three way manifold

three way manifold
Gauges used for testing refrigerant pressures.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Airflow, Ultraviolet Lights and Air Filtration Systems

     So, I had this customer who works all day long.  The only time he could meet with me was at 8pm.  So I scheduled a meeting with him and showed up at his house right at 8 to talk about airflow and a couple hot spots and cold spots he was having in his home.  The discussion ended up leading another direction all together.  Here's a quick recap . . .
     First off, it was amazing that I walked in at 8:00 in the evening, and the kids were asleep already.  That was cool to me!  I haven't seen anyone do that in a long time.  Kudos to those parents!
     Me and the gentleman walked upstairs to look around the attic.  He wanted me to show him some problems I had advised him about a couple weeks earlier when we changed his compressor out.  You see, his little boy's room was too hot and the kid had been complaining about it.  The complaint got them to walk around the whole house and identify certain areas that were warmer or colder than others.  What's ironic is that the hot spots were all on the West side of the home, and the cold spots were on the shaded, Easternmost side.
     He and I talked about how an HVAC load calculation is performed and what is supposed to go into it.  We also talked about the generic load calculations done for cookie cutter homes, and how some air conditioning companies try to take the load from a house that has the same design but is situated in a different location and facing a different direction, and use it without changing anything.  Please keep this in mind.  The West side of a home is the side that gets the highest concentration of heat from the sun.  It's pounded for the majority of the day at the hottest time of the day.  So if you build the same home for another person, but face it another direction, you are asking for trouble.
     As we wrapped up the discussion on ductwork, he mentioned that he has four filters to change out every  six weeks or so.  He also talked about everyone in the house having allergies, so he had bought some high MERV rated filters (MERV rating refers to the size of particulates that can be filtered from the air, the higher the rating, the smaller the particles that can be filtered).  This is when I mentioned the possibility of installing a 6 inch media filter for him on each unit, and maybe adding an ultra violet light to the insides of his units to kill living airborne particulates.
  Anyways, I showed him where I could install the new filters that attached directly to the return air side of his units, and advised him that he only had to change the filters every six months or so.  This got him excited!  I also told him a story about when I went to visit a friend who had installed some UV lights at Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio.

This friend showed me the UV lights, and the evaporator coils they were shining on.  The coils were almost immaculate!  I didn't believe my friend when he told me that they didn't clean the coils, but let the UV light do it for them.  But then my friend asked me to run my hand slowly past the UV light.  I did what he asked, but I didn't feel anything.  Then he told me to smell my hand!  My hand smelled like burning tissue!  So my friend explained to me that the UV light actually kills airborne germs as they float past the evaporator coil.

     My customer was amazed by this revelation.  This got him excited, and he is making plans to have UV lights placed in both units.  He feels pretty sure that if a hospital is using these things when they filter the air for operating rooms, he will see a benefit as well from decreased allergens in his home.  I agree with him wholeheartedly!
     If you, or people in your home are suffering from allergies, a UV light may be the solution.  These things aren't all created equally though, so make sure you do your research before allowing a contractor to charge you an exhorbetant amount of money for something that doesn't work.  If you don't have a regular air conditioning guy, please call my company, All Seasons Comfort, here in San Antonio.  We'll be happy to guide you through the ins and outs of the HVAC system in your home or business.

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