A Fresh Coat of Paint

We’ve done it again! It seems to be about a pattern right now, running like clock work. Every two years or so, we tear up our site and build it anew. It’s exhausting, but it keeps us on the cutting edge of technology. We’re always looking for the next big thing to make everyone’s lives just a little easier. A Brief History of Our Site 2010 – Procure Inc. Goes Digital This brings back some memories. Our first take on a website was definitely a product of it’s time. It was a simple, static web site coded in bare bones HTML 4, running on a tiny shared hosting set up for $8/month. Life was a little simpler back then. Most kids didn’t have smart phones, Netflix was still better known for their DVD service, and most of our orders were faxed in. (A note from Scott: This may have gone live in 2008. This is just the last archive copy of it.) 2012 – A Real Store Quite a leap forward from our last update. In 2012 the store moved to an actual store platform. Our lines were online, you could login, place orders, and search our product offerings. It was the first actual store we had. No longer just some simple ad floating on the internet. 2013 – The First Face Lift This is getting to look a bit more familiar. Running on a dedicated platform made it MUCH […]

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The History of IAQ and Radiation

We’ve covered how Radon is bad for your home and business. We’ve covered how IAQ is important. What about the one place where the two mix: history. The greatest development for air quality, the High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter (HEPA Filter) exists because of radioactivity and a need for workers to survive in a very, very dangerous workplace. Working With Atoms In the 1940s the world was at war. Numerous countries were deep into nuclear research. The US had its Manhattan Project, Germany had the Uranprojekt or Uranium Club, and Japan had Ni-Go. The problem with working on nuclear materials is that they can kill you before you’ve ever noticed. They directly emit radiation, but far more deadly is the potential to create radioactive dust and gasses. Little chunks of your nuclear material or nuclear byproducts that float in the air. This is the same issue you face with Radon. Uranium and other nuclear materials produce something dangerous that gets into the air. The issue is a bit scarier with things like the Manhattan Project. At least in your basement you’re dealing with lesser radioactive gasses and particles. Still deadly, but at least you can’t expose a sheet of x-ray film with them. In the lab and nuclear production facilities, this wasn’t a matter of working through allergies, though the causes were the same size. This was a matter of walking into a room, taking a breath of contaminated air, […]

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Too Late to Upgrade?

Now is about the best time to be upgrading your air conditioning hardware, at least for the Northeast US. If you’re going to install a new air conditioner, you want to do it when the weather is warm and pleasant. If you don’t need the AC, good time to install new hardware. If the weather is nice, good time AND it’ll be easier for your contractors. That really only happens about once a year: spring. Of course, what do you do if you’ve blown through that window? It’s going to be 100 degrees out, the air so humid you can practically drink from it, and neither your customers nor your employees will want to work in a 120+ degree building. You can’t afford to not have AC, can you? Traveling AC Luckily for you, even industrial air conditioners are relatively light. Yes, an industrial cooling system STILL weighs in at tens of thousands of pounds, but we can put that on a trailer without too much hassle. It’s portable in the sense that it costs thousands of dollars to ship instead of being a multi-hundred thousand dollar project like fabricating a custom solution on site. It’s something feasible for your business. In these circumstances, there are specialist providers who have literally designed full HVAC systems to fit into standard semitrailers. Typically these systems are designed to interconnect to scale up capacity and require relatively minimal work to be installed. In […]

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How Heavy is Too Heavy?

You’re going to upgrade your facility with a new, rooftop packaged system or air conditioner. The inspectors are coming, they’re going to do some measurements, and ask ‘if I put 12 tons of metal on this roof, what’s going to happen?’ For the common person, two thoughts probably spring to mind: ‘this ends in tears’ or ‘that roof’s been there for 50 years, and it’ll be there for 50 more.’ For the scientist and engineer, we look to numbers to find out. Basic Principles We’ll start with the concept of load. A load is anything pressing down on our structure. We have two types of load: dead load and live load. The dead-load is essentially the structure itself. It’s the weight of the rafters, walls, structure, everything that is the building. Live load is everything we put on that structure, everything that the user could move or have moved. In working on the building, we need to first understand the forces it puts on itself. You find out what materials are in play, calculate approximations of their weight, and then you can say “these two stretches of roofing material are applying a force of 3 kN on the two beams under them.” Then we can say “each of these beams is putting down 1.5kN + their weight in KN on the walls/supports holding them.” We essentially build a map of where the forces are all going, and how big those […]

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How DOES Electric Heat Work?

Fuel-based heating systems are straight forward, right? We blast a fuel source into a combustion chamber, then we expose it to a low flame, enough electricity to disintegrate Zeus, or a really hot heating element, and boom, it combusts, creating heat and exhaust. What about electricity though? We can’t burn that. Friction is Key There are a lot of set ups available to create electrical heat. You could use an electrically powered heat pump for example. That’s not really electric heat though, it only works if there’s somewhere to take heat from. It’s electrically facilitated heat. What makes heat directly from electricity? The short answer is friction. When we move an electrical current through anything, we are moving electrons. The electrons are gong to effectively slide against or impact the molecules in the wire. This causes the electron to lose some energy to those particles, giving them energy, and causing the material to heat up. Resistance is Futile The friction in wiring like this is called Resistance. We can measure it in ohms. More ohms means more heat and a lot less current passing through the resistor. Most resistors are small components inside the electronics around your home or office. They can be used to lower currents, divide voltages, and other work in small electronics. A big resistor however, can be the heart of a furnace or portable heater. A heating resistor like this is going to work one of […]

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Why Steam Heat?

There are a lot of ways to heat your building. Forced air and hot water heat are the most common today, but it’s also possible to use steam.  You might think that steam and water based systems would be almost the same, but they’re actually very different. The Cheap Installation In a traditional hot water system, water flows from radiator to radiator, then back to the furnace to be reheated and recirculated. In a steam system, you don’t need that return pipe. When the steam condenses, it’ll collect at the bottom of the pipe and drip its way back to the furnace the same way it came. The hot steam meanwhile will fill the top of the pipe. This sort of system has traditionally been incredibly popular in tall buildings, such as the skyscrapers in New York city. Being able to use just a handful of stand pipes to provide heat to the entire structure was a massive cost savings. You could essentially build a heating system with half the pipes involved. At the same time, steam heating could be incredibly efficient for a zone-like installation. Many radiators featured shut off valves, allowing a room’s occupant to manually manage the heat. Unused room? Shut off the valve. Too hot? Shut off the valve. It was manual work, but in the right setting, it saved on heating needs. Once one of these radiators became heated, they would also provide heat for […]

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The US Labor Movement

It’s that time again, another Holiday and therefore another look at something cool and interesting outside our usual cooling comfort zone. We previously covered the origins of labor day, rather than repeat that, we’re going to explore the labor movement in the century since then!   Labor Movement? From some of the earliest days of the United States, there has been some form or other of labor movement to improve the conditions of workers. This covers everything from the push to a 40 hour work week to unions negotiating for benefits. Groups of workers, lobbyists, and whole organizations have pushed for better working conditions, laws, and benefits to the working person. During the 1800s, the labor movement was massive. At the time, there were few protections for workers of any kind. A person could be expected to work six days a week for however long the employer wanted in whatever conditions they created. It was common and expected to work for pennies a day, doing back-breaking work, in suffocating heat, while potentially being exposed to toxic substances like asbestos or being around machines that could rip your leg off. There was no workman’s compensation either, on the job injuries were only the worker’s fault for messing up. This movement was big enough that by the 1880s, there were ideas being discussed about a Labor Day. It would be a day to celebrate the workers of the country and the work […]

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Is my AC Leaking?

Air conditioners aren’t necessarily restricted to just cooling the air. The cooling is actually a side effect of what the first air conditioners were meant to do: regulate humidity. This is in part why it’s an air conditioner, not an ‘air cooler’ or ‘air freezer’. We’re doing more than one thing to the air.   Water In The Air Humidity is essentially just gaseous water in the air. It weighs nothing, so it literally just floats around. This is good and bad. On the one hand, water in the air creates our weather. On the other, it makes the air feel hot and sticky, we just struggle to cool ourselves down. This poses an even bigger problem in industrial settings. Water in the air is readily absorbed by things like paper in printing presses. At one point in time, this could cause tens of thousands of dollars in lost productivity. Old color printings were done one color at a time. The paper was run through the equipment, printed with blue ink. Then yellow could be printed over that to create shades of green, and so on. Paper that absorbs water however, changes its size slightly. Over the course of a mile long roll, the small changes in length were enough to ruin prints. This is where we got the first air conditioner: a really big dehumidifier. Water condenses on a cool surface. By passing air over a freezing, or near-freezing […]

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Variable Speed Compressors

Multi-speed compressors are a step in the right direction, but what about outright variable speed ones? Think about it, a two or three speed compressor has to pick the best speed for a given environment and it can only run at those two speeds. When it’s incredibly hot, full speed ahead. When it’s cooler, low speed. In between however, it becomes a game of the lesser evils.   Fixed-Speed Flaws This fixed-speed issue can be a bigger problem in the right scenarios. There’s only really a handful of conditions where the compressor can hit peak efficiency. You can crawl around the parking lot or go at highway blazing speeds, but you have no support for those middle roads between town. The same is true of the two speed compressor. The system can be forced to oscillate between stages or even be trapped in a single stage if the conditions are right. When it’s hot out, you’ll never get to use that second, lower speed. When it’s in between, the low speed might not be able to keep up and it’ll have to cycle between speeds, never really saving anything or improving comfort. It’ll almost always be this battle of the lesser evils: power hungry high speed and be too cool or have to work on wider margins of error, or fighting a losing battle with the low speed constantly running and only delaying the inevitable need for the high speed […]

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AC vs DC Motors

We’ve covered the basic concept of electric motors. Windings, magnets, and magnetic fields make a rotor spin, with some power applied. That begs the question, what kind of power? We have two basic forms of power, AC and DC, which are only related by physics. They both involve electrons and electro magnetism, but they don’t behave in an even remotely […]

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