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Air Conditioning and Heating blog by Melo Air Inc. In addition to HVAC industry news, we'll post cooling and heating related information we come across during our daily routines. 

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Consumer Review Websites May Not Be The Best Info Source For HVAC Info

Posted by AC Contractor on August 28, 2014 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

If you're not sure what brand of air conditioning to buy for your HVAC system in Tampa, consumer review website may not be the best source of information. It has been said before that HVAC systems are like snowflakes because there are no two alike. There are so many variables in a system's performance other than the equipment. There is the equally important air distribution aspect that includes the duct design and the location and size of supply and return air grills. Parts of an HVAC system not including the equipment that can affect the performance is copper linesets. Issues if not corrected related to any of these items may cause the equipment to fail. The equipment typically gets the blame although it doesn't deserve it. Some will then take to the internet to vent frustrations.

 

Below is a link a new customer sent to us. The reviews did not reflect what he had heard from other contractors regarding a particular brand and he was curious what we thought about them.


http://www.furnacecompare.com/heat-pumps/goodman/ssz14.html


We don't doubt that these people have had some serious issues with their equipment but where the blame is applied can be contested. Any of the issues blaming electric bills can absolutely be assumed is an installation error. Efficiency ratings are tightly audited within the HVAC industry, there is simply to way around it. A system is rated at 15 SEER, it will perform there if installed properly. Improper duct sizing is one of the main reasons for efficiency that is not realized. At least two of the reviews also referenced evaporator coil leaks. The review was for a SSZ14 condenser which does not contain an evaporator coil. Compressors may also fail but Goodman does have the lowest failure rate in the industry. That is because they install a filter drier in every unit before shipping it. They also use an oversized accumulator for additional compressor protection. Compressor failures are usually due to lack of maintenance or improper sizing. Other questionable reviews include a homeowner that only has repair costs when their annual inspection comes around. That seems odd to me and more a symptom of an unscrupulous contractor. Another also mentioned an installation price that would be hard for any legitimate contractor to complete. The installer was also not available to cover the warranty repair.

 

As you can see from their BBB profiles below, all manufacturers have a relatively low number of complaints and you can get a more clear picture of how consumers feel about them. It is important to adjust for market share because the company with the most complaints has one of the lowest percentages.

 

http://www.bbb.org/houston/business-reviews/heating-and-air-conditioning/goodman-manufacturing-company-lp-in-houston-tx-45432/

http://www.bbb.org/atlanta/business-reviews/water-heaters-wholesale-and-manufacturers/rheem-ruud-manufacturing-water-heaters-in-atlanta-ga-27003573

http://www.bbb.org/east-texas/business-reviews/manufacturers-and-producers/the-trane-company-residential-products-in-tyler-tx-10002260

http://www.bbb.org/upstate-new-york/business-reviews/manufacturers-and-producers/carrier-corporation-in-syracuse-ny-57100593/

http://www.bbb.org/stlouis/business-reviews/manufacturers-and-producers/nordyne-in-o-fallon-mo-310000328

http://www.bbb.org/dallas/business-reviews/appliances-major-wholesale-and-manufacturers/lennox-industries-in-richardson-tx-2252

http://www.bbb.org/oklahoma-city/business-reviews/heating-and-air-conditioning/york-international-in-norman-ok-90020050

 

In addition to the BBB, we believe JD Power is also a good source for industry information. We have not been impressed with the results of Consumer Report or Consumer's Digest. One thing is for certain and that is the contractor selection process should take much more time than the brand you would like to install. Fortunately, we were able to build trust with the prospective homeowner and he decided to install our recommended brand Goodman. You can view the pictures of the installation here. If you would like more information on researching HVAC products or contractors, contact the AC experts at Melo Air today.

New Information Regarding Wide Spread TXV Failures

Posted by AC Contractor on August 25, 2014 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)
A TXV is a metering device for the refrigerant. It controls how much is fed through the system at a time. Although they are far from uncommon, they are a relatively new technology in air conditioning. Many air conditioning and heating systems today continue to use a fixed orifice or piston as a metering device. Thermal expansion valves can improve a system's efficiency and we rarely don't see them on equipment that is 14 SEER and higher. With the new federal minimum efficiency standards set to take place next year the percentage of HVAC systems that utilize a TXV will increase substantially. One negative of TXV's is they will break more often than a fixed orifice. Recently, there have been widespread failures of expansion valves that have impacted many manufacturers. After a thorough investigation it appears that replacing the TXV will solve the issue. Below is an official statement from Danfoss.


For the past several months, there has been a significant increase in the number of “no cooling” complaints coming from new residential air conditioning and heat pump installations. A system inspection typically shows the unit running with a very high superheat and low suction pressure, leading to the conclusion that the thermal expansion valve (TXV) wasn’t functioning properly. Once the TXV was replaced, the system operated fine which seemingly confirmed the TXV was the cause of the problem.

Danfoss has been working with our partners to resolve this issue. After weeks of collaboration and significant hours of lab time, it has become apparent the TXV is not the root cause of this problem. Our chemical and metallurgical experts have determined that a chemical reaction (hydrolysis or polymerization) with organic compounds from the system is the root cause. These newly formed chemicals result in a dark sticky substance adhering to the orifice cone. Once this happens, the orifice gets blocked and system failure occurs. This conclusion is shared by all our OEM partners as well. In these cases, Danfoss recommends replacing the TXV (like for like) per the system manufacturers instructions.

We do not recommend trying to clean the TXV in the field. Field experience shows that after the initial valve is replaced in the system this failure mode rarely re-occurs. Danfoss, together with our OEM partners, has done a thorough review of our factory and manufacturing processes. We can confirm the organic compounds found blocking the valves are not used anywhere in our processes. For this reason we can be certain when we say the Danfoss TR6 valve is not the root cause of the problem. However, it is important that, as an industry, we get this issue behind us. Therefore, Danfoss continues to cooperate with our partners to assist in finding the origin of the root cause that will eliminate the issue going forward and minimize issues in the field.

We will continue to update the industry via our website (www.northamerica.danfoss.com) and direct communications such as this. For more information, please contact your local Danfoss account manager or field system engineer.


Many manufacturers use Danfoss expansion valves, however, we have only seen this issue affecting Frigidaire, Lennox, Maytag and Rheem systems. We can not guarantee your system is not affected if you do not have one of these brands. For more information on air conditioning and heating equipment, contact Tampa area air conditioning experts Melo Air today.


Carrier Announces Manufacturing Plans Regarding Efficiency Increase

Posted by AC Contractor on August 21, 2014 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

We have yet to hear from many HVAC manufacturers regarding their plans for the new federal minimum efficiency levels until today. We received this noticed from Carrier:


Dear Valued Customers,

 

As we are all aware, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 provided for the next round of government regulated standard efficiencies allowed for air conditioners sold in the United States. These new standards will go into effect on January 1, 2015. What is unique about these new efficiency standards is that they have allowed for different standards for various parts of the country. Please find set forth below a summary of the new regulations: 


Southeastern States: Included are Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Maryland, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Delaware, Arkansas and Florida. Minimum efficiency goes to 14 SEER for both air conditioning and heat pumps and 8.2 HSPF for heat pumps.

Southwestern States: Included are California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona. Minimum efficiency also goes to 14 SEER for air conditioning, but there is a new standard for EER that will call for 12.2 EER for system for less than 45,000 BTUH and 11.7 EER for systems over 45,000 BTUH. Heat pumps require national standard of 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.

Northern States: Includes the remaining states. Minimum 13 SEER air conditioning remains the standard, but heat pumps go to 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.


An 18 month grace period is being provided which allows for 13 SEER AC products to be bought, sold and installed in the South and Southwest regions through July 1, 2016 as long as the units are manufactured prior to January 1, 2015. Accordingly, in order to meet the deadline of manufacturing these 13 SEER AC products prior to the end of 2014, Carrier Corp. has provided a deadline of August 21, 2014 as the last order date for 2014 13 SEER products.


In that there is a likelihood of a price increase in 2015 due to the increased efficiency requirements, this is an opportunity for you to protect your 13 SEER business by pre-buying equipment for your 2015 needs.


Again, order for 13 SEER equipment need to be placed by August 21st and delivery must be taken by December 31st. Your account must be current at the time of order and time of delivery. We will not have the warehouse space to store our possible 13 SEER and 14 SEER needs in 2015. These orders, once placed, are non-cancellable and non-returnable. Your account may be eligible for terms depending on the size and the order and the accounts credit status.


Because of uncertainty in factory demands and production capacity, all orders will be filled on a first order, first delivery basis. We urge you to consider what your possible needs may be for early 2015 business.


At Melo Air, we will continue to keep you up to date with the developments around the new federal minimum efficiency increase for HVAC equipment.

Nest Thermostat Hacked! Should You Be Concerned About Your Security?

Posted by AC Contractor on August 18, 2014 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

The air conditioning and heating industry has seen many technological advancements recently. One particular area where great advancements have been made that can save energy and increase comfort is with the control. Thermostats have become very smart. They can be controlled remotely via smart phone. Some know whether you are home or not and your habits and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Some use geomapping where you thermostat knows your location via your smartphone and adjusts to the ideal temperature as you are heading back to the house. Thermostats have become tech products, they have even attracted investments from one of the biggest tech companies in the world. Because these devices are technology they may come with a new set of risks. Earlier this month at a security conference it was demonstrated how Google's Nest thermostat could be easily hacked. Although the thermostat was hacked, the risks associated with owning a Nest thermostat have been overstated. 


There are thousands of Nest thermostat's in use today and have not been one report where a hacking crime was involved. The demonstration required physical access to the device. This would mean that one would actually need to break into your home in order to hack your thermostat. It would probably make little sense to do this since they would already be in your home with access to valuables including jewelry. 


As with any piece of technology there are risks associated with privacy. We do not believe the risks as too great and encourage homeowners to upgrade their HVAC control. It is one of the most effective ways to reduce cooling costs as well as comfort. If you're interested in how the features and benefits of a smart thermostat like Nest can improve your Tampa air conditioning system, call Melo Air today.

Large HVAC Distributor Acknowledges TXV Failures

Posted by AC Contractor on August 14, 2014 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Earlier this week we mentioned that some air conditioning manufacturers are experiencing TXV failures and Nordyne was attempting to address the situation. Gemaire, an HVAC wholesale distributor, has also announces the increase frequency of thermal expansion valve failure rates. While the announcement does not mention particular brands affected, Gemaire distributes Frigidaire, Rheem and Maytag brands in the Tampa area. Below is an excerpt of the statement made by Gemaire:


 

As you may know our industry is experiencing metering device failure in the refrigerant cycle of split systems and packaged units. Gemaire is very concerned about this issue and want to share the information and knowledge that we currently have available from our manufacturers:


  • A sticky material is developing inside the refrigerant cycle and collecting in the metering device.
  • In the case of the TXV it is causing the metering pin to stick.
  • Split Systems as well as packaged products are impacted.
  • Manufacturers have informed us that they believe the TXV is not the root cause of this problem.
  • Date codes affected by this issue are random and fluid from our manufacturing partners.
  • All manufacturers are working diligently to resolve this issue with a great deal of testing in progress.

  

We are working closely with all of our manufacturing partners to obtain corrective actions for you but unfortunately none is available at this time.

 

Gemaire understands that you and your customers are frustrated with this situation and we want to assure you we are using our utmost influence to provide a solution and have this problem resolved as soon as possible.

 

 We will continue to keep you informed as we get information and updates, and as always we value your business, loyalty, and patience during this period.


Failures such as these can impact many brands because they often use the same suppliers for many of the components within the system. This does not, however, appear to be an industry wide issue as there are a number of manufacturers and distributors that are experiencing little or no TXV failures. Call the air conditioning and heating pros at Melo Air if you have concerns about the TXV on your HVAC system.

Some Manufacturers Are Struggling With Thermal Expansion Valves

Posted by AC Contractor on August 11, 2014 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Often times in HVAC, there are industry wide quality problems occurring with various parts of a system. While many will experiences issues, it does not mean that all manufacturers are going to. Some recent issues facing the HVAC industry have been copper coils and X-13 motors. The latest product bulletin we came across is from Nordyne which manufacturers air conditioning and heating products under a number of different trade names including Maytag, Frigidaire, Broan, Nu Tone, Westinghouse and others. Below is an excerpt from a product bulletin released by Nordyne this past July.


NORDYNE has received a number of calls from several customers regarding abnormal TXV failures. In addition, we have received bulletins from other manufacturers indicating TXV issues. It appears the issue is spanning multiple valve suppliers. While our warranty claim data does not indicate an issues (claims are actually down year-to-date versus last year), NORDYNE is taking these reports seriously and is taking appropriate actions.


All of the data is not in yet, but there is a possibility that the TXV is not the root cause of the issue; therefore, NORDYNE is working to understand and resolve the issue.


NORDYNE has brought back several valves from the field, and a thorough analysis has begun. Two valves were inspected at NORDYNE - initially, an unknown substance was discovered on the valve metering pins. These valves were sent to Saint Louis Test Labs, and the substance has been identified as coagulated POE oil. The cause of the coagulation has not yet been determined but is the focus of our continuing efforts.


Sample valves have also been sent to our valve supplier for analysis. And, NORDYNE is working with other system component suppliers in an effort to determine the root cause of the issue.


In summary, NORDYNE is very much aware of the issue and is taking appropriate action. We will update distribution through the bulletin process as more information becomes available.


While we feel that the most important decision is the contractor you select and the emphasis should not be on brand, at Melo Air we do not recommend Nordyne products. The major blow came when Equiguard filed Chapter 11 and many homeowners lost warranty coverage on their equipment. We have had difficulty in regaining confidence in the product since.


Because equipment failures can run in strings and across multiple vendors, it is a good idea to get multiple opinions on products and talk to folks who have recently installed equipment. That way you are less likely to purchase a product with a manufacturing defect that has not been corrected.

Trane XB300 And American Standard Silver SI Air Conditioners Recalled

Posted by AC Contractor on August 7, 2014 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

While it seems to be commonplace in the automotive industry to have a massive recall, it has been some time since we have seen an HVAC manufacturer issue one. A little over a month ago, Trane issued a recall on their XB300 model that included some 100,000 plus systems. Below is an excerpt of the correspondence sent from Trane to customers regarding their HVAC systems:



 

June 2014


*** IMPORTANT SAFETY REPAIR NOTICE ***


Dear valued Trane customer,

Based on our records, your home or property currently has a Trane XB300 outdoor cooling unit installed. The ground screw used for production in some of these products may not be as required for equipment grounding which requires two screw threads’ engagement with the cabinet. All units inspected to date have a ground screw installed that engages the cabinet; but some may not meet the two-thread requirement. If the ground screw does not meet the requirement, and an electrical component fails creating an electrical short, the exterior of the product could become energized. If a person touches the unit while it is energized, it could pose a potential shock hazard. As a result, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), we are recalling these units and reaching out to our customers that purchased these units to schedule an appointment to inspect and repair accordingly.



There will be no cost to you for the repair. To schedule your appointment, there are two options available for your convenience:



1) Contact your Trane installing or servicing dealer to schedule an appointment for the repair

2) Contact our independent service contractor at 888-731-7561 to schedule your repair


Thank you for trusting Trane.


As of this time it appears that there have been no major incidents involving the ground screw and the manufacturer is covering repair costs free of charge. To help determine whether or not your system is affected and any potentials issues you may face, Trane has offered some additional frequently asked questions.



 

1. How do I know if my unit is impacted?

The scope of the impacted product is limited to our XB300 units. They have a distinctive look as illustrated below. For a complete list of model numbers, please visit the following site: www.trane.com/residential/XB300ProductRecall



 

2. What is the issue with the ground screw?

The ground screw used in production may not meet the requirement of two threads’ engagement with the cabinet. If the ground screw does not meet the requirement, and an electrical component fails creating an electrical short, it may be possible that the exterior of the product could become energized. If a person touches the unit while it is energized, it could pose a potential shock hazard.



3. Have there been any injuries associated with this issue?

No.



4. Is this product being recalled?

Yes. We have filed a notice with the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to the potential of injury although none have been reported. The unit can be repaired at your home or property by a qualified technician.



5. What are my options for having the equipment repaired?

a) Contact your installing / servicing Trane dealer

b) Contact us at 888-731-7561 and our independent service contractor will schedule an appointment for your repair



6. Is there any cost to have the repair conducted?

No.


Stay tuned to Tampa's air conditioning and heating experts at Melo Air for more current information regarding your home's central HVAC system.



Top 5 Home Improvement Projects To Reduce Cooling And Heating Costs

Posted by AC Contractor on August 4, 2014 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Living in Tampa, we deal with some extraordinary heat and high expenses to stay cool. People are often looking for ways to cut their air conditioning costs. Although we would never recommend any of these projects be taken on for the sole reason of energy savings (excluding insulation) because the return on investment takes too long to recover, but it is a nice side benefit if you were to be upgrading any of these features. So below is our list of what we believe are the top 5 home improvement projects that will reduce heating and cooling costs.


5. Installing energy efficient windows. These windows typically block sun via a film or some reflective material. Without the sunlight penetrating through all the windows, the home will remain much more comfortable.


4. New roof installation. This is particularly true on a new construction roof because corners are typically cut during the building stage and the roof does not have adequate venting for hot air to escape. The poorly performing roof ends up trapping heat in the home and increasing air conditioning costs. During roof replacements, our number 3 home improvement project is often offered as an add-on service.


3. Adding insulation. Adding insulation to a home is one of the most efficient ways of reducing heating and cooling costs. Even if you have to hire a pro to complete the task, the original investment is often recovered within the first couple years.


2. Replace the duct system. Duct systems on new construction homes are typically poorly designed and undersized. Improper duct sizing can cause a significant strain on your AC system by causing it to work much harder than it would need to. The results of poorly designed ducts is limited airflow to some rooms of the house which usually ends in the homeowner turning the thermostat down even further to accommodate. New duct systems are not cheap, however, and can cost as much as a complete system replacement.


1. There should be no surprise that replacing your HVAC equipment is the single biggest way to reduce your heating and cooling costs. New central AC installations are not inexpensive and can cost anywhere from $2000-$20000 or more depending on the home and type of system you are looking for. 


If your heating and cooling system is more than 15 years old, you can likely save 25-33% on your electric bills by upgrading to just a minimum efficiency 13 SEER system. Melo Air offers free estimates on new installations. Contact us today, we are available 7 days a week and serve the entire Tampa Bay area.

Unusual Places Air Conditioning Is Installed Around Tampa

Posted by AC Contractor on July 31, 2014 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The weather in Tampa is hot. It is so hut and humid that even walking short distances can be very uncomfortable. We've gotten so used to the comfort provided by cool air that we are now installing AC's in some unconventional spaces. We'll take a look at a couple air conditioning installation projects in Tampa that you don't see every day.


Everyone knows that first impressions are important and that was the motivation behind this $1.8 air conditioning project at Tampa International Airport. 47 gates are scheduled to receive the new ductless HVAC systems. It appears that a large evaporator runs almost the entire length of the jet bridge. 


Cooling pedestrians was also the motivation for the plan to add elevated, air conditioned moving sidewalks in Tampa connecting the Channel District to Franklin Street.


As we move more into the future, we expect advancements will continue to be made to make people's environments more comfortable around them and we'll see air conditioning and places where we don't today. We're keeping our fingers crossed there is a way to provide air conditioning for the long lines at Busch Gardens. For more information on Tampa air conditioning systems, visit the experts at Melo Air today.

News Involving Tampa Air Conditioning This Week

Posted by AC Contractor on July 28, 2014 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Articles about Tampa air conditioning don't regularly make headlines but on occasion their mention makes for an interesting local story. We'll take a look at a few articles that made headlines this week involving Tampa air conditioning.


If you have some knowledge about standard air conditioning systems, one could easily begin to wonder how they would install such equipment in high rise buildings such as the ones we have in Tampa. There are so many elements. You need an air distribution system, hot air must be vented outdoors, water needs to drain, refrigeration lines would have to be installed and the list goes on. The first article involves the challenges with designing HVAC systems in tall buildings. Florida has specific challenges with indoor air quality because fresh air must consistently be brought in from outside. Bringing in outside Florida air also means bringing in humidity. The answer to the problem is the use of outside air pre-conditioning systems.


Another headline this week in had to do with an acquisition. Mergers and acquisitions have been happening on both big and small scales and this one involved an air conditioning company. Tampa based Enviro-Serv is in talks to purchase a 20 year old company in SE Florida. Enviro-Serv is a Tampa based property management company that appears to own a pest control company as well. The purchase of an air conditioning company will not only help to reduce their air conditioning maintenance costs of the homes they manage but should also be a profitable enterprise. We have seen very few property managers, real estate investment trusts or other such companies purchase contracting businesses. It will be interesting to see how well they can manage a diverse business portfolio.


The third article we are featuring this week that involves Tampa area air conditioning are the upgrades to the Palladium Theater. The price tag on the renovation is $330,000 that includes a new air conditioning system in Side Door and new bathroom facilities in the main auditorium. Side Door is schedules to reopen August 1 while the rest of the facility will remain closed till the end of the month.


All and all a busy week for air conditioning news in Tampa. This recap is brought to you by the Tampa AC experts at Melo Air.


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