Professional Mold Prevention and Remediation Tips

Like it or not, mold is everywhere. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold can cause a litany of health problems including nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing, and eye or skin irritation.

That’s why it’s important to proactively prepare for mold before it sprouts and be on the ready the second it makes an appearance. The NEWS recently polled a few industry professionals on what three steps they would take to avoid and remediate mold.

Humidity is Key

The key to controlling mold lies in a parallel ability to control humidity. “If the indoor humidity is above 70 percent, mold will tend to grow everywhere,” said Phillip Fry, a certified environmental hygienist, mold inspector, mold remediator, and author of five mold advice e-books. “The problem with air conditioning systems, when they are running, is humidity is below 70 percent, but often, especially in offices and commercial businesses, the air conditioning is turned off at night or during the weekends, and the humidity goes above 70 percent, causing mold problems inside the system, ducts, and the building. You have to monitor humidity readings in the building. Keeping the humidity low 24 hours a day is crucial.”

Mike White, CEO, Clean Air Systems of La. Inc., Shreveport, La., said in his home state of Louisiana he tends to see a lot of oversized air conditioners that don’t control humidity. “They control temperature, but they don’t control humidity. So, while temperature should remain around 74°, they turn the thermostat down because — due to the humidity in the air — they’re hot,” he said. “When that happens, the grille starts sweating. … When you keep the humidity low, you can have the same comfort effect with the temperature as high as 77°.”

And, according to Alan Wozniak, president, Pure Air Control Services, Clearwater, Fl, dehumidification must be maximized inside a building. “Obviously, any water intrusion events need to be handled expeditiously within hours of the event,” he said.

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Protecting History with VRF Zoning

New History Colorado Center Finds Way to Stay Cool

Established in 1879, just three years after Colorado became a state, the Colorado Historical Society has long served as the state’s memory keeper, occupying a number of buildings over the course of its 133-year history. By 2008, the society sought a new home and an opportunity to reinvent itself for audiences of the 21st century.

Changing its name to History Colorado, the organization began a monumental effort to imagine a new headquarters and a groundbreaking history museum in Denver’s Golden Triangle Museum District. In April 2012, the stunning 200,000-square-foot, $110 million History Colorado Center opened to the public with new exhibits and programs, blending artifacts, environments, media, and technology in immersive environments to showcase Colorado’s colorful stories.

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Volkswagen rules out Honeywell, DuPont refrigerant

Volkswagen, the world’s third largest carmaker, has joined compatriot Daimler in deciding not to use a new air-conditioning refrigerant developed by U.S. firms Honeywell and DuPont in its cars.

Volkswagen use new A:C refrigerantVolkswagen plans to roll out carbon dioxide-based air conditioning systems throughout its entire fleet instead of the Honeywell/DuPont refrigerant called HFO-1234yf, which was created to meet more stringent environmental regulation.

Daimler engineers testing the flammability of HFO-1234yf discovered that it could spark a fire under the hood of the car strong enough to spread throughout the vehicle. In the process, the chemical emits a highly toxic gas when burning.

The U.S. duo invested heavily in bringing to market the refrigerant, which conforms to a new EU directive. Due to its high price, costing 10 times as much as the current common refrigerant R134a, it’s only commercial application is in cars.

“Over the course of more than two decades in development, CO2-based automobile air-conditioning systems have experienced a number of performance, cost, safety and environmental issues that have made them a less attractive alternative to automakers globally,” Honeywell said in a statement, after Daimler decided on Thursday to develop a new CO2-based A/C system.

Critics of carbon dioxide as a refrigerant argue that it requires a comprehensive and costly redesign of A/C systems, can cause drowsiness among drivers if it leaks into the passenger cabin and may trigger higher indirect carbon emissions since it potentially requires more fuel to operate.

While Daimler sold only about 1.5 million Mercedes and Smart cars last year, VW’s decision means Honeywell and DuPont have lost another 9.3 million vehicles worth of business.

A spokesman for Volkswagen declined on Friday to say when exactly Volkswagen would begin to use carbon dioxide in its A/C systems, citing such information was relevant for competitors, but ruled out any possibility that it could begin this year.

Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech had signaled in November that his group – consisting of brands that include  Audi, Porsche and Skoda would not use HFO-1234yf because of its flammability.


What the Election Results Mean for the HVACR Industry

The economy, the fiscal cliff, sequestration, and energy independence are just a few of the issues facing the winners of the 2012 election. But, as one of Washington’s leading pundits recently stated, “This isn’t the first critical election where the stakes are high, and it won’t be the last.” Just as important as who won the election is how the business community responds to the key insights it offers, recognizing the underlying implications for our industry and even signs for optimism, or at least hope.


Republicans will retain control of the House, which will welcome more than 75 freshman members in January. But House membership will also include a greater number of experienced members than we saw in the last Congress, which means more former business leaders and government office holders in positions of influence. Some Congressional districts even moved toward the center of the political spectrum, offering optimism for the possibility of compromise in resolving critical issues.

In the Senate, Democrats maintained control, with (at the time of this writing) 55 seats compared to 45 Republican seats. So, neither party has the 60 percent cloture majority required to stop debate and pass its own agenda. Therefore, passage of any bill will require bi-partisan support. In addition, the Senate lost two key advocates of energy efficiency: Sens. Olympia Snowe and Jeffrey Bingaman, both known for strong bipartisan work, who retired from office this year.

Fiscal Cliff

The “fiscal cliff,” which is already affecting our national economy and could soon bring potentially severe implications to the global economy, is causing some Democrats and Republicans to talk about compromise. Republicans appear willing to consider new revenue, such as caps on tax deductions. In all probability, decisions regarding the fiscal cliff will be kicked further down the road. Look for tax cuts to be extended and sequestration delayed during December while Congress gathers data and negotiates the key decisions that must eventually be made. Everything appears to be in play, including, for example, raising the amount of income subject to high-income tax rates from $250,000 to $500,000 or even $1 million.

In the meantime, it is important that we urge our representatives and senators of both parties to seek a compromise, even if neither party gets all it wants. We recognize that a split Congress suggests that any honeymoon period that accompanies such a compromise will most likely be brief, and the potential is there for Congress to return to the partisan gridlock that smothered our country and stifled progress over the past two years.

Despite a weak, albeit gradually improving economy, the administration remained Democratic. If Congress remains gridlocked, as many pundits have suggested, we can expect to see administrative agencies become more active in promulgating regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, can promote regulations that rely on the agency’s existing legal authority and the recent court ruling that supported EPA’s “endangerment finding” related to the adverse climate-change effects of so-called greenhouse gases.

In the last Congress, House legislation that would have phased down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) on a GWP-weighted basis failed to pass in the Senate. Although this bill included several very challenging provisions for our industry, it would have provided for a planned, orderly phasedown of HFCs and time for industry to develop products that use lower-GWP refrigerants. Without such legislation, EPA will likely use its existing, but limited, authority to regulate HFC refrigerants. This could create a more challenging patchwork regulation instead of a planned, orderly phasedown. Parenthetically, the European Union is moving closer to an f-gas directive that would phase down HFCs on a similar GWP-weighted basis, even if the draft directive also includes some specific bans and controls in addition to the phasedown mechanism. In any event, refrigerant regulation is likely to tighten in the months and years ahead.

Energy is the other arena where we can anticipate continued focus. The HVACR industry has proven we possess the creativity and technologies required to improve the energy efficiency of our systems. In fact, energy use in the residential and commercial building sector has declined since the 1970s, thanks to collaboration within our industry. Therefore, it is up to us, as business leaders, to challenge both the administration and the 113th Congress to implement a sound energy strategy — one that is good for business and one that is critical to our national energy independence, national security, and a faster economic recovery.

It is incumbent upon us to work together with administrative agencies, especially the Department of Energy (DOE) and the EPA, to ensure we are leading the search for solutions instead of reacting to unrealistic mandates thrust upon us.

Finally, each of us should reach out to our representatives, senators, and their staffs. Now is the perfect time to meet to raise their awareness of our businesses, where we are located, how many people we employ, and how we contribute to the economic well-being of our communities and the United States. Then, when issues do arise, we will have better credibility and will be better positioned to educate them regarding the implications of regulations and legislation on our industry, our own businesses, and the jobs we have created in our communities.