Maximizing Indoor Comfort with Your HVAC System This Winter

The winter heating season is now upon us.  In the northeast, wintertime temperatures can get pretty low and result in relatively high heating costs.  When the outdoor temperature is below freezing, you need to keep your house or business warm to stay comfortable but also to protect your building from frozen pipes which can cause devastating damage. Here’s how you can maximize indoor comfort with your HVAC system this winter.

Set yourself up for success this winter

winter

First thing’s first, make sure your system is ready for the winter.  Whatever type of system you have — whether it is a hot water baseboard system, an air source heat pump or packaged rooftop units — you need to make sure the system is maintained so that it can perform when those temperatures drop.  Some simple things end users can do themselves include checking filters at indoor units, and checking to make sure any outdoor condensing unit heat pumps are clear of debris.

For forced-air systems, dirty/clogged filters are a very common and very avoidable problem that can cause some serious issues. For example, an air source heat pump trying to produce heating with clogged filters will not only struggle to deliver the heated air into the space but the refrigeration system itself will be unable to condense the hot gas refrigerant to liquid which is needed for the outdoor unit to produce hot gas again. Over time, this can cause damage to the system all while underperforming and running up energy bills. With the recent push for high level MERV filters, many people may not realize that these filters will clog more rapidly than standard MERV-8 or lower style filters and need to be changed more frequently.  

Other maintenance items in the system should still be checked but should be done by a professional.  This includes checking that gas trains are clean on gas fired equipment, that burners and oil filters are clear on oil fired units and on water-based systems that trim devices like expansion tanks, make up water valves and bleed valves are all in good working order. 

It’s recommended that a professional look at these items because if there is a failure on one of these, the risks of a broken valve failing to close or water levels dropping dangerously low are too great to not have a professional handle.  A properly maintained system will pay dividends on energy usage, performance as well as extending the life of the equipment itself.

Programmable thermostats are a must when preparing for the winter

Years ago, the typical thermostat found in a home was a “Yo-Yo” type thermostat that operated with a manual dial that used a bi-metal strip to engage or disengage a system based on setpoint. While this type of method is great for its simplicity, it lacks any ability to program the system to run at certain setpoints at certain times. 

Without the ability to program the system, this means the building is either running hotter or colder than it should when you are not there.  Different people feel comfortable at different temperatures. There is no one set temperature that satisfies everybody. Generally speaking, a heating setpoint temperature should be anywhere between 66-70F to balance both comfort and energy consumption. 

Another important consideration is the setpoint temperature when the home, business, facility is not in use.  Many people tend to use a setback temperature very low (Like 50F-55F) for these times. While this may be perfectly fine for some systems and buildings, it may not be desirable for all. One must consider several factors when determining the right setback temperature. Factors including the system type and how fast the heat will be delivered to the space, the condition of the building and how leaky it is for outside air infiltration and what type of outside temperatures you may be facing. 

Let’s take a radiant heating system for example. This type of system does an amazing job at providing steady, efficient comfortable heat. This type of system also takes a long time to heat up the flooring it is serving. The same heavy mass (floor tile, concrete, etc) that has a benefit of slowly dissipating heat also has the same effect when applying heat. 

If the setback temperature on a radiant system is dropped to say 55F for an entire day while the outdoor temperature drops below freezing in a loosely constructed building (high infiltration), the space temperature will gradually drop throughout the day and when its time to bring the radiant heating back on, it may take several hours longer than desired to bring the space temperature up to a comfortable level.  For systems with a slow recovery time a setback temperature above 60F may be more appropriate.  Additionally, if extremely cold temperatures and high winds are expected, it may be advisable to keep setback temperatures relatively high, especially on leaky structures to avoid the possibility of water pipes freezing.  

Dry air in the winter

Most people are very aware that the winter time dries out the air.  This is evident as our skin begins to feel itchy due to the dry air.  The air becomes dry in the winter as there is less moisture in the air and most of us are not fortunate enough to have a humidification system in our homes or offices. 

If we did, however, another important maintenance item would be the canisters of electro-steam humidifiers. These can become fouled up over time with exposure to minerals in the water and need to be either cleaned or replaced. Depending on their location, these should also be inspected to make sure they are working properly and that the ductwork they are serving is not collecting any water which carries the risk of mold growth. Humidistat setpoints for humidifier systems generally range in the 40-45% RH setpoints for the winter but this may need to be higher or lower depending on what is inside the home or business.

Maximize your indoor comfort this winter with Klima

At Klima, we are your partners in climate control. As the leading provider of HVAC equipment — from Variable Refrigerant Flow, Custom Air Handling Units, Package Rooftop Units and Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems — we work with our clients to ensure maximum indoor comfort, especially as winter approaches.

To learn more about our services, please visit our website and contact us today for more!

HVAC Training: What to Consider as a Young Upstart

Right now in 2023, there is a huge demand for professionals in the HVAC industry — and therefore a need for HVAC training. There are a lot of factors creating an increased demand for various types of HVAC needs. Across the landscape there is a lot of pent up demand for construction, some of which may stem from people’s resistance to buying new buildings with interest rates at historically high levels. 

There are major trends like electrification, increased ventilation requirements, higher efficiency standards and alternative energy all pushing for new HVAC systems and strategies. With HVAC systems typically making up around 40% of a building’s energy consumption, improvements to the HVAC systems can be low hanging fruit in a path to increased efficiency. Presently, there is a generation of HVAC professionals reaching the twilight of their career and a deficit of newcomers to meet this increased demand. So the time is right for someone to enter the HVAC field.

The 3 main types of companies in the industry

hvac training

There are 3 main paths for working in the HVAC industry. These are:

  1. Engineering consulting
  2. Mechanical sub-contracting
  3. Equipment manufacturing/sales. 

People from various backgrounds come into the HVAC industry and generally the best preparation for any of these career paths in HVAC is to have a bachelors of science in a technical field. Engineering is preferred but not an absolute requirement. 

One educational path to highlight here are HVAC technical schools, which provide HVAC training on basics of refrigeration and electrical systems. These are usually taken by people entering the mechanical contractor field, but the honest truth is that these courses should be taken by HVAC professionals of ALL pathways to get a basic foundation on how systems generally work. 

Luckily, today we have the benefit of YouTube and other resources at our fingertips. If someone is motivated enough, they can simply find the bulk of this material online. Of course, this is not as effective as being taught in a real-life classroom, but it’s better than not knowing the material at all.

Internships for students who need HVAC training

For those young people who are yet to enter the workforce and still in school, internships in nearly any business of the three industry types would be recommended. An internship is a low-pressure way to get exposure to the industry, learn some of the jargon and test out the work environment of a company with the possibility of full time employment after graduation.

Self-starters get ahead

As a young professional starting out in the HVAC field, the best thing you can do is to learn everything you can pertaining to your area of interest. For example, if you want to be a consulting engineer in HVAC, you will want to learn all of the basic principles of fans; fan curves, fan selection, troubleshooting air distribution issues, etc.

Resources for these can be found all over, which is great but can also be problematic. YouTube and other places on the internet have material, but one must be careful to learn from a reliable source. The best webinars, YouTube videos and articles come from agencies like ASHRAE, AMCA and other not-for-profit organizations. Next behind that are manufacturers who offer webinars, lunch-and-learns, and other resources. 

Start with the absolute basics to gain a solid foundation so the more complicated topics are not overwhelming. Employers will provide some pertinent HVAC training, but this will typically be limited to things related to the tasks they assign. The young professional who goes through the effort to find the resources to learn on their own will quickly get ahead in their career. Joining industry groups like ASHRAE is an easy way to not only access educational resources but also to meet other people in the industry.

Find a Mentor

Whether someone works at a mechanical contractor or a manufacturer’s rep firm, there is usually a seasoned person with a lot of experience willing to teach the younger generation — a necessity when it comes to HVAC training. More effective/useful knowledge is passed down this way than any textbook or webinar will ever provide. 

A mentor should be someone who is willing to provide informal guidance on various topics and be a trusted advisor. This is someone who can fill in the gaps to answer questions that come up from learning the basics and beyond. Some of their wisdom will be from painful mistakes they have made in their career and they are willing to share those insights and advice.

Further HVAC training education

One lesson to be learned in the HVAC industry is that the most successful people in this industry tend to be those who can combine the technical aspects of systems with business in some way. For example, if someone can understand the technical challenges of a chilled water plant, but also negotiate very well with clients they might have a bright future in the manufacturers rep world. 

Depending on what the future aspirations might be, one may find themselves taking graduate studies. One recommended graduate program would be finance. Having a master’s degree in finance provides the HVAC professional with insights into how businesses are run. This is especially critical for someone who hopes to one day go out on their own and have their own business. Understanding financial fundamentals like how to read a balance sheet and how businesses successfully manage money can make the difference between a business that survives and one that dies after a few years.

It’s not all about what you know when it comes to HVAC training

Having technical know-how is very important in the HVAC industry, but how useful is this knowledge if nobody knows you have it? Having the right networking connections in any business is vital. These connections are what may bring a new job opportunity, a new partnership opportunity or the next client for your new business. Understanding how to connect with people is a critical skill that any serious professional needs to master if they want to see substantial success.

Every contractor needs to sell their services to a client, every consulting engineer needs to work well with an architect on a project, and every equipment vendor needs to be able to work with everyone to make sure the equipment they sell successfully goes into a project. Some people have a natural ability to work well with others and some people have trouble with this. For many engineers, this may be particularly challenging. 

Those who struggle with interpersonal skills should look at enrolling in some courses like the Dale Carnegie training course. Courses like this teach people presentation skills, people skills and help with improving your ability to sell and deal with customer service. These soft skills are absolutely crucial to someone in the professional environment of any industry.

To learn more, please visit Klima’s website and contact us to jumpstart your career today!

LG Hydro Kit: Understanding Its Benefits and Purpose

If you’re looking for an efficient way to make hot and/or chilled water without using fossil fuels, the LG Hydro Kit may be just what you need. The Hydro Kits pair up to LG’s Multi-V condensers, providing VRF industry-leading technology and performance.  Offered in 2 different versions and several different sizes, there are a wide variety of applications that can utilize this awesome technology. So if you’re in the business of finding cutting edge solutions to complex HVAC challenges — check out this blog to see why your next project might benefit from LG’s Hydro Kit!

The Benefits of the LG Hydro Kit

LG Hydro Kit

The LG Hydro Kit is offered in 2 versions; medium temp and high temp. The medium temp version can produce chilled water down to 41F and hot water up to 122F. The high temp Hydro Kit is a heating-only unit but can produce leaving hot water temperatures up to 176F. With leaving water temperatures that close to the typical 180F target of traditional hydronic boiler systems, you can theoretically replace gas or oil fired boilers with LG VRF air source heat pumps and hydro kits.

Historically, heat pumps in the northeast were not capable of providing adequate low ambient heating, let alone a version delivering hot water over 170F.  So during those times the only alternative system that would not burn fossil fuels would be electric boilers or hot water heaters.  The electric resistance heating elements in those units generate 3414 btus/hour of heat for every 1000 watts of electrical input.

For areas with relatively expensive electricity like the New York Metro area, this is not an economical way to heat a building or home. With the introduction of new heat pump technologies like the LG Multi-V 5, every 1000 watts of electrical power is now creating double the heating output of electric resistance heating or higher (depending on a variety of factors) making operating costs very attractive compared to other sources. 

If systems like this are powered by renewable sources like solar or wind power, homes and businesses can be producing heating without any emissions or fossil fuel consumption which is great for the planet. Additionally, since these heat pumps will use half or less of the electricity compared to resistance heating they can help stretch those renewable power resources further limiting the reliance on the power grid while saving on energy costs.

Efficient Use of Interior Space

For metropolitan areas like New York City, interior space is a scarce resource in limited supply.  Traditional boiler systems have to be housed in a dedicated boiler room which eats up considerable interior space. The LG Hydro Kit is a split system type where half of the system is located outdoors and the other component is indoors. The Hydro Kit is much smaller in footprint compared to a boiler and the service space requirements are often times less than a traditional boiler. All of this leads to more usable interior space, which can be a very good thing in markets with sky-high real estate costs.

Flexibility in Design

LG Hydro Kit

The capacity offerings of the LG Hydro Kits lend themselves to a very flexible way of heating and/ or cooling a building.  The medium temp versions come in 3.5 ton and 8 ton sizes. The high temp version is offered in 3.5 ton and 6.5 ton offerings. For larger applications, multiple Hydro Kits can be installed in parallel and staged to maximize efficiency. Additionally, having multiple systems offers some additional level of redundancy over larger central plant systems.  

For multi-family buildings, domestic hot water and hydronic heating plants are often central to the building and very difficult to bill their usage out to individual tenants. With smaller Hydro Kit systems, each condensing unit and Hydro Kit can potentially be fed from each tenant’s own power meter. This eliminates the cost and responsibility of the equipment from the Landlord and can lower common charges in the rent or building fees. An additional benefit of modular systems for larger buildings is the ability to stagger system operation to reduce demand charges from the utility.  

There are several air to hot water heat pump systems offered in the market now. Many of these are what is referred to as ‘Mono-Bloc’ types where the hot water heat exchanger is outside, attached to the condensing unit.  While this may be a plus from the installation side, the downside to this is that glycol will most likely be required in the heating water for colder climates like the Northeast.  

The medium temp Hydro Kits have started to replace aging air cooled chilled water systems throughout the New York Metro area. With the modular design and flexibility of piping runs on LG’s Multi-V 5 systems, clients have ripped out their small to medium sized chillers, replaced them with LG medium temp Hydro Kits and did not have to touch their existing chilled water air handlers. These systems now offer more redundancy, lower operating cost and take up less space outdoors than previous air cooled chillers. Additionally, the medium temp Hydro Kits can produce lower temperature hot water for radiant heat systems.  

Potential Issues and concerns

While the LG Hydro Kits pack a tremendous amount of technology in a small package, keep in mind they are more complicated than a traditional boiler or chiller. Clients should make sure to find an installing contractor and service company with proper training from the manufacturer to successfully install and maintain the system for years to come. 

LG’s Hydro Kit may require more labor to install over a traditional boiler or chiller as it is a split system.  The benefits of the operational cost, environmental impact have to be weighed against any potentially higher upfront costs.

Final Thoughts on Why the LG Hydro Kit is Worth It

The Hydro Kit’s innovative technology allows for the efficient use of energy, resulting in lower electricity bills and a more sustainable future while eliminating harmful Carbon Monoxide emissions in the home or business.

With natural gas becoming more difficult to access, the LG Hydro Kit offers the best alternative over the other technologies currently out on the market. Investing in an LG Hydro Kit may seem like a simple choice when looking at all of the short-term benefits that you gain; however, when we consider the long-term environmental impact it has on our planet, this decision suddenly seems much wiser. After all, small changes such as this can have a huge impact — making the LG Hydro Kit more than worth your investment.

If you have any questions, the team at Klima is here to help! To learn more, please visit our website and contact us today!

Maintaining Your HVAC System for the Summer: What You Need to Know

As the temperatures start to rise in the summer, having a functioning air conditioning unit is important to maintaining comfortable living conditions. When it comes to your HVAC system, regular maintenance can make all the difference in ensuring that your business and home stay cool during those scorching hot days and evenings. From filter changes and cleaning coils to preventative measures such as checking for duct leakage, there are several things you’ll need to know about keeping your AC up and running during these warm months. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to be aware of when it comes to maintaining your HVAC system in preparation for peak summer season.

Benefits of regular maintenance for your HVAC system

Regular maintenance for your HVAC system is essential to ensure the longevity and efficiency of the system. By scheduling regular check-ups, you can identify and address any potential issues before they become major problems. 

Not only does this save you money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs, but it also helps your system operate at peak performance, which can lead to lower energy bills. Additionally, routine maintenance helps improve indoor air quality by removing dust and dirt buildup, which can cause health problems for you and your family. By investing in the maintenance of your HVAC system, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your system is operating efficiently and effectively.

Important safety considerations when dealing with your HVAC system

When it comes to your business or home’s HVAC system, safety should always be a top priority. There are several important safety considerations to keep in mind when dealing with this complex machinery. 

One of the most important is to never attempt to perform repairs or maintenance on your own unless you are a trained HVAC professional.  HVAC systems can pose very serious hazards to someone who is not a professional.  Refrigerant systems operate at dangerous pressures exceeding 400 psi, and handling refrigerant of any kind requires a valid EPA certification.  Certain water-based systems may pose a risk of legionella exposure and certain chemicals used for cleaning these systems can cause corrosion or pose a health hazard if not used properly.  Attempting to work on a system yourself can not only be dangerous, but it can also cause further damage to your system. Additionally, always make sure to turn off the power to your HVAC system before performing any work on it. This will help to prevent any potential electrical accidents. 

Lastly, be sure to keep the surrounding area free of debris and clutter to prevent any potential tripping hazards. By keeping these important safety considerations in mind, you can ensure that you and your HVAC service professional stay safe.

Tips on how to maintain and inspect your HVAC system

HVAC system

As a business or homeowner, it is important to prioritize the maintenance and inspection of your HVAC system. Regular upkeep can save you money in the long run and improve the overall efficiency of your system. 

One tip is to regularly change out your air filters to prevent buildup that can reduce airflow and impact the air quality in your indoor environment. During the summer months, all sorts of debris can also infiltrate the equipment outside the home — from small branches and twigs to leaves, to even small animals which can chew through wiring! To ensure optimal HVAC performance, make sure there are no objects obstructing your HVAC system.

It is also crucial to schedule annual check-ups with a licensed professional to ensure that your system is running smoothly and catch any potential issues before they turn into costly repairs. By staying on top of your HVAC system’s maintenance and inspections, you can ensure that your office or home stays comfortable and energy-efficient for years to come.

How to choose the right professional technician for the job

Choosing the right professional technician for the job can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by researching potential candidates online and reading reviews from previous customers. Look for someone who has experience in the specific type of work you need done, familiar with your brand of equipment and who is properly licensed and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and follow up on them.

When you meet with the technician, ask questions about their approach to the job and how they plan to complete it. Make sure to get a written estimate before any work begins and be wary of anyone who asks for payment upfront. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you are choosing a qualified and trustworthy professional for the job at hand.

Warning signs that you may need to replace your unit

It’s crucial to keep an eye out for potential warning signs that you may need to replace your unit. One such indicator is if your unit is consistently failing to properly cool or heat your indoor space. Another clear sign is if you experience a major increase in your energy bills that cannot be explained by external factors. A unit that is constantly breaking down or producing strange noises is also cause for concern. HVAC systems using refrigerant to cool or heat are supposed to be closed systems, meaning the refrigerant gas should never leak out.  If your system is losing gas, that means you have a leak and it also means you are probably losing oil, which is vital to the health of your compressor.  Never let a technician tell you that they just need to ‘Top off the gas’ without finding a source of the leak.  Additionally, once the leak is found – the refrigerant from a leaking system needs to be evacuated and replaced with virgin refrigerant.  This refrigerant must match the type on the equipment nameplate. Be wary of technicians offering to use alternative refrigerants to save money.  

Furthermore, if your unit is more than 10-15 years old, it may be time to consider replacement to improve your overall air quality and system efficiency. By staying aware of these warning signs, you can address potential issues before they become major problems and ensure your unit is operating at optimal functionality.

Cost-saving strategies and tips for summertime HVAC maintenance

Summertime is the peak season for your HVAC system to function. Though it is an essential part of your business, it is also the most significant contributor to your electricity bills during the summers. Fortunately, reducing your power consumption and saving money on your energy bills can be achieved by following some simple tips and strategies. Regular cleaning, replacing the filters, and lowering the thermostat settings can all help to reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC system. 

Scheduling an annual maintenance check with a reliable HVAC technician can also help to detect any problems early on, ensuring efficient operation and preventing costly repairs. Implementing cost-saving strategies and tips for summertime HVAC maintenance can help you save money and maintain a comfortable living environment throughout the summer season.

Maintaining your HVAC system with Klima

At Klima New York, we offer integrated custom HVAC solutions for your NYC and Long Island business. With HVAC being the heart of what we do, our experts are happy to assist in any HVAC-related endeavors you may need. To learn more, please visit our website and get in touch with us today!