Kele Blog

Back to Basics: Damaged Outside Air Damper? Don’t Let It Dampen Your Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for freezestat and coil catastrophes. Yep, winter is finally here for most of the U.S and with it comes winter weather problems.

Cold weather means larger intakes of cold air being funneled through your customer’s system(s). If dampers are damaged, the system will have to work twice as hard, or it will be rendered useless due to system failure. You can pretty much bet that parts will start freezing or malfunctioning as a result. It’s imperative that your customer’s dampers are functioning at 100% at this point.

But heating air and protecting the system relies on more than just the dampers. The system also needs fully functioning CO2 sensors, valves, switches, actuators, freezestats, and more to run smoothly.

In order to avoid the worst this holiday season, it’s important that your customers see to both repairs and retrofits sooner rather than later. Preventative maintenance is your customer’s best bet in keeping the winter weather at bay—so advise them to be proactive rather than reactive.

In case of emergency, outside air (OA) dampers can and will use actuators to save the day and prevent total system failure in some cases. They will close the damper and prevent major costly repairs by stopping parts from reaching their breaking points. (Preventative measures here will keep your customers from fuming—yes, we know the puns are bad at this point but not as bad as a system in disrepair.)

Kele is here for all your winter HVAC/BAS needs so that both you and your customers sail through the winter season this year. Call us or visit kele.com and chat with us live to get what you need to succeed this season—Kele’s got you covered.

Keep the Heat in HVAC

Cold weather is here and with it comes the perils of low outside air temps that typically bring catastrophe with them. Don’t let Jack Frost catch you or that HVAC/BAS system off guard this winter season! Make your winter maintenance checklist and check it twice to ensure proper operation. Here are some helpful tips to get your checklist started!

  • Properly check freeze stats & low limit cutoffs for correct operation
  • Check and inspect outside air dampers
    • Including their actuators/linkages (we mean it—check everything!)
  • Replace filters
  • Inspect coils
  • Clear/empty drain traps, lines, and pans
  • Inspect all electrical connections
  • Check thermostats and update based on occupancy levels
  • Clean and ensure clear ventilation ducts

Above all else, keep up with inspections and the results they yield. Preventative maintenance is the key to keeping the heat in HVAC this winter. You want to avoid a problem such as freezing/bursting air handler coils which will cause major issues that incur major costs. Keep customers happy this season by catching potential problems before they happen!

Have a customer who is freezing you out because they want a problem solved now? Call Kele today and talk with expert techs who will help navigate those problems with you or chat live with us. Kele’s got you covered—no matter what!

Tech Talk: Handle Humidity Like a Pro

Humidity is an essential aspect in all buildings no matter the season. However, it fluctuates throughout the year as temperatures rise and fall. This can make it difficult to ascertain and correctly monitor the correct level a building needs to be healthy.

Low moisture levels can cause:

  • Building/structural damage
  • Comfort levels to drop for those in the building (i.e., feeling dry, static shock, etc.,)
  • Growth of bacteria, viruses, and hazardous conditions

High moisture levels can cause:

  • Building/structural damage
  • High water levels in the air and systems
  • Growth of mold and other bacteria

While these are just a few negative impacts to a building, too little and too much humidity can cause many more problems. See below for the recommended humidity levels in buildings and ASHRAE standards.

Table 1
Temperature and Humidity of an Office Environment
CSA Z412-00
  Temperature % Relative Humidity
Heating Season 20-23.5C°
68-75F°
50%
Cooling Season 20-23.5C°
68-75F°
50%
Table 2
Examples of acceptable operative temperature ranges based on comfort zone diagrams in
ASHRAE Standard-55-2004
Conditions Acceptable operative temperatures
Summer (clothing insulation = 0.5 clo)
Relative humidity 30% 24.5 – 28 76-82
Relative humidity 60% 23-25.5 74-78
Winter (clothing insulation = 1.0 clo)
Relative humidity 30% 20.5-25.5 69-78
Relative humidity 60% 20-24 68-75
Source: National Research Council (Canada) Indoor Air Quality and Thermal Comfort in Open-Plan Offices, Construction Technology Update No. 64, October 2005* These values are based on the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 55 – 2004 “Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy”.*

As we begin to experience colder months, hazardous and uncomfortable conditions are on the rise. Catch them before they occur by conducting routine checks on thermostats and humidity sensors. With many components monitoring and controlling humidity levels, it’s important to inspect humidity sensors before broken parts wreak havoc. Healthy humidity levels = healthy buildings and happy people.

Get what you need to keep your customer’s building healthy now on kele.com.

Back to Basics: Pneumatic Edition

It’s that time of year again! Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, and some of you have even experienced snow and other freezing conditions already. Why is this worth mentioning? Because it’s time to start thinking about your customers’ pneumatic systems and any maintenance it may require.

The most important aspect of maintaining pneumatic systems, controls, or thermostats is regular maintenance. This ensures that the air supply is reliable due to controls being operational. It also allows for clean, hazard-free air that is safe and dry. If one part malfunctions or breaks, it can cause failure for the entire system, due to the many components that are a part of its makeup.

Convincing your customers to upgrade before breakage occurs can be difficult. Why replace an actuator or valve that is still functional, right? We know that you know better! Getting ahead of the curve in this aspect can be hard to do but with winter just around the corner, it’s better to be safe than sorry in certain scenarios. (Especially when you’ll be the one trying to fix it in freezing temps to save your customer from complete system failure!)

Because these systems rely on so many different components, i.e., sensors, thermostats, actuators, and more, it can be daunting to complete maintenance and source the parts you need for success at the same time. That’s where Kele comes in. We want to help make your life on the jobsite easier. Call us today or chat with us online and let us help you troubleshoot while you’re on the job or source the part you need. We’ve got you covered so you can keep your customers happy! Shop our complete pneumatic offerings here. Call or chat with us live on kele.com today—Kele’s got you covered.

Back to Basics: Why ACH is Important in Healthcare Facilities

What is ACH you ask? And why is it important? Well, ACH stands for air changes per hour. With Covid-19 spikes continuing to occur and flu cases surging during its yearly occurrence, correct ACH is more important than ever.

ACH is the measurement of how many times a certain volume of air in a space is added, removed, or exchanged with filtered air. In order to calculate the correct change rate per hour for a space, you must first work out the volume of said space. That is done by multiplying the length by the width by the height of the space. Then, to calculate how many air changes per hour are needed, you multiply the incoming air and/or supply airflow rate (in units of cubic feet per minute) by 60 minutes per hour. Once you’ve done that, you divide that number by the volume of the space. An air change is considered to have been completed when all of the air in the space has been replaced.

With volatile organic compounds (VOCs) running rampant through healthcare facilities, having accurate ACH is essential to ensuring the health of a building and the people inside of it. It is one of the top fixes to ridding facilities of all pollutants and ensuring IAQ standards have been met. (For more information about IAQ standards, click here.)

Kele has all the parts you need to ensure correct ACH and your ability to monitor it. Call and let one of our sales or tech experts give you a hand or shop now on kele.com—Kele’s got you covered.

Time for a Refresh on Fire Safety & Prevention

Fire Prevention Week is October 3-9 this year. With that being said, when was the last time your customer’s fire and smoke damper actuators were inspected? (If you or your customer just had to pause and think hard about that question…it’s time for an inspection!)

OSHA states that “The employer shall ensure that all supervised employee alarm systems are tested at least annually for reliability and adequacy.” Meanwhile, the National Fire and Protection Code and Standards state that the requirement for testing fire and smoke systems and dampers is one year after installation and then once every four years after that. Hospitals, however, are required to inspect every six years. (Reference NFPA 80, NFPA 90A, and NFPA 105 for further information.)

Now if you’re thinking to yourself that fire and smoke dampers actuators are a pain to get to, well…we agree. So to help ease some of the pressure for the task you’re about to undertake, here is how our techs suggest going about inspection:

1. Ensure unobstructed access to the damper.

2. Test the damper for correct airflow. Then, verify that it opens by following either Option 1 or Option 2. (There should be no interference due to rust, damaged frame or blades, or other moving parts.)

OPTION 1-Dampers with position indication wired to indication lights or control panels:

  • Use the signal from the damper’s position indication device to confirm that the damper is in the fully open position. (Switches can be wired to local or remote-control panels and/or BAS to indicate that the damper is in the fully open position, fully closed position or neither.)
  • Remove electrical power or air pressure from the actuator to allow the actuator’s spring return feature to close the damper.
  • Use the signal from the damper’s position indication device to confirm that the damper reaches its fully closed position.
  • Return electrical power to re-open the damper.
  • Use the signal from the damper’s position indication device to confirm the damper reaches its fully open position.

OPTION 2-Dampers without position indication:

  • Visually confirm that the damper is in the fully open position.
  • Ensure that all obstructions (especially hands!) are out of the path of the damper blades.
  • Remove electrical power or air pressure from the actuator to allow the actuator’s spring return feature to close the damper.
  • Visually confirm that the damper closes completely.
  • Return electrical power to re-open the damper.
  • Visually confirm that the damper is in the fully open position.

3. If the damper is not operable, then it’s time for repairs. If the actuator has failed, replace it with a UL-approved actuator. After these repairs, the damper should be tested again.

4. If there is a latch, verify that it is operable.

5. Perform any other damper manufacture-recommended maintenance.

6. Following the test and any repairs document the location of the damper, the date, the inspector, and deficiencies or repairs. Keep the record for the life of the damper and have it available as you may need to show it to an inspector.

Call or shop now on kele.com for all your fire safety and prevention needs—Kele’s got you covered!

Don’t Let Your Building Be a Humid Mess

Humidity. Most days it hits us in the face the moment we step outside the reach of our HVAC systems. No matter how much we hate it though, we need it—at the correct level that is! When you have too little or too much humidity, the status quo for your building is no more. Keeping too much humidity at bay while maintaining the correct amount is paramount to keeping your customer’s HVAC system healthy.

Duct humidity sensors are a must when regulating humidity within the building. A hygrometer, a humidity sensor, senses, measures, and reports moisture levels and air temperatures. Having the correct reading on the amount of humidity within the building can be the difference between an HVAC system that is running at peak performance or one that is failing and creating an unsafe environment!

When it comes to finding the right amount of humidity each building needs, it’s all about balance! The HVAC system must regulate enough moisture to be helpful while also holding back just enough to keep itself and its building safe. When a safe medium is reached, there is less build-up when it comes to dust and bacteria, less dryness in the air, better energy efficiency, and a reduction in fire hazards. Maintaining the right balance is not easy but when you use the right products, you’re on your way to making life easier and safer for all.

Kele offers a wide variety of duct humidity sensors and humidity parts and components in general.  All are an excellent choices to meet system needs when combatting humidity. Contact your Kele sales rep., technical expert, or live chat them today to order the Kele products you need or shop with us on kele.com. Don’t let humidity negatively affect your building—Kele’s got you covered.

 

 

Positive Solutions for Negative Pressure Monitoring

As we see a surge of sick individuals due to the Delta variant, negative pressure proves once again why it is one of the most critical components in any healthcare facility. Negative pressure in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or converted hospital space, is necessary to prevent infection from spreading from one area to another, or from one person to another.

Negative pressure rooms play an important role in the fight against infection(s). The science behind these rooms is that lower air pressure allows outside air into a controlled space. It holds the infected air particles and doesn’t allow them to escape from the room. Most hospitals utilize these solutions to keep negative pressure rooms up to standards:

  • Supply and exhaust rates
  • Air pressure control and monitoring systems
  • HEPA filters to contain and control airborne contaminants
  • Sealed floors, walls, windows, and ceilings
  • Entryways with self-closing technology that have adequate seals
  • The correct ductwork, fans, and dampers to move air out of the building

Hospitals (and other healthcare facilities) use these solutions, along with others, to keep infectious germs from rampaging throughout their facilities. Most hospitals designate the following as negative pressure areas:

  • Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs)
  • Autopsy
  • Bathrooms
  • Darkrooms
  • Decontamination rooms
  • Triage areas (to include waiting rooms as well)

While not a fully comprehensive list of all the negative pressure areas and rooms one might find in a healthcare facility, loss of negative pressure in any of these areas could be catastrophic. A minor nuisance would be odors trickling through the facility. The spread of airborne contaminants, however, would be unstoppable. Without HVAC systems in place that are up to date with OSHA and ASHRAE guidelines, patients, visitors, and staff would be exposed to any number of pathogens.

Monitoring and controlling negative pressure will always play a large role in healthcare facilities. Kele carries a variety of room pressure monitors and pressure accessories from trusted suppliers. The Kele team can help you find anything you need, and our tech service is ready to help troubleshoot any issues you may encounter in the field. For all your room pressure needs—Kele’s got you covered. Click here to shop now!

Ionization: Research Suggests It’s Time to Leave It in the Past

UV Lighting More Effective at Battling Airborne Contaminants

Bipolar ionization (or needlepoint bipolar ionization) became a popular topic over the past year. It is a technology that claims to be effective in HVAC systems or portable air cleaners to inactivate airborne pathogens and viruses (like COVID-19) from airstreams. It does this via an electronic air-cleaning device that generates positively and negatively charged particles. But how well does ionization measure up to another cleansing/disinfecting techniques within the industry, specifically UV disinfection options?

According to research, not well. This technique emerged with little research to back it up as opposed to UV lighting and other filtration technologies. And there’s a reason. It’s not the best or safest option out there. Multiple agencies and businesses researched this technique to see if it truly works. Boeing and Dr. Marwa Zaatari, from the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force, are just two out of the bunch that has done the research and have concluded that ionization does not work as it has been said to. (Read The Seattle Times coverage about Boeing’s study here, and click here to read the study itself. To read Dr. Zaatari’s position, click here.)

Leave ionization in the past and choose safer, better options to clean/disinfect. Here are proven options for cleansing/disinfecting techniques and ways to reduce airborne transmissions that do not include ionization:

  • Properly sized and maintained ventilation
    • Such as mechanical and natural
  • Mechanical filtration
    • Such as HEPA filter units
  • Germicidal UV light, which Kele offers

Kele stands behind UV technologies for disinfection and the continued progress in the world of IAQ (indoor air quality). We are here to continue to help serve and protect you from dangerous misinformation that could negatively impact your next jobsite. Give us a call today and talk with our sales and tech teams or chat with us online at kele.com if you’ve got questions. Shop our Disinfection/UV offering here. Kele’s got you covered—no matter what.

Federal Funding Available for K-12 School Air Quality Projects

Did you know that beyond the CARES Act, the federal government has approved nearly $177 billion in relief funds to improve and maintain air quality in K-12 schools? Why does this matter? Because air quality matters—now more than ever. Whether you’re a facilities manager at one school building, an entire school district, or a contractor helping keep schools in A+ shape, take advantage of allocated funds before it’s too late!

Here are some things you should know:

  • States must award the grants for relief within one year of being issued or return them for reallocation.
  • Local Education Authorities (LEAs) should be applying now for them via their state’s Department of Education website.
  • Once done, grants are obligated via contracts for projects that are reviewed and deemed as qualifying.
  • Awards must be obligated by:
    • 9/2021 (ESSER I) deadline—9/30/21
    • 9/2022 (ESSER II) deadline—9/30/2022
    • 9/2023 (ESSER III) deadline—9/30/2023
  • ESSER/GEER/HEERF funding can be used for school facility repairs and improvements, including heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system projects to improve indoor air quality.
  • Improving indoor air quality can be done through: detecting and reducing contaminants, managing air filtration, cleaning with UV-C light, managing airflow, controlling temperature, balancing humidity, controlling and changing room pressurization, and ensuring fresh air.

These allocated funds are money in your budget, and it’s time to plan your project and begin ordering parts! Working together to create a solution for each individual facility is how we’ll build better schools and help them to be healthier and safer for both students and faculty. Kele is here to help you get the most out of your allocated funds—from sensors and controllers to actuators and dampers to UV disinfection solutions and more. Whether you’re talking through projects with our sales or tech teams or shopping online with Project Portal at kele.com—Kele’s got you covered.

For more information on your school and what funds you qualify for, visit your state’s Department of Education website.