Designing a restaurant kitchen is a complicated business, especially when it comes to your ventilation. Many consider the kitchen ventilation system to be one of the most complex parts of designing a food service establishment.
NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog
If you are a facilities manager who has responsibility for older air conditioning systems, chances are you are alarmed by the news that R22 is being phased out. Does this mean you’ll need to replace a lot of expensive equipment all at once? You’re probably also wondering about the R22 phase out schedule and how quickly you need to act.
In this article we’ll discuss the timeline for R22 being phased out to help you understand the urgency of the situation. Then we’ll discuss the options for facilities with R22 air conditioning equipment and some tips for making the best decision for your company.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for 56% percent of energy use in the typical home. While needs vary considerably across different types of commercial activities, estimates are that heating and cooling can be much as 73% of total energy use for commercial buildings.
Have you been limping along all summer with your older R22 air conditioner? Hoping to avoid replacing it during the high season? Especially if you know your unit has a refrigerant leak, you may be trying to decide how long you can get by before you’ll have to invest in a new system. Now that cooler weather is on the way you have some time to plan and decide on a course of action that works best for you and your budget. An important factor in making that decision is answering the question: when does R22 become illegal?
When you’re thinking about adding central air or replacing an existing system, of course you want to get an idea of what the cost looks like.
If central air was a one-size-fits-all commodity, it would be simple to provide the exact cost to install central air, or even to give a price range for AC installation in NYC, for example. Some companies do publish this type of information, but those numbers are so general as to be pretty useless. The range is so wide that it’s not helpful, and can’t possibly take into account your specific situation.
Owners of commercial air conditioning systems: listen up! If your system has been giving you trouble, you may be thinking: should I replace my R22 air conditioner? If so, we have good news for you.
When it’s only June and you’re already wondering if your aging air conditioner will make it through the summer, it’s not a good situation. Maybe you’ve been told it needs some repairs. That puts you in a tough position: do you spend the money on a commercial air conditioner repair to get through the summer? Or do you bite the bullet now and invest in a new system?
Considering an RTU HVAC for your business?
If you’re adding or replacing heating and air conditioning equipment in a commercial space, your contractor may recommend an RTU HVAC unit.
What exactly is an RTU? It stands for “roof top unit.” So now you can guess that this type of HVAC equipment lives on the roof. It’s a self-contained unit that provides both heat and air conditioning for certain types of spaces.
Keep reading to learn more about the RTU HVAC system, and find out if it may be a good choice for your commercial space.
When you need a new commercial air conditioner, business owners and facilities managers often have no idea how to make the right choice. Like you might when buying a car, a computer or some other technology item, you might start researching brands to see which one gets the best reviews.
There’s a saying about 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.
You may have heard that energy experts attribute 50 to 60-percent of energy costs to your HVAC system’s operation. Like most facilities managers, you’d like to save on your energy bill without spending a bundle on equipment upgrades. The good news is: there are lots of simple, inexpensive ways to save energy. Let’s look at ways to save energy by reducing energy consumption.
Have you ever noticed an oily odor from your frying pans and other smells from the cooking process lingering long after the chefs retire their aprons for the night? Does it seem like it takes too long for smoke from the grill, the stove and steamy pots and skillets to dissipate?
These problems are likely the result of your exhaust fans sucking the air from your kitchen space, but not enough air replacing the exhausted air. By outfitting your kitchen with a restaurant make up air unit, you can avoid these suffocating problems.Read more
With the hottest temperatures of the year staring us down, the last thing we need is a meltdown over an air conditioner breakdown. Home and business owners and facility and property managers across the NYC metropolitan area are keeping their fingers crossed that mature air conditioning systems make it through the summer. This tenuous situation can’t help beg the question, “How long should an air conditioner last?”
HVAC experts say an air conditioner should last about 15 to 20 years under normal conditions. However, many factors can reduce that life, including poor installation, operating conditions, system sizing, and neglected maintenance.
Rest assured, it does not have to be that way. Not all HVAC companies have been created equal and you can choose a company that will provide topnotch service and install quality equipment to match your needs. Let’s look at how to choose an HVAC company that can provide you with the services you deserve.
If you’re in line for a new HVAC system installation, there is important information to digest before you undertake such a considerable capital investment. Your comfort along with your employee’s comfort and productivity depends on your comprehensive review of the myriad of options for your HVAC replacement; not to mention its impact on your wallet upfront and down the road. Let’s take a look at some of the things business owners and facility managers should take into account when sizing up a HVAC replacement project.
How to choose an HVAC contractor for your business: why is it so hard?
If you’re in charge of your company’s facilities, you’ve certainly had experience dealing with heating and air conditioning contractors. You’ve likely vetted quite a few over the years. Yet, since you’re reading this article, you are probably finding yourself disappointed yet again. You may be wondering why it is such a challenge to find an HVAC service provider that meets your expectations.
The answer is: not every HVAC company is qualified to handle the challenges of commercial spaces, especially large corporate environments and businesses with multiple locations.
Also, you want a company that’s willing to customize its service according to your needs and priorities. Read on to learn about how to choose an HVAC contractor that’s both willing and able to deliver superior service that goes beyond your expectations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You are considering the renovation of your business space in an older building and are faced with many important decisions and among those is choosing the right HVAC system. You probably feel comfortable with many of your choices such as the best floor plan to meet your needs. But when it comes to selecting a new HVAC system, you may feel lacking in expertise and chilled by the thought of choosing the right HVAC system for your space that is on the cusp of renovation.
Here is some basic information that should help break the ice in the decision-making process and steer you in the right direction in making best choice for your business.
Like most business owners, you’re probably not an HVAC expert. Yet your restaurant HVAC is a mission critical system that your business can’t operate without. All year round, you depend on your heating and air conditioning system to keep your dining room comfortable for your customers, so they keep returning to your restaurant again and again. Your restaurant HVAC also keeps your kitchen and food prep areas comfortable for employees, which have specialized comfort and ventilation requirements in order to meet health inspection requirements.
The same holds true for your commercial refrigeration equipment. When your walk in freezers, blast chillers, low boy refrigerators and display cases are not working as they should, it’s a big risk to your business. If your food quality suffers, you could lose customers. In the worst case, you could be serving food that puts customers in danger of getting sick if your ingredients are not stored at the proper temperatures. The next thing you know, negative reviews start popping up on social media. And what happens if the health inspector shows up when your commercial refrigeration equipment is acting up?
That’s why we have put together this collection of essential information for the restaurant owner about restaurant HVAC and commercial refrigeration equipment service: it’s everything you need to know at your fingertips. Get the answers to all your questions and concerns here! Plus we’ve added out best advice for restaurant owners, based on everything we have learned from serving the industry for 6 decades.
There are about 24,000 restaurants in New York City alone. Restaurant customer retention can be difficult to manage in that kind of climate. With all of those choices, how do you motivate your customers to keep coming back for more?
Luckily, Restaurant Week will be stirring up some fresh interest in the local dining scene and hopefully drive some new business your way. You want to make a good impression, so what’s a good way to turn them into repeat customers? Make their experience stand out, and offer something better than the rest. Here are some great ways to boost restaurant customer retention.
Maintaining of a large corporate property portfolio is a complex job. Take your HVAC for example: keeping hundreds or even thousands of HVAC units running is mission critical. Yet FM is responsible for more than just upkeep of all these units. Increasingly, you are tasked with:
- Keeping the environment comfortable for employees and customers
- Reducing business downtime due to emergency repairs or equipment failures
- Reducing energy consumption and cost
- Switching to more environmentally-friendly refrigerants as required by federal mandate
As equipment ages, it becomes more inefficient. As a result, it’s increasingly likely to break down, provide inconsistent comfort, and drive up energy costs. That’s why meeting the objectives above requires having a plan for proactive HVAC replacement as units reach a certain level of inefficiency.
Business owners, you know your employees are your #1 asset and a huge part of your business’ success. This is the time of year to let them know you recognize what they contribute to the organization and to you personally. When it comes to holiday gift ideas for employees, think beyond the generic gift card or fruit basket to make them feel truly valued.
Of course, everyone likes cash. But you would probably not be reading this if that was an option! Instead, peruse this list of holiday gift ideas for employees for some creative holiday gifts that are sure to please and send the intended message.
This blog post shares proven strategies and advice for implementing modern workplaces with smart buildings technology from Ian Morley, Chief Strategy Officer for Serraview, a technology solutions provider for the agile workplace.
Why are companies investing in technology for smart buildings? The obvious draw is the significant cost reductions that can be achieved: on energy consumption, on operating expenses, and even on the cost of space itself. Yet there are other compelling reasons that smart HVAC, sensors and other smart buildings technology give companies a competitive edge:
- Reduced operating expenses allow companies to invest more in revenue producing initiatives, such as development of products and services
- Savings can be re-invested in workplace transformation programs that can help attract talent, improve collaboration, and drive new ideas and innovation
- Greater control over building systems, as well as the intelligence needed to make better facilities management strategic decisions
BONUS: you can even use smart buildings technology to improve employee experience.
Wondering where to start? Read on to learn about smart HVAC and space optimization technology designed to modernize your workplace while also cutting facilities expenses.
Can you believe it’s nearly Thanksgiving? With the holiday rush about to hit, replacing your office AC is probably the last thing on your mind. However, if you experienced problems with your office air conditioner all last summer, you’d be very smart to think about upgrading it now.
While it’s tempting to wait for spring to deal with your office AC problems, the fact is that autumn and winter can actually be the best times to buy a new office air conditioner. Read on to learn why, as well as important information you need to make a good decision and get the best possible pricing.
Walk into a modern NYC office, and you’ll find a very different environment than you did just a few years ago. For decades, a ring of private offices surrounding a central cubical farm was the norm. Today, modern offices are much more open, featuring different types of spaces designed for team collaboration, individual focused work and everything in between. While open environments are a boon for business in many ways, sound distractions such as HVAC noise can lower productivity in these environments.
Read on to learn some effective strategies for HVAC noise reduction, as well as one way you can use HVAC noise to your advantage.
Corporate office space is undergoing a rapid transformation. Traditionally, these spaces included a ring of private offices around the perimeter of the space, with cubical farms occupying the center. Today, companies are moving to more of an open office plan, which requires different considerations for HVAC system design.
Most of those perimeter offices are disappearing, as companies want space that takes advantage of natural light. And the cubicles are being replaced with workspaces designed for specific types of activity, such as pods for quiet concentration and team lounges for collaboration. How does all this change impact HVAC system design? Read on for some important strategies.
Here in the NYC area, it’s that frustrating in-between season again, where you don’t know how to dress from one day to the next. Having to changing your clothes several times a day can be annoying, but keeping your space consistently comfortable in this weather is another challenge altogether. Some areas wind up too cold while others are too warm. Did you know that you can get an HVAC system that provides simultaneous heating and cooling?
Read on to learn more about VRF technology, a sophisticated type of HVAC system that provides simultaneous heating and cooling (as well as other advantages over conventional systems). We’ll also identify as the types of spaces that can benefit most from this technology.
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.
We all know that heating and air conditioning systems are essential to the comfort of our homes and work spaces. Yet the “V” (for ventilation) in HVAC may be something of a mystery. What is ventilation and why do you need it?
The simple reason is, ventilation is required for both HVAC comfort and good air quality. Without enough ventilation in your space, you will eventually (and sometimes quickly) experience comfort issues and even health problems. These could range from having trouble sleeping in a stuffy bedroom to experiencing Sick Building Syndrome in a commercial space.
So what is ventilation exactly, and how does it work with heating and air conditioning systems to maximize your HVAC comfort?
Read on to find out.
We know it’s frustrating when your AC is not cooling your business effectively. Especially when it’s an issue that happens intermittently or has developed slowly over time. Complaints from your employees are increasing, and you’re even worried about losing business.
You may be wondering if your equipment needs repair or replacement, or if it’s not really broken at all but something in your environment that’s changed. What can you do to get to the bottom of the problem?
The tricky part is, there are many issues that can result in your AC not cooling enough. Read on to learn more about the common problems you should know about, so you can take the appropriate action.
Poor humidity control is not just a comfort issue for restaurants
Humid August air makes us unhappy for a whole host of reasons. Bad hair days, sticking doors, and musty smells to name a few. Not to mention having to change your clothes constantly if you don’t want them sticking to you.
But if you’re running a restaurant, too much humidity creates another set of problems that can actually drive away customers and hurt your business.
In space, the “Goldilocks zone” is the area around a sun where the temperature is habitable to life. In the office, differing temperature preferences can feel as far apart as the sun and moon. Today we’re helping you bridge the gap by finding the ideal office temperature to satisfy all your employees. Don’t be deaf to your employees’ complaints, because a comfortable employee is a productive employee.
Here are some strategies you can use to make your office not too cold, not too hot, but just right.
Isn’t air conditioning supposed to remove humidity? So why is yours not doing the job?
If you’re sweating your way through another muggy August, read on to learn more about HVAC humidity control and why your AC might not be up to the task.
Then we’ll tell you 4 ways you can get an older unit to remove more moisture so your space doesn’t feel like a tropical jungle.
Taking on a commercial renovation project comes with an overwhelming number of decisions that need to be made.
You probably feel comfortable making some of those choices, such as choosing the most functional layout or even selecting furniture. But as a business owner, you may feel less than qualified to decide on the right HVAC system for your new space. A ducted air conditioning unit or a ductless one? You’re not an HVAC expert; how are you supposed to know what’s right for your space?
If you’re being pressed for a decision without fully understanding your options, you’ve come to the right place for help. Here’s some basic information on the ducted air conditioning unit and the ductless system, to guide you in making the best choice for your business.
When you’re renovating a space, whether it’s a residence, office or other light commercial space, you are probably most concerned about how the space will look and how it will function. For example, you’re busy choosing colors and lighting and furniture, as well as working with an architect on the best layout for the space. And of course, you’re focusing on the cost and the timeline.
Your HVAC system is probably not even in the top 10. Yet it should be, because when your new space is complete, your satisfaction with the results will depend on the comfort and functionality of your home or business. And mistakes in designing and installing your HVAC, such as incorrect ductwork sizing, can seriously impact both function and long-term comfort.
Looking for restaurant kitchen design ideas? You’ve come to the right place.
Arista has done restaurant HVAC, refrigeration and kitchen repair for many years (decades, really) so we’ve been involved in countless restaurant startups and renovations. In the process, we’ve learned quite a few useful tips. Here goes!
What exactly is a make up air unit for a kitchen?
What is make up air? Simply stated, a make up air unit pulls air in to your space from outdoors and conditions it to the indoor temperature, to replace air that’s pulled out by your kitchen exhaust equipment. Without it, you get back drafting, poor temperature control, negative air pressure and air quality problems.
Let’s explore the reasons why a make up air unit is so essential for restaurant kitchens.
Why is Make Up Air Important for Restaurants?
Depending on the type of cooking you are doing, you might even have more than one exhaust system in your kitchen: one for heat & grease generating cooking appliances (like fryers, grills, and cooktops) and another for steam-generating appliances (such as dishwashing equipment and baking ovens).
Restaurant kitchen exhaust systems are often very powerful, removing thousands of cubic feet of air per minute. When air is removed from your kitchen, it needs to be replaced with fresh air. Without that replacement air, you wind up with all sorts of unpleasant and even dangerous conditions, which we’ll get to in a minute. The problem is compounded in newer buildings constructed to be air-tight, which prevents the natural flow of outside air into the space.
Air flow is really important for your restaurant kitchen
If you’re setting up a restaurant kitchen for the first time, or even renovating an existing kitchen, you probably don’t have to do much research to choose your kitchen’s cooking appliances. After all, food is your thing. Changes are you have known exactly what you want for a long time. But what about your commercial kitchen exhaust hood? Air flow is probably not your thing. And when you start to research your options, you quickly discover that there’s a lot more to it than you thought.
So here’s a quick primer that can help you choose the commercial kitchen exhaust hood that’s perfect for your food service establishment.
Restaurant kitchen design: planning is everything
Your kitchen is the heart and soul of your restaurant. Getting your restaurant kitchen design wrong can be a huge disaster. Design impacts the success of your restaurant in many ways:
- the efficiency of your food prep
- the ability of your staff to follow safe food handling practices
- cleanliness of your restaurant
- whether you’re meeting all applicable codes and standards (if not, you could be shut down or your opening could be delayed)
As a provider of HVAC, refrigeration and kitchen equipment maintenance to NYC restaurants for decades, we’ve been involved in lots of restaurant renovations and build-outs. Over the years, we have learned a thing or two about what NOT to do when creating a restaurant kitchen design. Whether you’re remodeling or opening a new establishment, avoid these bad practices that can cost you big time.
High Rise HVAC is a Major Concern in New York City
New York City is home to more than 6000 high rise buildings, typically defined as structures with 12 or more stories. And that number is growing every day. According to the Wall Street Journal, the city is in the midst of what may turn out to be the largest construction boom in a generation, as hundreds of new residential projects have been initiated in the past year.
Especially for luxury residential construction projects, high rise HVAC requirements are a prime concern. Buyers and tenants demand nothing less than consistent comfort, quiet operation, and even the ability to customize the heating and cooling of the space according to their individual requirements. Yet for builders of high rise residential buildings, those needs have been tough to meet with the traditional high rise HVAC options. They tend to be noisy, inefficient, and they take up too much valuable space within the building.
Does Your Commercial HVAC Maintenance Vendor Provide Value for Your Business?
Procuring commercial HVAC maintenance services for a multiple-location business is different than sourcing those same services for a single location. Especially when you’re managing upwards of 20 or 30 locations, your needs go above and beyond just a vendor who’s technically competent and shows up on time for appointments. To get the most value from your commercial HVAC maintenance vendor, you need a company that acts as your business partner: saving you time and money and helping you to make better decisions.
Those in charge of corporate office facilities, and tasked with reducing operating costs, are painfully aware of one fact: even modern HVAC systems can consume as much as 30 percent of a building’s energy usage.
What if your facility already has efficient, modern HVAC systems in place? How can you get them to consume even less energy in order to reduce cost? The answer lies in running your modern HVAC systems only when and as much as they are needed: when people are actually using the space being heated and cooled.
When you take a walk through your office space on a typical day, you can’t help but notice how much space is empty. That’s because of the changing nature of today’s mobile workforce. More and more people are working from home, on the road, or wherever they happen to be. Yet the traditional HVAC system pumps out heated or cooled air regardless of whether or not any one is even using the space. What if you could control your HVAC system according to actual demand?
It’s the beginning of the year: the collective time to evaluate what’s working and what could be working better. Even business owners, the expert inventory-takers, are going one step further to ask questions about the items that get the least attention. “Does my current HVAC system make sense for my business?” or “How often does my rooftop air conditioner need to be serviced?” may not even make the list! We’ve taken the time to simplify the basics for answering these questions to help your yearly planning run a little more smoothly.
For retail businesses, comfortable conditions in your store are directly related to your bottom line. No one wants to shop in a store that’s too hot or cold, especially in the city where there’s another great store just down the block.
Retail HVAC issues can be frustrating for the business, and expensive in lost business as well as repair cost. If you own or manage a retail store (and you are reading this article!) then chances are you have experienced what we are talking about:
- Fairly new equipment mysteriously breaking down
- Inconsistent temperatures
- Even water leaks from AC units that can damage your store and your merchandise
If your retail store is experiencing issues after a new retail HVAC system is installed (or even repeated issues with an older system that’s been in place for a while), you might wonder why you have these problems that your counterparts working in offices don’t seem to experience. The truth is, office experience different problems, because the environments are different. HVAC problems in a retail environment can be tricky to diagnose and fix, and that’s why you need retail HVAC experts to get to the root cause of your issues and find the right equipment to keep your space consistently comfortable.
HVAC for Small Business: The Common Signs of Poor Service
Have you had it with your heating and air conditioning company? If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you are experiencing some (or all) of these problems with HVAC for small business:
- Taking far too long to get to you for an emergency repair
- Failing to show up on time for an appointment
- Failing to correctly diagnose problems, so it takes several visits to finally get it right
- Unwilling to do work at the best times for your business
- Doing the bare minimum for preventative maintenance
- Being careless and leaving a mess in your space
- Giving you unintelligible work orders and invoices
Related article: 9 HVAC Service Provider Problems You Should Not Tolerate
Why choosing the right HVAC system installation company is so critical for restaurants
If you own or manage a popular restaurant in New York City (or anywhere, really) you know that staying open is crucial to your bottom line. Not only do you lose money every hour that you’re closed, but your regular customers are forced to go elsewhere… and the last thing you want is for them to discover a new favorite. That’s why it’s a major decision to undertake a renovation or replacement of mission-critical systems (such as an HVAC system installation) that will force you to close your doors for any period of time.
When you do finally decide to bite the bullet and do a renovation or equipment replacement, the schedule must be meticulously planned to be completed as quickly as possible. There’s no margin for error, contingency plans or time built in for delays. Everything has to go right so you can open again ASAP!
But the fact is, things are going to go wrong during any major renovation. So here’s your contingency plan: only hire vendors who are committed to the schedule. When it comes to the HVAC system installation, the trick is to find a company that will do what it takes to overcome obstacles and get the job done on time.
Don’t Hire An HVAC Company Without Checking These 8 Things
As a Facilities Manager, you’re dealing with many different service providers for your company. Yet choosing an HVAC company can be one of the most challenging, especially if you don’t happen to be an HVAC expert yourself.
Obviously, you want an HVAC company with the expertise to solve your heating and cooling issues quickly and reliably. But you also want a company that offers great customer service and is easy to do business with. How can you find all these qualities? Ask about these 8 things when you evaluate a prospective HVAC provider for service, installation and/or repair work.
If you’re in the food service business, you know that maintaining comfortable conditions in your restaurant is a must.
It’s never okay to allow your dining room to become too hot, cold or humid. You also can’t have too much equipment noise disturbing your customers. Then there’s the problem of drafty conditions or even kitchen smells being pulled into the dining room by a poorly-functioning restaurant HVAC system. Any of these problems can cause you to lose customers and impact your bottom line.
Are you looking to save energy? If your business has an older heating and air conditioning system that’s driving up your energy expenses, you might be considering replacing your equipment. But what if you’re not in a great financial position to take on such a large capital expense right now? Or what if you’re considering moving your business to a new location in a couple of years? There are situations where replacing your HVAC system to save energy doesn’t make financial sense.
Then there is the issue of changing refrigerant regulations: you might be reluctant to invest in an expensive new system right now without knowing for sure which refrigerants will be phased out.
Does that mean you’re stuck with those escalating energy costs until you’re in a position to replace? Not necessarily. The good news is, there is another way to save energy: by retrofitting your existing HVAC equipment with energy-efficient add-ons.
Remember when the term “smart” only applied to people? Today it seems like every inanimate object has the capacity to be smart: first it was your phone, then your TV. Now the Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible for just about everything in your home or business to be “smart” as well.
That “smart” revolution is happening in the world of HVAC controls as well. You have probably heard about “learning” thermostats for your home, and maybe you even have installed one of these handy devices that lets you control your home’s temperature from your phone or computer. Yet there are even more benefits when small businesses upgrade to smarter commercial HVAC controls.
Related article: What’s New With Smart Home Thermostat Technology
Some cool new HVAC technology options are being introduced that will make staying warm in winter and cool in summer a whole lot easier for all of us. As a matter of fact, in some instances, you may not have to think about it all. Your new HVAC technology might just be able to follow you around—heating you up and cooling you down when you need it.
If you’re reading this article about air conditioning in January, then kudos to you for being a smart and proactive thinker. Many business owners and managers would rather put off the problem than tackle their air conditioning issues in the middle of winter. Yet January is an excellent time to replace that unreliable air conditioner that gave you trouble all last summer since you now have time to thoroughly research your options. You can get reduced prices at this time of year as well.
This is a perfect time to educate yourself about the types of systems that are best suited for your business. If you own or manage a restaurant, we’d like to introduce you to the variable refrigerant flow, or VRF cooling system. VRF systems have been the HVAC system of choice for decades in other parts of the world, and are now becoming very popular in the US for certain types of spaces, including restaurants.
Related article: Buying a New Air Conditioner? Why It’s Smart To Buy In Fall & Winter
If you’re a business owner in the market for a new light commercial HVAC system, you have probably realized that the cost of the equipment is not the only factor you need to consider. The commercial HVAC installation cost can vary widely from one installation vendor to another. So how can you compare quotes and understand exactly what you’re paying for and what you’re getting for your money? Since you’re probably not an HVAC expert, it can be a challenge to understand the quotes and what’s included.
Here’s a primer about commercial HVAC installation cost to help you compare options, understand why prices differ, and ultimately decide which proposal is right for you.
(Looking for information about residential HVAC installation? Check out this resource: The Guide to Residential Installation Cost.)
Why Repair or Replace An Air Conditioner in September?
If you’ve got an aging air conditioner, you may be breathing a sigh of relief when Labor Day rolls around. You made it through another summer with the old unit! But don’t talk too soon, September can still get steamy in NYC and if your unit is not performing as it should be, you could still experience a breakdown during a brutal week of Indian summer. Then you’ll need to decide whether to repair or replace the air conditioner.
The truth is, fall is really the best time to take control of your air conditioning issues and think about if it makes sense to repair or replace your air conditioner. If you do need a replacement, you’ll have more time to consider the best option and shop around since the weather is cooling off and there’s less pressure to make a quick decision. You’ll also have the opportunity to get a great price on “leftover” units. And if you decide to repair your older unit, you can get the time and attention from the best HVAC service experts since they’re less booked up than in the summer.
What Facilities Managers Need to Know About Refrigerant Safety for HVACR Systems
With all the safety risks that are lurking around your building, you may not think of your air conditioning system as dangerous. Yet most air conditioning systems, VRF systems that provide heating as well as cooling, and commercial refrigeration systems rely on refrigerant chemicals that can be deadly if an accident happens.
When you are responsible for building systems and the safety of your building’s occupants, you’d better understand refrigerant safety guidelines to make sure a tragic accident doesn’t happen on your watch.
Here’s what you need to know about refrigerant safety and your HVAC equipment.
New York City Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Since Superstorm Sandy devastated New York City, it’s no secret that NYC is extremely vulnerable to storm surge and wind damage in a hurricane. We all lived through it and we know firsthand what can happen. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted 6-11 named storms, including 3-6 hurricanes and up to 2 major hurricanes for the 2015 season. And as we all know, it doesn’t even have to be called a “hurricane” to inflict severe damage.
So if you’re like most New York City business owners, you can’t help but be a little nervous when hurricane season rolls around again. But sometimes a little anxiety can be a useful thing, if it motivates you to get prepared.
If you’re considering replacing the HVAC system in your NYC commercial space or high-end residence, there’s a new type of HVAC technology on the market that you need to know about. It’s called Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) and it’s the latest and greatest in heating and cooling comfort.
These are the advantages of a VRF system:
* Consistent comfort
* Quiet operation
* Energy efficiency
* Installation flexibility, great for tight spaces
* Heat & cool simultaneously
* Zoned heating & cooling
* State-of-the-art controls
* Fewer breakdowns/less downtime
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
Renovations are a costly undertaking, and there’s a lot riding on the outcome. To prevent expensive mistakes, don’t neglect the careful planning of the air conditioning installation that’s necessary to ensure long-term comfort, reliability and energy efficiency.Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
It’s an age old question: how can you tell when a piece of equipment has outlived its useful life? Can you get your older unit to last another couple of years by fixing it, or will you have to continue putting money into it? Newer units are more energy efficient and can lower your electric bill, but what about the upfront cost?
One reason this is such a commonly asked question is that there is no cut and dried answer. There are many factors to consider when making this decision. You’re probably aware that some service providers will try to sell you a new system when your old one just needs a simple repair. Other providers that make their money on repeat service calls may encourage you to keep fixing a unit that’s become a money pit. So how can you decide? Consider the following:Read more
According to the International Facility Management Association, temperature is the #1 number one complaint expressed by office workers. So how can you make sure your building temperature is comfortable and worker friendly?
Typically, simple updates to your HVAC system can help solve the problem, but sometimes it takes a redesign to make a world of difference.
Nearly 40% of HVAC systems are between 16-30 years old. Knowing this, it’s easy to see how, if not properly maintained or updated, systems can pose their own sets of problems for workers beyond just heating and cooling variations. A redesign may be much needed.We’ve created this simple infographic to help you quickly get on your way to a stress-free redesign.
Checkout our Infographic: 8 Steps to A Successful HVAC System Redesign
Small changes to your HVAC system are often the key to improving temperature variances. So before considering a redesign, check with your service provider for minor adjustments that can pay big dividends, now and into the future.
Want more tips? Download Improving an Imperfect World: Mitigating Office Temperature Extremes. Don’t waste time and money. Find out how easy it can be take control of your building’s climate!