Gas Furnaces - Expert Commentary

Using Silicone To Improve HVAC Insulation & Energy Efficiency
Using Silicone To Improve HVAC Insulation & Energy Efficiency

The modern technological world is filled with ‘extrusions’. They are all around us, in the form of small and not-so-small cross sections. The function of an extrusion is to form seals between components of complex machinery and keep them functional. And, depending on the ‘type’ used, they can make a big difference to how a machine operates. Some of the most desirable types of extrusion — and especially for use in HVAC systems — are those made from silicone. Silicone, which is a type of rubber, has a robust set of properties. For one, silicone can withstand extreme temperatures, both high and low. Semi-Exterior environments Ranging from -60°C to temperatures exceeding 200°C. (And there are even higher grades that can be manufactured to withstand temperatures well above 200°C.) Ideal for HVAC units that work round the clock to keep large numbers of people in large buildings comfortable in summer and winter conditions. In addition to this, silicone is also one of the more resistant properties to the constant vibrations of working machinery. It can be difficult to locate the source of the problem if a tiny extrusion has dislodged. Vibration-resistant properties make silicone extrusions less likely to disengage or fall out of place, therefore minimizing the need for costly repairs. Finally, silicone is also more durable than most other materials when it comes to exterior or semi-exterior environments, such as that of rain or ultraviolet light. Protecting electrical components Silicone is useful in HVAC systems because it offers enhanced sealing and compression protections As a result of this favorability, there is already a considerable number of different types of silicone extrusions that can be found in a lot of HVAC systems. These include HVAC sealing gaskets, hatch seals and vibration isolation pads. But also silicone sponges, which act as a protective layer of thermal insulation. As well as providing thermal insulation, silicone sponges can double-up as a form of acoustic insulation, with considerable noise reduction and anti-squeal properties. Silicone enclosure gaskets protect electrical components, and environmental seals — as the name suggests — help to keep everything protected from the sometimes harsh elements of the environment outside. Silicone is useful in HVAC systems because it offers enhanced sealing and compression protections over most other materials. Closed cell structure On a material level, silicone has a ‘closed cell structure’, which helps to keep out moisture ingress, along with water and dust. The combination of a closed cell structure, along with sealing and compression benefits, makes silicone ideal for exterior seals and gaskets in and around HVAC systems. The softer grades of Silicone have an excellent memory and low stress relaxation, which in turn helps to prevent common faults with HVAC systems — usually caused by gasket failures made from other materials that soften and compress inaccurately. The low stress relaxation properties require minimal force on behalf of the engineers sealing the enclosures, while the memory-properties of the silicone allow it to conform to awkward shapes and gaps of various widths. Manufacturing HVAC systems proactively with silicone in mind can allow more design flexibility on behalf of the engineers. Inevitable rapid movements General purpose solid silicone or silicone sponge is suitable for many HVAC applications And, as mentioned above, vibration isolation pads work as dampers to protect against the inevitable rapid movements of the systems as they power along. But also to help withstand the vibrations of HVAC units on transport systems, such as buses and trains, which naturally vibrate as they run over imperfections on rail and road tracks. As it happens, general purpose solid silicone or silicone sponge is suitable for many HVAC applications, not just those discussed above. The designs of the extrusions would be different, reflective of their function, but the material would be the same. In some instances, customers may also require a flame retardant silicone — certified to UL94 specifications — in order to meet safety standards in certain situations or environments. Great temperature ranges For all its material advantages, silicone is generally more expensive than the other types of material rubber that are used to manufacture extrusions, such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). And while other materials do of course have stand-out benefits of their own — EPDM for example is more hard-wearing than silicone — silicone is still often the extrusion ‘type’ of choice because of its ability to withstand great temperature ranges. This is very important for heating and air conditioning systems. Because some of the most common factors that cause HVAC systems to break down are as a result of seal and gasket failure, which can come about as a result of an overheating unit. Very cold environment Chances of a unit overheating can be just as likely — in fact perhaps more so — where the system has to operate in a very cold environment. With the threat of climate change etched more than ever into the public discussion, we can predict that there will be a steady increase in the amount that this material is used to make up the HVAC seals. And not just because, as temperatures continue to increase and summers get hotter and more prolonged, there will be an increased demand for them. Effective public relations It is no secret that HVAC systems can be relatively expensive to run It will become a matter of effective public relations for managers, building regulators and transport officers to make sure that the equipment they are using — and making — is ‘green’. By using the right materials that help conserve energy and increase efficiency, this will not only sit right with the general public, it should also be more economical, too. It is no secret that HVAC systems can be relatively expensive to run. Minimizing wastage, and the time spent on call outs and repairs will make a notable difference. Of course there are many other ways to also set about making air conditioning and heating units more efficient. Using seals or gaskets made from silicone is just one small piece of the puzzle. But utilizing them will almost certainly be more beneficial than you might imagine. And anything that is a step in the right direction is a welcome change.

Now Is The Time To Prepare For A Boom In Heat Pump Sales
Now Is The Time To Prepare For A Boom In Heat Pump Sales

As the UK continues to battle through the coronavirus crisis, HVAC business owners and installers can be putting some of their enforced downtime to good use. This period of subdued trading is a rare opportunity to get into better shape for when economic activity picks up. One way of doing this is by sharpening the focus on markets which promise strong growth – and few markets are growing faster than that for heat pumps.   The potential here is huge. Some 28,000 heat pumps are currently installed in the UK every year, and before the pandemic this number was rising annually at a rate of 15-30%. That equates to sales doubling every three to five years. New-builds account for the majority of those sales, but 30% are retrofits, and about 30% of those retrofits are in private residences. This means there’s a big opportunity for doing conversions from oil boilers to heat pumps at rural homes not connected to the gas grid. The ‘New Normal’ and Heat Pumps It is only realistic, of course, to expect a lingering dip in HVAC sales of all kinds, including heat pumps, until the post-pandemic world gets back on its feet. But when we do turn the corner into the ‘new normal’, heat pump sales will again climb strongly. One reason for this is consumer demand, the other is government policy. End-users are now increasingly aware of the dangers and disruptions threatened by carbon emissions and climate change – informally known as ‘the Blue Planet Effect’ – and more are being guided by their consciences to make environmentally-responsible heating choices. An Expected Spike In Demand Many end-users are also encouraged by the prospect of receiving payments from the government through the Domestic RHI tariff. When we do turn the corner into the ‘new normal’, heat pump sales will climb strongly If RHI tariffs are the carrot, however, the government is also going to wield a big stick. The Chancellor’s spring statement last year dropped the bombshell that low-carbon heating systems, not fossil-fuel heating, should be installed in all new homes built after 2025. Though this policy might perhaps get slightly delayed and diluted, there can be no doubting that radical change is on the way.           With all this in the pipeline, the industry should be preparing now to cope with the increased demand. But there’s some way to go: of the UK’s 120,000 registered gas engineers, merely 600 or so are MCS-registered to install heat pumps. Many more will be needed. MCS Certification Some installers are already recognizing this opportunity. Some 28,000 heat pumps are currently installed in the UK every year, and before the pandemic this number was rising annually at a rate of 15-30% This is evident in the heightened level of interest in the one-day introductory heat pump courses run nationwide by the Viessmann Academy. These courses provide a useful overview of what heat pump installations involve, helping participants decide whether or not they would like to go on to qualify with the MCS quality assurance scheme. This is a crucial decision, because having MCS certification is an obligation when installing equipment eligible for Domestic RHI payments. Some course participants decide to take the next step to MCS certification straight away, others decide to wait a while – but standing still in a fast-moving market can mean getting left behind! F-Gas Certification So what else must HVAC businesses and installers consider about heat pumps, in order to stay ahead of the game? In addition to MCS certification, F-Gas certification is also necessary when split air source heat pumps are installed. This is because the outdoor and indoor units have to be connected on-site with refrigerant pipework. Some installers choose to get F-Gas certified themselves, others sub-contract this part of the job to someone who’s suitably qualified. Of the UK’s 120,000 registered gas engineers, merely 600 or so are MCS-registered to install heat pumps It is possible to sidestep this need, however, when it is appropriate to install a monobloc heat pump – and the widening choice and affordability of monobloc designs is making them appropriate for a wider range of properties. A good example of this is Viessmann’s new Vitocal 100-A, an outdoors unit which has no need for a complementary indoor unit and is also easy to install because most components are integrated in the unit. New, compact and affordable air source heat pumps such as this, offering much-needed space-saving solutions for urban homes, are another reason why the heat pump market will boom. The Challenges Of Heat Pump Installation Though technological advances are making things easier, installing a heat pump isn’t ever going to be quite as straightforward as replacing an old boiler with a new one. Before starting an installation, first it is necessary to assess whether a heat pump is suitable for the property. This means checking that the property is well-enough insulated; checking the existing system’s radiators, which may need supplementing or replacing with bigger radiators or underfloor heating because of the lower flow temperatures of a heat pump system; and calculating the required size of the heat pump according to the building’s heat loss (and not including hot water demand). This period of subdued trading is a rare opportunity to get into better shape for when economic activity picks up At the installation stage itself, much of the work will be familiar to boiler installers, though weather compensating controls are obligatory for all MCS-approved work and as part of building regulations Part L. It’s also important to note that planning permission requires minimum distances between the heat pump’s outdoor unit, the plot’s borders, and neighboring properties. If this seems complicated, it doesn’t have to be: some heat pump manufacturers provide a calculator to simplify the task. Now Is The Time To Be Proactive Just as installers need a little time to assess whether a property should switch from a boiler to a heat pump, end-users also need a little thinking time, to consider adopting a technology new to them. By being proactive, HVAC businesses and installers can reap what they sow When customers get in touch because their existing boiler has broken down, the pressure for a quick fix can rule this out. But right now, when many of us have time on our hands, there’s the chance to inform customers of alternative heating solutions before their boiler needs replacing. Taking such pre-emptive action, by emailing information or mailing leaflets to customers, does require a little effort, but at least now there’s the time to do it. We are heading into a new era which will see boiler sales decline while heat pump sales rise. By making preparations for these profound changes, and by being proactive, HVAC businesses and installers can reap what they sow.

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Trane Helps Schools To Evaluate And Implement Indoor Air Quality Improvements In Their Buildings
Trane Helps Schools To Evaluate And Implement Indoor Air Quality Improvements In Their Buildings

As the school year progresses in various formats, Trane® – by Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator – introduces expanded services to help schools evaluate, implement and fund indoor air quality improvements in their buildings. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) play a critical role in creating proper indoor air quality. ASHRAE® guidelines to address COVID-19 in the reopening of schools indicate that making changes to the operation of HVAC systems can mitigate exposure to airborne contaminants. Healthy indoor air quality “As schools bring back students for part-time or full-time in-person learning, healthy indoor air quality is a chief concern alongside other safety practices including wearing masks and social distancing,” said Donny Simmons, president, Commercial HVAC Americas at Trane Technologies. “HVAC systems, properly applied, are an important aspect of addressing environmental concerns within a school.” A thorough assessment is a helpful starting point for schools to understand their indoor air quality needs A thorough assessment is a helpful starting point for schools to understand their indoor air quality needs. The Trane® Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessment focuses on four critical pillars of indoor air quality – dilute, exhaust, contain and clean. The fact-based assessment equips school building managers with a clear and cost-effective roadmap for improvements that will bring facilities into alignment with CDC and industry recommendations. Isolation space evaluation The Trane IAQ Assessment now includes a supplemental isolation space evaluation to help schools better prepare for scenarios where students or staff experience symptoms while on campus. The evaluation can help schools create an isolation space in line with industry recommendations, including stringent guidelines for air exchanges, negative pressurization and other criteria. Trane’s comprehensive suite of solutions address conditions and recommendations across all four critical pillars of indoor air quality, including cleaning the environment to actively reduce the number of microbiologicals that may be in the air or on surfaces. Air cleaning technologies range from high-rated MERV or HEPA filters, to Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) and photocatalytic oxidation. Air cleaning solutions Trane now offers Synexis®-made Dry Hydrogen Peroxide (DHPTM) solutions to K-12 schools in the U.S To meet the evolving needs of schools and increased demand for air cleaning solutions, Trane now offers Synexis®-made Dry Hydrogen Peroxide (DHPTM) solutions to K-12 schools in the U.S. to help reduce the presence of viruses, bacteria, and mold in the air and on surfaces. Synexis® is the sole developer of the process by which naturally occurring humidity and oxygen are taken from the air to create DHPTM, which reduces the presence of unwanted microbes that may be present in the air and on surfaces, continuously improving indoor air quality and surface cleanliness. Synexis® solutions can be integrated into a school’s existing HVAC system or used as a portable, standalone unit in any room to treat the air and any surface the air touches, making it an ideal application for school isolation spaces, classrooms and high traffic areas like cafeterias and hallways. Best air quality solutions “Our customers count on Trane to bring them the best air quality solutions and strategies available, and we’re pleased to expand our portfolio with Synexis® solutions for schools,” said Simmons. “Implementing HVAC best practices and innovative air cleaning technologies, such as Synexis®, are ways schools can go on the offensive to help improve indoor air quality and create more peace of mind for students, faculty, administrators and parents.” “For many schools, the central issue is not whether they need indoor air quality improvements, but how they will they fund them – especially in a year marked by many other unplanned expenses,” said Simmons. “Trane’s expanded and flexible financing options help school districts move forward with the indoor air quality improvements they need now.” Delivering fast implementation Trane K-12 experts help schools evaluate the most affordable ways to pay for IAQ upgrades Trane Integrated Funding Solutions (IFS) includes Leasing and Managed Services Agreement options with deferred payment plans and extended terms for qualifying school districts. Additionally, Trane K-12 experts help schools evaluate the most affordable ways to pay for IAQ upgrades, including leveraging CARES Act funding, grants, utility rebates, and other available resources. The program is designed to help address schools’ financial constraints by eliminating immediate out-of-pocket expenses, preserving working capital and other forms of credit and delivering fast implementation of needed improvements. With flexible funding support, school districts can make needed upgrades to maintain proper indoor air quality now and help minimize impacts on operating budgets. “It’s a complex time for schools, and there is no single solution for all environments,” said Simmons. “Every school may have different needs – and variables – when it comes to indoor air quality. The bottom line is schools should work with a trusted partner and take a strategic, fact-based approach to make the best use of their budget and investments.”

Trane Technologies Announces Collaboration With Synexis To Provide Solutions To Reduce Pathogens In The Air And On Surfaces
Trane Technologies Announces Collaboration With Synexis To Provide Solutions To Reduce Pathogens In The Air And On Surfaces

Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, announces it has joined forces with Synexis to provide its customers with innovative technology in indoor environmental quality. The technology, which can be integrated into the HVAC duct system or applied as a stand-alone to individual rooms or spaces, uses dry hydrogen peroxide (DHP) to reduce pathogens in the air and on surfaces. The technology is currently available as part of the comprehensive products and services portfolio for K-12 schools offered by Trane®, a brand of Trane Technologies, with plans to expand to applications for the company’s residential and transport customers. It is provided by Trane experts and available through the company’s expansive sales and distribution network. Managing indoor environmental quality Synexis is part of a safe and powerful mitigation strategy to reduce certain viruses, bacteria and contaminants in air" “We’re pleased to join forces with Synexis to add this innovation to our comprehensive approach for assessing, mitigating and managing indoor environmental quality,” said Rasha Hasaneen , Trane Technologies vice president for innovation and product management excellence, and executive director for the company’s Center for Healthy and Efficient Spaces (CHES). “Synexis is part of a safe and powerful mitigation strategy to reduce certain viruses, bacteria, mold and other contaminants in the air and on surfaces. It can also continuously mitigate contaminant spread as DHP is pushed into the occupied space.” Safer and sustainable spaces “Synexis is excited to partner with Trane Technologies and to have dry hydrogen peroxide included in its CHES initiative, allowing more businesses to experience our proprietary, differentiated solution,” said Eric Schlote, CEO of Synexis, LLC. “Our testing and patents validate our technology, making DHP a unique option that can help customers reach their indoor environmental goals.” “For decades we’ve been bringing deep expertise and leading technologies to HVAC and transport, including buildings’ performance, sustainability and indoor environmental quality,” said Paul Camuti , Trane Technologies chief technology and strategy officer. “Now, we’re expanding that leadership through the Center for Healthy and Efficient Spaces by leveraging internal and external expertise and working with technology-forward companies like Synexis to help customers create safer, more sustainable spaces through and beyond the pandemic.”

Thermo King By Trane Technologies Launches Cold Storage Solutions To Support COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Thermo King By Trane Technologies Launches Cold Storage Solutions To Support COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Thermo King, by Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, has expanded its portfolio of temporary storage solutions that can meet the unique requirements of global pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines. Thermo King is the global provider of intelligent end-to-end temperature-controlled cold chain solutions. Pharmaceutical companies in final-stage clinical trials anticipate they will require strict temperature controls to safeguard their products - down to temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius. Thermo King’s solutions can enable these companies and their distributors to ensure the efficacy of their products through the entire cold chain - from air transport to marine, rail, trailer, last-mile delivery and at storage points along the way. Cold Storage Solutions According to the World Health Organization, nearly 20 percent of temperature-sensitive health care products are damaged during transport, and 25 percent of vaccines reach their destination in a degraded state due to breaks in the cold chain. “Considering the urgent, global need for a COVID-19 vaccine, the world can’t afford breaks in the cold chain.” said Dave Regnery, President and Chief Operating Officer of Trane Technologies. “Our new Cold Storage Solutions can maintain temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius for an extended period of time, can be leveraged to help reduce degradation of a vaccination, and most importantly, could prevent vaccine ‘deserts’ or lack of accessibility.” temporary storage solutions Thermo King offers storage solutions that can substantially extend the life of dry ice, or eliminate the need altogether Thermo King and its worldwide partners can offer temporary storage solutions that maintain a set point down to -70 degrees Celsius, and can ensure end-to-end temperature control, security and traceability through state-of-the-art telematics. Additional storage solutions include refrigerated trailers, containers and portable cubes that can easily be scaled and repositioned to other locations as demand changes. In addition to launching Cold Storage Solutions, Thermo King has helped customers identify ways to maximize the range of dry ice, which is often used in vaccine transport and storage but has certain limitations. A container using dry ice to keep a product frozen may require re-icing if it sits for an extended length of time or is exposed to extreme ambient weather. Thermo King offers storage solutions that can substantially extend the life of dry ice, or eliminate the need altogether. temperature-Sensitive vaccine “We have been engaging pharmaceutical and transport companies, policymakers, regulators and other industry partners to discuss ways to strengthen the cold chain,” said Regnery. “We know that we can help mitigate risk - we have a long history in cold chain expertise, and are actively working to innovate and address the complexities and potential challenges of the mass distribution of a temperature-sensitive vaccine.”

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