Author Archives: Mark Walsh

FIVE EASY AND CHEAP STEPS TO A MORE EFFICIENT HOME

Since it just became hot in Southern California and in about a month you’ll open your power bill to rediscover the financial outrage that faded last Fall, you may want to implement some of these easy and cheap energy saving tips. With electricity rates changing, energy prices going up and the heat sticking around longer you’ll have more to spend on funner things.

First, evaluate your current SCE rate and determine if going to TOU early will save money based on use history. This alone could save you up to $500 this year*.

Second, if you have not switched your high use lighting to LED now is the time. Removing old bulbs inside and out can save up to 90% and significantly reduce your heat gain inside.

Third, spray clean your outside compressor/condenser; this can add 5% efficiency to your AC operation. Replacing the inside AC air filter and setting your thermostat a degree or two warmer or replacing it with a programmable t-stat could save up to an additional 10% on AC operation.

Fourth, make sure your doors and windows close snugly and if they are not, replace the weather stripping and caulk around any “leaky” areas. This can squeeze another 5% savings from the AC operation. Shading sunny side windows and doors outside will help as well.

Fifth, check your HVAC ducting for leaks, add an attic fan and add some insulation in the attic. Ducting leak repair and additional Insulation benefits year round and an attic fan can keep your ceiling inside 15-20 degrees cooler. This can add up to 20% in additional AC operation savings.

A portable AC unit in a main living or bedroom to augment, your central unit, ( www.climax-air.com ) can also work well when you combine it with a programmable thermostat.

Thinking about a grid-tied rooftop solar PV system? Hardware prices have gone down but regulatory and interconnection costs have risen so do your homework. Sometime identifying an area of power consumption and minimizing that, (a variable speed pool pump or a soft start AC unit) may be your best path. See the incentives at the link below.

Solar Credits & Rebates: https://blog.pickmysolar.com/breakdown-california-solar-rebates-local-incentives-federal-tax-credit

*SCE New Time of Use Rates: https://blog.pickmysolar.com/time-of-use-rate-impact-on-residential-electricity-costs-a-southern-california-edison-customer-case-study

If most of your electrical use is 2pm to 8pm and total monthly use is over 700kWh, the TOU kWh rate for that time can be $0.32, $0.33 or $0.44/kWh in addition to the delivery & generation charges, taxes and other fees.

So pick something, anything and save money.

Have a great Summer!

WORLD RECORD AC EFFICIENCY for ZERO ENERGY HOMES

In the world of air conditioning, air cooled chillers have always been more efficient than conventional refrigerant based air conditioners, up to 300% more efficient in some cases. The problem was that these chillers are usually over 10-Tons in size and most home/office air conditioners specified or installed are refrigerant based systems and less than 10-Tons. So 95% of the time designers and builders use ducted 3-Ton and 5-Ton, refrigerant based air conditioning or heat pump systems in new construction, small commercial and replacement projects. In addition, no thought was expended on how a climate control system could add to hot water production and take advantage of solar thermal and or electric systems designed into or existing at an increasing number of new and retrofit projects.
Chiltrix has thought about these opportunities and recently updated its CX34, 2-Ton mini-chiller heat pump listing on the California Energy Commission web site to incorporate the CX34’s world record setting efficiency data recently certified by AHRI.
As a high quality chiller with a 20-year service life, multiple air handler capability, scalable from 24,000 to 72,000 BTUs of air conditioning, ductless split with variable speed motors; the CX34 checks all the boxes when it comes to being ultra-efficient and dependable. It leaves other comparable units 37% to 150% behind in ILPV EER efficiency and up to 300% more efficient under NLPV conditions. Both ILPV and NLPV are specified in the AHRI’s, (Air Conditioning Heating Refrigeration Institute’s) 550/590 industry Standard. ILPV is what SEER is to standard air conditioners, the NLPV rating is used for the CX34 when its humidity control option is in use and loop water temperatures fluctuate out of the ILPV standards to maintain a desired indoor humidity level.
The patent-pending Chiltrix offers a DHC humidity control option which is unique to the CX34 and allows users to set specific inside humidity levels higher for a healthier inside environment while saving even more energy during its operation. Other systems cannot provide this important aspect of total indoor climate control.
To put the efficiency of the CX34 in perspective, let’s look at a new 100 home project in southern California, (at least 20-miles from the beach) with an average of 1200 square feet of living space per home and the CX34 is used for primary hot water, heating and cooling. The residents of this project would have a combined average of an additional $90,000.00 per year of disposable income that would eventually make its way into the local economy or the homeowner’s education/retirement accounts. Either way, the effect is a healthier more prosperous community.
So let’s review:
• The CX34 heat pump has a certified IPLV COP efficiency of 6.75 and an EER of 23.02 using chiller ILPV efficiency rating guidelines from AHRI and a COP of 9 and an EER of 30.72 using the NLPV, (controlling inside humidity levels) rating guidelines. The ILPV efficiency rating is a world efficiency record!

• The whisper quiet, air cooled CX34 chiller is quality manufactured with the best parts from around the world to achieve a 20-year service life, uses insulated PEX water lines to support up to eight ductless inside air handlers per 2-Ton outdoor condensing unit and is scalable to 6-Tons of air conditioning and 9-Tons of heat. The CX34 is an air cooled, sealed and maintenance free chiller heating and cooling system.

• The variable speed motors in the CX34 allow it to have an operating range of 25% to 100% of its rated capacity giving the user the option of only cooling/heating inside areas where people actually are present. If only one ½-Ton air handler is active then just a fraction of power is used by the CX34.

In addition to the CX34’s attributes above; it is solar ready. With a variable speed 208/240 single phase soft start of 2 amps, the CX34 makes it easy on inverters and battery banks and practical to integrate into solar PV systems. It can also connect directly with solar water heating systems for heating purposes and be an ultra-efficient primary source for hot water thus saving the user even more on related energy costs.
Finally the CX34 is priced about the same or less as quality conventional new or replacement HVAC hardware. If ducting or ducting replacement/repair is factored in the CX34 is often the less expensive option. Builders and contractors can also save on new construction and replacement projects by using in-house install personnel since there is no requirement for a specialty license to install the CX34.
New zero energy and Title 24 compliant home buyers, commercial tenants and system replacement customers benefit greatly from reduced AC operation noise levels, a more comfortable and healthier interior environment, contributing to local carbon reduction strategies and saving up to 50% on climate control and water heating related energy costs as a result of the CX34 being the primary hot water, heating and air conditioning system for their home or office.
Yes, the people at Chiltrix thought of that.
Go to: www.chiltrix.com for pricing and technical documents or call; 909.223.7357 at D48 Energy Management to discuss your specific application.

ALL PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONERS ARE NOT EQUAL

Portable air conditioner capacity & efficiency – The big lie

Today portable air conditioners fly under the federal and state efficiency regulatory radar. Efficiency rating for portables is not required to be third party lab tested and the consumer is at the mercy of the honesty of the manufacturer. Even if the manufacturer is honest with its efficiency results, it’s what they don’t tell you that makes for a difficult buying decision*. By 2019 portables should have federal efficiency standard minimums that incorporate a standard set of testing parameters which will help with eliminating from the market some of the worst performers and a general improvement in customer satisfaction and trust. Until then it’s; buyer beware. There are key quality elements that a consumer in the market for a portable air conditioner can look for.

Portable air conditioners are not like window air conditioners and do not affix to a single window, most are freestanding units that may be moved, (the majority of portables are usually ½ to 1 Ton or 6000 to 12000 BTU and are mounted on rollers or wheels) from room to room and use a single duct tube to exhaust warm air to the outside through the tube and window adaptor sealing plate assembly. These single tube portables typically provide no more than 40% to 60% of their rated capacity in real operating conditions because in the process of removing heat from the inside they draw in hot, humid outside air. The reason for this is that single tube portables use cool dry inside air to send the room heat outdoors causing negative pressure inside the space being cooled and a negative feedback heat loop. This negative pressure caused by a single hose, (imagine water leaking into a submarine) causes hot air and humidity from the outside to be sucked back into the room through the windows, doors, electrical outlets and ceiling. At the same time, they use 100% of their rated power more often and for longer run times than they should by continually trying to remove the heat generated from bodies, cooking, electronics, the dog and cool the accelerated introduction of hot humid air caused by single hose negative room pressure. That means both capacity and efficiency are substantially less than stated by the manufacturer, (manufacturers of single tube portables do not account for negative pressure) which leads to undersized and poorly performing portables, higher than expected electric costs and downright angry, hot customers.

The few portable air conditioners available today that use dual hose technology deliver close to or above their maximum BTU rating promised. Dual hose portables bring in air from the outside through one tube to blow over and cool the compressor and then back to the outside in another tube, (both are connected side by side to a similar window adapter sealing plate) to the outside creating a balanced pressure environment inside the room. This dual hose solution allows the portable to easily remove the heat being generated inside the room while running the compressor much less and keeping operation costs within expectations. A portable that runs its compressor less will last longer, save on power costs and make a happy customer.

Most portable air conditioners use low efficiency “dumb” compressors that are noisy and are constantly turning on and off rather than quiet, high efficiency DC-Inverter variable speed compressors. For the above reasons, portable air conditioners using dumb compressors, (95% of portables made today) generally have and deserve a poor reputation for capacity and efficiency. A portable with a DC Inverter compressor is three times as quiet as portables with dumb compressors and can save 30-40% in electrical consumption. One or two manufactures produce a whisper quiet, dual hose, DC Inverter portable air conditioner today that can save 50-75% in electrical consumption.  It costs more to build an ultra high efficiency, variable speed compressor, dual hose portable air conditioner, but some manufacturers believe that smart customers will pay more provided they can quickly and repeatedly recover the price difference through longer product life, quieter operation and lower electricity costs. These more expensive portables are even built to allow the user to never have to empty a condensate tank making these portables virtually maintenance free, (except for cleaning the air filter).

*But what about portable air conditioner capacity and efficiency ratings? Why the big lie?

It’s not exactly a lie, just an omission, but the result is very misleading. It happens because there is no official US government required test protocol for portable air conditioners. This loophole allows portable AC manufacturers to use generic testing and rating protocols not designed for portable air conditioners. Standards are in the process of development at the US Department of Energy. The test protocols currently used in the portable AC industry for single tube portable AC units are only accurate if conditioned indoor air temperature and outdoor air temperature are the same, (which is not usually the case) on a day when you are using air conditioning. As explained in this document from the US Department of Energy, portable air conditioners are self rated by their manufacturers based solely on the amount of cooling performed between the supply and return on the room-side which ignores crucial outdoor temperature data. According to the Department of Energy, all single tube portable AC units are dramatically over-rated and have much lower net capacity than claimed. All manufacturers know their capacity ratings are overstated, but somewhat understandably, no manufacturer is willing to switch to a rating system that provides lower performance ratings until all other manufacturers are required to do so. The DOE is currently considering new policy that may eventually change the way portable air conditioner units are rated.

Most dual hose, DC Inverter portable air conditioners are tested and rated per proper AHRI 220/240 using both indoor and outdoor temperature test conditions. They are proven to deliver 100% of its1BTU rating. And because of its DC Inverter compressor, it can operate at hundreds of different power settings to match its capacity to current conditions and conserve power at times when full capacity is not needed. Variable capacity DC Inverter systems are known to consume 30-40% less power than fixed speed systems. Dual hose systems provide up to 65% more cooling capacity per watt consumed. Only a variable capacity DC Inverter compressor combined with a dual hose design produces the world’s most efficient portable air conditioner. On average, these portables provide the same cooling for over half of the power consumption, or twice the cooling for the same power when compared to any other portable air conditioner.

A new breed of portable air conditioners

So although there are several years remaining until portable air conditioners are all third party lab tested and rated on the same standards, several portable manufacturers are leading the way by incorporating the best technology now and self testing to standards that may be adapted by the entire industry. There is a new breed of efficient, quiet and trouble free portable air conditioners coming on line and available in the market today and the consumer just needs to look for them.

That’s the Way it’s Done

Modern whole-house, business and server room HVAC has evolved steadily in most developed countries over the past 80-years, the industry has not had to take many risks or been forced to innovate as it has grown from zero to a multi-billion dollar industry today. Like many other large industries that have been turned upside down after the introduction of new, disruptive technology, the HVAC industry is approaching that very crossroads.

It took years to persuade the HVAC industry to raise the minimum SEER baseline standard for air conditioning to its current level, it could have been raised more at the time because the technology existed but the industry got its way opting for as little change as possible instead of leading the way into extreme efficiency. Turns out the SEER efficiency update was the bare minimum and did nothing to address the energy loss occurring in the ducting in any meaningful way because that’s the way it’s done. Industry leaders were just busy keeping up with demand and consolidating.

So the industry and their regulatory counterparts combined to offer basically the same HVAC hardware with slightly greater efficiency and quite a bit more regulation, ( http://www.energy.ca.gov/2012publications/CEC-400-2012-004/CEC-400-2012-004-15DAY.pdf ) to effectively double and, at times, triple the average cost of installing a new “traditional” air conditioning system in an existing home or business. As a result the HVAC industry, in effect, left their collective fate to the market for lack of creative leadership and attempted to maintain the status quo. In doing so they have sown the seeds of their collective demise.

Enter the CX30 ductless heat pump that uses off-the-shelf PEX water lines to efficiently move around hot and cold water instead of refrigerant to multiple fan coil units throughout the home or business. The Chiltrix 2-Ton, (a 3-Ton is in the works) version of this super efficient mini-chiller that can accommodate up to seven cooling or heating, remote controlled, fan coil units or FCUs, ( http://d48.us/chiltrix-dc-inverter-heat-pump-chiller ). A lot of thought went into this air conditioning and heating system by the designers including a waste heat to hot water and ambient air to free server room cooling options, no handling of any refrigerant during install and the ability to interface with traditional FCUs and boiler/solar thermal systems. The CX30 system has the least power draw at start up with constant, on demand variable speed operation that enables the system to operate at extreme heating or cooling efficiency when drawing inverted power from a solar battery bank.

When you add all of these advances up you get a cooling and heating system that uses up to 85% less power than any comparable 2-Ton system. What’s even more inspiring is the CX30’s follow me, pinpoint comfort control that allows users to focus the majority of the climate control tonnage where it’s needed at that moment, (living areas during the day and sleeping areas during the night or pet area when at work or on vacation). One CX30 could easily replace a three to five ton ducted system under most conditions. The CX30 can be scaled up to 20-Tons of cooling; with waste heat to hot water options the system is perfect for hospitality, office and medical facilities use.

The right to sleep and work comfortably is universal. The CX30 system will save all users a massive amount of cost for energy and more importantly allow this right to migrate to a much wider portion of the global population. The CX30 is brought to you not by the complacent HVAC industry but by an outsider, ( www.chiltrix.com ) that has seized the opportunity provided by that industry’s very complacency. The CX30 changes everything about how climate control is delivered, changes how things are done in the HVAC industry, changes who is capable of installing a state-of-the-art cooling and heating system, changes how much, (or little) power is required per ton and most importantly, the CX30 improves the level of customer satisfaction and comfort an ever expanding pool of global consumers have grown to expect.