Tips for Air Quality at Your Home

I have received many questions from you asking, “What should I do at my house?”  I put the below info together to help you out.  These are just my opinions, as I am not a biologist or medical professional (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once).  These tips are what you should all be doing all of the time anyway.  For those that do not know, I have four kids ages 5 to 14.  Those kids hang out in petri dishes that we call schools where germs exist daily.  Nevertheless, those four have only missed maybe a combined total of a dozen days of school ever.  My 12 year old has only missed school one time in his life.  If someone at my house gets sick, the rest of us do not get it.  These are proven solutions in the industry and in my own home.

  1. Follow CDC Guidelines – Obviously, observe all of recommendations you already heard regarding hand washing, social distancing, etc.
  2. Ventilate the House
    • Indoor air quality is much worse than outdoor air quality in almost every location on the planet.  Sealing your house up tight and sitting in it is just plain dumb.  Dilution is the Solution.
    • Go outside to get fresh air – just because we were advised to stay AT home does not mean we have to stay IN the home.  Use your yard.  Throw some chicken on the grill (if you can find any chicken lately).  Shoot hoops in the driveway.  Go for a walk.
    • Bring fresh air into the home
      1. If your duct system has an outside fresh air intake, make sure it is not obstructed.  If it has a damper on it, open it.  If it has one of those automated damper controllers, you should consider disabling it so it is always open.  If you have an HRV or ERV, make sure it is running 24/7.
      2. If you don’t have a fresh air system (and many of you likely do not), crack open a few windows.
    • Remove “bad air” from the home.  Many of you have not used your kitchen this much in years.  Make sure you are running the hood exhaust fan while using the gas stove or oven… or see my note above about grilling outside.  Also, make sure your gas dryer vent is clear.  While you are at it, check to make sure all of you other gas appliances (water heater, furnace, fireplace, etc.) are venting correctly and never back drafting.
  3. Filter the Air
    • Make sure your furnace has a clean filter.
    • Preferably use a filter with a MERV 13 rating or higher, but make sure it is a 3 or 4-inch wide filter.  If you get a high MERV rating filter that is only 1 inch wide (such as those filters they sell at some retail stores) it is likely going to be too pressure restrictive for your system and could cause furnace issues.  For many of you, this means you will need a wider filter rack.  Look at the Cor, Carrier, or Bryant EZ Flex filter cabinet.  It can hold a MERV 10 filter or upgraded to a MERV 13 filter.  If you already have the rack (or similar older version), buy the MERV 13 filters and swap them.  If you do not have this rack, consider having one of our residential dealers install it for you.  We also have similar options from Honeywell.
    • If you are in the market for a new filter system, we also have the Carrier Infinity Air Purifier and Bryant Evolution Air Purifiers.  They feature Capture & Kill technology, so not only are they MERV 15 rated for filtration ability, but they have been proven to kill viruses, bacteria, and mold. 
    • If you have the outside ventilation duct that I mentioned in the above section, add an inexpensive 1” low-end filter on just that small duct.  This way the more expensive main MERV 13+ filter will not need to be changed as often.
  4. Purify the Air
    • This is where all of the discussion is at and there are several options depending on your situation including the above-mentioned Carrier/Bryant filter-based air purifiers.
    • Take a look at Photo Catalytic Oxidation (PCO) technology. We have proven and tested solutions from both Respicaire and Honeywell. These bulbs need to be changed annually.
    • At step up from standard PCO devices, is a Respicaire OXY4. It has a 4th oxidizer (hence the name) to help with air purification. It is very quick to install on almost any existing duct systems.  Before your installer mounts it, have them open it up and make sure the metal clips are rotated to expose most of the bulb surface.  These OXY4 devices have 3rd party test data showing their ability to kill viruses, bacteria, and mold in the air.  This has been our best selling air purifier for the past couple of years.
    • Do not rely on standard UV Lights.  Regular UV lights are fantastic at killing bacteria and mold on your evaporator coil.  However, they need a long “shine time” on something to kill germs.  Long means hours.  Therefore, while they do keep your system clean, they do not really clean the air passing though because it moves too quickly. I am not saying that you should not get one of these, but rather that its purpose in life does not help reduce virus spread.  The previously mentioned air purifier products from Honeywell and Respicaire do have UV lights in them, but they also have other components to generate Oxidizers.  They are very different from standard UV lights.
  5. Humidify the Air – I am not a huge fan of humidifiers (for multiple reasons, which I can explain in later blogs).  However, if you do have a humidifier, consider raising the humidity to 35%.  Listening to multiple biologists speak this week, it seems most viruses struggle when in humidity in the 35 to 55% range.
  6. Circulate the Air – In order for the above things to work, such as ventilation, filters, and purifiers, they need the air to be moving.  You need to switch your thermostat from “fan auto” to “fan on” mode so it runs all of time and allows these solutions to do their jobs.  Many of you have debated with me about running the fan continuous… and know that I am normally not an advocate of constant fan mode in all applications (once again, for reasons I can explain in future blogs)… but whenever someone in my house is sick, I switch my fan to run constant 24/7.  I have done the same this month as an extra precaution.
  7. Embrace the “free time” – If your house is like mine, as soon as you get home from work each evening the chaos of sports practices, school homework, and everything else piles up.  We often would go weeks without all 6 of us eating dinner together at the same time (no joke).  In addition, some of you have college kids that you never see… they come home one weekend a month (or less) and you only notice them about 3 hours during that stretch because of their social lives and long sleeping habits.  This may be the only time in all of our lives where our entire families are together for an extended period.  Game nights and movie nights are things again.  Go have a catch outside.  Family bike ride.  Enjoy the only benefit of this crappy situation… family time.

What do we have at our house?  We have an outside air intake, a Carrier Infinity air furifier filter, a Respicaire OXY4 air purifier, and a variable speed continuously running fan system.  We do not have a humidifier, but we are at 42% in house today without it.

Talk to one of our many local Bryant, Carrier, Heil, or Day & Night dealers and have them help you update your home HVAC system.

Icon Building Group <> TEC Cross Promotion

Carrier Residential Showcase:  Elm Estates Lot 1

Elm Estates:  a look inside a custom home by Icon Building Group featuring Carrier HVAC equipment

Icon Building Group of Kildeer, Illinois has been implementing Carrier equipment in their homes for several years via Tempco Heating and Cooling.  While high-efficiency ECM motors and condensing furnaces are standard requirements in an Icon home, some projects require system designs that go above and beyond a standard installation.

Behind the scenes:  a look at the mechanical room during construction in the Elm Estates home by Icon Building Group, featuring Carrier HVAC equipment

Lot 1 at Icon’s Elm Estates subdivision is a shining example of great residential design and equipment installation execution.  The 9,435 SF home, which consists of an entirely custom design by Icon to meet the homeowner’s exacting specifications, features three levels of high-end finishes and planning innovation. Rather than being an afterthought, the home’s mechanical space is a destination in and of itself, with systems for water treatment and heating, A/V and HVAC working in harmony.  This room features two Carrier air distribution systems, as well as IAQ products, serving the lower two levels of the house.  TEC had the unique opportunity to see “behind the walls” as the project was underway.  From the basement mechanical room to the attic system serving the upper-level bedrooms, this well thought out HVAC layout is sure to provide homeowner comfort from the move-in day for years to come.

Elm Estates:  a custom home by Icon Building Group featuring Carrier HVAC equipment

TEC is the Midwest’s largest supplier of HVAC equipment, with solutions for a full range of building types, from multifamily to large, single-family custom work, as well as commercial projects.

TEC and Renewaire Collaborate on Training and Factory Visit

 

On September 24th, TEC hosted 11 customers at the new Renewaire LEED Gold factory in Waunakee, WI for a day of learning about ventilation and the effects it has in every environment. The event kicked off the evening before downtown Madison with a sushi dinner and ended with a fantastic view of the Capitol building.

The next morning Renewaire’s V.P. of Sales and Marketing/Member of ASHRAE 62.1 committee Nick Agopian, started the day off with some frightening statistics about why ventilation is not only necessary, but essential in the health, productivity, and retention of employees. Studies have shown that doubling the suggested rate of outside air from 20 CFM/p.p. to 40 on average only caused a $32/p.p. /yr. rise in operating costs. While raising their productivity 10%, for an average monetary improvement of $6,500/p.p.

While most of us spend 90% indoors, which does not account for the time spent in our vehicles, investing in increased ventilation is worth every penny. Further studies have shown that a payback of less than 2 years is possible along with an internal rate of return (IRR) of 70%. These are the statistics the CFO will want to hear to make the use of ERVs and higher ventilation rates a no brainer.

The day’s agenda was packed and included sessions about ERV fundamentals, codes and standards, application and installation issues, competitive technologies, controls and new products. During the factory tour, we learned how lean manufacturing and cellular assembly stations worked. This allows Renewaire to have the lowest lead times in the industry with very little inventory.

The V.P. of Engineering Neil Werner made sure to explain that in order to achieve their LEED Gold status they had to implement all of the ideas they speak of. The factory uses about $11/hour to run the plant and office. Using energy recovery in all areas helps, but natural lighting is everywhere. There are special parking spots for hybrid and electric vehicles. The office spaces smelled and felt cleaner and more enjoyable.

There was even a guest speaker who demonstrated that most engineers were calculating their DOAS loads incorrectly.

All attendees received 5.75 hours of PDH credit and felt that their time was well spent given the knowledge they gained will go a long way to help designing and specifying ERV in the future. We encourage you to ask your TEC salesperson when the next event will be held so you too can have a day of learning.

TEC & Schwank Go Golfing

During the freezing winter days that gripped the Midwest earlier this year Mistwood Golf Dome in Bolingbrook, IL was having issues heating the sitting area behind the hitting zone where patrons gathered with refreshments.

The Mistwood Golf Dome is held up by two large make up air units (direct fired gas heat) and the first floor was heated with in-floor hydronic radiant heating systems. However, it was still getting cold in both this area and the second level of the hitting areas.

They came to Greg Tomsick of TEC (a Bolingbrook resident) for a solution. He recommended 13 Schwank Electric Infrared Heaters since the ceiling was too low for tubular infrared system and a hydronic heating system that was already in place couldn’t keep up with the demanding cold weather.

Schwank Electric Infrared Heater Installed at the Mistwood Golf Dome

Greg worked with MDC Mechanical based out of Sugar Grove, IL to do the installation, and both agreed that the Schwank Electric Infrared Heaters were the perfect product for this type of application.

Since completing the installation, Mistwood Golf Dome has been one satisfied customer, all while enjoying a comfortable 72 degrees in their seating area!

Schwank Electric Infrared Heaters Installed at the Mistwood Golf Dome Lounge Area

TEC and RenewAire Team Factory Visit

Last month RenewAire hosted TEC customers and employees at their new LEED Gold office and manufacturing facility in Waunakee, WI. Participants were awarded PDH hours during this visit and helpful knowledge to pass on.

It was a two day event that started with a tour and tasting at the Ale Asylum Brewery in Madison, where everyone was delighted with the brew master’s concoctions and a host of tasty hors d’oeuvres. As a special treat everyone was shown the refrigeration side of the brewing process, which was to the delight of the HVAC team!

The next day started bright and early with RenewAire’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Nick Agopian giving a brief history of the company, and how they are represented in the world of IAQ. He stressed the importance of better air quality for the health and well-being of the world population. Up next was Product Manager Nishant Kanapilly; his main focus throughout the first part of his presentation was Federal and State codes and standards, and how they are encouraging everyone to go beyond the requirements for better IAQ. In the second part of the presentation he touched on the importance of zero air cross leakage and how the Energy Recovery Ventilator can affect payback.

This was the perfect time for Technical Support Manager, Dave Baldus to discuss how to utilize RenewAire. He spoke about installation faux pas and maximizing performance. For the participants to fully grasp RenewAire’s products and their performance, a factory tour showcasing the new production facility and LEED Gold HVAC plant took place. One of the highlights was a viewing of their new Dedicated Outdoor Air System that combines an ERV, heating and cooling in one system.

The day finished with Nishant and Nick giving a demonstration of their new CORES software selection tool that distributors, engineers and contractors have at their disposal.

All who attended this visit found it to be an informative and worthwhile day. Participants expressed that their visit will generate new ideas and sales. Future visits will be available.

For more information on RenewAire follow the link.

 

TEC & NEC is Now Stocking Honeywell’s New Hydronic Zoning Panel

Honeywell has introduced a new hydronic zoning panel line for pumps and zone valves.

New with the HPSR (pump) and HPZC (zone valve) panels:

  • “C” common terminal for each thermostat. This allows simple connections for Wi-Fi stats requiring a common wire.
  • Compatible with most thermostats including power-stealing and electro-mechanical. This makes your installation more flexible.
  • LED status indicator lights visible with the cover on or off. This saves troubleshooting time.
  • Color coded wiring. This increases installation speed and decreases the chance of errors.
  • 5 year warrantee. Backed by Honeywell’s history of proven performance and product support.

All these features and benefits at a more competitive price than previous hydronic zone panels!

TEC/NEC will be stocking the HPSR101 (1 zone), HPSR103 (3 zone), HPSR104 (4 zone) & HPSR106 (6 zone) pump relays. The HPZC106 6 zone valve relay will also be in stock.

Carrier Duct Free Split Product Advancement

Carrier continues to improve its duct free split product and accessories.

This summer season stay tuned as new control options for Carrier MA*R Performance Level equipment become available. For single zone systems, the 24v Interface Kit will allow the use of any 5 wire thermostat, such as a COR thermostat with WIFI capability.

For both single zone and multi zone systems Carrier has introduced the Sensibo direct WIFI for smart phones. Sensibo allows you to control MA*R single zone and MGR multi zone systems. It mounts inside the indoor units and connects with a simple wire harness.

Duct free split systems are perfect for year round use with heating performance as low as -22˚ and cooling performance is among the most efficient available.

Contact your TEC representative or Territory Manager for more information. We have ample inventory to serve all of your needs this cooling season.

MicroClean 95™ Whole Home Air Cleaner by Respicaire

The Respicaire MicroClean 95® is a new generation of Hybrid Polarized Media Air Cleaners that combine two processes to maximize air cleaning efficiency. The MicroClean 95® works on the simple principle of electro-magnetic attraction to remove harmful, airborne particulates from your indoor air. This includes particles as small as .001 microns.

Why MicroClean 95 Air Cleaner?

  • 50% of the US market DEPENDS on the 1” application
  • Product with Health Benefits – helps with Respiratory issues, Allergies and Asthma
  • 95% efficiency at 0.3 micron supported by AHRAE Test – MERV 10/11 & up
  • Removes Micro-Particulates – smoke, lung damaging dust, pollen, animal dander, airborne mold, bacteria, spores & more
  • Green Energy – costs less than $5.00 per year to operate 24/7
  • Easy Servicing – replace the internal pads every 3-4 months
  • Quiet Performance with the polarized media for high efficiency performance

Additional Features and Benefits

  • Equipment Friendly – low static pressure – 0.15 w.g.
  • 24 Volt operation – green at 2 watts
  • 18 Standard Sizes, Many Custom Sizes as well as Geothermal Sizes available
  • Sealed Powerheads for moisture and heat protection
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • HVAC trade only Product – Not Available in Retail
  • Residual Business – Replacement Media Pads

What Homeowners are Saying about Respicaire

Several years ago my husband and I bought our second “new to us” home. At the time we had a young toddler and were expecting our second shortly after having moved in. As we settled into our home we started to notice that there was a constant build-up of dust. It seemed like a never ending battle, especially in areas near the vents. We were changing our filters regularly and had had the furnace checked when we moved in – it was considered to be in good condition and was well maintained.

Fast forward a few months and our newborn son started presenting a constant cough. We were diligent in our dust management but still, the problem presented. After months of non-stop respiratory related illnesses, he was prescribed puffers. This was not okay with me, I felt like there had to be something we could do to improve our son’s health.

During this time as we researched options we were introduced to the possibility that our HVAC system may be a part of the problem. After discussing options, we elected to move forward with Respicaire’s UV purifiers and electronic air cleaners.What a difference! If we had known we would have installed this before our son was born! The hacking and coughing stopped.

Fast forward another eight years and my son is no longer using puffers or vulnerable to constant chest infections. The air in the home smells fresh and dust is no longer a problem, unless of course we don’t clean it….

In the end our big learning was that a healthy homestead includes clean air! Thank you Respicaire!

Sincerely,

Nicole and David       

 

Respicaire for the Health of Indoor Air

At Respicaire, healthy indoor air is the mission. Respicaire designs and manufactures innovative products to cleanse, purify, and revitalize indoor air for your homeowners.

Why consider Respicaire:

  • Attacks Odors, Viruses, Bacteria, Microbials, Mold, VOC’s, & Particulates
  • Largest Surface Area of the Active Ingredient (Titanium Dioxide)
  • Dealer Programmable LCD Display with Annual Notification
  • Dealer Contact Information on the LCD Display
  • 3rd Party Tested
  • Field Adjustable Output for more or less Oxidation
  • Dual Voltage 120V or 24V that includes a Plug
  • Tandem Wiring for Multiple Units or Commercial Applications
  • Affordable Replacement Parts

TEC’s IAQ strategy has always been to have the right product for the application. Respicaire’s product offering fits perfectly by having many technologies under one brand. We are especially excited about the new Oxy 4 product which offers removal, cleansing, elimination, and treatment of particulates, microbials, pathogens, gases, and odors. 

For more information visit www.respicaire.com or contact Greg Joutras; greg.joutras@tecmungo.com or (815) 531-7414.

TEC & Magic Aire Exhibit at 2016 IASB Trade Show

On November 18th & 19th, TEC and Magic Aire hosted a booth at the Illinois Association of School Administrators & Illinois Association of School Boards 2016 Joint Annual Conference Exhibition. The booth exhibit featured the unique self-contained unit ventilator which incorporates packaged cooling and heating into a single unit, thus eliminating the added cost and maintenance for adding a remote condenser for cooling.

The unit has the highest part-load efficiency ratings in the industry due to a true variable speed compressor, as opposed to a 2-stage compressor like that of competitors. The sound is also a full 7 dB lower than older Magic Aire units. Models range from 2 to 5 tons and can include water, steam, electric heat or hot gas reheat. Models for 2017 include air and water source heat pumps.

School board members, facilities managers and engineers visited our booth and had the opportunity to appreciate this quiet and efficient unit.