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4  FM quick reads on HVAC

1. Facing HVAC Demands to Protect Critical Systems


I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is dependable power sources. Depending on the level of uptime dictated by the information technology manager, reliability of the system might require multiple dependable sources of power that could include dual electrical service fed from independent power substations, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), standby power generators, or all the above.

In order for servers and drives to safely shut down, a system that started with a small independent UPS now needs to be upgraded to a centralized system, due to increasing demands and economy.

Uptime requirements might make it necessary to have a standby generator to pick up the power load from the UPS and operate until commercial power returns. This period of time could be hours, days or weeks, depending on the event.

Incorporating a standby generator requires managers to carefully plan and execute the electrical design, fuel storage, fuel maintenance and delivery system, and generator combustion air ventilation and exhaust. Generators are inherently noisy, so managers must determine and control sound levels in order to mitigate disturbances to the surrounding neighborhood, as well as to comply with applicable local noise ordinances.

It also is helpful to have parallel paths of power to the utilization equipment. This service can become very costly, but it is necessary in order to perform maintenance on equipment, such as generators, UPS, transfer switches, and power-distribution units.


2.  Water Treatment Can Extend Boiler Life and Improve Energy Efficiency

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from James Piper, contributing editor for Building Operating Management and Maintenance Solutions magazines. Establish a water treatment program to ensure boiler efficiency and reliability.

Water treatment is one of the most important elements in any boiler maintenance program. Untreated boiler water contains contaminants that include dissolved minerals, gasses and particulates.

Dissolved minerals can result in the formation of scale on boilers' heat-transfer surfaces. Gasses can form corrosive compounds that attack surfaces. Suspended particulates can contribute to both problems.

Boiler scale forms when dissolved mineral salts in the water settle on heat-transfer surfaces. This scale acts as a layer of insulation, reducing the rate of heat transfer and the boiler's efficiency. Even a thin layer of scale can reduce efficiency by 10 percent or more. Scale also can result in localized overheating of a boiler tube. Uncorrected, this issue can lead to boiler tube failure, downtime and costly repairs.

Dissolved gasses, such as oxygen, can increase the boiler water's corrosiveness. As a result, metal surfaces in the boiler and heating system come under attack. If technicians do not correct the problem, the resulting corrosion can destroy metal surfaces, decreasing the service life of the boiler and system piping.

Water-treatment programs introduce limited quantities of certain chemicals that combine with impurities in the water and neutralize the impurities to keep them in suspension.

Facility managers should design and monitor water-treatment programs carefully. Using the wrong chemicals — or the wrong quantities — can damage the boiler or other system components. Monitoring is essential because changes in feedwater quality can require changes in the treatment program.

Water-treatment programs are most critical in steam systems. These systems have much higher requirements for make-up water, which contains contaminants that can damage boiler surfaces.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

3.  Some HVAC Upgrades Are Better Candidates for EPAct Tax Deductions

Today's tip from Building Operating Management comes from Charles Goulding of Energy Tax Savers, Inc.

Facility managers planning many types of HVAC upgrades should take a close look at Energy Policy Act (EPAct) tax deductions. Although Section 179(D) deductions are not limited to specific types of HVAC equipment, and any HVAC project that meets the criteria spelled out in Section 179(D) would qualify for the deduction, experience to date has shown that most deductions are for the following types of projects:

1. Geothermal (ground source heat pumps)
2. Thermal storage
3. High-efficiency package terminal air conditioning (PTAC) units in apartments and hotels
4. Centralized HVAC in apartments and hotels
5. Energy recovery ventilation
6. Demand control ventilation
7. Chillers in buildings of less than 150,000 square feet
8. Very efficient heaters in warehouse, industrial and other spaces with no air conditioning
9. VAV (variable air volume) devices in buildings of less than 75,000 sq. ft.
10. Chilled beam ceilings
11. Magnetic bearing chillers

The maximum EPAct deduction is $1.80 per square foot. To get that deduction, the building must reduce overall energy costs by 50 percent compared to a building designed to meet the 2001 version of ASHRAE Standard 90.1. If a project doesn't reduce energy use enough to qualify for that deduction, there are tax deductions of up to $0.60 per square foot each for lighting, HVAC and the building envelope.

To qualify for a deduction, an HVAC project must reduce energy costs at least 16.67 percent below the costs for a building designed to meet ASHRAE 90.1-2001. The project must use energy modeling to show the energy cost savings.

Facility managers interested in EPAct tax deductions should act soon. The deduction is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013.

This has been a Building Operating Management Tip of the Day. Thanks for listening.

4.  Good HVAC Maintenance Practices Mean Good Indoor Air Quality

Even the most sophisticated HVAC system will fail to provide good indoor air quality if not properly maintained, which makes developing an HVAC maintenance plan crucial to assuring the proper operation of the building's HVAC system so it can provide an acceptable indoor environment. Facility managers interested in fostering good indoor air quality should make certain to have an HVAC preventive maintenance program that includes:
&mdash: Scheduled inspection, cleaning and service.
&mdash: Calibration of control system components.
&mdash: Replacement parts that at least meet design specifications.
&mdash: Proper procedure documentation.

To facilitate inspection and maintenance of the duct system, facility managers should consider installing access doors in the HVAC ducts. The access doors should be gasketed and provide a tight seal. In addition, facility managers may also want to install access doors in the HVAC equipment if access is insufficient for inspection or maintenance.

Another component of good maintenance practices to protect indoor air quality is to make sure you're using proper levels of biocide in water treatment systems. Cooling towers are prime sources of microorganism growth. They require continuous attention. Periodic testing is also advisable.


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HVAC , computer servers and data storage

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