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  • Portable ac units

    Has anyone ever seen/heard of a building using portable ac? The owners are in negotiations about replacing whole she bang and getting new ductwork done but the units we have are in the words of the hvac guys that have looked at the system "beyond their lifetime by at least 10 years" so we have a single phase 60k BTU unit arriving Monday and they are looking at getting a 60 ton 3 phase unit. The story goes that there is a place in town that uses these roll around units inside a tower downtown that has hundreds of feet of the ductwork hooked up for cooling and ventilation of the hot air.
    When you know what to do, everything is easy.

  • #2
    I have seen them used at facilities as temporary cooling. But never in a facility I have worked. They some times set on 18 wheeler trailer and are parked onsite with ducts running to your existing equipment or temporary ducts.

    That larger equipment over 30 tons sometimes takes weeks to get once ordered and in some cases temporary systems are necessary if the old system is down.

    60K BTU is a smaller unit, 5 tons must be for an office area?

    The trick is to stay ahead of the stuff a bit and do a scheduled replacement and have equipment ready to set in place while the older stuff is still working, that is not always easy to do.

    Mike




    Mike Wilson
    Bowl-Tech Inc.

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    • #3
      The portable units are good in a pinch.
      They are ok to use temporarily until your main units are fixed/replaced.
      But I wouldnt depend on them for full time use.

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      • #4
        Yeah the 5 ton is here, it's called a "movin cool office pro 60" and hooked up, the drain line has a condenser pump that only has enough hose to go into a 5 gallon bucket because the unit didn't come with the *optional tank*. And we have a run of 16" insulated flex duct venting above the drop grid. There's a disagreement about how long the unit will be here and if they want to invest in the larger 60 ton so no formal plan on dressing up the pig, but it is cooler down there.
        When you know what to do, everything is easy.

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        • #5
          If the system was beyond it's lifetime by 10 years then you can pretty much guess the design is far outdated. Today's units are much more efficient so what might have taken 60 tons 30 years ago would likely need smaller units today. Also, your duct work is probably outdated, dirty and leaking and may not be insulated. This itself could save dollars when corrected. Furthermore, equipment now days can use variable compressors and fans which don't run full power when it isn't needed to.

          If nothing has been ordered, you should have them get a mechanical engineer specializing in HVAC systems and building envelopes involved. They can do a complete building analysis of your building and see what improvements can be made to the building envelope all together. If the envelope can be improved then you would likely get by with smaller units which means lower cost to purchase the new units and also lower cost to run the new units. Additionally, many government agencies as well as utilities offer low interest loans, grants and/or rebates to businesses that are able to show how an upgrade will lower their energy consumption. You might be surprised how spending a little money up front can save you large in the long run. I wouldn't just replace new units with like units. Do it right and you won't regret it.

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          • #6
            There's 3 owners that are partners who have contacted a HVAC engineer that drew up a basic floor plan in April of last year with 0 consideration for anything currently above the drop grid, like our show lights, fans, existing ductwork, conduit and speakers. There is a HVAC contractor they have been using for years who came to see where they could run new ductwork with the least disruption but he is not an engineer. Getting everyone on the same page might be a pipe dream but right now there are like 5 different books, and I'm being asked to translate 3 or 4 of them into languages I don't fully understand.
            When you know what to do, everything is easy.

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            • #7
              Are they planning to use the existing ducts with the new system? Or demo out and install all new?

              Mike Wilson
              Bowl-Tech Inc.

              Comment


              • #8
                The HVAC tech wants to run new duct work adjacent to the existing in the most open space available for new split units on each end of the building and maybe reuse part of the existing duct work for returns. Practically they would be able to leave the existing units doing what they can for longer, but he does not know the electrical requirements for the new units, and he will need to bring in a drop ceiling specialist because he doesn't have one/do that. I said I would look into the electrical because that's what I went to school for but I haven't done much with 3 phase or with the large loads that would be introduced. In an ideal situation I could get a majority of the wiring done before hand and reuse the panel feeding the existing units for the final install, and run whatever out of a box at each end to throw switches but to do that without interfering with the new duct work or whatever the ceiling guy needs to do is going to require some drawn up plans in my mind. I have my concerns too: if the wire gauge gets too big we may not be physically able to pull it without renting a puller, and if they don't want me to re-purpose the existing panel it adds even more headache trying to figure out where a new sub panel would go. All of my speculation is somewhat of a wasted effort until somebody can get the requirements for the units and the spot where they are looking at adding new duct work still requires me to relocate a row of black lights and can lights so they can even pull the grid out to begin that process.
                When you know what to do, everything is easy.

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