Kele Blog

Heat Pumps vs. Gas Furnaces

With the heat turned up to “crispy hot” outside (if you’re in the south like us—you get it), we know that even thinking about all things heating is the furthest thing from your mind right now. But fall is just around the corner and with it comes cooler temps that will eventually slide us straight into winter.

Heat Pumps or Gas Furnaces

If you’re planning ahead (i.e., what all of you should be doing!!!), then thinking about heating systems is already on your mind. And with that comes the age-old heat pump vs. furnace debate!

Pros & Cons

Heat pumps run on electricity whilst furnaces typically run on either gas, oil, or electricity (we’ll dive into all three in October—keep your eyes peeled!). What are some factors that should be considered when talking about options with customers?

  • Climate
  • Budget
  • Maintenance and size requirements
  • Efficiency standards
  • Safety

Generally speaking, heat pumps produce less heat because they pull in heat from outside air and then transfer it indoors. So if you’re working in a climate that trends towards warmer temperatures, then a heat pump is more than likely what you’ll want to recommend to your customers. They’re more versatile AND they can also act as air conditioners in the summer months.

And while furnaces only provide heat, if you’re working in a cold climate—well then your customers are going to want to be toasty warm 24/7. In climates that are colder than what a heat pump would work in, gas furnaces work and fare much better than some heat pumps when it comes to energy efficiency. Plus, with the lower cost of natural gas vs. electric costs (it’s all relative these days, though), lifetime costs should be calculated as a win for this option!

Getting Down to Business

When it comes to deciding on which is better suited, sometimes having a helping hand is well…helpful! Kele is here to help you assess your needs, discuss all those pros and cons mentioned above, and create a custom solution that you’ll be proud to take to your customer. Visit us on kele.com or call today—Kele’s got you covered!

R-454b: The New Refrigerant on the Block

As we discussed earlier this year (read more here), new SEER ratings have been put into place by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 2023 and beyond. But are those the only changes in store for HVAC this year? We don’t think so!

Refrigerant Standards Are Changing

One of the final changes that have been rumored to begin at the end of 2023 and early 2024 deals with all things refrigerant. But to better understand why these changes are happening, you first need to know what HFC is. *As concrete dates become available, we will update to reflect those changes.

What is HFC?

HFC stands for hydrofluorocarbon—say that five times fast! HFCs are a group of synthetic gases typically used in refrigeration and cooling. It’s also important to note that HFCs are considered and termed as greenhouse gases by the EPA. Now why is this important? Well, in recent years both the EPA and DOE have ramped up initiatives to combat climate change and the impact that carbon emissions/greenhouse gases are having on the environment.

But what does this mean for refrigerant(s) used in commercial HVAC?

It means that two types of refrigerants, that have been linked to having negative effects on the ozone, are being switched to a newer type that is more environmentally friendly. Refrigerants R-22 and R-410a are being moved away from and allegedly, the newer R-454b will be taking their place. The EPA is committed to reducing hydrofluorocarbon emissions as a whole and this will be a large step in moving towards that goal. (Read more on the EPA’s actions and position on reducing HFCs here.)

It also means that you are likely to see system overhauls in relation to newer refrigeration begin to pop up. Retrofits will not be an option for a variety of reasons with the use of these newer refrigerants. Older parts will begin to get phased out by the industry, opening up new project opportunities for you. Both you and the environment get a win!

To better familiarize yourself with the EPA’s standards and position on this new move towards more environmentally friendly refrigerants, read up on it here and here.

Need help with your next job that involves refrigerants? Give us a call today or visit kele.com to get what you need—Kele’s got you covered!

Particulate Matter Sensors

Cue The Magic School Bus theme song folks because today we’re going on a journey to learn more about particulate matter!

But first…what exactly is a particulate?

Particulates are microscopic liquid or solid particles of matter that exist suspended in the air. Such particulates are commonly referred to as atmospheric particulate matter, particulate matter (PM), atmospheric aerosol particles, and suspended particulate matter (SPM).

*Image courtesy of the EPA. To learn more about PM visit the EPA’s website here.

What causes particulates?

Particulates can be formed by natural forces or by human action/inaction. An example of a particulate that’s formed by natural forces would be particulates from forest fires. An example of particulates that are due to human forces would be emissions from vehicles.

*Image courtesy of the Global Weather and Climate Center

 

So why do these tiny things even matter?

Based on the size of the particulate, they can either cause you no issues whatsoever or they can do some serious damage to you via your lungs and in some cases affect your overall health. The size of particulates is what determines whether they get filtered out by the lungs or if they end up settling in your lungs and/or bronchi.

It’s been generally agreed upon that particulates smaller than 10 micrometers (coarse particulate matter, PM10) can settle into the deepest parts of the lungs and cause damage within the bronchioles or alveoli. Along with that, particulates that are fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are able to penetrate the alveoli and even smaller particulates (ultrafine particulate matter, PM0.1), are able to pass through the lungs completely and affect both organs and blood.

How the heck are we measuring this?!?

Traditionally, particulate matter is determined using the measurement of micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³). And the technology we have in place makes measuring PM overall easy by measuring the PM concentration or particle size distribution.

*Image courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service

Being able to measure particulate matter gives us the ability to differentiate between good and bad air quality and all that comes with it. Isn’t it wonderful that the technology we need to monitor and measure it exists?

As more and more instances begin to pop up requiring monitoring and measurement of particulate matter, it’s time to get ahead of the game so you can keep your customer’s buildings safe and secure. Particulate matter sensor units can come with or without display, field adjustable alarm relays, BACnet/Modbus, and in some cases tricolor LCD for visualization of the overall air quality index.

Browse our offering of particulate matter sensors here or call us today to get what you need. We’re here to help you make sure your next job gets done the easy way—the Kele way!

Bypass Valves in Pressure Independent Hydronic Systems

Contributed by Jason Tables from Belimo

The West Coast of the United States is known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to energy efficiency. California, Oregon, and Washington in particular, have more aggressive energy efficiency standards than most other parts of the country and the world. These states have implemented rigorous policies and regulations that promote energy efficiency, and the use of clean, renewable energy sources. Because of these measures, the West Coast is widely regarded as a leader in energy efficiency, often signaling policy changes that are eventually implemented in other regions of the country.

“The Seattle Energy Code is very progressive as they move away from all fossil fuels,” says Ken Duncan, Belimo District Sales Manager for Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. “The Seattle code prohibits the use of traditional gas-fired boilers in commercial buildings, so the typical mechanical HVAC hydronic systems are beginning to utilize heat pumps and heat recovery chillers to heat and cool buildings. This is a completely different style of hydronic heating system, and it requires properly sized and selected control valves to have a trouble-free mechanical system.”

Because of these stringent rules, the industry is largely moving towards pressure independent systems, “without any 3-way valves in any of the piping,” and “at least one or two bypass valves in the system to maintain minimum flow,” Ken explains.

To illustrate this kind of design, the diagram above shows a typical primary pumping system serving two chillers and a water-to-air heat exchanger. When it is cool enough outside, the cooling water is circulated through the heat exchanger and cooled by using the outdoor air instead of using the chillers. This conserves energy and leads to significant energy savings.

If the heat exchanger is unable to accommodate the building’s cooling load, or the outdoor air conditions are unsuitable for “economizer cooling” alone, the chillers will be enabled and staged as needed to meet the cooling demand. As the chillers are placed in operation, the minimum flow rates through each chiller and chilled water distribution pump must be maintained. Since the primary chilled water system does not have a 3-way valve, a bypass valve must be utilized to provide a flow path when the pumps are at minimum speed, and the flow through a single chiller is less than the minimum flow rate for the pump and VFD (variable frequency drive). A primary loop bypass valve ensures that each chiller receives a sufficient minimum flow as they stage on and off or change capacity. This type of primary system typically sees high flow rates and the bypass valve tends to be larger than bypass valves in a secondary system.

In many buildings, the hydronic system also consists of a secondary pumping system to distribute water to the terminal loads, like the one shown above. Chilled or heated water is pumped out to terminal devices in the building, such as VAV boxes, fan coil units, air handlers, and chilled beams.

“The same situation is going to happen here in the secondary system, where we need to maintain minimum flow,” explains Ken. “The two-way valves in the secondary system will at some point be fully closed, and the pumps will have to operate at a minimum speed; this minimum speed corresponds to the minimum flow rate that must be handled by the bypass valve.”

In this kind of design, when all the valves out in the system are closed, the water needs somewhere to circulate. To avoid deadheading the pumps, a bypass line is used to ensure minimum design flow, like the 3-inch two-way pressure independent modulating control valve shown in the upper right corner of the diagram above. This bypass line is typically located somewhere out in the building, far away from the pumps to allow for the overall volume of water in the system to act as a thermal sink, preventing rapid temperature changes to the secondary loop.

A second flow meter in the chilled water return can be seen in the lower right corner of the diagram. The purpose of this flow meter is to measure the flow on the return line and to communicate with the bypass valve when adjustments to its position are needed to maintain the minimum flow. For example, if the minimum volume of the pumps is 100 gallons a minute, and the system is not achieving 100 gallons per minute on the return line, the flow meter will signal the bypass valve (via the DDC system) to open until 100 gallons per minute is reached.

Bypass Valve Selection

When selecting a bypass valve, it is important to select a valve with a linear flow curve to ensure stable and responsive bypass flow control. Control valves with an equal percentage flow characteristic, on the other hand, are not well suited for bypass flow control. This is because the flow curve is nearly flat in the range between the fully closed position and around 50% open.

As the chart below shows, an equal percentage of valves do not reach 50% of the rated flow until they are around 70% open. This results in very slow changes to the flow rate when the valve is operating between 0 and 70% open, and once 70% is exceeded, minor changes in valve position greatly affect the volume of water passing through.  When an equal percentage of valves are used for bypass flow control, the control response from the valve is difficult to tune and usually leads to unstable flow control.

A linear flow characteristic is more suitable for bypass valve applications than an equal percentage curve because made changes to the position of the valve, will have a linear effect on the flow. So, for example, if the valve is 50% open, 50% of the rated flow will be passed through the valve. This allows for responsive, stable flow control.

The pressure-independent Belimo ePIV makes a great bypass valve, as it can be programmed to have either a linear or an equal percentage flow characteristic. Since the flow characteristic is selectable, the valve performs well as a bypass valve or a temperature control valve. The ePIV also features an ultrasonic flow sensor, which allows the actual bypass flow rate to be monitored in real-time. The ePIV is backed by a 5-year warranty.

BACnet: Put Control Back in Your Building

As repairs and retrofits take off for the summer season, it’s time to start thinking of how you’ll get all the different aspects of your customer’s system integrated and running smoothly. That’s where BACnet comes in!

So what is BACnet?

It stands for Building Automation and Control Networks. BACnet is a communication protocol designed to allow HVAC & BAS, lighting, emergency, fire, safety controls, and other building automation functions the ability to integrate though they may not all be created by the same manufacturer.

Originally, BACnet was created/developed in 1987 under the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and is even a registered trademark of ASHRAE

Why was BACnet created?

The HVAC and BAS industries have made leaps and bounds when it comes to innovations in technology and BACnet is just one facet of that innovation.

The purpose of this technology was to define both data communication protocols and services for the control and ability to monitor HVAC and BAS. And it did just that. Today there is ASHRAE Standard 135-2016 that deals with data communication protocols for building automation and control networks.

Per ASHRAE, “BACnet provides a comprehensive set of messages for conveying encoded binary, analog, and alphanumeric data between devices including, but not limited to:

(a) hardware binary input and output values,
(b) hardware analog input and output values,
(c) software binary and analog values,
(d) text string values,
(e) schedule information,
(f) alarm and event information,
(g) files, and
(h) control logic.”

Benefits of BACnet

  • No more needing every part to be from the same manufacturer or technological leaning
  • Standardized communication for all building automation data and analysis
  • Allows for retrofits and break/fix to function normally while preserving that initial investment
  • Works as a comprehensive solution for all areas of BAS
  • Works with IT capabilities already in place rather than against

With more and more buildings looking to mesh and integrate products from a variety of manufacturers, BACnet has never been more important to the overall success of a building’s automation functions. So don’t drag your feet on automating your next building—get ahead of the game and let data flow effortlessly between networks to make your life easier!

Looking for more information or how BACnet can help out on your next job? Visit kele.com or call today—Kele’s got you covered.

Bidding for Back-to-School

Bidding for back-to-school jobs is here and it’s getting serious. With school about to be out for summer vacation, you only have a few more weeks to finalize all your plans, proposals, and the how and when you’re going to get your sourcing done.

School and Districts

According to the National Center for Education Statistics 2019-20 data breakdown, there are around 128,961 public and private K-12 schools in the U.S. For pre-k, elementary, and middle there are around 88,909, secondary and high schools make up 27,155, and other various institutions make up the final 12,897.

And with student numbers rising in each district, HVAC systems in schools are continuing to be run ragged. Upgrades are needed not to mention full system overhauls. That’s where you come in!

What should my bid proposal look like?

Start your bid proposal off with why you should be their final choice. Confidence is key! Give prior work experience, why you want to be the one to successfully tackle this job, and whatever else that might catch the individual’s or committee’s eyes. Things such as having children in the district or having once been in a school in the district make great examples. Other great examples would be wanting to make a positive difference in the children’s and staff’s lives by providing them with a safe and healthy building to work and learn in.

You’ll also want to give an estimate on both timelines and project cost. Provide a timeline that works in considerations for if things go sideways such as part back orders or discovering something new within the project that needs to be addressed. The shorter the time in which you can complete your project is important but so is honesty in addressing any number of things that could derail your carefully planned timeline.

Your total project cost should also be provided along with how long key features of the project will last. What is the life expectancy for certain parts and components should be answered along with how often something should be replaced and the long-term savings that could be accumulated if you were to make one choice over another.

Experience and Work Ethic

Remember, it’s not always the lowest bid that wins. Experience and work ethic also come into play. Questions like “Will the work last?” or “Would your child or mine be safe in this environment?” will be asked and answered before your bid is accepted or rejected. It’s jobs like these that make the 3M’s of HVAC more important than ever. The work you do is important but so is the education to your customer so they can keep up with it and manage it. Need a refresher so you can educate your customer as to what they need to do so your work lasts through the school year? No worries—

  • Maintenance: do regular work to maintain the system
  • Management: manage the different aspects of the system to ensure peak performance
  • Monitoring: monitor the system and its many sensors and applications so that it is running effectively and efficiently

When you combine all of this, you’ll be in good standing for having your bid accepted! Kele is here to help you tackle your homework and get you back to school and ready to succeed. Call or visit us at kele.com today and let us help you shop…we mean source…for back to school! Good luck and we know you’re bound to ace your school projects this summer.

Custom Environmental Control Solutions: Isolation Room Edition

Isolation rooms. Talk about intricate HVAC systems!

Custom environmental control solutions take a wide range of knowledge and skills due to a multitude of factors that go into each and every one. And when it comes to isolation rooms, it is no different. So much is dependent on the safety and health of everyone who enters and spends time in such a space! So what exactly makes up an isolation room? Let’s take a deep dive into what goes into the makeup and upkeep of isolation rooms in healthcare facilities.

What type of isolation room are you building and solving for?

The three major isolation room types that you’ll be charged with building or bringing up to code in a healthcare facility setting are typically: standard rooms and positive and negative pressure rooms. All have differing levels of regulations, requirements, and restrictions. Some of which are:
• Standard rooms: typically do not require specialized systems but do help with airflow control, ventilation, and the prevention of disease via transmission through air
• Positive pressure rooms: typically need HEPA filters, outdoor air systems that meet local and federal guidelines and requirements, and can share air systems with the buildings where applicable
• Negative pressure rooms: typically need their own exhaust and supply system, HEPA filtration, emergency power, and emergency stops

But finding out what type of isolation room is needed and its ACH is the first step in tackling each!

ACH?

Due to the criticalness of its function, one of the key areas to first focus on should be ACH or air changes per hour. When this number is skewed, there is an increase in risk regarding cross-contamination for patients, staff, and everyone in between. So how do you calculate such an important aspect?

Calculating ACH

In order to calculate ACH, you must multiply the incoming/supply air flow rate (Q) in units of cubic feet per minute (CFM) by 60 minutes per hour, and then divide that number by the volume of the room.

CDC guidelines state that “…an airflow rate of 6-12 ACH (6 ACH for existing structures, 12 ACH for new construction or renovation)…” must exist for all isolation rooms within healthcare facilities.

Well, what else is needed for isolation rooms?

Once ACH is calculated and built out, there are several other things that must be attended to: temperature control, pressure control, and any other extra controls that certain isolation rooms may require. Extra controls could be added measures such as UV disinfection for ducts and filters or emergency shutdown controls due to any type of sensors that could be installed for monitoring purposes.

All of these considerations must go into the entire makeup of a successful isolation room. It is not just one thing that makes an isolation room safe and successful but rather multiple variables working together correctly.

If you have an upcoming healthcare facility project or retrofit call Kele today and we’ll help walk you through it from start to finish so you can be sure you’re covered no matter what! You can also problem-solve with us via our chat option online at kele.com—we’re here to help!

Kele, Inc. Announces Leadership Change

Appointment of Danny Lyons to CEO of Kele, Inc.
Existing CEO Richard Campbell will remain as Executive Chairman
Appointment of Rob Benson to President of Kele Commercial

MEMPHIS, TN – April 12, 2023 – Kele, Inc., (“Kele” or the “Company”) a portfolio company of The Stephens Group, LLC, today announced recent leadership changes to position the business for continued success. Effective immediately, the Board has appointed Danny Lyons to CEO. Mr. Lyons will assume the responsibilities of outgoing President and CEO, Richard Campbell, who will remain with the Company as Executive Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Campbell will remain actively involved in the Company’s M&A strategy, key stakeholder relationships, and corporate strategy.

The Stephens Group is grateful for Mr. Campbell’s leadership over the last six years. He has helped grow the business both organically and inorganically, built out a high-quality executive leadership team, executed various strategic initiatives, and entered new markets. Grant Jones, Managing Director at The Stephens Group, said, “Richard has been an excellent partner to The Stephens Group and we are both pleased and proud of how Richard has helped Kele push to the next level.”

“It has been a great privilege to lead the Kele team over the past six years and I’m proud of what we have accomplished in that time. I look forward to my role as Executive Chairman as we continue to build value in the Kele platform,” said Mr. Campbell.

Danny Lyons has been appointed CEO from CFO. Mr. Lyons has served as the CFO of Kele for over four years and previously served as Kele’s corporate controller for three years between 2014 and 2017. In addition to maintaining overall financial discipline, Lyons has focused on M&A integration, leading distribution and manufacturing operations from 2020-2023, and paving the way for strategic growth. He has led the efforts for an aggressive acquisition plan and executed and integrated four acquisitions since rejoining in 2018.

“We couldn’t be happier to appoint Danny as CEO of Kele. He has been an integral part of the Kele story and a key contributor to Kele’s recent growth and success,” said Mr. Jones. “Danny not only brings a tremendous balance of financial experience and strategic skill, he also understands the markets in which Kele operates and where the Company is headed.”

“I am honored to succeed Richard and lead Kele. Kele is a unique business with a 40-year history of delivering exceptional value to its customers in the commercial and industrial automation markets. I look forward to working with The Stephens Group and Kele team as we continue to execute our strategic initiatives and further our mission of simplifying the supply chain through unparalleled technical support, industry-leading technology, and world-class logistics,” said Lyons.

Lyons began his career as an auditor for BDO USA before moving to KPMG. He worked with multiple private equity-owned clients, which paved the way for his first stint at Kele. Lyons is a Memphis native. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Mississippi.

The Company is also pleased to announce a leadership reorganization of the Kele Commercial and Kele Industrial business units. Effective immediately, Rob Benson will be promoted to President of Kele Commercial, reporting directly to Danny Lyons and managing the P&L for all aspects of the building automation business. Mr. Benson’s most recent role was Chief Commercial Officer. Mr. Lyons added, “Rob’s 35+ years of industry experience and his success driving growth at Kele make him well-suited for this expanded leadership role.”

Mike DeLacluyse will remain President of Kele Industrial reporting directly to Danny Lyons. Under Mike’s leadership, Kele’s industrial business has grown rapidly, both organically and through acquisition.

About Kele, Inc.
Kele, Inc. is a leading distributor of Commercial and Industrial Automation products and controls solutions globally. Kele serves the $275+ billion Commercial and Industrial Automation markets with more than 300 brands and 3+ million parts in stock, including sensors, transmitters, switches, gauges, valves, actuators, relays, and more. Value-added services include custom panel assembly, specialized sourcing, and technical support. Strategically headquartered in America’s logistics hub, Memphis, Tenn., and with regional locations organized under the Kele Companies umbrella in Boston, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas, Austin, Texas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Okla., Chicago, and Milwaukee, Kele provides building automation and industrial customers with fast and reliable services. Kele is a portfolio company of The Stephens Group, LLC of Little Rock, Ark. To learn more about Kele, visit kele.com.

About The Stephens Group, LLC
The Stephens Group, LLC is a private investment firm that partners with talented management teams to help build valuable businesses. Backed by the resources of the Witt Stephens, Jr. and Elizabeth Campbell families, the firm combines the operational expertise of a private equity firm with the flexibility provided by long-term capital. With nearly $2 billion of private equity assets under management, the firm has a long history of providing informed, sophisticated expertise and working with owners and managers to help them successfully achieve their strategic visions and build long-term value. Since 2006, The Stephens Group has invested in over 50 companies, targeting investments in industries across the U.S., including industrial and commercial products and services, specialty distribution, technology infrastructure, and vertical software.

CONTACT:
Allie Laborde
Principal, Business Development
The Stephens Group, LLC
pressreleases@stephensgroup.com
501.377.3401

UV Disinfection Funding

It’s finally time to dive into UV disinfection funding. Wait…did you miss last month’s blog about the importance and helpfulness of UV disinfection solutions?

Then STOP! Do not pass go and collect $200…yet. Read up on UV disinfection here and then come back! Alright—you’re all caught up now? Fantastic! Now, where was I?

Ah yes…the importance of UV disinfection funding. Because you know what’s important when it comes to HVAC? Saving money when and where you’re able. So let’s discover how you can save money when working with UV disinfection solutions.

Why has funding been made available?

The industry is constantly innovating and growing. As technology surges ahead, we are discovering that there are multitudinous ways to create healthy clean air in facilities. UV disinfection solutions are an area with some of the more recent technological advancements made in regard to upgrading HVAC systems for the better. And with technological advancement comes funding to aid in implementing new components.

The Center for Green Schools published a report* that speaks to the UV funding that has been made available in the wake of COVID-19 in the form of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III or ARP-ESSER) for schools and universities. Here are a few key findings straight from their report:

*This report contains datasets with information from school districts across all 50 states and Washington D.C.*

  • About half of the school districts they interviewed and analyzed are committing a portion of funds to installing UV lights for disease mitigation, upgrading/improving HVAC systems, repairing systems where needed to reduce health risks, and replacing windows, doors, and roofs as needed.
  • They discovered that schools are using around $5.5 billion to improve air filtration, which is the second-highest category of spending.
  • Of the over 2,000 school districts that planned to spend on facilities improvements, large school districts planned to spend the lowest percentage (an average of 22%) and small districts planned to spend the highest percentage (an average of 30%) of their total allocation.

What funding is available to me?

Federal funding is being made available through the Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the American Rescue Plan to name just a few of the larger UV funding platforms. (For more information head to Better Air In Building’s Federal Funding Page.) All of these funding initiatives are charged with helping maintain or lower costs and create energy efficiency.

As our industry continues to move into the future with the intention of best serving our customers, UV disinfection is a beneficial option that can and will work in many different scenarios. For additional resources about keeping your building or facility clean with UV, read about up-to-date standards and practices on the CDC’s site.

And for help choosing the right UV parts and components for your facility or building that are eligible for funding, Kele is here to get you what you need. Head on over to kele.com to shop from our current UV solutions and enjoy up to 75% off select parts and components. Kele’s got you covered!

Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM)

Contributed to by Functional Devices

 

These days in HVAC, saving money is the name of game. Whether you’re saving costs by retrofitting rather than replacing, or investing now to save money on costly repairs later, the end goal is all the same. Now I know your next thought is something along the lines of, “What the heck does all that have to do with electronically commutated motors?” Everything! So buckle up and get ready to dive into how ECMs can save YOU money.

Common Motors in HVACR

The top three motors that are typically used in HVAC and refrigeration are electronically commutated motors (ECMs), permanent split capacitor motors (PSCM), and shaded pole motors (SPM).

Now it is important to note that all three motors work in similar ways. They all have electromagnetic fields in common but how those fields are created and controlled differ greatly. And it’s how they differ that makes ECMs stand out!

What makes ECMs different?

Unlike PSCMs and SPMs, ECMs have a controller that can energize each convolution of a fixed ring of electromagnets, more commonly known as a stator, creating an electrical current through said generation of power. And each one can speed up and slow itself down to reduce the energy output of the motor as needed. Meaning, the microprocessor can wield control of the magnetic fields being created and therefore allow you to have better oversight into the electrical currents, minimizing energy losses that are typically seen in those more traditional motors.

ECM equals energy savings!

In applications where ECMs are used, you can have an efficiency range of 60 to 75 percent or more compared to a PSCs range of 30 to 50 percent or an SPMs range of 15 to 25 percent. And it’s all thanks to the increase in motor control in an ECM. They pack a big punch for such a small motor size!

And with these motors being specified for use in newer, efficient buildings that means energy efficiency programs are providing incentives to increase and grow their presence. The capabilities of ECMs are as endless as the energy savings that go with them! To find out more about ECMs and implement them in your next project or retrofit, call Kele today or visit us at kele.com.

Want to do a deeper dive into which components you can use hand in hand with an ECM? Check out this YouTube video below from Functional Devices that speaks to just that!