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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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Procure Inc to Launch Lunar Delivery Service

“The Moon is where I see the real future of industrial and home comfort products.” Procure Inc, Lead Salseman Scott Today, Procure Inc is taking the next step forward in delivering a truly remarkable experience to our customers. We have finalized designs for a warehouse on the moon. This is the next logical step for us. NASA has plans to build a moon base, we see the private sector following them, the realestate up there is incredibly cheap at this time, and we believe space based operations will cut our delivery times in half with rocket-based delivery. Rockets can reach thousands of miles per second in the depths of space, sufficient to leave airplanes in the dust. “We dare to go to the moon, it’s just the best move for us.” Procure Inc, Spokesman Critics of the move have pointed to the extreme cold temperatures experienced on the moon, to which we say: “sounds like free cooling for our warehouse if you ask me. What’s wrong with an environmentally sustainable cooling system?” There are a number of unknowns at this point. We’re not sure what the crime rates are going to be like in our new neighborhood. Our analysts have been concerned about the speed of internet access and whether the next season of the Expanse will be available on the moon. The only major concern however, company-wide, has been convincing Scott not to name his moon-jeep Enterprise, given that […]

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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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Upgrade Season

It is almost comfortable outside. Mother Nature hasn’t yet committed to the warm 70s, but we have a good few days of 50s and 60s ahead. We’re going to have about two months where our HVAC systems can sit nearly idle, untouched and unneeded. This is your ideal corridor for major maintenance and installing new systems altogether. Depending on the scale of your facility, you may well need it. Perfect Weather From a comfort-perspective, the very beginning of Spring is an ideal time. We’re well acclimated to cool weather and the slow move into the low sixties and seventies means we can be comfortable without any HVAC equipment. We can open the windows for a few days and no one is going to be inconvenienced by it. We can shut down the building’s plumbing and install temporary accommodations outdoors and it won’t be painful or disruptive to your employees for a few days. This rare window is different from the fall. Being cold is inherently uncomfortable and harder to compensate for than being too warm going from winter into spring. In the fall, if you get a very cold day, there’s little you can do to heat the building without buying every space heater in the city. In the spring if you get a warm day, tell your employees it’s Casual Friday all week, shorts and t-shirts approved. Open a window or leave the front doors open. The shifting weather […]

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Spring HVAC Prep

The weather is finally warming up. For the first time in months I left the office and didn’t have to worry about getting frostbite on my spleen. We hit 74 degrees last Friday here in Philly, I took a bike ride and came back looking like a drowned rat, but it was warm. It’s only 36 Fahrenheit today, but Spring is on the way. The coming warmth means we should start talking about your maintenance schedules. Do Your Chores It’s vital to inspect, clean, and maintain your HVAC equipment. It’s going to cost you if you don’t. You should inspect your entire HVAC System at least twice a year: once before spring, and again before fall/winter. These little maintenance checks will keep you, your employees, your customers, and any other guests comfortable year round. As the weather warms up, you will begin to dial back your reliance on your building’s heating system. This is an ideal time to find a warm day, shut it down, and have your contractor do some cleaning and inspections. Most burners will leave some measure of dirt/soot in the combustion chamber for you to clean up. Leaving this there will reduce your system’s efficiency and may eventually clog up the heat exchanger altogether. From a maintenance perspective, this is an ideal time to check that the ignition system is in good shape and doesn’t require any adjustment or replacement. Things like the spark rod in […]

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Clean Your Coils

Most people think that it’s only the filters that get dirty. That’s almost right. Almost. Your filters are going to be the first thing you notice being incredibly gross, but the entire HVAC system is exposed to the same types of dirt, pollen, and mold. These can sometimes get past the filter, but that’s not where the biggest problems lay. Efficiency The key parts to your HVAC system are often radiators of some sort (depending on the type of system). If you have hot water heat, you probably have baseboards, which are essentially radiators. Your air conditioner has two radiators, a condenser and an evaporator (these usually called Coils). The job of these devices is to move heat from one place to another. In some places we take heat from the air and put it into a refrigerant. in other cases we take it from the refrigerant and put it in the air. When these things are designed, engineers use materials that are known to have incredible thermal conduction capabilities. We know that paper is an awful thermal conductor and that metals tend to be amazing conductors. Beyond that, we know that specific metals are better conductors than others, conduct into the air better, and we know the number of fins and distance between them necessary to get amazing performance. Under ideal circumstances, especially when these products are fresh and new, they will work flawlessly. When the coils are all […]

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Improve Your Air

You’ve done your testing and your facility has an air quality problem. Stepping through your doors feel like getting a tour of an 1890s steam powered factory. It’s just gross and you’re going to turn your air into something people actually want to breathe. Physical Defenses Your first line of defense is to attack everything getting inside with some physical mitigations. Every person entering the building is going to carry allergens, pathogens, and other problems with them. Imagine someone who just walked through a grassy field, tracking pollen with every step they take. Imagine the gentle breeze blowing through the door as your guests enter, and carrying with it the latest plague to sweep the nation. There are two defenses you can use here. First, you need a nice, big, hefty door mat of some kind, that everyone ends up walking across. They’re tracking pollen on their shoes, make sure it gets stuck where it won’t cause a problem: in a fibrous tangle where it’ll never bother you again. Second, you need to regularly clean the floors of your facility. All the nasty stuff in the air is hovering around, suspended like tea leaves in water. If the air is still long enough, it’ll all settle on your shelves, floors, and equipment until someone kicks it up into the air again. Use microfiber mops to capture and remove the problem while you can. Don’t use a typical broom though, that’s […]

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How To Measure Air Quality

Like all things, we can measure air quality scientifically. We can get a number that says just how gross the air in your facility is. Not only that, but we can figure out what particular type of problem your air has. There’s more to air quality than just saying it’s good or bad. The Troublemakers There are three commonly examined areas for air quality. We have different ways to detect and measure each of them, but these are typically available all in one tool or device. Particulate Matter There are tiny particles in the air, often harmful chemicals we don’t notice individually. Think of things like the exhaust from a car. That exhaust is made of billions of tiny particles of burned fuel and even metal shavings from the engine. These can have negative health effects. Particulates from cars could play a role in Alzheimers Disease. These can detect bacteria, viruses, and mold as well. Sensors for these are rated in their measuring sizes, 2.5 microns and below, 10 microns and below, etc. Your hair is about 40-70 microns thick, for comparison. Volatile Organic Compounds The rule of thumb is that a VOC is something you smell and notice. That’s not always the case, but it’s a good guiding post. These chemicals are highly reactive, dangerously so. Examples of these are things like cleaning chemicals, gasoline, and paint. They’re things you should try not to breathe in. Carbon Dioxide This […]

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Indoor Air Quality

Heating your facility is important. It’s probably in the top ten most essential things to keep your workers and customers happy. It’s not the only thing. Warm air is useless if people can’t stand to breathe it in. Over time, air will get stale and become unpleasant to breathe. We need to not only heat the air, but clean it. What Is Stale Air? The air around you isn’t pure (unless you’re in a hyperbaric chamber, but that’s an entirely different can of worms). More accurately, the air we breathe is more like being in the ocean: it’s full of microscopic things floating around. If you’ve seen sea water, you usually see little things carried around in it. The same is true for air, but most of the things floating us are too small to see. Typically the air in a busy facility will be carrying: Skin Flakes and Hair Bacteria Viruses Mold Trace Chemicals (from cleaners, machinery, etc) Vaporized Sweat Chemicals from Oral Bacteria (Bad Breath) Particulates from Fabric, Food, and Product Offgassing Air becomes stale largely as a result of all these things becoming to abundant. The human body is incredibly perceptive to these things. We can smell, taste, and even feel that the air is not clean. There’s no way to just hide the problem either. Some scents can be fought off with aerosols, candles, and other products that alter the air. The only problem is that […]

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Heat By Design

Most facilities have a dedicated heating system. There’s usually a massive furnace, boiler, or even an array of them. It costs a lot of money to heat a whole facility. The bigger a facility is, the bigger the heating bill. There’s just no getting around it. Or is there? Use What You Have There are other ways to heat a facility that are gentler on your wallet. Consider that every piece of equipment, fixture, and person is a source of heat. The laws of thermodynamics state that energy moves from higher to lower concentration, it tries to equalize. If you put one person into a confined, but cool space, their body heat will eventually warm the space up. If you get under freezing blankets, the blankets keep the heat in and increase the temperature. This heating effect extends beyond people. It applies to equipment. Almost every light is going to generate heat (LEDs don’t generate as much heat, they’re very efficient). If your facility has a lot of heat generating equipment, that can be used to heat the air around it and raise the net temperature of the facility. In these set ups, it’s also possible to take advantage of solar heating, without installing any significant equipment. If you want to heat water with the sun, you need equipment to store and heat the water. Air on the other hand, isn’t anywhere near as hard to heat. Install some skylights […]

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