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It’s Really Hot in Here!

For decades, Bill Johnson was a visible presence in the HVACR industry as a business owner, college teacher, author, and technical specialist. In his e-book, Btu Buddy’s Guide to HVAC Troubleshooting, he shares his tried-and-true tips for a broad range of issues. For example, to help a technician figure out why a small office’s 4-ton unit that used a capillary tube metering device was not cooling properly, “Btu Buddy” asks several troubleshooting questions:

• What was the coil boiling temperature of the evaporator when you checked the pressure?

• What should the boiling temperature be for an air conditioning coil?

• Where did the large puddle of water under the condensing unit come from?

Btu Buddy points out the importance of looking at and touching the system components to help find answers. In addition, he clarifies how liquid refrigerant can dilute the oil lubricating the compressor, and eventually decrease performance.

Learn more about Btu Buddy’s knowledge and advice, click here.

What’s on Your Shelf?

If you’re looking to build a resource library for your staff and contractors, you will find some of the many educational materials available today to be invaluable. From theory to practice, and from design to full implementation of an HVAC system, here are just a few resources that offer countless tips and techniques for both managers and technicians:

HVAC Design Sourcebook

HVAC Engineer’s Handbook

Modern Geothermal HVAC Engineering and Control Applications

Residential Construction Academy HVAC

Energy-Efficient HVAC Design: An Essential Guide for Sustainable Building

Fundamentals of HVAC Control Systems

Modern Construction: Lean Project Delivery and Integrated Practices

DIY Tips For Your Customers to Get Ready For the Summer AC Season

The trend in the HVAC/R business is to become your customer’s trusted advisor and the subject matter expert on all things HVAC/R. One of the best ways to do that is to provide your customers with helpful information that will give them more knowledge about how their HVAC systems work, empowering them to become active managers in their home or businesses’ HVAC systems. Since HVAC is the biggest user of energy in the home and business, you can assist your customers in saving energy and money by making sure they are doing everything they can to keep their systems running efficiently. Sharing tips for things your customers can do to get their system ready for the summer heat will go a long way toward making them loyal customers for years to come.

 

 

Right-Sizing for HVAC Systems

The Big Challenge? Right-Sizing HVAC Systems

Tuesday’s Tip: Many installers often find right-sizing an HVAC system to be a difficult task. Here are some great tips to keep in mind when building a high performance system.

More Tips For Right-Sizing Your Commercial HVAC Systems are available here: http://ac-engs.com/blog/tips-for-right-sizing-your-commercial-hvac-systems/

Contractors Grow Their Business with Nest

Customers love Nest products because they’re beautifully designed, loaded with innovative features, and intuitive to use. For residential use, the Nest Learning Thermostats, Nest Protect smoke and CO alarm, and Nest Wi-Fi video camera are top sellers. Contractors love these products because they are highly compatible with existing systems, work together seamlessly, and are simple to install.

 

View CE’s current Nest offerings at http://www.carrierenterprise.com/search?Ntt=nest.

HVAC Industry – Year In Review

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Market Overview

When final sales numbers are announced in January, the global HVAC equipment market should be reporting another year of above-average growth. According to a report from Chisult Insight Co., Ltd, the fundamentals now in place for the United States are the best they’ve seen in over 10 years. The research report stated that the residential HVAC market experienced significant potential growth based on the beginnings of a recovering new housing market, overall higher employment, lower gas prices, and higher consumer confidence combining with a better price/mix and lower raw materials costs. The good news also extended to the commercial market with a steady recovery in building construction in 2015.

The Chisult report indicates that underlying trends are now firmly above the electrical equipment and multi industry (EE/MI) sector average and should be sustainable. The potential upside comes from continued release of pent-up demand and better weather compared to a cool summer in 2014. While the buying impact from 13 SEER should reduce reported Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) shipment volume numbers by 8 percent in 2015, 14 SEER is positive which benefits margins and sales. The Chisult report also said the U.S. commercial HVAC market remains a more straightforward call, where about 5 percent growth in 2015/16 is based on an ongoing nonresidential construction recovery (6-7 percent growth) and a stable 4 percent replacement market. Ductless continues to be the new “next big thing” for the industry.   The ductless systems market could come to represent 15 percent of the industry for both residential (approximately 10 percent) and commercial (approximately 5 percent). With energy efficiency driving technology and product R&D, manufacturers were able to realize price increases in 2014, with most companies announcing low- to mid-single-digit price increases for 2015.

The latest stats from the Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) October 2015 report, year-to-date combined shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps increased 1.1 percent, to 6,097,714 units, up from 6,033,336 units shipped in October 2014. Year-to-date shipments of central air conditioners increased 2.2 percent to 4,082,457 units, up from 3,993,768 units shipped during the same period in 2014. The year-to-date total for heat pump shipments decreased 1.2 percent to 2,015,257 units, down from 2,039,568 units shipped during the same period in 2014.

Technology

The HVAC industry was on the cutting-edge of technological advancements in 2015. Many of the new technologies were focused on making it easier for a home/building owner to manage their energy use with smart thermostats, smart ventilation systems, smart device enabled applications and the integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the design and construction of homes and commercial buildings.

The HVAC contracting business also benefitedyou  from technology designed to help contractors provide better customer service with IoT platforms that utilize smart devices and allow sales and service representatives to automate their sales and service processes, making it more convenient and user friendly for customers.

Focus on Energy Efficiency

 As more states adopted new energy efficient building codes in 2015, HVAC contractors had to become more familiar with how to “right fit” an HVAC system for a building that is built to high efficiency or Net Zero Energy standards. In 2015 the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) developed “HVAC System Design for Energy Efficient Homes,” a manual for HVAC contractors to follow as a new industry standard. This standard will provide procedures to design/select HVAC systems and equipment for low-load homes that will achieve satisfactory indoor conditions with lower equipment capacity; i.e., resolving ventilation and moisture requirements/issues with low air volume systems while addressing occupant comfort, health, and safety. These procedures will become more important as lower capacity equipment appears in the marketplace in 2016 and beyond.

In addition, energy efficiency and sustainability have gone beyond being buzzwords in the commercial HVAC sector as well. In 2015, commercial builders, owners and managers put saving energy, money and natural resources at the top of their lists.   Since heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment consumes a substantial portion of energy in commercial buildings—roughly 40% to 60% of total building energy consumption depending on climate and other factors, this trend will become even more important in the design and building of commercial structures.

New Products

High Efficiency HVAC systems – HVAC manufacturers embraced the new regulations introduced in January 2015 and began to deliver high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER) HVAC units to their distributors in Spring 2015. With the focus on energy efficiency and using enhanced technology and IoT features, many manufacturers designed and produced HVAC units with SEER ratings way beyond the required 14 SEER. CE carries a full line-up of HVAC units from that offer 13 to 23 SEER ratings and feature Wifi controls, wireless thermostats and variable speed compressors. To find out more about all the high efficiency units available, visit:   http://www.carrierenterprise.com/residential-equipment/air-conditioners

Ductless systems – One of the hottest new products at the 2015 AHR Expo was ductless HVAC systems. With the ductless market predicted to grow to more than $9 billion by 2020, more and more manufacturers and contractors are embracing the ductless system as a viable alternative for providing comfort solutions to residential and business customers. Ductless units introduced in 2015 are much more efficient and attractive and there are a myriad of options for system configurations to meet your customers needs. Systems have been designed to provide high efficiency ratings up to 30.5 SEER (Carrier’s Infinity Series), 80 percent heating capacity at minus 20° F, and smart controls. Systems can be easily installed on the floor, a cassette system in the ceiling or in the wall depending on esthetic needs and space restrictions. And units can be controlled remotely or with a digital thermostat mounted on the wall.

Ductless systems have become very popular for customers who have older homes or buildings that were not built with space for a ductwork system. Many historical homes or commercial buildings that don’t have adequate attic space for a central air conditioning system can benefit from the installation of a ductless system, which can increase the comfort level and long-term value of the building. CE carries a wide variety of ductless systems to meet every need. To find the right ductless system for residential or commercial applications, visit: http://www.carrierenterprise.com/residential-equipment/air-conditioners

Smart Thermostats – One of the most important products in the HVAC industry in 2015 was the smart thermostat. There was a wide variety of new offerings in this space and homeowners began to embrace this technology as a way to better manage their energy use to save money and have control.

  • Connected smart thermostats – The term “connected” refers to WiFi-enabled smart thermostats that allow users to control temperature settings remotely from a smartphone or computer.
  • Learning thermostats – The newest type of thermostat on the market are “learning” smart thermostats. These thermostats claim to learn daily habits and automatically schedule temperature levels accordingly. In addition, these models often come equipped with features such as sensors that monitor motion, light and humidity. All learning models on the market are also WiFi-enabled.

CE has a variety of smart thermostats to choose from. To find the right product for your next installation visit: http://www.carrierenterprise.com/thermostats-zoning/thermostats

Smart Ventilation Systems – Smart ventilation systems garnered a lot of interest in 2015 and are revolutionizing the way an HVAC system provides the right amount of airflow to ensure maximum comfort in a home. Smart Ventilation systems communicate with the thermostat to manage the temperature and airflow in particular rooms throughout the home. These systems manage the flow of air room by room through the automatic control of the vents and allow a resident to turn the volume of airflow up or down in a particular room or area of a home based on a variety of factors. For a complete line of smart ventilation systems visit: http://www.carrierenterprise.com/indoor-air-quality/ventilators

Smart Home Network Hubs – With the myriad of devices in the home and the need to connect them all for ease of use and management, the smart home/building network hub has become the brain of the smart home system. These hubs have become an integral part of the design of Net Zero energy homes and commercial buildings. To find a network hub for your next project visit: http://www.carrierenterprise.com/thermostats-controls-zoning/building-automation

Integrated Building Automation – One of the largest sectors of growth in commercial HVAC use has been in commercial buildings, where building occupants demand a comfortable, healthy environment. With the emphasis on energy reduction and saving money on operating costs, 2015 was a big growth year for the installation of Building Automation Systems (BAS).

Advanced BAS technology integrates individual building systems and controls into a single automated platform. The result is improved comfort for building occupants and reduced energy consumption for the organization. To find the best BAS for your project visit: http://www.carrierenterprise.com/thermostats-controls-zoning/building-automation

The team at CE looks forward to bringing you the best products, techniques, news and information to help you make 2016 a success. Have a wonderful rest of 2015 and a safe, healthy and Happy New Year!

 

How Facilities Can Maintain Chillers this Winter

Chiller MaintananceThe winter season is an ideal time to focus on your facility’s chiller maintenance, which is one of the largest operational expenses in any HVAC system. The task is so important that the US DOE recommends a chiller’s maintenance takes place once a year at minimum. There are several steps maintenance personnel can take to keep top-notch performance of chillers. Keeping tubes clean will ensure efficiency and prevent pressure loss due to corrosion. Leaks in the system can cost facilities money and threaten the health of occupants by releasing hazardous refrigerants. Chiller leaks should be serviced immediately and units monitored for recurrences.

 

Read more about “Five Steps to Better Chiller Maintenance” at http://www.facilitiesnet.com/hvac/tip/Five-Steps-to-Better-Chiller-Maintenance–35981

Are Insiders Contributing to HVAC Waste?

HVAC WasteThe functionality of heating and cooling system is not the only thing that can contribute to HVAC waste. Unintentionally, maintenance technicians who have not been properly trained on a facility’s HVAC system may contribute to its poor performance. When hiring a new tech it is important to teach them specifics about your unit, despite how knowledgeable they are in the HVAC field. Creating a systems manual, videotaping original training sessions for later playback, or requesting a facility training day with your HVAC vendor’s company rep are all ways to help new maintenance technicians adjust to the specific system in place.

A Year In Review – Who Has The Maintenance Logs?

TUESDAY’S TIP: As the year comes to a close people often reflect on the past twelve months of their personal life, but what about reviewing the past year of your HVAC system’s life? As part of an operations standard it is recommended that a maintenance log be kept for all units. The end of the year is an ideal time to look for trends in maintenance to determine if a unit is costing more to upkeep than it would to replace. By reviewing maintenance logs one may also be able to see patterns in service calls. For example, a particular unit may be requiring freon charges more regularly than others. This service pattern could indicate a slow leak. Don’t have a method for logging maintenance? Make 2016 the year you put some form of tracking system in place.