1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

August 4, 2008

:217 A/C Condensate Pan

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:217 EcoTip: Air conditioning systems not only cool but help dehumidify air by draining condensed water from their cooling coils. This water is supposed to drain into a condensate pan that is plumbed to dispose it. The pan should be mounted so that it can drain completely to help prevent a build up of organic material and bacteria contamination.

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 Additional Information:

The condensation pan for air conditioners is frequently mounted inside the system where it cannot be easily inspected to be sure it is clean and in good condition. In this case ask your service technician if there is a way they can provide you access to check on the unit between service calls.

The following information from EPA provides some guidance for selecting a new system:

  • Specify the following features for all air handling units:
    • Double-sloped drain pan – A double-sloped pan prevents water from standing and stagnating in the pan.
    • Non-corroding drain pan – Made from stainless steel or plastic. Prevents corrosion that would cause water to leak inside the AHU.
    • Easy access doors – All access doors are hinged and use quick release latches that do not require tools to open. Easy access to filters, drain pans, and cooling coils is imperative.
    • Double wall cabinet – The inner wall protects the insulation from moisture and mechanical damage, increases sound dampening, and is easier to clean.

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    July 17, 2008

    :199 Fan Direction

    Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

    1:5:10:199 EcoTip: Ceiling fans can reduce summer air conditioning costs by increasing evaporative cooling on the skin and allowing you to run the AC at a higher temperature setting. During the summer, operate your ceiling fan so that it is blowing air downward. To check to see if it is rotating in the correct direction – stand directly beneath the fan while it operates on high. If you feel a breeze, the blades are spinning in the correct direction.

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     Additional Information:

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    April 20, 2008

    :111 Fill a Bag – Checking HVAC Flow

     Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

    1:5:10:111 EcoTip: In order for central air conditioning systems to function efficiently, it is necessary for them to be free of significant leaks and be balanced. This means that the air supply is flowing somewhat equally throughout the system. In an unbalanced system you might have too much air going to one area and not enough in others. There are sophisticated duct balancing systems that can be used to professionally perform these checks, but an inexpensive simple do-it-yourself method was developed by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Administration using a plastic garbage bag, coat hanger, duct-tape and a timer.

    image credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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    Additional Information

    Suggested Review – :110

    The CMHC says to use a Glad 66 cm x 91 cm garbage bag. Which is about 2ft X 3ft when it is laid out flat. The coat hanger is bent into a circle, shape that will fit all the way around the heating and cooling supply registers you have in your home. You may need to reshape it for different openings. Tape the edge of the plastic bag to the coat hanger.

    To test your duct system – turn your HVAC fan unit to on. It is not necessary to have it actually heating or cooling  –  just blowing. Place the completely deflated garbage bag over a supply register and time how long it takes the bag to inflate completely. Record this time for all the supply registers. Now place the fully inflated garbage bag over each return register record how long it takes for the bag to deflate.

    The total inflation time for the supply registers should equal the total deflation time for the return registers. If there is only one return register, you may find it deflates too quickly to measure accurately. In this case you might try using two bags simultaneously over the return register.

    If it takes 2 seconds for bag to inflate that is approximately 75 cubic feet of air per minute coming into the room. This is pretty good for a standard size room. Same size rooms should have approximately the same amount of air delivered to them. Half size rooms should have about half the air. Serious deviations should be checked. A duct may have come loose or the system may not have been designed properly.

    The following table from CHMC shows ratio between inflation times and airflow rates.


    Time to inflate a plastic trash bag (66 cm x 91 cm [26 in. x 36 in.]

    Airflow

    Approximate time to inflate bag

    5 L/s (10 cfm)

    13 seconds

    10 L/s (20 cfm)

    8 seconds

    15 L/s (30 cfm)

    5 seconds

    25 L/s (50 cfm)

    3 seconds

    If more air is required, adjust the grille openings at the supply register in the room. Keep in mind that bedrooms require more fresh air when occupied by more than one person. http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/Publications/infosource/Pub/hrv/hrvsystem.cfm?text=N&printview=N#airflow

     

     

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    April 19, 2008

    :110 Upgrade Furnace Filters

    Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

    1:5:10:110  EcoTip: Pleated filters are available that do a much better job than standard HVAC filters. Hot weather is coming so it is time to start thinking about making sure your air conditioning system can run as efficiently as possible.

    When you change your filter – upgrade to a higher efficiency pleated filter. They fit in the same slot as a standard fibrous furnace filter but are much more effective in removing dust and small particles like mold spores. 

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     Additional Information

    Suggested Review – none

    The Filtrete pleated filter by 3M has a MERV 11 rating which means it will do a pretty good job of removing mold spores, pollens and other small particles and it fits in a standard system slot.

    Lawrence Berkeley research laboratory has excellent additional information of furnace system retrofits and includes information on filters at: http://ducts.lbl.gov/HVACRetrofitguide.html

     

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    March 31, 2008

    :091 Change AC Filters

    Filed under: :091 Change AC Filters — Tags: , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

    Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

    1:5:10:091 Tip: Summer is coming. If you have air conditioning that will be used, the filters should be changed now to help your system run as efficiently as possible. The more efficient filters discussed in :110 usually need to be changed every three months.

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     Additional Information

    Suggested Review – :110

    The Filtrete pleated filter by 3M has a MERV 11 rating which means it will do a pretty good job of removing mold spores, pollens and other small particles and it fits in a standard system slot.

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