FBI Investigates R-22 Substitute Air Conditioner Refrigerants

“And the battle over air conditioner refrigerants continues. The US EPA just issued another warning, “cautioning homeowners, manufacturers of propane-based refrigerants, home improvement contractors and air conditioning technicians of the safety hazards related to the use of propane in existing motor vehicle and home air conditioning systems.” Now the FBI has entered the battle, too.

A year ago I wrote about the use of hydrocarbon-based refrigerants being sold as substitutes for R-22, the dominant refrigerant of the past two decades that is being phased out to protect the ozone layer. Yes, propane and other hydrocarbons can work just fine as refrigerants for air conditioners.

The problem arises when they’re used in place of non-hydrocarbon based refrigerants like R-22. Hydrocarbons are flammable and can create hazards for HVAC service technicians who may not take proper precautions if they don’t know that a flammable refrigerant has been substituted for the nonflammable they expect to be in the system.

You can find plenty of the substitutes online, and you don’t even have to be a licensed HVAC contractor to buy them. Evidently the problem hasn’t gone away since I wrote about it last year. Hence the FBI’s involvement. They’re looking for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers who have gotten these flammable refrigerants into their air conditioners so they can go after the sellers.

The FBI lists several refrigerant names they’re focusing their investigation on:

  • Super-Freeze 22a
  • Super-Freeze 12a
  • Super-Freeze 134a
  • Enviro-Safe 22a
  • R134a

See the FBI’s page to learn more about their investigation or to complete their questionnaire if you’ve gotten any of the unapproved refrigerants in your air conditioner.”

by Allison Bailes on Thurs. July 24, 2014

Does a Dirty Furnace Filter Impact Equipment Performance?

Does a Dirty Furnace Filter Impact Equipment Performance?

By Donald Munn 

Unfortunately one of the most often neglected maintenance tasks for residential heating and air conditioning systems is changing the furnace filter. A furnace filter is an extremely important component of any air conditioner or furnace.

Many people use the cheap disposable fibreglass furnace filters thinking they are getting good value for their money. The reality is that these filters are next to useless because they don’t remove enough dust from the air to make much of a difference.

There is greater value in using one of the more efficient varieties of furnace filter available and there are many to choose from, beginning with the most commonly used pleated furnace filter to some of the lesser known specialty filters commonly used in many homes.

Why is the furnace filter so important?
There are several very important things that happen when people don’t change their furnace filter or air conditioner filter. You often hear that not changing your air conditioner filter or furnace filter will cause problems.

What really happens?

Air Conditioner Filter

  • Reduced refrigerant operating pressures within the air conditioner which can cause the evaporator coil to ice up.
  • Reduced cooling capacity which results in longer run times and higher energy costs.
  • Poor air circulation throughout your home resulting in some spaces not being cooled      properly.

Furnace Filter

  • Reduced air flow across the heat exchanger resulting in higher heat exchanger operating temperatures. This can result in cracked heat exchangers causing Co to leak into the space being heated.
  • Increased run times due to lower air flow. This results in higher fuel costs because it takes longer to heat the space. In electric forced air furnaces the result is the same except your power bill will be higher.

A common belief is that the blower fan also has to work harder when the furnace filter is dirty but this claim is only made by people who don’t really understand the operating characteristics of a centrifugal fan.

How often should you change your furnace filter?
To ensure that your furnace or air conditioner continues to operate at maximum efficiency it is very important to replace or clean your air filter at least every three months for one and two inch filters. Four inch filters can often be left in the system longer depending on the filter efficiency and several other factors.

Which replacement furnace filter is the best?
Selecting the best furnace filter is not an easy thing to do because there are so many variables to consider. There are filters to meet virtually every need. Allergy sufferers may require a very efficient filter, while a person who has no allergies only requires a moderately efficient filter. Maybe you don’t have allergies but you hate dusting and that is what guides you in making your decision.

To make things even more complicated, there are even duct mounted air purifiers that you can use in conjunction with a your furnace filter. These help to purify the air even further.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Donald_Munn

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – Recall Alert

Recall Date: June 24, 2014

Recall Number: 14-FOR CLEARANCE

Trane Recalls Air Conditioning Systems Due to Shock Hazard (Recall Alert)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumers should stop using this product unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Recall Summary

Name of Product: Trane XB300 and American Standard Silver SI Air Conditioning Systems

Hazard: The ground screws used in some units do not have the two threads required to provide sufficient grounding, posing a shock hazard to consumers.

Remedy: Repair

Recall Details

Units: About 100,600

Description: This recall involves 37 models of Trane XB300 and American Standard brand Silver SI split system outdoor cooling units. The units are gray and have a black grated front. The units were sold in two sizes, 25.5 inches deep by 23.5 inches wide by 28.83 inches tall and 28.83 inches deep by 28.48 inches wide by 29.28 inches tall. The Trane or American Standard logo is affixed to the front and model numbers are printed on the silver nameplate on the back of the unit. Models included in the recall are:

Source: http://www.americanstandardair.com/silversiproductrecall.html

Summer is finally here!!!

Summer is finally here. Swimming pools, ball games, and fun in the sun with family and friends are what we need after a long cold spring. But now that the heat has set in, you need to make sure your AC is blowing COLD.

If your air conditioner is not working well or at all, I Want SMART dot com is the solution to your problem. So don’t sweat it. Make a SMART decision and call A SMART Contractor.

You have come to the right place!!! Honest information and quality work, call a SMART Contractor today. Be sure to ask about our SMART Rebates, only available through I Want SMART.com


Listen to our newest Radio spot below!!

IWANTSMART.com website goes live.

After many months of planning and developing this site, we are going live on Monday April 14, 2014. This website launch will be in conjunction with our Radio ads starting also on April 14 on WCPT [820 AM, 92.5 FM (West), 92.7 FM (North), 99.9 FM (South)]. Maybe you heard it, if not, give it a listen.

If you’re looking for anything additional on fair Labor, check out Labor United.


Building Inspectors Training

SMART Local 265 puts on another Building Inspectors Program, training another 100 local Building Inspectors!

This course is designed to identify approved procedures for fabricating and installing Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.  Course content emphasizes information, which will help inspectors to recognize the importance of establishing methods of inspecting HVAC components.  Proper inspection is critical to the safety, health and comfort of the general public and serves as an acknowledgement that quality workmanship is essential in terms of operation and maintenance of HVAC systems.

Program Information:
Each person attending the 8-hour course will be issued a complimentary handbook and a certificate of achievement.

In addition, each participant will have an opportunity for a: “hands-on” viewing of sample components contained within an HVAC system, AQ system, demonstration of “Good and Bad” system with meters to indicate flow, and the many publications that can be acquired through the local SMACNA Chapter and many of the manufactures of HVAC components.

If you are a Building Inspector or your Municipality is interested in attending future training seminars, please feel free view SMART Local 265 education website or contact the training center (630-668-0110) and ask for the education department.

(Read the full Story Here)

(Read about it in the SMART Journal Here)

9/11 Memorial/Museum

Illinois fire department 9/11 Ceremony and the opening of their new museum. The Local #265 Labor Management Cooperative Committee (John Boske) partnered with Gengler Lowney Laser Works (Jack Gengler), a signatory contractor with Local 265, to contribute the two stainless steel plaques embedded in the floor of the Carol Stream, Illinois Fire Department 911 Memorial/Museum. The fire inspector (Gary Rasmussen) got the idea when he was doing a yearly inspection at Local 265 and saw a stainless steel plaque that Gengler Lowney Laser Works had also done. (You Can view more photos here)

Volunteer efforts in rehabbing the Lockport VFW Post 5788

SMART Local 265, volunteering with Will/Grundy County Building Trades and the Home Depot, to revitalize the VFW Post 5788 in Lockport. The facility was in desperate need of a face lift and a lot of basic maintenance.

The initiative was spear headed by THE HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION, who reached out to all of us and explained the need. Once again, SMART Local 265 and many other Local Unions from Will/Grundy building trades stepped up to the challenge.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you and your entire team for your volunteer efforts in rehabbing the Lockport VFW Post 5788.  The results were absolutely stunning and we have heard from the entire community how amazed they were by the transformation.  This project absolutely could not have been completed without your support and the support of the entire Will-Grundy Trades Council. I have attached a PowerPoint of the before and after’s of the project; unbelievable this was done in one short week. Thank you again for your dedication and passion for helping Veterans.  If I can ever be of any service to you or any Veterans who are in need please let me know.  It was an absolute pleasure to work with you and your team and we hope to partner on projects with you in the future.”

Elizabeth Armour
Store Manager, The Home Depot
Homer Glen, IL #1989