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Seasonal HVAC Preventative Maintenance Tips
Seasonal HVAC Preventative Maintenance Tips

Seasonal transitions are the perfect time to take inventory and inspect a building’s various systems. We’ve been reminded for years that when we set our clocks back, we should also replace the batteries in our smoke detectors. The same thought process can be applied in support of seasonal preventative maintenance for a building’s HVAC system. Now that the cooling season has passed for a large part of the country, it is time to ensure that HVAC systems have been shut down properly for the winter months. A few simple checks and changes help ensure that the HVAC system is able to transition without failure, from the cooling season to the heating season. Enhancing energy efficiency of HVAC systems Home and building owner inspections can go a long way in increasing the energy efficiency of a system or in mitigating a more complex system failure. Taking a few minutes to inspect an HVAC system for irregularities can help keep repair costs and energy waste to a minimum. Here is a short and easy to complete HVAC inspection check list to execute to help maintain the system and ensure it runs in an energy efficient manner as the outdoor temperature begins to fall. Air filters The change of seasons is the perfect time to change out an HVAC system’s air filter The change of seasons is the perfect time to change out an HVAC system’s air filter. Filters are a key point in a building’s HVAC system, helping keep dust, pollen and larger particulate matter out, and potentially saving it from damage. HVAC equipment accounts for 40 percent of energy usage in a building, so any actions that positively affect energy efficiency are impactful. Not only is changing filters easy to do, but it also provides several benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, cost savings and it helps limit unnecessary stress on the HVAC system, by keeping the air entering it as clean as possible. Dirty, unchanged filters are a leading cause of issues with an HVAC system. The bottom line is that an air filter that has not been changed since the summer needs to be replaced. Inspect the HVAC system Now is a good time to walk around and view the entirety of a building’s HVAC system. How does it look? Make sure the system is clean and in good repair. Examine the ducts to ensure they are clean, undamaged and venting properly. If they are dirty or if there is suspicion that they are clogged, a duct cleaning by a professional may be needed. Remove any leaves or sticks that have gathered around the compressors. Clean the coils of any debris with a garden hose. Trim back any trees or bushes, which are in close contact with the unit. Make sure the condenser unit is still level. If it is not, it can impede the flow of refrigerant and oil, thereby leading to costly repairs. Take a look at the HVAC system to make sure there are no leaks, cracks or structural damage. A quick scan around and cleanup of an HVAC system can help it run longer and more efficiently. Inspect the boiler system Inspect the boiler system by looking for signs of old leaks, which can include stains around the boiler Corrosion is often associated with boiler systems. Inspect the boiler system by looking for signs of old leaks, which can include stains around the boiler or warped floorboards under radiators. Also, be on the lookout for water spots on the ceiling that is below the floor with radiant heat pipes. Make note of any corrosion you find throughout the system, including on the radiators, valves and other components. It’s a smart idea to have a professional inspect a boiler system each year, in order to maintain its functionality and ensure it is running safely, and optimally for a long time. Air Leaks An inspection may also reveal air leaks around doors and windows. These small leaks can add up to significant heat loss and energy costs. If sunlight is peeking through the areas around the perimeter of a window, door or skylight, there’s an air gap to be filled. A quick fix with caulking or weather stripping can ensure optimal energy efficiency. Also, inspect window panes for any cracks, as they will need to be replaced. Furthermore, double check that the windows and doors all close and lock properly. If they don’t, there’s an air leak that needs repair, as well. An inspection of doors and windows can keep a house warmer longer, and help keep the furnace from running over time to maintain a building’s ideal temperature. Shut down AC system for the season At the end of the cooling season, it is recommended that the air conditioning side of the HVAC system be shut off. When doing this, take a few minutes to clean the compressor with a brush and vacuum. Cover the unit with an insulated, waterproof cover that completely covers the whole unit. Secure the cover tightly, so it stays in place over the winter. This simple maintenance can help set up the system for success next year, while also maintaining its energy efficiency. Need for proactive system inspections and maintenance It’s important to evaluate a building’s HVAC system every season, as well as maintain its filters It’s important to evaluate a building’s HVAC system every season, as well as maintain its filters and the environment around the system. Being proactive about systems inspections and maintenance is the best way to keep a system running at peak efficiency, saving money and the environment, as well as providing peace of mind. With a few simple actions, home and building owners can keep their HVAC systems in good shape for longer, and be ready to go for the next season ahead. Motili’s predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy Motili brings contractors, operations teams and the industry’s most advanced property management technology platform together, to assess and complete HVAC work requests, from start to finish. Motili automatically schedules, dispatches, manages and invoices job requests, and its predictive analytics improves budgeting accuracy, by predicting product life cycle. Motili leverages its nationwide network of over 2,000 contractors and 1,000 distribution centers, in order to provide HVAC and hot water services, across the United States of America, to customers both large and small in size.

Here's How HVAC Contractors Can Navigate Shortages
Here's How HVAC Contractors Can Navigate Shortages

The ongoing shortage of HVAC equipment and tools has created a significant challenge for contractors around the country. At the same time, companies are also up against intense environmental conditions, like the extreme winter weather that impacted much of Texas in early 2021. The right strategies can help HVAC businesses navigate this shortage and make the most of the equipment they can order. Due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, raw material and component shortages have disrupted several critical links in the HVAC manufacturing supply chain. Various raw materials The most significant have been shortages of various raw materials, including aluminum, copper and plastic, and a notable lack of semiconductors. The semiconductor shortage has had a particularly broad impact on industries of all types. Right now, any industry that uses power electronics — from automakers to graphic cards manufacturers — is struggling to source enough chips to meet demand. The semiconductor shortage has had a particularly broad impact on industries of all types Many economists and industry observers are unwilling to make predictions about when the shortage will end. However, some have estimated that it could be as late as 2023 before semiconductor production returns to normal. Industries that produce raw materials needed for essential HVAC equipment may face similar recovery timelines. Salvaging working parts Consumer confidence is growing, and demand is returning to more normal levels as the pandemic begins to end. These market conditions could mean a quicker return to business as usual for these essential industries — but HVAC professionals should probably prepare for shortages that last well beyond 2021. There are a few strategies individual companies and contractors can use to outmaneuver these shortages. Temporary replacement components Loaner A/C units and temporary replacement components can bridge the gap when repairs are necessary Offer loaners and temporary repairs - Loaner A/C units and temporary replacement components can bridge the gap when repairs are necessary but customers aren’t interested in waiting for a new part. You may be able to offer loaner components or window units that can help keep customers cool. Salvaging working parts from systems your business replaces can give you a stockpile of functional, used items you can use for temporary repairs. These fixes will not last as long as a new part or complete HVAC system replacement. Still, they can provide a valuable stopgap when options are limited or customers aren't interested in more extensive work. Preparing reverse logistics Communicate with suppliers - Some manufacturers reduced component stockpiles to a minimum before the pandemic and have few spare components as a result. Others continued to buy items and may have parts on hand for contractors who need replacement components immediately. Communicating with your suppliers will let you know if rush orders are a possibility. In some cases, you may not have to worry about long lead times for every part, but only for specific components or products. Communication will also help you better prepare your reverse logistics Many HVAC businesses are also building stockpiles of their own, ordering parts and components well in advance to cover anticipated needs. Knowing which components or products are likely to require long lead times will help you inform your customers and get ready for repairs more effectively. Communication will also help you better prepare your reverse logistics — the processes you use to return unneeded or unwanted parts to suppliers. Good working practices Prioritize safe and sustainable work - Now is the time to make safety even more of a priority than usual. HVAC businesses can struggle in good times if a key employee is injured on the job. Independent contractors likely can’t afford the missed work that an injury may mean. The correct PPE and good working practices will help keep workers safe and encourage them to stay, making it easier for companies to avoid the HVAC skills gap. Safety will be especially important on hazardous job sites, like active construction or demolition areas. Following safety best practices for those locations will help keep you and your team safe. Cleaning condenser coils Teaching people how to safely clean their AC unit could provide similar benefits Let customers know how they can help - Communication with regular customers can also be key. It’s not unusual for someone to wait until their air conditioner has stopped working to schedule maintenance. As a result, issues with HVAC system components will typically not be noticed until they have failed or started to cause problems. It also means customers will miss out on maintenance that could reduce the strain on an HVAC system — like changing filters and cleaning condenser coils. Teaching people how to safely clean their AC unit could provide similar benefits. Encouraging regular maintenance and offering deals on services can keep their systems running for as long as possible without repairing or replacing components. Proactively informing customers about the long lead times needed for new or replacement parts may help you communicate why this upkeep is so important right now. Navigating the shortage Enable customers to upgrade their repairs - Other strategies that encourage customers to invest in replacements rather than repairs can help offset the higher costs of HVAC equipment. Second chance offers and similar deals allow customers to credit the cost of a repair against a replacement unit. These offers mean that even if customers choose to repair rather than replace a system, they can change their minds without losing the money spent on the initial fix. HVAC contractors should be willing to pass along these increases to customers Be willing to shift - Prices for HVAC equipment are likely to remain high during the shortage, and business costs will be higher as a result. HVAC contractors should be willing to pass along these increases to customers. Building in higher expenses for components and essential resources to your pricing will help you navigate the shortage. HVAC equipment shortage Anticipate related equipment and parts shortages - Your business should also be preparing for related problems — like the ongoing shortages of vinyl car wraps or replacement auto parts. Fleet vehicles that need repairs may be out for days or weeks at a time. Maximizing the lifespan of all business equipment with preventive maintenance will help keep the business running in the long term. The HVAC equipment shortage is likely to last well into the future — potentially as late as 2023. Businesses and contractors should prepare for rising costs and long lead times for new components and systems. To adapt to these new market conditions, companies may want to readjust their pricing schedules and change how they communicate with customers and suppliers. Proactive communication that prioritizes transparency will help businesses make the most of supplier relationships and let clients know what they should expect.

The Role Of Next Generation Refrigerants In Economic And Environmental Recoveries
The Role Of Next Generation Refrigerants In Economic And Environmental Recoveries

A landmark UN scientific study has once again highlighted the short window available to prevent irreversible climate change. Businesses are coming under pressure to dramatically accelerate their net-zero carbon initiatives. This comes at a time where market dynamism is returning across a range of key sectors following a downturn triggered by the pandemic. Businesses are also being pressured by stakeholders to recover revenues lost during the pandemic and to start rebuilding commercial activity. Typical supermarket products With refrigeration sitting at the heart of some of the biggest industries across the globe, including food commerce, healthcare, manufacturing and technology, decisions on refrigerant technology tap into the heart of the debate around environmental credibility, consumer expectations and economic recovery. So how can businesses balance the need to adopt more environmentally-preferable refrigerants with the urgent need to boost revenues? The technology factors into many of the most important facets of modern society Often when you think of refrigeration, you instantly think of cold storage and supermarket refrigeration. Without refrigerants, we wouldn’t be able to extend the life of many typical supermarket products or have the convenience of home storage. However, that isn’t the only role refrigeration play in our daily lives. In fact, the technology factors into many of the most important facets of modern society. The healthcare sectors, for example, would struggle to reduce the spread of infection without the use of modern air-conditioning, while the pharmaceutical industry requires refrigeration to store life-saving medications. Preserving human life On top of this, the digital revolution would not be possible. Without coolants, the data centers run by companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google would overheat, resulting in system failures and service outages. And finally, with temperatures rising across the planet because of global warming, and heatwave events becoming more common, refrigeration is increasingly important to preserving human life. Without refrigerants, recent extreme weather events would have been even more devastating. However, although refrigeration has been a solution for many human challenges, finding a refrigerant that is both safe and environmentally preferable is a challenge. In fact, before recent breakthroughs, many of the chemicals used as refrigerants, such as ammonia, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and methyl chloride, were poisonous, corrosive and even explosive. Non-Flammable alternative CFCs were found to be extremely harmful to the ozone layer and were therefore phased out In the 1930s, a compound called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was commercially introduced as a non-toxic, non-flammable alternative to established refrigerants and was in widespread use for a variety of applications by the mid-20th Century. However, CFCs were found to be extremely harmful to the ozone layer and were therefore phased out in favor of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The story wouldn’t end there, however, as HFCs were found to be potent greenhouse gases with high global warming potential (GWP). EU regulators therefore demanded their phase-out from 2016. By 2024, HFCs must be phased out so industries have been scrambling to find alternative low-global-warming-potential solutions. Unique chemical bonds The answer came in the form of hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), developed by renowned chemist, Rajiv Singh. HFOs are known for their unique chemical bonds, which allow them to break down in just a few days, so they don’t linger in the atmosphere if released and therefore don’t meaningfully contribute to global warming. Since launching its Solstice line of HFO refrigerants in 2012, Honeywell has averted the production of more than 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to emissions from more than 42 million cars, more than all passenger cars in Germany. Honeywell has averted the production of more than 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases The automotive industry was one of the first sectors to recognize the strengths of HFOs. During the past 10 years, nearly 75 million cars made in Europe have been fitted with HFO-based air conditioning systems. Supermarkets have also been reaping the benefits; more than 30,000 grocery stores currently use Honeywell’s non-flammable HFO refrigerant, Solstice N40, reducing their energy consumption by 10% and their global warming potential by a factor of three. Residential heat-Pumps HFOs are on the brink of being adopted for domestic use as well. New Honeywell HFO solutions are ideal for residential heat-pumps which enable the elimination of fossil fuel burning in our homes, for heating and for hot water generation. HFOs superior performance deliver ‘best-in-class’ energy efficiency, hence enabling heat pumps to generate more renewable energy from the waste heat vs. alternative solutions. As enablers for energy efficient solutions and systems, HFOs also offer unique opportunities for future developments such as domestic air conditioning, cooling of electronic vehicle batteries and the fast growth of data center cooling. The ‘Green Deal’ is EU flag ship regulation on climate and economy recovery. Overall, buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU’s total energy consumption, and for 36% of its greenhouse gas emissions from energy. Greenhouse gas emissions These new regulations and the corporation sustainability goals create a range of new opportunities To make it specific, heating and cooling, in the EU is responsible for 80% of energy consumed in residential buildings. Rapid adoption of Heat pumps and improved energy efficient solutions; are key contributors for Europe to reach the ‘Green Deal’ goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 and the recently adopted accelerated ‘fit for 55’ goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Adopting Low Global warning refrigerant, safe & energy efficient cooling solutions and replacing fossil fuel burners with heat pump systems to generate heat; are also key contributors to corporations’ sustainability goals (ESG). These new regulations and the corporation sustainability goals create a range of new opportunities for HFO solutions. As the popularity of HFOs grows, they’ll have a major role in mitigating climate change and enabling a carbon neutral economy. Pharmaceutical supply chains Happily, what’s good for the environment is also good for the economy. HFO production is already creating thousands of long-lasting jobs. The global pandemic stopped many people from enjoying a range of everyday pleasures such as visits to sporting events, restaurants and cinemas; activities at venues that are often reliant on some form of air conditioning and refrigeration, a sharp reminder of the role played by modern refrigerants. The technology continues to develop and evolve ensuring that a range of activities can continue to happen. From protecting the food and pharmaceutical supply chains to ensuring the continued operation of modern communication technology, next generation refrigerants will support some of the most important parts of the modern economy and a better environment.

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