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 inspecting the radiator steam traps and possibly replacing them so that your Chicago residents have reliable heat all winter? Steam traps are essential because if they are clogged or stuck in the closed position, the radiator will not produce heat, leaving the residents in your units cold. Here at Althoff, we recommend getting your steam traps inspected and repaired or replaced yearly.
With the temperatures starting to cool and fall rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about fall boiler preventive maintenance for your Chicago building. When heating equipment malfunctions or breaks, it tends to do so on the coldest day of the year or on a holiday, like Christmas or New Years. The reason is pretty simple. If you have an older boiler that hasn’t been maintained well, it has to work harder on extremely cold days. This can cause the unit to break down, and if it happens on a weekend or holiday, it can add hundreds of dollars to your repair bill. In order to avoid heating equipment catastrophes and uncomfortable indoor temperatures, you should think about taking steps to ensure that your boiler is ready for winter before cold temperatures arrive.
How well maintained is your boiler? If you answered that it still ran last winter, you may be in for a surprise, especially If you are committing one of these classic boiler maintenance mistakes. In fact, you could be setting yourself up for high winter heating bills and the need for emergency maintenance. To make sure you are getting the most out of your boiler, remember to have your boiler inspected regularly and repaired when needed.
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.