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Maintenance Tips for Heating & Cooling Systems

Posted by Sam Pelonis | Jun 29, 2015 7:00:00 AM | 0 Comments

When customers choose to undertake custom heating or cooling projects, they may not always make as many considerations as industry professionals.

There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed before any installation can begin, such as those pertaining to the location and characteristics of the desired system, and the cost and energy concerns of the entire project.

There are also many questions to consider when working on the systems once they are set in place; the slightest issue can increase the chances of component degradation or eventual failure. Depending on whether you are working on either a heating or cooling system, there are different questions that are vital to keep in mind.

PTC_heaterHeating Systems

Q:  Is maintenance the same for all kinds of heating systems?

A:  Since heating systems differ slightly, maintenance on those systems will also differ.

For example: household heating applications rely on the thermal conduction of the building, whereas transportation heating applications utilize energy from the vehicle itself. Some applications rely on thermostats to regulate energy, and others are self-limiting.

In any case, you’ll want to consider the specific energy concerns and individual components of the application before making repairs.           

Q:  My heating system is creating unusually high utility costs—how can I resolve the issue?

A:  Higher energy costs can be indicative of poor energy efficiency. The secondary limiting devices that some heating systems depend on can malfunction, leading to an influx of heat energy—which in turn leads to higher energy costs.

To combat this issue, you should regularly check your system for any signs of overheating and replace any defective parts.

Q:  Do PTC heaters need constant maintenance?

A:  A PTC heater has a much longer service life than a traditional resistance heater. PTC heating limits the amount of energy flowing through a system, making them less prone to overheating or shorting out. Like with any machinery, it is possible for PTC heaters to malfunction—if you notice any problems, check the heater for any faulty circuitry.

HVAC_fanCooling Systems

Q:  Is maintenance the same for fans and blowers?

A:  Maintenance will be slightly different for fans and blowers since each has unique airflow and pressure characteristics, but generally you should watch for signs of fatigue on belts, bearings, sheaves, and other components. DC fans, DC blowers, micro fans and cross flow fans will each have some differences when it comes to maintenace.

Q:  Why are there airflow problems in the system?

A:  Your cooling (and heating) system can accumulate debris or other contaminants, which can lead to poor performance and damaged components over time.

Make sure to keep these components clean. Issues like fan degradation (caused corrosive gases or abrasive particles) can be averted with periodic inspection of the system for any flow irregularities.

Q:  What is another component that needs to be checked regularly?

A:  The condition of the fan’s motor is vital to the proper operation of the system. You can use methods such as vibration analysis—of the motor speed and blade pass frequency—to preemptively detect issues within the motor windings. You can also measure insulation resistance at certain voltages to test the motor windings.

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If you have additional questions about diverse, custom heating and cooling systems, Pelonis Technologies has several online resources that can provide you with a better understanding of options available to you.

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How to Create Specifications for a Heating and Cooling System

Posted by Sam Pelonis | Dec 22, 2014 7:00:00 AM | 0 Comments

Problem-free operation of heating and cooling systems begins well before consumers even switch on their machines.

During the spec phase, designers of these systems must factor in several considerations while asking themselves pertinent questions. Here are three such questions accompanied by some helpful answers. 

1. Is the heating/cooling system properly sized?

Cooling_FanProper sizing is crucial for ideal speccing of these systems. When calculating the heating and cooling requirements for a given facility, it is important to avoid the olden practice of “rule of thumb” sizing, which equates system size with a facility’s total square footage.

Regarding sizing, be sure to consider these factors: cubic footage to be heated and cooled, insulation and rate of air infiltration, and industry standard protocols for product sizing. These design points will help heating and cooling systems avoid serious issues in the future, including short cycling and excessive equipment wear.

2. With all the different temperature control devices on the market, which is the best for the application?

Delivering optimum heating and cooling is one of the expected outcomes when speccing a new system. Thermal controls are an important part of maintaining the correct temperature; there are various thermal control products available on the market, enabling you to maintain a comfortable environment regardless of building size.

A simple electromechanical control may be all that is required for some applications. Other situations may require more elaborate controls and sensors for multiple zones. In addition, predictable schedules may demand newer controls, incorporating artificial intelligence or remote web-based controls for warming and cooling prior to arriving at the facility.

3. What potential electrical problems could affect the performance of the system?

Today’s heating and cooling systems offer many benefits that aren’t available in older systems. However, most of the electronics in modern systems can create issues not found in electromechanical systems, such as a low voltage specification; if the specification isn’t met, motor life will shorten and cause the electronic component to malfunction.

When speccing a system that will use backup power, it’s important to verify that all incoming power sources meet the requirements of the heating/cooling system. Frequently, this means the power supply meets a combined variation in voltage and frequency of 10 percent, provided the frequency variation doesn’t exceed five percent of the rated frequency.

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Considering these questions will help engineers design heating and cooling systems that are ready to perform optimally when needed. For more information on heating and cooling systems, visit our online resource library.

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Common Signs of Wear to Check for in Preventative Maintenance

Posted by Sam Pelonis | Sep 29, 2014 3:48:00 PM | 0 Comments

Industrial heating and cooling systems can succumb to various issues during their life cycles. If any complications in your system are left unattended, it could result in higher utility costs, damaged parts and equipment, or exposure to hazardous air quality. In many cases, these issues can be avoided by utilizing preventative maintenance techniques. 

To comply with industry standards, heating and cooling systems must undergo annual preventative maintenance; it is good practice to prepare for upcoming seasons, as different temperatures and moisture levels can adversely affect different systems.

Since operating and energy costs can accumulate as time progresses, it’s in the best interest of you and your customers to keep heating and cooling systems running as efficiently as possible. You should be conducting routine inspection to ensure all components are functioning correctly.

Pay attention to the signs

PH2207-L4When performing preventative maintenance, there are several common signs that you should always be on the lookout for.

  • Listen for any abnormal noises. If you hear sounds emanating from the system that seem out of the ordinary, that could mean fan blades or sheet metal panels are loose, and thus vibrating. Continuing to listen will help identify the noise’s origin; once you find it, thoroughly and carefully inspect the blades and motor. Check if fans and motors are rotating easily—if they aren’t, you need to immediately replace components.  
  • Unusual odors could be a problem. Part of the inspection process involves using your sense of smell. If the air around the system seems musty or moldy, there are a few possible explanations: standing water could be building up in drain pans; drain lines could be clogged or improperly installed; there could be ductwork leaks; or debris could be in or near air ducts. You can test any suspect areas with electronic leak detectors. Any kind of burning smell in the system can be caused by loose electrical connections and overheating parts. This is a potential fire hazard, so you need to act swiftly if you smell burning.
  • Lack of airflow. Lack or airflow may indicate a problem. You’ll need to make sure fans are rotating smoothly; also, check for any type debris that could be obstructing the system. When heating and cooling systems have substantially low airflow, it can dramatically reduce the life cycle of compressors—in fact, this is a major cause of compressor failure.
  • Look for discolorations. One of the more obvious signs of wear in your system is any discoloration; this can signal corrosion on various parts and equipment. If you see any abnormally colored water building up, rust might be inside your system. These issues can also indicate a moisture imbalance within the system.

Always remain vigilant

When you are open to these common signs of wear, you can prevent several issues from afflicting industrial heating and cooling systems. Being attentive and using these guidelines will enable you to lower maintenance costs and prolong the service life of your parts and equipment. 

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