Keeping an HVAC System Running at Peak Efficiency

An efficient HVAC system is very important when it comes to maintaining a comfortable, healthy interior environment. Through the years many people inquire about a technique to reduce their cost of energy and HVAC. They don’t want to sacrifice the comfort of their working environment, but they do want a good plan on how to save money and equipment. The interesting thing that often happens may be that energy bills are reduced substantially and of course the HVAC efficiency is enhanced. This is a normal function of any HVAC service technician.

Energy Optimization

Step one to acheiving system optimization is to reduce the load. This step normally involves a well thought out plan itemizing required sets to take based upon best return on your investment. Reducing the system load will allow it to operate 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. Upgrading insulation in an existing building may not be achievable for some, so more deliberation should be aimed toward the outside shell, especially windows and doors.

2. Fitting energy-efficient windows. This is a big item for some buildings that have single pane windows. The installation of double pane windows with a thermal break is a great return on your investment. Make sure they’re ENERGY STAR qualified windows. Tinting or Low-E coatings will even be the best.

3. Upgrading the lighting system. The average commercial building has a lighting density of 2-3 watts per square foot to maintain a comfortable lighting level. This is a big part of the HVAC load and nearly all efforts in this direction will reduce the cooling requirement of the building. Accent lighting (sometimes called architectural lighting) are not guaranteed to be power efficient and should not be looked at if you want to reduce energy and HVAC expenses. Energy-efficient lights release less heat into a cooled evironment than older light bulbs. When you have a return air plenum rather than return air ductwork, consider light troffers so that some of the heat from the illumination is sent back to the HVAC system rather than bleeding 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 think about include copy machines, kitchen equipment, computer systems and refrigerators.

5. Balance outside air with controlled ventilation. Many building owners have drawings of the original HVAC system installation. Have the drawings analyzed by an outside professional to verify your air-flow rates conform to the latest code requirements. If no sketches can be found, your engineer be able to make recommendations for improvement.

Dealing with these things is your first task to reducing energy and HVAC expenses.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

The second step to realize system optimisation is knowing it. Your HVAC system is critical for your interior setting, it also represents a large factor of your utilities. Even though it is past the information in this article to debate every system, a couple of recommendations can be covered. Each system component has grown in efficacy during recent years. If your system is more than 13 years of age, it is time to begin planning for replacing the system. Regularly serviced residential systems have a life expectancy of around fifteen years give or take, but seem to shut down at the worse times. You should have a replacement plan ready for when your equipment does fail.

Business systems vary, but when your structure is using specially designed systems, a similar lifetime should be likely. For industrial or large business systems, the HVAC system could also be more complex and require a closer look by a mechanical engineer. As I said, These types of systems will vary so an individual analysis works best for larger systems. What most of these systems have in common is they’re usually driven by electricity. Electricity has its price, so any improvement toward enhanced performance can be a good thing.

HVAC System Points:

Find a qualified contractor you can trust. If you are a home owner or small commercial building owner, find a good HVAC business or mechanic to evaluate and maintain the system. If you are a large property owner, look for a commercial HVAC company for normal maintenace and repair and a good mechanical engineer for impartial guidance. We do advise against using a mechanical engineer who works for the HVAC Company; find a 3rd party contractor for impartial information.

Verify your HVAC system load. Commercial structures have more complex settings regarding code conformance, minimum ventilation rates, etc and therefore are individual to each building.

Choose equipment rated for the load. NEVER OVERSIZE! Going overboard does not work for HVAC systems. It will cost more to buy the apparatus as well as operate it. Consult with your contractor to figure out the proper capacity

Buy high efficiency or Energy Star equipment. Most of the new systems also have variable speed drives for fans and compressors. Through your years of ownership this is paid back repeatedly. If you compare standard efficiency equipment to high efficiency equipment in terms of initial cost and running expenses. Any good HVAC company or contractor can get this information for you.

Consider some form of power recapture for air that is exhausted from the place and re-use it to enhance the incoming clean air. That is the air you’ve paid to condition, so using some of the energy before exhausting it should be top priority.

For large commercial properties, think about conditioning the outside air with a specialized exterior air unit. This will eliminate any problems with moisture control in many circumstances. It may also increase comfort levels and enable further downsizing of equipment.

Commercial complexes might want to look into equipment economizers. Many current codes want economizers on equipment in excess of 15 tons in size. Often available at a low initial cost during set-up, these units use fresh air from outside whenever the temperature (or humidity) outside is less than the inside temperature.

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

Control Systems

The third step to achieve energy and HVAC system optimization is controlling your system.

Programmable Thermostats: A great investment for the homeowner is a programmable thermostat. These are really easy to use and incorporate strategies based on a schedule. Most suppliers offer 7 day programs which will control the HVAC system timing and temperature. That is a wonderful way to make sure the system is used only when necessary.

DDC Systems: For the large commercial building, I consider this as an essential system. Installation costs are lower now and of course performance is better. They are often incorporated into any system and expanded as needed. Some of the more accepted features of these solutions are enhanced start/stop, multiple zone controls, temperature sensing unit and venting control. A key benefit of these systems is their capability to be scaled up to the largest of commercial applications. This means you’ll be able to install a something simple to begin with then add more controls later to incorporate your whole HVAC system. The payback is quick and well worth the investment.

Coil Cleaning: This is always a big item ignored by almost everyone. Condenser coils tend to collect dust and debris because they are outside. Diry coils make the compressor work harder and leads to a higher refrigerant temperature in the refrigerant system. Dirty evaporation and heating coils collect dust and fibers that circulate inside your home or building. They must be cleaned at least once a year

Operation and General Maintenance

The fourth and last step to realize energy and HVAC system optimization is regular upkeep. The most effective systems are well maintained. You can ensure dependability, efficacy and a long life for your HVAC system by using these guidelines.

Find a professional consultant you can trust. Find a good company or mechanic to assess and work on your system. Assuming you are a large business owner, find a commercial|an industrial} HVAC business for normal upkeep. Make sure you keep track of servicing with when they vist and what they did each time.

Home owners should always get a regular tune up. The operation of your system will vary depending on the time of year.

Replace air filters on a schedule. Always use quality filters to assure dust and fibers are removed. Clean filters will save fan energy.

Summary

Optimizing your HVAC system will help to lower electrical fees. General knowledge of your system and familiarizing yourself with money saving techniques will reduce your costs and increase the life span of your equipment.