Tag: maintenance and cleaning of the HVAC system

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.


Tips From The Girls “Which of the Three Little Contractors Are You?”

I am sure everyone is familiar with the story, “The Three Little Pigs.” Although it may be meant for children, it helps teach a very valuable lesson; that hard work and determination pay off. This is especially true in regards to HVAC Systems. Please read our spin on the story, “The Three Little Contractors,” to learn how.

 The Three Little Contractors

 Once upon a time there were three little contractors. Their boss told them to do some research and come up with a solution to pan overflows, dirty drain pans, and algae growth in pans.

 The first little contractor decided to use some handy-dandy tablets. They were cheaper than anything else on the shelf and had a guarantee to stop build up, be long lasting, and prevent overflows. In return, all he would have to do is check the pan every once an a while. This solution was cheaper for him, saving money for other things.

The second little contractor decided to install a float switch in the condensate pan. He figured it was more expensive than tablets, but he wouldn’t have to check the pan as often. He knew the float switch would do the work for him, and automatically shut down the unit if the water reached a certain level. This solution was more costly, but required less work of him and more time to relax.

The third little contractor decided his solution was an EPA-registered, timed-release product called Algae Guard. Algae Guard slowly releases its ingredients, which attach to the dirt, grime, and grease in the pan (instead of just dissolving away). Algae Guard washes the debris down the drain, preventing overflows and keeping the pan free from mold, mildew, and fungus. Additionally, it only had to be placed in the pan every 3 or 6 months, depending on the size of the unit. This solution was a higher quality and a little more expensive, but required less work of him and was proven to be more effective.

Months passed and the boss decided to inspect the contractors work. The boss visited the first contractor’s worksite. The tablets that the contractor had placed in the pan were no where to be seen. The boss was not pleased that he had paid out some money and had nothing to show for it. The pan looked as it had when he last seen it. He told the first contractor that he was very disappointed because no thought had been put into solving the problem, opting with just the cheapest/easiest thing.

Before the boss could get to the second contractor’s site, he had already received several complaint calls. The second contractor’s unit had completely shut down and the business had to send home all of its employees because the building was unbearably hot. The boss then looked at the condensate pan and was even more displeased! While the float switch had done its job, the main problem hadn’t been solved. The mold, mildew and fungus were still in the pan, and now the drain was clogged. He fussed at the second contractor for his sheer laziness and lack of care.

The boss was anxious to see the third contractor’s site. Surely he had come up with a better solution. When the boss arrived he was very pleased. The pan was free from any overflows, and had no mold, mildew or algae in the pan. The boss exclaimed to the third contractor, “How did you manage to solve those issues!?”. The contractor replied, “I simply paid a tiny bit more money and placed this timed-release product in the pan, then it did all the work for me.” The boss was so ecstatic he gave the third contractor a raise for his research, determination, and hard work.

Don’t let the BIG BAD WOLFUNGUS get the best of you. Which contractor will you be?

Kristen Burgess, Client Services Rep., and Shandi Maddox, Marketing Assistant of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc., a research, development and manufacturing firm based in Shelby, North Carolina.  CRT is an IFMA CSP, an 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

Product Spotlight: The Sludge 2: EAHU #5

 Last week’s blog received such a response that it warranted an encore performance.

Not only are air handler condensate pans affected by sludge buildup, but so are evaporative coolers. This is never more evident than in an account submitted to us by one of our distributors.
The unit in question, EAHU #5, had been neglected for years. Preventive maintenance had become deferred maintenance, which eventually led to ignored maintenance. We could take paragraphs describing the condition of the unit, the rust and corrosion of the motor and support structures, the scale deposits on the pads and the condition of the cell deck. However, we think the picture explains it all. Imagine those water particles floating in your air!
At CRT, we developed our Timed Release Product Line to essentially eliminate scale, clogs and buildup. By using the following product, cooler pads and basins remain clean and deposit free, protecting assets from costly maintenance and saving capital otherwise spent on utility bills.
Cooler Guard is a timed-release polymer block that protects against scaling damages and accumulation on evaporative cooler pads and basins. Users are able to cut water expenses virtually in half as a bleed is not needed when using Cooler Guard. Once installed, an evaporative cooler remains clean four to six weeks, depending on mineral concentration of the water.
To learn more visit cleanac.com/cooler-guard, and feel free to leave comments 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.

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

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.