NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog

Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Buying a High End Air Conditioner? Get White Glove Installation

high end air conditioner
Whether you prefer old world charm or a modern twist, it took your painstaking decisions to furnish your home in a way that reflects your distinctive taste. Now you need a company that will make the same effort to protect your investment with a premier climate control system.

As a luxury homeowner or a property manager, why would you trust the installation of a high end air conditioner system or maintenance of that system to any company that does not have impeccable credentials and the capability and personnel to provide you with white glove customer service? Rest assured, there are companies nearby that can offer you with white glove customer service when installing a high end air conditioner system.

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Commercial Air Conditioning, Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

HVAC Service Contracts: Controlling Time, Quality & Cost

HVAC service contracts and the project management triangle

hvac service contracts
If you’re having difficulty comparing widely differing options when evaluating HVAC service contracts, it may be helpful to use the project management triangle as a guide.

Are you familiar with the project management triangle? It’s a model that describes the relationship between three opposing constraints that impact work: time, quality and cost. It means that your choices in one area impact what you get in terms of the others. For example, if you decide you need the lowest price for a commercial HVAC service contract, that choice impacts what you get in terms of quality and/or timeframe.

hvac service contracts: choosing time, quality & cost

The rule of thumb you’ll often hear with regard to time, quality and cost is that you can choose any two, but the contractor controls the third one. When it comes to HVAC service contracts, we find that this rule breaks down: getting the best quality for the lowest cost is not a realistic option, no matter how much time you throw into the equation. However, understanding the relationship between these three constraints for HVAC service contracts is a useful exercise for focusing your priorities and clarifying what you’re getting for your money.

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Commercial Air Conditioning, Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Modern Air Conditioning Options for Older Homes & Buildings

When you’re renovating an older building for modern living (especially one in an urban setting like NYC), adding modern conveniences can be a challenge. Air conditioning is a prime example.

Older buildings often don’t have the space to install the ductwork needed for traditional systems. Also, electrical systems may be sufficient to handle the load of today’s AC equipment. While upgrading the electric can be expensive, finding the space for air conditioning equipment is more of a problem. Doing it wrong can often mean damaging original plaster, floors and woodwork. Even in the best case, installing traditional equipment usually means giving up closet space or lowering ceilings to make room for equipment.

That’s why it’s smart to consider alternative air conditioning systems for older homes, as well as small businesses renovating older buildings. In New York City, historic brownstone townhouses are frequently renovated for both uses. Here we will discuss the problems with older solutions, and introduce 3 more modern air conditioning options for older homes that you may not know about.

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Commercial Air Conditioning, Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

HVAC Retrofit: Dos & Don’ts for Historic Buildings Conservation

New York is a historic city, settled by the Dutch in the 1600’s. There are actually quite a few structures dating back to the mid-17th century. As a result, we have many unique and beautiful historic buildings mixed in with the glass and concrete high-rises throughout the city. Many of those older buildings are protected by law and must be renovated according to strict rules for historic buildings conservation. That impacts an HVAC retrofit or replacement that’s typically needed to restore a historic space to a condition that works for a business or even a luxury residence.

Here at Arista, we have been working on historic building renovations for decades (no, not since the 1600’s but we’ve been at this for a long time!). So we’ve learned a thing or two about the unique requirements of historic spaces for HVAC.

Last week, we shared the first article in a two-part series about some of the issues you need to address with an HVAC retrofit or replacement for historic buildings. In part 1, we began with a list of 9 DOs when installing HVAC solutions in a historic space.

In case you missed it: HVAC Solutions: DOs and DON’Ts for Historic Building Preservation

Today, we’ll reveal the all-important HVAC DON’Ts for historic buildings conservation in part 2.

HVAC retrofit or replacement: DON’Ts for historic buildings conservation

1. DON’T install a new system unless you need to
Even when you’re making structural fixes or cosmetic changes to meet the needs of a new commercial tenant, it’s possible that the existing HVAC system, or components of it, can be salvaged for the sake of historic buildings preservation. That’s especially true of the heating system. For example, you may be able to keep the old radiators and replace the old boiler with a new one. Or, consider an HVAC retrofit to add AC to parts of the building not cooled by an existing system.

There are some situations where a repair or an HVAC retrofit may be a viable option for historic buildings conservation. There’s one caveat to be aware of, though: think carefully about keeping AC systems that use the old R-22 refrigerant. That refrigerant is currently being phased out due to the environmental impacts, and getting R-22 is becoming more difficult and expensive every day. That means you may need to consider a replacement system that uses one of the newer refrigerants.

 

2. DON’T forget to consider modern HVAC options for historic buildings conservation
If an HVAC retrofit will not meet your needs, don’t assume you have to replace an older system with the same type of older system! There are newer HVAC technologies that have significant benefits for historic buildings.

A variable refrigerant flow (or VRF) system is one such option. For one thing, these system don’t typically require ductwork, which can be a boon when you’re trying not to damage existing walls, ceilings and building structures. Also, the system consists of multiple air handlers which are smaller and take up less space.

What’s more, these new systems are extremely quiet, energy efficient and customizable for zoned operation.

Learn more:
7 Reasons to Choose VRF Technology for Your New Air Conditioning
The Ultimate Guide to Air Conditioning for NYC Luxury Residential Spaces
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3. DON’T cut through exterior walls
In many buildings, it’s standard practice to cut holes through exterior walls to install what’s called “through the wall” HVAC units. This is usually forbidden by building regulations for historic buildings conservation. That means an HVAC retrofit to add a small unit onto an existing system might not be an option.

In some cases, you’ll have to get creative using existing penetrations through exterior walls, and consider ductless systems.

Related article: Ducted vs. Ductless Air Conditioning? How to Choose

4. DON’T alter historic architecture
Just like you have to be creative to avoid cutting through the exterior, it takes some expertise to find solutions that avoid altering architecture in a historic buildings conservation project.

Here are some of the things you should avoid doing whenever possible: avoid dropping ceilings, covering window openings, masking historic features or altering spaces to make room for HVAC equipment. If you are creative, there is usually a way to do it without destroying original architecture.

We could tell you so many stories to illustrate that point! Take a look at this previous blog to see what we mean: Residential HVAC Services: Innovation Improves Cooling in NYC Luxury Homes.
5. DON’T make condensing units or vents an eyesore
Aesthetics is a primary concern for historic buildings conservation. That includes both the interior and exterior of the space. Whether you are completely replacing the HVAC systems or only doing an HVAC retrofit, placement of equipment is extremely important.

That means, don’t put condensing (outdoor) AC units on a visible part of the roof. Don’t add vent pipes that ruin the asthetics of the roof line. If you must put a condenser in a visible area outside, at least use some creativity to hide the unit.

Read this related article for some great ideas: 15 Creative Ways to Hide Your Outside Air Conditioner

6. DON’T introduce moisture that can damage older structures
An HVAC retrofit or replacement, done as part of a historic buildings conservation project, requires the expertise of trained HVAC professionals. Be sure you choose a company that is experienced with older buildings, because if you’re not careful with the installation you could end up with condensation damaging the historic building structure.
Water leaks can stain walls and ceilings, and uncontrolled humidity can damage woodwork and expensive finishes.

Learn more: AC Leaking Water: Air Conditioner Problems & Troubleshooting Tips

7. DON’T skip regular preventative maintenance!
As we stressed in our part 1 article, investing in HVAC preventative maintenance is a smart move for any business, but it’s a must for those located in historic buildings. Not only are the consequences higher when something breaks (see the previously cited article about water leaks!) but the costs for repairs can be higher because it’s harder to access equipment and ventilation systems without harming building finishes.

Imagine the repair costs and building damage that you could face if a blocked drain causes a slow water leak that spreads mold through the walls before anyone notices?

That’s just one reason that our last DON’T may be the most important of all.

Learn more: Air Conditioning Maintenance Doesn’t Cost. It Pays.

Commercial Air Conditioning, Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

HVAC Solutions: Dos & Don’ts for Historic Building Preservation

If you’re renovating a historic building in New York City, the HVAC solutions you choose can be a very important decision. It may not be the first thing on your mind, compared to structural and design decisions. However, choosing the right HVAC systems and installers means you get the comfort conditions needed for the intended use of the space, while also doing a good job with historic building preservation and maintaining the character of the building.

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Luxury Gift Ideas for the Holidays: The Gift of Comfort

Are you struggling to find luxury gift ideas for that discerning person in your life? Nothing says luxury (and appeals to those who love the best of everything) like holiday gifts that provide the ultimate in comfort.

Here at Arista, we have been serving luxury homeowners here in New York City for more than 60 years, so we know a thing or two about this subject!

Here are 6 incredibly fun luxury gift ideas for the holidays that are all about giving the gift of comfort. The last one might not seem like quite as much fun, but the experience it provides is sure to be appreciated daily for years to come.

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Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Holiday Party Planning: 7 Tips to Make It Stress-Free

Holiday party planning can evoke a mixed bag of emotions. You’re probably looking forward to impressing your guests and enjoying a festive occasion. But whether you’re planning an open house for a hundred or an intimate gathering for a few friends or family, chances are you’re stressing over getting everything perfect.

Successful holiday party planning is all about managing the most important aspects of your gathering: the people, the setting, and of course, the food and drink. Today we’re sharing a collection of tips that can help to remove some of the stress from holiday party planning, by helping you avoid common pitfalls in each of these areas.

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

10 Ways to Spot Quality HVAC for High End Residential Properties

When you’re managing high end residential properties, quality is something that’s always on your mind. Homeowners not only expect it, but demand it, not only from the systems and furnishings in their homes, but from the service providers that take care of them.

When it comes to quality HVAC, chances are you’re not an expert. So let us guide you through some of the important features to look for in a quality equipment for the luxury homeowner.

Choosing a quality HVAC service provider, whether it’s for installation, repair, or ongoing maintenance, is really not much different. To get the quality service you need and expect, it’s all about knowing what to look for. That can be especially challenging in a large metropolitan area like New York City, where there are so many players in the market. We’ll help you evaluate who stands head and shoulders above the rest, wherever you are searching for quality residential service.

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Commercial Air Conditioning, Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Ductless AC System? NYC: Think VRF for Comfort & Efficiency

Trying to decide on the right ductless AC system for a NYC luxury residential or light commercial space? It pays to consider variable refrigerant flow or VRF systems for the ultimate in comfort and efficiency.

While it may be unfamiliar to some, VRF technology is not new. In fact, it’s been the ductless AC system of choice in Japan and Europe for decades. These ductless AC units have been gaining in popularity in the US over the past 10 years or so, particularly in the Northeast, including New York City, and on the West Coast, according to a report earlier this year by ACHRNews.

Read on for a review of when you may want or need to choose a ductless AC system in NYC, and why VRF is an ideal choice.

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Commercial Air Conditioning, Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Top 11 Ways to Get Better HVAC Energy Efficiency

There’s a saying in regards to saving power: the cheapest kilowatt-hour is the one you don’t use. HVAC energy efficiency starts with a mindset of using less and getting the most out of what you have. Since HVAC systems represent a significant portion of typical energy costs (experts say as much as 50 to 60 percent), these measures can make a big difference.

Today we’re sharing with you the top 11 ways to increase your HVAC energy efficiency.

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