Category Archives: HVAC

Indoor Air Quality – Comfort & Health

08
Oct

In our recent blogs we talked about Pre-Winter Maintenance, HVAC & Back to school and some common maintenance issues. This time lets get into deciphering the Comfort and Health aspect of indoor air by focussing on the indoor air quality. We live in a world now, where ensuring healthy environment for our employees, family and friends alike is the top most priority.  

The Physiology of Comfort

It isn’t rocket science to understand that the heat generated and dissipated by the human body will vary based on factors like age, gender, activity level, clothing and size. But at the same time, it is a complex problem to solve or estimate the individual comfort needs. The fundamental factors that would determine a person’s comfort level are the temperature, humidity levels and the velocity of surrounding air. And while considering the processes within the human body, an individual’s metabolism rate, blood circulation and even hydration levels would be the determining factors to assess the right temperature & humidity settings.

Indoor Air Quality

ASHRAE standard “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality” outlines the minimum ventilation rates and other measures required to ensure that there are no known contaminants at harmful concentrations in the space so that not only the occupants are comfortable but the environment is free from hazardous and discomforting odours from contaminants.  

Common Contaminants

Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Carbon monoxide (CO) are the two most common contaminants found in occupied spaces. CO2 levels increase when spaces are overcrowded as humans and animals exhale CO2 and carbon monoxide levels tend to generally arise when there is incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon from fuel and also smoking by occupants.

Adding an industrial set up to the above scenario will considerably alter the air quality by adding more harmful gases to the air and may lead to headaches and nausea as common symptoms.

VOCs, Mold and Particulate Matter are the next set of contaminants which can increase in concentration by a number of factors like use of building materials and finishes, cleaning agents, fungi growth, soot, smoke and decay of organic material like vegetables.

In totality, proper indoor air quality not only helps productivity in a work place by avoiding the sick building syndrome, a condition where the occupants feel physical problems because of the environment they are in, but also organizations also stay away from untoward situations like lawsuits, strikes and non retention of workers.

Adequate ventilation in the space helps the air quality by increasing the air changes and replacing the stale air by outside fresh air in the contained space.

Controlling Contaminants

For maintaining good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) ideally the following strategy might be very effective. Source elimination or modification to meet the desired goal, use of more outdoor fresh air to increase ventilation rates, space air distribution and schedules maintenance of the HVAC equipment.  

HVAC Preventive Maintenance Programs

Preventive maintenance programs can enormously reduce or keep the checks on ensuring the HVAC equipment are running at optimum capacity. The number of checks needed in a building and the equipment installed can be so many that it may be a cumbersome job for property managers and building owners to allocate enough time to. In these scenarios it is very efficient to get a dedication, professional and skilled HVAC contractor to maintain and repair your HVAC equipment.

At Air Track Inc, we offer Energy Saving Preventive Maintenance Programs to suit your needs. Maintenance programs help in controlling the operating costs over the life of an equipment. Call us at 905 330 4056 for all your industrial and commercial HVAC needs.  

We specialize in installation and maintenance of HVAC equipment including but not limited to: Gas Heating, Electric Heating, Heat Recovery Wheels & ERV, Boilers, Air Conditioning, Chillers, Heat Pumps, Dehumidification, Humidification, filtration systems & Full line of controls and electrical.

Common HVAC maintenance Issues

05
Oct

Timely preventive maintenance of HVAC equipment avoids major, expensive and catastrophic damages to it and keeps the property owner proactive rather than being reactive towards this important cause.

Listed below are the most common HVAC repair issues that occur and may show up during maintenance. At Air Track HVAC Solutions, we specialize in installation and maintenance of HVAC equipment including but not limited to: Gas Heating, Electric Heating, Heat Recovery Wheels & ERV, Boilers, Air Conditioning, Chillers, Heat Pumps, Dehumidification, Humidification, filtration systems & Full line of controls and electrical.

In addition to this HVAC systems are responsible for more than 40 percent of total energy use, so keeping it running properly and problem free is the first step in achieving peak efficiency. 

Dirty Cooling Coils (Evaporator & Condenser Coils)

Missing, defective or insufficient air filters are the main cause of dirty cooling coils. This results in restricted cooling, plugged motor passages, dirty blower wheels, loss of airflow and refrigerant flooding in most cases. Compressor and bearing failure, motor failure, increased energy consumption and insufficient air flow are the possible outcomes of leaving this untreated.

Defective Drive Belts

Improper tightening of belts and not replacing worn out belts results in loss of airflow, sheave wear and refrigerant flooding. Major Pulley replacement, motor failures, noise and compressor damage may occur because of the defective drive belts.

Refrigerant Leaks

Improper charging of the system, improper leak detection, no action on detected leaks, leaking seals and gaskets and loose expansion joints are some of the causes of refrigerant leaking outside the system into the conditioned space or the environment. This results in short cycling of the compressor, system freeze up, lack of cooling effect and loss of lubrication in the system. Refrigerant leak into the environment may lead to potential EPA violations, compressor failure and substantial additional costs and energy consumption.

Ignition Problems

Ignition issues could arise from various factors like dirty burners, flame sensors or pilots.

Clogged Drains

Improper inspection of drain pans, dirty cooling coils and lack of cleaning of drain pans may lead to clogged drains. The water builds up in the unit may lead to localized flooding in occupied areas and also creates a potential for mold. The damage to other equipment in the occupied space, ruining of ceiling tiles and lack of indoor air quality are the possible outcomes of this very common problem.

All these common problems can be avoided or are minimized whenever you have a maintenance plan in place. At Air Track Inc, we offer Energy Saving Preventive Maintenance Programs to suit your needs. Maintenance programs help in controlling the operating costs over the life of an equipment. Call us at 905 330 4056 for all your industrial and commercial HVAC needs.  

Winter Is Coming! Think About HVAC Maintenance for Winter

27
Sep

We can already feel the mercury dropping, especially at nighttime, as we are back in schools and companies are planning to call people back in offices from the long work from home culture. No matter how long the transition takes, it is always better to be prepared and give your employees, students, customers & other civilians the best comfort conditions and your HVAC system plays an important role in this.

Since Canada is known for its crazy weather, there might be a weekend coming very soon where we realize we need heat from the hibernating Air handling units, boilers, heat pumps, roof top units or furnaces and the system is just not ready. This is without a doubt the best time to schedule the winter – prep HVAC maintenance.

It is always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to the harsh winter weather. Also, considering the global supply chain crisis, every industry is scrambling to get the required parts and raw materials for their projects, the lead times can vary a lot when the need is urgent. Commercial and industrial HVAC industry is no different to this squeeze in supply of HVAC equipment.

Importance of Winter Maintenance for your HVAC system

The annual tune ups and calibration of your HVAC system is the most important thing in your “to-do” list in order to avoid any untoward situations later on.

The benefits are as follows:

  • Life of the HVAC equipment or Heater. All manufacturers consider the scheduled recommended preventive maintenance services into account when forecasting the life of the Heater, VRF, chillers, boilers or any other equipment which provides comfortable conditions for a facility. The heater is unlikely to make it that far without maintenance. You get the longest possible effective life for your heater with regular care.
  • Avoid warranty being void. Sometimes it might just be the unfortunate factory or manufacturing defect and a major costly part of the equipment can fail. When you apply for warranty claims you need to provide the manufacturer reports of timely maintenance of the equipment in order to get the parts replaced.
  • Maximum energy-efficiency. The regular tune ups of the HVAC system ensure the units are running at maximum efficiencies and thus reaching designed temperatures in minimum amount of time. This will bring down the operating costs to minimum and ensure longer life of the equipment as well.  
  • Fewer repair calls. Being proactive with the scheduled maintenance most of the time results in fewer breakdowns and thus fewer repair calls.
  • Safer operation. Now that you have made the right choice of getting the equipment tested for pre winter maintenance, this ensures the chances for any major catastrophic event goes down and it is safer to operate.

HVAC and BACK to SCHOOL

15
Sep

Being in the HVAC industry for more than 20 years, we at Air Track consider it our duty to help & support all private and public industries, businesses and facilities to ensure a safe & speedy reopening based on the services we offer.

With our 24/7 response system, skilled & certified team members, we want to ensure that our customers get the best services in order for them to be at par with the recommended HVAC guidelines as per ASHRAE (American Society for Heating Refrigeration & Air Conditioning) & provincial Public Health Agencies (Public Health Ontario).

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RECOMMENDATIONS:

As per Public Health Ontario the following are some key points about focus on HVAC Systems in buildings amidst COVID -19

  • Enhancing outdoor air ventilation and/or enhancing filtration where possible, and a well-functioning HVAC system should complement other public health measures by removing and diluting virus from indoor air, thereby lowering exposure to COVID-19.
  • Increase outdoor air ventilation (minimize recirculation)
  • Increase filter efficiency

Filtration is another strategy to remove virus and other particles from indoor air. Filters require appropriate maintenance and may also be upgraded where the system allows to maximize effectiveness. The effectiveness of a filter is rated by the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV, ranging from 1 to 16), based on the fraction of particles removed from air passing through it under standard conditions.ASHRAE’s COVID-19 guidance suggests using MERV 13 or higher rated filters based on their ability to filter out virus-sized particles.

  • ASHRAE recommends operating the HVAC system in occupied mode when people are present in the building including periods when the building is occupied by a small portion of the allowable capacity.ASHRAE also recommends continuing to run the HVAC system in occupied mode for additional time pre- and post-occupancy before switching to unoccupied mode
  • Routine inspections and maintenance as appropriate for the system are necessary.

Access the complete report with the following URL link

Source: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/ipac/2020/09/covid-19-hvac-systems-in-buildings.pdf?la=en

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Considering most of the HVAC equipment will be running longer than usual, wear and tear & breakdowns are a definite possibility and being proactive can help both the facility & the HVAC contractor strategize the best way forward. Air Track’s Preventive Maintenance Programs are well suited to provide timely scheduled inspections, service delivery on breakdown calls & recommendations on replacement of old equipment.
Call us @ 905 330 4056 so we can evaluate your site.

ASHRAE Releases New Guidelines – Plasma.

23
Oct

Safety standards worldwide are advancing due to this pandemic and as a result, ASHRAE is constantly revolutionizing their HVAC safety guidelines and recommendations with their new Epidemic Task Force for reopening schools and universities. And the next big thing on the list, Plasma (BiPolar Ionization).

As mentioned in the lastly updated ASHRAE presentation for the Epidemic Task Force, Plasma is the newly regarded safety method for schools and universities. This method utilizes special tubes that entrap oxygen molecules from the air and converts them into charged atoms that surround microparticles and deactivate harmful substances such as airborne mold, bacteria, allergens and viruses.

If a safety method by North America’s leading HVAC association is recommended for schools, doesn’t this pertain to offices and all similar settings as well?

This brand new technology has been through quite a tremendous amount of testing before ASHRAE recommended it specifically for schools. By entrusting this method with the care of children, we at Air Track believe this method can be implemented in similar settings as well (offices, entertainment venues, clinics, etc).

Various methods have already been highly regarded by industry specialists in the fight against COVID-19 and in pandemic situations as well, with the most popular methods being UV Light and HEPA Filters.  What is the difference between UV Light and Plasma?

In most commercial spaces, schools, offices, and more, are at 6 air changes / hour. The only applications where the HVAC is truly designed to wash the air that goes back into the ventilation system is in hospitals, isolation rooms, labs, etc. This ground breaking method allows there to be a completely active disinfection system that is constantly discharging these ion particles, to ensure infectious airborne particles are covered at all times, no matter the type of space.

In addition to Plasma, there are various additional filtration system options that are being implemented throughout various businesses worldwide, such as UV lights, HEPPA filtration systems, etc.  At Air Track, we are well ahead and already working side by side with ASHRAE and Public health updated guidelines to deliver industry leading filtration solutions through various applications, no matter the setting.

One of our most prominent clients, a private school, requested to have Plasma systems installed on all HVAC equipment. This has been extremely successful as with the aid of this system and the safety guidelines implemented at this school, there have been no reported COVID-19 cases thus far. This makes us confident that these systems truly do deliver what they are manufactured to do.

This is a hard time for all businesses without a doubt, to take that extra measure and protect your workplace environment from this virus is priceless. After all, without the employee there wouldn’t be a business at all!

Contact us today for a free site assessment and learn how we can provide your workplace with the best plausible solution to protect against this horrid solution today!

The big dilemma of HVAC repair or replacement?

17
Jun

A safe, efficient and reliable HVAC system is the key to creating a comfortable environment in any room, be it a residential, industrial or commercial building. Of course, any climate system needs timely maintenance and repair. Therefore, when it begins to show signs of wear, or when its service life comes to an end, perhaps you are asking yourself whether it is worth investing in its repairs or is it better to simply replace it with it? In this article we will try to answer this eternal question.

There is no obvious solution here. Whichever option you choose, it takes a lot of effort to get the HVAC system up and running. To help you make the right choice, we have compiled a list of important factors to consider.

Age of the HVAC system

The service life of the climate system depends on its size, serviced area and purpose of use. Nevertheless, as a rule, it is considered that 15–20 years is the period after which it requires replacement. Naturally, before you decide to upgrade or repair, it is better to conduct a professional assessment of the condition of all components of the system – especially if its annual inspections were not conducted during operation.

Many obsolete components, refrigerants and gases used in climate systems are removed from production in favor of more environmentally friendly counterparts. Consequently, spare parts for outdated systems may be scarce and expensive.

Cost of

One of the factors that any building owner or management company considers is the cost of replacement compared to the cost of repairs. There is one good rule here: if the cost of repairing equipment is more than 50–60% of the cost of a new one, it’s time to change it.

Naturally, budget considerations should also be taken into account, but it should be borne in mind that the new HVAC system will last much longer than the one that was simply repaired.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is a hot topic in the HVAC industry. Manufacturers and suppliers have made tremendous efforts to offer customers more and more efficient systems. Due to its design features and used components, older systems are much less efficient than modern ones.

If you notice a decrease in performance or the absence of any noticeable improvements with a rising cost of operation, this means that, most likely, the system has become ineffective. Low efficiency not only harms the environment, but also lowers the comfort of building conditions, as well as inflates monthly bills.

System performance

The performance of an HVAC system is directly related to its energy efficiency. The main purpose of climate systems is to ensure indoor air quality (IAQ), which is achieved through proper ventilation and air filtration, as well as maintaining temperature conditions.

A low IAQ is associated with a number of ailments that adversely affect the quality of life, productivity, etc. These can be allergic reactions, nausea, asthma attacks, headaches and, in the worst cases, serious chronic diseases.

In this case, the new system must be installed as soon as possible.

Internal factors

Perhaps the building has a team that serves it. In that case, talk to her. This can give you a more complete picture of the state of these systems and will let you know if replacement is the preferred option.

The decision to replace or repair may be dictated by company policy. Sometimes this policy states that repair is a priority option, and this is usually determined by budget considerations. Full replacement of the system may require funds allocated for several years of operation, but when the life of the components comes to an end, the problem should be considered in the long term.

As you can see, the choice between repair and replacement is not an easy decision. Nevertheless, a lot of things speak in favor of installing a new, modern HVAC system. Energy efficiency and low operating costs are likely to compensate for initial costs.

Three types of HVAC condensers

01
Jun

Condenser is a device used to liquefy gas by cooling it. In the HVAC equipment, the hot gas (vapor coolant) from the compressor enters the condenser coil at the top and condenses, proceeding from the condenser to a receiver located near the bottom. The capacitor coil is located along with the compressor and control devices in the condensing unit. In the air-conditioning system with a remote or split system, the condensing unit is located in the open air. Capacitors are available in various sizes and designs, which include tubes with conventional tubes, ribbed tubular and plate, serial and parallel blocks.

Condensers are classified according to the cooling method. The three main types are broken down into:

  • Condensers with air cooled
  • Condensers of combined air and water cooled
  • Condensers with water cooled

Condensers with air cooled

The air cooled condenser consists of a coil of sufficient surface that air is blown by a fan or caused by natural draft. This type of capacitor is universally used in small refrigeration units.

Air-cooled condensers should be kept free of dirt, nap, and other extraneous materials, as they tend to reduce the air flow around pipes and fins if they are allowed

Combined condensers with air and water cooled

This type of condenser is also known as an evaporative condenser and consists of a coil, cooling water. Sprayed from above, and then cold air enters the bottom and is injected through the coil. When water evaporates from the coil, it creates a cooling effect that condenses the refrigerant inside the coil. The refrigerant gas in the coil is hot, which has changed to a liquid state, combining the scattered water and a large column of moving air supplied by the fan. The water that does not evaporate is recycled using a pump.

Condensers with water cooled

A water-cooled condenser is similar to a condenser on a steam surface. Cooling is carried out only with water circulating through tubes or coils enclosed in a shell. In a water cooled condenser, the refrigerant circulates through the annular space between the pipes or coils. Through its design, a water cooled condenser is also referred to as a two-pipe capacitor.

Since the evaporative condenser is not wasteful to water, large compressor units are available in areas where there is little water. Tests have shown that the amount of required water will not exceed 0.0 gallons per minute per ton of cooling. This is one of the eco-friendly reasons for using a condenser of this type. Evaporative condensers also eliminate the problem of water removal and provide the most economical ways to cool refrigerant gases of standard air conditioners.

Multi zone Industrial and Commercial Air conditioners

11
Aug

Industrial air conditioners are installed today in all enterprises, factories, manufacturing plants, business centers, shopping halls, sports complexes, large area (over 250 sq. M). Industrial air conditioners provide uninterrupted air conditioning, refrigeration and heating. Features industrial air conditioners – a complexity of use, energy efficiency, the cost of equipment. Industrial air conditioners have a resource 20 – 30 years of operation.

Multi zone system allows to condition several rooms and even the whole building. Each room is set the indoor unit and is supported by individual micro climate. Compared with the installation of individual air conditioners multi-zone air-conditioning system can save money, space, installation time. Multi-zone air conditioning units can be controlled centrally or individually. Designed for buildings containing a few (or a few dozen) areas with different requirements to the air.

Multi zone air conditioning system – profitable, convenient, safe

More than thirty years ago (1982) Daikin Company made a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of HVAC equipment by launching multi-zone air-conditioning system – VRV, which means “Variable refrigerant volume.” Since the company has patented, not only the system itself but also the abbreviation of VRV, as a trademark, other companies began to produce such equipment, began to use the name of the VRF «variable refrigerant flow.” However, in both cases we are talking about one and the same principle of operation of multi-zone air-conditioning.

Features multi-zone systems

  • Multi-zone air-conditioning system – it is the climate system inverter, which is installed in buildings with a large number of premises, providing a separate temperature control in the individual zones.
  • The multi zone system includes one outdoor unit and a lot of internal. The outdoor unit is connected to the internal pipework. Amount of internal blocks, drop their height relative to the outdoor unit, performance, pipe length are defined by the model and brand of the selected multi-zone air conditioning.
  • Multi zonal air conditioning systems use a modular design, so their installation are taken into account wishes of the customer in terms of the number of indoor units and their types (duct, cassette, floor, wall, ceiling).
  • Multi-zone air-conditioning system can be operated to cool the air in the same room at the same time, warming in the other, producing just enough cold and consuming as much energy as necessary to indoor units. Outdoor unit operating mode changes with the load of indoor units.
  • Control each indoor unit is carried out from the local console or centrally from the control center. Temperature parameters given in every room maintained at a constant level with high accuracy.
  • The performance of a number of multi-zone systems can serve the high-rise buildings.

Boilers: Various Types and Classification

23
May

 

In today’s energy work a variety of types of boilers. They can be classified by type of fuel, coolant type, accommodation type, level of mechanization. The specific type of boiler is selected depending on the goals and objectives, operating conditions and customer requirements.

  1. Fuel type
  • Gas: The advantage of this kind of boiler is that the gas – one of the most economical and environmentally friendly fuels. Gas boiler does not require complicated and cumbersome equipment fuel and slag removal, and can be fully automated.
  • Fuel oil: These boilers can run on waste oil, fuel oil, diesel oil. They quickly put into operation, do not require special permits, the connection negotiation, obtaining gas limits (as opposed to gas).
  • Solid: To the solid fuel concerns coal, peat, wood, pellets and briquettes from waste wood processing and agriculture. The advantage of this type of boiler is the availability and low price of fuel, but it requires the installation of fuel and ash handling systems.
  1. Coolant type
  • Steam:  In such a boiler heat carrier is steam, which is used mainly for manufacturing processes in industrial plants.
  • Water: This type of boiler is designed for heating and hot water supply of residential buildings, industrial and public facilities. The coolant is water, heated to +95 +115 ° C.
  • Combined: In these boilers are placed as steam and hot water boilers. Hot water is used to cover the load for hot water, heating and ventilation, and the steam is supplied to provide the technological needs of the enterprise.
  • Diathermic oil: In this boiler is used as a coolant in the high-temperature organic liquid, the temperature of which can reach +300 ° C.
  1. Accommodation type
  • Modular: This type of boiler is becoming increasingly popular in Russia in recent years, thanks to many advantages in comparison with stationary boilers: fastest time of installation and commissioning, factory-assembled modules, the ability to increase capacity by adding units, battery life, high efficiency, mobility. Depending on the placement of block-modular boiler can be detached, and attached, integrated, roof, basement.
  • Stationary: Stationary boilers are usually built when the required power exceeds 30 MW, or the construction of a modular boiler for some reason impossible. Stationary boilers distinguished by major building and construction (foundations, walls and partitions, roof). Installation of equipment on site is performed.
  1. The level of mechanization

Depending on the degree of mechanization / automation processes are the following types of boiler:

  • Hand: Small boilers can be equipped with boilers, in which the fuel supply is performed manually by operators. The fuel is supplied to the boiler room truck or in some cases from the outside through a loading hopper. The ash and slag from the ash hopper and are removed manually by the operator and exported outside the boiler room via trolley.
  • Mechanized: Modern boilers are equipped with solid mechanization, significantly facilitate the work boiler operator. Fuel supply by means of conveyors or skip hoists. Coal is pre-processed. The ash and slag may be removed by various methods – mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic or a combination thereof.
  • Automated: This type of boiler assumes full automation and minimal presence of the human factor. Fully automated, as a rule, gas boiler.

 

Selection of Industrial Refrigeration Equipment

23
May

Choosing industrial refrigeration equipment for enterprises, primarily necessary to define what tasks you are going to put in front of him and try to take into account all the factors that will continue to affect the performance of the system cooling. Such options may be few, but you need to choose the most optimal.

To correctly determine the choice of refrigeration equipment must always take into account the system parameters such as:

  1. extreme heat
  2. the amount of heat in a time interval,
  3. Hydraulic resistance, as well as pre-agree on the heat dissipation and duplication systems.

As practice shows, in most cases, for a rational use of the equipment necessary to install more than one cooling system, and more. This is because the performance of the equipment at different times can be different: for example, a higher weekdays and weekends – lower. In such cases it is sufficient to install a small, which will increase the wear resistance of the cooling system and save on operating costs.

When choosing a pump to circulate the fluid, you will need to take into account the following factors: the diameter of the pipes, liquid lifting height and its distance from the energy source.

If the result of calculating the cost of refrigeration equipment coincides with the cost of downtime of the equipment, then we can consider the option of picking system spare equipment. In this case the two systems communicate with each other by the control unit, which in the case of an emergency or an unexpected stop of the main equipment will automatically turn spare.

Chiller Purchasing equipment with a powerful electric drive, you should consider that it has a limited number of starts per hour and running at the same time in the most unfavorable mode. Starting currents in this case is increased tenfold, and increases heat power cable is hundreds of times.

In contrast to the rated speed, increasing the current strength affects the torque, which increases at the start of dynamic impact on the shaft, bearings and couplings. Now, having seen the consequences of such a choice, you can imagine how many are able to serve in a similar refrigeration equipment operating conditions.