Written and recorded by: Ken Barton, Technical Sales, Arzel Zoning
I recently received an email from a New York based contractor who asked a common question about running tubing through the duct work to one of Arzel's internally mounted specialty damper models. Dampers that slip in through the register boot or take-off require contractors to run plenum tubing through the duct work when using air-driven dampers like those made by Arzel. This type of zoning installation can present many challenges, however, with a little creativity, can be done successfully.
Recently I had the opportunity to stop at job site where a contractor was doing a job that had over 80% of the duct work inaccessible. The contractor allowed me to come and document one way they were able to install various dampers requiring plenum tubing.
Obviously there are many differences in construction and duct installations. While no two jobs are exaclty alike, these guys really showed their ability to think outside the box and zone the "un-zoneable".
This is just one example but it shows the creativity some contractors have used to give their customers comfort including using duct cleaning machines and electric fish-tape. I hope you enjoy watching and are able to take something away from this in-field video.
Remember what one contractor walks away from another contractor is right behind willing to go the extra mile!
If you have pictures or video from a zoning installation you'd like to share please email them to us and you may be featured on our blog or YouTube channel!
Guest Post Contributed by: Jon Melchi, Director of Government Affairs, HARDI
One question I often get asked from HARDI members is “Can I make a difference?” I understand the thinking behind this question as we constantly hear on the news about how complicated it is to navigate Washington, DC and unless you are hyper-connected or have lots of money, it is nearly impossible to make an impact.
So you can imagine the look of shock when I answer that question with “Yes, you can make a difference.”
If I could, I would put a verbal asterisk on that reply, because you can make a difference in our government provided you do a little work. You see, influencing government is not entirely different than a sales call and as anyone who has ever done sales will tell you, it is very difficult to make a sale in your first meeting. In fact, it takes multiple meetings in a variety of settings before a deal is often completed. For HARDI members, the first step in this process begins on May 22nd during the HARDI Congressional Fly-In in Washington, DC.
What is a fly-in?
For those of you unfamiliar with a Fly-In, it is an opportunity for like-minded individuals, such as those in a trade association, to select a day and take issues of importance to the offices of their Congressmen and Senators. In the case of the HARDI Congressional Fly-In we try to make this process easier by scheduling attendees’ meetings, providing them with detailed briefing on the topics of importance and having a Capitol Hill insider offer an orientation about what to expect in their meetings.
What are the issues?
The issues that you are advocating can be very specific or a little more thematic. For instance, HARDI supports broad based tax reform, which is inclusive of both the personal and corporate tax codes in an effort to make the tax code simpler and more manageable for small business. That’s pretty broad. However, within the same general topic, HARDI is supportive of the LIFO (Last In, First Out) accounting method, which some would like to eliminate, but which HARDI believes should not be a part of the tax reform discussion. What’s important is that the advocate be very specific about how the issue impacts them and their company.
How can I make a difference?
As I mentioned earlier, influencing policy is a lot like sales, and one of the most important things in both arenas is follow through. We advise that our members take a couple of different paths in this regard. The first is that you should always invite the Officeholder and/or staff to come and visit your business within the state or district. This allows them to better appreciate what it is you do and helps to develop that relationship. Additionally, regional and district offices are always available for you to stop in and talk about issues of importance to you. Finally, it never hurts to attend events where the officeholder will be (i.e. festival, parade) simply to say hi, reintroduce yourself and have interaction at times when there is not an official “ask” going on.
This year HARDI Fly-In attendees will be tackling a variety of topics, including the aforementioned tax reform and its subtopics (preservation of LIFO, protection of ESOP’s and the repeal of the Estate Tax). Additionally, HARDI members will be explaining some of the challenges that the implementation of the Healthcare law is putting upon their businesses and how an ever-growing regulatory environment impacts small business. One of the new topics for this year is the Marketplace Fairness Act, which allows state to collect sales tax from online or remote retailers. Currently, these companies are not required to collect tax, which provides an unfair business environment when compared to requirements based upon traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
As you can see there is a lot to talk about in our industry and many more issues that may be important to you outside of work. I hope you will consider engaging in the process and if you do, I urge you to do so diligently and patiently.
Click here to watch a summaryo on last year's HARDI Fly-In.
Want to register? There is still time! Click here to reserve your seat!
Be sure to follow HARDI on Twitter for the lastest updates in policy and distributor news!
Written by: Joe Ramunni, VP of Technical Services, Arzel Zoning
Among the findings of the Idaho Power Residential Cooling Economizer study the most influential factor of system installation and energy savings potential was the orientation of both the outside air intake and outdoor air temp/RH sensor.
The research exposed the importance of locating both the outside air intake and the sensor in locations that are not affected by solar heat.
The data confirmed the following favorable intake and sensor locations, starting with the most favorable:
1. North facing gable
2. North facing roof
3. West facing gable
4. West facing roof
The study clearly demonstrated that sensor placement in locations which prevented solar exposure maximized energy savings potential.
The data showed that on days when the outdoor air temperature was well within the favorable conditions for free cooling, some sensors were reading as high as 20° warmer than the actual ambient temperature. This false reading would cause the mechanical cooling to operate when free cooling was readily available.
An east-facing intake and sensor location greatly diminished savings potential on several test sites. This was explained by the presence of the morning sun that tends to warm eastern exposures during times of otherwise cool, ambient air temperatures. Whereas in the evenings, the outdoor air temperatures are already warm, thus free-cooling is not typically available until after the sun sets. Therefore, a western location does not typically obstruct potential energy savings.
This chart (click to enlarge) shows a 3.25 hour period from 9:40 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. where an east facing sensor was reading above the usable outdoor air temperature set-point of 65° and therefore preventing economizer operation when the actual outdoor air temperature was as much as 17° cooler.
For a homeowner with considerable south or southeastern facing glass, taking advantage of a three hour window of energy savings on every sunny day when the solar load is high and the outdoor conditions are favorable could put their economizer investment into the win/win category.
Ultimately intake and sensor location should be determined on a system-by-system basis. Each application has its own individualized load characteristics and the source of the heat gain, including the time of day that it typically occurs, will determine the potential energy savings that the economizer will achieve. If the cooling load that the economizer is designed to overcome is always from the west facing glass in the great room (that peaks during the winter months), than an east facing intake/sensor location would be suitable.
Taking advantage of free cooling from outside air involves some detailed planning; a manual J calculation should be done to determine specific cooling loads that occur from sources other than hot weather. Internal loads such as people, machinery, lights, computers and environmental sources such as solar glass load and heat gains from adjacent structures, need to be considered as well as time of day and building orientation included in the overall design.
The study did show a potential annualized savings of 543 kWh/yr, or 30% of the average seasonal cooling load per home. These savings were achievable when the system was designed, installed and operated to achieve optimum savings. When paired with a zoning system, potential energy savings can be even greater for the homeowner or builiding owner.
Light commercial has traditionally been the most common application for economizers and fresh-air systems. Systems like the Arzel CoolMizer open more light commercial opportunities as it is compatible on package units and split systems. Consider your light commercial customers and how they may benefit from an economizer/fresh-air intake system on their application.
Computer rooms/server room
All of these applications create unique challenges when it comes to maintaining acceptable comfort levels. Office buildings, churches, conference and banquet rooms often experience increased temperatures when large groups of people gather in one place. These crowded spaces experience heat gains in these rooms regardless of the outdoor temperature. In milder weather, using the outdoor air to cool these areas will save the owner money and keep the occupants comfortable.
Computer and server rooms have large heat gains year round due to the heat given off by the equipment in the room. Using an economizer to cool this space when the outdoor conditions are favorable will reduce energy usage while decreasing wear and tear on the outdoor unit.
Salons, athletic clubs and daycares may not benefit from the economizer function but are more likely to benefit from the fresh air intake functions of a system like the CoolMizer. Bringing in a small amount of fresh air helps eliminate the odors and chemicals that can be associated with these types of establishments. In the case of daycares, open windows for ventilation are not always an option due to safety and security risks.
Light commercial applications can be a challenge to affordably keep comfortable. Add-on heating and cooling solutions like economizers, fresh-air systems and zoning enable businesses to customize the space to fit their needs while keeping employees and customers comfortable.
Click here to learn how zoning and economizer/fresh-air system were successfully installed on a light commercial application.
Want more information on Arzel's light commercial product line? Click here!
While economizers and fresh-air systems have not traditionally been installed in homes, new control technology like the Arzel CoolMizer makes it possible for homeowners to get the IAQ, comfort and energy usage benefits from a solution previously used in commercial settings.
Since this is a new solution for customer comfort and air quality challenges, the opportunities may not be as apparent as they are for other add-on products.
Newer or recently insulated homes: These homes strive to be air tight to reduce heat/cooling loss, making the home’s air stuffy and stale.
Existing IAQ products: Consumer is conscious of indoor air health and the ventilation function on the economizer dilutes and expels harmful VOCs, odors and off-gases along with reducing the presence of allergens with an air filter.
Homes with large entertainment spaces: These areas may not have windows and can become stuffy when occupied.
Three-season rooms: These areas typically have more sun exposure and are smaller rooms built off the main home structure causing comfort and ventilation challenges.
Security concerns: Consumers have concerns about leaving windows open for fresh air, especially at night or when the home is unoccupied.
Families with young children: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there is a dramatic increase during warmer temperatures of injuries and fatalities in young children due to falls through opened windows.
Townhomes/condos: These homes typically share wall spaces and experience minimum or no heat loss.
Large, fixed glass exposure: Great rooms with walls of window or rooms with large sunlights have more heat exposure with little heat loss.
Pets: Pet dander is a common allergen in homes and can be decreased with continual ventilation and circulation of the air.
South & Southwest Regions: Cool, dry nights supply plenty of air to provide free conditioning, reducing expense of operating condenser.
In today’s market, consumers are looking for home comfort solutions which are responsive to their lifestyle but can also be used with their existing systems. You are still their informational source for cutting edge technology and you have a unique opportunity to provide comfort and smarter energy management when you offer an economizer to your residential customers.
Want to learn more about how economizers like the CoolMizer can help your business? Click here to sign-up for a Real-Time Webinar and learn about the sales opportunities with CoolMizer!
We recently had a homeowner call in with a comfort and IAQ challenge. She had a five year old home that was built to be “air tight” to reduce wasted energy and had large, fixed-closed glass exposure on the main area of the home. The air in the home was stuffy and stale while the outdoor air was cool and comfortable. She tried opening windows, but had concerns because of her son’s allergies.
This situation is not uncommon, in fact, in a recent Home Comfort Survey, 48% of homeowners rated indoor air quality as important as energy efficiency. The same amount of homeowners also stated they needed to learn more about indoor air quality. Indoor air quality has risen in importance to consumers, creating a great opportunity for you to be their resident expert and offer solutions that meet their air quality needs while keeping them comfortable.
Out of the homeowners surveyed, 26% of them reported wanting to have a vent they could open or close with a controller instead of opening or closing windows. Economizer/fresh air intake systems offer indoor air quality, comfort and reduced energy usage benefits to consumers.
According to a recent 2012 Home Comfort Study completed by Decision Analyst, 51% of homeowners open windows so they can run their systems less. Economizers like the Arzel CoolMizer, make existing cooling systems smarter and more responsive to customized comfort parameters. When outdoor conditions are favorable, especially in the spring and fall in most regions, our CoolMizer reduces the run time of the compressor.
In the same study, Decision Analyst found 28% of homeowners would prefer not to open windows due to allergens in the air. An economizer system improves ventilation with the continual introduction of clean, fresh air to dilute harmful VOCs, odors and product off-gases. When used with a HEPA or similar filter, it also reduces the presence of allergens.
Enhanced Comfort & Safety
Opening windows can create a serious safety concern, especially at night or when the home is unoccupied. With our CoolMizer, windows can stay closed as it draws air into the home through a small opening that is inaccessible to tampering or entry. A recent case study of homeowners who used the CoolMizer found the feature of closed windows with the benefits of fresh air extremely appealing.
The application for products like the CoolMizer is nationwide, with the south and southwest being optimal applications due to the cool, dry nights which supply plenty of air to provide free conditioning. With residential economizer solutions, contractors can provide their customers with the option to use fresh, outside air to cool and ventilate their homes without needing the costly energy of an air conditioning unit.
Consumers who are interested in IAQ products like economizers are also more likely to be interested in other accessory products which further improve air quality or comfort. Zoning systems, humidifiers or air cleaners are great add-on options to offer your customer to solve comfort, IAQ and energy usage challenges.
Interested in more information on residential economizers? Click here to sign-up for a Real-Time webinar on the opportunity with Arzel's CoolMizer. Or click here for product information.
Want to see more information for the 2012 Home Comfort Study? Download the IAQ data here!
Written by: Mark Votaw, VP of Zoning Products, Arzel Zoning
The University of Idaho and Idaho Power just concluded a study on the energy saving benefits of residential economizers. The used two different systems, one being the Arzel CoolMizer. Over the course of two summers more than 50 homes were outfitted with equipment to bring in fresh air when conditions were acceptable. One of the requirements for participants was their homes had to be new to maintain consistency with how tight the homes were constructed.
The study results had some interesting findings. Some homes saved as much as 500KW annually. There were other homes that used more electricity. The discriminator for success was largely centered around where the sensor and intake were located. In the most successful installations, the sensor was on the north or west side of the home. This makes sense because if the load is on the sensor at a time when conditions are generally not acceptable for free cooling hours, there is no loss.
One promising finding from the study was the value of having control over fresh air in the
home. Study participants often mentioned their perception of improved indoor air quality and enjoyed having fresh air from the economizers in their homes. Regardless of energy, or dollars saved or spent, the homeowners recognized fresh air as a benefit with some reporting a decrease in dust accumulation. Others reported a decline in allergy symptoms. A relatively surprising benefit discovered by the study was the importance of closed windows with the fresh air. Homeowners mentioned they felt less security risk because they could get fresh air without opening windows.
The study highlights the need and subsequent demand for fresh air in homes. ASHRAE has taken this project on through its 62.2. standard which requires fresh air for homes in the same manner that it has been required for commercial systems for years. As homes are built and retrofitted to be “tighter,” homeowners experience an increase in IAQ problems.
Fresh-air systems which allow contractors to set reasonable limits around when fresh-air is introduced provide comfort and energy savings to homeowners. To deliver additional comfort and energy saving benefits, contractors can utilize ECM motor technology on those systems to reduce the cost of running time of the blower.
Solve the problems your customers don’t know they have YET and you are the winner. Offer your customers something different. Ventilation is the untold story and opportunity we are just learning about.
Better indoor air quality is becoming an important need of today's consumer. Click here for new data from the 2012 Decision Analyst Home Comfort Survey on consumer attitudes on IAQ.
If you are a solutions provider for your customer, zoning multi-stage, variable speed equipment is a must for customers looking for the ultimate in comfort and efficiency. As a recent Arzel Zoning case study showed, blower performance along with heating and cooling cycles benefit from the customization and airflow control zoning provides.
Decreases energy usage: The system runs on low stage the majority of the time as it is only directing the amount of air needed, where it’s needed, when it’s needed, which reduces the occurrence of high cost, high-stage operation.
Increases system effectiveness: By matching the correct amount of conditioned airflow with the amount of duct work that is being served, the system is more effective at satisfying single zone cycles with low stage blower cfm a majority of the run time.
Improves system performance: Reduces the amount of second stage operation, which decreases the ramping up of the equipment.
Customize operation: Contractor can configure staging settings based upon both demand (zone weight) and capacity (duct temperature) requirements.
Maximize dehumidification: When utilizing a single stage condenser, the system can provide many hours of dehumidification when serving zones effectively by operating on low stage blower and full capacity cooling.
Eliminates bypass operation: CFM staging based on zone weighting (not temperature) provides independent blower output management that gives the contractor a level of control required to prevent high stage air delivery unless sufficient duct capacity is available. This eliminates bypass usage with high stage blower operation.
Enhanced comfort: Customize the operation of a heating & cooling system by engaging and directing the required amount of airflow needed to the areas that are difficult to condition.
Energy management: Allowing the zone control panel to manage the HVAC equipment from its centralized perspective results in a more energy wise comfort strategy.
Optimal register velocity: The system maintains effective delivery of the conditioned air being supplied to a room and therefore reduces stratification. This staging strategy manages the operation of low and high speed blower to keep register velocity at effective levels for the efficient delivery of BTUs.
- Effective solution: Homeowners who have multi-stage, variable speed equipment typically are those looking for a solution to comfort and energy pain points. By adding zoning to the mix, you can ensure you are delivering a complete solution and exceeding their expectations.
Effective control technology is key when working with multi-stage, variable speed equipment. Installing a control panel like the HeatPumPro can provide you with all the staging and airflow customization options you need to exceed your customer's comfort expectations.
Click here to download the Arzel Zoning case study on zoning on multi-stage, variable speed equipment.
Written by: Dennis Laughlin, President, Arzel Zoning
The commercial guys who have been working with air change requirements and ASHRAE standards are pretty familiar with the technology of economizers. However, this term is a new one to a lot of residential contractors.
So why are economizers being talked about for residential environments? The reasons come down to a few very simple but powerful marketing reasons.
Homes today have the potential to be much tighter against infiltration than a decade ago. Make up air is needed.
Believe or not, some people like fresh air.
Leaving windows open in your home has not happened safely in many neighborhoods, since Leave it to Beaver was on television-the first time around.
Using outside air to heat or cool your home is a great way to save energy, especially since sensor technology has become more reliable and accurate.
Running your fan on the air handler is way less costly than starting a condenser.
Arzel has been working on this technology for several years. Recently, we participated in a study with the University of Idaho and Idaho Power and Light that has run for 2 summers. The results are encouraging. It is very possible to save energy using an economizer. There are some solid rules to follow about sensor placement and the manner in which you make the penetration to bring in the outside air, but when done using proper guidelines, it is a bona fide winner. It also is a customer pleasing addition to an HVAC system.
The premise is centered by establishing the parameters when outside air is appropriate. That means really understanding the role of humidity and also remembering that your home is not a good thermal storage unit, so overshooting to keep the condenser off longer is not a real sound strategy. There are real limits to the average home storing heat or cooling to delay bringing on the equipment. But as a strategy for most evening cooling, it works well.
Why economizer technology now?
It is pretty simple; the times are changing in HVAC. We are seeing consumers waking up to better controls and remote access to their indoor environment. This means additional awareness and it means that consumers who are not burdened with conventional solutions actually enjoy thinking creatively. The concept of using the environment around us instead of changing the environment makes simple sense to many. How is this for a great lead in for a sales call: Would you like to enjoy fresh air while you sleep without the security threat of open windows? Save money, save the environment and enjoy cool fresh air. If you are also thinking ahead, planning to replace that PSC motor with an ECM unit and a zoning system, then the quiet delivery of air where you want it when you want it is a reality.
Yep, solutions that will help fulfill your promises as an indoor environment expert.
In today’s anti-incentive environment in Washington, I don’t expect technologies like this to become candidates for tax incentives under a new energy bill. The timeline for this technology simply will move faster than Washington can work to endorse alternative technologies.
That should not stop the innovative contractor however from starting today to add this to your Comfort Advisors Solutions Toolbox. If you have not built your” CAST” toolbox for your techs and comfort advisors, drop me a line and I would love to send you our take on what technologies should be presented and a few choice buzz words to open a dialogue.
Recently, we did a case study to determine just how effective multi-stage, variable speed equipment operates when paired with zoning. We first examined the benefits of blower usage which revealed the need for bypassing was virtually eliminated. The ability to operate on low stage or a lower blower speed also eliminated LAT issues and achieved maximum dehumidification. Additionally, the system operated more economically as it staged the equipment based on actual demand; effectively running on low stage for a majority of the time to satisfy heating and cooling calls.
Heat Mode Cycling
We studied the data collected regarding the heating mode of the system. During that time, the average outdoor temperature was 36 degrees with a low of 19 degrees and a high of 55 degrees. The total run time of the furnace during this period was 150 hours, with 20 hours (13%) on high stage blower. The furnace cycled on average twice per hour. Here is a breakdown of the cycle time serving each zone:
By utilizing the zone weighting capability of the HeatPumPro zone control panel, the contractor was able to match the correct amount of conditioned airflow with the amount of ductwork that was calling for conditioning. This had several positive effects on the system performance as well as the comfort in the home. Using a lower stage/blower speed to satisfy any single zone cycle accounted for the majority of the cycle time at 72%.
Using the low stage of the equipment saved the homeowner energy by only initiating high stage heating 13% of the time. Consequently less blower watts were used to condition the home, again increasing the effectiveness of the unit and also saving on energy costs. This also eliminated the need for a bypass duct that would have been required if the staging was not controlled by demand when high stage heating was used to condition any of the zones calling independently.
Cool Mode Cycling
The cooling cycle was used only three days during the time of the data collection. The average outdoor temperature was 86 degrees, with a low of 71 degrees and a high of 95 degrees. The total run time of the A/C during this period was 31 hours, with 6 hours (38%) on high stage blower (400 cfm/ton). Here is a breakdown of the cycle time serving each zone:
Regardless of the staging ability of the condenser, if the furnace/air handler has a variable speed blower, a contractor should always wire the Y1, Y2 air handler terminals in the HeatPumPro panel to the Hi/Low stage blower control terminals in the unit. Utilizing a single stage condenser in this way will provide the customer with many hours of dehumidification while serving zones effectively using low stage blower and full cooling capacity. If humidity is not an issue, compressor wattage can be greatly reduced by allowing the panel to stage in the high stage compressor of a two stage condenser only when duct temperatures require it.
To get the most out of multi-stage equipment, the system needs to know where the load is and the most advantageous mode of operation. Zoning can provide the opportunity to customize the operation of a heating & cooling system, to control capacity based on duct temperature and to control airflow by the volume of ductwork being served.
In the time of energy awareness, efficiency and zoning go hand in hand. When used properly, zoning is able to facilitate heating and cooling on demand, which is a direct route to achieving efficient home comfort.