Christopher Morin's Blog (43)

Should this Duct Layout be Banned?

When is it ok to put your ducts into an attic, tight up against the Roof Deck?  With more conventional building techniques, I would have to argue: NEVER!  I do not care how the homeonwer pleads to keep their storage space, you cannot count on delivering cool air to the conditioned space with said branch duct.  Even if you did figure out a way to secure the duct to the peak without crushing the inside diameter, the CFM is not the problem.  The real issue becomes the dry bulb temperature of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 3, 2014 at 6:24pm — 3 Comments

Top 5 Changes to ACCA Manual S

      As I had brought up years ago, ACCA's Manual S was in dire need of an update.  Written in 1995, Manual S Residential Equipment Selection was passed by with huge technical and efficiency strides within the…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 27, 2014 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

UPDATED: Big Changes for Duct Testing in MA

   If you have not been asked to complete a duct test by your local Massachusetts Inspector, it is just a matter of time before you are surprised by this stringent/updated code requirement.  Despite some push-back from Contractors  and Inspectors, all of MA is required to test new or altered duct systems.  All of MA adopted the 2012 International Energy…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 17, 2014 at 4:59pm — 9 Comments

No Bubbles, No Troubles!

Or is there? This saying is an old adage in our industry to let the technician know that the refirgerant charge is "all set". You see, there must be a steady stream of liquid to the metering device for it to function properly. For sake of conversation, let's use the TXV. In order for most TXV's to throttle and correctly maintain the desired Superheat, there must be a minimum of 2F of subcooled liquid at the valve (not where it is measured, near the condenser). If the liquid were to flash off… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on August 12, 2014 at 1:19pm — No Comments

How do You Test a TXV?

  Thermostatic Expansion Valves (TEV or TXV), one of the most popular metering devices for residential, high-efficient air conditioning and heat pumps, have performed almost impeccably for decades.  Unfortunately, some manufacturers in the past few years have identified batches of valves that have had high superheat issues.  Have we just been blind for so long, not realizing these problems existed?  Or have these valves really been so reliable for such a long time?

  If you think you…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 21, 2014 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments

Please, Make the Transition!

  For as long as I can remember, the agreed epidemic with ductwork was always undersized return ducts.  Although we are far from perfect with duct sizing in New England, I have frequently seen great strides in fixing this issue - particularly with replacement systems.  Lets face it, you should just be properly designing the duct system on new installations.  Undersized ducts cause great restrictions in airlfow, raising…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 17, 2014 at 5:29pm — No Comments

Top 5 A/C Code Requirements not Enforced

  This list does not represent the entire code, or even all municipalities.  Everyone knows those towns that will hit you on every piece of the local code requirements, word for word from the text.  But, don't be surprised when code officials, both building and mechanical inspectors, start failing permit inspections for these previously rarely enforced portions of the code!  Are you going to wait until enforcement, or lead the industry in doing what the minimum is required by…

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Added by Christopher Morin on June 5, 2014 at 5:34pm — 8 Comments

DIY Minisplits: Which side are you on?

 Recently, Friedrich has modeled and sold in limited markets their DIY Mini-Split Heat Pump, Breeze.  Just a few days ago, they scaled back their rollout in order to meet customer demand by limiting sales to New York and South Florida.  I am torn between…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 17, 2014 at 6:51pm — 7 Comments

5 Things New Energy Efficiency HVAC Contractors Need to Know

1. Do not sell on Price! Use 'Simple Payback'

The price of High-efficient equipment will undoubtedly cost more money up front, compared to the minimum efficiency systems. Taking into account existing repair bills, utility bills, installation, and equipment costs, a high-efficient furnace, boiler, or heat pump will cost the homeowner less over the estimated 10-15 years of operation. When completing the 'Simple Payback' calculation, the high-efficient heating system in New England will… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on April 15, 2014 at 5:56pm — 1 Comment

Can you trust your Load Calc Software?

Attention Wrightsoft Users!

  Have you ever completed a load calculation and it just seems like it was short of what you had expected?  Particularly when you are first starting out with a tool, contractors can make mistakes. After all, we tend to learn "the hard way", right?  In an effort to make software work, the companies tend to start with some default values that require adjustment.  For instance, most have the duct system in…

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Added by Christopher Morin on February 18, 2014 at 12:24pm — 7 Comments

Do you make this mistake on Maintenance?

     Cleaning the condenser coil.  This has always been the number one task that Service Technicians avoid at all costs when maintaining residential equipment.  Maybe it is the nature of the fast paced business when the weather gets hot?  Certainly could not be the lack of water to rinse the coil as there is almost always is a water spigot on either side of the home.  I cannot figure out why,  and this may be one of the largest aspects of seasonal maintenance that impacts the efficiency of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on February 7, 2014 at 1:24pm — 1 Comment

4 Things a Quality Contractor Would Not Say

1. If you sign today, I will take $X thousand off!

This is a sales tactic often taken by a used car salesman. A Quality HVAC Contractor will price their installation with confidence, after finding a solution to fit the needs of the customer, and correctly sizing such equipment. I have no problem with "ballpark" numbers over the phone, as this can help sift through customers that are not interested in quality, so contractors do not waste time on what tends to be free…

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Added by Christopher Morin on February 1, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

The Basics: Superheat

Vital to the operation of the refrigeration cycle, superheat must be maintained and stable to protect the compressor.  We all know that the heart of the system cannot compress liquid (slug) without bad things happening.  This would represent low/no superheat.  But, did you know high superheat can cause valve and compressor problems as well?  No matter the reason for attaching your gauges to the system, you must check the superheat, in the air-conditioning cycle.…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 10, 2014 at 12:03pm — 3 Comments

"There can be no Economy where there is no Efficiency", Benjamin Disraeli

  For those who do not know, not that I would expect any of us should, Benjamin was a British Statesman and two-time…

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Added by Christopher Morin on November 25, 2013 at 11:14am — 3 Comments

Over-sized Equipment No More!

4 or 5 ton systems should be multi-stage...

Despite the passing of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on November 19, 2013 at 7:36am — 4 Comments

Perception: The Service Technician

It was not too long ago that the HVAC Service Technician took great pride in representing the company he or she worked for. They would be at work early, enthusiastic for the day ahead; helping the elderly without heat first after the big snow storm. They would answer their emergency calls within minutes after the noise of the dreadful beeper, and later cell phone. It only took about five minutes, but shining their boots before heading out the door felt like an eternity. Removing them when… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on November 10, 2013 at 11:35am — No Comments

Carbon Monoxide (CO): Weapon of Mass Destruction

There is nothing more frustrating to me than seeing needless deaths, particularly in America.  I thought I saw my share chasing down WMD's that were never found in the Middle East.  Does it sound that outrageous to put Carbon Monoxide in the same class as these?  Think about it: a Colorless, Odorless Gas that poisons it's targets by being inhaled.  The only thing a ruthless Dictator is missing is a way to weaponize this.  Based on…

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Added by Christopher Morin on November 1, 2013 at 6:05pm — No Comments

Check the Flue?

Seems pretty elementary doesn't it?  What should be a simple safety check on fossil fuel burning appliances, particularly for boilers with regards to ease of inspection, often is assumed with complacency or even goes unchecked.  I know everyone's maintenance schedule is packing up in the Northeast…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 24, 2013 at 6:11pm — 2 Comments

The Enthalpy Method

Imagine knowing the refrigerant charge was correct on a Central Heat Pump or A/C without attaching gauges!  No, I am not referring to the Lennox "Approach" calculation, which I have found to be very unreliable to predict refrigerant charge, but instead using the simple total capacity calculation with the correct tool.…

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Added by Christopher Morin on August 21, 2013 at 5:15pm — 4 Comments

PED's for an HVAC Technician?

An acronym for what is synonymous with all that is bad with the American Pastime, Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's) have been proven to inflate a ballplayer's performance.  Most important in contract years, a player's performance is measured in specific statistics.  So, what if there was a pill, or cream, that an HVAC Technician or Salesperson could take to inflate their numbers.  Make them perform at the top of their field and get them the highest pay in the industry?  Would you take it?…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 25, 2013 at 11:29am — 4 Comments

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