Mar 5 2012

New Series of Fluke Thermal Imagers

Fluke Thermal Imagers
True to form, Fluke’s innovations in thermal imaging leaves the competitors in the dark.

Watch TV host Chip Wade take you through the new features.

Fluke Thermal Imagers

 

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Oct 12 2011

Field Force Mobile

Field Force Mobile

Woods Brothers Consulting has partnered with Mosio of San Francisco, CA.   The goal is to change the way HVAC contractors communicate with their technicians out in the field.  At WBC, our interests have expanded from energy conservation into work force efficiency. The old adage “Time is Money” is as true today as it always has been.

Mosio’s web-based, two way text software program has found success in in other industries.  It appears to be a perfect fit for the HVAC industry as well.

What Does Two Way Texting Software Mean?

HVAC technicians out in the field can use their cell phones to text back and forth to a computer at a central dispatch location.  Without additional software or equipment, dispatch can easily and concurrently manage multiple techs out in the field.

A dispatch person may communicate quickly, accurately and efficiently. They may document, log and even analyze response times, send out pre-written responses to commonly asked questions, or links to Google maps. In general, they stay one step ahead of their techs to eliminate down time and indecision.

How Does It Work?

How It Works

That’s it in a nutshell.  The cost is minimal(plans start at $49.00 per month) and will soon pay for itself in time savings alone.

How Do I See A Demo?

Three options  are available.

1) Text FFMDEMO to 6676

2) Visit this link for a tour.

3) Take a look at these videos for a pre-recorded demo.

 

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Aug 10 2011

Humidify to Save Energy

window with moisture

Humidification Can Be A Green Process

Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air.  This will vary based on air temperature.  Warmer air will hold more moisture.  This is the reason why humidifiers are needed in residential housing.  We start with cold/dry outside air that will infiltrate the home.  The heating system will warm the air up, which does not add or remove any moisture.  Now this warm dry air is absorbing whatever moisture it comes in contact with inside the home.  In order to stabilize the moisture level in the home we must add moisture to the air to keep infiltrating outside dry air from absorbing all the moisture from materials in the homes.

There are health benefits to avoiding low RH levels that include dry skin, bloody noses, repiratory issues, sinus congestion……  Target RH levels for healthy environments would be between 40-60% as outlined in the chart below.  Lastly one can eliminate static electricity at levels above 35% RH.  Taking all of these things into consideration a residence should use a target RH of 40-50% in the home. 

Comfort is the most noticeable benefit from proper indoor humidity. Few people realize that dry air feels cool to the skin. The reason is that people will lose heat energy to the surrounding ambient air. When the human body at 98.6°F comes in contact with room air at 75°F the air takes the heat from the body and will leave one feeling cooler. This action is called sensible heat transfer. However latent heat transfer takes place when moisture on the surface of the skin evaporates. The heat required for evaporation is also taken from your body, cooling you further. Sometimes you feel colder, even with the thermostat turned up.

Dry air makes you feel colder than the actual thermostat setting because the moisture evaporating from your skin has a cooling effect. A humidifier can help make the air feel warmer and more comfortable, thus allowing you to lower the set point on your thermostat and saving energy.

How much humidity is appropriate?

Check out GeneralAire’s LOAD CALCULATOR TOOL.

charts and statistics sourced from GeneralAire

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Mar 7 2011

Retro-Commissioning Contractor Uses Fluke Tools to Stay Green

McKinstry commissioning guides renaissance in energy

Each owner who has spent millions of dollars on a new or refurbished building has every right to expect that the mechanical systems will keep tenants comfortable, while delivering every BTU and saving every kilowatt hour possible. Commissiong agents make sure it really does happen that way. From fixing glitches and tuning existing HVAC systems to providing new systems that deliver the promised results, building commissiong agents are focused on performance. Geremy Wolff and his team of HVAC experts know what’s at stake. Wolff manages the commissioning team for McKinstry, a Seattle design-build and service firm that specializes in mechanical systems and green building technology. It’s their job to prove that the state-of-the-art mechanical systems McKinstry has designed are delivering the energy-efficient performance owners and tenants expect. In existing facilities, they do retro-commissioning or building optimization to diagnose and fix problems in system operations and performance. Commissioning verifies performance “Our commissioning group was born as a support mechanism for our design-build construction group,” Wolff said. . . Read the Rest of the article from Fluke.com HERE.

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Jan 13 2011

The Zoning and Variable Speed Solution

One of the more common questions I am asked in regards to forced air zoning is, “How does a bypass damper work with a variable speed blower?”

The following is a guest post from EWC Controls chief engineer John Brown.  John brings to the discussion four decades of experience designing, testing and manufacturing zoning components. Here John gives an overview of the technological developments with zoning and the integration of variable speed blower motors into the system.

The Zoning and Variable Speed Solution

In the past, Forced Air Zoning was not readily accepted by the HVAC industry. Numerous concerns and misconceptions, some valid and some not, prevented a true appreciation of the great benefits of forced air zoning. As each myth or concern was cleared away and resolved, another would take the place.
But thanks to the devotion and dedication of those involved in its conception, refinement and growth; forced air zoning has over-come many obstacles, and has proven these misconceptions and concerns to be false or no longer of valid concern. However misunderstood, Forced Air Zoning has become a widely accepted, energy saving and comfort producing technology.

Continued Development

Forced Air Zoning has certainly matured and adapted over the years. Older relay based logic control panels were large, reliable, and worked very well, but lacked the versatility and intelligence that is available in today’s microprocessor based zone control systems. Modern zone control panels are programmed with intuitive firmware. You can select the system type options and staging options. Automatic over-current protection is standard including integrated safety features like built in time delays and system temperature monitoring. Dampers are now equipped with advanced and reliable optical circuitry.
A single forced air zone control system is now compatible with most residential and commercial HVAC systems. Against heavy odds, Forced Air Zoning has come a long way and yet, mysteries and myth still abound.

Misconceptions

The most recent misconception we encounter when performing field training, or when discussing system specifications, includes the use of variable speed indoor blower motors with a forced air zoning system.

“I can’t install a zoning system with a residential variable speed air handler or variable speed furnace.”

The confusion behind this statement is that many do not realize that variable speed motors are controlled internally via the air handler’s integrated motor control (ICM). These integrated logic controls can accept but do not require an external pulse width modulation (PWM) or 4-20ma input signal, to control the motor’s speed and ramp up rate. The only signal required to operate these variable speed motors is the standard (G) input from a conventional thermostat. Just as a standard 24vac thermostat connects to and operates a variable speed furnace, so does a zone control panel. Both simply output a demand for the fan to operate. The variable fan speed operation is determined internally by the system mode and stage of operation.
Example: FLA = Motor full load amp rating
Y2= 100% FLA, Y1= 90% FLA, W2= 80% FLA, W1=70% FLA, G= 25% FLA.
The ramp up rate of these ICM’s, are usually fixed at 1% per second. Variations on this basic control scheme exist, but all of them simply require a (G) signal from the thermostat or zone control panel to operate. Advanced variable speed ICM’s provide for an “Enhanced” setting. These settings provide a gradual (timed) ramp up rate during cooling mode. This gradual ramp rate starts at 70% of full load and takes five minutes or more to reach 100% full load. This slow ramp rate increases the latent cooling effect of removing moisture from the air, and results in lower than normal supply air temperatures. Just like a conventional zoned air system with a bypass damper has been doing for forty years. Simply adjust the low temperature limit potentiometer setting on your zone control system to avoid a “nuisance” trip of the freeze protection setting.

Never Leave Out the Bypass Damper

Another misconception we hear in reference to variable speed blowers and zone control systems is:
“I will no longer need a by-pass damper when I install a variable speed furnace and a conventional zone control system.”
This is a false assumption. A by-pass damper should never be left out of any zoning system. The latent cooling effect that a bypass damper provides alone, is enough to justify the cost of the zone system. The bypass damper will not open or activate unless excessive static pressure makes it open.

Bypass Dampers and Poorly Sized and Designed Ductwork

The fact is that a variable speed fan motor operates at full load (FLA) or near full load at different times, depending on the mode or stage of operation. A variable speed air handler or furnace is not aware of how many zones are demanding conditioned air, or how many dampers are open or closed. In the same way, it has no idea if the connected ductwork has been properly sized and installed. The use of a barometric or preferably an electronic, static pressure operated by-pass damper prevents over-pressurizing the ductwork, noisy registers, and the negative effects of excessive air velocities.
When installed in a variable speed system, the by-pass damper simply may not open as often as it does in a constant volume system. However, it still proves to be an indispensable component in any zoned forced air system.

Dump Zones?

As to the never-ending dilemma of using a dump zone instead of a bypass damper, we respond again with this question:
Why spend money to condition the air, and then dump it where nobody benefits from it?

The more advanced and costly zone control systems do provide an external pulse width modulation (PWM) or 4-20 ma output signal, to the air handler’s integrated motor control. These zone systems can control and modulate the PWM output, in direct response to the number of zones that are demanding conditioned air, and the pre-programmed CFM requirements of each zone. These systems may not require a bypass damper but they are very unforgiving with poor duct design and layout. These systems could probably benefit from a bypass damper, just in case.

This diagram reflects a typical motorized bypass arrangement based on static pressure. The static pressure control is field adjustable from .01” w.c. – 4.0” w.c. The control is multi-positional. That is, it can be mounted in any position and will still function properly.

Supply Air Sensor

Note that the supply air sensor is installed upstream of the bypass takeoff, and wires back to the zone control panel. This is to ensure that the zone control microprocessor can accurately monitor the supply air temperature, regardless of the position of the bypass damper. The ability of the zone control system to properly monitor the supply air temperature is critical to any successful installation. Some zoning manufacturers provide the supply air sensor as an option only. Other manufacturers include the sensor in every zone control package.
The ability to adjust the cooling and heating limit set points is built right into the zone control panel, which makes it very easy to fine tune the zoning installation. Older style zone control systems will not accept a supply air sensor at all. External field installed temperature limit controls must be used. The field installed temperature controls, (external or non-integrated) can be expensive, bulky and difficult to install and wire. Utilize the supply air sensor provided with these state of the art zone control systems. They are accurate, easy to install and provide superior supply air temperature monitoring directly to the processor.

In Conclusion

A properly designed and installed forced air zone system can provide exceptional equipment control as well as energy savings. Specifying variable speed equipment adds an even higher degree of control and comfort. The two systems compliment each other and do function very well together. They are definitely not as complicated to install and setup, as some would have you believe.
–John Phillip Brown
Chief Engineer, EWC Controls, Inc.

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Dec 21 2010

Recover Some of Your Missouri Tax Dollars: HUG

It seems that everywhere I go people complain about wasted tax dollars.  Well, here’s your chance to help a government program work, and work for you.

The state of Missouri has launched the Energize Missouri Homes: Home Upgrade and Geothermal Program. Look at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for the full details.  Here is a summary of the program according the the DOE state energy incentive program website dsireusa.org.

Funded by the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the Energize Missouri Homes initiative provides single family residences with funding for the Homeowner Upgrades and Geothermal program, which provides homeowners with rebates up to $17,000. In order to participate in the HUG program homeowners should contact their local state-appointed program aggregator directly to schedule an energy audit.

Overview
A full home energy audit will be scheduled and conducted by an Energize Missouri Homes (EMH) qualified auditor. Missourian homeowners that choose to participate in the HUG program and that would also like to qualify for state and federal tax incentives should choose an auditor that is both a EMH qualified auditor and a DNR certified auditor. Visit the directory of qualified energy auditors for more information. Upon completion of the audit, the aggregator will provide each homeowner with a list of recommended energy efficiency upgrades (and associated energy savings). It is then up to the homeowner to choose which upgrades to pursue.

  • Homeowners that implement upgrades achieving a 15% energy savings will qualify for reimbursement of their energy audit (a $500 value) and a rebate of 50% (up to $2,000) for energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Those that install energy upgrades leading to a 25% energy savings unlock a 70% rebate, up to $7,000.
  • In addition to energy efficient upgrades, homeowners may choose to install a geothermal ground pump. Those that do will be eligible for a 50% rebate, up to $10,000.
  • It is possible to pair the energy efficiency and geothermal rebates for a total rebate value of up to $17,000.

Okay, if you are keeping score, that is a 70% rebate on all kinds of appliances and upgrades. Not just HVAC.

You are an HVAC contractor looking to get on that listed of qualified participants?

Here you go:

What are the requirements to become an Energize Missouri Homes qualified auditor?


Auditors wishing to participate in the Energize Missouri Homes training program must be included in the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Missouri Certified Home Energy Auditor Directory or be certified through a program approved by the department. To become qualified, eligible auditors must participate in a one-day training program, complete an in-class assessment and submit a field assessment within 15 days of attending the training session.

What is an approved training session?

• Building Performance Institute (BPI) as a Certified Building Analyst.
• Residental Energy Network (RESNET) as a Certified Rater.
• MEC.
• E-TEK
• OR certification through other DNR programs.

More information.

Check out my articles on energy audits and making money with a thermal imager for more training options.

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Dec 13 2010

States Ranked for Energy-Efficiency Efforts – Cover Story – Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS

States Ranked for Energy-Efficiency Efforts – Cover Story – Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration NEWS.

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Dec 10 2010

The Science Behind Ultraviolet Disinfection

When you hear the company name Philips, you may think of TVs or other electronics.  Philips is a Dutch company founded in 1891, and today is widely recognized as the world’s leader in light bulb manufacturing.

In fact, Philips manufactures the majority of the UVC bulbs sold as components of air disinfection products to the HVAC industry. When I first began selling and educating people on the benefits of UVC disinfection, I had to do a lot of convincing.  Fast forward eight years, and there aren’t too many people who are not aware of the benefits of UV lights for coil irradiation and/or airstream disinfection.  Now, due to wildly differing claims from the myriad of manufacturers, there is a general misunderstanding of which products are the most effective.

Fact is, any system relying on UVC to disinfect is using the same 254 nanometer wavelength producing bulb.  And more often than not, the bulb is manufactured by Philips.

So, despite the differences in the claims of the companies who incorporate a Philips UV bulb, at the core it is essentially utilizing the same technology. . .let’s let Philips explain the science behind the 254 nanometer UV bulb.

Check out their documentation here.

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