Tips for Attending Webinars

A few folks have mentioned they had issues attending GoToWebinar, Zoom, Skype, or WebEx meetings.  There are multitudes of reasons why someone may have an individual technical issue, but here are some general tips.

Because of COVID-19, many of you are watching these from home and a LOT of your neighbors are also working from home this month.  If you have cable internet, the more users in your area, the less bandwidth for you.  On days when I am broadcasting a webinar, I go to my office where we have dedicated internet service to avoid that issue.  On days where I am attending web training (but not teaching), I have worked from home with minimal issues, but I do have some recommendations for you.

  1. Assume the issue is on your end.  It is probably not the presenter and it is probably not the tool (Zoom, GoToWebinar, etc.).  It is most likely your computer, your internet connection, or you.  LOL
  2. Test your device in advance using these links:
  3. Ban your kids from online gaming (Xbox, PlayStation, etc) while you are on the web meeting.  Same with Netflix or other internet based movie or video services.  These are bandwidth intensive.
  4. Login 5-10 minutes early so if you have an issue you have some time to deal with it.  Also, some hosts have been exceeding the attendee limit of the service they use, so logging in early insures you have a seat.
  5. When you connect, if you are given the option of watching from a web browser or installing a viewer/launcher on your computer, choose the later.  Install the software now if you have not done so in the past.  Here are the links:
  6. Figure out the audio.  Each of the web tools has different ways to connect audio with mic/speakers or dial-up phone.  If you cannot hear (or cannot speak) you may need to select an audio connection method in that specific tool once you are logged in.  Also don’t forget that your computer speakers themselves could also be muted.  Another reason to join the meeting 5 minutes early.
  7. If you are the one speaking or presenting, invest in an external microphone or headset.  The ones built-in to laptops are not that great.  They work fine to ask a question or two as an attendee, but if you are talking for 30 minutes or more, it may be rough for the others to understand you with a sub-par mic.
  8. If you are having an issue connecting to the meeting to begin with, try these options:
    • Make sure your browser is not blocking any pop-ups.  And if there is a pop-up to launch the meeting make sure you click on it.
    • Reboot the computer (this fixes half the issues in my life)
    • Reboot your router (this fixes the other half of the issues LOL)
    • Try to connecting using an alternate browser.  I use Chrome as my primary web browser and have had no issues with any of the web meeting services.  But whenever any other web based tool in my life has an issue, I always try another browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.).
    • Try using an alternate device.  See if you can connect from a different computer or tablet.
    • Try using an alternate Internet connection such as a phone hot spot (even if just for 2 minutes as a test so you can eliminate some variables in your troubleshooting).
  9. Download the mobile apps for each of these tools so you have them as a plan B.  It is obviously harder to watch on a smaller screen, but at least you can still participate.  GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype, and WebEx all have mobile apps.

There are other services that you may be invited to use for a virtual meeting, so you will need to do something similar.  TEC has video conferencing through 8×8 so you may be using that.  I had one company send me a Microsoft Teams link to a conference.  I have attended a couple on Join.Me, which is the same parent company as GoToMeeting but uses different technology.  In those cases, try to login 15 minutes early and see if it gives any options to run a test or to download a software applet.

Upcoming and recorded webinars can be found at www.tecmungo.com/training

Cartoon credit: openjaw.com

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.

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 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.

 

Carrier & Bryant Service Technician App

Solving challenging HVAC/R problems is your job. Helping you get the right parts, supplies and equipment you need is ours. Whether it is for warranty repairs for Carrier and Bryant equipment or for non-warranty repairs on any make or brand of equipment, the Carrier & Bryant Service Technician Apps can help identify the right part.

Key Features:

  • Search by scanning serial bar code, entering serial number or entering model number
  • Quickly locate parts list for equipment
  • View relevant technical literature for equipment
  • Lookup warranty entitlement and service history based on serial number
  • Locate the nearest Parts Sales Center and get directions
  • Selection and Cross-reference tool for Totaline parts
  • Ability to create jobs and add parts to jobs so that the order can then be emailed

With all these great new features now included in the Carrier & Bryant Service Tech Apps we will be decommissioning the following apps on 12/7/16. Please be sure to download and install the new apps at your soonest convenience as to not miss out!

  • Carrier/Bryant Technical Literature app
  • Carrier/Bryant eInfo app
  • Carrier/Bryant Ductless & VRF app

Both apps can now be downloaded from the Apple App and Google Play stores.

TEC & NEC Residential Territory Managers Receive BPI Certificate of Knowledge of Building Science Principles

All Residential Territory Managers at Temperature Equipment Corporation and National Excelsior Company, in all states, now hold the BPI Certificate of Knowledge of Building Science Principles. This means that our staff now has the expert knowledge of how building science interacts with the overall performance of a customer’s home. This program has provided Territory Managers with expertise on understanding the relationships between the following key systems within a home:

  • Building envelope
  • Heating
  • Air Conditioning
  • Insulation
  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Lighting
  • Appliances
  • Other systems

Territory Managers at both TEC and NEC possess the fundamental knowledge and understanding of how these systems affect the comfort, health, and safety of your customers, as well as the durability and energy efficiency of the home itself.

New Commercial INVE$T Software Released

This re-designed Carrier Commercial INVE$T v3.0 program will provide payback, operating cost savings, and energy cost savings for replacement, new construction, and sell up opportunities on RTUs and split systems.  It has been updated to include the latest ASHRAE standard guidelines, hourly analysis profiling, plus the addition of Staged Air Volume (SAV™) 2-speed indoor fan motor, two stage compression, ERV’s and Continue reading “New Commercial INVE$T Software Released”