Covid: Keep your air conditioning system working right
We’re all now well aware of how Covid-19 is spread, and we know you’re more likely to contract the virus if you’re in an enclosed space with poor circulation. As people begin to return to their workplaces, that makes air circulation one of the biggest priorities for employers. Air conditioning is one way to keep air flowing and ensure your staff are at the minimum risk from inhaling Covid particles, but that also means you need to make sure it’s in top working order.
How air-con can play its part
The law says that employers have a duty to ensure their staff are breathing fresh air in enclosed spaces such as offices, either through the natural ventilation of an open window or through systems such as air conditioning. Air conditioning allows air to circulate, reducing the risk of aerosol transmission, including Covid-19 particles which may spread as droplets in uncirculated air.
Air conditioning is only effective, however, when it’s well-maintained and kept in good working order. That means regular servicing to ensure that ducts are kept clear from debris and all the mechanics are functioning properly because without regular checks, the internal workings of such systems can deteriorate.
Keep your air-con on top form
Air conditioning is particularly important in the fight against Covid-19, with warnings about another surge in case numbers over the winter. As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure your staff stay safe when they’re working in enclosed spaces, and the circulation of clean air has a major role to play in that.
By having your air-con serviced on a regular basis, you can be confident you’re doing everything in your power to keep your team safe and well. Covid-19 poses a serious risk in the workplace, but well-functioning air conditioning keeps that risk to a minimum.
How does air con work?
Cooling, clearing and comforting, air conditioners have become a staple part of modern-day life. A high-quality unit offers effective relief in hot and humid conditions, and these cooling systems can contribute to productivity in many workplaces. They even allow for easier breathing by improving the quality of the air we inhale. This can help to support those sensitive to pollutants and pollen.
Air conditioning units function in a comparative way to refrigerators. While your fridge keeps a small and secluded area cool, an air conditioner is designed to operate on a larger scale. It works by allowing for cool air to pass through a metal ductwork sheet. The unit extracts warm air from its surroundings and pushes out cooler air.
Air conditioning can be separated into three different categories; residential, commercial and industrial:
- Residential or domestic units generally have a cooling capacity of 6000-20000 BTU
- Commercial or office designs usually have a cooling capacity of 12000-50000 BTU
- Industrial varieties often have a cooling capacity of approximately 30000 BTU
The functionality of the units can also be split into three varieties:
- One style is the monoblock which is singular and portable. This option is often fitted at a window space.
- Another variant is the split-system. This style is designed to work on the inside and outside of a building using linked elements.
- The third option is a multi-split. This option works externally, with two or more linked elements inside.
Air conditioning originated from a publishing office in Brooklyn in 1902. It became the solution to a humidity problem that was causing magazine pages to wrinkle. Today it has become essential to workplaces such as hospitals, data centres and laboratories.
The units offer exceptional relief from humidity, making them vital fittings for households and hospitality venues.
Call 0800 123 4567 today to discuss your needs and get a free quotation.
Gas Boilers to be banned in the UK from 2028 and replaced with 600,000 heat pumps
New Government “green industrial revolution” will see gas boilers banned and all new homes in the UK fitted with ground and water heat pumps to help tackle climate change. This will total around 600,000 per year by 2028.
“Boris is really going for it, first cars, and now boilers – basically you are witnessing the phasing out of traditional gas boilers for new homes”, explains Libby Jones from HVAC contractor AirCon.co.uk
Under the new plan, new-build homes will need to be heated without gas from 2023, two years earlier than previously announced.
“This is a huge opportunity for those working in both the building and heating industries in the UK, because the systems need more installation time and groundworks than a simple gas boiler – the industry recons on an extra 17,000 jobs Nationally”, adds Jones.
Bean Beanland, of the Heat Pump Federation, said: “The heavy lifting must start now to ramp up the manufacture of heat pumps in the UK and their increased deployment in people’s homes in the UK. Working in partnership with Government, there is also a job to do to communicate the benefits of heat pumps to consumers.”
The Government’s measures also include:
- a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 (some hybrids will still be allowed)
- a £1.3bn investment in electric vehicle charging points
- investment in the offshore wind industry
- developing nuclear power as a clean energy source
- blending hydrogen into the natural gas supply to reduce emissions
“It’s obvious the Government are really pushing the green initiative and we hope it brings benefits to UK as a whole”, concludes Libby Jones from HVAC contractor AirCon.co.uk
How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Air Conditioning
Struggling to keep your house cool in the summer can be a challenge, especially if you’re not fortunate enough to have air conditioning.
The good news is that it’s possible to keep your home cool using a few simple tips. While we can’t promise that these will work as well as air conditioning, they will help to keep your home at a manageable temperature.
So without further ado, here are five ways to help keep your home cool in summer:
1. Open windows at night
Take advantage of cool outside temperatures at night by opening windows. For best results, open a window in the room you want to cool the most. Then open a second window in a room located on the opposite side of the house. In the second room install a fan pointing OUTWARD. This will create a low-pressure system inside your home to suck cool air in from outside.
2. Circulate air in the cellar
This is only effective if you have a basement, but it is an extremely effective way of keeping your house cool if you do. Basements are usually a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house. Install a fan in the basement pointing upstairs to circulate that cool basement air throughout the rest of the house.
3. Close windows during the day
During the day you need to keep as much heat out of the house as possible. So close windows as soon as the inside temperature becomes higher than the outside. This may seem counterproductive but opening windows to let cool air in when the inside temperature is higher than the outside temperature will only make your home warmer.
4. Block out sunlight
During the day, sunlight shining into your home warms up floors and furniture which is then released at night. You can counteract this by closing curtains and blinds during the day to help block out sunlight. This is not for everyone, but it’s ideal if you work during the day because you should come home to a nice cool house in the evening.
5. Let your insulation do the work
Most people think insulation is there to help keep the house warm in winter. But it also traps cool air inside, helping to keep it cool in the summer. So upgrading your insulation can give you the best of both worlds. In fact, insulation is the most cost-effective and practical way of keeping your home cool.
So there you have it, five easy and cost-effective ways to keep your home cool in summer without air conditioning. And even if you have air conditioning installed, using a few of these tips can help to reduce the demand on your air conditioning unit which should reduce your energy bill.
Does Air Conditioning Increase the Value of your Home?
As the summer becomes hotter across parts of Northern Europe more people are viewing air conditioning as a necessity, not a luxury.
This has the added effect of making homes with air conditioning already installed more desirable and therefore worth more than those without.
This begs the question, how much can an air conditioning system increase the value of your home? And will the rise in value outweigh the cost of installation? The answer to both of these questions will depend on the size of your home and the type of air conditioning system installed. Let’s take a look in more detail.
How much can air conditioning increase your home’s value?
A simple portable air conditioner can be installed for as little as £500 pounds but such a system is not permanent and is unlikely to add value to your home. On the other hand, installing a permanent multi-room ducted system into a 3-bedroom will cost between £3000-£9500 depending on the amount of ducting required.
Will you see a return on your investment? In the UK there is little data to show how air conditioning affects home prices. This is because few homes in the UK have air conditioning installed. But if we look at the North American market where air conditioning is more common, a pre-installed air conditioning system is estimated to increase a home’s value by around 2.5%.
Is it worth installing air conditioning?
If we transfer this data to the UK market, a typical £250,000 pound home will be worth £6250 extra with air conditioning installed. So the increase in value will NOT cover the cost of installation. It will, however, make your home more desirable, which in theory, should allow you to sell it much quicker.
So to answer the question, does air conditioning add value to your home? The answer is yes, but not enough to offset the cost of installation.
Air conditioning then should be considered a luxury purchase with the aim of making your life more comfortable during the hot summer months. And it is surely worth it for that reason alone.
Call for Restaurants and Shops to keep doors and windows open to minimise Covid transfer risk
Restaurants and pubs across the UK are being asked to keep doors and windows open to allow air to move through their buildings to reduce airborne transmission of Covid.
It is reported that 91% of all Covid-19 patients are infected indoors, so the latest advice from experts is to keep air flowing through buildings where people congregate to mitigate transfer risks.
“Those of us in the air conditioning business have been banging this home for years, fresh circulated air is healthier air – you don’t need a fancy system to do this, just keep a steady flow of fresh air by opening doors and windows”, explains Libby Jones from Air Conditioning installer AirCon.co.uk
There are some simple things we can do to reduce risk of transmission within any building – and it all comes down to common sense. The usual washing hands, wearing a mask and keeping distance – but where air is not being exchanged in congested areas raises the risks of an infected person’s cough being recirculated around a room.
It is all about being aware that stale air can carry airborne particles of Covid-19. Changing habits can reduce the risk massively.
Open Windows & Doors for 20 minutes per hour
Regular “shock ventilation” is recommended to change out air in rooms. This means opening windows and doors on a very regular basis to allow stale air to be changed for fresh.
In a restaurant or shop this can be tricky, but the concept is clear – the more air you extract and replace with fresh, the healthier the air. This is a habit we all need to be better at, because even in post-Covid years ahead (yes, they do exist) we can all reduce the number of sick days by sticking to a clean air regime.
“The Germans are going big time into education about ventilation and its effects on transmission rates of the virus indoors – if you think about it this Winter, that’s the danger zone, we will be spending more time inside at home, in restaurants, in shops, and we need to wise up to simple ventilation habits” explains Libby Jones from Air Conditioning installer AirCon.co.uk.
If everyone can reduce their ability to transmit the virus just a little bit, we can all help bring down the changes of passing it around.
Keep your doors and windows open this Winter to beat the virus
The Germans are educating their population on good ventilation habits to reduce transmission rates this Winter to help reduce the chances of passing Coronavirus to each other indoors, so why this is not this catching on in the UK? Are we worried about freezing to death?
“The Germans are going big time into education about ventilation and its effects on transmission rates of the virus indoors – if you think about it this Winter, that’s the danger zone, we will be spending more time inside at home, in restaurants, in offices, and we need to wise up to simple ventilation habits today!” explains Libby Jones from Air Conditioning installer AirCon.co.uk.
The German word Stosslüften means “shock ventilation” and is basically the process of opening windows and doors to allow stale air out and fresh air in – and it is this simple process that can have a dramatic effect on the transmission rates of the virus in our homes, schools, offices and shops. Many will have seen it across Europe on holiday, where locals open all their windows in the morning to allow stale air out and fresh air in.
Angel Merkel reported last week that good ventilation practices “may be one of the cheapest and most effective ways” of containing the spread of the virus. Adding weight to reports that 90% of Covid-19 patients contracted the virus indoors.
“As a country we need to get to grips with some changes in our habits as to air quality, even before Coronavirus we can stay healthier by ventilating our indoor spaces properly” says Libby Jones from AirCon.co.uk
AirCon.co.uk recommends these simple steps to help keep air clean in your home or workplace:
Home: Try to open doors and windows for at least 15 minutes in the morning and evening to allow all the air in your house to be exchanged for fresh
Shops: Keep the shop door open for at least 5 minutes every 20 minutes and repeat the process all day
Offices: Make sure air circulation systems are serviced and working properly, those with windows, open fully for 5 minutes every hour
Classrooms: Keeping a door open is the best method, failing that 5 minutes of airing per 20 minutes will help to dramatically reduce transmission
“The message is clear this Winter, stay on top of self-ventilating – the busier an area, the more frequent ventilation it should have, even if we have to wear coats inside this year!”, concludes Libby Jones from AirCon.co.uk
The hidden cost of cooling empty offices
Though many don’t realise, office buildings have to have cool air circulating through them basically all of the time – this includes when the office building is vacated of any staff members.
With the rumours of a second national lockdown looming ever closer, and with the UK government now once again stating that people must work from home wherever possible, the reality of many office buildings being once again empty for weeks – if not months – on end is becoming increasingly likely.
But why do office buildings need to remain cool when there are no staff members working within its walls? And how much will it even cost to keep the air-con running? Read on to find out.
Why do empty office buildings need to keep the air conditioning on?
Firstly, without any ventilation in place such as open windows (all the windows in an empty office building will be locked for security measures), the air inside the building will turn musty and unhealthy. This could lead to corrosion of chillers and boilers, causing damage and even failure of these vital components.
For many office businesses, the servers must also be kept running in order for employees to access their data remotely. Should these servers overheat, work will be completely halted, costing already struggling businesses precious time and resources. By keeping the air-con running, you’re helping to prevent the overheating of servers.
How much does it cost to run air-con for empty office buildings?
As an average estimate, it takes £16.33 per day to continue cooling a small empty office building. This amounts to £114.31 a week, or roughly £489.9 a month. This is something you’ll need to account for in your company’s budget, which is likely to be tight going forward for the next few months as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to hit the UK.
For nationwide air-con services, get in touch with us on methods to reduce bills and maintain clean air. You’ll get a free quote within 24 hours, with a 24-hour call-out service available.