HVAC Contractor Offers Tips On System Maintenance

A good HVAC system is the key to maintaining a comfortable, healthy interior environment. Through the years many home owners ask about a strategy to cut down on the cost of energy and HVAC. They don’t want to sacrifice the interior environmental conditions, however they do want a-point-by-point plan to follow. The interesting thing that often happens may be that energy bills are decreased substantially and the HVAC capabilities is enhanced. That is a standard part of any specialist specializing in energy and HVAC.

Optimization of The System

The first step to acheiving energy and HVAC system optimization is load reduction. This step normally involves a long range plan which itemizes the actions to be taken based upon best return on your investment. Reducing the system load will allow it to function more efficiently. In case a new system or systems are now being considered, it will be more economical to design for a load reduction as opposed to the prevailing load. A few common load reduction strategies include:

1. Tighten the building shell and add supplemental insulation. Adding insulation in an existing building is probably not do-able for some, so more deliberation ought to be aimed at the outside shell, in particular windows and doors.

2. Fitting energy-efficient windows. This can be a very expensive for some properties that still have single pane windows. The installment of double pane glazed windows with a thermal break is a wonderful return on investment. Ensure they’re ENERGY STAR qualified windows. Tinting or Low-E coatings may even be the best.

3. Changing the lighting system. The average commercial structure has a lighting density of 2-3 watts per sq. ft. which maintains proper lighting levels. This is a big part of the HVAC load and nearly all efforts in this direction will reduce the cooling requirement of the structure. Vanity lights (ocassionally named architectural lighting) are not guaranteed to be energy efficient and should not be looked at if you want to reduce energy and HVAC costs. Energy-efficient lighting systems give off less heat into air conditioned space than older incandescent technology. When you have a return air plenum instead of return air ductwork, consider light troffers in order that some heat from the bulbs is returned to the HVAC system rather than going into the occupied areas.

4. Selecting equipment with better efficiency ratings that have the power saver selection will decrease the heat gain in the space. Items to consider include copy machines, kitchen equipment, personal computers and refrigerators.

5. Control ventilation by having your outside air balanced. Most building owners have drawings of the original HVAC system installation. Have the drawings examined by a mechanical engineer to verify your air-flow rates conform to the most recent code standards. If no sketches can be found, your engineer be able to make recommendations for improvement.

Handling these things is your first task to minimizing energy and HVAC costs.

HVAC Systems

The second step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimisation is knowing it. Your HVAC system is crucial for your interior setting, it also represents a large component of your utilities. While it is beyond the scope of this article to debate every system, a couple of suggestions can be discussed. Each system component has grown in effectiveness during recent years. If your system is more than 13 years old, it’s time to begin arranging for upgrading. Properly serviced residential systems have a life span of around fifteen years or so, but seem to fail at the most inconvenient times. You should have a plan in place for when your equipment fails.

Commercial systems vary, but if your building is using packaged equipment or split systems, a similar lifetime should be likely. For larger commercial systems and industrial applications, the HVAC system may be more advanced and require a closer look using a mechanical engineer. As I stated earlier, HVAC systems will vary and no one-size-fits-all assessment works for larger systems. What almost all these systems share is they are normally powered by electricity. Electricity is expensive, so any attempt toward better efficiency is a bonus.

Points To Consider:

Find a qualified contractor you trust. Assuming you are a home owner or small commercial building owner, find the best HVAC company or technician to evaluate and maintain your system. If you are a large commercial building owner, locate a commercial HVAC contractor for normal maintenance and a good contractor for third party suggestions. We do advise against using someone who works for the HVAC Company; find a 3rd party service for unbiased information.

Check your HVAC system load. Commercial buildings have more requirements related to code conformance, minimum ventilation rates, etc and are different to each building.

Select equipment sized for the load. DO NOT OVERSIZE! More-is-better does not apply for HVAC systems. It is going to cost more to purchase the apparatus as well as use it. Consult with your contractor to figure out the proper capacity

Buy top efficient or Energy Star equipment. Many of the new systems come with variable speed drives for moving parts. Over the years of ownership this is paid back repeatedly. Compare standard equipment to high efficiency equipment in terms of initial cost and life cycle expenditure. Any good HVAC company or mechanical engineer will know this.

Think about some form of energy recapture for air that is exhausted from the place and use it somehow to enhance the inbound fresh air. That is the air you have paid to condition, so extracting a little of the existing energy before blowing it out it should be key.

For larger properties, think about conditioning the outside air with a dedicated outside air unit. This will solve concerns with humidity control in most conditions. It may also increase comfort and enable further equipment optimization.

Large properties might want to think about equipment economizers. Most current codes want economizers on equipment in excess of 15 tons in size. Often offered at a low incremental cost during set-up, these units use fresh air from outside when the temperatures (or moisture) outdoors is lower than the temperature inside.

Both home owners and small business owners should think about installing thermostats you can program. Commercial buildings should setup a custom digital control system. The investment will pay back more than the price in a short amount of time.

Different Types o Control Systems

The third step to realize system optimization is to control your system.

Programmable Thermostats: A great investment for the homeowner is a programmable thermostat. These are simple to use and incorporate strategies based upon a schedule. Most companies offer seven day programs which will turn the HVAC system on and off to compliment and temperature. This is the best way to ensure the system is used only when needed.

DDC Systems: For the large commercial building, I consider this as an essential system. Installation costs have steadily decreased and performance reliability has steadily increased. They are often integrated into any system and enhanced as required. A few of the more accepted elements of these systems are enhanced start/stop, a variety of zone controls, temperature sensor and venting control. A key benefit of these solutions might be their ability to be integrated into any size system. This implies you can setup a somethng simple at first then add more controls later to incorporate everything. The payback is short and really worth the investment.

Coil Cleaning: This is always a big thing missed by residential and commercial building owners. Condenser coils collect dirt and debris on their surfaces because they’re outdoors. This makes the compressor work harder and results in a higher refrigerant temperatures in your refrigeration system. Dirty evaporation and heat coils circulate the dust and fibers inside the building. Clean them a minimum of once a year

Operation and Maintenance

The fourth and last step to realize energy and HVAC system optimization is consistent up keep. The most efficient systems are always looked after. Ensure consistency, efficacy as well as long life for your HVAC system by following these helpful tips.

Find a professional company you trust. Find a good company or technician to evaluate and work on your system. Assuming you are a large business owner, find a commercial|an industrial} HVAC business for routine up-keep. Ensure you keep track of servicing with when they vist and what they did each time.

Home owners must always get a seasonal check up. The operation of your system will fluctuate with the seasons of the year.

Change your air filters regularly. Always use quality filters to make sure dust and fibers are removed. Clean filters will save fan energy.

Conslusion

Energy and HVAC optimization will help to decrease energy costs. A little time getting to know your system and becoming familiar with money sving techniques will reduce your costs and increase the life span of your equipment.

Differences Between PEX Pipe and Copper Pipe for Plumbing

Unless you’re a plumber you probably don’t know much about plumbing pipes… what are my choices and what are the advantages or disadvantages of different types of pipe. The most popular types of water supply pipes used by plumbers today are PEX and copper. My goal is to educate and inform you about both types of pipes as you decide which pipe is best for your next plumbing project or to replace the old, rusty galvanized pipes in your existing home. Local or state plumbing codes may determine the type of pipe that is required in different parts of your home, which is another good reason to work with a licensed, professional plumber in making this decision.

Copper pipe is the #1 pipe material used for plumbing work in both residential and commercial applications. It is the same material that the Egyptians over 3,000 years ago! It has been the standard of plumbing industry for more than half a century but, plastics have dramatically changed the products we use and the way we live. Recently, competition has appeared in the plumbing industry in the form of PEX pipe. PEX pipe is made from cross-linked high density polyethylene (HDPE). PEX plumbing systems were first used in Europe in the 1970’s and introduced in the United States in 1980. The use of PEX pipe has grown over the years and the product on the market today is a result of improvements in the chemical composition and processing methods. Both PEX and Copper pipe are superior alternatives to older rigid plastic pipe (PVC, CPVC, ABS) systems.

Copper Pipe Advantages:

  • Can be used outdoors, unaffected by sunlight (UV rays).
  • It doesn’t release toxic gases into the air in case of fire.
  • Copper is bacteria resistant.
  • Copper is recyclable, making it a more sound environmental choice.
  • Cooper is very durable, typically lasting over 100 years.

Copper Pipe Disadvantages:

  • The average cost of copper pipe can be up to four to six times higher than PEX pipe. Since copper is a commodity item, prices change frequently.
  • Copper pipes can freeze and are more likely to burst during cold weather.Copper can corrode if the pH of the water is too acidic and can give your water a metallic taste.
  • Pipes damage more easily when bent or bumped.
  • PEX Pipe Advantages:

Requires fewer fittings to install, easier to install, and less likely to have a leak. The fittings require no solder, glue, or adhesive, only a special crimping tool. No open flame torch is used in the installation of PEX pipe!

  • The pipe itself is less expensive than copper and very cost effective to install, it requires less labor. A time-motion study found the installation costs of PEX was 28% less than copper.
  • You can have long continuous runs of pipe without the need of a coupling fitting.
  • It is able to expand and contract, making it less likely to burst in cold weather and durable for extreme temperatures up to 200°F.
  • PEX Pipe is stiff, but flexible and can be bent around almost any corner without an elbow fitting. The benefit is saving the cost of the fitting.
  • It is quieter than copper pipes, reduces “water hammering” sound inside the pipes.
  • Can be used with other pipes, such as copper and CPVC with the proper coupling fitting.
  • Has good chemical resistance.
  • PEX pipe does not transfer heat as readily as copper… saves energy.
  • Color-coded PEX pipe (blue for cold and red for hot) helps eliminate the crossing of hot and cold lines during installation and are easily identifiable.
  • Electrolysis will be eliminated. Electrolysis can cause pin-holes in metallic pipes which lead to leaks.
  • Thieves are far more likely to steal copper piping from a construction site than flexible PEX piping.

PEX Pipe Disadvantages:

  • It cannot be used outside or exposed to UV rays.
  • In underground applications, it is susceptible to damage by rodents chewing the pipes.
  • PEX pipe cannot be recycled.
  • Layers of biofilm, caused by bacteria inside the pipes, can develop plaque like layers and clog or close down the inside of the pipe.

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of both products for your unique situation. Weigh the cost, longevity, water characteristics in your area, and the type of application for your home. Make a good informed decision.

Once you have selected the piping for your project, it’s time to find a plumbing contractor. Most plumbers will give you a free written estimate for larger plumbing projects. Get at least three estimates for the work you want done. Make sure all estimates are for the same scope of work. Price is a major consideration; but look at how detailed and complete each estimate is, interview the plumbing company, and select a licensed, professional plumber to work with. Here is the contact information for a local Vancouver plumber we feel is honest and treats their customers fairly.

KC’s Plumbing and Heating
(604) 873-3753
1896 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5N 2S7
https://www.kcplumb.ca

Responsibilities of a Local Plumbing Company

Plumbing is a highly technical job which cannot be carried out by the average person. We always need plumbing experts to resolve complex plumbing issues. It can be the installation of a plumbing system in an enormous building or it can be a minor drain pipe repair. Apparently, a minor pipe leakage is not a big problem. However, minor leakages in a plumbing system can damage the entire building, therefore, it has to be fixed immediately by a well-trained team of plumbers.

A drain blockage can cause panic and inconvenience. Because of excessive pipe networks, residential areas are more likely to face such problems. Only an experienced plumber can trace down deep hidden leakages and blockages by using modern equipment such as leak detection cameras.

A plumber contractor has to work closely with laborers to make sure all the procedures met legal and professional requirements. A professional plumber makes sure that water supply and drainage system are installed and maintained according to the safety and building codes.

Some of the key responsibilities of a plumber are to:

  • Study the building plan to finalize the plumbing layout and material
  • Figure out which tools and equipment are required to perform all tasks
  • Select the ideal size and type of pipes
  • Mark positions for fixtures and connections
  • Install a support system for pipes and fixtures
  • Perform assembly and installation of valves
  • Install, maintain, and repair piping systems, equipment, sanitary, fixtures, and appliances (heaters and conditioners)
  • Inspect pipe systems for leaks and damage
  • Perform scheduled maintenance
  • Strictly follow all codes related to installation, maintenance, and repair
  • Make sure that the requirements of manufacturers are thoroughly met
  • Make sure installations are rightly aligned, graded and supported
  • Ensure all plumbing processes are environment-friendly

There is a certain level of skills and attitude required to be a good plumbing professional. A qualified plumber should have following skills:

  • Decision making
  • Team building
  • Ability to handle stress and time
  • Communication and computer

Plumbing is considered to be a very technical job where professionals find no space to make mistakes. A minor mistake can ruin the effectiveness of an entire plumbing system. Therefore, a plumbing contractor or a company has to observe strict adherence with rules and regulations. Making a plumbing system highly effective, without violating the codes and laws, is the prime objective of a plumber. Residents and businesses should make sure that their plumbing company is reputable and experienced.

A good company for drainage problems is this one in Vancouver BC

Blue Mountain Services
(604) 757-2734
2749 Eton St
Vancouver BC
V5K 1K2
https://vancouverdrainage.expertservices.ca/

What To Ask A Plumber When Hiring a Contractor

hire a plumberWhen the time comes to hire a plumber for a home improvement project, asking a few well placed questions can help you decide if this is someone you’ll feel comfortable working with. We’ve listed three sets of questions as a guideline.

Plumbers Credentials

  • Are you licensed and bonded, and do you have professional insurance?
  • Will the person you send have his Journeyman papers or if not, will a Journeyman inspect the job once it’s done?
  • Are you a member of any professional association or the BBB?
  • Did you have formal training in a trade school, or did you learn your trade through an apprenticeship?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you give me a few references I can contact?

Quality Of Work And Pricing

  • Do you guarantee your work, and if so can I get that in writing?
  • Will I need a permit for this job?
  • Can you give me options for materials or any appliances that might need replacing?
  • How long do you think this will take?
  • Can you give me an estimate over the phone?

(Keep in mind you will be charged a call out fee if the plumber shows up in person for an estimate and you do not hire him.)

Plumbing Client References

Don’t be shy about asking for references. This extra step will take you some extra time calling past clients, but can be a real confidence builder.

  • Were you happy with the how the job turned out?
  • Was the job finished on time?
  • Did the project have any budget overruns?
  • Would you hire this plumber again?
  • Would you recommend this contractor to a friend?

If you know someone personally who can give you a referral for a good licensed plumber in Vancouver that’s the best way to go of course, but sometimes you’re on your own. So if that’s the case we hope this check list will be helpful. If you live in the lower mainland BC call the guys listed here.

K.C.’s Plumbing and Heating Ltd
1896 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5N 2S7
(604) 873-3753

General Plumbing Tips For Disaster Prevention

Water can damage a home numerous ways and causes millions of dollars in losses every year. Whether or not you have home insurance, it’s a good policy to inspect the plumbing in your home on occasion. The average cost of a claim has risen dramatically in the last few years, which increases the need to check your plumbing system regularly.

We found this article at http://www.lowes.com And thought it was a great resource.

Why Plumbing Maintenance is Important

Homeowner’s insurance generally covers household water damage if the damage is sudden and accidental, such as damage caused by burst pipes. It does not cover damage of the sort covered by flood insurance, i.e., rising water from outside; or damage caused over time by lack of maintenance.

A water damage claim can be a red flag to insurers as well as to future home buyers, signaling a likelihood of repeat water claims. It is better to maintain a home for water issues than face the risks of increased insurance costs and reduced home marketability.

Identifying Water Problems

Look at your water bill. By comparing monthly usage figures, you may get tipped off to a small leak before it becomes a big problem. Major, unexplained fluctuations in your water bill are often a sign of water leaks.

Use a water pressure gauge to determine whether your household water pressure is set too high. The ideal household water pressure is 60-80 pounds per square inch (psi), but many homes are set at 100 or higher. Attach the gauge to an outdoor faucet and turn the water on full to determine water pressure.

Inspect pipes and fittings each year. Just as you change the batteries in your smoke detector each year, you should take a few minutes to inspect under sinks and around washing machines, lavatories, ice makers and water softeners.

Washing Machine

The washing machine supply box shown is found in most recently constructed homes. The box sits inside the drywall and the angle stops are inside the box.

The water to the washing machine should always be turned off when the machine is not in use. The instruction manuals for some washing machines call for the water to be on only when the machine is in use. Leaving the water on places the washing machine hoses and valves under constant pressure. The life of the washing machine hose can be prolonged if the water is turned on only when the machine is in use.

Washing machine hoses need to be checked regularly and replaced periodically. Most failures occur at the coupling. Either type should be used in accordance with the washing machine manufacturer’s recommendations. Always change hoses when a new machine is purchased, or when you move. Regardless of the material the hose is made of, it needs to be checked and changed regularly. A broken washing machine supply line can cause extensive damage if it is not discovered quickly and the water turned off.

Preventive Maintenance

Know where your water shutoff valve is located and be sure that the entire family knows how to shut off household water supplies in the event of a sudden pipe or hose break.

Inspect your plumbing annually. Just as you change the batteries in your household smoke detectors each year, you should inspect your water pipes and fittings annually. This is a simple check that takes minutes, and could prevent thousands of dollars in water damage.

Inspect around your water heater, washer, dishwasher, sinks, lavatories and refrigerator ice-maker. If hoses indicate wear, replace them. Consider replacing hoses to major appliances such as your washer and dishwasher every two to five years. Steel, so-called “no burst” hoses have been shown to have a longer lifespan than other models.

When you go on vacation, turn off the water to your washer while you’re out of town. Many homeowners have returned from vacation to find their washer hoses have burst, flooding their homes.

Never leave the house with appliances, such as dishwashers, washers or dyers, still running. If you need to hire a plumber click here for information on the questions to ask.