Technical Corner: Is Bigger Really Better? (Part 2)

Those who have read Part 1 of “Is Bigger Really Better” know that when it comes to air conditioner sizing, bigger is not necessarily better. But there are areas where bigger is better when it comes to preventative maintenance.

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Those who have read Part 1 of “Is Bigger Really Better” know that when it comes to air conditioner sizing, bigger is not necessarily better. But there are areas where bigger is better when it comes to preventative maintenance.Take the area of the condensate collection pan for example. Collection pans get dirty and produce odors. In some cases they are a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, and other microbes.There is no question that these areas are among the dirtiest, if not the most offensive, areas of the air handler. Water overflowing comes about from fouling so bad that the collection pan drain line becomes solidly plugged, preventing water from flowing out naturally.Before the mid-1980s, all that could be done was to add tablets to the condensate pan to attempt to address the problem. Tablets dissolved quickly. Even those that purported not to dissolve quickly (a small weighted red box), an analysis of the active ingredient showed its’ solubility rate was 1.5 grams per liter of water. This would be how much would dissolve in one liter (about a quart) of water.

These type products, considered the best at the time, were used with varying results. It was not uncommon to see literally dozens of these boxes in an air handler, all with fungi and other microbes growing around them.

If the products were that good and they were not consistent, then there must be something we didn’t know as to why. One reason might have been that the water flow was much higher than the tablet could effectively treat. We checked a small fan-coil unit in Florida and found that this smaller unit flowed 1-1⁄2 gallons of water per day or about 6 liters of water.

Now if 1.5 grams of the tablet dissolved in 1 liter of water, then 6 liters would take up 9 grams with one day’s flow of water. But the tablets weighed 3⁄4 ounce or 21 grams. At its 50% active ingredient level, that meant the tablet contained only 10.5 grams of actives. So, in a little over a day, there would be nothing there to work with.

Most engineers and professionals need products they can rely upon, and HVAC maintenance people demand the same. It is irritating to have to make an emergency call to a unit to handle an overflow, or having complaints on odors, and other service related matters.

In 1986 our company made a major breakthrough in this area. This was the development of the first true controlled-release condensate pan treatment. Unlike old treatments used without consistent results for decades, PanGuard and Algae Guard makes a remarkable leap forward. They slowly release ingredients over a 3 to 6 months period of time. This lays on the table what every manager wants: consistency and predictability of results.

Time after time, it works. No surprises and no extra labor. In fact, since the products are only placed in the condensate pan when filters are changed, there is no extra work involved.

To obtain this optimum performance, we determined the condensate flow of water from each tonnage of air conditioning unit. Next we oversized Algae Guard and PanGuard to insure that no matter what conditions would occur, the products always work.

Because upsets seem to occur when one least expects them, we went that extra step by being conservative in our controlled release products: they were engineered to handle all the water from a certain tonnage of air conditioner when that unit was running 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, at a relative humidity of 100%. No other manufacturer of condensate collection treatment products engineers a product to these high standards. With these products, failure is not an option!

Our EPA registered Algae Guard product contains 32% active ingredients as shown on its box label. Users are encouraged to check our box label with other timed-released products to see the difference quality engineering makes.

There is only one other polymer-based product on the market similar to ours; it uses our old 1986 polymer matrix.

Good, but in 2007 after years of further research and development, we upgraded our system by synthesizing a brand new timed-released molecule that is much sturdier, and more efficient at the controlled release of working ingredients. This coupled with our 32% active ingredients in the case of Algae Guard increases its desirability over a 20% active, lower performance polymer molecule.

In this case, bigger is better. Upgrading our products continuously insures our customers only get the latest in technology as we develop it.

CRT Time Released Products

Lynn Burkhart is the founder and president of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc. located in Shelby, North Carolina. More information about the company, and its products, can be found at and by calling (800) 766-9057.

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