Tag: hvac system maintenance

Product Spotlight: Pancrete – Be Proud of Your Unit

After just a few years of service galvanized condensate pans start to corrode. Corrosion creates low spots in the pan where water can pool. This pooling accelerates the corrosion process and eventually causes the pan to leak. The standing water also promotes biological growth, blocking the drain and resulting in pan overflows. As can be imagined, both scenarios can result in extensive water damage and costly repairs.

To solve these problems, CRT created Pancrete pan resurfacer. Pancrete is pourable and self-leveling, providing the condensate pan with a flat, level surface that does not corrode. Additionally, Pancrete contains an anti-microbial preservative, which prohibits it from becoming a food source for microorganisms. Simply said, no food, no growth, no overflows.

For close to 15 years, Pancrete users have been thrilled with the results. Not only does Pancrete save thousands in repair and replacement, but it is easy to apply, requires limited downtime, and results in a finished product people are proud to show off. How many companies do you know that want you to look in their air handler units?

Well many of our customers are doing just that! Recently we added a section to our website showing off just a few of the thousands of Pancrete jobs performed over the years. Please visit http://www.cleanac.com/project-showcase, click on a company and see what Pancrete could do for you. And if you’ve already used Pancrete before and have a job you are proud of, please submit pictures and short description of the job to marketing@cleanac.com.

jonJonathan Dunagin, Marketing Director 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.

Product Spotlight: The Unseen, Often Ignored HVAC Problem that is Draining Your Wallet

During normal operation of an HVAC system, particles and contaminates enter through the air and build up on the coils. According to the Energy Star Maintenance Checklist, link.

“Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.” Constant cleaning of coils by personnel is expensive and time-consuming, and often results in a trade off. Either more money must be spent on preventive maintenance, or more will be spent on energy costs and replacement. For this reason, having dirty HVAC coils is seen as unavoidable.

For treatment, there are numerous coil cleaners including non-acidic, non-caustic and foaming. While all clean coils at different levels of effectiveness, they are only momentarily effective. Once the system starts back up, buildup begins until the next cleaning. For this reason, an effective plan includes applying a preventive product that deters contaminate accumulation.

At CRT, we have developed the following products to protect HVAC systems from unnecessary buildup. By using our Micro Coat Product Line, both condensate and evaporator coils can remain clean and buildup free, prolonging the time between cleanings and saving both time and money.

First Strike Micro Coat
First Strike Micro Coat is an independently GREEN certified coating designed to protect against unnecessary labor and costs. First Strike Micro Coat reduces recurrent deposit buildup on HVAC evaporator coils by providing a clear molecular layer, or micro coating, of protection. Once cleaned, evaporator coils remain clean up to one year or more.

Coil Shield
Coil Shield is a coating designed to protect condenser coils from corrosion. In high salt and industrial areas, corrosive elements are pulled into HVAC condensers. This causes the system to run inefficiently, and eventually leads to condenser replacement. Coil Shield provides a clear molecular layer, or micro coating, of protection that lasts up to one year or more.

Jonathan Dunagin, Marketing Director 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: Cooler Pad Advantages and Disadvantages


Given the right environment, evaporative cooling represents a far more economical means of cooling over standard refrigeration. Initial capital costs run one third the cost of refrigeration, but even more savings come from the operational costs, which can be 75% less than that of refrigeration. So the question remains, why aren’t more people taking advantage?

As with most equipment, there are usually advantages and disadvantages. With evaporative coolers the basic operation is simple, with few valves and instrumentation to care for, and little trained labor required to keep the units performing. Furthermore, with evaporative coolers 100% outside air is used, improving the indoor air quality. All of this put together represents overall initial and operating savings.

However, there are some disadvantages. One of the most commented on when using evaporative coolers is scaling on the pads. This scaling decreases unit cooling efficiency over time. Another disadvantage is the occasional production of unpleasant odors due to the buildup of biological matter in the cooler, which breaks down and emits VOCs. A final disadvantage is the high water consumption of evaporative coolers, which is especially troublesome in these economic times.

The high mineral content of water used in the cooler is responsible for the vast majority of operating issues. When water evaporates from the cooler pads, only pure water is given off (good), but the minerals in the water stay on the cooler pad surfaces forming a dense scale buildup (bad). Within a short period of time, scale thickness builds up on the pads to such an extent that cooling is actually reduced. Over time, sections of the pad can plug up completely, and cooling occurs at a mere fraction of what it was when the unit was new.

As a result of this process, replacing the pads on the cooler eventually becomes necessary. Whether it is a residential cooler or a large industrial cooler, pad replacement is expensive. It is not uncommon for this expense to cost in excess of $1,000, depending upon the size of the cooler. This says nothing of the labor and staff involved in the process.

To avoid scale buildup, the old-fashioned method has been to set the “bleed-off” to remove the concentrated mineral-laden water and replace it with fresh water which has a lower initial mineral content. But this process quickly becomes cost prohibitive, in some cases using up to eight times more water than can be achieved by using modern technology.

Over the past decade or two, the use of bleed-off timers has become more prevalent. These help by reducing water usage over that of a continuous 24/7 bleed-off. Still, even with this technique, scale occurs on pads which reduces efficiency, and water consumption, while lower, remains a factor in operation.

These factors can all be addressed by using the proper products. Technology exists that continuously addresses scale and odor buildup, without the need for constant labor to keep ahead of the game. By using a more proactive preventive maintenance schedule, significant savings can be achieved by both cooler owners and contractors alike.

As always your comments and experiences are welcomed. Use the space provided below to do so.

Lynn Burkhart is the founder and president of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc. located in Shelby, North Carolina. Since 1985, CRT has helped facility managers and engineers solve problems associated with HVAC system maintenance. They are dedicated to not only providing superb service, but also continuous HVAC education. Their numerous maintenance and indoor-air-quality products include Cooler Guard, PanGuard, Instant Powder Kegs and Pancrete. For more information, contact CRT at 1-800-766-9057 and visit www.cleanac.com.

Product Spotlight: The Sludge from Air Handler #21760

Occasionally, potential clients request CRT’s assistance evaluating their HVAC maintenance needs. One such case occurred a few years ago at a large business facility experiencing a pan overflow.

When initially questioned, the building owner admitted that he had no on-site staff and contracted out all HVAC work “as-needed.” This was glaringly obvious upon entering AHU #21760. If you think this picture is disgusting, you can only imagine the smell. It has been said, if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, then it must be one. Well this smelled like the duck had died.

Further questioning revealed that it had been over a year since this unit was last inspected, and at that time tablets had been used to try and control dirt and grime buildup. Now this owner was facing a major overhaul of the unit, including water damage to surrounding structures. All this, just to save a few dollars.

At CRT, we developed our Timed Release Product Line to essentially eliminate leaks, clogs and overflows. By using the following products, condensate pans remain clean and deposit free, protecting buildings from costly water damages and maintenance expenditures.


PanGuard, an independently certified Green Product, is the original, timed-release polymer strip. PanGuard eliminates clogs and overflows due to deposit accumulation in HVAC condensate pans, and is engineered to meet the needs of individually sized units. Once a condensate drip pan has been cleaned, it remains clean for three to six months.

Algae Guard

Algae Guard is an EPA registered, timed-release polymer strip. Algae Guard eliminates clogs and overflows due to mold and fungus accumulation in HVAC condensate pans, and is engineered to meet the needs of individually sized units. Once a condensate drip pan has been cleaned, it remains clean for three to six months.

To learn more feel free to contact us, and please, share your AHU condensate pan horror stories and pictures in the response section below.

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: When to Replace HVAC Insulation Pt. 2

During the life of the insulation, literally millions of cubic feet of air are passed through the AHU daily.  Air contains small particulate matter, the majority of which is below the limits of human visibility.  Air contains  ordinary dirt particles, and  microbial spores such as bacterial or fungal spores.  It is normal that these particulates impinge upon and get entrapped within the insulation.

When microbial spores impact the insulation, they often grow and amplify within the insulation itself.  This results in VOC emissions (odors) and a source of contamination for the rest of the air handler.

It is unfortunate that fiberglass cannot be cleaned or sanitized to help remove embedded microbes.  This is due to the nature of the fiberglass itself.

A workable solution to prevent fiberglass emissions and at the same time eliminate the potential for embedded microbes is to coat the surfaces of insulation.

Flex Seal ™ first brought on the market in the 1990s, was developed by our firm to address typical fiberglass insulation problems.

FIex Seal is applied using a professional  airless sprayer.   The coating of the insulation is done in place within the air handler, and takes a minimal amount of time.

A flexible white surface is obtained that is easily cleanable with a rag or brush.  This allows for the user to maintain the cleanliness of interior surfaces.

Flex Seal contains an antimicrobial to prevent  attack of microbes on its surface while controlling odors.   Drying time of the application is on the order of 3 to 5 hours depending upon temperatures and humidty.

Since most materials for duct construction are required to meet NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 90A fire codes, Flex Seal has been engineered to surpass any and all fire/smoke requirements in the US or foreign countries.  ASTM tests show Flex Seal to have a Flame spread of zero, insuring full compliance with codes.

We recommend delaminated or heavily contaminated insulation be removed and replaced, and then recoated with Flex Seal.

Existing fiberglass insulation that still has its integrity and is not heavily contaminated should be coated to insure cleanabilty and prevention of fiberglass emissions.

What are your experiences, please let us know in the comment section 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.