Category Archives: dampers

Indiana Soup- Story Courtesy of IE3 Business Intelligence for Professional Contractors

Date:
in: Building Performance, Residential Buildings

Image-DewPt-MapI thought I knew all about this topic, but I did not really get a grip on this until a few years ago while preparing to teach the subject. If you’re looking for the ultimate motivator for learning, I highly recommend getting hired to train a room full of experienced contractors so you can stand in front of them and preach, “This is how it is!”

The topic (this time), is moisture. Recall in the past we knew a home had a moisture load (or latent heat load) that needed to be managed, but we also knew our cold AC coil did a remarkable job of sucking the water out of the air. Even if you did not understand the psychrometric chart or read the AC manufacturer’s latent capacity specs, you still learned all about the great moisture removal abilities of an air conditioner the first time you forgot to hook up the condensate pipe. What a mess!

So what have I learned recently that makes me think I deserve your attention for the next few minutes? I now understand the potential water volume in air, and I appreciate the high levels of moisture we have in the Midwest for a large portion of the year.

Don’t stop reading because you have already read about moisture control. You are right, it is a topic frequently talked about today. However, I do not think many in our business are following through and helping the customer understand. It is time for all of us to sign up for a class on moisture. We can no longer ignore our professional responsibility to understand and control the humidity in our customer’s home.

Are you afraid of the psychrometric chart? Well, I am. Maybe not so much afraid as overwhelmed by how much information it reveals. Fortunately, you do not need to know it all. In fact, I do not even “work the chart” in my short class, but let’s remind ourselves on a few of the basics:

  • In the summer, in humid climates, we would like to comfort our homes to about 55% Relative Humidity. A dryer 50% RH is even better.
  • Outside air is beginning to feel uncomfortably humid at a dew point temperature of 60 degrees.
  • Outside air at 60 degree dew point brought inside an air conditioned home at 75 degrees will result in 60% RH. Too high.
  • Outside air at 65 degree dew point brought inside an air conditioned home at 75 degrees will result in 70% RH. Much too high. Bad things can start to happen, depending on how much of this moist air you allow inside.
  • Outside air at 70 degree dew point? Throw me a life jacket and snorkel!

So what? The air conditioner runs and we’re all fine, right? Two things are different now, compared to the past:

  1. Home Performance measures for existing homes (or building energy efficient new homes) helps our homes become more energy efficient, but now the AC runs less.
  2. Sometimes we deliberately suck in outside air that is above 60 degree dew point.

Either of these two actions on their own can cause moisture issues. Having both could be double trouble. Sometimes these measures simply affect the homeowner’s comfort. Sometimes there is so much moisture we cause health and structural problems. Who’s responsible? You. You are the expert. You must understand moisture.

What do you need to do?

The first step is to understand dew point and track it! This is an easy measuring stick for how much water is in the air, and you need to follow it. It’s on your weather app on your phone. Look at this number as frequently as you check the radar. Appreciate that some climates are very humid.

The summer so far in Indiana has been terrible. Wanna see it? Go to WeatherSpark.com. This is my favorite site to view historical Dew Point. The link below is for my city in Indiana, but you can change it to your city. This is a great resource when you learn to navigate through all the adjustments.

Weatherspark-image-f-DewPt

Note the dew point levels during the week I wrote this article. Those are serious moisture levels! Now notice the temperatures (Dry bulb) for this period. Not too hot, and especially if your home is energy efficient like mine, then there is not too much load on the AC.

My geothermal heat pump did not run too much that week, and not nearly enough for adequate moisture removal, but I was very comfortable thanks to my whole house dehumidifier. Fortunately, I did not let much of that Indiana soup into my home, other than a few, normal exhaust fan run times, clothes dryer exhaust, and normal door traffic. I condition to a very comfortable 76 degrees and 45% RH. Half my home is over a basement and the other over a sealed crawl space, and both are dry and odor free.

This is not the way it was in the past. I love the outdoors and in the past I kept my home open as much as possible. Odors grew downstairs, and spent portable dehumidifiers piled up in the basement.

Not so anymore! Once I condition my home in terms of temperature, humidity, and even pollens and dust, then I like to keep it that way. Sure, I still keep a lookout for “fresh” air and bring it in when it is available, but for some stretches of time in the Midwest, “fresh” is rare and I do not intentionally allow the Indiana soup to get into my home.

What about mandatory residential ventilation? (Oops, will you look at that. We are almost out of room for this article and we will need to cut it short.) Briefly, until we have more time, yes fresh air makes sense; lots of it for some situations, much less for others. But with what I know about moisture, I think we are blindly rushing into problems with indiscriminate ventilation. Ventilation timing and moisture knowledge is critical. In many areas, ventilation strategies must include a dehumidifier. And by the way: An ERV is not a Dehumidifier. (Related article http://www.ie3media.com/erv/)

Incidentally, I could go for a good dose of fresh air right now. Let’s see, checking the dew point map, I wonder what size duct I might need to bring in 100 cfm of fresh air from Ely, Minnesota to Indianapolis?

Belimo Takes the Guesswork Out of Economizers

zip-economizerThere is a great new product on the market from Belimo. The ZIP Economizer makes installing an economizer in a new or retrofit application very simple.

“ZIP” stands for “ZIP code” – 5 little numbers that the installer keys in to automatically set up the ZIP Economizer for maximum energy savings in a given climate zone. No consulting temperature curves, no cross-referencing with energy codes, no operation manuals and no erroneous factory default settings.

This new product features onboard setup and diagnostics, alarm notifications, an automotive quality LCD and more. It also offers expansion modules for more functionlities, such as two-speed fan and Demand Control Ventiliation. There is even a communications module that provides alarm output and firmware updates.

The ZIP from Belimo will save contractors time and money when installing new or retrofit economizers. For more information, click here Belimo ZIP Economizer

Jackson Systems Offers Solution for “Zoning the Impossible”

Zoning is becoming more and more popular in the residential and commercial markets. In residential applications, accessing duct work can present a challenge in existing construction. When bonus rooms and room additions are considered, there may not be duct work running to these areas.

The Motorized Zone Register (MZR™) from Jackson Systems is a low-cost, rugged, metal, motorized zone register designed to work with most forced air zone control systems. It can also be used as a stand-alone register with a wall-mounted thermostat to eliminate over-heating and over-cooling in bonus rooms, sun rooms, guest rooms and basements.

This easy-to-install zone register allows zoning to be installed in almost all residential applications. It is designed to fit most register boots and comes in many sizes, most in both tan and white. There is also a polymer version available for side wall installations.
The MZR is a standard register with a 24VAC spring open/power close actuator. It uses standard gauge thermostat wire (plenum-rated wire may be required if running through duct work.)

The MZR can be wired to a stand-alone thermostat for control of the register in single zone applications, or it can be wired to a zone panel and for multiple zone applications. Up to 6 Motorized Zone Dampers can be connected to a single zone.

The MZR is another innovative solution from Jackson Systems designed to make zoning easier and more profitable for HVAC contractors. For more information, visit zoningregister.com or call is at 888.652.9663.

Selling Comfort Through Controls

Selling zoning systems and smart thermostats is easier than you might think. Homeowners want to be comfortable and save energy. Zoning systems and smart thermostats provide both of these benefits. And just by observing and asking a few simple questions, you can easily sell comfort through controls.

When speaking with homeowners, analogies to other familiar home appliances and features can help them understand how it works. Explaining to consumers the two zones of a refrigerator, one for fresh food and one for frozen food can be helpful. Or ask them if it would make sense to have only one light switch that turns all of the lights in the house on or off. That is essentially what a single thermostat does with the HVAC equipment. One switch heats or cools the entire home.

When you are in the home, look for finished basements or room additions. These can be areas of comfort problems. Ask your customers if they are interested in lowering their utility bills. Independent tests have shown that zoning systems with programmable thermostats can save up to 30% or more on heating and cooling bills. And who is going to say no saving money?

Another revenue stream for your business is smart thermostats. According to the research firm Nielsen, the United States smartphone market is now 55% penetrated. Consumers are using their phones to control alarm systems and entry to their homes. They are viewing their favorite TV programs and movies. Some apps even allow control of television sets. And the list goes on. So much of our world is connected and consumers are hungry for more. So why not control their comfort from their smart device?

As technology continues to get more sophisticated in the smart device market, it is also happening in the HVAC controls market. There are many thermostats on the market that allow control through any smartphone, tablet or computer and most offer free apps to make this control even easier. And consumers are demanding more. In today’s market, there are so many options for smart thermostats. From basic Wi-Fi controlled thermostats that require no additional equipment to more sophisticated, feature-rich models that provide more control of IAQ equipment, there is an option available for nearly any budget and application.

Offering customers better comfort through HVAC controls is a smart business decision, but it is also a great service to your customers. Sometimes just asking a few simple questions can benefit you and your customers. Happy selling!

12 Technical Rules of Thumb for Installing Zoning

Z-300-HPS
1. In most cases, it will not be necessary to modify the duct sizing when installing a zoning system.
2. It is good practice to size the smallest zone to handle approximately 25% of the system CFM.
3. Never undersize ductwork.
4. Upsizing registers in the smallest zone to the next larger size should be considered.
5. You can double the rated CFM of a register before it starts to get noisy.
6. Two-stage equipment is always a better choice.
7. It is always better to slightly undersize the HVAC equipment than to oversize it.
8. Never locate a thermostat in a hallway.
9. Dampers should be installed at least 2 feet away from the plenum, when possible.
10. Always use a separate 24 volt transformer to power the zone panel. Do not use the equipment transformer.
11. Always tag wires, especially from dampers and thermostats.
12. Some basements may require setting the zone thermostat in the auto mode during the cooling season due to cold walls, uninsulated ductwork or leaking ductwork.

For more information on our zoning products, visit jacksonsystems.com.

12 Technical Rules of Thumb for Installing Zoning

Z-300-HPS
1. In most cases, it will not be necessary to modify duct sizing when installing a zoning system.
2. It is a good practice to size the smallest zone to handle approximately 25% of the system CFM.
3. Never undersize the ductwork.
4. Upsizing registers in the smallest zone to the next larger size should be considered.
5. You can double the rated CFM of a register before it starts to become noisy.
6. Multi-stage equipment is always a better choice with a zoning system.
7. It is always better to slightly undersize the HVAC equipment than to oversize it.
8. Never locate a thermostat in a hallway.
9. Dampers should be installed at least 2 feet away from the plenum when possible.
10. Always use a separate 24 volt transformer to power the zone panel. Do not use the equipment transformer.
11. Always tag all wires, especially from dampers and thermostats.
12. Some basements may require setting the zone thermostat in the auto mode during the cooling season for the following reasons: basement walls are cold as a result of being underground, uninsulated ductwork located in the basement acts as a cooling radiator, ductwork leaking air, cold air falls.

For questions about zoning or for a quote on a zoning system, call us at 888.652.9663.

Zoning Selling Tips

zoning floor plan
1. Look for finished basements, add-on rooms or other additions where comfort may be a problem
2. Ask homeowners if there are particular areas in the home that are too hot or too cold.
3. If the homeowner is seeking a second system for their home, zoning may be a more cost effective option.
4. To help customers understand zoning, explain how their refrigerator has two separate zones, one for fresh foods and one for frozen foods.
5. Challenge homeowners to imagine a home with only one light switch that can only turn the lights on or off for the entire house. With a single-thermostat forced air system, they have to condition all of the air to condition any given space. Just like having one light switch to control all of the lights in the house.
Look for future posts on technical tips for installing zoning.

New E-Commerce Site Makes Ordering Easier

E-commerce ShotWe recently updated the look and navigation of our Web site to make it easier to find the great products you are searching for. A large part of this upgrade was improvements to our online ordering system. The new E-commerce tool is easier to use and contains more information about your account. With the new site, past orders can be viewed, quotes can be viewed and changed to orders and you can upload a CSV file of common or repetitive orders. These are just a few of the new features of the site. To help you better take advantage of the new E-commerce offerings, we have created a guide to navigating the site. We hope you find the changes useful and using the site a more enjoyable experience. Download the E-commerce User Guide

Greg McAfee to Host HVAC Business Boot Camp

build-your-businessIf Greg McAfee can do it…in Dayton, Ohio, you can too! Greg made an investment of $274.00 and worked to become the leading HVAC service provider in an area that’s been deemed one of the ten worst places to do business in the United States, Dayton, Ohio. Learn how he went from his humbling beginnings to a growing multi-million dollar company.

And now, Former Marine Greg McAfee and his Team are ready to share their knowledge, systems and quality practices with HVAC Business Owners and managers. The Boot Camp will be held on April 8 – 9 at Greg’s Dayton headquarters. Click here for more information or to register: HVAC Business Boot Camp

Introducing Our Newest Product Line – BACnet® Thermostats

The JS Series BACnet thermostat combines the power of a space-mounted equipment controller with the convenience of built-in temperature and humidity. The thermostats include a wide range of factory supplied programs for the following applications:

  • Two-pipe and four-pipe fan coil units
  • Roof top units
  • Heat pump units
  • Packaged and split unitary systems
  • appstat

    No special programming, software applications or setup tools are required to configure and commission a JS Series BACnet thermostat. All options can be set by using only the five front panel buttons and the easy-to-read menus in the full-color display.

    The attractive two-piece design is ideal for new installations or upgrades of older, less efficient thermostats. All models are native BACnet, Application Specific Thermostats ready to connect to a BACnet MS/TP network. Device instance, MAC address and baud rate are set from the password protected front controls. All models feature a hardware clock and BACnet schedule that can be setup from the front panel or as standard BACnet objects and properties.

    For more information, call us at 888.652.9663.

Performance Contracting

Tom Jackson visits with a contractor at the ACCA Building Performance Forum sponsored by "The News"

Tom Jackson visits with a contractor at the ACCA Building Performance Forum sponsored by “The News”

Energy savings is top-of-mind as we move into what could be a very harsh winter in some parts of the United States. This paired with the growing consumer demand for “green” products is driving many HVAC contractors to performance-based contracting. By viewing the house as a system, these contractors open up a new revenue stream while also doing their customers a great service. As energy costs continue to increase and the demand for “greener” products grows, performance-based contracting is sure to follow.

Here is a link to a great story in “The News”, explaining some strategies for getting into performance-based contracting and resources available to contractors. ACCA Examines Performance-Based Contracting

Product Submissions Available Online

ZoneOneSubmittalThumbnailWe pride ourselves in making it easy to use our products. Whether that’s ease of installation, great technical support or providing the tools you need at your fingertips, Jackson Systems is committed to excellent client service. To make it easier to specify our light commercial offerings, we have recently developed product specification sheets and posted these to our Web site. There are two versions for each product, PDF and Word. All of these specifications can be downloaded at http://jacksonsystems.com/submittals. These documents can also be located on each of the specific product pages within the Web site. The Word document version makes cutting and pasting the specifications into your proposal quick and easy, while the PDF versions are designed to be email friendly. Happy specifying!

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Bypass Damper vs. Barometric Zone Damper

Bypass dampers are used in zoning applications to relieve excess system pressure caused when a small or single zone is making a heat or cool call. Excess pressure can occur when not all of the dampers are open. This excess pressure must go somewhere, which is why installing a bypass damper is necessary. It enables the excess pressure to be redirected back into the air system and re-circulated through the system.

 

There is no doubt that a zoning system requires a mechanism to relieve the built-up pressure. Until recently, installing a bypass damper was the only option available to do this.  While zoning is a great concept for increasing the comfort provided by an HVAC system, installing a bypass damper can present challenges such as no room for the installation, extra labor and materials required, and even decreased system efficiency. 

 

Ron Jackson, President of Jackson Systems and HVAC inventor and innovator, is all too familiar with the headaches contractors associate with installing bypass dampers. He wanted to figure out an easy to use solution to zoning applications.  As happens with many great inventors, Ron was awakened at 3AM. He said aloud, “Man, have I got an idea for a product that could change the zoning industry.” And the BZD was born.

 

The BZD damper works like any standard damper with one exception – it has a built-in barometric relief mechanism that eliminates the need for a bypass damper. Tests indicate that most systems can handle up to double the rated cfm through the registers before noise becomes a problem. Unlike a standard zone damper, the BZD has been designed with both a fixed and a hinged blade and is controlled by an actuator. The lower half of the blade then functions as a barometric pressure relief for the system. The Barometric Zone Damper will allow the barometric half of the closed zone damper to open if the static pressure reaches the preset setting and bleed a small amount of air into the zones that are not calling, keeping the system static pressure at an acceptable level. Tests also indicate that bleeding a small amount of conditioned air to the zone(s) that are not calling has little impact on the temperature in the zone(s) because in most cases they are above or below setpoint, so the zone(s) can absorb the additional conditioned air. The BZD damper is factory-set and should not need any adjustments.

 

The BZD is a contractor-friendly solution to the typical zoning installation problems. It works as well as a standard bypass damper, but cuts down on the labor and time, not to mention headaches. While bypass dampers are reliable options when there is room available for installing one, a BZD is a great solution when you run into problems installing a standard bypass damper. The next time this happens, you may find that the BZD is the perfect solution to ease your zoning installations. For more information on how the BZD works, click here.

 

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Top 10 Questions for Sizing and Selecting a Damper Actuator

This week, we discovered some great tips from Belimo for sizing and selecting a damper actuator. We thought these might come in handy for you, so we’d like to share. Jackson Systems also sells Belimo products, and we’d be happy to help if you have further questions about picking the right damper actuator for your job. Here are the key questions to answer when selecting:

1. What is the total area of the damper? (square feet)

2. Opposed blade or parallel blade control construction?

  • (L” x W” = Total sq inches/144 = total sq ft)
  • Opposed Blade w/o seals 3 in-lb/sq feet*
  • Opposed Blade w/ seals 5 in-lb/sq feet
  • Parallel Blade w/o seals 4 in-lb/sq feet
  • Parallel Blade w/ seals 7 in-lb/sq feet

*Less than 1,000 feet per minute

3. Are there blade and edge seals on the damper?
This will impact the proper selection as the seals add resistance requiring more torque. If unknown, use a worst case scenario, parallel blade with seals.

4. For the damper in question, what does the manufacturer specify as the torque rating? If this information is not available refer to the “typical damper requirements and sizing” chart.

5. What is the air velocity, static pressure, or design CFM?
System above 1,000 FPM required additional actuator torque.

6. Is fail-safe actuation required?

7. What is the supply voltage to the actuator?

  • 24 VAC/DC
  • 120 VAC
  • 230 VAC single phase

8. What is the control signal to the actuator?

  • 2 position
  • Floating point
  • Modulating
  • Sequencing
  • “Non-standard” voltage signals

This will be a critical component to the selection of an actuator. Consider the Multi-Function Technology actuator product range and the flexibility of its application.

9. Can you direct couple to a damper shaft? Direct-coupling has become the industry standard. Some retrofit applications do not allow direct coupling. Refer to the Belimo “Mounting & Methods Guide” for application details.

10. Are there additional accessories required? For example, some applications require the addition of an auxiliary switch for proof of position; a retrofit application may require an additional mounting bracket and linkage kit. We advise that you identify these needs prior to leaving the job site or ordering products.

See Belimo’s complete selection guide here. Thanks to Belimo for this helpful guide.

Innovative Controls from Jackson Systems – right at your fingertips!

Jackson Systems manufactures some of the most innovative control products in the HVAC marketplace.  Jackson Systems' forced air control products are reliable, versatile and simple to install.  All of these products are now easily reviewed in one, convenient location.  The interactive catalog from Jackson Systems is an easy way to view what's new within their product lines.  Check out the latest products from Jackson Systems by clicking on this link:   Jackson Systems Catalog

You might be surprised at some of the opportunities to improve your clients' comfort with simple products that you may not know even existed.  Also, over the next several months, Jackson Systems will be releasing several new products.  The catalog will be updated to reflect these new additions.  Please be on the look out for notification of these releases.  You can also check back often to see the latest version of the catalog

Finally, because our interactive catalog is available online, access to the information is available 24/7.   Jackson Systems is proud to manufacture simple to install products and are happy to offer an equally easy to use resource.

Catalog Cover2

Retrofit Zoning Made Simple

Sometimes zoning applications require multiple dampers in branch runs instead of a couple of dampers mounted in the main trunk line.  Jackson Systems’ Retro Damper is designed for retrofit zone control applications where dampers are required in branch runs.  Retro Dampers save installation time and are easy to install.  Our Retro Dampers are fabricated with heavy gauge steel and come in sizes ranging from 5” through 10”.  These dampers are powered by a three wire actuator (powered open / powered closed) with a 34 lb-in torque rating.  The actuators are 24VAC with only 3.84VA and 6 second open/close timing.  These great features are all wrapped in a 5 year warranty.  Each Retro Damper is supplied with a self-adhesive template that is applied to the round section of duct where the damper is to be installed thus making installation quick and easy.  The calibrated adjustment screws located on each side of the damper shaft assembly provides minimum open or close adjustments.  This low cost retrofit zone control damper makes it easy for any contractor to quickly add zone control to an existing home.  Just cut a slot and slide it in.

 

Click here to view video.

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