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Energy Efficiency

Time after time, energy efficiency engineers do their studies to find that the HVAC and DHW systems in the buildings that they are inspecting are significantly oversized.  Additionally, the fact that they are oversized often deteriorates their ability to perform effectively in addition to deteriorating fuel efficiently.   Oversizing equipment accomplishes three things: 1) The contractor sells a larger system and makes more money, 2) The contractor who warranties the system and must fix it at no cost if it fails benefits from an over sized system that will never be strained and therefore probably never fail, and 3) The system purchaser forever pays higher energy bills than are necessary or appropriate for their actual energy demand.

Consider, for instance, an over sized 20 year old HVAC system.  It is twice as big as it needs to be and therefore can do its job by running just 10 minutes per hour.  The problem is that because it only runs for 10 minutes per hour, it only circulates air for 10 minutes per hour.  After it stops running, all of the warm air in the room rises to the ceiling and the cold air falls to the floor where the people are.  Ten minutes after the heater goes off, they feel cold again sitting on the couch because they are below the level of the thermostat; so, they turn the heat up and purchase more costly energy.

After a few years of discomfort, the homeowner calls a local HVAC company to have the problem looked at and the HVAC contractor has the perfect solution.  They recommend installing an even bigger system that consumes even more energy.  Your HVAC rep is not lying to you.  He is recommending what the charts tell him to.  His boss tells him to use those charts.  The industry tells member companies to use those charts.  After all, if your heater doesn’t meet demand you are going to complain to the company that installed it; but, if your heater does its job and keeps you comfortable but your energy bills are too high, you will call and complain to whom?  The utility company of course; and that is not the contractor’s concern.

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