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Air Conditioning Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide (2019 Update)

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You rely on your air conditioning system to keep your home cool and comfortable, but in order for that to happen, your A/C system requires regular maintenance to function efficiently.

Just like any other home appliance, it’s normal for your air conditioning unit to experience some wear and tear from regular use and develop mechanical problems at some point during its lifetime.

Continue reading “Air Conditioning Maintenance: The Ultimate Guide (2019 Update)”

Reamer Tool

The drill does not produce the correct hole size some time with the good surface finish. A hole with precision size can be produced with a good finish off a pre-drilled hole using a reamer tool. The process of the enlarging hole is called reaming.

The reamer is commonly used to remove the minimum amount of metal (100 to 150 micron for rough reaming and 5 to 20 micron for fine reaming) from the hole. During reaming operations, the job should be properly supported and rigidly held. A stock wrench of appropriate size for holding the reamer is used. The reamer must be kept in its correct position about the job. It must be rotated slowly, and excessive feed must not be given. It should always be-be turned in the cutting direction. Sufficient amount of cutting fluid should also be used. When removing the reamer, it must be turned in the cutting direction. Reamers with blunt or chipped edges must not be used.

Adjustable hand reamer tool

Various kinds of reamers are classified and described as under:

  1. Hand Reamer
  2. Machine reamers
  3. Taper reamer
  4. Spirally fluted reamer
  5. Straight fluted reamer
  6. Parallel reamer
  7. Adjustable reamer
  8. Expanding reamer

Some common types of the reamer used in fitting workshops are discussed as under.

1. Hand Reamer:
It is operated by hand to finish the holes and remove its ovality. Its cutting edges are backed off in the same manner as those of twist drills to give suitable clearance. It is made up of carbon or high-speed steel material. It is used for excellent internal turning in the hole by placing a tap wrench on the square end of the reamer.

2. Machine Reamer:
It is designed for slow speeds for use on drill presses, lathes, vertical milling machines, etc. It is chamfered on the front side of cutting edge. It possesses straight or tapered shanks and comprises of either straight or spiral flutes.

3. Taper reamer:
It is widely used for finishing taper holes smoothly with precision. It is also used to provide a taper to a drilled hole when a taper pin is to be used. It is performed with either straight or spiral flutes. It has spaces ground into the cutting edges or teeth to prevent overloading the entire length of each tooth of the reamer. These spaces are staggered on the many teeth to help in stock removal.

4. Spirally fluted reamer:
It performs greater shearing action than one with straight flute.

Trump could restore credits for R1234yf in car ac

USA: The Trump administration is reported to be planning to restore  compliance credits for US automakers that could encourage greater use of low GWP refrigerant R1234yf in car ac systems.

In one of its proposal for a rollback of Obama-era clean car rules, the Trump administration had suggested eliminating compliance credits for automakers that install less-polluting air conditioners in their vehicles.

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, introduced in the US in the 70s, seek to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks. Manufacturer compliance with the regulations standards is calculated in credits. The use of a low GWP refrigerant like R1234yf gains credits under the regulations.

Starting with model year 2011, manufacturers have been able to trade credits with other manufacturers and transfer credits within their own fleets, which provides additional compliance flexibility.

Quoting an unnamed source “with knowledge of the matter”, the E&E News reports that the administration plans to restore the credits after hearing from “concerned” air conditioning and refrigeration companies.

Honeywell and Chemours, major manufacturers of R1234yf, both submitted comments to the US Environmental Protection Agency on October 26 last year setting out their objections to the proposed rule to amend the existing standards.

The Ultimate Carbon Monoxide Guide [What You Need to Know]

carbon-monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is difficult to detect. It’s been coined the “silent killer” for a reason. It doesn’t have a smell, color, or taste.

It can be found in your home from your fireplace, gas ranges and furnaces. The build-up indoors can poison people and their pets who breathe it. In a five year span, 2010-2015, a total of 2,244 deaths resulted from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, with the highest number of deaths each year occurring in winter months.

As a licensed heating and air conditioning company, our commitment encourages us to share the consequences of this deadly gas and ways to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.

Let’s get started.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless toxic flammable gas.

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

When you breathe CO, it harms the ability of your blood to transport oxygen. The poisoning is a result of not receiving the adequate oxygen… or asphyxiation.

Symptoms and Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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image credit: CO toxicity symptoms, WikiMedia Commons

John Cunha, DO, FACOEP, an Emergency Medicine Physician, lists the CO symptoms from a headache, dizziness, and nausea to impaired judgment, visual changes and walking problems. The list is quite comprehensive.

If you suspect your symptoms are directly related to carbon monoxide, turn off the source (if you are aware of the source), move to fresh air and get away from your home as quickly as possible and call 911.

It is worth mentioning that carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air, so it potentially rises. The scientific way of looking at it according to Healthy Building Science

“CO indoors is usually generated from incomplete combustion (heat source) and therefore traveling in a warm air stream. Warm air is more buoyant and does rise.” 

What Can Cause this Deadly Gas in Your Home / What Causes a Leak?

Household appliances ranging from boilers, heating systems and gas fires can be sources of carbon monoxide gas. Even running your car engine in an enclosed space can cause CO.

Accidental exposure to blocked flues and chimneys, which prohibits the gas from escaping can cause toxic levels.

Treatments for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to the Mayo Clinic, immediately breathing pure oxygen to replace the CO with oxygen in your blood is the first step in your road to recovery.

In severe cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy rooms are used.

“This therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a chamber in which the air pressure is about two to three times higher than normal. This speeds the replacement of carbon monoxide with oxygen in your blood.”

Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Relaxed young woman at home with raised arms

Tip 1

Check Your HVAC Vents for Proper Airflow

Throughout the year, furniture is often moved around and new furniture is brought into the home. Double-check around your house to make sure that nothing is blocking your heating vents.

Blocked vents are not only useless since heat can’t get out, but they can also drive your heating up. In addition, a blocked vent can result in an overheated furnace.

Check both your supply registers, heat blows out of these, and your return registers, the air is drawn into these.

Do you ever close vents in unused rooms to save money?

The Energy Vanguard Blog did an excellent and comprehensive job at explaining why you really shouldn’t close those vents. They went on to clarify unintended consequences of closing your vents.

In a nutshell, it can do more harm than good. A few of the after-effects are:

  1. Increased duct leakage
  2. Comfort problems because of low airflow
  3. Cracked heat exchanger, with the potential for getting carbon monoxide in your home
  4. Condensation and mold growth in winter due to lower surface temperatures in rooms with closed vents

Tip 2

Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors and Alarms

Carbon monoxide detectors are a lot like smoke detectors. The difference – they detect levels of carbon monoxide rather than looking for smoke and fire.

You must consider installing CO detectors in your home. Because CO is both poisonous and odorless, it is vital that you ensure your home, family, and pets are safe from this toxin.

Safewise, home security experts, put together an awesome Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector Buyers Guide. They cover the best detectors, from basic to smart devices, available on the market.

The guide also explains where to install and how to maintain your detector.

Also be sure to call a HVAC professional to investigate and resolve any issues.

Protect America, committed to providing every home with security solutions wrote a step-by-step guide on:

How to Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Both alarms should be tested once a month at minimum or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) warns consumers that the “actuation of your carbon monoxide alarm indicates the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) which can kill you.”

NFPA also states the fact:

“A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.”

Again if you sense you’re threatened by CO, be sure to call emergency services (fire department or 911) and immediately move to fresh air.

Tip 3

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Have your HVAC system and any other gas or oil burning system or appliance serviced by a qualified technician yearly.

The fumes from heaters and ovens, if not working properly or used the wrong way, can cause a life-threatening situation.  A pre-season furnace cleaning and check-up by a trusted professional can alert you to potential problems or just confirm that your system is healthy and ready for winter.

A qualified technician will check for safety and operation, ventilation, and mechanical maintenance. With regular maintenance and a thorough annual inspection, a typical furnace will last for 20 years or more.

If you notice any strange odors or noises during the course of the winter, it may indicate a problem developing, and it should be addressed immediately to avoid total furnace failure or serious injury.

Tip 4

Replace Your Batteries Twice a Year

Make a commitment to change the batteries twice a year. Make it easy on yourself, whenever it’s time to spring forward or fall back (change the time on your clocks), replace your batteries.

Tip 5

Don’t Run Your Vehicle Inside Your Garage – Ever

Some people believe if the garage door is open, it’s fine to run the car.

According to T.H. Greiner, Ph.D., P.E. Agricultural Engineer, “the extremely high concentrations of carbon monoxide produced by an engine can raise CO concentrations in a closed building so quickly that a person may collapse before they even realize there is a problem.”

“Proven studies have shown CO concentrations reach the Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) concentration of 1,200 parts per million (ppm) in only 7 minutes when a small 5 horsepower gasoline engine is run in a 10,000 cubic foot room.”

Iowa State University conducted a study and found warming up a vehicle for only 2 minutes can raise CO concentrations.If you need to warm your car, remove it from the garage before starting it.

Tip 6

Do Not Heat Your Home With Your Gas Oven

While it may seem like a handy alternative, never use your oven to heat your home. An overworked, unattended oven can cause an explosion, as it is simply not built to run for extended periods of time.

Deadly CO gas can be given off from the gas flame that is intended to heat the oven.

Tip 7

Be Cautious When Using Fuel-Burning Space Heaters

Space heaters require regular attention while in use. The maximum temperature of the unit should be regulated and all materials should be kept at least three feet away from the unit.

Bear in mind that space heaters account for approximately one-third of home heating fires and 80 percent of home heating-related deaths every year. Never forget to turn off portable heaters when leaving the house or going to bed.

Only use space heaters in well-ventilated areas. Any space heater (fuel or electric) can be a fire hazard if not used properly and should be used with caution.

Conclusion

Leading causes of carbon monoxide in your home can be from faulty furnaces, water heaters, stoves, and fireplaces. It’s critical to take the necessary precautions to keep a carbon monoxide free home. It could be a simple venting problem. If left unchecked, it could escalate into a carbon monoxide problem.

Have your HVAC inspected and cleaned every year by a professional. With proper maintenance, your furnace will work more efficiently, and save you money on expensive energy costs and most importantly…

Keep your family safe.

 


Washington state to introduce HFC refrigerant bans

USA: Washington state lawmakers have passed House Bill 1112, which phases out the use of HFC refrigerants.

The bill was passed by 30 votes to 19 by the senate legislature on Monday, and now merely requires signing by Washington state governor Jay Inslee.

The bill will phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons in various applications in Washington, in a manner similar to the regulations that were recently vacated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Because the impacts of climate change will not wait until congress acts to clarify the scope of the environmental protection agency’s authority, it falls to the states to provide leadership on phasing out hydrofluorocarbons,” the bill says. “Doing so will not only help the climate, but will help American businesses retain their positions as global leaders in air conditioning and refrigerant technologies.”

The move follows the state of California, which enacted unilateral prohibitions on high GWP HFCs on January 1 through the California Cooling Act. Both states are members of the US Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 23 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Is Your Construction Correspondence Losing You Variation Claims or Projects?

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Good communication in construction is essential. Many problems arise because of poor communication, or when our messages are misunderstood.

Unfortunately many in construction don’t realize how important it is to be able to communicate properly. Many don’t see the necessity of being able to write properly. Yet, project managers have to write letters all the time. Some of these letters could literally be worth millions of dollars. Why wouldn’t we want to put the effort into producing a clear and succinct letter that will convince our clients and customers to award a project to our company, or grant the variation claim we’ve submitted.

So let’s have a quick English lesson – a lesson on writing project letters!
Letters should:

  • Have a date.
  • Have a unique reference number.
  • Be addressed to the correct person (the contract normally specifies who that person is, as well as who should be sent copies. If you’re unsure contact the company to find out who the right person is). Oh, by the way, do spell their name correctly – you don’t want to annoy the person before they’ve even started reading your letter!
  • Have a heading, including the project reference name and number (letters to the client should use the reference name and number in the contract document), and a second heading line containing the subject matter.
  • Have an introduction, normally a brief overview of the subject within the letter.
  • Include the body, containing the facts and supporting information (where the supporting information is lengthy or includes numbers, calculations, and diagrams, consideration should be given to inserting these as appendices, and including only the summary of the documents in the body of the letter, referring the reader to the relevant appendix or attachment).
  • Have a conclusion which summarises the facts and indicates the required future course of action.
  • Be logical – state the facts simply and in a logical manner that is easy to follow. Don’t assume the person reading the letter is familiar with the project, or discussions that have occurred on the project.
  • Be confined to one topic, or a few similar topics. Rather write a new letter for a different unrelated topic.
  • Be concise and in simple language. Avoid lengthy sentences.
  • Not be contradictory.
  • Not use emotive language. Don’t get emotional or abusive. Simply state the facts. You don’t want to later regret the things you wrote.
  • Be checked for spelling and typographical errors (if you know your grammar is poor request, someone, to check the letter). As a young project manager, my manager always checked variation claim letters before I submitted them to the client. Frequently they came back with multiple errors highlighted in red ink – yes, it did feel like I was back at school, but they were important lessons.
  • Be arranged in easily readable paragraphs. Don’t just ramble on, with one thought leading into the next one.
  • Avoid using slang.
  • Ensure that when acronyms and abbreviations are used that these are explained, or are clearly understood by the reader and that they are used consistently in the letter.
  • Be numbered correctly and consistently when it’s required.
  • Use consistent text (resist the urge to use text that is in capitals, bold, in color or in italics to highlight a point).
  • Use exclamation and question marks sparingly.
  • Quote the correct clauses from the contract document, the specific reference from the tender documents or the applicable drawing numbers.
  • Be double-checked to ensure that all calculations and figures are correct and that they tie up.

Poorly written letters are often not treated with the seriousness they deserve, and letters which use incorrect facts and figures could cause the client to doubt the authenticity of the figures.

Don’t assume the person reading the letter will have a grasp of all the facts, or know what you are talking about.

Pricing the right construction projects

What construction projects should you be pricing?

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Some contractors are like some actors. They sign up for every project that crosses their desk.
This often means that the estimating team works long hours and price estimates are rushed. Little thought is put into ways to make the price more attractive to the client.
When pricing is rushed it could result in errors with the price, which could mean that the price is too high, so the company doesn’t win the work anyway. It could also result in the contractor not winning the project. Often it takes more than just having the lowest price to be awarded a construction project.
In addition, contractors may end up winning the wrong project – one which they don’t have the resources or expertise to complete successfully.
Contractors should focus on pricing the right project, then put all their thought and effort into submitting a winning bid.


What is the right construction project for your company?

Construction projects vary hugely in size, type, location, risks, and clients. Not all projects may be suitable for your company right now. In fact, some construction projects are best avoided if they’re excessively risky or the client is difficult.
Picking the wrong project can be disastrous, while the right project can lead to bigger and better projects later. It’s important to understand the project fully when pricing it and be selective about which projects you price.
It’s also important to consider the pricing or bidding procedures.  If there are multiple contractors pricing the project, your chances of winning the project may be slim.
Sometimes there are competitors who have strong relationships with the client, have more expertise in the type of work, or that are already operating in the area. These competitors will have an advantage over your company, and it may be difficult to win the project.
Try to pick construction projects that are winnable. Don’t waste time pricing projects that will be nearly impossible to win.

Conclusion – win the right construction projects

All the above points would seem obvious, yet, it’s surprising how often they aren’t considered by contractors as they get caught up in the excitement and possibilities of pricing a new project. After all, what could go wrong?
This article was first published on the ClockShark website. To visit this website and continue reading the article click on the link above.
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Panasonic’s outdoor “green” cooler

JAPAN: Panasonic has launched an evaporative cooler in Japan, which relies on an ultra fine mist to reduce temperatures in outdoor environments.

The Green air conditioner sprays an extremely fine mist with a particle size of about 10μm. This is said to ensure that the water mist evaporates quickly, reducing the feeling of wetness and achieving an efficient temperature drop.

Also, by generating a swirling air flow during mist spraying, a dome-shaped cooling space with a diameter of about 2m, which is less susceptible to crosswinds. It is said that the temperature can be reduced by up to 7ºC.

It is also equipped with a remote monitoring and control system that can automatically control the spray according to local weather forecast data.

Units have already been installed at Odaiba Rainbow Park, a popular tourist spot that overlooks Rainbow Bridge and the sandy beach facing Tokyo Bay and at Shimbashi Station in Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Are You Tired of Losing Money on Your Construction Projects?

​Is your Construction project making money or losing money?

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Several years ago, our monthly cost reports on one construction project showed we were losing money on concrete materials. The matter remained unresolved and the losses mounted. Furthermore, our progress was often held up due to a lack of cement.

With a little research, I found that we had paid $500,000 extra for cement – effectively we had paid $500,000 for cement we hadn’t used! Further investigation revealed that the drivers of the cement trucks were discharging, and selling 30% of each load of cement before they ever reached the project.

Over several months the cement truck drivers had stolen half a million dollars of cement. This resulted in a shortage of cement because the project wasn’t receiving all the cement they were supposed to get, which delayed the project.

The above example illustrates the importance of monthly cost reports. Without them, these problems could have gone undetected. Forever.

But, cost reports are useful in other ways. For example, one company I worked at built several cooling towers, and each time we lost money. No matter how we priced or planned these projects we always lost money. We never seemed to have the right price or construction methods. We eventually decided we couldn’t make money on these projects and avoided pricing them again.

Sometimes we have to accept that we’re not particularly good at some construction projects and we should leave these projects to other contractors.


​Why are construction project cost reports vital?

​Monthly cost reports are useful for a number of reasons:

  1. They can uncover theft and fraud on the project.
  2. They could highlight when materials are being wasted.
  3. Cost reports provide a check that all work and materials have been correctly claimed by the client.
  4. They highlight problems with productivity – when people and equipment aren’t being used efficiently.
  5. Losses could indicate that the project has grown in scope and that the additional work hasn’t been claimed.
  6. Knowing a project is losing money allows company management to put in place mitigating actions to ensure there’s sufficient finance to cover for the impacts on the company’s cash flow, finances, and profitability.
  7. Cost reports provide feedback to the estimating department. It allows estimators to increase or decrease rates when they price the next projects. Decreasing rates may improve the chance of winning another project while increasing rates could prevent future losses.
  8. Cost reports also provide valuable ratios which can be used to check estimates for future projects. We gathered several important ratios for project overheads, equipment costs and labor costs, which provided quick checks on our prices, enabling us to uncover errors in our prices before we submitted them.
  9. Project cost reports provide targets for the project team to aim for. It’s an indication of how well the team is managing the project. Sure, there are sometimes projects that are badly priced, or which hit unexpected snags, so they don’t make money. But then the team needs to justify the losses and the reasons for the losses. But often a project that’s losing money is a project that has other problems.

Heat pump industry talks up higher capacity technology potential

Ongoing innovation to expand the capacity of heat pump technology for both industrial and commercial use can help realise European demand for waste-less heating and cooling, manufacturers have argued.

The claims have been made by the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) during a special event earlier this month that brought together industry, civil society, and policy makers. The event discussed the role that heat pump technologies can play to address challenges in realising lower carbon buildings and functions around the EU.

A key theme of the discussion was the need for new policy approaches in Europe to consider their capacity and higher temperature heat pumps for addressing significant challenges to rethinking building design and functions.

The EPHA argued that these technologies, based on their growing use in sectors such as the dairy industry, reflected how heat pumps can reduce the footprint of energy-intensive industries.

Eric Delforge, chair of the associations working group for industrial and commercial heat pumps, argued during the event that waste-less cooling or heat generation could now be viably demonstrated in production processes through larger scale technologies.

Mr Delforge added that “bold policymakers” were required across the EU to push for greater consideration of heat pumps in energy intensive industries in a similar manner to how more efficient fridges and lightbulbs were once advocated.

Dr Paul Rübig, an MEP representing the European People’s Party, argued during the event that cooling and heating were widely recognised to be the most significant contributors of carbon emissions in the EU and required drastic new approaches in technology and political thinking.

He said, “The best energy is the one that is not consumed. Therefore, technologies should be promoted that further increase the energy efficiency of industry and households.”

A second iteration of the EPHA’s brochure on the opportunities for larger scale heat pump adoption in Europe was due to be released by the middle of next month, the organisation said.

The UK government is meanwhile in the process of determining what role gas and electric technologies will play in trying to transform its buildings to meet ambitions to realise lower and zero carbon buildings over the next three decades.

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