Preparing Your HVAC for Winter: Three Energy Efficiency Checks for Business Owners

Winter exterior of a warehouse with snow on the ground
Winter exterior of a warehouse with snow on the ground As the crisp air and falling leaves herald the approach of winter, small business owners need to turn their attention to ensuring their HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems are ready to handle the colder months with energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is not only environmentally responsible but also crucial for reducing operational costs. In this article, we will discuss five essential checks that small business owners can undertake to prepare their HVAC systems for the winter chill.
  1. Thorough Inspection and Maintenance:

Before the temperatures drop, it is imperative to conduct a comprehensive inspection of your HVAC system. Engage a professional Heating or Air Conditioning company to assess the system’s components, including filters, coils, belts, and motors. Regular maintenance helps increase efficiency, identify potential issues, preventing breakdowns during peak heating season. Cleaning or replacing air filters is especially vital, as clogged filters restrict airflow and strain the system, leading to increased energy consumption.
  1. Programmable Thermostat Optimization:

Installing and optimizing a programmable thermostat like the Covert Controls System is a smart move for all businesses looking to save energy on their heating systems. Adjusting the thermostat settings during non-operational hours or when the business is closed will lead to significant energy savings. Web based heating controls are necessary when it comes to energy saving giving you the ultimate control over the heat input at specific times of the day and night therefore reducing costs accordingly.  
  1. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Equipment:

If your HVAC system is aging or struggling to keep up with demands, consider investing in energy-efficient equipment. Newer systems often come with advanced features that optimize energy consumption, such as variable-speed motors and zoning capabilities. While the upfront cost may seem daunting, the long-term energy savings and improved performance can make the investment well worth it. Additionally, explore any available incentives or rebates for upgrading to energy-efficient equipment, which can further offset costs. As winter approaches, small business owners have a terrific opportunity to enhance the energy efficiency of their HVAC systems. By conducting thorough inspections, optimizing thermostat settings, and considering equipment upgrades, businesses can reduce energy consumption, lower operational costs, and create a more comfortable environment for employees and customers alike. Prioritizing energy efficiency not only contributes to a more sustainable future but also strengthens your bottom line. To ensure your HVAC system is winter-ready and performing at its best, consult with one of our professional HVAC technicians and take proactive steps to optimize your system’s efficiency. By implementing these five energy efficiency checks, you will be well-equipped to face the winter months while minimizing your environmental impact and reaping the financial benefits.  

Prevent HVAC Breakdowns: Maintenance Tips for Facilities Managers

Air Conditioning unit exterior.
One of the most important aspects of a facilities manager’s role is to help prevent HVAC breakdowns. HVAC systems are indispensable for maintaining smooth and efficient facility operations when operating at full potential. When running perfectly, the comfort, productivity and general well-being of both employees and customers is assured.  However, unexpected HVAC breakdowns disrupt operations, cause discomfort, and lead to costly repairs. The key to avoiding these issues lies in proactive maintenance to prevent HVAC breakdowns. In this article, we’ll provide you with valuable tips and expert advice on how to prevent HVAC breakdowns, ensuring the smooth operations of your facility. Air Conditioning unit exterior Regular Filter Maintenance: One of the simplest yet most effective ways to prevent HVAC breakdowns is by regularly inspecting and cleaning or replacing air filters. Clogged filters restrict airflow, strain the system, and decrease efficiency. Develop a schedule to ensure filters are cleaned or replaced according to manufacturer recommendations and site conditions.  Filters should always be cleaned during a regular service by your maintenance provider. Carrying out additional interim filter cleaning/inspections would provide extra performance protection.

In addition to the above, ensure your FGAS qualified maintenance provider carries out the following steps to help prevent HVAC breakdowns:

  1. Clean and Inspects Coils: Dirty coils can hinder heat transfer and cause your HVAC system to work harder, increasing the risk of breakdowns. Regular inspections and cleaning of both the evaporator and condenser coils will remove the build-up of dirt and debris.
  2. Lubricate Moving Parts: HVAC systems consist of various moving parts that require proper lubrication to operate smoothly. Regular lubrication of motors, fans and bearings will minimize friction, reduce wear & tear and extend the lifespan of your equipment.
  3. Check all Electrical Connections: Sometimes electrical connections can work loose causing product failure, damage to control boards etc.
  4. Check Air On and Air Off Temperatures:  To ensure the unit is working efficiently and is working as it should.
Schedule Professional Maintenance:  While regular DIY maintenance on filter cleaning is achievable it is crucial to ensure you schedule regular maintenance with fully qualified and trained technicians. This should be scheduled on a six-monthly basis in most instances, more regularly in very challenging environments and annually as an absolute minimum.  Trained technicians can perform comprehensive inspections, identify potential issues and address them before they escalate into major breakdowns.  Be wary of maintenance/service quotes offered at a bargain price. Such service visits will not incorporate all necessary steps to protect HVAC appliances. This could result in costly repairs or replacement of equipment, sooner than the expected lifespan. To make sure that you get quality service, always ask providers for a comprehensive breakdown of their service action schedules. This will not only help to ensure compliance with any manufacturer guarantee in force but will also protect HVAC appliances, saving money over the long term. By being mindful of this advice and our preventative maintenance tips, Facilities Managers can significantly reduce the risk of HVAC breakdowns, enhance energy efficiency and ensure the smooth operations of their facilities. Regular maintenance really is key to extending the lifespan of HVAC systems and avoiding costly repairs.

Upgrading your HVAC System: When is the Right Time?

Man servicing an air conditioning unit
You may be wondering when it’s time to consider upgrading your HVAC system. Upgrading an old heating and cooling system can offer a host of benefits that can improve your workplace environment and save you money in the long run. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the benefits of upgrading your business’s heating and cooling system to help you determine when it’s time for an upgrade. Man servicing an air conditioning unit

Improved Energy Efficiency

Older HVAC systems tend to be less efficient, resulting in higher energy bills and a larger carbon footprint. Upgrading to a newer, more efficient system is crucial to consider given the current cost of energy, and will yield long-term savings.

Enhanced Comfort

A new HVAC system can provide enhanced comfort for your employees and customers. Newer systems are designed to distribute air more evenly throughout your space, ensuring that every area is heated or cooled properly. This means that everyone in your building will be comfortable, no matter where they are located.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is a major concern for many businesses, especially those in areas with high levels of pollution. A new HVAC system can help improve indoor air quality by filtering out pollutants and allergens, leading to a healthier and more productive workforce, as well as create a far more pleasant environment for customers.

Increased System Reliability

Older HVAC systems are prone to breakdowns and malfunctions, which can be costly and disruptive to your business. By upgrading to a new system, you can ensure that your HVAC system is reliable and less likely to break down, saving you money on repairs and reducing downtime caused by these issues.

Better Control and Customization

Newer HVAC systems come with advanced controls and customization options, allowing you to tailor your system to meet the unique needs of your business. For example, you can set different temperature zones for different areas of your building or adjust the system to match your operating hours. This can help you save money on energy costs and improve the comfort of your space. At the end of the day, if you’re experiencing higher energy bills, poor indoor air quality, or uncomfortable work environments, it may be time to consider upgrading your business’s heating and cooling system. Contact Independent Heating and Cooling today to discuss your options and schedule a consultation to determine the best solution for your business. Don’t let an outdated HVAC system impact your bottom line and the comfort of your employees and customers.

Air Conditioning: 6 Steps for School Administrators this Summer

Get your School's Air Conditioning prepared for summer
Photo of an empty classroom. Summer is approaching, and as a school administrator, it’s essential to ensure that your air conditioning or climate control system is ready to cope with the heat. This is not just for the comfort of the students and staff but also for their health and safety. In this blog post, we will discuss how to make sure your school has all the information needed to ensure your air conditioning system is ready for summer.

1. Conduct a Maintenance Check

The first step is to get a qualified specialist to conduct a maintenance check on your air conditioning system. This should be done regularly, but it is especially crucial before the summer months. A maintenance check involves inspecting the filters, cleaning the coils, and checking the refrigerant levels.

2. Check for Damages

During the maintenance check, it’s also essential to look for any damages to the air conditioning system. This could be anything from a leak in the ductwork to a broken compressor. If there are any damages, they should be repaired promptly to avoid further problems.

3. Review Your Air Conditioning System’s Capacity

The capacity of your air conditioning system is crucial to ensure that it can handle the demands of the summer months. You need to know the size of your system and its capacity to determine if it can cool your school adequately. This information can be obtained from the manufacturer’s documentation or from an HVAC professional.

4. Check Your Thermostat Settings

Another important step is to check your thermostat settings. The thermostat should be set at a temperature that is comfortable for the occupants of the building. Additionally, you should ensure that the thermostat is functioning correctly and that it is not being affected by any external factors, such as direct sunlight.

5. Review Your School’s Energy Consumption

It’s also essential to review your school’s energy consumption during the summer months. Air conditioning systems can be significant contributors to energy consumption, and it’s important to ensure that your system is operating efficiently. This could involve implementing energy-saving measures such as installing a programmable thermostat, sealing air leaks, or improving insulation.

6. Consider Upgrading Your Air Conditioning System

If your air conditioning system is old or outdated, it may not be able to cope with the demands of the summer months. In this case, it may be time to consider upgrading your system. A new system will be more efficient and effective, providing better comfort for your school’s occupants while reducing energy consumption. In conclusion, ensuring that your school’s air conditioning system is ready for summer is essential. Conducting a maintenance check, checking for damages, reviewing your system’s capacity, checking your thermostat settings, reviewing your school’s energy consumption, and considering upgrading your system are all crucial steps to take. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your school’s air conditioning system is functioning efficiently and effectively, providing comfort and safety to the occupants of the building. Our team of HVAC professionals can help ensure that your system is ready to cope with the summer months. Contact us today to schedule a maintenance check or discuss upgrading your system.

How Remote Energy Management Systems Can Save Your Business Money

As businesses look to become more environmentally friendly and reduce their costs, energy management has become a priority. Energy consumption can be a significant expense for businesses, and energy waste can be costly. Saving energy is critical for businesses. Not only can it help them reduce their environmental impact, it has a direct effect on lowering operating costs. Without proper monitoring, energy waste can occur, resulting in unnecessary expenses and increased carbon emissions. According to a report by Carbon Trust, UK businesses can waste at least £1.6bn every year on easily avoidable energy wastage. Remote Energy Management Systems, such as IHC’s own COVERT, exist to help prevent this waste and save your business money. The COVERT system is a technological innovation that allows businesses to monitor and control their HVAC systems remotely. The system uses IoT technology and cloud computing to provide real-time data on energy consumption and system performance. This information provides businesses with detailed insights into how their HVAC systems are performing, including real-time data on temperature, humidity, and energy consumption. This information enables stakeholders to identify areas where energy waste is occurring and take corrective action to reduce unnecessary consumption, reducing downtime and minimizing costs. The COVERT system also provides businesses with the ability to monitor their HVAC systems remotely. This feature is particularly useful for businesses with multiple locations or those that are geographically dispersed. By being able to monitor multiple HVAC systems remotely, businesses can easily roll out energy saving changes over a wide area with minimal disruption to their operations.

Overall, the COVERT system is a powerful tool that can help any business reduce their carbon footprint and simultaneously save money. To learn more about COVERT and how it can benefit your business, download our brochure here or contact IHC for further information. Don’t let energy waste eat into your profits – take control with COVERT.

Single Split or Multi Split: What Air Conditioning Unit is Right for Your Business?

When it comes to selecting the right air conditioning system for your business, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and requirements. Two popular options available in the market are single split and multi split air conditioning systems. Understanding the differences between these two types of systems will help you make an informed decision that suits your business.

Single Split Air Conditioning Systems:

A single split air conditioning system is a straightforward and affordable option designed for cooling a single room or space. This type of system consists of one indoor unit connected to an outdoor unit, which draws in outside air to cool the indoor space. Single split systems are available in various sizes, making them ideal for small businesses or areas with limited space.

Single split systems will be a good choice for your business if you are operating out of a few key offices or rooms. They are available with various options and control panel configurations, making them ideal for businesses that have to be economical with space, or areas that have difficult layouts.

Multi Split Air Conditioning Systems:

Multi-split air conditioning systems, as the name suggests, are designed to cool multiple rooms or spaces simultaneously. These systems consist of multiple indoor units that are connected to a single outdoor unit. This in turn provides a more comprehensive solution for businesses that require cooling in multiple areas, such as showrooms, warehouses or large, open-plan office spaces.

One of the significant advantages of multi-split air conditioning systems is that they can connect to six indoor units to one outdoor unit, enabling businesses to control the temperature in each room with no need for duct work.

Which Option is Right for Your Business?

When deciding which air conditioning system is right for your business, there are several factors to consider, including the size of the space, the number of rooms or spaces that require cooling, and your budget. As a general rule, single split air conditioning systems are more optimised for small businesses or spaces with limited cooling needs, wheras multi-split systems are better suited to larger businesses or premises with multiple rooms or spaces which may require different degrees of control.

While single split systems are generally more affordable, multi-split systems can be more cost-effective in the long run, as they offer greater efficiency and flexibility. Both will create more comfortable, productive spaces for employees and customers, allowing businesses to reap tangible benefits over time with increased productivity and customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, the difference between single split and multi-split air conditioning systems comes down to the size and cooling requirements of your business. By carefully considering your specific needs and requirements, you can choose the right system that offers efficient cooling and maximum value for your business.

At IHC, we offer a range of air conditioning solutions, including single split and multi-split systems, to suit the needs of businesses of all sizes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the right air conditioning system for your business.

The Benefits of Regular HVAC Maintenance for Commercial Buildings

As a business owner or facility manager, it’s crucial to ensure the smooth functioning of your commercial building’s HVAC system. It is responsible for regulating the indoor air quality, temperature, and humidity levels, which, in turn, affects the comfort of your employees and customers. But, what happens when your HVAC system isn’t maintained regularly? The answer is simple – a decline in energy efficiency, a decline in employee productivity, poor indoor air quality, and a shorter lifespan of the equipment.

Here are some of the benefits of regular HVAC maintenance for commercial buildings:

  • Increased Energy Efficiency: HVAC systems that aren’t maintained regularly tend to use more energy, which leads to higher utility bills. Dirty filters, clogged ducts, and worn-out parts can cause your HVAC system to work harder than it should. Regular maintenance ensures that the system is running at peak performance, which reduces energy usage and costs.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: HVAC systems that are not maintained regularly can lead to poor indoor air quality. Dirty filters can cause dust, pollen, and other particles to circulate in the air, leading to respiratory problems and allergies. Regular maintenance includes cleaning or replacing filters, which ensures that the air quality is improved.
  • Longer Equipment Lifespan: HVAC systems that are not maintained regularly tend to break down more often, and repairs can be costly. Regular maintenance helps to identify and fix small issues before they become bigger problems, extending the lifespan of your equipment.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Regular HVAC maintenance is often required to comply with health and safety regulations. Neglecting regular maintenance can result in costly fines and legal issues for your business.
In conclusion, regular HVAC maintenance is essential for the smooth operation of commercial buildings. It leads to increased energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, longer equipment lifespan, and compliance with regulations. Neglecting regular maintenance can lead to higher utility bills, poor indoor air quality, and costly repairs later down the line. If your business or facility requires maintenance, don’t delay. At IHC, we provide top-notch HVAC maintenance services for commercial buildings. Contact us today to schedule your HVAC maintenance and ensure the optimal functioning of your HVAC system.

Save energy and Reduce Environmental Impact with Green Energy Solutions for Commercial Properties

As we become more aware of the impact of our actions on the environment, more and more companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the most effective ways to do this is by implementing smart, effective green energy solutions.

One of the benefits of using The Covert Control to reduce energy consumption, which in turn helps to protect our planet from unnecessary environmental damage. In commercial properties, heating can account for as much as 60% of total energy usage. Companies can often unknowingly waste vast amounts of energy through a lack of effective heating controls, through timers being overridden, frost settings being increased by staff, or heaters working unnecessarily when large shutter doors are left open while receiving goods deliveries.

The Covert Controls

At Independent Heating & Cooling (IHC), we specialize in providing energy-efficient solutions for commercial properties, most notably our Covert Smart Heating Control System.

Covert provides complete zonal control 24/7 from anywhere in the world. With cloud-based remote access and no ongoing maintenance charges, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are in control of your energy usage and expenses.

Implementing a good commercial heating control system like Covert can cut heating costs by up to 30%, which means significant energy and cost savings in the long run, as well as help us move toward a greener future.

At IHC, we are passionate about offering the best value for our customers. We aim to provide the most energy-efficient solution to help clients save money long-term and reduce energy consumption, thus helping to protect our planet.

If you’re interested in learning more about Covert, or other energy solutions for your commercial or industrial property, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us. Our team will be on hand to help you take the first step towards a more sustainable future. With Covert, the answer is in your hands.

IHC introduces new air purifying device capable of neutralising multiple indoor pollutants

The new Mitsubishi Plasma Quad Connect
The Plasma Quad Connect, manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric, is a powerful and cost-effective bolt-on air purifying device that is compatible with both new and existing installations of M Series, Mr Slim and City Multi indoor air conditioning units. With the opening up of COVID restrictions later this month more workers are expected to return to their workplaces, which means more people indoors in closer proximity. With the Plasma Quad Connect building owners can be offered complete peace of mind and reassurance for the health and safety of their staff with its ability to eliminate six indoor pollutants: viruses, bacteria, allergens, mould, dust and microscopic particles PM2.5.

How does it work?

Plasma Quad Technology works like an electrical curtain to catch and neutralise particles in the air – even microscopic ones. First it produces plasma to inhibit viruses and bacteria, breakdown allergens and mould, and electrically charge dust and microscopic particles PM2.5. Then it creates a strong electrical field to absorb dust and microscopic PM2.5 – cleverly turning dirty air into clean air.

There are three options for installing the Plasma Quad Connect:

  • Wall mounted – it can be wall mounted onto a metal back plate above the existing air conditioning unit.
  • Ducted unit – it can slide into a metal fitment, which is screwed onto the back of the ducted unit.
  • Cassette unit – it can be housed in a bespoke casement.
At Independent Heating & Cooling, we can work with you to decide which method of installation would work best for your premises. Norma Biggs, a Director of IHC said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this new air purifying device from Mitsubishi Electric. Improving the quality of the air we breathe has never been more important and the Plasma Quad Connect does just that.”

Low Carbon Funding Scheme for the South East

Low Carbon Across the South East (LoCASE) is an EU funded project set up to help businesses tackle and adapt to climate change. Available while the fund lasts.

LoCASE (Low Carbon Across the South East) is the new ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funded programme supporting businesses throughout the South East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) region to improve their carbon efficiency. The programme will provide grants, green business audits, knowledge transfer placements and specialist carbon efficiency workshops.

The aim is to reduce costs by cutting emissions and to promote the opportunities of the low carbon market.

LoCASE offers grant funding up to £5k (as 40% of project costs), examples of the types of grants include; Lighting Systems, Heating Systems, Equipment & Software. An initial energy audit will be required to determine your suitability for a grant, and a specialist business energy advisor will meet you at your premises.

To receive free energy audits and be eligible for the LOCASE grants a business must:

· Be an enterprise (i.e. it must sell goods or services)

· Have less than 250 employees

· Have a turnover under £39m or an annual balance sheet under £33m.

· Have not received more than £156,000 of State Aid in the last 3 years
(or be in a position where this would be exceeded were the application to be approved).

· Spend the full value of the LoCASE grant on a
project taking place within the South East LEP; East Sussex (but not Brighton & Hove) Kent & Essex.

· Be able to secure 60% of the costs of the project in cash from private
sector sources before the LoCASE grant agreement is concluded.

· Not be engaged in a restricted sector according to the state aid regulations and ERDF requirements.

Funds are currently set aside for this project and grants will be awarded to successful applicants until the project funds are exhausted. To apply or request further information please contact us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much grant funding is available?

Grants of up to £5,000 are available for measures that will improve the energy efficiency of your business. Criteria for successful applications include carbon saved and jobs safeguarded or created.

What items are eligible for grant funding?

Energy efficiency measures including: LED lighting, A rated boilers, insulation, draught proofing, renewables, lighting or heating controls, software to improve efficiency, energy efficient equipment. This list is not exhaustive so if there is anything else you are considering please contact us to discuss.

Do I have to pay the grant value back?

No. The grant money will be paid to you subject to evidence of the installation being provided.

What is the minimum project value I can get funding for?

The minimum project value is £2,500, the grant value would then be £1,000.

How can I fund the 60% project costs that the grant doesn’t cover?

You need to demonstrate that this match funding is coming from the private sector. This could be a loan, overdraft, or private sector funds.

What if my project is valued at less than £2,500?

If your project does not reach this value, other grants may be available so please do get in touch.

Can the grant fund more than one item?

Yes. Your grant application can contain more than one measure, so if you are considering, for example, a lighting and heating upgrade, both can be funded with one grant. This may also raise the total project value to meet the threshold for a successful grant application.

Can someone help me complete the grant application form?

Your LoCASE Business Energy Advisor will be on hand to support you in completing the grant application form.

What do I need to submit with my grant application form?

As well as filling out some questions about your business and the project you are applying for a grant towards, you will need to submit three quotes for each measure you apply for.

When will LoCASE give me the grant money?

If your grant application is successful, you will receive a funding agreement. You can then go ahead with the procurement or installation of your measure. You will then have to submit proof of this procurement (i.e. invoices, receipts etc.) to receive the grant money.

How long do I have to complete the work?

Once you have received your funding agreement when your application has been successful you have three months to carry out the works.

What if my grant application is rejected?

LoCASE will be available to answer any queries you may have before submitting your application form. If it is not successful, you can change and re-submit your application one more time only.

How long will it take to get my grant?

From the submission of your application you will get a decision within 2 to 8 weeks. The grant is then paid once proof that the installation has completed is received.

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