Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Industry Update: FBI Issues Warning on Illegal Use of Flammable Refrigerants

From the onset, the federally mandated phase out of R-22 has been rife with controversy, and the confusion created by fluctuating prices as well as the never-ending supply and demand uncertainty has left refrigerant distributors, users, and equipment owners, extremely vulnerable.

A number of obscure companies have been selling R-22 alternative refrigerants that are marketed as “Natural Refrigerants”, and “Drop Ins”. They boast that these refrigerants are “Inexpensive”, “Do not require any certification to purchase”, and “Can be mixed with R-22”. The horrible truth is that these so called “Natural Refrigerants”, are comprised primarily of highly flammable gases such as propane and they are illegal for use in AC applications.

The FBI has recently issued a warning to be on the alert for refrigerant substitutes that have not been approved by the EPA. Reports are on the rise worldwide of explosions, fires, and severe injuries, including fatalities, as the result of these flammable refrigerants being used in unapproved HVACR applications. In 2013 the EPA took action against at least one U.S., company for selling an unapproved flammable refrigerant, yet many believe that without an increased enforcement effort, this problem will lead to even greater safety hazards and tremendous liability issues.

There are safe, and well established, non-ozone depleting refrigerants, but some HVACR product distributors, and refrigerant users, have been lured into supporting inferior products because of their cheap price. Along with the many hazards that flammable refrigerants pose to users and equipment owners, there are a few other “cheap” R-22 alternative refrigerants being misrepresented, and subsequently misapplied, that are leading to serious losses in system efficiency and compressor failures. Products like R-407C are relatively inexpensive, but are not suitable for use as a direct replacement for existing R-22 applications without changing the mineral oil to POE oil and flushing the line sets. The cost of the additional system conversion requirements make R-407C, and other products with similar requirements, the least practical option for servicing existing R-22 equipment.

The long term liabilities associated with selling and using hazardous, and or inferior R-22 replacements, are causing many to realize that cheap options are very seldom the best options.

The bottom line is, a cheaper, non-approved EPA product could end up costing more in the long run. It could cause the system to malfunction or lose efficiency. At worst, these unapproved refrigerants are very flammable and basically made of propane which can easily cause an explosion. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Schaafsma Heating & Cooling Annouces Use of New Aeroseal Technology

Grand Rapids/Zeeland based Schaafsma Heating & Cooling, has announced the use of Aeroseal technology to seal air duct leaks, saving consumers an estimated 25 to 40 percent in utility bills.
The new technology allows Schaafsma Heating & Cooling technicians to quickly pinpoint and seal air duct leaks, providing customers inexpensive repair that means better air quality, increased room comfort, considerable energy savings, and longer HVAC system life, according to Kevin Walsh.
Schaafsma Heating & Cooling, a certified Aeroseal contractor, is the first to stress the sealing technology locally. The Aeroseal process works by isolating leaks in the air duct system and sealing them through the computer-controlled injection of safe aerosol particles.
The technology was developed at U.C. Berkeley in 1994 with funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and others.
Aeroseal was selected as Popular Mechanic's Invention of the Year in 1996 and was named to DOE's "Top 100 Inventions" of the last 23 years.  "This is cutting-edge technology," says Kevin Walsh, President of Schaafsma Heating & Cooling, which has served the Greater Grand Rapids Area area for more than 109 years. "Aeroseal is a cost-effective way to address problems in the duct system that has been overlooked in the past, ensuring that system operation is highly efficient."   Duct sealing also protects against harmful infiltration of unconditioned air from attic or crawl spaces, and carbon monoxide backdraft. The air purification is an added benefit for allergy sufferers. In addition, many utility companies are advising customers that have high bill complaints to have their duct systems checked.

About Schaafsma Heating & Cooling

For 109 years, Schaafsma Heating & Cooling has served Greater Grand Rapids customers with trained and certified technicians, professional salesmen, and fair pricing. Schaafsma Heating & Cooling specializes in residential and light commercial HVAC systems, sheet metal fabrication, duct cleaning and preventive maintenance programs.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MERV Ratings & Your Filtration System

MERV Ratings & Your Filtration System

Every family deserves clean, fresh indoor air. But pollutants, even the ones we can't see, make their way into our homes every day. And some pollutants, like dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, viruses and bacteria can be dangerous to your family's health. The air inside your home can actually be 2 to 5 times dirtier than the air outside.
Fortunately, Schaafsma offers  a wide range of air quality solutions you can count on to deliver cleaner, better air: High quality filters to remove unwanted pollutants, humidifiers to add moisture back to dry winter air; ventilators to bring fresh air into your home; UV lamps to minimize mold and bacterial growth on your system's indoor coil; and air purifiers to eliminate up to 99.9% of the pollutants in the conditioned air in your home.

Let’s focus on the filter for now.

MERV ratings are used to rate the ability of a filter  to remove dust from the air as it passes through the filter.  MERV is a standard used to measure overall efficiency of a filter HIGHER MERV ratings mean fewer dust particles and other airborne contaminants pass through the filter.
MERV  ratings range from 1-16 and measurements are in microns.  The most efficient filters have MERV ratings of 13 to 16.  and will stop particles as small as .3 microns.  These filters are used in hospitals and other clean environments. 
We recommend the EZ Flex filter which has a MERV 10 rating and captures up to 65% of air particles 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size.
People living with Asthma or Respiratory problems  should definitely consider a high quality filter.  Also particles in the air can cause more problems for the elderly and infants.




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What You Need To Know About Whole House Humidifiers

The people of West Michigan have been experiencing frigid weather the last couple of months.  Cold temperatures means there is a low amount of moisture in the air which affects your body in several different ways.  If you're experiencing Dry Skin, Static Electricity, Sore/Scratchy Throat, and Dry Eyes a low humidity level in your home could be the cause.  Luckily there is a solution and that is a Whole House Humidifier. We recommend these types of humidifiers because they work in conjunction with the furnace and provide the best results and is a whole house solution.

Steam Humidifier- These are the most efficient type of humidifiers. The ratio of moisture to water is 1:1.  In other words, it takes 1 gallon of water to make one gallon of moisture.  The humidifier creates the steam and simply blows steam into the supply duct and is distributed via the duct system in your home.  We suggest these type of humidifiers if you have wood floors, instruments, or carvings. 

Fan Powered Humidifier-  The ratio for a Fan Powered Humidifier is 3:1.  So in essence it takes 3 gallons of water to create 1 gallon of moisture.  The furnace must be running for the humidifier to work, so essentially it would have to run for 24 hours straight to make 18 gallons of moisture. These are the most popular type of humidifiers that we sell and work great.    

Bypass Humidifier-  The ratio for a Bypass is 4:1. So it takes 4 gallons of water to make one gallon of moisture. There is a 6" duct that runs from the duct to the humidifier, the air is pushed over the humidifier pad and absorbs the water. The air then goes into the duct work and is distributed into the home. These are the most economical type of Humidifier that we sell.

Whole House Humidifiers range in price depending on the features and type of the humidifier.  We offer Warranties with our installation and the job can usually be done in 3-5 hours.  We suggest having a free estimate done on these, as you are making changes to your heating and cooling system, it needs to be done professionally.

Thank you for reading our blog, our goal is to bring you informative information so you can make knowledgeable decisions when it comes the heart of your home- your HVAC system.





Monday, September 24, 2012

Take 5 Shoot-Energy Efficient Options for your home

President, Kevin Walsh of Schaafsma Heating & Cooling, discussing what you can expect at our open house this wednesday from 6-9p at cannonsburg ski lodge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Energy Efficiency, Geothermal Heating & Cooling, Tankless Water Heaters, and More!


Schaafsma Heating, Cooling & Electrical will be sponsoring an open house on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 from 6p-9p at Cannonsburg Ski Lodge in the Bear Creek Room. There will be door prizes, punch, appetizers, and the opportunity to learn about energy efficient measures for the home.

The Goal of the open house is to inform the public of their options on energy efficient ways to heat and cool the home. Everybody is talking about being green and saving energy which will consequently save money.  In the future, one can expect to see higher costs on fossil fuels and tighter requirements from the government on businesses to produce energy efficient products.  Schaafsma Heating & Cooling wants to inform the public about their options. A Geothermal system can save thousands of dollars especially if a home is heated by propane or fuel oil. While the federal tax credits for furnaces has expired there is still a very generous tax credit of 30% of the total installed cost available for a limited time on a Geothermal System.

Other products that will be featured are the Bryant Extreme Heat Pump which will rival a geothermal unit in efficiency and Tankless Water Heaters.  

Energy Audits are another service that the company offers. A series of tests can show a homeowner how to save a significant amount of money & energy.  An Energy Audit is the first step in finding what the inefficiencies of the home are and learning how to fix them.  There are thousands of dollars in rebates available from the utility companies to give consumers an incentive to fix their home.  Schaafsma Heating and Cooling is the #1 Contractor of the Michigan Saves Program which is a financing program that allows consumers to make energy efficient improvements tying it in with the heating & cooling system.  Michigan saves currently is offering the financing with only a 7% interest rate and home improvement can be financed for up to 10 years.

Friday, July 20, 2012

R-22 Refrigerant, Global Warming and What It Means To You

 Homeowners with aging home comfort systems will eventually face the decision of whether to repair or replace a malfunctioning air conditioner or heat pump.  When it's a new system with R-22 refrigerant, the decision can become even more complicated considering the mandated ban on the manufacturing of new, R-22 charged equipment. As a Bryant Dealer, we have the ability to offer another alternative to repairing and old unit.  That new alternative is the dry R-22 air conditioner or heat pump. 

Because everyone homeowner and every situation is a little different, we'll need to do an assessment before making your recommendations.  Some homeowners are simply motivated by the bottom line, lowest cost solution and may not be interested in a lot of equipment options.  However, if you are willing to consider alternative solutions or recommendations, we can help by discussing your short-term and long-term intentions with the home. 

For example, if you are moving soon, a low cost fix might be most appealing.  Or, a full system replacement or a brand new R-22 unit might make the property more appealing in a tough housing market.  If you are planning to remain in the home for as long as possible, it may be wise to invest in a new, higher efficiency, longer warranty Puron refrigerant system.

The cost of R-22 is rising because of the mandate on it due to it's large contritution to global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer. If you decide to repair an older R-22 unit you can expect to pay more for refrigerant as the years go by. However, the dry shipped unit is a good alternative depending on your future life plans. If your in the market for a new central air conditioning system, let us help you make the best decision. Give us a call for a free in home estimate.

Have a wonderful weekend!