All posts by Robert Eddy

How Do Gas Detectors Work?

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If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How do gas detectors work?” we have your primer here.

If you’ve even heard of gas detectors, then chances are good you’ve asked yourself, “How do gas detectors work. And do I even need them?” This is most likely to be the case if you work in a commercial or industrial environment. However, you may even have asked this in a small office park, apartment building, or at home.

For instance, you might want to make sure you protect your occupants from refrigerant leaks, natural gas, carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide poisoning in the garage. Whatever the case, it’s important to understand the purpose and mechanisms behind gas detectors before deciding to employ them at home or in business.

In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency has taken serious education measures. They want to ensure Americans better understand the nature and danger of gas leaks. With that increased awareness has come an attendant recognition that gas detectors are the best way to combat harmful and potentially fatal gas leaks.

Again, though, we come back to that question: How do gas detectors work? And once you understand that, what are you supposed to do with the information? Let’s dive in.

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What’s the Best Steam Humidifier for Your Application?

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Looking for the best steam humidifier for your application? Here are a few factors to keep in mind.

If you want to combat dry air, you need to find the best steam humidifier for your application. So what makes a good humidifier? Let’s discuss whether bypass or steam humidifiers are better. We’ll also look at the cost and effectiveness of steam humidifiers, and reveal a favorite, top-performing brand.

Bypass vs. Steam Humidifiers: What You Need to Know

First, it’s important to understand precisely what bypass and steam humidifiers are. A bypass humidifier merely bypasses warm air across a pad wetted by water from the house. The warm air from the front goes through that pad as it would go through a furnace filter. This causes some of the moisture to evaporate, where it becomes humidity distributed throughout the house.

The problem with bypass humidifiers is that they only use, at best, 25 percent of the water that runs through the pad. That means 75 percent of the water goes to waste. Also, a bypass humidifier only operates when the furnace is heating. That’s because you have to have that temperature differential to help with evaporation of the water off the pad.

A steam humidifier generates humidity by filling a tank full of water, heating that tank up so that the water boils and producing steam. The steam leaves through a distribution tube into the ductwork. Then, it’s distributed throughout the house. The device boils off all the water in the tank and doesn’t waste any water in the humidification process. What’s more, a steam humidifier can operate even when the furnace is not running.

So, to sum that up: No water waste + No need for furnace running = steam humidifiers emerging as the best choice for humidification.

Cost and Effectiveness of Steam Humidifiers

Yes, it’s true that bypass humidifiers are cheaper than steam humidifiers. That’s why more people choose to install them. Between their lower upfront installation costs and lower operating costs, it’s easy to see why. Keep in mind that bypass humidifiers don’t need to generate their own heat. They merely wet a pad and use the heat from the furnace. That saves on electricity. Add in the fact that installation costs can be up to three times higher, and the bypass humidifier looks like the better option.

However, there are several scenarios in which you may want to avoid a bypass humidifier:

  • When water is costly in your area; that 75 percent wasted water will rack up high utility bills
  • When your home is on septic, all the extra water that will dump into it each time you run the humidifier will result in or frequent septic service
  • When you have a heat pump

The last point is especially important to note. A heat pump generates heat, but not at the temperatures a gas furnace can. As a result, the heated air is at a lower temperature than if it were a furnace. In turn, the evaporation percentage of the water is significantly less. So with a heat pump system, a bypass humidifier is less efficient. If you have a heat pump, you really need to go with a steam humidifier that generates its own heat.

Finally, if the application is humidity critical, you will benefit from a steam humidifier. They can generate more humidity than a bypass humidifier. That makes for a better choice for homes with a lot of wood (which soak up moisture) or larger spaces.

Is a Thermolec Right for You?

One of the best steam humidifiers on the market is the Thermolec. Keep reading for some compelling reasons to take a closer look at this brand.

With a steam humidifier, you must maintain the unit more frequently the harder your water is. However, if it uses elements, this simplifies the maintenance process. Thermolec’s element-style steam humidifier has a 10-year warranty. That means there should be no replacement parts in the first ten years of operation.

The crucial factors to consider are water hardness and operation time:

  • “Hardness” refers to the number of minerals in the water. When your water is very hard, those minerals build up on the inside of your tank and need regular cleaning.
  • Operation time also matters. The more you run your humidifier, the more you’ll need to maintain it.

The difference between a Thermolec and other steam humidifiers is that the cleaning process only takes about 10 minutes. With an electrode-style steam humidifier, on the other hand, the tank and electrodes actually need replacing. You have to disconnect and reconnect wires. The process takes longer. Plus, there is a material expense required that doesn’t exist with a Thermolec steam humidifier.

Finally, the Thermolec unit has a 10-year warranty, unlike others that only have a 1-year warranty. Given that other steam humidifiers have parts to replace every year, that’s a significant distinction.

Ready to learn more about the best steam humidifier for you? Now is the time to call a professional who can walk you through the pros and cons of steam humidifiers. It may also help you to be able to discuss your individual application and make a plan for installing your new humidifier. Now is the time to kill dryness and live more comfortably!

Cold Climate? Consider Electric Duct Heaters for Supplemental Heat

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Today’s heat pump systems are far superior to what many consumers remember from the 70s and 80s. Discover the efficiency of modern electric duct heaters for supplemental heat with ductless heat pump systems and Ducted Indoor Fan Coils.

If you are tired of fighting the winter chill and looking for a solution, it’s time to consider electric duct heaters for supplemental heat with ductless heat pump systems. When the temps fall below freezing, most heat pumps struggle to get the necessary heat energy from the outside air. This leads to less than cozy indoor temperatures.

The key to achieving comfort on colder days is having a supplemental heat source set to operate automatically with the heat pump system. This is where ductless heat pump systems along with ducted indoor fan coils come in to save the day.Read More »»

EP Sales Now Stocks Sentinel X500 Glycol

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Sentinel X500 Glycol is available in 100% and 30% pre-mix 5-gallon jugs.

Sentinel X500 protects all system metals against corrosion using the same unique blend of inhibitors as Sentinel X100 with the added benefit of freeze protection.

X500 is a multipurpose inhibited antifreeze for hydronic heating systems.  It is formulated to help control corrosion, scale, boiler noise and hydrogen gassing in all types of indirect heating systems including those containing aluminum components.

The non-toxic formulation is colorless, easy to handle and is suitable for use in all waters, both hard and soft. If minimum levels are maintained, the product ensures a permanent protection and does not need to be replaced.

For more information, click here

Announcing Two New Products from S&P

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S&P-PRF Radon Fan

S&P has announced that their PRF Model Radon Fan and accessories are now available.  The PRF is designed to exhaust air from buildings where high or dangerous levels of radon gas are detected.  Two models are available, the PRF-100 is 4” and rated at 150 cfm @ .2 static, the PRF-150 is 6” and rated at 290 cfm @ .2 static.  Both models are fully sealed plastic with a water tight electrical box, are HVI and cETLus certified and carry a 5 year warranty.  PRF radon fans are in stock at S&P for immediate shipment.

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EP Sales Appointed as Rep for Cambridge Resources

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EP Sales is happy to announce that we have been appointed as the Cambridge Resources Rep for the states of MN, WI, ND, SD and IA.  Cambridge Resources is one of the leading manufacturers of premium HVAC products in the United States. Cambridge has been manufacturing HVAC products for more than 15 years for over 150 distributor partners throughout the US.

Cambridge is the HVAC market leader for Duct Straps. These straps are great for securing ductwork, large wires, and cables. They possess the maximum tensile strength for maximum durability. They feature a bent and rounded tip for smooth insertion in hard-to-reach places. Their rounded tip also protects users from sharp edges. These duct straps are easy to use and lock quickly and securely around wire bundles, cable, ropes, and more.  Cambridge Resources also offers a full line of hose clampsgas connectors, and pipe hanging products specially designed for the plumbing industry.

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EP Sales Appointed as Rep for Opera Gas Detectors

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EP Sales is happy to announce that we have been appointed as the Opera Gas Detector Rep for the states of MN, WI, ND, SD and IA.  Opera is based in Montreal, Canada and has manufactured gas detection products for over 35 years.  Their products are typically used for vehicle emissions monitoring, combustion gasses, refrigerant leak detection and industrial health and safety.  We see Opera as a nice complement to the extensive line of light commercial ventilation products that we offer through wholesale distributors in the upper Midwest.

Please check out Opera in the Vendor section of our website and give us a call or send your next gas detector project quote request to sales@epsalesinc.com.

Residential Mechanical Ventilation – The Minnesota Solution

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The state of MN has been at the forefront of adopting residential building codes that incorporate energy efficiency designs for residential mechanical ventilation. These codes have additional provisions which address some of the serious side effects such designs can have on the home’s inhabitants and structural integrity.

Back in the early 1980’s, these energy efficient building designs introduced highly insulated air tight homes. These designs significantly reduce a home’s energy consumption but created adverse consequences that could not go ignored. Extensive research conducted over the past 30+ years was the driving force behind the current 2015 Minnesota Energy Code. Considered controversial by the builders and realtors, primarily due to the code’s cost impact on a home’s sale price, this code is also viewed as a showcase for all the advocates of the advancement of building science.

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Using Supplemental Electric Duct Heaters in Heat Pump Systems

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Homeowners are increasingly relying on VRF heat pumps and ductless mini-splits to keep their families warm during the heating season. At the same time, commercial property managers are relying more and more on these devices as well, thanks to the ease of installation, simple controls and unparalleled flexibility that they offer.

VRF and ductless mini-splits represent some of the most efficient kinds of heaters on the market. Whereas propane and oil heating systems rely on expensive fuels to operate, these heat pumps produce indoor warmth in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way.

However, heat pump mini-splits can be overtasked when dealing with subzero temperatures. These conditions cause HP’s to eliminate the efficiency that makes them so desirable and to produce less heat affecting the comfort of the living space.

Installing an electric duct heater for supplemental heating is one of the best ways to address this dilemma. The result is a far more efficiency in terms of the overall system’s Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).

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How Do Ductless Air Conditioners Stack Up Against Traditional Units?

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When it comes to residential and light commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning, a fast-growing market segment is quickly developing into an industry-leading trend. Ductless air conditioners, also called mini-splits, are increasingly replacing the large, bulky window-mounted systems of yesteryear. Is this a passing fad, or are there real benefits to be enjoyed by installing one of these systems in your home or workplace? Read on to find out.

 Ductless Heating and Cooling: Advantages and Disadvantages

 The main difference between these new systems and traditional window air conditioners is that they are smaller, more efficient and more flexible when it comes to mounting and placement. Mini-splits allow homeowners to selectively heat and cool individual rooms according to their occupants’ desires by connecting a single outdoor unit to multiple indoor air controllers.

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EP Sales maintains a large inventory of Thermolec and Greentek products and parts to service the needs of our customers.