Advice From the Pros

How Is Your Ductwork?

hvac ductwork

New construction

Does it feel like your AC isn’t cooling or heating? Sometimes your HVAC ductwork is the problem, something you may not have thought about and may not expect to be the reason.

If you feel your air conditioning units are not doing the work they used to do or are otherwise not bringing you the results you expect, then ductwork leakage or damage over time may be the cause. Ductwork damage, such as corrosion, holes, or gaps, can cause a very noticeable change in the efficiency of your cooling system.

Keeping the system sealed and clean, and inspecting it periodically can make a huge difference in the quality of work your unit is doing for your home. If your ducts don’t have mastic sealing, they could be drawing in attic air that is 150+ degrees or they could be leaking out your good cold air into the attic.

Dirty or failing ducts may be costing you a good chunk of money in energy costs, as it causes your air conditioning units to work harder to reach the settings you have set the temperature at.

According to the National Comfort Institute, the average duct system in U.S. is only 57% efficient due to several problems. An inadequate duct system is the single greatest problem. An improperly designed and maintained duct system cannot meet the required airflow to heat and cool your house efficiently even if your equipment is sized correctly and functioning properly.

Making sure your air is not escaping from improperly sealed registers, grills or duct leaks is critical for the system to work as intended. Seals throughout the system makes sure you will lose less air, which allows your rooms to be brought to a comfortable temperature with less work.

Testing ductwork quickly

Run your hands around the ducts while the unit is running and you can feel the air if you have a leak.
Most units are designed to leak specific amount of air, but the ducts should never leak.

Visibly inspect the insulation on the ducts
– Large, visible tears are an early warning sign
– Exposed inner liner is something that needs to be corrected ASAP

10% duct leakage is a 20% loss of cooling capacity. 50% duct leakage means ZERO cooling capacity. R4 duct insulation (1 inch) means about 20% loss of cooling capacity. R8 duct insulation (2 inches) means about 10% loss of cooling capacity.

Most older flex has the old grey skin on it and is inefficient and has been outlawed eventually per code.If you have metal duct and and there is a lot of leaks, you will want to have the work replaced with appropriate flexible duct work, and we would be glad to discuss your options with you.

Winter is a great time to get your HVAC ductwork revamped – Give us a call

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Commercial HVAC Services

R-22 Refrigerant: What You Need To Know

r-22 freon

Photo courtesy of Daniel Kennectz

What’s the problem?

The problem with R-22 is that is contains CFCs that deplete the ozone layer when released into the air.
R410a refrigerant has become the industry standard and is more environmentally friendly than R-22.

Montreal Protocol and the R-22 Phaseout Schedule

The Montreal Protocol mandates an annual reduction of R-22 production and a complete phase out by 2020 to help protect the ozone layer

In October 2014, the EPA announced its final phase-down schedule of HCFC-22 (R-22) over the next 6 years. The decision called for immediate drop from 51 million pounds allowed in 2014 to 22 million pounds in 2015, 18 million pounds in 2016, 13 million pounds in 2017, 9 million pounds in 2018, and 4 million pounds in 2019.

No new or imported R-22 will be allowed in the U.S. on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

You can still buy it, right?

Steady demand, coupled with shortened supply has caused prices to skyrocket from $15 per pound a few years ago, to $75 per pound and more today – annual allowances have decreased faster than the market demand for R-22, which has depleted inventory across the supply chain. Service demands for R-22 in the U.S. are still estimated to be in the tens of millions of pounds per year, and many R-22 users will need to transition to an ozone-safe alternative. By 2020, the market prices for what supply is left will cause prices to be painful.

Staying ahead of the phaseout is our solution to our customers to avoid the volatility of the pricing of R-22 for your servicing needs.

How do I know if I have R-22 refrigerant?

– The best way is to check the data information plate on your outdoor unit
– If your AC was installed before 2005, it most likely has R-22 Refrigerant
– If you still can’t tell, call us out for unit checkup and we can verify it for you

Who needs to be concerned?

Everyone with an R-22 system? No

However, people who have a slow refrigerant leak needing 1-2lbs per year would want to get ahead of this issue. A refrigerant leak is like a leak in your tire. It gradually gets larger with time and at some point you will have to get a repair. Start planning to replace you AC system now to avoid these cost concerns in the next few years.
How about people needing more than 2lbs annually? You need to get ahead of this to avoid volatile prices and we suggest scheduling a meeting with us to discuss your options.

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Capacitors – What They Are and Why They Fail

capacitors

ca·pac·i·tor (kəˈpasədər) noun

a device used to store an electric charge, consisting of one or more pairs of conductors separated by an insulator.

That is what the dictionary definition will get you. It sounds like a battery, and in a sense, it is. It stores a charge and can discharge that charge very quickly – and it is used to error correct within an electrical system among other things.

Knowing what it is and what they do gives us a better idea of why they fail. There are also several different kinds of capacitors which all have their own uses in a system and are constructed differently.

Like a battery, eventually the components that make it up can be used up. It has a limited number of starts, and frequently turning on or off those use up the life of the capacitor faster.

Capacitors can fail due to a number of reasons and when they fail it can lead to short-circuit, damage to the circuit and sometimes even explosion.

What are some of the reasons for failure of capacitors? Inconsistent main voltage feed to the home is one. The voltage coming into the system is above or below rated its rated capacity. Power outages or surges and excessive heat are also common concerns. Aging can also cause capacitor failure.

Electrolytic capacitors fail due to leakage or vaporization of the electrolyte inside. This can be caused due to heating in operation. Heating can be caused by mechanical failure or voltages outside the design range of the component. In electrolytic capacitors heating can cause the formation of gas inside which can explode through the vent provided.

Voltage surges can also cause capacitor failure. Overtime, capacitors re-form themselves to a particular voltage. When an unexpected surge occurs, a failure can take place.

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