Air source heat pumps are increasingly becoming a popular way to heat homes. They are a cost-effective alternative to central, electric or storage heating. Primarily, they work by moving outdoor heat indoors, or vice versa. They can either be used on their own or as a complement to a gas-based heating system. Having a well-insulated home helps to get the most out of your heat pump. Find out if air source heat pumps are for you.
How do air source heat pumps work?
An air source heat pump (AHSP) is installed outside the house. The pump captures heat from the surrounding air outdoors and releases it inside the home. Air source heat pumps consume electricity as they operate but when compared to other types of heating they are more energy efficient.
Heat pumps can both heat up and cool your home depending on the time of the year. They essentially work like a fridge in reverse. In the winter, they make outside air colder by extracting its latent heat and bringing it into the home. In the summer, the same thing happens but in the opposite direction; the inside of the house is like a fridge where heat has to be removed and pushed outside.
A refrigerant liquid is used to capture heat from the air so it can be sent into a compressor which increases its temperature. This hotter fluid can then transfer this captive heat to the heating and hot water systems in your home.
The heat pump cycle works as follows:
How much does it cost to run an air source heat pump?
While air source heat pumps are cheaper than their ground-based counterparts, they are still quite an investment. The initial cost of these heat pumps can run anywhere between £6,000 and £8,000. However, with the UK seeing rising summer temperatures in the south, air source heat pumps do have an ace up their sleeves: they can also cool your home during hot weather.
According to Jon Davies at Great Home, a website that specialises in home improvement advice, installation costs for a new system can vary greatly according to the type of home. Let’s have a look at how an air source heat pump stacks up against a standard gas boiler system.
If you are considering getting a heat pump for your home, you will also have to factor in the installation. Even if the setup cost is included in your heat pump quote, it’s worth checking the installer’s credentials and reputation.
Cutting corners on installation will come back to haunt you when you need to maintain your system.
Most installers who deal with air source heat pumps will have experience with boilers and other renewable technologies, such as solar panels. Heat pump technicians should preferably be Gas Safe registered and have the correct endorsements for this type of installation.
In terms of maintenance, heat pump owners are looking at similar inspection schedules and costs as regular gas boilers. Households can expect a basic two or three-year warranty as standard for their heat pump. There are also various warranty extension options available directly from the manufacturer, for an extra cost. For example, you can expect an average of about 20 years when it comes to operational life. There are early heat pumps installed in the seventies that are still going strong. Yearly checks and then more in-depth inspections every three to five years is the way to go to keep a heat pump system in tip-top condition.
Is an air source heat pump cheaper than gas?Savings, and how soon you see them, greatly depend on how efficient your ASHP system is when compared to your old boiler or heating system. The answer to this question also depends on whether you’ll be taking advantage of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
Let’s take a look at some potential savings figures for a medium-sized four-bedroom home.
Estimated annual savings compared to previous heating system
Old gas boiler (G efficiency rating)£400 - 455
Old oil boiler (G efficiency rating)£460 - 540
Old electric storage heaters£800 - 990
Old LPG boiler (G efficiency rating)£1,140 - £1,320
Be aware, that these estimates do not include Renewable Heat Incentive payments that you may be eligible for. These payments can range anywhere between £800 to £1,000.
If you have a newer boiler or heating system, you are probably getting relative energy savings already. Swapping out a recent system for a heat pump might not be worth it purely for economic reasons. You could end up paying anywhere from £35 to £55 more every month if you do so.
Advantages and disadvantages - is an air source heat pump worth it?Air source heat pumps can seem almost magical in the way they pull heat out of thin air. That doesn’t mean that they are necessarily the silver bullet for all of your heating needs.
Heat pump benefitsThe pros of having ASHP are based around energy efficiency and sustainability:
What are the disadvantages of heat pumps?
The cons of having heat pumps mainly centre around perceived convenience and setup costs:
Do air source heat pumps work in cold weather?
Air source heat pumps will continue to work in cold weather, but the level of efficiency they work at will depend on the brand you buy. Invariably, however, these heat pumps work best in warm weather and lose efficiency in the cold, meaning that users often need a supplementary source of heating during the colder months.
Should I buy a heat pump?
At the moment, heat pumps will provide the most value for money for homes that are not connected to the national grid's gas supply. For years, homes without natural gas have had to contend with expensive options for heating and hot water. Heat pumps provide significant savings and convenience when compared to oil, electricity, LPG and solid fuels like wood or coal.
To maximise heat pump efficiency, it’s best to go for underfloor or warm air heating if possible. Since air pumps work by essentially sucking up latent heat from outdoors to put it indoors, good insulation is crucial to get the most out of a heat pump system in your home.
If you live in an older home with poor insulation, putting in a heat pump should be part of a broader home improvement investment including better insulation and window glazing to maximise energy efficiency.
Air Source Heat Pump Reviews - which is best?
Here are some of the top brands with models available in the UK. Take a look at what each one offers in the follow air source heat pump reviews:
1. Worcester Bosch Greensource
While they are a household name when it comes to traditional boilers, Worcester Bosch has also begun to offer a range of AHSP models called Greensource. Their heat pumps have built-in air purifiers which makes them a great option for households with allergy sufferers.
Additionally, they also offer compact models that make installation easier and remote control features that let you operate the system smartly from anywhere in your home, making them significantly more convenient.
2. Samsung Air Source Heat Pump - Samsung Eco
The Samsung brand has always been associated with the consumer technology sector, whether it’s 4K TV’s or the latest smartphones. They are also deeply invested in air source heat pump manufacturing, leveraging their past expertise with air conditioning units.
Their Eco Heating System (EHS) is most notably offered in an all-in-one flavour with their TDM technology, which is particularly well-suited to homes with under-floor heating.
Samsung tends to push for integrated Air Source Heat Pumps that allow for speedier installation by coming with an included hot water cylinder and a rapid connection board. They have a wide range of heat pump and air conditioning products for a variety of budgets and needs.
3. Hitachi Yutaki
Hitachi is a Japanese company with a long history in the technology and manufacturing sectors. Their ASHP range is called Yutaki, named after a famous waterfall in Japan. Their range is further divided into two product lines.
The M-line is an outdoor space-saver AHSP which gives users a remote control for setting temperatures. The Yutaki-M is easy to recommend for newly-built homes. The S-line features a more complex design with both indoor and outdoor systems. The Yutaki-S is so powerful it can even heat water to up to 60ºC, making them ideal for heating up swimming pools!
If you have already spent money on a new hot water tank, the Yutaki S80 might be a solid option. It’s a split system, meaning it has both outdoor and indoor parts, that can heat up water to 80ºC and provide five-fold efficiency gains when compared to standard central heating systems.
The Hitachi models also have easy-to-use holiday settings to keep your home at a constant temperature when you are travelling. This can help to protect it from water damage due to extreme cold temperatures.
If you choose to go with a Hitachi heat pump, you should insist on contracting an accredited installer so you can get their exclusive full 7-year parts and labour warranty.
4. Dimplex LATU
Dimplex are not a household brand but that doesn’t mean they lack expertise. With 70 years of experience in electric heating, they are well-placed to be a successful heat pump manufacturer.
Their Air Source Heat Pumps fall under the LATU range and can uniquely handle significant heat demands, which makes them ideal for larger homes and even in professional settings. Dimplex can put out anywhere between 17kW to 45kW of heat from a single heat pump. High output coupled with high efficiency means lower costs for demanding users.
Their products are also notable for their soundproofed fans and electronic speed control which helps to mitigate noise.
5. Mitsubishi Air Source Heat Pump - Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan
Mitsubishi is another household name that is very much respected in the heat pump industry. With Ecodan heat pumps, the company aims to cater to residential homes as well as retail and commercial buildings.
The Ecodan PUHZ Monobloc model is specifically designed for homes by keeping noise down, thanks to its single fan compact outdoor design. Mitsubishi also manufactures heat pumps that can resist corrosion from seaside locations, which should appeal to coastal households.
Our verdict: is a heat pump a good idea?
Here at The Switch, we believe that Air Source Heat Pumps are an ideal heating and hot water option for most new homes. They are also a good choice for those with well-insulated older homes looking for an energy-efficient and sustainable upgrade to provide them with savings and a green peace of mind.
For rural or remote homes which have been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to choosing LPG, oil or expensive electric heating, AHSP represents a real alternative that can be easily installed and maintained.
From William Morris @ TheSwitch.co.uk
Even as a student of literature, Will always had one eye on new energy and never overpaid a penny on his electricity and gas. He worked as a copywriter and then as a journalist before realising his life's purpose and joining Selectra in January. He now dedicates himself to decrying poor customer service and championing affordable energy tariffs.
The ACR Journal (formerly ACR Today) - the journal for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) Professionals
Mitsubishi Electric has renewed its partnership with Special Olympics GB for a further two years with both organisations working to help transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sport.
Special Olympics GB is a non-profit organisation and the largest provider of year-round, sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics GB currently has more than 120 all ability, inclusive sports clubs covering 28 sports across England, Scotland and Wales providing approximately 27,000 regular hour-long sporting sessions per year, all delivered by a team of more than 4,000 volunteers.
An official partner since 2018, Mitsubishi Electric has been active in supporting a wide variety of events, from last year’s Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi and the 40th Anniversary Games in Stirling in August 2018, to the smaller individual regional events with employees actively encouraged to volunteer.
Moving forward, the partnership will focus on delivering a range of joint initiatives which underpin, promote and reiterate the values and objectives of both organisations. From Unified sport events – both virtual and physical – to providing platforms for our athlete’s stories to be shared, increased interaction and engagement with our Special Olympics GB Athlete Leadership Team and a variety of volunteering opportunities being offered, we will work together to deliver maximum engagement and purpose for both organisations.
Michelle Carney, CEO of Special Olympics GB, said: “We are absolutely delighted Mitsubishi Electric has decided to continue its relationship with Special Olympics GB. Mitsubishi Electric has a strong employee engagement agenda and with the many opportunities – both physical and virtual – Special Olympics GB can offer, the relationship works incredibly well for both sides.
"We have seen first-hand the impact Mitsubishi Electric colleagues and their volunteering work has on our events and our athletes and it can only be described as joyful for everyone involved. We often talk about the transformational effect of Special Olympics GB on our athletes but once organisations and volunteers meet and listen to our athletes, it transforms their lives too. We are very aware of the world we are living in and the many issues businesses are facing at the moment, and we are hugely grateful for the ongoing support from Mitsubishi Electric.”
Deane Flint, UK & Ireland Branch President of Mitsubishi Electric, said: “We are delighted to continue supporting the incredible work that Special Olympics GB does, giving these amazing athletes the recognition they deserve. In these challenging times it is more important than ever that everyone is given the chance to shine and realise their full potential, and we look forward to finding more opportunities for our staff to join in with the brilliant work this amazing body achieves.”
Article Courtesy of ACR Journal www.acrjournal.uk/news/mitsubishi-electric-extends-backing-for-special-olympics-gb/
The ACR Journal (formerly ACR Today) - the journal for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) Professionals
Ventilation specialist Elta has warned that improving indoor air quality (IAQ) must be an immediate priority, to restore faith in the safety of public buildings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the focus of the air we breathe, meaning indoor spaces viewed with more scepticism than ever before. In a recent whitepaper, the UK government has established that poorly ventilated areas carry a greater risk of virus transmission, even suggesting that ‘longer-term consideration of infectious disease transmission needs to be embedded into building ventilation regulations'
To ensure the safe return to communal buildings such as offices and shopping centres, there must be a greater emphasis on providing clean indoor air. Alongside meeting current building regulations, there also needs to be an effort to futureproof buildings against tighter legislation in the years to come.
David Millward, Group Product Manager at Elta Group BESA associate member, comments: “As we emerge from the shadow of the pandemic, IAQ must be at the forefront of the effort to rebuild trust in public buildings. We have to assure people that the air inside our structures is safe, and the most effective way to do this is to ensure ventilation systems are up to scratch.
“This requires specification beyond minimal levels of compliance, opting for systems which are designed with future legislation in mind. There must also be an awareness that if a building changes, whether that’s the physical layout or in terms of its purpose and occupancy levels, required ventilation rates adjust accordingly.”
Alongside improving ventilation systems themselves, there is a communication element to restoring faith in public spaces. Building occupants need to be assured that the air they are breathing is sufficiently clean and safe. One of the suggested ways of achieving is through a traffic light system on building fronts, displaying the IAQ much like the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme does for foodservice premises. This would provide an at-a-glance reassurance that the air within a structure is effectively ventilated.
David continues: “It’s all about making the invisible, visible. One of the biggest challenges facing our industry is the increased public scrutiny on the quality of indoor air, but this also represents an opportunity. The link between IAQ and a range of health issues is well established, so to be able to position it as a key factor in the health and safety of a building is something that should be welcomed.
“The last 12 months have brought air quality to the forefront of everyone’s minds, and it is clear that attitudes have fundamentally shifted. Without certainty, apprehension around the safety of public spaces will persist. As we hope to return to some sense of normality, we have to ensure IAQ is a top priority.”
For more information on Elta Group, visit: https://eltagroup.com/
Article courtesy of the ACR Journal www.acrjournal.uk/features/indoor-air-quality-key-to-restoring-faith-in-public-buildings/
HVAC, CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE
Originally published by Mitsubishi Electric, AACS Ltd are a Mitsubishi Electric Accredited Installer
Effective ventilation should be the starting point when looking to improve IAQ. Whether by natural or mechanical means, ventilation should remove stale and humid air whilst circulating fresh air from outside of the office.
Although opening windows is one way of achieving this, it is also uncontrollable and often leads to thermal discomfort. As reducing COVID-19 transmission is central to making offices fit for return, controlled ventilation which provides a constant supply of fresh air is a must.
Mechanical Ventilation is intended to provide the required steady stream of fresh air, ensuring all employees benefit from the removal of stale air, rather than those lucky enough to be sitting by an open window.
There are, however, recommendations from REVHA (The Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations) on how to operate mechanical ventilation systems to prevent spreading COVID-19. REVHA recommends that systems should not be switched off and should instead operate at a lower speed when the building is not in use. When employees can again return to the office, ventilation should operate at a nominal speed at least 2 hours before the building opens, and switch to a lower speed 2 hours after the building has closed. Central recirculation is not recommended due to the risk of recirculating contaminated air.
Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems are able to deliver the required ventilation but do so in an energy efficient way, so that the energy used to heat the indoor air, isn’t just ‘thrown away’ when the fresh air is brought in. They can capture up to 80% of the heat energy from the outgoing air to bring the incoming air nearer to the desired temperature, meaning less energy is required to bring the fresh air to room temperature.
the HSE has stated that the risk of spreading Coronavirus via air conditioning is extremely low
Many modern air conditioning systems come fitted with powerful filtration which can filter out harmful airborne pollutants and pathogens. Not only will this improve the health of hay fever and asthma sufferers by removing allergens such as dust and pollen, but it will also minimise the risk of Sick Building Syndrome.
The more obvious benefit of air conditioning is the ability to remove humid air by providing a constant, cool temperature which boosts productivity and alertness.
Importantly, the HSE has stated that the risk of spreading Coronavirus via air conditioning is extremely low as long as there is an adequate supply of fresh air and ventilation.
there is arguably no better time to tackle the problem of poor IAQ inside our offices.
HEPA and Activated Carbon Air Filters
Air filters prevent certain particles and molecules from remaining in the air we breathe. HEPA filters, in particular, are excellent in protecting our health. By capturing dust and allergen particles as well as some VOCs, air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters can improve IAQ drastically.
However, there are many gaseous substances that HEPA filters cannot touch. In these cases, carbon activated air purifiers should be considered. Activated carbon air purifiers work by trapping harmful molecules on a bed of activated charcoal, eliminating them from the air.
These systems are extremely effective in filtering out numerous VOCs including gases given off by cleaning products, drying paint and cigarette smoke. It's important to note that carbon activated filters require replacing once they become saturated with pollutants.
Air Quality Monitoring
How do we know the quality of our indoor air unless we are continuously monitoring it?
To ensure our office HVAC systems are optimised, we need access to accurate information, such as the local temperature and humidity and levels of CO2 and pollutants.
From here we can adjust our buildings accordingly.
COVID-19 has forced us to take a better look at our indoor environments, and whether or not they're good for our health.
As we continue to work from home, there is arguably no better time to tackle the problem of poor IAQ inside our offices.
Because pandemic or not, protecting employees from harmful pollutants and airborne viruses whilst at work should be a given, and ensuring new or existing HVAC systems are optimised for long-term health is not only a good place to start, but is also necessary.
Read the original article here
Business Development Manager @ AACS Limited
Whichever way you look at it, 2020 didn't really go to plan for anyone did it! Unless you manufacture PPE or Hand Sanitiser, it probably wasn't the best year. Onwards and upwards I always say... 2021 is shaping up to be the year of rebuilding, the year of promise, the year we get back on track!
This applies to the HVAC Industry too, today we will be identifying the upcoming trends that are set to shape the next 12 months of our industry in 2021, providing we don't get another global lockdown that is.
As an industry, HVAC has always been about heating and cooling, I know that sounds obvious, a simple change that people can feel almost immediately. However, with Coronavirus and the rise of COVID-19, the focus has shifted so that we aren't just focusing on people's comfort, we are also looking at their health and wellbeing, with air quality coming to the forefront and being an interesting talking point for manufacturers around the globe.
Whether it be an app that allows you to connect your phone to your indoor unit and measure the quality of the air or an independent consultant that comes to measure your 'Air Health' it is an important area that will be highlighted going forward and could be one of the main reasons you invest in a system for your company or even your home, it could even be the reason you finally get that service.
The technology available today allows for a smarter and move innovative way to exist with your HVAC system.
Green Technology and Smart Homes
The environment stood centre stage when the world shut down, however in recent months with COVID-19 reportedly coming back for a second wave, political campaigns raging and basic human rights being debated every day. It is easy to forget we are still responsible for our little rock floating in space, in 2021 it will be no different, it won't go away.
New, green, environmentally conscious technology is sure to grow yet faster in 2020. This could mean heating being fuelled by electricity or hydrogen, or myriad smart inventions to provide cleaner solutions. Innovation in the HVAC sector has the chance to be at the vanguard of change. With growth in the green sector, the market for HVAC will have a big part to play in the rise of sustainable energy.
Smarter ways of thinking are complimented by the Smart Homes we live in. From an app on your phone allowing you to turn the lights on, cook a chicken and set the temperature in your home at the click of a button, smart homes are paving the way to a more intelligent and environmentally friendly society. Nest & Hive Thermostats bring another level of usability to the market that is likely to increase the appeal to make your home smart in 2021, if even just for the novelty factor at first, people will start to realise that these things we thought were pipe dreams 20 years ago will become a necessity we cannot be without.
Daikin Control Systems allow you to be in control of your HVAC at all times, with App access to up to 50 units at any one time, home owners and Facility Managers alike will rejoice in the holy grail of HVAC technology. The ability to change the temperature and settings room by room, time scheduling to make the systems work around you , energy usage to monitor consumption and see where you can save and the ability for the system to learn how you live and work.
The future is now, long gone of the days where an air conditioning unit would be the talking point of the office, mostly for the wrong reasons, the technology available today allows for a smarter and move innovative way to exist with your HVAC system.
A New Breed
With new technology, comes new training. Global demands for HVAC equipment are expected to increase by 6% annually through 2021. The growth of the HVAC market brings with it extra demand for skills across a company.
The baby boom generation are entering retirement and the millennial generation may be much less likely to enter a skilled trade. Companies are therefore looking at the way they recruit and train staff, investing more in employee training and skills programs as they adapt to change.
AACS Limited work with a local North East education provider, Northumberland College, to find the best local talent through a vocational way of learning, we have to adapt and bring the next generation of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers into the game.
VR and AR Technologies
Designing a new system can often be a complex job, with everything only ever existing in a 2D world until you get to site, however AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) is changing the way design engineers plan and demo the latest systems in different spaces.
VR is often described as Immersive Technology, once you don your goggles you are sucked into a virtual world and can move around within that world. AR works slightly different, adding digital elements into a live view, usually incorporating the camera functionality in a smart phone or tablet.
Instead of a design purely being 2D, HVAC Design Engineers can visualise anything from the smallest component to a full system with the help of rendering technology in a simulated space using the latest CAD software.
This brave new world for HVAC can also help with training and maintenance, allowing Service Engineers to fix a problem in the safety of a workshop before they get to site, many of the AR apps allow for a built in manual which will in turn help the Engineer learn as they go.
Immersive technology is changing the way the industry designs, sells and services the products by adding an exciting new tool for those working in this fast-moving and dynamic industry,
An Exciting Time
Nothing is certain in this day and age, with trends changing faster than the temperature in an office, however the HVAC industry continues to strive and change for the better. With new technology and a consumer market with changing priorities, we are in a great place to see out the next 30 years as we have done since 1990.
Air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus pandemic, tips from a North East Air Conditioning Contractor
Business Development Manager, AACS Limited
The latest guidance from HSE on Air Conditioning and Ventilation
The risk of air conditioning spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace is extremely low as long as there is an adequate supply of fresh air and ventilation.
You can continue using most types of air conditioning system as normal. But, if you use a centralised ventilation system that removes and circulates air to different rooms it is recommended that you turn off re-circulation and use a fresh air supply.
You do not need to adjust air conditioning systems that mix some of the extracted air with fresh air and return it to the room as this increases the fresh air ventilation rate. Also, you do not need to adjust systems in individual rooms or portable units as these operate on 100% re-circulation. You should still however maintain a good supply of fresh air ventilation in the room.
Employers must, by law, ensure an adequate supply of fresh air in the workplace and this has not changed.
Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, so focus on improving general ventilation, preferably through fresh air or mechanical systems.
Where possible, consider ways to maintain and increase the supply of fresh air, for example, by opening windows and doors (unless fire doors).
Also consider if you can improve the circulation of outside air and prevent pockets of stagnant air in occupied spaces.
Director at AACS Limited
The work of building services specialists was acknowledged by various government departments and building clients as providing vital support for critical operations like the NHS and food suppliers during the Covid-19 crisis.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said building maintenance should continue as normal during the period when the country was in lockdown and was “helping to save lives” by keeping hospitals, care facilities, schools and supermarkets operating.
There were some early rumours that air conditioning and ventilation could help to spread the virus, but it was quickly established that this was not the case. On the contrary, it became clear that these systems could play an important role in helping to deal with the problem.
REHVA, the European Federation of HVAC associations, explained that Covid-19, unlike some other viruses, is largely resistant to environmental changes and susceptible only to high relative humidity above 80% and temperatures above 30°C. Therefore, humidification, air conditioning and duct cleaning had no practical effect on its transmission.
However, there were certain adjustments facilities managers could make that would further reduce the risk of transmission. For example, by switching air handling units (AHUs) to full fresh air mode and temporarily disabling recirculation with heat recovery, facilities managers could ensure potentially contaminated air was not recirculated in occupied spaces.
Building users were urged to keep up air change rates – even in partially occupied buildings – as this would minimise the risk of moisture, which could contain the virus, settling on internal surfaces.
indoor air can often be between 5 and 13 times more polluted than outdoor air due to a cocktail of contaminants
Monitoring and maintaining for health
However, good maintenance strategies should not just be deployed in response to a pandemic. There is a wider lesson to be learned about how building services maintenance can safeguard the health and wellbeing of building occupants at any time.
According to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) indoor air can often be between 5 and 13 times more polluted than outdoor air due to a cocktail of contaminants including smoke, damp, traffic fumes, chemical aerosols and particulates from wood burning.
This is known to be contributing to a dramatic rise in the number of asthma sufferers and is also linked to other allergic conditions including conjunctivitis, dermatitis and eczema. It also has a particularly unwelcome impact on the health of children.
Schools, care homes and healthcare facilities are areas of particular concern. In these buildings it is crucial that the air conditioning systems are continuously monitored to ensure they are delivering the right conditions for health and wellbeing – and that regular maintenance is carried out to keep them operating reliably and efficiently to minimise running costs.
This is also the best way to extend the operating life of these critical assets and minimise costly repairs and system downtime. It will also flag up the need for regular maintenance activities such as disinfection and chlorination to kill viruses and bacteria, preventing airborne cross contamination.
Duct cleaning also removes unwanted substances such as debris and dust from ductwork and sanitising prevents mould building up in the system. Duct and air sampling ensures good quality air is circulated through the HVAC units. Humidifiers should also be checked to maintain relative humidity levels are in line with recommendations for minimising airborne viruses.
Thanks to the availability of connected tools, continuous monitoring can be carried out remotely so potential problems are spotted before they arise.
good maintenance strategies should not just be deployed in response to a pandemic. There is a wider lesson to be learned about how building services maintenance can safeguard the health and wellbeing of building occupants at any time.
Technical innovation for long term efficiency
Our supplier Daikin continue to push the boundaries of technical innovation to improve the long-term operating efficiency of our installations. For example, they recently launched a new generation of water-cooled centrifugal compressor chillers, which provide better energy efficiency thanks to the inclusion of a new refrigerant cooled inverter drive.
Available in a wide range of cooling capacities and component combinations, Daikin's new B Vintage chillers have been designed to deliver optimal performance at both full and part-loads. They can also operate with a choice of refrigerant to help building users meet targets for reducing the global warming potential (GWP) of their installations.
Daikin AHUs also meet client requirements for air quality and energy efficiency through accurate sizing and using technical innovations like EC fans. Fan power is specifically referenced in revised ErP legislation so is another design aspect that should not be ignored by specifiers. This also calls for multiple fan systems to build in redundancy so is as much about reliability and peace of mind as improving efficiency.
The country’s problems with air pollution and the increasing publicity around the transmission of disease means this aspect of building engineering is under the microscope. Fortunately, the air conditioning and ventilation sectors have a range of solutions available to help building owners and managers maintain safer, healthier and more comfortable conditions for occupants – delivering better and more cost-effective outcomes for all.
Business Development Manager, AACS Limited
Delivering and maintaining a high level of indoor air quality has never been such a high priority. This is because long-term exposure to air pollution can cause or exacerbate chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as potentially affecting a person’s mental health and well-being. While there are numerous factors that contribute to the creation of a pleasant, clean and healthy internal environment, such as lighting, humidity, temperature and air quality, effective building ventilation is perhaps the cornerstone of good building health.
Fundamentally, ventilation aims to remove stale indoor air and replace it with ‘fresh’ outdoor air. Ventilation systems are designed to extract water vapour, airborne pollutants (from both inside and outside pollution sources) and odours, control humidity and maintain good indoor air quality.
In order for a building ventilation system to be truly effective and perform as the original design intended, it has to be commissioned correctly, and have a regular maintenance and cleaning programme in place.
Air pollution from both outdoor and indoor sources represents the single largest environmental risk to health globally” - World Health Organisation (WHO)
Installation and commissioning
It is crucial that the system is installed according to the manufacturers’ recommendations and commissioned in line with the final design specification. While last-minute changes during on-site installation, such as varying pipe lengths, for example, may seem minor, it can in fact have a significant impact on the system’s overall performance and energy efficiency. Consequently, this can also affect the building’s indoor air quality. That’s why it’s so important to use an experienced installer, who is approved to install the chosen manufacturer’s ventilation system.
Maintaining your ventilation system
Once ventilation is installed and commissioned, regular maintenance is essential in order to ensure the system continues to deliver a high level of performance, and this should form part of the building’s overall HVAC service regime. It is not a case of simply installing the system and then forgetting about it.
Given the system’s role of extracting airborne pollutants and providing a continuous supply of ‘fresh’ air, regular cleaning of a building’s ventilation is particularly important, as build-up of dust and dirt can affect the system’s ability to maintain indoor air quality. While HVAC units are fitted with filters, primarily to keep the system free of dust (as well as removing particulate matter from supply air), there is still more that can be done.
For example, regularly checking the supply intake and exhausts for signs of dirt build-up, pollution or contamination, or damage from weather or animals is good practice, as is inspecting the ductwork and indoor units. Any dust should be removed from the ductwork, with particular attention to the filters, heating and cooling coils and any change of direction in the ducting.
It is also recommended that on a regular basis filters are cleaned and replaced, indoor units are cleaned and the dust boxes of those fitted with auto-cleaning systems emptied.
AACS are a North East based Air Conditioning Contractor, specialising in Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration.
We don't charge call out fees and we offer no obligation quotations.
For further guidance, BS EN 15780: 2011: Ventilation for Buildings. Ductwork. Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems specifies acceptable cleanliness levels for supply, recirculation and extract air, grouped into three classes – Low, Medium and High – depending on the use of the internal space.