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Future Trends for HVAC Industry
By Betty Stephens
HVAC technology is constantly changing due to new discoveries and influences outside the industry. As recently as this century, central, indoor climate control was available to only a privileged few. Today, even central air-conditioning in homes is common in the U.S. Improvements occurred through a number of factors such as technical, market changes, energy and environmental concerns, and political decisions. Changes continue to occur and they benefit of our customers and are our part of our future.
The environment has possibly had more influence on HVAC technology than has energy. The environment will continue to impact the industry into the foreseeable future.
Policies regarding climate change have also directly impacted our industry. As we design and operate more energy-efficient equipment and systems, we use less energy, energy that, in many cases, comes from burning CO2-producing fossil fuels.
The environment will continue to impact the industry. The industry has proven that it can respond in a timely way. As new environmentally friendly products are developed, those products are also more energy efficient. Adopting new technologies and supporting research will help our industry meet the challenges of the future.
While smart, Wi-Fi-connected thermostats promise significantly increased energy efficiency, the real draw for homeowners seems to be how easy the interfaces are to operate. Take the Nest Learning thermostat, for example. It is programmed by the user to remember his preferred temperature settings. If the user prefers the thermostat to kick in a faster, warmer temperature, on cold, wintery mornings, the Nest thermostat will store that information and adjust the temperature accordingly. The thermostat also monitors temperature with humidity and activity sensors, and it can determine regional climate by the user punching in their zip code
Wireless-controlled thermostats present HVAC data in a language that contemporary consumers understand. Homeowners are accustomed to easily digestible, visual representations of information and data. The reporting tools that smart systems include take the mystery and obscurity out of an industry that has been thriving on overall complacency from its customers.
DEVap Air Conditioning
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed the DEVap (desiccant-enhanced evaporative air conditioner) in 2011 and estimates that it reduces air conditioning energy usage by 40-90 percent. So far, DEVap is found primarily in commercial buildings, and the technology is so new that it’s difficult to find for residential use. But, given how promising the innovation seems, and how cost-effective it has already proven to be, and is anticipated great gains in the future.
Zero Energy Buildings
Zero-energy buildings that produce energy instead of just using large quantities will gain traction with companies that target eco-friendly employees and consumers. Many businesses are already headed in this direction with geothermal heating and cooling, solar-powered systems, and white roofing. If HVAC manufacturers can work to design structures that are both energy efficient and comfortable for their residents, we’re sure to see some fresh companies take on the challenge.
Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems
A popular trend in Eastern markets, variable refrigerant flow (VRF) is the future of the HVAC industry. Though US market have yet to reach the demand experienced abroad, VRF systems are establishing their place as in-demand items for housing and commercial cooling needs. Simple and elegant in design, VRF systems connect an outside condensing unit to several fan coil units throughout the building. Each coil and evaporator in the system can be controlled individually to reduce waste from over-allocated resources. The shift will stimulate job growth and overall economic development throughout the HVAC sector that will continue well into the coming years.
Current industry trends indicate a future growth rate of nearly 28% nationwide. This trend is predicted to continue until 2018, a total period of researching and studying 10-year industry trends beginning in 2008. Studies have revealed that once the results of that research and those studies are complete, there will be nearly 395,000 individuals who make their living in the HVAC industry, and choose to make this their lifelong career Choice. The rate of change in our industry will be exponential. Some changes will be caused by improvements in technology whereas others will be the result of influences outside our immediate control. As engineers, we have an obligation to be proactive in encouraging changes that are of benefit to the society we serve. This in turn will have direct benefit to our industry and to each of us individually.
Building Management Systems and air-conditioning controls systems will develop to become:
• Intelligent self-learning systems that measure the performance characteristics for the building and its systems for different ambient and occupancy conditions and using thermal modelling technology are able to operate the buildings systems to provide the require conditions whilst minimizing energy consumption and plant wear and tear.
• Self-checking systems that are able to eliminate the fly by wire problems that many systems suffer from, which the head end computer is thinking one thing is happening however in the field the actuality is very different.
• Self-diagnosing systems that are able to determine fault conditions analyses the cause and report or even rectify the condition, systems that are able to recognize fault situations that are resulting in excess energy consumption or unacceptable equipment wear and report.
• Systems with seamless remote access, diagnosis and control functionality.
• Systems with the flexibility to take advantage of wireless technology and the onboard intelligence that is already starting to be installed in items of central plant
Replacement Windows-Air Infiltration
By Betty Stephens
Air infiltration refers to air leakage through unsealed joints in a structure and around the windows. The Air Leakage (AL) rating pertains to leakage through the window assembly itself. Air infiltration can also occur around the frame of the window due to poor installation or poor maintenance of existing window systems. Make sure windows are properly installed and maintained (caulking and weather-stripping). Cold glass can create uncomfortable drafts as air next to the window is cooled and drops to the floor. This is not a result of air leaking through or around the window assembly but from a convective loop created when next to a window is cooled and drops to the floor. This air movement can be avoided by installing high-performance windows.
Heat loss and gain occur by infiltration through cracks in the window assembly. It is indicated by an air leakage rating (AL) expressed as the equivalent cubic feet of air passing through a square foot of window area. The lower the AL, the less air will pass through cracks in the window assembly. At this time, the AL is optional among NFRC ratings. For code compliance purposes, however, air infiltration is often tested in accordance with the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), which produces similar results to the NFRC air leakage rating. Select windows with an AL of 0.30 or less (units are cfm/sq ft)
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) reports that any residential window that achieves a rating below 0.30 cfm/Sq.Ft meets the requirements for their gold rating. This is the best rating they offer. This is also the minimum air infiltration rating for the energy star program. This minimum rating may be reduced with the 2015 energy star program.
How do you know if there is Leakage?
The two recommended options in determining if a window, door or skylight will allow in too much air:
• Look for an AAMA certification label on the window to determine that the product has been designed to meet air infiltration standards.
• Determine if the product has been tested and authorized for AAMA certification by researching the product in the AAMA Certified Products Directory. Contact the manufacturer of your specific product to request test data.
Note: Certification programs offer enhanced quality that is not built into the basic testing process. Certification quality control measures include two unannounced manufacturer plant inspections by a third-party validator.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a replacement window, including visual appeal, style of operation, affordability, and last but not least is performance.
1. Structural Integrity
Structural integrity is the ability of a structure or a component to withstand a designed service load, resisting structural failure due to fracture, deformation, or fatigue… Structural integrity is the quality of an item to hold together under a load, including its own weight, resisting breakage or bending. It assures that the construction will perform its designed function, during reasonable use, for as long as the designed life of the structure. Items are constructed with structural integrity to ensure that catastrophic failure does not occur, which can result in injuries, severe damage, death, or monetary losses.
2. Thermal Performance
Thermal performance of a building refers primarily to how well a building is insulated from the external weather conditions in order to achieve a comfortable temperature internally. This means keeping the internal temperature higher than the external temperature or lower than the external temperature (not a common occurrence in Ireland). The comfortable range of room temperature is 19-22 degrees C.
There are a number of factors that determine the thermal performance of a building. The best known factor is the insulation value of the materials used in the fabric of the building (i.e. floors, walls, roof). This value is known to most of us as the U-Value of the material. The lower the U-Value the better. If the U-Value of a material reached 0 it would prevent any energy (heat) from being lost.
Other factors that influence the thermal performance of a building are air-tightness, cold-bridging, junction details and how the materials are brought together or fitted on site. If a high performing material is poorly fitted its effectiveness can be dramatically reduced. One result of poorly installed insulation is “thermal looping”. A thermal loop is a movement of air driven by warm air rising at one end of the loop, and cool air descending at the other end, creating a constantly moving loop of air.
U- Values are a true reflection of the thermal performance, only when the insulation is fitted correctly. No matter how thick the insulation is or how good the material is, if it isn’t fitted correctly and an air gap is formed then the performance of the structure is drastically affected. Heat flows from a high temperature point to a cold temperature point, and will find the path of least resistance. In a traditional masonry structure where an air gap occurs between the insulation and the cold masonry/block surface, air can circulate from the warm side of the insulation to the cold side. The heat is pouring out at this point.
The Best Windows from Consumer Reports’ Tests
New windows can make your home quieter, more attractive, and less drafty, and they don’t need painting. But replacing your windows is expensive, and there are lots of decisions to make before you swipe your credit card. Here’s what you need to know plus some window picks from the experts at Consumer Report:
The best windows from tests
In our tests of wooden, vinyl and fiberglass double-hung and casement windows we found 12 that performed well enough to recommend including four that we named CR Best Buys. Here is the top model of each type we tested.
• Wood double-hung: Andersen 400 Series, $310 per window
• Vinyl double-hung: Simonton Pro-Finish Contractor, $260
• Fiberglass double-hung: Integrity from Marvin Ultrex, $450
• Wood casement: Andersen 400 Series, $400
• Vinyl casement: American Craftsman by Andersen 70 Series, $260, sold at Home Depot
For more choices see our full window Ratings and recommendations and read our recent reports, “How to choose replacement windows” and “When to repair and when to replace your windows.
McQuay First Air Conditioner Classroom Unit
By Betty Stephens
McQuay International is a global corporation that designs, manufactures and sells heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) products, systems, parts and services for commercial buildings. Since 2006, McQuay has been a subsidiary of Daikin Industries, Ltd. McQuay world headquarters are located in Minneapolis, MN, USA. Products are sold by a global network of sales representatives and distributors.
McQuay was incorporated in 1933 with manufacturing and headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Initial success was built on the first classroom unit ventilator and the first hermetic compressor for air conditioning use. During 1941-1945, McQuay manufacturing facilities were converted to support the U.S. war effort. In the later 1940s and 1950s, McQuay products and sales grew as the demand for commercial air conditioning increased. The U. S. manufacturing facilities were expanded to meet this demand.
McQuay became a multi-national corporation during the 1960s by beginning overseas sales and licensing operations in Canada, England, Scotland, and Australia. In 1965, McQuay established a new division in Italy, McQuay Europa, to manufacture 50 Hz equipment.
Through mergers and acquisition in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, the McQuay product line grew to include more types of commercial HVAC and large capacity equipment, as air conditioning became viewed more as a requirement than a luxury in buildings of all types. In 1984 it was acquired by Snyder General.
In 1992 McQuay, received the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of McQuay being the first to design and manufacture chillers with HFC-134a, a refrigerant with no ozone depletion potential.
In 2006 McQuay, was acquired by Daikin Industries, a global manufacturer of both commercial and residential air conditioning equipment based in Osaka, Japan. Daikin had annual sales of $13 billion in 2009. Daikin was named one of the 100 most sustainable corporations for three years in a row by Corporate Knights, Inc., from 2007 through 2009. As a Daikin Industries group company, McQuay is part of the largest HVACR Company in the world.
With more than six million square feet of manufacturing facilities and offices in more than 75 countries, they are uniquely positioned to make sure their products and services are always within Customers’ reach.
Hermetic Compressor for Air Conditioning
Hermetically Sealed Compressors used in refrigeration systems are often described as being hermetic, open or semi-hermetic, to describe how the compressor and motor drive are situated in relation to the gas or vapor being compressed. In hermetic compressors, the compressor and motor driving the compressor are integrated, and operate within the pressurized gas envelope of the system. The motor is designed to operate in, and be cooled by, the refrigerant gas being compressed. The hermetic uses a one-piece welded steel casing that cannot be opened for repair; if the hermetic fails it is simply replaced with an entire new unit.
Split Ductless Systems
By Betty Stephens
A ductless air conditioner, also called a mini-split system, has two major components: a unit mounted on an inside wall that delivers cool air to the room and a unit mounted on the outside of the house. A pair of refrigerant lines that runs between the two systems one delivering electricity, the other one taking away condensate. The system also has thermostatic control and a variable quiet blower.
A split system has several advantages over a traditional window unit, first and foremost a thermostat that can keep the room at a constant, comfortable temperature instead of blasting on and off. Also, you don’t have to move a spilt system in and out of the window as the seasons change, and you don’t have the open-window security concerns of a moveable unit.
The rapid growth in recent years of duct-free air conditioning systems in the U.S. has been impressive. In a contracting unitary market, Ductless mini-split style systems are very common in major markets in Asia and Europe; they have not made significant penetration into the United States. In spite of the recent growth in the U.S. market, they still only represent around 5 percent of the U.S. unitary air conditioning market. This low penetration is probably due to the huge installed base of larger U.S.-style homes and businesses that already have ductwork in place.
Also, with the decline of new construction in the U.S., air conditioning purchases have been dominated by system replacements. And when an air conditioner needs to be replaced, it is usually easier and less expensive to continue using the existing ductwork and just replace the system with a traditional outdoor unit and indoor coil or air handler. Still, there are obviously some situations where ductless solutions make sense.
Duct-free air conditioning provides good, economically sound solutions for smaller spaces which have no existing ductwork, and sales of these systems into U.S. applications will likely continue to grow to meet this demand. The top concerns about duct-free systems are indoor airflow and air quality, ease of service/troubleshooting for technicians, higher-than-expected costs and some concerns about general appearance.
A ductless mini split has three main components:
1. Outdoor condensing unit.
2. Indoor air handler/evaporator.
3. Conduit (3″-4″ diameter) housing a power cable, refrigerant tubing and a condensation drain.
The condenser is installed outside the home or structure and the conduit is run from the outdoor unit to individual offices, bedrooms, living rooms, computer/server rooms, basements, anywhere a controlled temperature is desired. Wall-mounted interior units are then placed in the desired spaces to cool or warm air as needed by means of refrigerant flowing between the outdoor and indoor units through tubing in the conduit.
Ductless systems manage environments individually with remote, handheld thermostats that control the temperature and air flow for each room. The heating or cooling is directed precisely where it’s needed, with less energy wasted to heat or cool empty areas. This capability also means temperatures can be set according to individual preference, with each room warmer or cooler than the other…
Over half of all the ductless systems installed were 1.5 hp and below (less than 22,000 Btuh) and the majority were 2 hp and below (less than 27,000 Btuh). Over two-thirds of all ductless installations are done with single evaporator models. Approximately 85 percent of all ductless systems are probably installed in commercial applications. The most common ductless mini-split applications in the U.S. would typically be those going into single space, commercial buildings and, to a lesser extent, some suitable ductless applications in small residential spaces such as those involving room additions or smaller, zoned apartments.
Units can be difficult to install, and it’s harder to find qualified professionals to do the work, as most are used to putting in duct systems. Second, Ductless split air conditioning units have leaks. There are leaks that occur, which are hard to fix. Third, it’s important to purchase the right sized unit, as a unit that is too small will not effectively cool the home and one that is too large will not remove enough moisture.
The price of ductless split air conditioner units range from around $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the BTU and overall efficiency. These units typically cost $1,500 to $2,000 per ton (12,000 BTU per hour). The overall cost of the unit will depend on the square footage that is needed to cool and the type of efficiency needed. Choosing to get a high-efficient air conditioner, such as a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) brand, costs more money for the actual system, but saves money on energy bills.
By Betty Stephens
A back-up generator is a back-up electrical system that operates automatically Within seconds of a utility outage an automatic transfer switch senses the power loss, commands the generator to start and then transfers the electrical load to the generator. The back-up generator begins supplying power to the circuits. After utility power returns, the automatic transfer switch transfers the electrical load back to the utility and signals the back-up generator to shut off. It then returns to standby mode where it awaits the next outage. To ensure a proper response to an outage, a back-up generator runs weekly self-tests. Most units run on diesel, natural gas or liquid propane gas.
Automatic back-up generator systems may be required by building codes for critical safety systems such as elevators in high-rise buildings, fire protection systems, standby lighting, or medical and life support equipment. Residential back-up generators are increasingly common, providing backup electrical power to HVAC systems, security systems, and household appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, and hot water heaters.
In 2007, an estimated 12 million generators had been installed across in the United States, with a total capacity of more than 200 gigawatts, according to a Brookings Institute report on distributed power systems. More than nine million of these machines were designed to provide emergency or backup power.
An emergency backup generator is only allowed to operate for 200 hours every year and only in the event of an emergency power failure or for routine testing and maintenance. By contrast, primary generators operate upwards of 8,000 hours every year.
Types of Generators
Home generators can be portable or stationary (standby). They run on a variety of fuels, such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas (NG), and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Each type has its pros and cons. Portable gas models are relatively cheap.
You can buy a 4000W set for $300-$400. However, such devices have short run time: you would need to refill their tank several times a day if you run them continuously at rated load. In addition to this, they are not suitable as a long-term power backup since the pumps may not work during a wide spread blackout.
For a long term emergency consider standby sets. They can provide continuous power for the home because they are hooked up to an external fuel source, such as NG line. Some portable devices can also be fueled from an external source and can therefore provide extended run time too. The main differences between them and stationary models are in their connection and activation. A portable device has to be rolled out from the storage, filled with fuel or hooked up to a fuel line, manually started, and connected to your loads.
A fixed standby generator by contrast is already connected to both the house wiring and the fuel source. Therefore it can start immediately either by a push of a button or automatically. Automatic systems have an auto transfer switch. It can sense a power failure. When grid voltage is restored, such a system will connect you back to the utility lines and turns itself off. You don’t even have to be at home to activate it. Note that the typical transfer time of an automatic system is 10-30 seconds, the convenience of an auto starting option and practically infinite run time; permanently connected standby systems offer power levels higher than portables. Their rating ranges anywhere from 5 kilowatt up into hundreds of kW.
Selecting a Generator
When selecting a generator set to supply back-up power for a residence the primary consideration are to choose between a portable or permanently installed unit designed for residential use and how to determine the kW size.
Residential sets are designed to be permanently installed outside the home and are offered in two power ranges, 8 to 17kW to operate selected loads
during the emergency and secondly up to 125kW with sufficient capacity to power the whole home if so desired.
While kW size is a determining cost factor, it is best to specify a quality generator brand with necessary accessories within the budget. A quality set with an UL2200 label assures a trouble-free life, durability and increase the resale value of the home. Specify a set that gives clean, stable and safe electrical power is essential, particularly with today’s sensitive electronics. An auto exerciser should be included to start and run the set each week.
• Determine wattage needs. Determine how much power you need for the items you care about. For help, try our power selection worksheet. If you decide to purchase a portable generator, don’t forget you will also need a transfer switch to safely power the circuits in your home.
• Understand electrical terms. You’ll see a lot about watts, volts, amps and more. Review the glossary for definitions.
• Decide: Standby or portable? Considering your budget, convenience, and power needs, chooses which type of generator you want.
• Take care of home power issues. Locate your existing electrical service panel and gas line to target any potential problems before buying a generator. Portable generators should be used with a transfer switch.
• Perform product comparisons. Compare power outputs, run times, and prices, as well as what’s included in those prices, such as accessories, warranties, support and installation.
• Determine financing options. Some retail stores offer financing options for generator purchases. Amazon offers FREE Super Saver Shipping and provides no interest financing on select items.
• Consider included items. Does the generator come with warranty or maintenance package? What about a power cord, oil, wheels, and funnel?
• Consider additional costs. How much more will it cost for installation by a qualified professional? Will you need an accessory like a cover for protection from the elements or a transfer switch?
If you want to use your generator to power part or all of your home, you’ll need a sufficiently sized generator and a transfer switch. The transfer switch safely closes off the utility power line to your house’s electrical system and opens a direct line to the generator and reverses the process when utility power is restored.
By Betty Stephens of Quest Media
Selling your house? When you sell your house, and conduct a real estate inspection what should inspectors check on the HVAC systems?
Heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) inspection
A heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) home inspection reviews the heating and cooling system of a home from a performance perspective. The inspection usually does not inspect or compare to codes or manufacturer requirements. Heating is provided typically by a forced air furnace distributed by duct work or a water/steam boiler using radiators or convectors, but space heaters, heat pumps and other methods are also in use. The energy source is usually natural gas, fuel oil, or electric, but other sources include wood and Geo-thermal. Cooling can be described as a split system, packaged unit, fan coil, heat pump, an evaporative cooler, or window/through-the-wall a/c unit.
A typical inspection will carry out a visual observation and operation of the HVAC system. The inspection will consider visible and readily accessible components, while noting recognized adverse and material defects present at the time of inspection. The inspection does not usually disassemble the equipment. The home inspection report may include a description of the system by its key components. Ideally the inspection intends to reduce risk for the buyer by reporting observed material defects. A defect may be a repair, maintenance or improvement consideration with or without a safety association. An optional statement on perceived useful remaining life may be provided.
Home Warranty Inc. states that “50% of the claims they pay are on HVAC systems yet these are two of the most under inspected items on the whole house inspection. Often the home inspector will only turn on the HVAC system that applies to current weather conditions (i.e. air conditioner in the summer, furnace in the winter) but does not evaluate the other system. In addition, several home inspectors do not have the equipment or technical knowledge to properly test HVAC systems so they tend to include several disclaimers on the home inspection about their lack of knowledge and recommend a qualified HVAC contractor evaluate further. This disclaimer is routinely included so that the recommendation to get a HVAC inspection completed becomes “white noise” to a potential home buyer.”
See their Web site at: http://www.homewarrantyinc.com/get-a-hvac-inspection
It is recommended that you use HVAC contractors to conduct “comprehensive” examinations of components and systems to determine whether they are working properly.
The role of an HVAC inspector is to assess the cleanliness and structural integrity of an HVAC system. Inspectors search for obstructions, excess moisture and microbial contamination in the HVAC system.
When inspecting the HVAC home systems look for the following issues. FHA suggests that these issues may indicate unacceptable property condition.
The home’s heating system must be in working condition and provide heat to all rooms in the property. If the property is heated by one or multiple heat stoves, the inspector will verify that these stoves can keep every room at a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Wood stoves or furnaces must have chimneys that are in good condition, and wood stove chimneys must have chimney liners and be free of buildup.
• Unit does not turn on
• Heat is not emitted
• Unusual noise
• Smoke or irregular smell
• Significant holes or deterioration on unit
ENERGY STAR Home HVAC System Checklists
The Energy Star Web site has several HVAC checklists for different types of inspections that you may download or print.
Click the following link to view the checklists: http://http://www.gobookee.net/hvac-system-inspection-checklist/
AMBIT ENERGY COMPANY
Written By: Betty Stephens of Quest Media
Ambit Energy is a United States multilevel marketing retail electricity and natural gas provider that serves residential and commercial customers in states where energy has been deregulated. Corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas, and operations/call center headquarters are located in Plano, Texas. Ambit Energy was founded in 2006 in Addison, Texas by Jere Thompson Jr. and Chris Chambless.
Electric and natural gas Customers throughout California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C. are choosing Ambit Energy as their choice in energy today. Ambit has grown to serve over 1 million Customers in only six years. And, it is said that those who make the switch often stay with Ambit for the signature perks they offer. They offer free energy when a customer refers 15 new Customers, or the customer may choose Travel Rewards for trips and cruises. They have created one of the most attractive Customer rewards programs in the industry. Once the customer signs up, they can begin the benefits of being an Ambit Energy Customer right away.
Ambit also offers an app for convenience in the palm of the customer’s hand. Depending on service territory, customers can enjoy freedom to pay bills, view usage and update account details from any web-enabled device.
Ambit Energy obtains customers through a network of independent consultants who work directly with the customers. Ambit Energy uses direct selling and is a member of the Direct Selling Association of America. Direct selling is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location.
• Ambit Energy was named 2010’s Fastest Growing Privately Held Company by Inc. 500 and placed 390 in 2011.
• Ambit Energy placed 15th on the Direct Selling News Global 100 List in 2011 and 14th in 2012.
Ambit Energy Customers in Texas receive transmission and distribution services from the following energy companies:
1. AEP Texas provides electricity to residents throughout southern and western Texas.
2. CenterPoint Energy provides electricity to the 5,000 square mile footprint of the Houston metropolitan area.
3. Oncor provides electricity to residents of northern, western and central Texas.
4. TNMP provides electricity for western and northern central Texas, as well as areas of the Gulf Coast region.
Ambit has been criticized for its direct sales model, and for being a multi-level marketing company. In May 2011, Ambit was sued by a consultant, who alleged that Ambit’s structure is a pyramid scheme. By August 2012, after several amendments and alterations to the original complaints including the removal of all allegations of fraud, a judge dismissed the case.
Ambit’s sales representatives have also been accused of overstating the benefits of participation, and of being overly aggressive in marketing to vulnerable customers such as the elderly, and non-English speakers, who might not fully understand the complexities of energy pricing.
WINE COOLING By Betty Stephens, Quest Media
Only a small percentage of fine wines benefit from long-term aging. Most wines are best enjoyed within a few years of release. If you’re looking to buy wines to mature, you should really consider investing in professional-grade storage.
The number one enemy of wine is heat. Temperatures higher than 70° F ages wine more quickly. If it gets too hot it may cook the wine. The ideal temperature range is between 45° F and 65° F. You can keep wines in your refrigerator up to two months.
Light (especially sunlight), can cause problems for long-term storage. The sun can degrade and age wine too early. This is one reason vintners use colored glass bottles. Light from household bulbs probably won’t damage the wine, but can fade your labels in the long run. Incandescent bulbs may be a bit safer than fluorescent bulbs.
If you do not have a cool, not-too-damp basement to store your wine, you can improvise with some simple racks in a safe place. Leave out the kitchen, laundry room or boiler room, where hot temperatures will affect your wines. And, stay away from a place with light pouring in from a window. Let’s look at types of storage and cooling for your wine
1. WINE CELLARS
It is through the cork that wine breathes and ages. Changes in the environment, (temperature and humidity), in a wine cellar causes the wine to age. If there is too much oxidation the wine will be bitter. Wine requires oxidation to mature; but, it must be controlled so that adverse conditions do not affect the aging process of the wine. The breathing pace is faster at high temperatures and slower at low temperatures.
A wine cellar cooling unit is designed to leave 50-70% relative humidity inside the cellar atmosphere, and only partially takes away moisture when necessary. The ideal humidity range for aging wine is 55-75%. Humidity levels of 80% or higher will cause mold to form and rot the labels. Lower levels draws wine out of the bottles and replaces the wine with oxygen rich air.
A wine cellar cooling unit is comprised of two main components:
1) the Evaporator
2) the Condenser
All you need to know about these two things is that the Condenser is typically noisy and that it requires significant space for ventilation. Self-Contained” cooling unit have both of these components contained within one single housing. A “Split System” cooling unit splits the Evaporator and the Condenser into two separate housings. the idea being to move the ‘noisy’ component so that you can place it where the noise won’t matter, maybe the garage.
Types of Cooling Units
The basic types of cooling units for wine cellars are:
1. Ductable Wine Cellar Cooling Units
2. Split Cooling Systems
3. Standard Through-the-Wall
Ductable Wine Cellar Cooling Units: are the best way to create the ideal storage
climate for your wine collection. The units are self-contained and have the ability to accept ductwork allowing the cool air to flow into your cellar and allowing the warm air to exhaust to an alternate location. There is no obtrusive cooling unit inside the cellar.
Split Cooling Systems: This is an ideal unit if a remote condenser situation is needed, or when looking for a longer lasting higher quality cooling system. With only an evaporator wall mounted in your cellar, you will enjoy ideal wine cellar climate control without the increased noise levels and vibration that entry level units tend to have. Split Systems are costly and they require a HVAC professional to install.
Standard Through-the-Wall Units: allow you to use a self contained system without any ductwork or refrigeration lines. You must have a larger interior space to vent the extremely cost effective units into. They keep the ideal temperature and maintain the proper humidity for your wine cellar.
2. WINE COOLERS/REFRIGERATORS
If you are looking to store and chill wine so you may enjoy them at their peak temperature and vitality, you might be interested in a free-standing wine cooler. Wine coolers/wine refrigerators or wine chillers are a great way to store and age your Chardonnay and Merlot under ideal conditions to get the most out of your wines.
If you are having a party or just enjoying a bottle occasionally, a wine cooler could give you the most flavor and vitality out of the wine you serve or drink. Having a separate refrigerator is vital for storing more than one or two bottles for a short time since a normal refrigerator is too cold and can it can spoil the flavor of your wine.
Choosing a Wine Cooler
Choose a cooler that has the most features and highest quality. They come in different price ranges. The average cooler is in the $200 to $300 price range:
Wine is a classy beverage, and you want your storage choice to look like an expensive piece of furniture. It should run quietly. And most important, it holds a constant temperature and humidity for the best storage. Check to see if it is easy to install and use.
The best wine coolers provide the most features for your money. The most important features to look for are:
o dual or single chilling zones
o digital or manual temperature controls
o the type of cooling method used
There are two types of cooling systems used in wine chillers. They are (1) the thermoelectric, or (2) compressor and coolant systems like the ones used in kitchen refrigerators.
You definitely will want to make sure the wine cooler will not stop working on you. Check the warranty.
• Storage Size
The wine refrigerator that you buy should provide you with the capacity to fit your storage needs. They range from eight bottle capacity to 50 bottle capacity and to 160 bottle capacity.
Some of the top-ranked wine coolers are: NewAir, Whynter and Danby.
The door itself is something to consider when buying a cooler. You must decide if you want to view the bottles or protect them from light. So look for glass that is clear, tempered, tinted, double-paneled or UV-resistant. Check the placement of the door. It should open on the correct side based on where you are setting it. You may want to consider a model that has a lock or an alarm.
More expensive units may have multiple temperature zones, which is a nice feature if you want to keep your reds at one temperature and your whites at a cooler, more ready-to-drink temperature. Humidity controls are also important. Look for a unit that is quiet. The better the materials such as aluminum shelves will conduct cool temperatures better than plastic ones, or a rough interior that will be better for humidity than a smooth one.
Wine racks can be used to store your wine collection. Table top designs will hold from two to as many as 48 bottles of wine.
Always remember that proper wine storage requires proper temperature and environment. Ensure your wine cellar or wine cabinet ages your wine to its fullest potential with a wine cooling unit. Wine cooling units keep your wine enclosure’s temperature stable while reducing humidity to proper wine storage levels.
The employment market for certified HVAC technicians is expected to grow faster than average. According to the Department of Labor this job market will grow by over 30% over the next few years. The job market will offer opportunities for those with the HVAC training from certified technical schools or with formal apprenticeships. Receiving HVAC certification through one of the many institutions is highly recommended by employers and will only increase a technician’s advancement opportunities.
|The United States population is growing; this means the demand for residential, commercial, and industrial climate-control systems is also growing. The increased complexity of HVAC systems, increasing the possibility that equipment may not function properly, also will create opportunities for more service technicians. Maintenance and repair work will remain constant. People and businesses must be able to depend on their HVAC systems to stay in working order, regardless of economic conditions.To keep up with this growing demand for systems requires that more HVAC technicians are trained. There are different training programs available for those people interested in entering this field.It’s of utmost importance for a student to complete his/her HVAC training from an accredited training school as it’s the basic requirement of almost all the HVAC companies at time of hiring employees for their firm. So, it can be said that a future HVAC technician must fulfill the educational standards set by HVAC industry itself. To know whether an HVAC training program provided by a training school is accredited or not, the student needs to check whether the program has been approved by the National Center for Construction Education and Research, HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration.|
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) Schools
|Types of HVAC Training Programs HVAC training consists of classroom lectures and hands-on training designed to teach students how to maintain, repair and diagnose HVAC equipment. With technological advances rapidly changing the industry, formal HVAC training is becoming more in demand and a necessity.|
There are several ways to receive HVAC training. The most common are:
- HVAC Degree Programs, usually associate’s degree
- HVAC Certificate Programs, for professionals who already hold a degree
- HVAC Diploma Programs, for high school-educated professionals
As an HVAC technician, an HVAC degree program can help you gain the skills needed for installing and maintaining heating, ventilating, air conditioning and other temperature control systems. The associate’s degree is usually a two year program, but you can get a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in HVAC.
Advances in technology and new environmental regulations have caused the HVAC job description to change and expand in recent years. By earning your HVAC degree, you can take the first important step to becoming a successful HVAC technician. The following is a list of HVAC degree programs look for the one right for you.
With an HVAC diploma from an accredited education program, you will be ready to enter the exciting field of HVAC technology. You will learn the ins and outs of installing, repairing and maintaining different temperature control systems.
There are several excellent HVAC diploma programs available. Take some time to explore different options and discover which education program is right for you. Review this list to learn about HVAC diplomas.
By earning an HVAC certificate, you can become a qualified HVAC technician capable of installing and repairing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other temperature control systems. Earning an HVAC certificate involves completing courses designed to teach you about all areas of the HVAC industry. You will learn the basics of not only installing, but also maintaining and repairing different HVAC systems.
Review the list of some of the HVAC certificate programs available and learn more about how to earn your HVAC certificate.
Types of Certification
- 1. A type I technician primarily works on small appliances such as domestic refrigerators, window air conditioners, and vending machines.
- 2. A type II technician primarily works on equipment using a high pressure refrigerant… The equipment includes residential air conditioners and heat pumps, supermarket refrigeration and process refrigeration.
- 3. A type III technician primarily works on equipment using a low pressure refrigerant, these units are primarily chillers.
It is always best to go to a community college or a specialized HVAC training school as most of these schools offer online training or a combination of both. Some of the highly rated schools which provide Accredited HVAC training are Lincoln Technical Institute, WyoTech, Everest Institute and American School of Technology.
So be sure to check to see, if the school has a renowned accreditation or not, you should know if the program is accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research, HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration or not. In case the school has affiliation with any of these, it can be trusted. Most of the community colleges have the accreditation from these centers which make them more trustworthy.
.HVAC Training Programs /Schools:
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Online HVAC Training Programs
Recently online HVAC training has become popular for students who want a career in HVAC installation, maintenance or sales field. These courses check the understanding of the students about the HVAC industry and give them an idea about the areas where they lack skill or knowledge. Online training can prove to be helpful for the students interested in enriching their knowledge in HVAC systems. The best part is that some online HVAC training programs are specifically designed for HVAC technician who desire to receive instant certification without taking any training program
Students leaning towards online HVAC technician training like the convenience of setting their own schedules. Online training proves to be most helpful to those who are already a full time employee of the HVAC industry. Working people get a chance to upgrade their knowledge to keep themselves in pace with the latest advancements and may be able to get certification. The minimum length of these programs is 10 hours and the maximum can be up to 2 weeks. The limitation of this program is that it stresses more on the theoretical aspect of HVAC industry. These programs allow the student to complete the required practical trainings from their working sites subsequently with their employment. The student can take the NATE and EPA certification exams that are when they complete the program.
Other than HVAC schooling, one can also choose to get apprenticeship in HVAC which takes a longer duration to complete. The duration of the apprenticeships generally takes from 2 to 5 years in most of the HVAC organizations. For getting an apprenticeship in HVAC system designs, one can join some of the renowned associations like Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors National Association, Mechanical Contractors Association of America.
As different states follow different laws, so it’s necessary to read all the certification details before enrolling in any program. It is always better to do a thorough search on the state laws about the programs before choosing one.
It is not mandatory for every person working in HVAC industry to be certified but, if a person wants to become a HVAC technician or mechanic, it’s certainly required. Apart from being trained on heating, vents and air conditioning units, people with HVAC certification also have the qualification to work in the refrigeration field. They can gain expertise in large-scale projects like commercial refrigeration units. The primary requirement for becoming a certified HVAC technician is that the person should attend classes and should have cleared a state-mandated certification test.
Do your research on schools and talk with students and graduates of these schools before paying admission fees. Also speak with potential employers and get their opinions about schools and training. Ask about job placement assistance, real world wages and tools needed. Interview people who are doing what you would like to do, and ask how they got their training, and what they advise.