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Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

DIY HVAC Repair? Don’t Even Think About It

DIY HVAC repair is tempting

Have you always been handy? If you can fix your car and lots of things around your home, you may be tempted to take on the challenge of DIY HVAC repair. Or maybe you’re a business owner with a maintenance staff that handle cleaning and minor repairs around your premises. They should be able to tackle DIY HVAC repair, right?

Wrong! DIY HVAC repair is not only dangerous, but it can lead to some very expensive consequences. Read on to learn why DIY HVAC repair is a temptation you should not give in to.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Refrigeration

Restaurant Air Conditioning: Are Comfort Issues Driving Diners Away?

Restaurant air conditioning.

As a restaurant owner, you’ve probably invested quite a chunk of change in décor and lighting to make your restaurant’s atmosphere inviting. But have you paid as much attention to your restaurant air conditioning and the temperature of the dining room?

Without a doubt, restaurant air conditioning is a hot topic among diners (pun intended!). Air temperature is an important part of every diner’s experience, and if your customers are sweating or shivering through their meal, they are not likely to return for another one. Especially in New York City, you have competitors on every block, and customers will quickly find another restaurant where they can eat in comfort.

When your dining room feels like a sauna or an icebox, you’re losing more than the customers who don’t return. These days, it’s likely that those disappointed customers will share their uncomfortable experience with everyone they know on Facebook, or worse, post a negative review on Yelp. Both word of mouth and bad online reviews can do some serious damage to your restaurant’s reputation. When diners feel like you’re skimping on restaurant air conditioning maintenance, they may wonder (our loud and on social media) whether you’re also cutting corners on food handling, kitchen cleanliness, or quality of ingredients.

Also, don’t forget that your employees will be more productive when the temperature is comfortable.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Your Uncomfortable Office Temperature Is Hurting Your Business

When your AC doesn’t work, neither do your employees

It’s mid-August, and the summer slump is in full swing. How many of the following symptoms do you see in your office?

  • Workers sitting at their desks but clearly daydreaming instead of working
  • People taking long lunches outside
  • Lots of cigarette breaks (even people that don’t smoke) and Starbucks runs
  • Fewer early and late meetings scheduled because so many people are waltzing into the office at 10 and skipping out at 4

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

A Good Heating and Air Conditioning Company is Hard to Find

Is it time to look for a new heating and air conditioning company?

If you’re reading this, you probably already suspect that things are not going the way they should be with your current heating and air conditioning company. Have you experienced any of the following signs of declining service?

  • Making you wait days for a service call
  • Not showing up when they say they will
  • Sending untrained technicians that don’t understand your system
  • Misdiagnosing problems
  • Skimping on preventative maintenance
  • Leaving a mess behind

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

The History of Air Conditioning: How Our Ancestors Stayed Cool

7 Fun Facts About the History of Air Conditioning

Since it’s too hot to go outside and you’re probably safely ensconced in your comfortably air conditioned home or office, you may be feeling blessed to live in the 21st century where we only have to step inside to escape from the heat.

But the truth is, our ancestors had all sorts of clever ways to beat the heat, and some of their ideas are precursors to air conditioning as we know it today. So sit back and enjoy these fun facts about the history of air conditioning.

On the other hand, if you’re sitting in an office that’s not all that comfortable and wishing you could do something about it, here’s what you should be reading instead: Improving an Imperfect World: Mitigating Office Temperature Extremes.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Office Air Conditioning Battles: Take Control Before Workers Do

Office air conditioning comfort issues can seriously impact your business

In the dog days of summer, your office air conditioning is working harder than anyone else to keep your commercial space comfortable. The constant onslaught of heat and humidity, along with rain, pollen and NYC pollution, can make it tough for your system to keep up with the demand.

And if your air conditioner hasn’t been regularly serviced, it has to work even harder to meet the demands of the environment.

When your air conditioner can’t keep up with the cooling demand, some parts of your space will be too hot, while other areas are too cold. High humidity may be causing condensation buildup and even dangerous levels of mold, pollen and other contaminants in the air. Your employees are feeling extremely uncomfortable and may even be getting sick from the poor air quality.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Are Indoor Odor Problems Driving Your Customers Away?

Indoor Odor is Really, Really Bad for Business

Comfort is an important factor in where people choose to shop or dine. But comfort is not only about the air temperature; if your establishment has an unpleasant indoor odor, you may be driving away customers in droves.

Who wants to eat a meal in a restaurant with a lingering indoor odor of grease or even mildew? In addition to the comfort factor, customers can’t help but wonder about cleanliness and food safety. They’re also not likely to spend much time shopping in a boutique that smells like a locker room.

When customers walk out, you’re losing more than just the customers who don’t return. It’s increasingly likely that those unhappy customers will share their negative experience with your indoor odor both with friends and on Yelp or Facebook. Word of mouth and bad reviews can severely damage the reputation of your business.

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Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

10 Tips to Improve Air Quality & Make Indoor Air Safer to Breathe

Air Quality Alert: How Safe Is Your Indoor Air?

For those of us who live and work in New York City, air quality is an issue we can’t afford to ignore. After all, it’s easy to see that brown haze that hangs over the city, especially on hot and humid summer days. And it’s not a surprise considering the concentration of motor vehicles, diesel generators, construction, kitchen exhaust and industrial byproducts in and around the city. You can’t help but wonder what that’s doing to your lungs. Especially if you’re one of the millions who suffer from asthma or other breathing difficulties.

As individuals, we can take steps to improve air quality outdoors, but we may not see an immediate payoff. But here’s a surprising fact that you may not know: indoor air quality can be just as bad for your health, and may be even worse, than outdoor air. According to the EPA, indoor air quality can be as much as 2 to 5 times worse than the air outside. And according to GreenGuard, an organization that promotes environmental health and safety, there is a great deal you can do to immediately improve air quality in your home and work space.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Office Like a Meat Locker? 7 Tips to Improve Your Cold Office

It’s July for goodness sake! Why is everybody in your office dressed like it’s January?

If everybody’s annoyed about your cold office, chances are you’re hearing a lot of under-the-breath grumbling and comments about working in a meat locker. You should know that putting up with a little grumbling is the least of your problems. When your employees are uncomfortable, it costs you in all kinds of ways.

We’ll tell you how to fix the problem once and for all.

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Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Bad Hair Days & More: Humidity and Air Conditioning Problems

Humidity and Air Conditioning Problems Cause More Than Just Bad Hair Days

July in New York City can feel like we’re living in the tropics. The temperatures pushing 90 degrees or higher are compounded by sticky air that makes it feel even worse. If your air conditioner is not doing a great job getting rid of the humidity, it can have all kinds of nasty consequences beyond comfort and uncooperative hair.

Here’s what you need to know how to tackle humidity and air conditioning problems.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC

4 Energy Saving Tips for Business Owners That Save Real Money

As consumers, most of us try to do what we can to save energy: we turn out the lights when we leave a room, we recycle our paper, glass and aluminum, and we fix leaky faucets to save water. But as a business owner, there is a great deal more you can do to save energy. With the summer heat upon us, you’re probably focused on energy saving tips as a way to cut the rising cost of doing business.

The fact is shocking: you’re probably wasting 30 percent or more of the energy used in your commercial space.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 30 percent is the amount wasted by the AVERAGE building. If you haven’t done much to update your systems and your practices over the years, you could be wasting even more. It’s no wonder your bills are so high and get worse every year. These energy saving tips will help.

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

15 Creative Ways to Hide Your Outside Air Conditioner

Preserve your brownstone’s curb appeal

If you’re lucky enough to have usable outdoor space around your NYC residence, you’ll certainly want to make the most of its curb appeal. Whether you’re dining alfresco, playing outside with the kids, or hosting an outdoor cocktail party, who wants to be staring at an ugly outside air conditioner?

While that outside air conditioner is essential to your indoor comfort, air conditioner manufacturers have yet to come out with a unit that’s particularly attractive looking. So that leaves it up to you to come up with a way to camouflage it in your outdoor space.

Luckily, lots of creative people out there have dreamed up some ingenious ways to hide an outside air conditioner. Here are some of our favorites.

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Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

AC Running Constantly? Ignore It And You’ll Regret It

AC running constantly? Deal with it, or it’s going to cost you

When was the last time you experienced the blissful silence when your air conditioner finally shuts off?

If your answer is “sometime in April” then you’ve definitely got a problem on your hands. Even in the heat of the summer, your AC should not be running constantly. If it does, failing to address the issue can seriously cost you.

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

The Goldilocks Syndrome: Incorrect HVAC Sizing Can Cost You

We call it the Goldilocks Syndrome: it’s what happens when you get the wrong HVAC sizing for your residential space.

You’ll regret your choice when you get an air conditioner that’s too small or too big. Comfort is guaranteed when you get your HVAC sizing just right.Unfortunately, the Goldilocks Syndrome is all too common. Less-than-knowledgeable contractors automatically replace your air conditioner with the same size unit you had previously, or base the HVAC sizing decision purely on the square footage of your space.

In fact, there are many more factors that need to be considered to get your HVAC sizing correct.

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Ducted vs. Ductless Air Conditioning? How to Choose

To duct or not to duct? That is the question.

When you’re renovating a residential space, you have a lot of choices to make. Choosing a new air conditioning system may not be as much fun as choosing new furniture, but it’s just as important to get it right.

Contractors are probably throwing a lot of options at you, maybe without a whole lot of explanation. Here’s a primer on two fundamental types of air-cooled HVAC systems, and the information you need to choose which is right for you.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Smart Thermostat Reviews: Nest Learning & Honeywell Wi-Fi

Don’t you feel comfortable and secure when you’re in control of your surroundings? That’s one reason Smart Thermostats have become a sought-after feature for NYC’s luxury homeowners. The ability to remotely adjust the comfort settings of your HVAC system is the ultimate in control.

The Nest Learning Thermostat and the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat allow you to control your home’s heating and cooling comfort remotely from your IOS or Android smart phone. So the next time you run out and forget to adjust the thermostat, no worries. Simply pull up the app and adjust your setting in seconds.

The cool features of these Smart Thermostats provide more than convenience; they can significantly reduce your energy bills. If you’ve been reading our blog every now and then, you probably already know that your HVAC system consumes up to 50% of your home’s energy usage. Remembering to turn out the lights when you leave the room won’t make nearly as much of an impact on your energy bill as installing one of these Smart Thermostats.

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Commercial HVAC

NYC Homeowners: 15 Ways to Save Energy This Summer

Just about everyone is concerned about ways to save energy these days. Rates aren’t going anywhere but up, and as we add more and more electronic devices to our lives, our consumption is growing as well.

Even if you’re fortunate enough not to be worried about paying the bill, you’re probably worried about the condition of the planet and the legacy we’re leaving behind for our kids and their kids.

By now, most of us understand why we need ways to save energy. The question is, how can we do it?

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Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

HVAC Service Contract vs. Homeowners Warranty

Have you recently moved into a new NYC residence? Congratulations! You’ve finally found the perfect home for you, and naturally you want it to stay that way.

Like many new homeowners, you may be thinking about purchasing a homeowners warranty to cover unexpected failures to major home systems like heating and cooling equipment. You may also have received a homeowners warranty as part of your purchase contract. If so, you probably feel like you’ve covered all the bases and you can breathe easy.

Not so fast.

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Commercial Refrigeration

Commercial Refrigeration Maintenance: Summer Tuneups Prevent Meltdowns

The food service manager’s nightmare

It goes something like this:

Your commercial kitchen is bustling, yet you have this feeling of impending doom.

You look around for the source of the problem, but everything looks normal.

Then you suddenly realize… your refrigerated display case was making funny noises yesterday. You head over there at a run.

The light is out.

There’s no more funny noise; now it’s deathly quiet.

And your buttercream is drooping and melting like an ice cream cone on a hot day. NOOOOOOO!

Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Air Conditioning in NYC: Lessons from Seinfeld

It’s always gratifying when you can learn something from television. That way, you can tell yourself you’re doing something educational when you binge-watch old Seinfeld episodes.

Luckily, you really can learn a couple of important lessons about air conditioning in NYC from Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer.

SPOILER ALERT: Some plot details of Seinfeld episodes are revealed below, but we’re betting that you’ve already seen them anyway!

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Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Q&A about HVAC Preventive Maintenance Contracts

Have you recently been burned by high HVAC repair costs? Or have you purchased a new HVAC system and want to start off right taking proper care of it? If so, you may be thinking about investing in regular service and looking at HVAC preventive maintenance contracts for the first time.

You’ve probably got questions… and maybe you’re not quite ready for a sales pitch just yet so you’re reluctant to start making calls. Here’s some handy information about what to expect from an HVAC preventive maintenance contract how to begin evaluating your options.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Alleviate Spring Allergies: Air Filters & MERV Filter Ratings

It’s amazing what those little microscopic buggers (pollen, dust and mold spores) can do to wreak havoc on your health. This time of year, the air is just saturated with them and the consequences are obvious: people sneezing and wheezing everywhere you go.

When the pollen counts are so high and the air is turning warm and sticky (just the right conditions for mold growth), it may seem like there’s little you can do to avoid suffering, short of moving to the desert.

Good news! There is one one very easy and effective way to alleviate spring allergy symptoms that you may not know about. Hit those nasty things where they live: in your HVAC system.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

7 Ways to Fix Office Temperature Fluctuations Once and For All

May can be an unpredictable month: one day it’s 80 degrees and the next day (sometimes even the next hour!) it’s 50 degrees. It’s a challenge to dress appropriately for the weather. What’s worse, the temperature can be just as unpredictable in your office.

It’s a tough time of year for your HVAC system as well. When outdoor temperatures change so drastically throughout the day, keeping up with the changing conditions and keeping your building comfortable may be more than your air conditioning system can handle, especially if it hasn’t been regularly maintained. Then you end up with the office temperature fluctuations that put everybody in a bad mood.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Air Conditioning Maintenance Doesn’t Cost. It Pays.

 

There’s no question about it, running a business in New York City is expensive. We don’t need to tell you that you’re faced with some of the highest rents and operating expenses in the country. Like any successful business owner in NYC, you do what you can to cut costs.

To save money, you may decide to cancel air conditioning maintenance. If you have fairly new equipment, air conditioning maintenance may seem unimportant.

The simple truth is, air conditioning maintenance is not a cost. That’s because it saves money. Depending on your equipment, the usage of your space and the nature of your business, air conditioning maintenance can save you a startling amount of money.

Here are 6 surprising ways that air conditioning maintenance saves money:Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

4 Power Issues That Cause AC Failure

When you have electrical issues related to your air conditioner, you might not be able to tell what’s causing the problem: your air conditioner or the electrical system in your space.

It’s no secret that electricity is nothing to fool around with. If you’re not an expert in wiring and electricity, the danger is enough (as it should be!) to keep you from trying to figure it out on your own. But then who do you call? The AC guy or the electrician?

In most cases, your first call should be to your air conditioning service company. There are a number of power-related problems that can cause AC failure and performance issues, and an AC service tech is qualified to diagnose the problem, and properly trained in how to work around high-voltage electricity.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Your AC Running Constantly is Trying To Tell You Something

Remember the Grinch, slowly driven mad by the Whoville Christmas celebrations with all that NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE? That’s how you start to feel when your AC is running constantly. It’s annoying enough to turn anyone into a Grinch.

All that noise from your air conditioner is trying to tell you something! And the problem will only get worse if you don’t address it.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

8 Preventable Causes of AC Compressor Failure

There are any number of issues that can cause your air conditioner to stop working. Luckily, they’re not all expensive fixes. The problem could be just a loose wire that’s caused a power failure in your air conditioner. Or you could have a clogged air filter that’s impeding the air flow to the system.

On the other hand, when AC compressor failure causes your system to breakdown, you have a major AC emergency service problem and a big expense on your hands. The compressor is a vital and expensive component, and when it goes you may find yourself dropping a lot of cash on a new AC unit.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

AC Coil Cleaning: How to Tell When You Need It

If your home or business has an air conditioner and you’re in charge of making sure it keeps working, you probably know that it’s important to have your air conditioner regularly maintained. And you may have heard talk about AC coil cleaning as part of that maintenance.

But if you’re not an air conditioning expert, it probably sounds like greek to you. What exactly is an air conditioner coil? And why is it so important to clean it? And most important: how do you know when you need to have it done when you’ve never even seen the thing?

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Spring AC Maintenance Checklist & Comparing Service Contracts

The trick to evaluating air conditioning service contracts

Did you know that there are no government-imposed standards when it comes to air conditioning service contracts? That means all air conditioning maintenance is not created equal. Never assume that you’re comparing apples to apples when evaluating service contracts from different providers.

In a way, this is a good thing, because it means that reputable air conditioning service companies can customize a contract according to the age and condition of your equipment, the cooling needs of your space and its occupants, and your budget. You just need to be sure what’s covered under the contract, and that you’re getting the features you need.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

8 Ways AC Preventative Maintenance Keeps the Repairman Away

 

If you’ve got an aging air conditioner, you’re probably not looking forward to the hot and humid summer days ahead. If you sweated your way through last summer and shelled out a lot of cash for repairs, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent breakdowns this summer.

The truth is, there is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to prevent many repair issues: have AC preventative maintenance done before you start up your system this spring.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Air Conditioner Replacement or Repair? How to Decide.

Congratulations, New Yorkers! We’ve made it through a long, nasty winter, and it’s finally spring. The robins have arrived, there are tulips poking through the ground, and it seems like everyone is walking around with a smile. It won’t be long before it’s time to turn on the air conditioner and break out the flip flops.

Speaking of turning on the air conditioner, actually the time to turn it on is NOW, before the hot days arrive and you really need it. Give it a test run to make sure it starts up ok and no problems have arisen from the unit sitting unused all winter.

But what happens when you turn on your AC and it starts making hideous noises? Or it blows a fuse? Or it starts up but no cold air comes out? Or worse, nothing happens at all? Unfortunately, you’ll have to make that dreaded emergency service call.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Refrigeration

It’s Not Easy Going Green: PlaNYC and Doing Your Part to Save Energy

All New Yorkers face impacts from climate change

According to the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), New York City faces significant risks from climate change by the 2050’s. Mean average temperatures will rise by as much as 6.5 degrees, annual precipitation will increase up to 15 percent, and sea levels will rise by as much as 31 inches. Noticeable increases will occur within the coming decade. These are some of the impacts New Yorkers will see as a result of climate change:Read more 

Residential HVAC

Must-Have HVAC Features That Enhance Air Quality & Comfort

 

What’s more important than the quality of the air you and your family breathe every day in your home? It affects not only your mood and your energy level, but whether or not you catch every cold that goes around and your long-term health as well.

Your heating and air conditioning systems do their part to improve your home’s comfort, but have you considered these add-ons that take comfort and healthy air to the next level?Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Understanding Air Conditioning Energy Efficiency Ratings

If you’re considering installing a new air conditioning system, you’ve probably run across many rating acronyms on the sales literature. Those acronyms are all about the energy efficiency of the air conditioner, and they can help you compare the efficiency of various models. Those ratings are extremely important, since as much as 50% of the energy usage in your home or commercial space is consumed by your HVAC system.

The problem is, the equipment manufacturers don’t make it all that easy to understand how to interpret those numbers. If it’s all greek to you, here’s a primer on the various energy efficiency ratings for air conditioners, what they mean and what numbers you should look for:Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations

4 Reasons You Need HVAC Design for Your Air Conditioning Install

 

If you’re in the process of renovating a commercial space in New York City, you know how much planning goes into the project. Architects, engineers, builders and contractors all do their parts to ensure that the space looks and functions according to the client’s requirements and can be completed within the allotted budget and time line. In spite of that, one of the most important aspects of planning a renovation is sometimes overlooked: HVAC design.

In many cases, complaints from customers and building tenants drive the need for renovations. This is particularly true for hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and other businesses where customer satisfaction can make or break the business. As a result, owners and managers of these spaces have certain requirements when they undertake a renovation project. Increased comfort and air quality are often among these expectations, as are reduced energy expenses. HVAC design plays an important role in whether or not these requirements are met.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations

5 Money-Saving Features to Look For in New Thermostats

 

Does your building still have the old dial thermostats? If you’re looking for a way to save money on your energy bills, consider upgrading to new thermostats with programming capabilities. It’s a relatively low cost way to cut expenses on your heating and cooling bills without sacrificing comfort. Today’s new thermostats even provide convenience and notification features that make it even easier to save money.

How much can you save? According to the US Department of Energy, you can save between 5 and 15% on your heating bill when you set back your building’s thermostats by 10 to 15 degrees during the periods when your space is unoccupied. Related article: 15 Tips to Keep Your Energy Bills From Skyrocketing This Summer.

But with so many new thermostat models out there, how do you choose the new thermostat that’s right for you? Look for the following features to get the most benefit from your investment:Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC

Why Getting New Air Conditioning Should Mean Getting a New Heating System

The trees are budding, the grass is poking through the ground, and the warm weather will be here before you know it. While this is good news for most, you might be dreading the warm days ahead if your air conditioning system barely made it through last summer. If your unit is held together by paper clips and is barely producing cool air, it’s time to start thinking about replacing it before the seasonal rush.

Making the right decision about a new air conditioning system takes time and research to make sure you get both the right price and the right system for your needs. If you wait until that first 80 degree day to get started, you’ll pay more and might wind up making a mistake if you have to decide quickly.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC

5 Reasons to Get a New HVAC System When You Renovate

If you’re about to undertake a major renovation project in your building, you’re probably both excited and anxious at the same time. On one hand, the new space will make life easier and enhance your business. On the other hand, living through the construction is a major pain and there are so many details to consider that you may be feeling overwhelmed.

Your focus has probably been on the look and functionality of your renovated space. Your HVAC system, which is out of sight and out of mind as long as it’s working, may be the last thing you thought would be affected. Especially if you’re not changing the overall footprint and square footage of the space, you may wonder why your heating and cooling systems would need to be replaced with a new HVAC system.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

3 Steps for Buying a New Air Conditioner (The Right Way).

Did your air conditioner give you trouble all last summer? You were probably relieved when the hot weather was over, so you could stop worrying about your unreliable unit breaking down again at the worst possible time, and shelling out your hard-earned cash time and time again to fix it. Even though it’s hard to imagine with a foot of snow on the ground, it won’t be all that long before those hot days are back.

You probably don’t want to think about buying a new air conditioner just now. If you’re smart, though, this is exactly the right time to make a decision about your air conditioner. If you think it may be time to throw in the towel and buy a new air conditioner, now is the time to research your options and get the best price on a new unit that’s right for your needs.Read more 

All

Your Ice Machine: The Most Dangerous Item in Your Restaurant

Food safety has to be a primary concern on the mind of every NYC restaurant owner. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t stay in business very long. The consequences of serving potentially dangerous food are serious, not only to your patrons’ health, but also for your business:

  • poor health inspection grades
  • negative reviews on social media and in the press
  • lawsuits and even financial damages

All of these consequences will erode your customer base and eventually put you out of business. As a successful restaurant owner or manager, you already know this, and you’re certainly vigilant about enforcing safe food handling and keeping your kitchen clean. But there’s a food safety danger in your restaurant that’s hiding in plain sight: your ice machine.

Don’t forget that ice is food

It’s easy to overlook the risks associated with ice machines, since we don’t tend to think of ice as food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, does define ice as food. Ice is handled by your staff and ingested by your customers, and it can spread illness just as easily as other food sources if contaminated by viruses, bacteria and mold. And if your ice is contaminated, you won’t even know it ntil it’s too late. Your ice could look, smell and taste just fine, but still be harboring dangerous microorganisms.

A study by the Daily Mail found one in three food establishments serving dirty ice. In a 2011 study of Las Vegas food establishments, over 70 percent of ice samples tested positive for the presence of coliform bacteria. These bacteria can and do cause serious illness. How does ice contamination happen? Most often, it’s the result of poor ice machine maintenance and cleaning.

Safe ice requires a clean ice machine

According to FDA regulations, ice needs to be stored and handled like food, and that means ice machines need to be regularly cleaned. Food Law 2009 Chapter 4 specifies that ice machines must be cleaned and sanitized at the frequency recommended by the manufacturer, which is generally at least 2 to 4 times per year. Depending on your usage volume, the location of the machine, and the water conditions, you may need to clean it more often. For very heavily used units located near a cooking line inside a restaurant kitchen, you may need to clean the machine as often as every month. If you haven’t been doing this, or not doing it properly or frequently enough, it’s likely that you have mold, slime and scale buildup inside your machine that’s contaminating your ice.

And it gets even worse. When a contaminant is introduced into an ice machine, the ice can actually preserve the germs and the moisture allows them to reproduce. As they grow in a colony, those dangerous microorganisms excrete sticky substances called biofilms that make them very difficult to remove once established. Getting rid of mold and other dangerous microorganisms is not so easy; it

requires physically scrubbing with specialized chemicals. And if you miss a spot, mold can regrow again very quickly even after being removed. That’s why prevention- that is, preventive maintenance–is the best strategy to avoid ice contamination.

Don’t let just anybody clean your ice machine

Cleaning an ice machine is a job for the pros; don’t just send in your maintenance guy with a bottle of bleach. First of all, you need to know what products to use for the type of ice machine you have. You also need to know how to disassemble the machine, meticulously clean all parts including the water line, and put it all back together.

Professional refrigeration service experts not only know all the ins and outs of your machine and the right techniques to ensure your ice is clean, but they also know how to inspect and care for the machine to maximize its life span.

Don’t neglect other ice safety and handling guidelines

Once your machine is clean and sanitized regularly, follow these guidelines from Food Safety Magazine to prevent contamination between cleanings:

  • When removing ice, use scoops with handles that prevent hands from touching the ice. Don’t touch any other part of the scoop except the handle.
  • Keep the scoop outside the ice bin, so the handles don’t touch the ice. The scoop should be kept on a stainless steel, impervious plastic or fiberglass tray.
  • Keep doors closed except when removing ice.
  • Consider periodically testing your ice and ice machine surfaces for the presence of contaminants.

A refrigeration service contract doesn’t have to cost as much as you might think. The right refrigeration service company can customize the contract based on your equipment, your needs and your budget. To learn more, refer to our helpful guide to Refrigeration Preventive Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your Food Service Operation

Commercial Kitchen, Commercial Refrigeration

This Ice Machine Cleaning Checklist Could Save Your Restaurant

Food safety has to be a primary concern on the mind of every NYC restaurant owner. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t stay in business very long. The consequences of serving potentially dangerous food are serious, not only to your patrons’ health, but also for your business:

  • poor health inspection grades
  • negative reviews on social media and in the press
  • lawsuits and even financial damages

Read more 

Commercial Refrigeration

How to Clean Up Your Commercial Refrigeration and Nail that ‘A’ Grade

How to Clean Up Your Commercial Refrigeration and Nail that ‘A’ Grade

If you own or manage a restaurant in New York City, you probably have nightmares about the health inspector. You know the one we mean, where he comes in wearing a diabolical grin and slaps a C grade on your front window.

Seriously, even if he comes in smiling pleasantly, your stomach probably does flip-flops. Having the health inspector turn up can be even scarier than having your chef call in sick. You immediately remember all the maintenance tasks you’ve been meaning to take care of, like the low-boy on your cooking line that’s been running too warm. Then you imagine the potentially catastrophic violations that could come as a total surprise: like having to throw out everything in your blast chiller because the temperature is too high. You might even face the closing of your restaurant because of a Condition V critical violation.

Some of the most damaging violations you can receive in an inspection come from food being stored or held at the wrong temperature.

Here’s how poor restaurant HVAC refrigeration service leads to dangerous temperature variations:

Read more 

Commercial Kitchen, Commercial Refrigeration

5 Reasons to Combine Your HVAC and Refrigeration Repair Services

If you are a facilities manager for a restaurant group or chain, you have a lot on your plate (pun intended). You can easily have a dozen people calling you every day with problems that need to be fixed, and you can’t possibly check them all out by yourself. You need to rely on service providers for information, assessments, and advice to help you make decisions.

Let’s say you’re overseeing 15 restaurants and you’re responsible for refrigeration and HVAC and commercial kitchen maintenance. If you have different vendors for each system and each location, you could be dealing with as many as 45 vendors! That’s definitely too many hands in the kitchen. Not to mention too much time on the phone and far too much paperwork with all those separate work orders, proposals and invoices. Make your life easier by building a relationship with one trusted refrigeration and HVAC service provider that can handle all your service needs.

Here’s what you stand to gain:

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

How to Compare AFUE Furnace HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings in 3 Steps

If you’re reading this, you’re probably in the market for a new furnace or boiler. It’s a lot of cash to lay out so close to the end of the heating season, but if your current unit is DOA you may have no choice. If you’re among the smartest NYC business owners, maybe you’re planning ahead to get the best deal BEFORE the old unit dies.

In either case, the good news is you have an opportunity to get a more energy-efficient unit, which can save you considerable cash on your utility bills. But you may be confused about the HVAC energy efficiency ratings and what they mean. Also, you have probably realized that more efficient models can cost considerably more. Is it worth it? How much HVAC energy efficiency will give you the right return on your investment?

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

4 Things You Better Be Getting With Your HVAC Maintenance Contract.

Every smart business person is trying to cut costs. When it’s time to think about renewing your annual HVAC preventive maintenance contract, you may be tempted to go with the lowest priced option. It can seem expensive, and you may not fully understand what you’re getting for your money. Why should you pay more?

But consider yourself warned: going with the lowest bidder frequently costs much more in the long run! That’s especially true if you don’t think through what’s included in the HVAC maintenance contract and your relationship with the service provider. So how can you evaluate the value you’re getting for the HVAC maintenance cost? Consider the following:Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

6 Reasons to Choose Tech-Savvy NYC HVAC Service

At one time or another, many New York City business people find themselves tasked with finding an HVAC service provider. Thiscan seem like an overwhelming assignment. While you certainly appreciate a comfortably heated and cooled building, how are you supposed to tell which heating and air conditioning service companies are any good?

You may have paid attention to the trucks you see around the neighborhood, and asked people you know for recommendations. You’ve probably done an internet search to see which HVAC service companies are the leading providers in your area. Beyond that, you may be at a loss about how to find a qualified and reliable company that can meet your needs.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

The Dangers of Choosing the Wrong Furnace Repair Company

If you’re not an expert on HVAC equipment, or even a handy sort of person, choosing a furnace maintenance provider for your company can seem like a daunting task. You’ve been trusted with this important assignment, yet you may feel like you’re in over your head.

Not to make you more nervous, but there’s a good reason to be concerned. If you choose a provider that’s unwilling or unable to do the job right, they may skip steps that can result in dangerous and even deadly consequences for you and your building’s occupants.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Furnace Maintenance: Got a New Furnace? Don’t Void Your Warranty!

New Furnace? Don’t Neglect Maintenance and Void Your Warranty!

Have you installed a brand new furnace in the past! year? It probably cost you a pretty penny, but you’re now happy to be luxuriating in reliable and consistent warmth. No more worries about coming into the building in the morning and discovering that your office is an ice box.

You may think you’re done worrying about your HVAC system for a little while. Unfortunately, that’s not the smartest decision. Your installer may have mentioned that your new furnace needs regular maintenance to keep it running at its best. Don’t dismiss this advice as just a way for them to get more money out of you!Read more 

All

Happy Holidays from Arista!

Warm holiday wishes from your friends at Arista

We wish you a joyful holiday season

and a New Year filled with peace, prosperity and warm memories.

May the coming year be your best yet,

and we look forward to serving you in 2015.

 


We will resume our normal schedule
of twice-weekly blog posts after the New Year.

Commercial HVAC

Retrofit Your Furnace or Boiler for Energy Savings

If you’re like most business owners, you’re on the lookout for ways to cut operating costs. Your fuel bills, in particular, may be on your mind at this time of year.

Did you know that your HVAC system consumes as much as 40 to 50% of your building’s total energy usage? Those new high-efficiency furnaces you may have read about can reduce your HVAC energy consumption by as much as 30 to 40 percent, depending on the age and condition of your old system. But what if you’re not ready for a new furnace just yet? Your current system may have years of life left. Or you may need a little time to come up with enough cash to purchase one of those high-efficiency systems. Is there any way to reduce your energy consumption now?Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Furnace Troubleshooting: 8 Signs Your Furnace Needs Maintenance

As a business owner, this time of year you’re probably running around like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve trying to get everything done. The last thing you want to worry about is the condition of your heating system. But in those rare moments when you sit still for a moment, you may be experiencing nagging doubts that your old furnace is going to make it through the winter without an expensive and inconvenient breakdown.

Take a glance through the list below. Have you noticed any of these symptoms? If you have, you’re probably worried that your furnace or boiler is about to go down for the count. Taking the “wait and see” approach makes it likely that you won’t like what you see (especially on your invoice) when that breakdown happens.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Don’t Let Furnace Water Leaks Ruin Your Holiday

Isn’t it just the last thing you need during the crazy rush right before the holidays? Your maintenance guy tells you there’s a puddle of water under your furnace. Oh, great… there goes your dream of a profitable December and starting off the New Year with a trip to the tropics. Will you have to shell out thousands for a new furnace instead?

Don’t cancel your plans just yet! There are a number of reasons that can lead to your furnace leaking water, and most of them don’t mean an untimely death for your heating system.

Start by identifying what type of heating equipment you have, and check out these possible causes for water leaks.Read more 

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

5 Common HVAC Installation Mistakes and How They Cost You

If you’re in the market for new HVAC equipment, you’re probably doing a lot of research into the type of equipment that’s best for your needs, as well as the brands that are highly rated. Did you know that it’s just as important to do your due diligence in choosing the right installer? Use this HVAC troubleshooting guide to help you understand possible issues.Read more 

Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

Love Your Radiant Floor Heating? Don’t Neglect Maintenance

Did you know that radiant floor heat is one of the oldest forms of climate control? Ancient Eskimos filled stone trenches under their dwellings with hot smoke to warm the space. The Greeks and Romans used hypocausts, basically furnaces pumping hot air into floor and wall space, to warm their public buildings and bath houses. Different forms of radiant floor heating have been used for millennia.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Furnace Troubleshooting: 8 Causes of Inconsistent Building Heat

If you’re are building or facility manager, one of the least pleasant parts of your job may be handling all the complaints about the building’s temperature.

How can it be that some complain about working in a meat locker, while others are opening the windows? It may not be just people’s individual comfort levels that are causing the problem. In fact, uncovering the associated furnace problems causing inconsistent heating system performance can sometimes be pretty complex.

But, never fear; basic furnace troubleshooting skills can help you hone in on the issue! Take an inventory of the following common 8 causes of heating inconsistency and take control of your building comfort!Read more 

Commercial HVAC

New York HVAC Systems: 8 Reasons Bigger is Not Always Better

One of the worst mistakes you can make when purchasing new HVAC equipment is choosing a unit that’s the wrong size for your space. Especially if your old unit was not providing adequate heating or air cooling, you may be tempted to go with a more powerful unit thinking you’ll get more comfortable conditions.

You won’t. When it comes to furnaces, boilers and air conditioners, bigger is not necessarily better. What you want is a unit with exactly the right capacity to meet the needs of your space.

Here are 8 reasons why an oversized unit is the wrong choice for your heating and air conditioning needs:Read more 

Commercial Kitchen, Commercial Refrigeration

Neglected Commercial Refrigeration Equipment is a Recipe for Disaster!

In the food service business, you spend good money on the best ingredients, because your customers expect nothing less than the freshest fare. So much depends on the quality of your food. But if you’re storing that food in commercial refrigeration units that have not been properly maintained, you might as well be throwing your money away.Read more 

Commercial Kitchen, Commercial Refrigeration

The 6 Step Guide to NYC Restaurant Energy Savings

In the restaurant business, how do you keep your profits consistent when costs are continuously rising? Food prices, utility rates and wages are going nowhere but up. Especially in New York City where competition is fierce, you probably aren’t in a position to raise prices to offset increased expenses. So what can you do? You need to find a way to cut operating costs without impacting the quality of your product or the comfort of your guests.

A surprisingly effective strategy is to focus on energy efficiency. According to ENERGY STAR, the average restaurant uses 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. If yours is a quick-service restaurant, you may be using up to 10 times more energy. That’s a lot of cash that could be going toward your bottom line. If you can save 20 percent on energy costs, that could increase your profit margin by as much as one-third.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

Fall Furnace Maintenance: 8 Signs Your Furnace Has Called it Quits

If your building’s furnace has been there for 10 or 15 years (or more), you may be wondering how much life it has left. You don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars for a new one if you don’t have to yet, but you also don’t want to be in a position of having to make a quick decision to buy a new furnace when it suddenly fails and you have no heat. How can you predict when it’s likely to fail so you can replace it proactively?

If you’ve noticed many of the following warning signs, it’s time to call a certified HVAC service company for an evaluation of your system and recommendations for replacement options.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

Fall Furnace Maintenance: 3 Reasons to Clean Your Furnace

Chances are you’ve seen articles and advertisements telling you to get your HVAC system cleaned and maintained at least once or twice a year (it should be apart of any fall furnace maintenance routine). You may be wondering why it’s so important. After all, your equipment seems to keep working, right?

That may be the case for now, but you’re setting yourself up for a host of trouble later on (not to mention much bigger expenses) by skipping this easy and affordable task.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

Things that Go Bump in the Night: Is Your Furnace Making Noises?

It’s that time of year again when you see skeletons and witches inhabiting every lawn and peering out of every window. So when you have a furnace making noises with all sorts of unsettling sounds, you can’t help but wonder if a poltergeist got in there.

Before you call in the ghost busters, here are some of the common problems that may be making your heating system go bump in the night (and all day long). Luckily, most of them are not that scary.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

Heating Maintenance: Checklist for Gas and Oil Furnaces

If you haven’t already done so, you’re probably thinking it’s time to turn on the heat in your building. Not so fast! Have you done your fall furnace maintenance? If you want to keep your building occupants healthy and safe, as well as warm, it’s in your best interest to take care of this task before starting up your furnace for the first time. November is almost upon us! The leaves are dropping off the trees, the holiday ads have already begun, and you’re toying with the idea of breaking out the winter coat. It’s going to get chilly, especially after we change the clocks and lose another hour of daylight.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Fall Furnace Maintenance: How to Change Your Furnace’s Air Filter

According to ENERGY STAR, you should be checking and changing your furnace’s air filter every month during peak heating season. That’s probably more often than you need to be calling in your trusty HVAC service guy. We love to see you, of course, but this is a job that you can probably handle on your own if you choose to do so.

If you plan to stay on top of this important furnace maintenance task yourself, let your service guy know when he comes to do your fall furnace maintenance before you start up your furnace for the heating season. He can make sure you have plenty of the right filters on hand, and can show you or your maintenance crew the steps to properly insert and remove the air filter.

Here’s what you can expect:Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

3 Reasons Changing Your Furnace Air Filter Could Change Your Life

This time of year, you’ve got so much on your mind: navigating the daily traffic gridlocks with so many bigwigs in town, picking out your Halloween costume for the office party, and of course, keeping up with the baseball playoff standings.

Who has the time to think about air filters? And what’s the big deal anyway? How could a little thing like a furnace air filter really make a difference in how your furnace works this winter?

It makes a huge difference, actually, and it takes less time than choosing your picks for the football pool.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Residential HVAC

9 Skills Sherlock Holmes & A Great New York HVAC Service Tech Share

Are you in the market for a new HVAC service provider, and wondering how to tell if someone’s really any good? Think about the qualities of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. That’s what it takes to be a top-notch NYC HVAC guy.

Look for signs of these skills, habits and abilities, and you can be sure you’ve found someone you can count on to get the job done right:Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Fall Furnace Maintenance Tips: Are Carbon Monoxide Detectors Enough?

It’s no secret that carbon monoxide is deadly. We’ve all heard the horror stories that result from people unknowingly breathing in the colorless, odorless gas. As a responsible business owner or manager, you have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your building, and you probably think that protects you from the danger.

Not entirely.

It’s true that carbon monoxide detectors will most likely protect you from the deadliest outcome: people in your building becoming sick or even dying from exposure to the poisonous gas. But have you considered the consequences of having a scare in your building when those detectors go off? The following fall furnace maintenance tips will help you stay safe in the event of your detectors go off, and take preventative action to ensure they never do.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

4 Consequences of Fall Furnace Maintenance Neglect

At this time of year, you’ve probably seen and heard the recommendations about having your furnace cleaned and maintained before the start of the cold weather. What’s all this fuss about fall furnace maintenance, anyway? Your building’s furnace is tucked away in a boiler room out of sight. No one has to look at it, so why should you care if it’s dirty as long as it’s doing the job?

Here’s what you may not realize. All that buildup of dirt and grime, as well as the fact that your furnace is not being regularly inspected for impending problems, is endangering the health of your building’s occupants, not to mention your wallet.

Here are four serious risks you face when you neglect fall furnace maintenance:Read more 

Commercial HVAC

5 Smart Strategies: Energy Saving Tips for Commercial Buildings

We have good news and bad news about your building’s energy consumption. Which do you want to hear first?

Ok, here’s the bad news: you’re probably wasting 30 percent or more of the energy your building uses. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 30 percent is the amount wasted by the AVERAGE building. If you haven’t done much to update your systems and your practices over the years, you could be wasting even more. It’s no wonder your bills are so high and get worse every year.

The good news? If you take advantage of the energy saving tips for commercial buildings, outlined here, you can significantly cut your usage and your bills without adversely affecting the comfort of your building’s occupants. Here’s how:Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Broken Air Conditioning? 3 Steps to Avoid Being Taken to the Cleaners

Take Control of Your Broken Air Conditioning Unit.

As a business owner or manager, you wear a lot of hats. But it’s going a bit too far when you’re expected to understand the technical mumbo-jumbo about what’s wrong with your broken air conditioning unit and make a decision to replace it on the spot. Do you trust this service provider and their diagnosis? Is this problem really a death sentence for your equipment? Can you buy a little time to figure out your options?

Just say no, or at least say “not so fast.” Any service provider that insists you need to purchase new equipment without offering an adequate explanation – or one that’s understandable to someone who’s not an HVAC expert – should raise a red flag. You should never rush into making an expensive equipment purchase, because it’s easy to make the wrong choice and spend more money than you need to.

Here’s how to proceed when you find yourself in this situation:Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Air Conditioner Mold: Can You Get Sick from Air Conditioning?

Air Conditioner Mold Can Make You Seriously Sick.

In July in New York City, it can feel like we’re living in the tropics, with the weather alternating between heat and humidity and thunderstorms with torrential downpours. As your discomfort grows, do you know what else is growing in your air conditioner? Mold and bacteria. Now it’s September and the NOAA is predicting at least one major hurricane this season.

If you’ve been neglecting regular maintenance of your air conditioning system, you’re setting yourself up for a potentially serious situation. As the temperature and humidity levels fluctuate, so does your risk of contamination from mold and disease-causing bacteria, including legionella bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Can You Get Sick from Air Conditioning? Allergy Symptoms Tell All

In the late summer and early fall seasons here in the Northeast, the air is inundated with grass and weed pollen spores, bringing about miserable allergy symptoms for many people. If you’re suffering, you’ll do just about anything to get relief. Like pay a fortune to your neighbor’s kid to do your yard work for you. (We know one guy who wears a surgical mask 24 hours a day.)

If you own a business or are in charge of building maintenance, this problem can cause you major headaches (in addition to the sniffles, sneezes and coughs). The prevalence of air conditioning allergy symptoms can seriously disrupt worker productivity. Employees are staying home sick and taking time off to visit the doctor. Also, blowing your nose 100 times a day takes considerable time away from your job! The problem can even turn deadly for people with chronic conditions such as COPD, asthma and diabetes.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Office Temperature Fluctuations Turning Your Cubicle into a War Zone?

September weather is rough on your HVAC system. The temperatures seem to fluctuate on a daily basis: 90 degrees today, 50 degrees tomorrow. Then there’s rain, humidity, and pollen to throw a monkey wrench into the situation. Keeping up with the changing environment and keeping your building comfortable may be more than your air conditioning system can handle, especially if it hasn’t been regularly maintained.

The result? Parts of the building are too hot, and other areas are too cold. High humidity may be causing condensation buildup and even dangerous levels of mold, pollen and other contaminants in the air. People are uncomfortable and may even be getting sick from the poor air quality. What’s more, the environment also has a direct effect on the productivity of your employees or tenants. They’re feeling lousy, they’re getting less done, and before you know it, they’ll be fighting mad. If you don’t do something to address the situation, they will.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

6 Risks You Take When You Forgo NYC HVAC Tech Intelligence

Trust your techs. They’re really smart.

NYC HVAC techs are pretty smartLike every business owner, you’re probably trying to save money. So when your air conditioner is on the fritz or needs a seasonal cleaning, you may be tempted to call in your handy brother-in-law or let your building maintenance guy try to do it himself. It may seem simple to hose off the condenser coils and check the refrigerant level, but HVAC work is much more complex than you may realize. Your service tech has had years of training, he has loads of knowledge that help him both solve and prevent problems, and he’s much smarter than your brother-in-law (don’t tell him we said that).

HVAC is a complex trade and you can do a lot of damage and cost yourself a great deal of money by taking shortcuts.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

4 Steps for Storm Readiness: NYC HVAC Prep for Hurricane Season

Whether they call it a superstorm, a tropical storm, or a hurricane, these devastating weather events can cause catastrophic damage, as those of us who lived through Superstorm Sandy know all too well. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted 8-13 named storms, 3-6 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes for the 2014 season, so now is the time to get prepared.

We all know the drill to protect our homes and families when an impending storm threatens: stock up on water and non-perishable food, get out the flashlights and weather radio, buy lots of batteries, bring in your lawn chairs and board up the windows. But did you know that you should also be taking precautions to protect your NYC HVAC system?

Making the time now to take a few precautionary actions, and knowing what to do when a storm strikes, can make the difference between sailing through the storm with no damage and having to shell out thousands for new HVAC equipment.Read more 

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

HVAC Repair: 3 Scenarios Where You Might Pay Twice.

When should you pay twice for HVAC Repair in NYC?

You know the drill: something breaks and you call in someone to fix it. The HVAC repair guy tells you what’s wrong, and charges you a lot of money. At first, everything seems to be working again. You breathe a sigh of relief and forget about it. Then lo and behold, it breaks down again a short time later.

We’ve all been through it, which doesn’t make it any less frustrating, not to mention expensive. Unfortunately, it happens all too often with air conditioning systems. The question is, should you have to pay each time the tech comes out and works on your system, even when he doesn’t fix the problem?

It’s a tough question, and the answer depends on the circumstances. Here are a few scenarios related to refrigerant leaks, one of the most common causes of a/c malfunctions, to guide you if you find yourself in this sticky situation.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

10 Fall Maintenance Tasks That Prevent HVAC Repair

Avoid HVAC Repair With This Simple Checklist.

It’s hard to believe September is here already! You’re probably busy with back-to-school activities, the start of the football season, and picking out your Halloween costume (it’s never too early!). It’s a good thing we’re here to remind you that air conditioning maintenance needs to be on your fall to-do list.

Your air conditioner has worked hard all summer keeping your building cool. Once you shut down your system for the season, it needs to be cleaned, inspected and properly protected for the long winter ahead. If you skip these important tasks, you’re risking a major HVAC repair headache (not to mention a major expense) when you start up your air conditioner in the spring and find it’s not working.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

AC Leaking Water: Air Conditioner Problems & Troubleshooting Tips

Air Conditioner Problems Raining on Your Parade?

Leaking Just when you were having a good month with no major disasters, and you were actually optimistic about getting ahead of expenses, your maintenance guy comes in to tell you that there’s a puddle of water around your indoor air conditioning unit. Now you’ve got that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach in anticipation of an expensive repair bill.

Don’t panic! It may look bad, but in many cases, your air conditioner problems–even water leaks are not an expensive fix, if you’ve caught it quickly.Read more 

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

Avoid Air Conditioning Repair: NYC Techs Talk Compressor Failure

Compressor Failure Could Mean Serious Air Conditioning Repair in NYC

When a service tech inspects your broken air conditioner, the very LAST thing you want to hear him or her say is, “Sorry, the compressor has failed.” It’s often a death sentence for an air conditioning unit since it’s such a costly part to replace. If your warranty has expired and the cost to replace a compressor exceeds a third of the cost of a new unit, you may be facing the purchase of a new air conditioner. Either way, it’s going to cost you a bundle.

The surprising fact is that as many as 80 percent of compressor failures could be prevented if the problems leading to the failure were corrected in a timely manner. These problems can be detected and eliminated during regular preventative maintenance and help you avoid costly air conditioning repair in NYC.Read more 

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

AC Troubleshooting: FROZEN HVAC System? Don’t “Let it Go!”

AC Troubleshooting: Why Your Air Conditioner Freezes Up and What to Do About it.

If you have children, or you’re alive on the planet, you’ve seen/heard of/know all the words to all the songs to Disney’s Frozen. In the movie “Anna, a fearless optimist, sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter” (so says IMDB). Yea, it’s a real nail-biter.

While you may not have a loyal reindeer, you may indeed be facing an epic journey of your own when the icy powers of your air conditioner cause an eternal winter of your evaporator coils. (Eh, come on…go with it. It was only a matter of time before a witty HVAC company took advantage of the comparison).Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC

AC Troubleshooting: 10 Common Causes of a Constantly Running System

AC Troubleshooting Guide to Fixing a Constantly Running AC Unit

Mid-August and temperatures are in the 70’s? It makes you wonder if the dog days of summer are behind us or if they’ll be back with a vengeance next week. It’s a relief to have some cooler weather, but one thing that may put a damper on your comfort level is the sound of your air conditioner running constantly when you know it shouldn’t be.

Is your AC running all the time without shutting off, or cycling on and off continuously? There are several causes for concern. More than likely you’ve got a problem with the unit. It’s also using way too much electricity and running up your electric bill. And don’t forget about the wear and tear on your air conditioner from all that unnecessary work.Read more 

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

A Guide to the Top 3 Power Related Air Conditioner Problems

Troubleshooting Your Air Conditioner: Problems with Power

It’s incredibly frustrating when your air conditioner experiences power-related issues because you often don’t know who to call, the electrician or the air conditioning service guy. Since you’re probably not an expert in wiring and electricity, the danger of high voltage is enough (as it should be!) to keep you from trying to figure it out on your own. Here’s a quick guide to the top 3 power issues you could be experiencing, and what to do if it happens to you.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Troubleshooting HVAC: Contractors in NYC Can Help You Catch Stray Energy

Have you heard the term “stray energy”? It refers to all the energy that’s wasted in your building due to incorrect settings and equipment not operating under optimum conditions. Some examples include:

  • Someone adjusts a thermostat for a specific event and then forgets to reset it afterwards.
  • Broken sensors that cause fans or pumps to run when not needed.
  • Undetected problems with automated building management software that cause systems to run incorrectly, such as at night.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC

The Future of Air Conditioning: It’s All About Efficiency and Comfort

What do you consider most important about your air conditioning system? That probably depends on your perspective. If you happen to work for the EPA, it’s energy use. If you’re a facilities manager, it’s reliability. Business owners usually care most about the cost. Employees and customers care about comfort.

In the past, these concerns have sometimes been mutually exclusive. To get the most energy-efficient units, you had to shell out a lot of cash, and in some cases you had to sacrifice some cooling power to get the energy savings. And buying a more expensive system did not necessarily guarantee reliability.

Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Air Conditioning Problems: Repair or Redesign a Noisy AC Unit?

Is Your Noisy Air Conditioning Unit Broken or Poorly Designed? Know the Signs.

Do you feel like that rattling or humming sound coming from your air conditioner is beginning to rattle your brain? It’s not just you. Everyone in the building has noticed: your employees, your customers, and your boss. If you’re in charge of the air conditioning system, they’ll have your head before too long if you don’t do something about it.

It’s no secret: everyone hates annoying background noise. The problem is, the noise is more than just annoying. The acoustical environment affects more than our nerves. Loud background noise drives away customers in a restaurant, decreases productivity in an office and even impacts the learning environment in a school.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

HVAC System Maintenance Just Got a Whole Lot Greener.

If you own a business in New York City, you probably sometimes wonder how your business contributes to the brown haze hanging over the city. You certainly can’t help noticing how much energy you’re using and how much it’s costing you every month.

Did you know that up to half of that energy is being consumed by your HVAC system? According to reports by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, commercial HVAC systems account for between 40 and 50 percent of fuel consumption.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

HVAC Troubleshooting Tips for Healthcare Facility Managers

When you are managing a healthcare facility, people’s lives are in your hands. As a result, you face a great deal of risk on a daily basis. With so much to worry about, your HVAC system may be one thing that’s out of sight and out of mind. But the consequences of a poorly-performing air conditioning system (or worse, a system failure) are much more serious than just discomfort.

The health of your HVAC system has a major impact not only on the temperature, but on the overall air quality in your facility. For hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care centers and other healthcare facilities, temperature fluctuations and air quality issues can make the difference between life and death for at-risk or elderly patients.Read more 

Commercial Kitchen, Commercial Refrigeration, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Avoid Refrigeration Repair and Improve Your NYC Restaurant Grade

Want an “A” on Your Restaurant Health Inspection? Better Get Up to Speed on Refrigeration Maintenance

NYC Restaurant Letter Grades. You know that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when the NYC health inspector walks into your restaurant? It’s kind of like a moment of imminent danger when your life flashes before your eyes. You instantly see all the things you’ve been meaning to take care of, like the low-boy on your cooking line that’s been running too warm. Then you imagine the potentially catastrophic violations that could come as a total surprise: like having to throw out everything in your self-serve display case because the temperature is too high, and facing a C grade or even the closing of your restaurant because of a Condition V critical violation.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Want a Proven Way to Win the Battle Against Pollen? Call Your HVAC Service Provider.

Pollen counts are at record levels. If you are among the more than 50 million Americans affected by allergies, you already know this! Even people without allergies can experience symptoms when there is a significant amount of pollen in the air. Symptoms can include not only the typical runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes, but also headaches, fatigue, coughing and asthma.

It stands to reason that avoiding the allergens can reduce symptoms. However, pollen spores are among the most difficult allergens to avoid. Most of us need to go outside sometime, and even indoors it can be challenging to remove pollen particles because many of them are so tiny in size. They also may be lurking in places you haven’t considered, like your building’s ventilation system.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

A Guide to Getting an HVAC Maintenance Agreement for the Newbie

Who Me? Find an HVAC Service Provider?

If you work for a smaller operation, chances are you wear a lot of different hats. Even if you were hired to do a specific job, periodically you’re probably asked to take on a responsibility that is outside your comfort zone. When you know nothing about the task in question or even where to start, it can be overwhelming to say the least.

If you’ve been asked to get a quote for an HVAC service contract, and you wouldn’t know a condenser coil from a HEPA filter, read on for some information about how to get started and what to expect from the best service providers.Read more 

Commercial HVAC, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Summer in the City and Air Conditioning Problems

Is Your Retail Business a Comfort Zone?

Ah, summer in New York City! Temperatures are soaring, humidity is rising and people on the NYC streets are seeking relief from the oppressive heat. Will they find it in your retail store or restaurant? Comfort is an important factor in where people choose to shop or dine. If your establishment is too hot or too cold, you may be driving away customers in droves.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

Be a Hero: Save Money on Energy For Your Business with Energy Rebates

As the demand for energy continues to rise, utility companies are offering rebates to customers as a way to reduce usage and avoid having to spend millions to construct new plants. If you are a homeowner, you may have taken advantage of some of these rebates. What you may not know is that utility companies also offer rebates to businesses that choose energy-efficient options for construction, equipment purchases and facilities operation.

It’s no surprise that utility rates on the rise again: electricity rates are expected to increase by more than 4 percent this year, and gas prices could go up by as much as 10 percent. If your HVAC equipment is getting up there in years, now may be a good time to consider replacing older units with newer models that use much less energy than older models. You can offset the rate increases by reducing your energy usage, and you can also earn you cash rebates from your utility company.Read more 

Commercial HVAC

15 Tips to Keep Your Energy Bills From Skyrocketing This Summer

How to Save Money on Energy Bills

Apparently New York City is about to get hit with a double-whammy: a hot summer and rising electricity rates. According to the 2014 Farmer’s Almanac, NYC is in for an exceptionally hot and humid summer. On top of that, you’ll see a rise in electricity prices. According to Con Edison, a typical business customer can expect average summer bills to rise between 4 and 5 percent.

There’s not much you can do about the weather (except maybe a rain dance) but there’s an easy thing you can do about your energy bill: USE LESS. It stands to reason that decreased consumption lowers your cost. But you may not realize that trimming usage also helps lower rates. It’s simple economics: higher demand means higher rates, and lowering demand by decreasing usage results in lower rates.

Here are 15 top tips that can result in real energy savings this summer:Read more 

Commercial Kitchen, Commercial Refrigeration, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Display Case Breakdown: Avoid Costly Commercial Refrigeration Repair

Cold Case: Display Case Gone Bad

For owners of New York City convenience stores, delicatessens, coffee shops and bakeries your refrigerated display cases are the lifeblood of your business. You’ve probably gone to a great deal of time and expense to choose the best commercial refrigeration equipment for your needs, and design a space that showcases your products in the most attractive and convenient way. And of course, you count on that equipment to work reliably 24 hours a day to keep items fresh for your customers.

If a display case breaks down, and you need commercial refrigeration repair, it’s a major headache and a major expense. You may be forced to throw out a lot of expensive product, not to mention the lost business while the unit is down. Then you have to fix or replace the unit in a hurry. Of course it will happen at the most convenient time, on a Sunday or a holiday when the service rates are at a premium. You may even have a health and safety issue if customers consumed food that was not kept at the proper temperature.Read more 

Commercial Kitchen, Commercial Refrigeration, Preventive Maintenance Agreements

Blast Chillers 101: How to Avoid Commercial Refrigeration Repair

‘Just Me and My Blast Chiller’

If you run just about any type of food service operation, your blast chiller is your best buddy…or at least one of your most critical pieces of commercial refrigeration equipment. It increases the productivity of your kitchen by allowing you to make larger batches and produce more product during slow periods. It reduces waste since you no longer need to throw out leftovers every day. Most importantly, it preserves the flavor, aroma, color, texture, and nutrients in your food, improving the quality of what you serve. Use of blast chillers can even reduce your legal liability by ensuring that your food is handled in compliance with food safety regulations.

The best part is, your blast chiller asks for very little in return. These units are very reliable and can easily last 15 to 20 years. All you need to do is some simple cleaning and maintenance. What more could you ask from one piece of equipment?Read more