Christopher Morin's Blog (43)

A/C a Necessity in New England?

  I remember not all too long ago, yes I am still on what I hope to be the first half of my life, that Central Air-Conditioning was a luxury.  Like the radio, then the television; next the telephone, and now the cell phone, Air-conditioning has become a necessity.  What was before Air-Conditioning?  What did the weather people (yes, politically correct here on Excess Air) say to the elderly before they would recommend "staying inside, out of the heat"?

  I remember what I used to do…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 7, 2013 at 6:00pm — 3 Comments

Selling with Rebates: The Simple Payback

  The easiest way to show a homeowner how their investment in high-efficient equipment will help their wallet is to use the "Simple Payback" Calculation.  This 'tried and true' sales tactic will quickly explain how many years before the additional investment to upgrade is paid off.  Of course, there are many features that a high-efficient system provides, like superior levels of comfort, wether it be climate control or just condenser noise just outside their children's bedroom.  These…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 15, 2013 at 6:50pm — 16 Comments

Why do we have Sizing Limits?

There are not as many contractors out there as you would expect that are current with the most recent, and always updating, residential building code.  Particularly when it comes to the sizing limitations for HVAC equipment, most contractors consider this minimum requirement by law nothing more than a nuisance.  There is nothing more frustrating to see in a quality control role than a system that was sold, sized, and installed prior to the start of the system design process.  Completing a…

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Added by Christopher Morin on March 31, 2013 at 11:07am — 10 Comments

Heat Pumps and Record Snowfall

      I remember a rash of nuisance service calls rolling in on weekends like this, the snowfall being the key part.  It is amazing how well prepared a Heat Pump is for cold weather, with safeties, defrost controls, and supplemental heat (in most).  Unfortunately, they do not come with windshield wipers to keep the condensers clear of snow, and snow will decrease the airflow across the condenser to a breaking…

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Added by Christopher Morin on February 8, 2013 at 6:09pm — 4 Comments

Outdoor Reset & ECM Pumps

    There are some opportunities that come along for homeowners that seem to good to be true, and most of your parents and grandparents can tell you if it looks this way it probably is.  But, how about quick return on your investment that will continue to save money for the life of your boiler?  This is what an outdoor reset control will do for them.  Add the feature of a more comfortable home and most people start asking: What is the catch?  The catch is the technician needs to not only…

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Added by Christopher Morin on February 4, 2013 at 6:31pm — 2 Comments

Oil Tanks in Your Home

 For a technician or auditor that works outside of the Oil Heating Industry, seeing a tank leaking in a basement can send you into a moment of shock.  Then of course, the dreaded conversation with the Homeowner will cast a cloud.  The key is to have a plan, and know what to do.  The smallest amount of knowledge in this subject could make you the hero.  Simply stating, "Call your Oil Company!" can leave them feeling helpless.  Of course, that oil delivery company must know about a leaking…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 15, 2013 at 11:52am — 3 Comments

Clocking a Gas Meter

  After writing last week's post: "High CO Reading, Now What?" it occurred to me that not as many people out there: technicians, raters, or auditors; are up to speed on the age old firing rate calculation.  I hope this simple procedure is easily understood as you may find it useful if you are working with negative pressure gas valves, with Energy Star Homes, or just simply forgot your manometer at the shop.  I…

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Added by Christopher Morin on January 8, 2013 at 6:29pm — 4 Comments

High CO Reading, Now What?

Things used to be so easy when working in this business back in the day. When carrying tools for some old timers, I remember some replacing an air filter and kicking the furnace while saying"Yup, still here!" Maintenance these days, for great reason, has taken a more efficient operation mentality, mainly because energy prices have started to affect our wallets. These days, 68% steady state efficiency oil boilers and gas furnaces with high carbon monoxide readings mean something. But, does it… Continue

Added by Christopher Morin on January 3, 2013 at 11:36am — 1 Comment

On-Call for the Holidays?

   This seems to be one of the unluckiest weeks to draw in the on-call pool for a technician.  You see, over the Winter you have to respond to no-heat calls much faster than a residence without cooling on Memorial or Independence Day.  I remember visiting homes many Festivus evenings and getting the old clunker of a boiler running, without the swears from "A Christmas Story".  But, even over the last fifteen years, being on-call has changed.  If you were not able to  barter your way out of…

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Added by Christopher Morin on December 22, 2012 at 10:07am — 1 Comment

A Successful Technician

I am sure I am not the first to write about this, but it doesn't change expectations of homeowners or trade employers.  Why is it that millionaire ball players can be successful batting .300?  A pitcher can have thirty starts, win 20 games and could be named for the Cy Young?  Or that a successful quarterback can throw 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions?  The reason: they are much better than their peers.

     Imagine, as an HVAC Tech, you got the diagnosis correct  one-third of the…

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Added by Christopher Morin on December 4, 2012 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Return Air Locations

     When using ACCA's Manual T for register selection, there are several basic rules that are followed regarding location. Most guidelines revolve around room air circulation and stagnant air, as well as the equipment application (heating only, cooling only, or combination). Application is the largest determining factor when it comes to return air locations.

      For heating only applications, a low return duct is ideal to bring back the coldest air otherwise stagnant in the room.…

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Added by Christopher Morin on November 17, 2012 at 10:39am — 3 Comments

Building Code: ACCA Manual S

     A seldom practiced design procedure, equipment selection, has been part of the International Residential Code for many years, and local MA/RI code at least since 2010.  This critical step is the second part of residential system design, following a Manual J load calculation and prior to the Manual D duct design.  I think confusion around the dated manual has contributed to lack of use and enforcement.  Whether you are installing an air-conditioner, heat pump, furnace, or boiler, there…

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Added by Christopher Morin on October 24, 2012 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

Humidification: Forced-Air Systems

Months fly by, and it is closer to Fall in New England.  Soon most local Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling companies will be consumed with Fall maintenance programs.  I remember spending countless hours a week dealing with humidifiers, whether it was the old Skuttle drum style, the Aprilaire bypass version, or even the steam models that have actually been improved over the years - particularly Honeywell's Truesteam.  The one…

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Added by Christopher Morin on September 11, 2012 at 1:17pm — 4 Comments

Triple Evacuation vs. Deep Vacuum Method

Deep Vacuum Chart; Carrier…

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Added by Christopher Morin on July 12, 2012 at 11:36am — 1 Comment

Duct Gains: Why do we hate R-8?

Ever since the adoption of the 2009 International Residential Energy Conservation Code (IECC), duct sealing efforts have been tested using the total leakage or leakage to outdoors methods.  It really is amazing how much duct gains effect the operation of your equipment and the comfort of your customer.  The missing part of "duct testing" appears to be how well the ducts are insulated.  Sure, you are required to use R-8 insulation on supply ductwork when located outside the building envelope,…

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Added by Christopher Morin on June 26, 2012 at 1:13pm — 1 Comment

Site Survey: Windows & SHGC

  When completing your site survey for Manual J Load Calculations, significant time can (or should) be spent identifying window values.  Did you know that most windows these days come with an NFRC rating, a tag located in the window jam that you can reference on NFRC.org? This identification number can tell you important details like window coatings, u-value, light transmittance, air leakage, and solar heat gain coefficients (SHGC).  Not identifying the correct values can sway your load…

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Added by Christopher Morin on June 10, 2012 at 6:34pm — 2 Comments

Heat Pump Break-Even COP's

How do you know if  should upgrade your air-conditioner to a heat-pump and create a dual-source application during replacement this Summer?  I personally always prefer the option of multiple fuel sources, particularly since energy prices have been all over the place during the last decade.  Fortunately, based on average energy prices, there is some simple math to figure out if an aggressive assessment should be made for a dual-source heat pump application, based on equations from ACCA's…

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Added by Christopher Morin on June 3, 2012 at 12:23pm — 5 Comments

Diagnosing Improper Fixed Orifice Sizes

   I have found that this topic often goes unnoticed, or can be a guessing game out there in the field.  Diagnosing improper fixed orifice sizes is actually a fairly simple, cut and dry procedure.  First, I would argue for efficiency reasons, as well as ease of proper charging, you should just field install a TXV.  Of course, when you are on the job site you don't want to spend precious time attempting to adjust refrigerant charge with the incorrect orifice. You would never be able to get…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 23, 2012 at 5:31am — 2 Comments

Correctly Sizing a Capacitor

I don't know how many times a technician has said that they installed a part based on what was on their service truck.  I have heard of technicians wasting money over-sizing contactors, cutting down air filters, and even using controlled substances to clear condensate drains!  Of course, these scenarios all get the job done, but I would argue the many reasons why not to do these.  The one thing that gets to me is when a technician doesn't verify they are installing the correct size dual run…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 13, 2012 at 11:43am — 2 Comments

Realistic Expectations and "The Occupied Zone"

How many times as a technician have you gone out to the same customer's home because of unrealistic expectations?  Some homeowners expect air-conditioners to work like an ice box, want you to size them for their big party on Fourth of July weekend, and expect you to show up at the drop of a dime when it doesn't meet their impossible notion.  Of course, this could be avoided by establishing a standard during the sales process or a little customer education.  I liked to talk about "The…

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Added by Christopher Morin on May 5, 2012 at 8:07pm — 1 Comment

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