Among these are providing a comfortable place to live or work, minimizing the risks of illness to those in the building, gaining greater productivity from those working there with fewer sick days being taken, and an overall reduction in operating costs because everything is working properly. And the fact that one’s legal exposure is minimized as well, is a less thought of but highly important consideration to be understood. There are many shades of gray in these areas, but taking the time and making the effort to keep your HVAC system working efficiently, is worth the costs involved in doing so. The truth of the matter is that maintaining the system properly is far less costly than allowing it to falter, and then require an extensive overhaul or replacement. That additional attention one takes the time to pay now, will wind up saving them a substantial amount of money moving forward!

If you have found yourself in a position of fielding some complaints from various people in your building, you will want to get on top of things at once! And if you haven’t yet heard any of those complaints, you can fortunately head them off by getting on things now! Please continue to follow us for additional articles regarding your HVAC systems running comfortably and efficiently.