NYC Metro Area’s HVACR Blog

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

When Does R22 Become Illegal? Help For AC Equipment Owners

when does r22 become illegalHave 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 (hopefully!) 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?

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

How Long Should an Air Conditioner Last?

how long should an air conditioner last

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.

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Luxury HVAC for Luxury Residences: Why You Need VRF Technology

vrf technology | luxury hvacRenovating a luxury residential property comes with a lot of tough decisions: about the design and layout of the space, and all the interior furnishings and finishes that make the home perfect for you. You probably didn’t expect to have to decide on an HVAC system. Yet when it comes to luxury homes, comfort is essential, and that means you need the right luxury HVAC system. That’s why so many high end homeowners (especially in New York City) are choosing VRF technology. What’s more, according to a report by Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, equipment manufacturers are introducing VRF systems specifically designed for luxury residential homes.

What is VRF technology? It’s an HVAC system that works differently than the traditional split system that has one big outdoor condenser and one large (noisy!) air handler inside. Those older-type systems run at only one speed- full blast. Instead, a VRF system has multiple smaller air handlers that run at the exact capacity needed for the current conditions. “VRF” stands for “Variable Refrigerant Flow,” meaning that the system precisely controls the amount of cooling refrigerant required to provide the perfect comfort conditions.

Why is that better for your luxury residence? Read on to find out.

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Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Buying a High End Air Conditioner? Get White Glove Installation

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

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

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

Modern Air Conditioning Options for Older Homes & Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Luxury Gift Ideas for the Holidays: The Gift of Comfort

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

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

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

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Preventive Maintenance Agreements, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

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

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

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

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

10 Ways to Spot Quality HVAC for High End Residential Properties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 11 Ways to Get Better HVAC Energy Efficiency

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

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

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

HVAC Humidity Control: 5 Reasons Your AC Is Ineffective

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.

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Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Ductwork Sizing & Other Mistakes That Hinder Your HVAC Comfort

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.

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Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

High Rise HVAC: New Technology Saves Both Space and Energy

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.

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Residential HVAC Services: Innovation Improves Cooling in NYC Luxury Homes

What’s so special about residential HVAC services in Manhattan?

There’s no place in the world like New York City. The skyline, the culture, the diversity… it’s one of the most exciting and interesting places in the world. That’s why over 1.6 million people choose to make their homes in the 22 square miles that make up the island of Manhattan. That works out to nearly 72,000 residents per square mile, all competing for the same space and resources. No wonder living space is no outrageously expensive!

The crowded conditions in Manhattan make providing residential HVAC services a unique challenge. We have to deal with situations that just don’t happen in other parts of the country (at least not all at the same time!). These are just a few examples:

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

NYC Luxury Property Managers: How to Choose an HVAC Service Company

Why you shouldn’t hire just any HVAC service company for NYC luxury residential properties

There’s a lot on the line when you have to decide on an HVAC service company for a luxury residential building in NYC, or in any large city for that matter. You are giving the HVAC service company’s technicians access to your residents’ homes. That means you need to be able to count on them to:

  • Perform the necessary maintenance to prevent breakdowns, so you avoid those emergency calls when the a/c dies the day a homeowner is having a dinner party
  • Avoid making a mess or damaging expensive furnishings
  • Diagnose problems accurately and fix them fast to avoid repeat service calls
  • Recommend equipment that won’t be an eyesore or take up valuable apartment space
  • Make you a priority and get to you in a hurry when you need them

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Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Cool! New HVAC Technology Promises the Ultimate in Comfort

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.

Seriously?

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Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

The 4 Most Common Mistakes With Home Humidification Systems

Have you had it with the dry air this time of year? There’s the discomfort that comes from dry skin and cracked nails. And isn’t your hair bad enough from wearing hats and running around in the snow and wind? Yet dry, flyaway hair persists even indoors due to the bone-dry air in your home.

If you’re reading this, you already realize that it’s time to start looking at humidification systems for your home. Yet you may not realize the full extent of the problem. There are even more annoying winter issues that are also caused by low relative humidity, which can reach 10 percent or lower when the furnace is running around the clock. (Humidity levels should be between 30 and 50 percent for comfortable conditions).

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Commercial HVAC, Commercial Installations, Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

Repair or Replace An Air Conditioner? The Right Way to Decide

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.

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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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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.

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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 

Residential HVAC, Residential Installations

The 4 Most Common Mistakes With Home Humidification Systems

Have you had it with the dry air this time of year? There’s the discomfort that comes from dry skin and cracked nails. And isn’t your hair bad enough from wearing hats and running around in the snow and wind? Yet dry, flyaway hair persists even indoors due to the bone-dry air in your home.

If you’re reading this, you already realize that it’s time to start looking at humidification systems for your home. Yet you may not realize the full extent of the problem. There are even more annoying winter issues that are also caused by low relative humidity, which can reach 10 percent or lower when the furnace is running around the clock. (Humidity levels should be between 30 and 50 percent for comfortable conditions).

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