Category : Heating

The Benefits of a Building Automation Solution

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While our HVAC contractors work hard to bring the right solutions to homeowners, we also work hard to help commercial and industrial customers manage their facilities better. With our building automation solutions, we can help regulate the heat, air conditioning, and electricity that you use. With an automation system, you’ll enjoy:

A lower utility bill

When it comes to heating, air conditioning, and electricity, you probably use all of them more than you need to. With a building automation solution, automated controls will be able to learn your system and determine how often your heat or air needs to run and how often your lights should be on – all of which can save you anywhere from 20% to 40% on your utility bills.

Constant comfort

With the perfect amount of heat or air conditioning at all times, you and your workers will constantly stay comfortable (and you won’t have to deal with complaints).

A smaller carbon footprint

Having a building automation solution is a great environmental choice – especially if you’re someone who likes to “go green.” The automated controls will help your building use less power, which means you’ll reduce your carbon footprint.

Increased property value

The value of most commercial buildings is largely based on its operating income; when you lower your utility bills, you increase your operating income. This means that the larger your operating income, the more your property is worth.

Improved productivity

It’s hard to work productively when you’re too hot, too cold, or don’t have enough light. With the constant comfort that a building automation solution provides, your workers will always be at the right temperature, and you’ll see an improvement in their productivity.

If you’re interested in a better way to manage your facility, contact the HVAC contractors at Oliver Mechanical. We’ll help you find the best solution.


When to Replace Your Commercial HVAC System

commercial HVAC repair

Like home HVAC systems, commercial HVAC systems are important to the comfort of those inside the building, however, there are usually many more people to please. That’s why it’s important to know when you should replace your commercial HVAC system – you don’t want your students, employees, volunteers, etc. to have to work in an uncomfortable environment.

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A Helpful HVAC Glossary

HVAC services

When it comes to HVAC services, our experts are always talking in industry terms. However, we know you may not be familiar with what “HSPF” stands for or what a programmable thermostat does, so we’ve created a basic HVAC glossary to help. If you have a term that isn’t defined in this article, feel free to “ask the expert.”

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The Benefits of an HVAC Zoning System

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If you haven’t heard of an HVAC zoning system, the experts at Oliver would like to enlighten you a little bit about its benefits: If you’re interested in saving money while increasing the comfort of your home, we suggest a zoning solution. Not only will you be able to turn the thermostat up or down in various areas in the house, you’ll also enjoy being constantly comfortable. For a few points on why so many homeowners have invested in the system, read below:

Convenience

Being able to control the temperature in each area of your home is extremely convenient. Not only can you adjust the thermostat according to each room’s size, but you’ll never have to go out of your way to do it. (Think about the convenience of waking up in the middle of the night and not having to go all the way downstairs to adjust the temperature.)

Savings

By choosing a comfort system with zoning, you’ll only use energy when you need it, which can save you money on your monthly energy bills. You’ll also reduce your carbon footprint and be a bigger part of the “green” movement.

Comfort

When people think of home, they think of comfort, and having a thermostat in each part of your home means you’ll always be comfortable. If your kitchen is always hotter than your bedroom, or your basement is much colder than the rest of the house, you’ll be able to adjust their temperatures accordingly and never be too hot or too cold.

HVAC Lifespan

Zoning systems work best when they are installed with your heating and cooling system. Units with a compatible communicating system will be able to run at maximum efficiency. By not working your unit as hard, you’ll prolong its lifespan and won’t have to worry about wearing it out (or relying on our HVAC repair service).

If you’re interested in turning your home into a comfortable, efficient space, give us a call to set up a free, no-obligation in-home estimate.


5 Things That Contribute to Indoor Air Pollution

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We spend most of our lives indoors and much of this time is spent at home, so why breathe indoor air that’s dirty? At Oliver, we know clean indoor air can mean a happier, healthy life – especially for those who suffer from breathing problems or allergies. Here are five things that can contribute to indoor air pollution and lead to coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, and even more serious situations:

Dirty Ducts

As air flows through your home, airborne particles are pulled into your ductwork and after awhile, you’ll begin breathing these particles as they start circulating through your home. Keeping your ductwork clean is an important part of keeping your indoor air clean and with a duct cleaning from our indoor air experts, we can get rid of the dust, dirt, dander, and more that have been circulating through your system.

Humidity

Moisture is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which means if your home is too humid, you could be at risk for breathing in mold spores. Not only is this unhealthy, but it can cause problems for those who are allergic to mold. Investing in a dehumidifier can reduce the amount of moisture in your home and help your family breathe easier.

Smoke

If someone in your family is a smoker and does so indoors, they’re adding a variety of airborne pollutants to your indoor air. (In fact, they say the air pollution caused by cigarettes is up to 10 times worse than diesel car exhaust.) Pollutants can also come from cigars and E-cigarettes, which many people are turning to these instead of traditional cigarettes. While E-cigarette smoke isn’t as bad as cigarette smoke, it can still dirty indoor air.

Pet Dander

Many people believe that pet dander simply refers to hair, but this isn’t true. Pet dander is actually dried skin cells that fall off of your pet and either float around in the air or settle on surfaces. Many times, these cells attach to your pet’s hair and when their hair falls off, it can bring dander with it. With a mix of hair and dander floating around your home, you’re likely to breathe it in on a regular basis.

Dirty Filters

Homeowners tend to run their heat or air conditioning without thinking about their HVAC filters. However, your filters can only trap so much dust, dirt, pollen, dander, and more. Once they’re filled, your HVAC system will circulate these particles throughout your home, so our indoor air experts recommend regular HVAC maintenance. Change your filter every three months or so – even more frequently if you have pets or someone in your family smokes.

Don’t expose your family to dirty indoor air – take action to keep it clean and keep your family healthy. Change your HVAC filters, vacuum your carpets, dust your surfaces, and clean your air ducts on a regular basis and you’ll have a happy, clean environment.


How the IoT Is Helping Colleges Save on Their HVAC Costs

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Today, the Internet of Things is one of the most extensive and fascinating ideas for the modern world. The IoT joins together vehicles, home appliances, and devices using electronics, sensors, and software. This creates a network of elements that are interconnected – and the idea is only growing. In fact, experts estimate that the IoT will consist of around 30 billion objects by 2020.

As an HVAC contractor, we’re always interested in how new technology will affect the HVAC world. In this EdTech article, Alan Joch writes about how higher education institutions are using the IoT to save money on HVAC:

“Consider this scenario: A facilities engineer on a college campus discovers a failure in an HVAC controller that may cause the system to dump too much cold air into a room.

To compensate, the HVAC system reheats the extra cold air to maintain the desired comfort level, wasting energy and money in the process. The room’s occupants have no reason to contact facilities managers, which means technicians aren’t aware of the glitch.

Problems like this are common, costly and tough to solve. But institutions are starting to use the Internet of Things (IoT) — pairing connected sensors with analytics software — to fix them. And they’re saving big money in the process.

Energy engineers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln were mindful of simultaneous heating and cooling issues when they implemented an environmental fault detection and diagnostics system two years ago. So, as they installed thousands of networked room sensors, they included an algorithm designed to spot HVAC breakdowns.

“Lo and behold, a room in the Law College showed up with the heating and cooling problem,” says Lalit Agarwal, the university’s director of utility and energy management.

Fixing the flawed air conditioner damper saved the university a modest $300 per year in excess energy costs. But the financial implications go well beyond that, Agarwal says: “Think about how many rooms we have on our campus. If just 5 percent of them have the same failure, we are looking at thousands of dollars a year in excess costs — for just one type of problem.”

In fact, by Agarwal’s estimate, data-driven energy management activities have yielded about $200,000 in cost-avoidance savings in one year. Those savings likely will grow as facilities engineers continue to combine IoT with other technologies to proactively address HVAC issues that waste energy.

Says Agarwal, “We’ve had instances where technicians show up to fix a classroom’s ventilation system, and the instructor says, ‘But I didn’t call for anybody.’ The technicians say, ‘We know, but you probably would have in a month.’”

IoT Optimizes HVAC Operations

IoT lets institutions collect heaps of data on energy usage and, just as importantly, analyze that data for wasteful consumption patterns and opportunities to optimize HVAC operations.

“Energy management is right up there among the most compelling applications for IoT because it often results in direct cost savings,” says Steve Hoffenberg, the director of industry analysis, IoT and embedded technology at VDC Research.

To reap these savings, institutions combine low-cost digital sensors with analytics software in on-premises systems or cloud services designed for Big Data. Some implementations use onsite gateways that, among other duties, filter raw data streams to keep extraneous information from clogging local area networks and analytics engines.

“Ideally, the analytics should be self-learning, so that it understands energy consumption patterns for a specific building and optimizes it based on actual usage, such as real-time occupancy,” Hoffenberg says.

On the horizon, he says, are energy-related IoT systems that mix building sensory data with third-party weather data to help facilities staff manage energy consumption based on prevailing environmental conditions.

Successful Deployment Requires Collaboration of IoT Stakeholders

The rewards of IoT can be significant, but Chuck Benson, assistant director for IT, facilities services, at the University of Washington, says stakeholders may need to align their priorities. “There needs to be a lot of coordination to get these departments to work together closely,” he says.

In particular, IT and operations staff tend to approach such projects in unique ways. “These professionals even see time differently: IT people are patching and changing systems on a daily and weekly basis. OT people think in terms of buildings that last decades,” Benson says. “It takes work, and regular meetings that start early in the process, to bring these two groups together.”

Increased Data Output Creates Troubleshooting Efficiencies

At Nebraska, the environmental fault detection and diagnostics implementation uses more than 60,000 sensors to monitor the campus’s HVAC and computerized maintenance management systems. An electronic dashboard displays summary data, including updated insights about energy consumption and alerts when HVAC performance dips.

“Engineers get enough information to see possible faults and get a starting point for determining potential causes,” Agarwal says.

Multiple databases support the platform, including those running Microsoft SQL and the open-source MariaDB technology. In addition, Agarwal and his staff are always on the lookout for innovations in data-driven energy management. “Cloud-based machine learning applications in Microsoft Azure and similar technologies may help systems learn how to reduce the time needed to identify HVAC faults,” Agarwal says. “That is definitely an area for us to investigate for the future.”

The university’s fault detection and diagnostics system also supports an ongoing building recommissioning project. So far, more than a dozen buildings have been reconditioned for energy efficiency.

“After we perform a full tuneup on HVAC equipment in older buildings, the IoT sensors, working in conjunction with the detection and diagnostics system, enable us to keep our eye on performance, so we can keep the systems running as optimally as possible over time,” Agarwal says.

Recommissioning has reduced overall energy consumption by 17 percent and counting, he adds. “We’ve addressed barely 10 percent of the 130 buildings, so we expect even greater savings as we continue on this path,” Agarwal says.”


8 Things That Are Transforming the Future of HVAC

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As the world becomes more and more advanced, new designs and ideas are emerging to make HVAC an efficient, easily accessible part of our lives. Here, our HVAC company shares eight of the latest developments that are transforming the heating and cooling world:

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The Best HVAC and Electrical Services for Your Healthcare Facility

When it comes to air quality, the experts at Oliver Mechanical Services understand that hospital and healthcare facilities are held to high health standards. In addition, we understand the importance of things like lighting, computer systems, telephone wiring, and more. That’s why we offer professional commercial HVAC and electrical services to make sure your healthcare facility is in ideal shape.

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6 HVAC New Year’s Resolutions

Every year, more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. While yours may have to do with losing weight or getting more organized, our HVAC service experts encourage you to add just one more – for your home’s sake.

Schedule Annual Maintenance

No matter how old your HVAC system is, an annual maintenance check-up can keep it running smoothly and extend its lifespan. Do yourself (and your unit) a favor and have our HVAC service contractors take care of it.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Lowering your thermostat a couple degrees during the winter months and upping it a couple degrees during the summer months will not only help you use less energy, but will also help you save some money on your energy bills.

Change Your Filters

On average, your HVAC filter should be changed every three months. (If you smoke or have pets, however, it should be changed more often.) Changing your filter will keep your air clean and your HVAC unit running efficiently.

Go Programmable

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider investing in one. You’ll be able to set it so that you only use your heat or air conditioning when you’re home and reduce your use while you’re out of the house. This will mean less used energy, which means lower bills.

Take Precautions

If you think something is wrong with your HVAC unit, vents, or ducts, don’t hesitate to give our friendly HVAC service staff a call. We’d be happy to assess your situation and help take care of it – and you’ll be able to sit back and relax.

Schedule a Duct Cleaning

While your HVAC unit does most of the work to heat or cool your home, don’t forget that your air ducts are part of the picture. Dirty air ducts mean dirty air, which you don’t want to be breathing. They also mean a decrease in HVAC efficiency. Schedule an air duct cleaning to keep your family healthy and HVAC unit happy.


Why a Home Generator Is a Good Idea This Winter

home electrical service

If you’ve been thinking about a backup generator for your home, our home electrical service experts can say that the idea is a great investment – especially during the winter. While the upfront costs of a generator may seem high, keep in mind that there are many benefits to installing one for you and your family:

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