Kele Blog

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.

Back to Basics: Don’t Forget These Summer Maintenance Tips for Keeping Cool All Season Long

Summer heat. We wish for it all winter long and then it hits us out of nowhere and HVAC systems everywhere are put to the test. The heat, and the strain it puts on systems, make keeping up with basic maintenance a necessity. This is especially true with commercial buildings. And with many headed back into these buildings to work, the strain their HVAC systems might face just increased. So here are some basic summer maintenance tips that will keep systems in great health and beating the heat all summer long.

  • Keep up with air filters. Pollen tends to be a spring problem but is just as likely to affect a system during the summer as well. If the environment contains a large number of airborne particles such as pollen, dust, fibers, etc., then it’s better to be safe than sorry by checking filters regularly.
  • Inspect ductwork. If a system has damage, more than likely, the cool air that those in the building would appreciate on a hot day is rushing out via leaks. This can cause the system to work harder to cool the building, meaning more energy consumption which can lead to higher costs.
  • Keep units clean and clear of debris. Systems need clean and steady airflow in order to operate correctly. Help them achieve maximum operating capacity by keeping them clean from dust, dirt, and debris.
  • Inspect coils and condensate. With coils dispelling the hot air and the condensate drains keeping up with the humidity—both are vital parts that need to be in excellent condition. Both can cause leaks if not properly cared for.

Sometimes the obvious steps are overlooked, and these are not the complex, commercial BAS/HVAC that Kele techs typically help troubleshoot. That’s exactly why we’re passing them along as a friendly reminder. They are important.

Remember, by keeping up with the 3 M’s of HVAC, maintenance, monitoring, and management, not only will it keep you ahead of the many break/fixes you’re sure to encounter with your system and controls, but your customers will be getting the best service around thanks to you! And if the heat here in Memphis is anything to go by—your customers’ systems probably need a little extra TLC this season. If you do need sensors, actuators, thermostats, and more this season, call today or shop online at kele.com. Kele’s got you covered with inventory ready to ship today.

Reintroducing the RET1 NEMA 1 Enclosure

Series includes 12x12x7 option and brings back preferred features.

These days, it’s a race against the clock when it comes to technology. It’s a race to see who can innovate the quickest. Well, here at Kele, we’re always working and innovating to give you, the customer, what you want—and we’ve heard you loud and clear on what you want from enclosure. So allow us to reintroduce the new and improved RET1!

 

Features Include:

  • New Size: 12x12x7″
  • Perforated Panels That Are Now Powder Coated Steel
  • Lift-Off Hinges
  • Slot Holes That Allow For Rough-In

The RET1, formerly the RET, has long been a staple product of Kele’s. Over the past 30+ years, this economical NEMA 1 enclosure, designed to house controls and instruments for indoor use, has seen a lot. As before, it comes standard with a key lock compatible with the original RET, is available in multiple sizes, and all sizes are UL-listed. Its perforated panels are powder coated and once again ship with the enclosure so they don’t have to be ordered separately. The scratch-resistant finish is available in multiple colors, and all original colors are available, including Brown-Tan and Green! The RET1 enclosure now has welded butt hinges with removable pins, so the door can be detached for rough-in, allowing for easy panel and component installation, and can be field adapted to reverse the door hinge orientation. And if that wasn’t good enough, the RET1 now boasts a new size of 12x12x7—meaning increased options and flexibility for you on the jobsite! If you want to learn more about the RET1 and its features, click here.

We know that generating ease on the jobsite can be difficult sometimes—which is how we know you’ll love the new and improved RET1 as much as we do. With its new features and sleek design and finish, it will help make things easier when you’re trying to stay on schedule and on budget. So call today or shop now on kele.com—Kele’s got you covered.

Get to Know the Kele E-Stop ESB

Contact Blocks are Here to Stay

Emergencies happen in facilities and with equipment. It is inevitable. This is why emergency stop buttons exist within the BAS industry. They activate emergency stop sequences, thus reducing further hazards to people, systems, and the functions of those systems that are in progress.

So what emergency stop buttons should you be using? Your specific need will determine your selection. Kele offers a variety of emergency operator stations and other alarms and indication devices.

With or without a contact block?

One thing you’ll need to consider is when you order an operator station, you need to ensure that you also get a contact block(s). The Kele tech team often fields calls from customers who have a new operator station in hand but no contact block. This is a critical component because, without a contact block, you don’t have a fully functional station.

So what does a contact block do? It is a normally open contact for the purpose of monitoring its attachment to the actuator. Contacts ensure that the station is always operational and ready for an emergency situation—to shut down vents, units, etc. to contain an event and mitigate a larger disaster. A good example: if a fire breaks out in a building and the stop button is pressed, the contact closes, relaying to the actuator and controller that there is an issue and to shut things down.

This is where the Kele E-Stop ESB Series comes into play. Kele removed any “guesswork” and installation delays by including a contact block standard.

The E-Stop ESB Series also offers a highly-visible method to shut down equipment, initiate alarms, or give controller input during emergency conditions. Operation occurs with the breaking of the lens and then pushing the red push-button inside. Once the emergency is subverted, you can reset the station with a pull or twist of the button, depending on the button style

Don’t forget a cover!

And where there are emergency stop buttons, there are stopper covers. In fact, most stop buttons are required to have one. Kele carries both the Kele Universal Cover and the STI Universal Stopper Covers, which are both great options for the ESB Series. These covers are ADA compliant and protect against vandalism, accidental damage, dust and grime, and severe environments both inside and out.

The Kele E-Stop ESB is in-stock, cost-effective, and Kele has inventory on each component—including the lenses, which are made here at Kele. And you’ll get same-day shipping, expert technical support, and it will be under warranty. It’s everything your building will need to help keep it safe and prepared for emergencies. Call today or shop online at kele.com—and let Kele help keep you covered when you need to stop a BAS system emergency.

Keeping Healthcare Facilities Safe from Season to Season

Healthcare facilities have been inundated and running at full capacity for more than a year now. These facilities’ HVAC systems have also been running at “full capacity.” With guidelines frequently being updated and re-tested, it is important to stay on top of HVAC/BAS maintenance, especially in high-risk buildings like healthcare facilities.

As of April 5, 2021, ASHRAE released the following updated statement: “Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant and should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”

In addition to negative pressure in healthcare facilities, other concerns are usually ventilation and filtration. When these features fail, facilities are put in a perilous situation of not being able to safely operate and then become a risk to all who enter the building. So as buildings begin to transition from spring to summer, and older guidelines to newer, be sure to do due diligence with the building’s HVAC/BAS systems. It’s important to catch break/fix issues before they have the chance to cause building-wide problems.

In fact, here are a few ways to get you started on this season’s transitional maintenance:

  • Check refrigerant levels.
  • Inspect and monitor thermostats and humidity sensors.
  • Inspect all pressure sensors.
  • Clean all pertinent parts, such as evaporators and condenser coils, to ensure top performance.
  • Inspect and clean moving parts for wear and tear.
  • Inspect and check the ductwork and electrical connections.

HVAC/BAS systems are essential to the health of healthcare facilities. By keeping the systems healthy, you’re helping to keep the people inside safe and healthy as well. Ensure that health by keeping up with the 3 M’s of HVAC—maintenance, monitoring, and management—and critical seasonal checks. Kele’s here to help, and we have almost anything you need in stock and ready to ship today. Call or shop online at kele.com. If you need to order your full BOM or a list of products, use My Project Portal. Kele’s got you covered.

Retro Valves? Newer Ones Will Help You Fit In!

Valves. Seemingly small parts, but they make up a huge portion of school retrofit jobs. Why are valves so integral in school projects you ask? Why is it that seemingly every time you do a school project, you’re faced with old valves that need to be, at the very least, retrofitted if not replaced? Well, let’s discuss.

As one Kele

tech put it,

“Retrofitting

these valves

is (in some ways)

more art

than science.”

Reasons customers may prefer to retrofit rather than swap the whole valve:

     •   Pneumatic Actuators

These are the leading cause of valves being retrofitted. Pneumatics are an older type of control system that uses air rather than electricity. Pneumatics are still prominent, especially in schools as well as other government and municipal facilities. So as times change, facilities are upgraded, and/or customers want to add electronic actuators/controls and retire pneumatics. Some customers may prefer or even require a specific brand of valve or actuator for various reasons. Retrofitting makes sense, and the Kele team can help you find what meets your need. As one Kele tech put it, “Retrofitting these valves is (in some ways) more art than science.”

     •   Cost

Globe valves last a lot longer and can be field repaired. Swapping an actuator is much cheaper than draining the system and/or mechanical install costs.

     •   Safety Concerns

For example, some installs have you coming face to face with asbestos. It is much safer and more cost-effective to just swap the actuator than dealing with potential health concerns that will come with replacing the entire system.

     •   Location

Sometimes (okay, most times) hanging the valve is going to be a huge undertaking. In this case, the simpler option is to retrofit what you need. So swap the actuator and keep your fingers crossed the valve doesn’t leak. (At least not until you retire…just leave a note for your successor to call Kele!)

Retrofitting schools is always a rush job (or at least it seems to feel that way every year). Valves can easily be retrofitted to electronic actuators, and Kele can help you make the best choice for your specific circumstances. We know that our massive in-stock inventory can help by getting you the valves and parts you need.

Our expert technical staff and sales team can help you make your school valve retrofit project this year one for the yearbook. Call or chat with us live on kele.com today—Kele’s got you covered.

 

 

 

Questions about Where to Start on School Projects? Kele Has the Answer Key!

You asked so we delivered. Today we’re answering some of our most frequently asked questions from our customers related to getting started on school projects.

What are some things that I should investigate when starting a school project? There are many options to consider, but certain areas often present problems. Kele advises that you start by checking these areas and common issues:

  • Outside air dampers
  • Neglected maintenance on filters, belts, and condensate drainage.
  • BAS controls being wrongly programmed/modified
  • Occupancy changes and how it affects system controls

Why are these four things so prevalent in the industry? Typically, it’s due to a lack of maintenance or technician training. However, following the pandemic, new standards and recommendations may also require system adjustments. Let’s discuss each one!

  • Sometimes on a particularly warm or cold day, untrained technicians or school employees will close outside air dampers to maintain a better temperature within the building. After doing this, the damper closure is often forgotten, which can then negatively impact the HVAC/BAS system(s) and lead to system damage and failure over time.
  • Neglected maintenance is a common occurrence in schools that are underfunded. With costs cut, most schools make do with what they have and as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, this can lead to much more expansive projects for you and more expenses on the school’s end. Regular maintenance keeps systems healthy and will help catch problems before they turn into costly lessons.
  • Most controls are typically programmed to be exactly what the school building needs. However, needs are ever-changing—and therein lies the problem. Many times, controls and programming are changed and then never looked at again. Out-of-calibration systems eventually lead to excessive temperatures and humidity issues, which all lead to extensive and costly repairs.  Continued system monitoring is essential to not only the health of a school but also the health of its system.
  • Occupancy changes are a pain in the butt. (We know you’re thinking it too.) The number of students in any given area of the school is ever-changing. An area with an outside air supply is designed for a certain amount of people in said space. As occupancy fluctuates and shifts, so should the settings for the area. Once changed, however, they are normally forgotten about which can be dangerous if left unmonitored. With new needs and standards in place, this should be given “extra special” attention moving forward.

The three M’s of HVAC—monitoring, maintenance, and management—should be put into practice in every school to help mitigate negative impacts made by any of these common mistakes. So get ready to go back to school and educate on why the three M’s of HVAC are necessary and essential to everyday HVAC care! Call a Kele tech rep to discuss your challenges and troubleshoot or visit kele.com today and let us help prepare you so that you can ace your next school project.