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HVAC Importance in the Healthcare Industry

HVAC Importance in the Healthcare Industry 2520 1490 Amy Gasca

HVAC Importance in the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry does not have the luxury of skimping on their HVAC system. The health and lives of patients are in the hands of a facility that is expected to maintain its environment at the best standards possible. Failure to do so can result in expensive litigation, a damaged reputation, and even death.

In the United States, healthcare facilities are the second top energy consumers. HVAC performances are the largest consumer of energy for hospitals. Frost and Sullivan has a research presentation that does a great job at breaking this down in graph form:

An HVAC system goes beyond providing comfortable temperatures. It determines air quality that matters to keep patients healthy. Here are some things to consider regarding HVAC standards in the healthcare industry:

Air Quality

Contaminated air is the healthcare industry’s worst enemy. Humidity is the perfect environment for dangerous molds to thrive. Bacteria and allergens spread when air isn’t flowing appropriately. If an HVAC system is not able to properly regulate the air, this is a massive problem.  Poor air quality can make a patient’s health plummet. A neglected system will not be able to provide the proper air quality a healthcare facility needs, so it is important to make sure all HVAC components are functioning at optimal efficiency.

Temperature

There are federal standards for temperature controls in a healthcare environment. Failure to adhere and report any sort of temperature variance can result in hefty fines. Exposing patients to extreme hot or cold temperatures can dramatically affect their health and is not something to be taken lightly. Maintaining a comfortable temperature for all patients is a must in a healthcare facility as each patients’ needs are important and should not be ignored.

Maintenance

It’s important to make sure an HVAC unit is up to standards to run efficiently at all times. The CDC’s Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities has a whole section dedicated to HVAC recommendations. Filters must be continuously monitored to ensure dust will not cause issues, and even as far as removing bird nests from outside components is mentioned. These little things can greatly determine an HVAC unit’s effectiveness and ability to provide the proper air to a facility. Any sort of neglect can lead to an unexpected breakdown that a facility does not have the luxury to undergo.

One of the most effective measures a healthcare facility can take is getting into contact with a HVAC contractor and getting on a preventative maintenance plan. The right HVAC contractor will take the time to properly ensure that all systems will get the utmost care that they need so patients can remain in good standings. Being on a preventative maintenance contract will ensure that patients will always be in the best care that they can be, as facility employees can focus on other priorities knowing that their air handling system is under control.

 

How a VFD Can Improve your HVAC System

How a VFD Can Improve your HVAC System 467 350 Amy Gasca

How a VFD Can Improve your HVAC System

Variable Frequency Drives are proven to advance energy costs when combined with your HVAC components. VFDS have been around for more than two decades and have improved and are said to be the most effective energy management tools to supplement HVAC units. Before, application was limited based on the horsepower of a system. But with time, they can now be applied to most commercial and industrial components. As VFDs continue to evolve, they become more and more powerful in energy management.

What is a VFD?

Variable Frequency Drives are a motor type that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the electric motor. Frequency goes hand in hand with the motors speed. A VFD is helpful in managing the frequency and voltage of an electric motor’s load. This is helpful in applications that do require its electric motor to run at full speed.

How does this work in conjunction with an HVAC system?

HVAC systems are designed to operate at a consistent speed no matter the demands that are needed by its user. Building load, as you may know, is never constant. The drive motor continues to work at full capacity no matter the demand. Mechanical throttling provides a good level of control, but it is not efficient by any means. HVAC systems are designed and sized for peak load conditions but are needed less than 5% of annual operating hours. But, a VFD can be used to adjust the drive motor to gradually operate when the demand is needed rather than at full speed when it’s not appropriate. This means energy efficiency is directly affected as energy expended is dependent on the motor speed. A VFD, in short, can help the system match the load.

Which equipment in an HVAC can a VFD be applied to?

Chiller pump motors benefit from a VFD because it can moderate water flow for cooling demands appropriately by increasing or decreasing gallons per minute. Cooling tower fan motors can be manipulated by dropping speed of the fan motor to better meet the process requirements of a building.

What are the direct benefits?

Energy savings! As previously discussed, since peak load performance has been choked by the VFD, the system is not longer wastefully working at full capacity. This directly effects energy output. This will be reflected in your energy bills being drastically reduced.

Reduced stress on motor. Early motor failure is eliminated since the start/stops on the motor are reduced.

Matching of process requirements. Since most HVAC systems are designed for worst case, they are oversized for normal conditions. A VFD can help motors match load requirements more appropriately.

Noise reduction. Since fans and motors aren’t working at max capacity, you’ll notice less noise coming from your HVAC components.

Implementing a VFD to your HVAC system is a complicated process. You must first do an analysis of your existing system. For a VFD to be effective, it must be applied to a system that delivers variable flow through applying constant speed motors with mechanical restrictions. Systems that require constant flow will more than likely require a mechanical redesign for a VFD to be useful. A system that is a good candidate for VFD implementation is a pump and fan system that already has the mechanical means of reducing flow. But these means, whether they be dampers or valves, will need to be removed in lieu of VFD installation.

VFD use in retrofitting a HVAC system comes with many opportunities for a system and energy efficiency. Implementation is a detailed process that must be approached carefully in order to reap the benefits of its addition. It is important to ensure that the retrofit will yield expected savings. None the less, VFDS have rightfully earned their reputation as powerful energy savers.

 

Tax Break for Commercial HVAC Owners [Infographic]

Tax Break for Commercial HVAC Owners [Infographic] 150 150 Amy Gasca

Under the Tax Cuts and Job Act, businesses are now allowed to fully expense all components of an HVAC system in the same year that they are acquired rather than depreciate them over 39 years. This means huge savings.

Before, the old accounting rule only allowed for a write off of a couple percent per year because of the long depreciation time. Because the new law allows the deduction of the full cost of HVAC equipment in the year of purchase, the tax savings are substantially larger. The ACCA has an infographic that breaks down the new law in simple matters:

 

So, what does this mean for you?

As you may already know, R22 is being completely phased out by 2020. This means you will eventually have to replace your HVAC unit if it still requires the use of R22 refrigerant. If you do not make the switch, repairs will become costly and you are putting of the inevitable of having to replace your system.

With the new tax break, making the jump to replace your HVAC systems will be easier as you can reduce your tax bill within the same year of purchase.

If your unit is failing and costing you with the frequent repairs, you may want to go ahead and start fresh with a new system. If a new system is in your future but you aren’t sure if you want to make the decision to change, take into consideration how tax laws can change frequently. You would not want to miss out on this opportunity.

 

 

 

If you are ready to make the investment and save big this year on your taxes, be sure to get in touch with a trusted commercial HVAC contractor.