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HVAC stands for the closely related functions of Heating, Ventilation, Air conditioning, and Controls.
This is the technology of indoor environmental comfort. An HVAC system design is a major sub-discipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. HVAC is particularly important in the design where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated with temperature and humidity, as well as “fresh air” from outdoors.
Indoor Air Quality. The three central functions of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning are inter-related, providing thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality, within reasonable installation, operation, and maintenance costs. In modern buildings the design, installation, and control systems of these functions are integrated into one or more HVAC systems. For small buildings, contractors normally “size” and select HVAC systems and equipment. For larger buildings, building systems are designed by engineers for their HVAC systems, and specialty mechanical contractors build and commission them. There are different types of standard heating systems. Central heating is very popular in Vancouver, BC for heating private homes and public buildings. Such a system could contain a boiler, furnace or heat pump to heat water, steam, or air – all in a central location such as in the mechanical room for a home. The system also contains either duct-work, for forced air systems, or piping to distribute a heated fluid, and radiators to transfer this heat to the air. The radiators may be mounted on walls or buried in the floor to give under-floor heat (radiant floor heating).
Water heating is more efficient for heating buildings and was the standard many years ago.
Today, forced air systems can double for air conditioning and are more popular.
A couple of benefits of forced air systems: air quality is better with circulation of air as well as better air conditioning effect (up to 15-20% energy savings) – evenly conditioned ambient air. If air quality is a concern due to asthma or respiratory problems, an air purification system can be installed into the ducting work.
Energy efficiency can be improved even more in central heating systems by introducing zoned heating. This allows a more granular application of heat, similar to non-central heating systems. Zones are controlled by multiple thermostats. In water heating systems (boiler) the thermostats control zone valves, and in forced air systems they control zone dampers inside the vents which selectively block the flow of air. In this case, the control system is very critical to maintain a proper temperature. In boiler fed or radiant heating systems, all but the simplest systems have a pump to circulate the water and ensure an equal supply of heat to all the radiators. The heated water can also be fed through another (secondary) heat exchanger inside a storage cylinder).
Ventilation includes both the exchange of air to the outside as well as circulation of air within the building. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings, and homes. Methods for ventilating a building may be divided into mechanical/forced and natural draft types. Ventilation is used to remove unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, introduce outside air, and to keep interior building air circulating, to prevent stagnation of the interior air.Air conditioning and refrigeration are provided through the removal of heat.
An Air Conditioning System, or a stand-alone air conditioner provides cooling, ventilation, and humidity for all or part of a house or building. The refrigerant cycle consists of four essential elements to create a cooling effect. A compressor provides compression for the system. This compression causes the cooling vapour to heat up. The compressed vapour is then cooled by heat exchange with the outside air, so that the vapour condenses to a fluid, in the condenser. The fluid is then pumped to the inside of the building, where it enters an evaporator. In this evaporator, small spray nozzles spray the cooling fluid into a chamber, where the pressure drops and the fluid evaporates. Since the evaporation absorbs heat from the surroundings, the surroundings cool off, and thus the evaporator absorbs or adds heat to the system. The vapour is then returned to the compressor. A metering device acts as a restriction in the system at the evaporator to ensure that the heat being absorbed by the system is absorbed at the proper rate.
Central ‘all-air’ air conditioning systems are often installed in modern residences, offices, and public buildings, but are difficult to retrofit (install in a building that was not designed to receive it) because of the bulky air ducts required. An alternative to large ducts to carry the needed air to heat or cool an area is the use of remote fan coils or split systems. These systems, although most often seen in residential applications, are gaining popularity in small commercial buildings. The coil is connected to a remote condenser unit using piping instead of ducts or small ducting systems. This is used in a heat pump furnace combo. Due to their energy requirements and comfort these are becoming more popular in our climate, especially in the Vancouver lower mainland.
Dehumidification in an air conditioning system is provided by the evaporator. Since the evaporator operates at a temperature below dew point moisture is collected at the evaporator. This moisture is collected at the bottom of the evaporator in a condensate pan and removed by piping it to a central drain or onto the ground outside. Dehumidifiers operate like an air-conditioner that controls the humidity of a room or building. They are often employed in basements which have a higher relative humidity because of their lower temperature (and propensity for damp floors and walls). In food retail establishments, large open chiller cabinets are highly effective at dehumidifying the internal air. Conversely, a humidifier increases the humidity of a building.
Air-conditioned buildings often have sealed windows because open windows would disrupt the attempts of the HVAC system to maintain constant indoor air conditions. Energy recovery systems sometimes utilize heat recovery ventilation systems that employ heat exchangers or enthalpy wheels to recover latent heat from exhausted air. This is done by transfer of energy to the incoming outside fresh air.
Fireplaces today have a greater energy efficiency than in previous years. This is done in a few different advancements. First and foremost is the design of the fireplace cabinet itself. Today we use a closed door system. If your fireplace has an open glass style it is actually robbing warm air from your rooms and throwing it up the chimney flu. Secondly is the heat retention the improved firebox’s provide. The newer designs will actual hold and retain more heat and provide more comfort. Thirdly the modulating gas valve in some of the better units will provide a more even and comfortable tempter for whatever room you are keeping warm. The modulating gas valve will adjust itself to keep an even tempter and greater comfort. With a large range of fireplaces and fireplace company’s to choose from where do you start.
What you need to know is what kind of ventilation system are you needing for your application. There are three types of gas fireplaces on the market today. The first one we will talk about is the Direct Vent fireplace. The direct vent system is a sealed unit system. It uses the same piping system to allow fresh air into the firebox. This a double walled piping system. Providing the very best in quantity of air for the fireplace to burn at a high efficiency rating. Then it uses the same piping system to exhaust the gas’s to the outside. Direct vent fireplace’s does not require a chimney, and can vent horizontally out a sidewall or vertically to the roof. This makes the direct vent the most popular. This means you will get the best selection and most choices. The direct vent fireplace also has a completely enclosed chamber that is highly efficient, drawing in air for combustion from the outside and expelling gasses to the outside as well Prices vary depending on manufacturer, installation needs and model, but in general these fireplaces are far less expensive than installing a traditional fireplace, while providing many advantages.
The second type of fireplace we will talk about is the “b” vent system or “natural vent”. This will also exhaust the gas’s through a piping system but requires a chase for the metal chimney to exhaust to the outside. It does have a closeted glass door system ( but not a sealed system ) they still takes air from the inside of your home. Not as efficient a design as a direct vent system.
The third system of fireplace design is used for a masonry chimney. It now has a two pipe system for it’s intake and exhaust systems. These will provide a greater efficiency rating than the type of gas fireplaces we used in the past. These Direct Vent Insert fireplace can replace your wood burning chimney a break on comfort and ease.
In the past we used what is called a sand pan system. It has open glass doors, and a uses the existing flue from the chimney provided from the wood burning unit before the gas one was installed. A poor efficiency rating, and probably a negative to your heating and comfort level, because it uses the warm air from your home to help in the burning process.
Most people do not realize that the air inside your house is usually several times more polluted that the air outside. No matter how clean your home is, dust, bacteria, odours, dander, pollen and even smoke from gas appliances are floating in the air you breathe. These are not the only pollutants – not just materials found in particleboard furniture, oven cleaners, disinfectants, paints, carpet shampoo, but many more common household materials found in most homes. This is why many families choose to invest in an air purification system.
The health problems associated with airtight homes with stale, heavy, moist, air are relatively unknown. We have all heard about sick buildings, what about sick homes. With the symptoms people complain about these days, indoor air quality is finally getting its due attention.
Air purification systems can remove the majority of pollutants from the air, 90% of all bacteria and viruses, and 50% of all vapours and odours. When shopping for your air filter, you should consider the MERV rating. The MERV rating measures the size of the filter holes, and the maximum rating any household filter has received is 16.
The Air systems used by Gas Fitters are an advanced, user friendly, whole-house solution for poor air quality. They trap pollutants and filters up to 98% of impurities from the air passing through your heating/cooling system. These advanced air cleaning systems captures microscopic impurities like dust, smoke, and smog particles, not to mention larger particles like mold spores or cat dander. By placing an electric charge on airborne particles, the system is able to collect them like a magnet. An added benefit is that you don’t need to replace any filters, but can simply wash the air cleaner cells.
Gas fitters aims is for maximum energy efficiency and top indoor air quality. By limiting the amount of air leakage in your home, we save you energy and money. A well sealed home also prevents the moisture inside your home from being absorbed into the building components and affecting their integrity. This greatly reduces the chance of rot or frost damage. In addition, having a tight building shell will reduce the amount of dust, pollen or other contaminants entering your living space. Most of all, a well sealed home puts you in control of the ventilation in your home. With the right ventilation strategy, you can decide where and when outdoor air can enter the house. In Vancouver, for example, it is important that you take full advantage of house tightening by balancing the ventilation and indoor air quality.
The amount of air leakage in a house depends on two factors. The first is the number and size of air leakage paths through the building envelope. These paths include joints between building materials, gaps around doors and windows, and penetrations for piping, wiring and ducts. The second factor is the difference in air pressure between the inside and outside. Pressure differences are caused by wind, indoor and outdoor temperature differences, chimney and flue exhaust fans, equipment with exhaust fans (dryers, central vacuums) and ventilation fans (bath, kitchen).
To prevent air leakage, it is important to seal the building envelope during construction before the installation of drywall. Once covered, many air leakage paths cannot be accessed and properly sealed. After the home is tightly sealed, you need to ensure that there is adequate fresh air for ventilation. It is better to use controlled, active, ventilation than to rely on air leakage. Energy Star labeled homes, have an active ventilation system is installed along with air sealing so that enough fresh air is provided. When your local Gas Fitter sets up the proper system for your home you will enjoy a tighter building envelope, reducing the amount of unconditioned air, drafts, noise, and moisture that can enter your home. Proper air sealing will also minimize temperature differences between rooms. As a result, tight envelopes will maintain a more consistent level of comfort throughout a house. Without a tight seal, condensation can enter the home and create mold and mildew problems. All that is needed for mold to form is moisture and warmth.
In hot, humid, climates, moister can enter into wall cavities through exterior cracks and result in costly damage to framing and insulation. In cold climates, gaps in interior walls allow moisture from warm, indoor, air to enter wall cavities and attics.This moisture can condense on cold surfaces and lead to structural damage. By significantly reducing air leakage, Energy Star homes can eliminate these problems.
On the other hand, the stale, heavy, air in an airtight home can also cause condensation and eventually lead to mold. At this stage, a musty smell often circulates through the moist, still, air. The solution to this problem could be as simple as opening a window if you don’t have any air conditioning.
There are also other ways of bringing in enough fresh air to make the indoor atmosphere comfortable, well ventilated and safe from any moisture issues. Ventilation systems draw in the exact amount of fresh air needed regardless of the type of activities or people moving about in your home.
Running a variable speed fan (summer fan on your furnace) continuously will even out the temperatures from room to room due to the continuous flow of air it creates. Furthermore, continuous airflow improves air quality because it travels through the filter more often.
Gas fitters follows the highest efficiency and environmental standards. This includes replacing at least 35% of the indoor air with outside air every hour, ensuring a healthy environment for our customers. With so many buildings in Vancouver being upgraded with energy star doors and windows, it is important to maintain an appropriate level of ventilation. In some homes, a high quality bathroom fan is sufficient. In other homes with forced air systems, we install heat recovery systems to maintain efficiency-especially in colder environments. Regardless of your situation, we do our best to reduce your heating and energy requirements and maintaining a healthy environment in your home.
Doing our best at Gasfitter.ca means keeping up to date with manufacturers requirements and standards. Our associates have a strong understanding of cooling and ventilation systems so that we can find the best solution for your home. It is vital for us to understand the basic properties of air and how to circulate it most effectively.
High efficiency gas furnaces circulate twice the volume of air as older, 70°- 90°F temperature-rise equipment. Also, with that same output, high efficiency heat pumps circulate three times more air than these older gas furnaces. However, it is also necessary to have an adequate duct system design or else your equipment will not operate at maximum efficiency.
In the past, gas fitters installed forgiving, low CFM, high temperature rise, heating equipment. This worked fine when electricity was cheap and systems were inexpensive to operate. Today, however, efficiency is not only financially necessary but a part of being environmentally responsible. Now, the trend of air conditioning-ready furnaces with more powerful motors/blowers and induced draft fans has caused sound levels to rise. Furthermore, the reputation of forced air heating being a quality choice has been suffering from poor installations and inefficient equipment choices.
We in the Gas Fitter industry know how to move air more efficiently and quietly move high volumes by controlling duct velocity, airflow rate, duct aspect ratio and air pressure. We understand the power requirements of pushing and pulling air through duct systems. We understand the current fan laws and other useful tools used for sizing and installing duct systems. Gas Fitters measure pressure and CFM’s and ensure our Reliable, Referable Gasfitter.ca Associates possess the exceptional skills to design free flowing duct systems customized for your home.(see heat load calculations)
Air-source Heat Pumps help to heat and cool your home efficiently. They can bring down your greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%, reduce your heating costs by up to 60% and provide air conditioning in the summer. This is especially true if you live in a climate like Vancouver. Rather than converting heat from fuel like typical combustion heating systems, heat pumps simply move the heat through coils inside and outside the house. Heat pumps will deliver 1½ – 3 times more heat energy to your home for every unit of electrical energy it consumes. Today’s heat pumps are 1½ to 2 times more efficient than those 30 years ago. That’s quite an improvement!
If you live in a detached house with ducted or Radiant in-Floor heating systems, it is best for you to use a heat pump to heat and cool your home. Heat pumps operate like reverse air-conditioners and can provide cool air in the summer.Generally, they can save up to 60% of your heating costs in the winter.
Most heat pumps are Split-Systems and have one coil inside and one outside. They are connected with supply and return ducts, and are powered by a central fan inside. When cooling, air-source heat pumps pull heat from the home in order to evaporate refrigerants in the indoor coil. After the gas is compressed, it passes into the outdoor coil and condenses, thus releasing the heat outside. This happens because the compressor and expansion valve change pressure, which allows the gas to condense at a high temperature outside and evaporate at a lower temperature inside.
There are also packaged heat pump systems. With these systems, both the coils and fans are outdoors. Heated and cooled air is delivered from the ductwork (which protrudes through a wall/roof) to the interior.
The heating efficiency measure for air-source electric heat pumps is indicated by the Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF). The HSPF divides the total amount of heating required (measured in BTUs) by the total electrical energy consumed for a given period (measured in watt-hours).
Cooling efficiency, on the other hand, is indicated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The SEER is the total heat removed from a space (BTUs) divided by the total electrical energy consumed for a given period (watt-hours). The most efficient heat pumps rate between 14 and 18. In general, the higher the SEER, the higher the cost of the system. In the long run, though, the system will save you money as it operates more efficiently. For example, if you traded in your old system with a SEER of 6, with a new unit rated at 12, you will use half as much energy and save half as much money.
One of the most significant advances in air-source heat pump technology is the Reverse Cycle Chiller (RCC). With the RCC, you can choose from various heating and cooling distribution systems, including radiant floor systems to forced air, multiple zone, systems. This setup provides hotter air through the supply vents and will lower your electrical bills in the winter. Even at low temperatures the RCC system will operate at peak efficiency. Without electric resistance auxiliary heating coils, you can receive greater comfort with an economical system.
In addition, RCCs can be equipped with a refrigeration heat reclaimer (RHR), similar to the desuperheater coils found on high-end heat pumps and air conditioners. The primary difference is that the RHR produces hot water during the heating season as well as the cooling season by utilizing the excess capacity of the outdoor unit during mild winter days to make (basically free) hot water. In the summer, the system recaptures waste heat from the house provided that the system is cooling the building.
Together, the RCC and RHR systems cost around 25% more than a standard heat pump of similar size. In areas where natural gas is not available, however, it would only take 2 – 3 years before you can make back this additional cost in efficiency savings.
Heat pumps are basically air conditioners which can operate in reverse. Both are based on a liquid absorbing heat as it is vaporized into gas, and that gas releasing heat as it condenses. When heating, a refrigerant is compressed by the compressor within a heat pump and as it is compressed and condensed from a gas to liquid, it will release heat. Heated liquid then travels through a coil where it cools down and releases its heat into the ducts or hot water pipes in your heating system. Finally, the liquid travels through an expansion valve, loses pressure and then absorbs heat in the outdoor coil as it boils into a gas.
There are two types of heat pumps: air source heat pumps and ground source (geothermal) heat pumps. Air source pumps take heat from outside when heating while ground source pumps take heat from the ground. Ground temperatures stay constant (around 10°C), so they operate more efficiently when the air temperature is below 10°C. However, when air temperatures are above 10°C they are less efficient. In BC’s climate, ground source units save more energy than air source units. That being said, ground source units are much more expensive (5 to 6 times the cost of an air source heat pump, furnace combo), which negates the marginal energy savings.
With air source heat pumps you will recover your money in about 5 to 6 years, from energy savings. And you will have a much more comfortable system. For example, with Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and the lower mainland being considerably mild in climate, take this into consideration before changing your heating and cooling system. At 0 degrees a heat pump will generate 20% of your furnaces energy. At 8 degrees a heat pump will generate 100% of the energy used to heat your home. Think of your furnace as an air handler at 8 degrees, only distributing the energy through your home. There could not be a more efficient system for our climate. On the coldest days your high efficiency furnace will provide the comfort you have relied on for many years previous. With today’s equipment we deliver heat at a more constant level. Let one of our reliable, referable gas fitter associates perform a heat loss heat gain evaluation on your home to provide the very best in comfort and equipment efficiency.
Standard furnaces operate like your car in stop-and-go traffic. Fuel efficiency goes down and you’re less comfortable.Older furnaces (15 years or older )have a difference of tempter swing of 1 to 2 degrees. Which means could be up to 4 degrees from the cold to the hot. Please read more about how the variable gas valve and the a.c motor delivers a more efficient comfort level, and more economical. Today’s furnaces have much higher efficiency ratings than in the past. Particularly if your furnace/boiler was made before the 1990s, you should think about upgrading, as you probably aren’t getting the most heat for your dollar.Most furnaces installed before this time have efficiencies of 60-70% (a continuously burning pilot light will reduce this number by another 6%). When shopping for furnaces, you want to consider the unit’s Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The AFUE indicates how well a furnace converts energy into usable heat. The rating is expressed as a percentage of the annual output of heat (output rating in BTUs) to the annual energy input to the furnace (also measured in BTUs). BTU= raising one gallon of water 1 degree
AFUE ratings can be classified as follows:
Low efficiency: below 71%
Mid efficiency: 71 – 83%
High efficiency: above 90%
A high efficiency furnace with a rating of 97% burns around 50 gigajoules of energy a year to heat a typical home in BC.To compare, an old furnace with a rating of 60% would burn over 80 gigajoules a year to heat that same home. High-efficiency systems use around 25% less natural gas than standard systems. This mean you could be spending 25% more than you have to keeping your home warm with a dated system.
Gasfitter.ca wants to help you have a more comfortable home, and spent less while doing it. Here are some stats from a report from the federal government on how and why it is important to use a programmable thermostat.
Canada is a country of diverse climate extremes with varying heating requirements. Nonetheless, heating the home accounts for a large portion of total expenses for Canadians in all regions of the country. In 2006, BC households spent an average of $1,650 on electricity, natural gas, and other fuel for heating and cooking in the primary residence. This was significantly higher (+7.8%) than just two years prior in 2004, when fuel costs took an average bite of $1,531 out of the annual household budget. At Gasfitter.ca we want you to have a more comfortable home with a smaller carbon footprint.
With the increasing cost of energy, householders are naturally conscious of the energy they consume and, as a result-coupled with an increased environmental awareness-many are making an effort to conserve energy. Many energy-conscious households install devices such as energy-saving light bulbs and appliances to help curb energy usage and cost. In the winter months, houses with thermostats tend to conserve the most energy when it comes to heating, and of those, programmable thermostats, which automatically adjust the temperature setting according to the time of day, make it easiest to maintain and regulate the amount of energy used to heat a home.
Programmable Thermostats have become in- creakingly popular among British Columbians and Canadians alike. Since the development of the R-2000 Initiative in the early 1980s, building practices have been evolving in terms of building materials, and different standards for housing components that are more energy efficient. This has had a notable impact on both new and existing homes and additions of technologies such as programmable thermostats have allowed the residential sector to become a leader in the reduction of GHG emissions.
In 1994, 15% of thermostats in BC households were programmable; by 2006, this percentage had grown to 36%. With higher numbers seen in every province, the Canadian average also grew significantly over the same period, with increases ranging from 10 percentage points in Nova Scotia (from 9% in 1994 to 19% in 2006) to 26 percentage points in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario (reaching 41%, 36% and 50%, R-2000 is an initiative developed by Natural Resources Canada, in partnership with Canada’s residential construction industry, with the aim of promoting the use of cost-effective, energy-efficient building practices and technologies with rigorous energy consumption targets. Load calculations are important to match your heat loss and heat gain while designing a house or building so that optimum energy requirements are met. Of course, to realize its full energy-saving potential a programmable thermostat must be put to use. However, in 2006, of the BC households that had one such device, 18% did not program it. This was the case most frequently in Victoria, where nearly a quarter (22%) of households did not program their programmable thermostat.
Lowering one’s household temperature at some point during the day can have a significant effect on energy use in the home. Lowering a thermostat by just one degree can cut as much as 10% off a residential heating bill. By easing system use when dwellings are unoccupied or when the occupants are asleep, energy consumption is reduced. Not surprisingly, the most common time for most households to lower the temperature is at night, regardless of whether or not they have a programmable thermostat.
However, this process is facilitated for those whose thermostats are programmable and this is reflected in the likelihood of households to lower the temperature in their homes while they sleep. For example, of households that programmed their programmable thermostats in 2006, 73% lowered the temperature while they slept, but only 49% of householders manually lowered the temperature at night (include- ing those who owned a nonprogrammable thermostat or who did not program their programmable device). Programmable thermostats facilitate energy conservation and money saving by optimizing the operation of heating systems. This is reflected in the higher likelihood of households equipped with and using these mechanisms to lower temperatures compared to those who have to remember to do so manually.
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