Many technicians who work on fuel-fired equipment will admit they’ve singed their eyebrows when watching a burner light. It’s a rite of passage among most seasoned technicians. What if there was a safer way to check ignition instead of sticking your face in front of a burner? Fortunately, there is, and it involves using a …
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Chances are high that you’ve encountered disastrous equipment replacement jobs you’d love to forget. Whether it’s the customer who now has high humidity issues, or the system that can’t maintain temperature anymore — we’ve all experienced them. Indeed, in many of these occurrences, attention to detail and avoiding bad industry habits helps prevent the occasional …
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3D Printing Construction

Anyone who knows me knows my love for science fiction stories. I’ve been reading them most of my life. One of my favorite sub-genres focus on future societies and how technology impacts the lives of people living in them. Some of the most creative authors favor this genre and some of their ideas are taking …
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Visual Clues to HVAC Comfort Defects

Many homeowners across the U.S. live in uncomfortable conditions. Sadly, most are convinced it’s normal. As an HVAC contractor, there are some common steps you can take to deal with their discomfort, and make conditions much more bearable. If you know what to look for, you can easily see the signs. Let’s look at the …
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Challenge is measuring static pressure on a variable speed fan

Measuring static pressure on air handling equipment that has variable-speed fans can be a challenge to both new and experienced technicians. By addressing a few details, your readings will be consistent when you encounter this blower type. Let’s look at three tips you can use the next time you measure static pressure on a variable-speed …
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Zero Draft and the CO Conundrum

Many technicians get distressed when they measure draft pressure in the flue and discover the reading is zero. Let’s look at three common reasons for zero draft pressure in a flue. We’ll also determine what defect you’re dealing with. Reason #1: Zero Draft from Building Depressurization Building depressurization is probably the most common reason for …
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Combustion Air in a Gas-Fired boiler

Safe operation of any fuel-fired equipment requires adequate combustion air supply. To provide this essential system component, technicians typically install openings constructed of metal ducts or fixed grilles. This provides air from the outside or from an adjoining part of a building. Since combustion air openings are ducts, let’s look at the variables affecting airflow …
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With the end of the heating season there’s a tendency to forget the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO). As you transition to the cooling season, be sure to keep your awareness for CO high even though it’s likely to be the last thing on your mind. Let’s look at five summer CO issues you should …
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CO - What Do You Know?

Many HVAC professionals assume the leading cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a cracked heat exchanger. This assumption leads to inaccurate test methods that pass on from technician to technician. They try to assure customer safety, but unknowingly rely on misinformation. No one wins in this scenario — both the contractor and customer have …
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Avoid sharp turns

Flex ducts could be in imminent danger. A few months ago, I wrote about a recent proposal to severely limit the use of flexible (flex) ducts. Due to poor installation methods, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) is proposing to limit use of flexible duct to only five feet in length. How …
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