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The ROI of Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Professional HVAC Installation

Wednesday 04 July 2018

Selecting the Right System for your Space: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality and Assurance

In this article, we’ll explore:

    • What is “quality” air and why does it matter?
    • What invisible ailments are harming your health, and that of your families and your clients/customers?
    • What clean air solutions are the best fit for you and/or your business?
    • What ROI does quality air care offer?

How to read this article:

If you are curious about air quality:

    • Feel free to scroll through and allow your interests to guide you.

If you are a homeowner or are in the market to buy a home:

    • Feel free to scan through the various air care systems with particular focus on residential considerations.

If you have commercial interests in either property development, management or flipping:

    • You’ll likely want to focus on System Selections, Commercial Considerations and continue reading through to the ROI of Quality Air Care.

 


Why You Should Care About Quality Air

Choosing the proper system to establish quality air for your interior environments involves a plethora of factors that influence building functionality and the economical integrity of your investment. While this may seem hyperbolic, consider that the quality of interior air largely affects occupant health, comfort, and productivity, and in some cases even building usability, which can ignite significant economical impact for property owners and occupants.

Air Quality Index

An air quality index (AQI) is a rating system used by government agencies to demonstrate to the public level of pollutants measured in the air as it currently is as well as for what it is forecast to become.

As the index increases, a large percentage of the population will likely experience adverse health consequences unless the proper purification, ventilation and air quality management systems are implemented for interior environments.

While London air is considered high quality on the global scale, there are still a large pool of pollutants that if left unadhered to will assuredly contaminate the integrity of your interior air quality and cause a variety of health implications.

aerosol VOC pollutants

The most prominent contaminant in London air is Nitrogen Dioxide, however traces of various other chemical compounds and airborne contaminants include:

    • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) like:
      • paints, paint strippers and preservatives
      • aerosol sprays, cleaners and disinfectants
      • repellents and air fresheners
      • automotive products
      • hobby and crafting supplies
      • pesticide
    • Mold spores
    • Radon
    • Allergens and bacteria like pet dander
    • Formaldehyde
    • Asbestos
    • Insect excretions
    • Second hand smoke
    • Bio particles like gases and dusts
    • People odours
    • Noxious gas from the earth like carbon monoxide and the aforementioned nitrogen dioxide

Methods of Measurements

Technological advancements and consumer accessibility to air pollutant measurement systems (like VOC sensory tests and carbon monoxide detectors) have made assessing the contents of what’s in our air more accessible than ever.

However knowing the percentage of what floats around us, is less than half the battle.

What’s more important are the actions you take to ensure that the proper systems are in place to ventilate and purify the quality of the air you breathe.

Furthermore ensuring that your interior environments of your home or office are comfortable and suitably catered to the needs of those who reside within them.

Pet Dander indoor air pollutants

What actions should you take to improve your interior air quality?

Investing in the correct HVAC system for your space is generally more than sufficient when addressing (and influencing) the quality of your interior air.

Heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems are major factors for integrating ambient air flow into a space. Not only do they dilute and displace indoor pollutants, but they are also useful for the purposes of dehumidifying a space and controlling thermal comforts.

According to the HVAC sector of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), increasing the frequency of air exchanges to at least 8.4 times each day is ideal for optimal indoor air quality.

Therefore, if the goal for any HVAC system is to circulate air flow through a space and provide comfortable, interior temperature levels for a buildings occupants, then determining which is the best HVAC option for your home or business is a very practical place to begin.

 

Various Air Care Systems

With a properly integrated system, any space can be perfectly fitted to effortlessly control moisture, and reduce contaminant concentrations in the air by way of adequate ventilation, and filtration.

With a variety of options to choose from, it is advised to consult with an experienced technician and/or installation specialist who can help determine what system would best suited for your buildings size, functionality and budget.

To read more about specific systems that iClimate specialists work with click here.

Below is a general overview of the various (generalised) HVAC systems available.

Individual Systems

Deciding on the ideal system for smaller residential buildings is generally configured based on the required capacity of interior dimensions.

Larger buildings require a thorough analysis by service and design specialists who can determine the most efficient and appropriate configuration of HVAC systems. Ensuring that the ideal system is designed and fabricated specifically to comply with necessary code requirements, and building size.

Heating

Designed to generate and distribute heat to an entire area. This can be achieved with boilers, furnaces or heat pumps that distribute steam, hot water or can directly heat air in a central location such as a furnace room.

Notable Dangers: Burning this type of fuel garners a chance of incomplete combustion that can result in the formation of VOCs and other dangerous substances. Even in low concentrations, the health risks these substances pose is well documented and therefore adequate ventilation systems must be incorporated.

Ventilation

An integral process in the maintaining quality air standards, ventillation is the process of circulating fresh air from outside into the stagnant air in an enclosed space. Removing odours, controlling temperatures and humidity levels whilst reducing indoor air contaminants.

Systems can be categorized by either:

  • Mechanical or Forced Ventilation: These are air handlers that mechanically move air. Generally found in kitchens and bathrooms to remove odours and/or excessive moisture.
  • Natural Ventilation: Air is circulated or vented via a combination of windows and louvres. Generally, most systems will utilise a mixture of methods to achieve natural ventilation, so long as the air change rate is monitored with back up mechanical systems available to supplement ventilation if needed.

Air Conditioning & Refrigeration

These systems are used to reduce the temperature and control the level of humidity in the air. Mixed with the air from outside, all air is passed over a heat exchanger which mechanically cools and recirculates it to the areas that need it.

Both air conditioning and refrigeration require that heat is removed from the air by way of convection, radiation, or conduction. The mediums used to conduct the heat are called refrigerants and are circulated through a refrigeration system or free cooling system.

Free Cooling

An extremely efficient system that integrates storage methods which then release various air temperatures that a space requires at different seasonal points throughout the year.

Many HVAC systems offer an an economizer which manipulates air distribution to react accordingly to air pressure or temperature levels rather than follow a predetermined schedule. The obvious benefit being that it can dramatically reduce operational costs and can increase energy efficiencies.

 

Combination HVAC Systems

Often modern buildings incorporate more than one HVAC system in order to achieve the desired air quality objectives and adhere to a buildings aesthetic design.

Heating and Air Conditioning Central System

  • The modern option for all new builds, central systems operate quietly and efficiently respond to indoor air temperatures and are set and managed via a thermostat.

Heating and Air Conditioning Split Systems

  • A traditional system which includes components that are both inside and outside of the building.

Hybrid Heat Split System

  • An advanced alternative to the traditional split system with improved energy capacity. With the inclusion of a heat pump, these systems will allow for electrically fuelled HVAC systems as opposed to gas furnaces.

Duct-Free Heating & Air Conditioning System

  • Is ideal for installations for spaces where convectional systems with ducts won’t work. Ideal for spaces with pre existing ducted HVAC systems.

Packaged Heating and Air Conditioning System

  • A solution for homes and offices without adequate space for the various components of the split systems.

 

Which System Should You Choose?

The perfect plan requires custom considerations.

During a consultation with an air care installation specialists, all influential elements are taken into account - including the physical space as well as the needs and requirements of those who will use it. During this process you will clarify the the best system for your properties (and occupants) needs.

Be sure when choosing your air quality partner that they adhere to the regulations and legislations outlined by European Union regulations for fluorinated greenhouse gases (FGases) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

Working directly with a company who is FGAS ODS compliant will ensure that your HVAC equipment is in optimal working order, installation is safe and reliable and the entire system is able to perform efficiently at all times.

While companies each offer their own project evaluation procedures, it is always advised to be aware of all financial obligations prior to an installation specialists arriving on site.

At iClimate, we offer free onsite visits and project evaluations to estimate the scale of a project for any residential or commercial installation needs across London.

Clean air for family health

 

Residential Considerations: For current or future homeowners

Almost every home will already have a pre existing HVAC system in place.

Understanding which type of system your home has, how old it is and the investment that will be required on your behalf to maintain it (and by extension the air it purifies and distributes) should all factor into the evaluation of whether or not you should buy a new system for your home, or invest in repairing the existing system.

To clarify when would be best to repair vs. replace, review the list of considerations below.

Repair vs. Replacement

Replacement:

A system that is more than 10 years old can incur repair costs roughly half of the purchase value of a new system.

However, be sure to factor in energy and economic savings offered by upgrading to a newer, more efficient system. The additional upfront expense of investing in a new HVAC system will more often than not prove to be a better investment as it comes with various benefits such as tax incentives, an updated warranty, environmental efficiencies, technological convenience and reliable comfort.

Repair:

This is generally the go to option for newer installs. If the cost of repair is less than half of the cost of replacement then it’s more often than not advisable to repair the parts of the system that require maintenance.

The following are general check in points property owners should consult when determining whether or not a system repair or replacement is required.

  • Age: systems older than 10 years and furnaces and boilers older than 15 years will significantly lose energy efficiency and should therefore garner serious consideration for replacement.
  • Performance if your system can’t handle performance demands during the peak seasons of year, or you’ve experienced consist breakdowns or multiple malfunctions over the course of a consecutive number of years you may also want to lean in the direction of replacement.
  • Inconsistencies in temperature: If your system fluctuates in temperatures and is unable to moderate settings, replacement will likely be required.
  • Noise Factor: If your equipment randomly turns off or is very audible and sounds  overexerted, and is generally over the 10 year age mark, replacement will likely be recommended.

Consulting with an air conditioning specialist for any final determinations or site specific inquiries such as refurbishments or new builds is highly advised. Be sure to consult their certification and qualifications prior to initiating an agreement.

 

Commercial Considerations: Property Developer, Managers and Flippers

As Indoor air quality is one of many issues that building owners and developers must address to provide buildings that meet their needs and the needs of the building occupants, choosing the right plan in regards to maintenance requirements or opting for new instal is essential, and important decision.

iClimate offers all in one specialist solutions using the latest in industry efficiencies and quality standards.

Our clients experience peace of mind and a seamless experience as a result of our bespoke all in one solutions which carry a project from design to installation. Our focus is always to ensure ease of execution including all aspects of project management, efficient operations and a single point of contact throughout all phases of the project.

Hypersensitivity to airborne allergens

 

ROI of Quality Air Care

Regardless if you are a homeowner or have commercial intentions. The return on clean air investment is indisputable.

The health implication of neglected air quality are not to be underestimated. Extended exposure to any of the above listed air contaminants can attack your (or your families, or clients) immune systems, causing a variety of adverse health effects:

    • Sensory irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
    • Irritability
    • Skin irritation
    • Nonspecific hypersensitivity reactions
    • Infectious diseases
    • Infliction to odour and taste sensory systems
    • Inflammatory diseases of the respiration tract
    • Asthma and asthma-like symptoms (chest tightness and wheezing)
    • Skin dryness and irritation, gastrointestinal complaints

For commercial purposes, extensive research has been done to demonstrate the value of prioritising indoor air quality during initial stages of property development.

Investment in quality air care systems immediately classifies buildings, placing them in a higher bracket for market status, as they are more appealing to buy, rent, and learn or conduct business in.

The reason being that buildings designed to ensure quality air foster environments that lead to more productive and happier occupants.

In commercial real estate, satisfied occupants are tied directly to return on investment and bottom-line economics. Whilst in schools and other institutional buildings indoor air quality is tied to learning outcomes and organisational missions.

From a development perspective, when quality air and energy efficiency systems are considered at the initial design phases, elements from all aspects can be integrated rather than at odds with one another, saving conflicting investments, or unnecessary expenses down the line.

When air regulations systems are treated as an afterthought, important design elements  can be costly or difficult to modify or correct later on. Avoiding these early missteps is as simple as including an air conditioning installation specialists as a key consultant from the beginning.

Some such avoidable missteps may include:

  • Inadequate space for mechanical equipment
  • Limiting access for inspection and maintenance
  • Selection of interior finishes that can lead to high levels of VOC emissions
  • Design influences that may lead to moisture problems in the building

 

Conclusion

Ultimately, when air quality is neglected, property owners and/or managers can find themselves devoting valuable resources to reconciling occupant complaints or dealing with periods of building closure, costly repairs, and possible damaging legal actions.

And while residential systems are far less complex, homeowners have the equally important task of maintaining quality air for themselves and their loved ones to avoid health implications or resale impediments.

While the fact that quality air care for your home or office may be obvious, it is not always clear, which system or solution is the best for your custom purposes.

Therefore it is always encouraged, especially in the initial development or installation phase to get educated with the most up to date information regarding regulations, requirements and which systems are best suited to serve your needs.

To ensure your air quality is fit for your needs book a free onsite visit with a licenced and professional London air ventilation specialist now.

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