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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Efficiently Fighting Clogs

Waste disposal pumps vary in scale and application, like all things with pumps and HVAC technology. Typically chopper pumps are meant for more industrial scale uses, where you’re running an entire county’s waste system. What about smaller scale? Clogs and blockages don’t just occur outside your facility, they happen on the inside too. An Expensive Problem A clog can occur anywhere in the piping. Things get really expensive though depending on just where that clog happens. It’s one thing if your local waste service has a blockage. If the pipes block up an inch over the edge of your property, it’s the waste service’s problem and in principal, their expense to fix. On the other hand, anything in your facility and its grounds is your problem. For a facility such as a hotel, where there might hundreds or even thousands of guests, there can be no clogs or break downs. Your customers will demand refunds if they find themselves standing in a pool of grossness mid-shower. These places need the same levels of reliability as the greater waste management system. Worse than that, with a wide variety of guests, just about anything could end up in the plumbing. Pranksters might try to flush ping pong balls, an intoxicated guest might accidentally flush a toothbrush, and someone will believe that flushable wipes are actually flushable (they’re not, they create massive clogs). There need to be defenses placed against the biggest problems […]

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What Makes a Sewage Pump Special?

Different pumps are needed for different situations. It’s possible to optimize a pump’s design to work in rugged conditions, work under a fluid (submersible pump), to operate precisely (a parastaltic pump), and even to resist clogging in heavy-duty usage. The latter is the type of design that makes a sewer pump special. A Special Kind of Fluid Sewer systems need to process more than just liquid. It turns out sewage is actually made of a lot of solid material that can clog a pump or pipeline. Human waste won’t just break up, it can often remain solid and become an obstacle to a smooth flowing system. This problem is very analogus to flushing golf balls. Eventually one of them will get stuck somewhere, and then others will get stuck, and things like toilet paper will block up the whole pipe. In some cases, clogs like this can be defeated with pressure. If you can exert enough force on something, such as with a plunger, you can break up the blockage and force the material to keep flowing. The only problem is that you need to keep fixing the problem over and over again. And sooner or later, a clog will develop that either burns up the pump or that can’t be fixed without taking apart pipes and being more direct about the problem. This unique waste composition of solids and liquids is a massive issue for sewer systems. It’s not […]

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Let the Heat Out

As important as insulation is, there’s also a need for some things to not be so thoroughly insulated, like heating vents. As we get into the cooler weather, it’s important to inspect whatever your heating system uses, whether that’s base boards or air ducts to ensure they’re not obstructed.   The Major Problem Essentially every heating system relies on either being able to blow heated air into a room or having some heated surface that the air is going to flow over. This is a simple enough need to meet, until you consider that your facility might have a maintenance staff of just five people and the remaining three hundred know nothing about heating, cooling, or fire safety. Things get a little worse when you start to count up how many hot air vents or miles of radiator are keeping your facility comfy. No one’s checking to make sure they’re actually keeping your facility warm and comfy. Obstructions can come from all manner of things. One of the bigger ones we’ve harped about and will continued to scream about is clogged filters. Debris fills the filter up and it turns into a gigantic piece of gross, moldy, slimy, stinky blockage. It’s not just the filters you have to worry about. Anything can cause a blockage. If your facility has animals, pet fur is amazingly good at getting stuck to the front of a vent. If there are any small fibers […]

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Rock-Hard Water

There is a problem with water based heating systems. Water will dissolve and carry just about anything. It can contain traces of metals, chemical run off, and especially minerals. If you’re in a mineral-rich area like our local Pennsylvania area, your water is going to have a lot of minerals. These minerals are going to cost you, if you’re not properly equipped.   Rocks in the Pipes The dissolved minerals are essentially harmless in things like streams. They’re pretty harmless to people as well. Once they’re in pipes however, things become more complicated. Tiny imperfections inside the pipes can snag the minerals and cause them to start building up. The electrical charge of the pipe itself can attract the minerals. It won’t take long before the build up starts to clog a pipe. It’s like a clogged artery. As the minerals build up, less water can get through. At some point, this will start to damage your pumps, which have to work twice as hard to maintain the same flow under increasing pressure and then it’ll just cut off the flow of water altogether. When this occurs inside a furnace, it effectively destroys the heat exchanger. This wouldn’t be a problem except in many hot water heating systems, the heat exchanger is essentially welded to the entire furnace body. When that component fails, that furnace is essentially dead. This build up is particularly dangerous for valves. In a pipe, the […]

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Destructive Dirt and Debris

Your air conditioner has an enemy, a nemesis to rival dirty air filters. Dirt, Debris, and overgrown plants are the outdoor equivalent of dirty filters. It is essential that your condenser gets as much undisturbed airflow as possible. That means no dirt on the coils, no bushes blocking off its sides, and no leaves piling up around it.   Why Is This a Big Deal? Your air conditioner essentially collects heat from inside your building and then radiates it into the air outside the building. This has a few prerequisites: lots of air, lots of thermal-contact with the air, and ideally lots of airflow to replace the heated air with fresher, cooler air. The condenser was designed to provide all of these things. There is a fan to suck in more air. There are thousands of tiny metal plates weaved back and forth inside the coils. These coils are made extremely conductive metals that will help radiate heat into the atmosphere. Things go downhill fast when you start interfering with these features. Dirt is especially a vicious enemy here. The metal of the condenser coil is an amazing thermal conductor, readily blasting heat into the atmosphere. Dirt however, is not a good thermal conductor. Most dirt is going to act more like an insulator and reduce the amount of heat that flows from the condenser coil into the air around it. Less heat-flow means less capacity. Your 39,000 BTU system […]

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Does a Water Softener Prevent Pipe Bursts?

The Procure Inc. office is a place of weird, exciting, and unexpected debates. Today we’re writing about our most recent thought-experiment: do water softeners prevent icing inside pipes? Let’s lay down some background about chemistry and water.   What Does Hard Water Do? Water straight from the ground is not pure. There’s going to be all sorts of things mixed in with water coming straight out of a well. Ground water contains a whole range of contaminants no matter where you live. There can be bacteria, metals, even run off and toxins in ground water. It all depends on the location. You get hard water when there’s a high mineral content. These minerals are harmless to most people. The World Health Organization has found no adverse health effects. Some researchers believe hard water may even be healthier than regular, purified water. Unfortunately, our plumbing is not so neutral. The mineral content in hard water will often start to build up inside the pipes. Eventually, the mineral build up starts to become more and more like a clogged artery. There will be a point of complete blockage. Blocked plumbing is not good. Blockages can cause damage to valves, pumps, heating equipment, and chillers. The narrowed flow of water increases the pressure and strain on equipment. For furnaces, these blockages are especially problematic. The various coils and heat exchangers used in how water heat often rely on narrow channels to maximize their […]

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