You have questions, and we have the Answers!

What is the average life expectancy of a system?

There is not a one-size fits all answer to this question.  For commercial and Industrial applications, life expectancy varies greatly based on the equipment type and operating conditions.  At Critical HVAC Systems, we utilize the ASHRAE standards (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) as a starting point and evaluate further based on operating environment, maintenance history, and condition of the unit itself.  This link contains a helpful reference guide for our customers.

How can I reduce my energy costs?

In commercial facilities, lighting and HVAC commonly are the two largest consumers of energy. However, there are multiple factors that that must be considered when evaluating options for energy savings.  There are several steps that can be taken to reduce energy costs:

  • Regular filter replacements – consistently replacing filters is the best way for consumers to reduce energy costs and improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
  • Preventative maintenance program – A proper preventative maintenance program can reduce operating expenses by up to 40%.  It is also crucial to ensure that your system is running at optimal levels.  Improper airflow is the most common result of a neglected system.  This causes your unit to work harder, consume more energy, and results in a higher level of mechanical failures than a properly maintained system.  Our Preventative Maintenance program is based on Manufacturer guidelines and industry best practices, customized to the needs of your facility.
  • Reduce Heat load – Advances in technology have made Green Energy solutions practical where they may not have been in the past.  Depending on your environment and occupant habits there are multiple options for Building Owners and Facilities managers to reduce energy consumption.  Installing Occupancy sensors, LED Lighting, Window treatments, Insulation, Cool Roof Coating (CRC) and other options can significantly reduce heat load in a building, directly reducing energy costs.
  • Building Automation Systems (BAS) –  Leverage Building Automation Systems to ensure optimal performance of your system.  However, it is not enough to have a system in place.  Building owners and facilities managers must also be diligent in monitoring system performance to ensure Occupant behavior does not contribute to excessive energy consumption.  It is not uncommon for set points or schedules to be adjusted or overridden based on user preference, often without the knowledge of the Facilities manager.
  • Upgrade to a high-efficiency system – In most cases, it is not cost effective to upgrade to a high efficiency system if existing equipment is well maintained and free of major mechanical problems.  However, in extreme cases, it can be cost effective to replace the entire system.  By combining our expertise and industry best practices, we can provide business case data to help building owners and facilities managers make the best decision for their business.

Even if your facility has these solutions in place, it is critical to evaluate as your facility ages.  As an example, window film degradation of UV protection begins around the 5-year mark and thermal loss around 15.  Our expertise allows us to identify practical, cost effective solutions that make sense for your business.

How can Critical HVAC Systems help manage my energy consumption?

Our goal is to function as a strategic partner for our customers.  We are and will continue to be HVAC experts, but there are multiple factors that drive HVAC usage.  Our value lies in our ability to develop practical, real-world solutions with two primary objectives:

  • Proactively address the entire building envelope and heat load vs. strictly focusing on the HVAC system
  • Retrofit existing HVAC systems with more energy efficient components without having to upgrade the entire HVAC system.

This allows us to address sources of heat and humidity that impact the overall performance of your system.  By doing so, we can provide our customers with a sustainable solution that will significantly reduce energy consumption and overall cost of ownership.

What determines if I need to replace rather than repair my unit?

When repair costs begin to approach 30% of the cost of a new unit, and the age of the unit has surpassed 50% of its useful life expectancy, it can be time to consider unit replacement.  Our goal is to provide the lowest long term cost of ownership for our customers, so we take great care to recommend the right solution based on proven industry standards and data driven solutions.

What should I do if I discover mold, mildew, or excessive humidity levels in my facility?

If mold, mildew or excessive moisture is discovered in the facility, it is imperative that you take immediate action.  In the case of a flood, the customer’s best course of action is to contact a disaster recovery specialist to prevent or remediate any water damage.  We do not provide this service, but are able to refer specialists that can assist our customers in these situations.

For mold and mildew, it is critical that excess moisture be removed from the area and adequate airflow is present to dry out the environment.  Critical HVAC Systems specializes in this service and can assist with immediate remediation and ongoing humidity control.

Why is a Natatorium or indoor pool a difficult environment to maintain?

According to Dectron, an indoor pool is a challenging indoor air quality project unlike few others. With a combination of high temperatures, high moisture generation, high chemical usage, differential activity levels and multiple interdependent systems, it requires a highly-specialized unit to handle the harsh environment.  Our technicians have had extensive training in this area, and are able to solve the most complex issues at any facility regardless of size or complexity.

What types of Pool units does Critical HVAC Systems Support?

We have Technicians certified on several platforms and specialize in supporting all major Dehumifier products including but not limited to:

  • AAON
  • Dectron
  • Dehumidifier Corporation of America
  • PoolPak

How do I know if I need to consider replacing the Dehumidifier at my location?

According to Dehumifdifier Corporation of America (DCA) there are 5 signs that it is time to start planning for replacement of the Dehumidifier in your facility:

  • You are experiencing more than one or two service calls per year
  • The unit runs continually or short cycles
  • The unit fails to reach the humidity and temperature of the room to the required set points.
  • Excess moisture is visible on exposed glass and metal surfaces during cold weather.
  • A persistent smell of mold is present in the facility.

While replacement may not be necessary for your facility, these are serious indications that your equipment is not functioning properly.  The reality is your Dehumidifier is not an Air Conditioner, and has been designed to perform a very specific function.  This is a key distinction that is not fully understood in the industry.

What steps can I take to improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

For most of our customers, monthly or quarterly filter replacements provide the most practical and cost effective solution to ensure proper Indoor Air Quality.  However, for sensitive groups or facilities with high concentrations of airborne pathogens, we can assist with UV and Ionization equipment to improve even the worst environments.  Other helpful tips:

  • For customers located in the Southeastern US, high Allergen levels are a reality.  This means your occupants and guests can be significantly impacted with seasonal allergies, especially if the HVAC system is not properly maintained.  Furthermore, even though seasonal allergens are a problem a common misconception is that they only exist in the Spring.  What we know is that tree pollen season is roughly February through May, but grass pollen can be a problem year-round.  To combat this, we recommend increasing frequency of filter changes during the spring and fall when Allergens are most active and regular filter changes in off-peak times.  For information on where your area ranks, please refer to this link courtesy of WebMd.
  • In high construction areas or periods of renovation, dust can also wreak havoc on your HVAC system.  If there is construction in your area we strongly advise that you inspect filters monthly at a minimum.  In the event you discover dirty filters, change them immediately.  If you notice dust and dirt has made its way past the filters and into your coils, call us or any licensed professional to have your coils cleaned as soon as possible.
  • Controlling humidity levels is also crucial to prevent mold and mildew.  Make note of visible signs of moisture on or around the building envelope such as roof leaks, water marks on walls, leaking windows, and unsealed holes around conduit or piping as they will cause excessive humidity in the building.  Many of these items can be addressed without the assistance of licensed professionals, but should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage.

What are the key factors of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Health, Comfort and Safety are the three key components of IAQ.  Airborne Pathogens, Particle Allergens, Chemical Pollutants, and high Carbon Dioxide levels can contribute to health issues, Temperature and Humidity affect occupant comfort, and Carbon Monoxide can present significant safety concerns for your facility.

What brands do you install?

We install and service all makes and models of equipment.

What are advantages of variable speed drives (VFD’s)?

Prior to the development of VFD technology, equipment was either on or off.  With the advent of Variable speed drives fans are able to run at different speeds depending on current heating and cooling needs of the building. Under normal conditions, they will operate at lower speeds delivering a steady stream of warm or cool air.  As conditions become more extreme, the drive speed increases so that the system can meet increased demand. This will significantly reduce energy costs because the system is only using the energy required to heat or cool the facility at any given time.

Do we offer financing options for customers?

We have financing options available that allow customers to avoid significantly impacting cash reserves.  In some cases, projects can be completed at or near cash flow neutral so the customer’s bottom line is not significantly impacted.  While this is not feasible for every facility, many of our customers have been able to leverage financing options to make large projects possible.

Are filter changes that important?

Absolutely. Changing your air filter at least once every quarter will not only save on your energy bill but also will help extend the life of your system.  The air in your building re-circulates through the same filter attached to your unit.  Although they are designed to remove dust particles to keep the air you breathe clean, filters become clogged over time.  This causes your system to work harder and increases the cost to operate and maintain the unit.   In extreme cases, unchanged filters can also cause your system to fail completely.

Is Preventative Maintenance service that critical for my HVAC system?

Absolutely.  Think of preventive HVAC maintenance in the same manner as preventive maintenance for your car: If you don’t change the oil and replace belts and filters, the engine will stall, lock up and the vehicle won’t operate. The same holds true for HVAC systems.  A viable preventative maintenance program will extend the life of your equipment, lower operating expenses and protect your investment.

The following case studies outline why Preventative Maintenance services are a critical addition to your facilities maintenance program:

HVAC Case Study 1

HVAC Case Study 2