When you purchase a new boiler, you may see several different energy-efficiency ratings in the documentation. The first is the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The second is the thermal efficiency rating, and the third is turndown ratio. Your boiler’s AFUE rating indicates the fuel efficiency of the boiler while the thermal efficiency rating refers to how efficiently your boiler transfers heat to the water. The turndown ratio indicated how scalable the boiler is in relation to the needed heating load. The good news is that we can explain the meanings of these designators and help you choose the best boiler for your building and your budget.
When is the last time you thought about the humidity levels in your Chicago building? If you’re like most people, the answer is not since the last 90-degree day when you felt like you were walking through a giant outdoor sauna while traversing the parking lot to your car. The truth is that the humidity levels inside your building are extremely important. If it’s too dry, certain finishes in your building may crack, like wood flooring and moldings, and your residents may feel cold, even if the thermostats are set correctly. If it’s too wet, your building may start to feel like that 90-degree day.
Commercial, residential and rooftop HVAC units all have an expected useful life. The lifespan typically ranges from 5 to 20 years. The caveat is that those lifespan numbers always include the phrase “with proper maintenance”. As a building owner, superintendent or property manager, it’s important to understand what kind of maintenance your unit needs on a regular basis and how manufacturers define proper maintenance in regards to their units’ expected operating lifespans. Failure to understand these terms could mean that you think you have to replace your HVAC system in 20 years when you will actually have to replace it in 5.
Have you heard about the upcoming freon law change? If you aren’t, you should know that R-22, which is known by the brand name Freon, will be illegal in the United States as of Jan. 1, 2020. This means that R-22 cannot be manufactured or imported into the country. If you have an HVAC system that operates using R-22, you will still be able to operate that system. However, the next time you need a repair that requires a refrigerant refill, you may not be able to get more R-22 due to the decreasing availability as current supplies dwindle.
Are you ready for the changes in the HVAC industry in 2020? Next year is slated to be one of the best for commercial HVAC contractors and business owners looking to upgrade or replace their current systems. This is because new energy-efficient improvements combined with IoT and BAS systems are slated to help business owners save money over the entire lifespans of their HVAC systems, and owners who install new HVAC equipment before 2023 can take advantage of near-immediate tax breaks.
Are you thinking about going green by installing rooftop solar panels on your Chicago building? Rooftop solar panels are a great way to cut your energy expenses and general power with a renewable energy course, and here at Althoff, serving Chicago, we design and build solar panel systems for commercial, industrial and large residential buildings.
Are you concerned about the efficiency and reliability of your commercial HVAC system in Chicago? If you haven’t had your system inspected and repaired recently, now may be a good time to call for preventative maintenance. This is because HVAC systems can wear out over time, leading to a loss of energy-efficiency and unexpected breakdowns that could leave your building without heat for several hours or even several days, depending on the complexity of the needed repairs. Here at Althoff, we want you to be aware of the common problems commercial HVAC systems experience in the winter so that you can take steps to avoid these scenarios.
Are the restrooms in your building ADA compliant? The ADA Act was enacted by Congress in 1990 to help eliminate discrimination against those with disabilities in employment, access to public services, telecommunications and public accommodations, which includes restrooms. If your building was built after 1990, there’s a good chance it’s already ADA accessible. However, the Act was amended in 2008 and the new and updated clauses when into effect in 2009. If you have not reviewed the changes, there may be a chance that your building bathrooms are not ADA compliant.
With autumn temperatures cooling off and winter on the way, it’s important to start thinking about fall chiller cleaning and winter shutdown. Properly cleaning and taking your chiller off-line prevents harmful bacteria and containments from building up in the chiller tank and making themselves known in the spring when you reactivate your system. Here at Althoff, serving Chicago, we want to make sure you know the proper steps to take and the reasons why your chiller should be professionally shutdown in the fall.