Tag: hvac system life expansion

Technical Corner:How Professionals Work Smarter Not Harder on HVAC …. Part 2

Proper maintenance of HVAC air handlers helps the CFO or finance head, as well as occupants.   Saving money every month by getting the same amount of cooling for less money makes sense.  Certainly, if another provider of electricity came by the office and offered a 10% discount on electricity purchased by them, any owner would jump on the opportunity.

The reason why maintaining coils properly isn’t done is only because management does not realize the extent of funds they are currently wasting by cutting back on man-power for coil cleaning.  If it appears that it is too time-consuming, then other more technological methods developed over the past decade need to be looked at.

In our previous blog, we talked about how biofilms form on surfaces. Biofilms are interesting, mostly because they seldom are noticed and the average person is just unaware of them.

Indeed, they form on almost all surfaces and are not unique to HVAC interiors.

HVAC interiors offer something that most surfaces don’t see however, and that is a temperature controlled environment with moisture, darkness, and a constant supply of nutrients  from small particles in the air being pushed across the coils in amounts of millions of cubic feet each day.

We explained how technical studies by ASHRAE show coils within one year of cleaning are responsible for up to 20% or more increased energy costs than newly cleaned coils.  Since the HVAC energy use accounts for over 50% of a typical buildings electrical expenditures,  having clean coils would make for a much better bottom line in terms of energy usage.

But coil cleaning to remove the physical buildup of dirt and other contaminants may not make sense if manpower is on short supply, and it isn’t worth it, even with spending more energy dollars, to clean the coils often.   But there is a solution.

As most of you know, Controlled Release Technologies spends tens of thousands each year on research and development.  Since our founding in 1986 we have brought out more than a dozen innovative products that the marketplace had no access to prior to our development.  A major accomplishment was our development of First Strike MicroCoat ®.

First Strike MicroCoat ® keeps coils continuously clean for a year or more at a time without maintenance intervention or cleaning.   It was, and is today, a major breakthrough in technology.  We developed this product to handle concerns by many of our customers over odor control, and especially wasted energy they saw by using dirty insulated coils.

Another of your advantages with tis product is  it is water-based and  free of noxious petroleum products.   This makes it more environmentally se to use while at the same time being significantly more cost effective by removing extra labor for cleaning while decreasing your monthly energy bill.

Please do not hesitate to leave your comments or testimonials below.

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 http://www.cleanac.com and by calling (800) 766-9057.


Technical Corner: How Professionals Work Smarter Not Harder on HVAC …. Part I

Maintaining HVAC air handlers to obtain low cost of operations can be quite time consuming and use up available man-hours.  Management allocation of labor has always been minimal over the past few decades, but now restraints on hiring have been even more noticeable.  The result?

Many departments have cut back on necessary coil cleaning, keeping water collection pans free of bacteria and other microbials, and in some cases choosing to put off changing air filters.   While on the surface these things seem okay to cut back on, the actual fact is they cause more problems than they solve.  Of course the cutbacks seem to provide the owner with more cash flow.  But this is surely not the case.

Cutting back on maintenance items as above costs management more money rather than less.

Why?

A recent ASHRAE Journal reported a study that was completed in New York on HVAC units that had been cleaned a year previous.  What they found was to some surprising; others in the HVAC field might have considered the ASHRAE findings intuitive or expected.

Several air handlers had their coils cleaned after a one-year period.  The study found that the clean coils exhibited an energy savings of up to 20% or more than those coils that had been cleaned only one year before.   For several air handlers, this amounts to wasted financial expenditures of tens of thousands per year.   Balance that against keeping the coils clean throughout the year and one can see that saving a few man-hours does not really compare to this kind of wasted money.

The main culprit is biofilms.   Biofilms are very thin layers, in most instances, of bacteria and other microbes.  They tend to be sticky.   They grow on any surface, and growth is enhanced by the presence of high moisture and nutrients.

Because they are sticky, when any dirt or organic matter bypasses the filter or comes through the filter, the matter impacts upon the biofilms and may stick to the film.   Since the overwhelming amount of surface area is the cooling and heating coils, particles that impact and stick on the biofilms on these surfaces insulates the coils even further.   It is known that biofilms alone provide the same insulating affect as 5 times that amount of scale.

This is why coils that are apparently “clean” are financial detriments.  Knowing this, is it really smart to cut back on spending an hour or so cleaning coils?

But that is really only the start of the issues.   We all know bacteria and fungus create VOC’s or odors.  In many cases, these can be quite obnoxious.   Most managers might believe that since the air handlers are out of sight of tenants, no one really cares if they are in fairly good health.   We know of one air handler right now in the North East whose tenants in the building (lawyers by the way) have been complaining of odors for quite a few months.

Not withstanding all of the above, there lies another problem, and that is equipment sustainability.  How does having a clean HVAC unit related to the expected lifespan of the unit?  Most air handlers may cost anywhere from $25,000 to well over $100,000 to replace.   In the vast majority of cases, the owner does not hear this news until the unit is within a few weeks or months of replacement.   This can come about by the management not periodically inspecting the units for corrosion and fouled coils.

In the next blog, handling the above in a realistic way that makes sense will be reviewed. Please feel free to comment, we love to hear from our readers.

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 http://www.cleanac.com and by calling (800) 766-9057.


Business Survival and Sustainability: THE PASSWORD RAT RACE!!!

Business Continuity Plan

Passwords, user ids, log in names, on and on and on they go.  How many do you have?

Sure there are numerous articles on the subject and this is NOT going to be one.  No advice from me on this.  I know it is a rat race, and I admit that there are times when I am behind the eight ball in this area.

So, I’m calling on you for suggestions.  What do you do to remember those passwords?  How do you make certain employees don’t leave and “lock you out” of your system?  Where do you keep all of that precious data organized for you business?

Patricia Burkhart is the executive director of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc., a research, development and manufacturing firm based in Shelby, North Carolina.  CRT is an IFMA CSP, EnergyStar Partner and manufacturer of independently-certified Green products for HVAC maintenance. Since 1986, CRT has been creating leading edge HVAC maintenance products that have become industry standards, used in thousands of commercial buildings world-wide. CRT employees are members of BOMA, ASHRAE, ASHE and the American Chemical Society. www.cleanac.com (800) 766-9057.

From the Field: Dirty Sock Syndrome

Okay, it’s that time of year. For much of the U.S., the heating season began about a month and a half ago. Here in North Carolina, and more specifically my household, the heating season has only been around for about three weeks. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s been cold enough at night to run the heat, but during the day we find ourselves turning the AC back on – a common thing in the Southeast.

When the heat pump goes into defrost mode, or the HVAC unit is switched from heating for a brief time, then back to cooling, a condition known as “Dirty Sock Syndrome” can arise.  DSS is described as a musty, moldy, dirty sock odor coming from HVAC systems when they first start into cooling mode. DSS is caused by bacteria that attaches to, and grows on indoor evaporator coils. When the coils cool down and get damp, the bacteria release their gases all at one time into the air causing the unpleasant odor.

Some people have gone as far as to almost sell their homes because they couldn’t get rid of the smell. BUT HAVE NO FEAR! Here is a way for you to eliminate that smell and maintain a clean, healthy environment through a little preventive maintenance.

  1. Clean the coils at the end of the cooling season with Instant Powder Kegs. Cleaning the coils before the heating season will get rid of any contaminants such as dirt, biological buildup and other material.
  2. Sanitize the unit thoroughly. Use EPA-registered Fast Attack, an HVAC system sanitizer specifically designed for HVAC interiors. Iodine based sanitizers are an ideal choice, as iodine’s effectiveness has been well documented. Hospitals have used iodine to sanitize before surgery for the last 150 years for a reason!
  3. Protect the coil from fouling by using Green-Certified First Strike Micro Coat. Transform the coil into a “self-cleaning” coil, one that repels particles and keeps matter from adhering to the surface.
  4. Round off the procedure by adding a timed-release drain pan protectant. This will eliminate clogs and overflows that can occur once the cooling season starts back. Either Green-Certified PanGuard or EPA-Registered Algae Guard will work.

All of these products are safe and easy to use, requiring minimal PPE. By following these simple steps, it will ensure that when you start up your AC at the beginning of the cooling season, you aren’t left saying….“Ewww, THAT SMELL!”

James Brown, Application Specialist of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc., a research, development and manufacturing firm based in Shelby, North Carolina.  CRT is an IFMA CSP, EnergyStar Partner and manufacturer of independently-certified Green products for HVAC maintenance. Since 1986, CRT has been creating leading edge HVAC maintenance products that have become industry standards, used in thousands of commercial buildings world-wide. CRT employees are members of BOMA, ASHRAE, ASHE and the American Chemical Society. www.cleanac.com (800) 766-9057.


Technical Corner: Flex Seal vs “Flex Seal”

Over the past two months we have seen an increase in calls to our offices regarding purchasing a new  product called “Flex Seal”, a product sold in a TV informational.   This relatively new  product is in an aerosol can, and is promoted as a sort of “stop-leak” spray for a variety of applications.

In contrast, our company (CRT) created and developed our product Flex Seal in the 1990s.  Ours is a professional product developed to coat walls, wood, and porous materials such as insulation.  The purpose of  CRT’s Flex Seal is to a) contain and encapsulate fiberglass and similar type particles thought by many to be carcinogens, b) to meet National Fire Protection (NFPA) fire and smoke generation code standards,  c) to provide a very low volatile organic (VOC) contribution, and d) to contain an agent that helps guard against the growth of odors and prevent microbial attack on its coating.
Aerosols generally have high VOC emissions (objectionable odors).   Rubberized compounds also may have a high flammability or smoke generation, making it unsuitable for many uses.

While CRT’s Flex Seal is a flexible coating with qualities listed above, it would be the product of choice for coating insulation within HVAC units or ductwork to seal off the porous insulation, and making it possible to clean the insulation.  Its white color allows users to see immediately if there is any dirt or foreign material buildup on the coating surface, and thus clean it with a rag – something not before possible on porous materials such as insulation.

While the TV infomercial indicates that the aerosol material may be used to seal a condensate pan, this is highly undesirable for several reasons, including VOC emissions, and long term usage.  If one is to coat any surface, it is desirable to clean the surface first or coatings will not have their best adhesion.   In this case, we recommend Pancrete or T-84 to coat these types of surfaces.

Our customer service dept at custserv@cleanac.com or our application specialist at application.specialist@cleanac.com can assist you in helping you select the proper products for your application.

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 http://www.cleanac.com and by calling (800) 766-9057.