CONCERNED ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND AIR-CONDITIONING?

Concerns over the potential for the COVID-19 virus to spread through air-conditioning systems may be raising concerns. We have looked at the fact to establish the safety of your air-conditioning system and provide all of the advice you need.

According to the UK’s F Gas register REFCOM, Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems are part of the ingoing solution.

REFCOM commented: “Health is more important than energy efficiency right now. It is also important to keep up air change rates – even in partially occupied buildings – to minimise the risk of moisture, which could contain the virus, settling on internal surfaces.”

Some of the recommendations they make include switching air-conditioning units to full fresh air mode and disabling recirculation with heat recovery as a temporary measure.

It has been confirmed by Public Health England that the transmission of the virus occurs via respiratory droplets by coughing and sneezing and contact with contaminated surfaces. It hasn’t as yet made any recommendations on special cleaning measures for ventilation and cooling systems. 

Infact, HVAC systems are performing a critical role in keeping services such as hospitals, supermarkets and care homes operational through the crisis. Science says that COVID-19, unlike some other viruses is largely resistant to environmental changes and is susceptible only to high relative humidity’s above 80%.

What is highly recommended is the routine maintenance and cleaning of your air-conditioning system. Whilst a clean air-conditioning system is an essential part of a healthy building at any time, businesses with air-conditioning systems should at least review their current maintenance and cleaning schedule with their provider.

Where there have been cases of COVID-19 confirmed, we would recommend systems are cleaned and sterilised to industry best practice as a preventative measure.

As with all aspects of coronavirus, the situation is changing rapidly. Our recommendations are based on the best advice available. We will continue to monitor Government and NHS websites for the all the advice you need.

If you would like to discuss the maintenance of your air-conditioning system, get in touch.

The benefits of regularly servicing your Air Conditioning System

Regular maintenance of your air conditioning system will help it perform better. We estimate that by carrying out routine maintenance, you can retain up to 95% of its original efficiency. This leads to a range of additional benefits – from better energy efficiency to lower humidity levels and fewer repairs. We’ll explore some of those benefits in greater detail below.

  • Better energy efficiency
    Regularly servicing your air conditioning system will help it to run more efficiently. Clogged air filters, dirty condenser coils, and other problems mean that the system has to work harder to do its job – using up more energy in the process. An inefficient air conditioning system is going to increase your energy bill and leave a larger carbon footprint on the environment. Routine service, on the other hand, will translate into savings on your energy bill and on your conscience.
  • Longer operational life
    As with any major equipment, a regular service will extend your system’s operational life. There’s a limit to how long any model is going to last, but the right amount of care and attention ensures that you’ll make the most of your air conditioning system. Remember that one faulty or malfunctioning part can lead to stress on other components. The sooner you fix it, the better the system will operate overall.
  • Lower overall repair costs
    You may be faced with a situation where your air conditioning system appears to be operating just fine, and then out of the blue, the entire system stops working. Suddenly, you’ve found yourself in need of costly emergency repairs. All too often, these repairs could be managed or even avoided through routine service and maintenance. When servicing your air conditioning system, our technicians will check for damaged or worn-down parts and recommend their immediate replacement. Likewise, cleaning components such as the condenser and filters will ultimately extend the life of various parts and put off the need to replace them.
  • Better air quality
    If you have any doubts as to whether your system is cleaning the air in your environment, simply open up the front panel and take a look at the filter. Unless it’s brand new or has been cleaned very recently, you’ll see plenty of dust built up in the filter. The more dust that accumulates, the less effective your filter is at purifying the air that passes through it.

Regular servicing ensures that your filter is working as well as it should be. This reduces internal deficiencies caused by a build-up of dust and debris, but it also means that everyone inside is breathing cleaner air.

The frequency with which you have your air conditioning system serviced will depend on several factors, including the model, its age and how it’s used. At RSY, we recommend having your unit serviced regularly depending on the environment and frequency of use.

To talk to us about your air-conditioning care, get in touch.

How to increase the life of your air-conditioning

The scheduling of regular maintenance and servicing on your air-conditioning unit can ensure that it will operate efficiently and maximise its life expectancy. There are however a number of things you can do to support your air-conditioning unit to run efficiently. Here are some of our top tips:

Give it a rest

Our number one tip is to allow your air-conditioning unit to have some rest. We tend to run our air-conditioning constantly, and this can cause wear and tear. To prevent this, try turning off your unit when possible or reducing the thermostat to a minimum temperature.

Clean your unit regularly

Conducting regular cleaning of your unit can remove dust, direct and other debris that might prevent it from working properly. This can be especially important for outdoor units.

Professionally maintain

Regular maintenance by a professional company is vital to ensure that your system is in excellent working condition and any problems are prevented. A good time for scheduled maintenance can be in the Springtime as most units experience their highest use in the summer months. An expert can inspect all components and carry out preventative work to ensure you experience no downtime.

Allow air circulation

To work efficiently, an air-conditioning requires proper airflow. Any obstructions may result in low airflow or the air-conditioning unit breaking down. Ensure there are no obstructions on the vents around the units.

Clean the ducts

In cases where the air circulation is obstructed, air ducts might also be the reason why cool air isn’t coming through. Air-conditioning units can accumulate lots of dirt and debris and therefore they should be cleaned regularly. Keeping the air duct clean and dirt-free will improve the indoor air quality. As a result, the amount of dust in the air will be cut out. It’s best advised that you clean your AC’s air duct at least once per year.

Change the filters on time

Changing the filters on your air-conditioning is a must and can make a huge difference to the lifespan of your unit. Preventing them from getting clogged will improve the overall efficiency and electric consumption kept down.

Watch out for leaks

Refrigerant and condense leaks are also in the list of the things you should watch out for. For this reason, it’s suggested that you check your air conditioner for leaks at least once per year. Any leaks in the hose may cause a malfunction. This is because refrigerant leaks can be harmful. Regular maintenance of your unit will prevent this from happening.

No matter the brand or model, a professional technician with the expertise and knowledge to perform scheduled maintenances and services is a must. If you’re looking for professional support with maintaining your air-conditioning, get in touch.

The benefits of Air-conditioning

Air conditioning doesn’t just cool you down, it can also improve the quality of air. This can offer many benefits, some of which include respiratory conditions, the health of electrical equipment, work efficiency and your physical health. As well as these benefits, air conditioners can eliminate pollutants and contaminants from the air such as pollen or dust mites. To maximise the benefits of your air conditioning, regular maintenance is a must.

Let’s explore some of the specific benefits:

Respiratory benefits

In the summer months of the year, walking into an air-conditioned room can mean breathing is easier, especially if you suffer from hay fever, asthma or any other respiratory problems. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly a room without air conditioning is likely to have the windows open causing harmful particles such as pollutants, dust, and smoke to flow into the room. A large number of pollen particles in the air are very common in summer. With an air conditioner, these pollen particles will likely get trapped in the filters, stopping them from flowing into the room. The quality of air is cleaner and less harmful within an air-conditioned room.

Funghi growth

When using air-conditioning to cool a room, the humidity of the air is lowered. This then decreases the chances of mould and other fungi growing, as they a more humid environment. Not only does this save time having to clean up, but it also means bugs such as cockroaches, mould mites and termites aren’t attracted to the room. Regular servicing of your air-conditioning can prevent this growth build up.

Productivity gains

It is proven that we are all more productive when working at a comfortable temperature.  The recommended temperature for a working environment is anywhere from between 16 degrees to a maximum of 25 degrees. When the temperature rises to 27 degrees and above, work productivity significantly drops, likewise when the temperature drops below 14 degrees. According to the BBC, the best temperature to maximise performance would be around 22 degrees, but this can vary from person to person. If you are currently opening the window to encourage fresh air flow into the office, it could be quite noisy outside, therefore distracting you from working properly, whereas air cons are practically silent and provide a cooling impact straight away.

Keep equipment cool

Computers and other machinery can often overheat during the summer months, This can cause errors and for them to shut down with potential work loss. Air conditioning can help with this problem.

Other Benefits

There are many other benefits of having air-conditioning. The risk of conditions such as heatstroke during a heatwave is reduced and less sweating can mean a reduced risk of dehydration. Air conditioning can also help with sleeping during those hot months. Air conditioners will also filter out any flus or viruses that could have otherwise been spread around the building.

To find out about professional air conditioning and servicing, contact the friendly team at RSY.

Eight reasons to love air-conditioning

As the summer months fade into a distant memory, the air temperature office arguments may have ended but the life of an air-conditioner goes on. In fact, the amazing technology involved in air conditioning actually makes the world go around and many industries to thrive. We have found 8 reasons to love air-conditioning.

It saves lives – Back in 2003, a European heatwave was responsible for the death of 70,000 people. Two decades earlier, Texas set a record of 42 straight days with the temperature hitting 100 degrees. Thousands of people didn’t die in Texas due to the uptake of air-conditioning at the time – literally saving lives.

Hospitals are healthier – During the summer months, conditions in our hospitals can be pretty miserable when unfiltered air moves around with only open doors and windows allowing airflow which can also impact on the spread of germs and overall hygiene. Air-conditioning in hospitals can ensure the comfort of patients and medical staff and an overall healthier environment by filtering the air and reducing the spread of germs.

It supports our food industry – Thanks to refrigerated food transportation, we are able to enjoy fruits, vegetables and much more throughout the year. The refrigerated storage of food also reduces spoilage, keeping prices down and high availability of out of season foods.

It increases productivity – Scientists at the University of Rochester in the USA found that manual labour productivity peaks at 18 degrees Celsius and drops by a whole 15% when this increased to 24 degrees Celsius. Productivity dropped by a whole 28% when temperatures reached 30 degrees calcium (unsurprising). Workplace accidents also increased with the increase of temperature meaning air conditioning can keep the workplace a safer place.

Its helps with the digital age – Computer chip manufacturing requires a clean and cool environment. Clean rooms are only possible with air conditioning and the filtering of airflow. The entire information age is only possible because of air conditioning.

It protects our interiors – Controlled temperatures and humidity control from air conditioning protect our internal furnishings and artwork. This is why museums and galleries operate with carefully controlled (and air-conditioned) indoor environments.

It supports pharmaceutical manufacturing – Like the computer chip, biomedical and genetic engineering industries rely on air conditioning to operate. Many lifesaving and life-enhancing pharmaceuticals are produced thanks to the environment provided by air-conditioning.

It makes global warming adaptable – With our ever-changing climate and the world getting hotter, we need the ability to adapt and air-conditioning gives us a helping hand. Across our workplaces, manufacturing environments and hospitals, the uptake of air conditioning increases year on year.

If RSY can help you with your air conditioning needs, get in touch with the team today.

UK’s 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2002

The UK’s 10 hottest years in records stretching back to the 19th century have all occurred since 2002, the Met Office has said.

Analysis of temperature records which have been extended back to 1884 also reveals that none of the 10 coldest years have occurred since 1963, showing how the climate is warming.

In the Met Office’s latest annual state of the climate report, the temperature series for the UK has been extended back by 26 years from 1910, as the data was added as part of ongoing work to digitise historic weather records.

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s national climate information centre, said: “Looking back further into the UK’s weather reveals a very interesting timeline, with the top ten warmest years at the most recent end, since 2002.

“Extending the record back by 26 years from 1910 to 1884 didn’t bring in any new warm years, but it did bring in a number of new cold years, including several that are now within the top ten coldest years.”

The records now show 1892 as the coldest year, with the average temperature of just over 7C, while the warmest year was 2014, with an average temperature approaching 10C, he said.

The top 10 hottest years are (in order): 2014; 2006; 2011; 2007; 2017; 2003; 2018; 2004; 2002; and 2005.

The coldest years in the record are: 1892; 1888; 1885; 1963; 1919; 1886; 1917; 1909; 1887; and 1962.

The annual report shows that 2018 joined the top 10 warmest years at number seven, despite the severe “beast from the East” cold snap early in the year.

The cold weather saw the UK having the most significant snowfall since 2010 last year, though generally snow events have declined since the 1960s, the Met Office said.

The world has warmed 1C since pre-industrial times, meaning that hot years are the new normal

Dr Michael Byrne, University of St Andrews

In a year of extremes, the UK also saw a heatwave last summer, which the experts said was made 30 times more likely by climate change, and the season was the equal-hottest summer on record along with 2006.

Commenting on the report, which is published in the International Journal of Climatology, Dr Michael Byrne from the University of St Andrews, said it was “hugely significant, though not surprising” the UK’s top 10 warmest years had occurred since 2002 and summer 2018 was the joint-hottest ever.

He said: “The world has warmed 1C since pre-industrial times, meaning that hot years are the new normal.

“Not only is the UK getting warmer but also wetter, with 13% more summer rain compared to last century.

“With global emissions of greenhouse gases on the rise, the UK will continue to get warmer and wetter as global warming accelerates.

“The science of climate change is now clear. The UK Government must ramp up preparations and ensure that our infrastructure and citizens are prepared for what is to come.”

10 coolest UK years on record

A Government spokeswoman: “The impact of climate change is clear and demands urgent action, which is why we are the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions and eliminate our contribution to global warming by 2050.

“We’ve seen first-hand the effect climate change is having on our environment, and we share people’s passion to tackle this issue and protect our planet for future generations.”

Dr Katherine Kramer, global climate lead at Christian Aid, said the findings were just the “latest alarm bell to go off as we fail to grapple with this growing climate emergency”.

“While these hottest years have made life uncomfortable in parts of the UK, just imagine what it’s like for people in even hotter places in the global south, often forced to work outside without access to air conditioning or even shelter.

“With climate change, the only way we can avoid this becoming the new normal is if we take action and reduce our emissions radically and rapidly,” she said.

How energy efficient is your local supermarket?

There has been an increased rise in the attention given to the environment and the damage carried out by businesses in recent years. According to research from the Global Carbon Project, carbon emissions are still growing at an exponential rate. In 2018 they reached a record high of 2.7% – the fastest rate of growth experienced in over seven years. It is clear, therefore, that although we might be trying to do our bit in helping to turn around the pending climate crisis, we are still not doing enough.

One of the most significant factors in helping to protect the environment is through being energy efficient, and supermarkets can play a massive part in helping to cut down on carbon emissions. Supermarkets are enormous consumers of energy, through their use of freezers, refrigerators which are constantly being opened, heating and air conditioning, amongst other things.

With the average consumer able to choose where we spend our money on groceries, understanding where our favourite supermarket stands in relation to energy efficiency can and should be important.

Around the world, we are beginning to see more and more supermarkets prioritising energy efficiency and adapting themselves, which is starting to pay dividends to all things green.

Twenty Danish supermarkets now have the technology to allow them to send their surplus heat into local district heating networks, the equivalent to cutting back on their carbon emissions by 34%.

Finland’s pilot supermarket in Oulu consumes just 40% of the energy of a normal UK grocery store. They use a combination of solar power and storing energy to cut down their energy use and can even disconnect their cold chain from the grid occasionally.

So, what is happening in the UK and how do British supermarkets compare?

What the UK has achieved so far

Anybody who is living in the UK will be aware of certain measures which have been implemented by supermarkets. The elimination of free plastic bags, changes in packaging to be better recycled and some attempts at reducing the amount of packaging used are some of the smaller efforts that supermarkets are doing.

In the UK, 12% of the country’s carbon emissions are created by Britain’s large, commercial refrigerating systems. Trials have been taking place between Tesco and the University of Lincoln to test whether they can use the stored up energy in freezers to help to provide a ‘virtual battery’ for the country, by cutting the energy when it is not needed as the food is cold enough.

Back in April this year, Sainsbury’s also announced their partnership with Npower – as their white label deal with British Gas came to a close – in the aim to create a bespoke Energy Saving Scheme. In the scheme, customers are supplied with 100% renewable energy as well as extra Nectar card points for switching.

The future

In the UK we have seen some supermarkets making incremental changes to their operational supply chains in the name of energy efficiency. However, while some changes are better than none and should be celebrated, we should also continue to collectively encourage these retail giants to take more action.

Could most supermarket chains be reluctant to make big changes, as they are unwilling to risk losing customers by reducing convenience or choice?

For supermarket chains that operate both nationally and locally, it can be difficult to know exactly what can be done, especially if there isn’t the budget to work on large-scale trials or enough education surrounding the adoption of an energy-saving philosophy.

Although British supermarkets are beginning to show an interest in cutting down carbon emissions, to be able to really make a difference, it’s time to think bigger. Whilst we are certainly not at the bottom of the list in terms of energy-efficient supermarkets, there is considerably more than our UK retail chains can be doing to protect the future of our planet.

To discuss efficient air-conditioning solutions for your business, get in touch with the team at RSY today.

Keep your house cool during a heatwave

Are you struggling with the recent hot temperatures? If your home is overheating, here are our top tips for keeping it (and your family) cool.

Cooling down body temperature on a warm night

While it is often pleasant to enjoy the daytime heat and sun, most of us need our bedroom to be below 21˚C to have a comfortable night’s sleep. Today’s modern beds and mattresses can be heat traps, with the added problem of hot bodies releasing heat into the mattresses and pillows.

Your hypothalamus (brain!) controls body temperature and so keeping your head cool is essential for comfort. There are several ways of doing this artificially at night using mattress and pillow cooling pads. You can also look for cotton bedding which has heat-regulating properties to absorb moisture.  An extreme measure might be to freeze your sheets! Pop them in a plastic bag in the freezer for a few minutes before bed for icy cold bedding.

Keep a room cool naturally

Warm air rises, so it’s important to ensure that the windows at the top of the house remain open where possible. Essentially you should use a combination of cross ventilation, the rising of warm air and the venturi effect (suction created by air passing over flues) to feed warm air up and out of the house.

In other words, make the most of all that cooler night air by opening all the windows before you go to bed, letting the overall temperature of your house drop.

Cool a room without air conditioning 

Sadly, traditional fans don’t cool air down, but they do move air around which can help with comfort on hot nights. You can boost the action of a fan by filling a mixing bowl with some icy water or an ice pack and placing it in front of the fan, so it pushes the cooler air around the room instead. Another hack for cooling down your house is to hang up a damp or wet sheet near an open window. This will help cool down the temperature of the breeze as to flows into your room.

Keep a room cool that faces the sun

The sun provides valuable extra warmth for most of the year, but in a heatwave, it can serve to provide extra heat to rooms particularly on the southern elevations of homes. The simplest solution for bedrooms is to install blackout blinds designed to reflect up to 85 per cent of the sun’s heat.

Use your oven sparingly

While it may not be obvious, using your oven will raise the temperature of your home so avoid use when you can in hot weather. Try getting the barbeque out to keep the household temperature down.

Turn off the lights

Light bulbs, even if they are environmentally friendly give off heat, so switch them off whenever you aren’t using them.

If the heat is affecting your day to day life and home or business, you may want to consider air-conditioning solutions. To find out more, get in touch with the team at RSY today.

 

 

Hot and Bothered: Does heat make people aggressive?

Reaching your “boiling point” may be an accurate description

As the summer months creep closer and we experience more humid days, some people are starting to get a little ‘hot under the collar’.

But how does the warm weather affect our feelings and behaviour?

The relationship between heat and aggression is complicated. During the 1960s, the civil disturbances and riots that raged throughout America during the summer months gave rise to the expression “long hot summer.”

This phrase reflected the common belief that hot weather made people behave aggressively and that the amount of violence was closely related to the temperature. However, it is hard to say for sure if the heat was directly causing the problem.

Wanting to explore the nature of the relationship between heat and aggression in a more scientific way was the impetus behind an extensive program of laboratory research. Most of these studies placed individuals in situations where they could behave aggressively, often by administering electric shocks to another person. Usually, these “sham-shock” studies uncovered an “inverted U-shaped” relationship in which aggression increases with temperature up to a certain point but then decreases if temperatures start going even higher.

The conclusion of the research is at odds with the results of field research, which indicates that rising temperatures are always accompanied by increases in violent behaviour. Scientists have used archival sources from cities across the United States to gather data on the rates of murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. Interestingly, it confirmed that violent crime increases with temperature but that nonviolent crime does not. In such field studies, hotter regions of the world and hotter years, seasons, months, and days are all linked with more aggression.

Even more, interestingly, individuals who are exposed to warm temperatures were less likely to do nice things for others, or be willing to help others. In fact, drivers are more likely to sound their horns at stalled cars if they do not have air-conditioning in their cars on hot days.

While additional studies and research may well be in order, the take-home message is that responding to heat in a negative way is very much a human thing—so if you find yourself getting a little testy with those around you this summer, relax; it isn’t just you. And stay cool!

To talk to RSY about our air-conditioning solutions get in touch.

 

Researchers propose air conditioners as climate change remedy

Scientists have come up with the notion that air-conditioning units could be used to fight climate change.

Recent research has discussed reversing the air conditioning process,  and instead of putting carbon in the air carbon is removed, and air conditioners revisited as machines that capture carbon dioxide and convert it into fuel.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (or HVAC) systems move a lot of air around. They can replace the entire air volume in an office building five or 10 times an hour. Machines that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—a developing fix for climate change—also depend on moving large volumes of air. So why not save energy by tackling the carbon capture machine onto the air conditioner?

Modular attachments to air conditioners could pull air inside and through filters that capture CO2. Once collected, water and CO2, said could be converted into renewable hydrocarbon fuels.

Researchers calculated that one large office tower could capture enough CO2 to produce more than 600,000 gallons of fuel in a year.

In the abstract, the authors of the research said they proposed “retrofitting air conditioning units as integrated, scalable, and renewable-powered devices capable of decentralised CO2 conversion.”

The authors appeared to acknowledge the research encompassed discussions of CO2 reduction, while future fuller analysis would be needed.

We will definitely watch this one with interest. Need help with you air-conditioning? Get in touch today.