TSS serviced and repaired customer’s existing equipment for years. However due to the cost of repair, age and condition of the equipment we recommended replacing the RTU ( Roof Top Air Handling Unit). This upgrade allows the customer to save money on future costly repairs and energy usage. It will also provide better indoor air quality and comfort for tenants.
You may not realize your HVAC unit can do more than keep you comfortable—it can also keep you healthy. For many people, allergies are just an inevitable misery. But it might surprise you to see how much upkeep of your HVAC system can combat your allergies. In fact, Boise, Idaho business owners and homeowners can invest in additional HVAC accessories that can boost their home’s air quality even more. Here are three tips to get you started:
Check Your Filters
Indoor air pollution comes from a number of sources. The most common allergens found inside the home include pet dander, mold, dust mites, pollen, and cockroach droppings. Filters are meant to clean the air in your home or office. However, if they get too dirty, they can actually begin to do the opposite. Allergens that have been cleared from the air eventually build up in the filter. Therefore, without regularly changing your filters, those allergens will begin to get dislodged, spreading them back into the air. That’s why annual maintenance is so crucial, especially for someone with asthma or allergies.
Without regular cleaning, mold can begin to grow in your vents. This can lead to the spores being dispersed into the air, agitating your allergies further. Dander and other allergens can also accumulate in these areas.
Additionally, it is to be expected that various debris will gradually gather around your outdoor unit. This needs to be cleared occasionally to avoid blockages.
Regular HVAC Maintenance
Finally, the best thing you can do is schedule regular HVAC maintenance. Your HVAC professional can help solve many of the above issues, as well as diagnose any more specific problems you may be having.
When kept in good condition, your HVAC unit is your best tool for reducing airborne allergens.
Space heaters are a common household appliance and is used as a way to supplement heating in a room. However, if used improperly, a space heater can also be a serious potential hazard.
Labels and Warnings
Any space heating product that you purchase should have a label certifying its safety as per a Nationally-Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). You can find the list of OSHA-certified NRTLs here. If a space heater has been tested for safety, there will be safety instructions and hazard labels included. It is vital to follow and be aware of these.
The accompanying instructions should explain what uses that specific space heater is intended for. Before purchasing a space heater, always consider what you plan to use it for, and make sure that the instructions for intended use align with that.
Placement is perhaps the most important aspect of space heater safety. Space heaters should be at least 3 feet away from anything potentially flammable. In addition, it is imperative to avoid placing space heaters directly on top of any potential flammable surface, such as carpeting. This surface should also be large, flat, and extremely stable to prevent the heater from being knocked over.
Simple checks and upkeep go a long way. Always check to ensure that your space heater is still in great shape. Take signs of wear such as frayed cords very seriously. And never forget to turn off a space heater that is not actively being used.
HVAC installation can make your home, office, or rental far more comfortable. In fact, it can even make the residents or workers of that building, healthier.
But did you know that it can actually improve the health of the environment as well?
Nationally, most HVAC engineers and commercial HVAC businesses belong to groups such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. Such groups work in collaboration with the EPA to ensure that HVAC systems nationwide are operating as efficiently as possible. In fact, the EPA official website has a reference page that is specifically meant to give HVAC engineers important information about maximizing energy efficiency in their systems.
Furthermore, of course, this mutually beneficial relationship allows the EPA to more easily enforce federal restrictions on heating and air conditioning that protect the environment. Notable among these restrictions is the ban on the use of the chemical Freon in air conditioning units—a chemical known to deplete the ozone layer.
But why does the EPA care about helping to improve the efficiency of HVAC units?
The same qualities that make an HVAC system great for keeping individuals comfortable and healthy are also what make it great for the environment. Less efficient heating and air conditioning units produce more potentially harmful byproducts. HVAC systems, meanwhile, not only minimize the byproducts released into the air, they also then filter that air, trapping what little is released.
For any property manager, deciding what heating and cooling systems—if any— to invest in for your property is an important financial decision. And it’s also a very difficult one to make.
Why Should I Consider HVAC Over My Current System?
Many property managers choose to simply do upkeep on whatever heating and cooling system the building came with. In many cases, that may even mean no air conditioning at all—that aspect being left up to the tenants.
However, that’s not always the most cost effective.
Can it Make Me Money?
First of all, an HVAC system—like any improvement on the quality of a rental space—can increase the value of the apartments. This not only means that each unit may be worth more rent, but also that the entire complex could later be sold at a higher buying price.
Can it Save Me Money?
HVAC units are not just a luxury. They also can be a preventative measure for both the health of the building and its tenants.
We have talked before about the effects of IAQ (indoor air quality) on the health of those who regularly frequent a building. And, of course, that should always be a priority for any landlord worth their salt.
But excellent ventilation and temperature control can also prevent everything from mold to freezing pipes—problems which could become costly if allowed to get out of hand.
There are several different types of HVAC systems. Picking the one that best suits your space is just as important as making sure that it functions properly. These few simple questions should make the decision much easier.
How big is my space?
This is an extremely important factor to consider if your space is particularly large or particularly small. If the area is very large, you might consider a high-powered system with elaborate ventilation and ducting to properly disperse the heat or air conditioning. However, a split system is another great option for buildings with a lot of space—especially if it also has many enclosed rooms. A split system funnels heat and air conditioning to individual rooms rather than dispersing it homogeneously throughout the building, and therefore can be the far more efficient way to go for a spacious building.
As for small spaces, packaged HVAC units are usually your best bet. As the name implies, a packaged unit keeps most of the components in one compact package, and therefore are easier to find a place for in a more cramped area.
How old is my space?
Older buildings sometimes will not have the structure to accommodate standard components of an HVAC system, such as the ducting. In such cases, a ductless system is probably the best solution. Ductless systems— rather than pulling the air from one place to another through ducts— funnel air directly into the space.
What is the climate like in my area?
If your building is situated in a climate that can reach extremely low temperatures, your heat pump might be rendered far less effective when the temperature drops below freezing. A hybrid heating system can solve that problem. Hybrid heating systems utilize the usually more efficient heat pump until the temperature drops below a certain level. When that happens, the system kicks on the furnace—which is not similarly affected by low temperatures.
A well-functioning HVAC system is probably the best way that you can improve the air quality in your building. However, there are several other small things you can do to further maximize your indoor air quality, and—by extension—improve the health of the people who live or work in the space.
Allergens and pollutants often build up in dust particles that naturally accumulate in any space. Avoiding this threat to your indoor air quality is usually as simple as doing some regular dusting, sweeping, and mopping.
It is easy to write off mold as being a symptom of extremely poor upkeep in a building, but that is not necessarily the case. Mold is incredibly resilient. It can spring up due to the slightest ongoing humidity issues, and is difficult to permanently remove once it has its heels in.
The most effective way to prevent mold is to control the humidity in a space. If this is an issue in your building, a dehumidifier may be a helpful option. It is also a good practice to keep an eye on spaces that tend to get damp or warm on a regular basis, such as bathrooms. Great ventilation and regular cleaning of these spaces are key.
Combustion pollutants are any air pollution that results from burning fuel or heating. The risk of these indoors primarily comes from heating, such as your built-in heating system or space heaters. The best tool to reduce risk from combustion pollutants is the ventilation system that is part of your HVAC system.
However, some sources of combustion pollution require their own individual ventilation system. For example, dryers should be attached to a vent that funnels the humid air they produce to the outside. It is important to make sure this vent is clean and well-sealed.
If your HVAC system malfunctions, one of the most likely culprits is the AC compressor. However, while it is a component given to causing problems, it is also actually very simple to maintain. You can easily save yourself from the headache and the money later on with a few basic checks.
Many compressor-related issues can be solved just by keeping it clean. This mostly just entails clearing any debris out of the unit, and regularly cleaning the filters. Both problems can obstruct and contaminate air flow, and both problems can be easily identified and corrected.
Being wary of your local climate—especially cold weather—can prevent a wide variety of possible malfunctions in your compressor. For example, freezing and thawing of components in the unit can quickly age and damage the compressor. The addition of a small heater in the unit, along with basic maintenance, should prevent such weather-related damage.
It is important to ensure that there is always enough refrigerant in the system—but you do not want to overdo it either. Running for extended periods of time on too little or too much refrigerant puts a lot of strain on the compressor. The actual process of “re-charging” (the term for re-filling) the system is best left to an HVAC professional. However, being aware of your HVAC maintenance schedule can ensure that your refrigerant levels remain optimal.
Beyond the comfort of your building, the key benefits of a good HVAC system are how it can save your health and your money. Maintaining the ventilation is especially important to that end. But is there anything you can do between annual HVAC inspections?
Save Money By:
Paying Attention. If you start to notice any odd drafts, especially by windows or doors, it may indicate that there is an air leak. Take note. Such air leaks can undermine the efficiency of a good ventilation system.
Checking Weather Stripping. Ensure that the weather stripping on your doorways are not worn down, and are still fully sealing the doorway. (For more information on what type of weather stripping is best for your needs, here is a helpful breakdown from the Department of Energy).
Maintaining or Adding Caulk. Caulk should not be cracked, and should fully cover the gap or crack it is meant to seal. Gaps that need to be caulked are often found around windows, doors, and ducting.
Protect Your Health By:
Looking for mold. Mold in your insulation can compromise the health benefits of your ventilation system.
Checking your Filters. In an HVAC system, the air is pushed through a filter before it is distributed throughout the building. This is meant to maintain the air quality. However, if the filters become too dirty, they cannot do their job properly.
No one enjoys the necessity of keeping up with building maintenance. Just keeping your property or office in decent function can seem like it takes so much time and energy. However, some aspects of building maintenance are less time-consuming and invasive than others. Your recommended annual furnace inspection may sound like a nuisance, but in reality it is very quick, with minimal equipment and personnel cluttering the property.
Basic Checks to Prevent Big Problems
Many types of building maintenance involve bulky equipment laying around, and workers walking in and out the doors all day. It can be a serious annoyance, especially in an office running ongoing business. However, with regular maintenance, an annual furnace inspection is most often a simple affair involving a quick check by a single worker, with little to no special equipment involved.
Some of the basic things your furnace maintenance worker will do during your annual maintenance are:
checking for leaks or corrosion
-removing detritus in the ventilation
-changing old filters
-checking the thermostat and controls
-ensuring that excess heat is not escaping
These simple checks can usually be accomplished with a visual inspection and minor tweaks from your maintenance worker, but can make a huge difference in the energy efficiency and safety of your building.
It is easy to think of air conditioning and ventilation installation as a one-and-done cost. However, in reality, an annual update on your business’s HVAC system not only pays for itself, but might actually save you money. But how is that possible?
While federal IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) regulations do not apply to most states, twenty-two states are subject to their own regulations in compliance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.
OSHA specifically cites “poor upkeep of ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems” as one of the primary causes of hazardous air quality in the workplace. Their website goes on to point out that there is no simple test to determine the safety of air quality. Regular, professional inspection is the only way to be sure of the safety of IAQ in your business. As such, failure to schedule regular HVAC maintenance on your workplace could result in costly legal fees.
Although the physical and mental health effects associated with IAQ are still under study, many negative effects of poor air quality in the work environment are well-documented. These include possible symptoms such as respiratory irritation, lethargy, and mental fatigue. It can even contribute to serious illnesses such as Legionnaire’s disease. Unsurprisingly, the illness and discomfort that may be caused by an outdated HVAC system often results in a drop in employee productivity. And the impact is not insignificant. According to the EPA, recent studies suggest that the average financial loss for a business—just from productivity decline associated with poor IAQ—is 2-4%. To further put that into perspective, a company with 1 million dollars in annual revenue could stand to lose up to $40,000 per year.
In short, it is far more cost effective for a business to be proactive in maintaining healthy air quality in the workplace, rather than paying for the damages if it becomes less than quality. And that is as easy as a simple annual inspection and update on your HVAC system.