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The effect of solar gain on the workplace

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The British heatwave could well be over and we will see a return to ‘normal’ summer temperatures.As the temperatures drop, it might be thought that there is no longer a need for portable air conditioning, but on bright sunny days the inside of buildings will still heat up due to solar heat gain, especially in the city centres.Although the sunlight may not be as strong, the lower angle of the sun means that it is shining into buildings for longer periods during daylight hours.
Buildings that have fully-glazed facades are particularly prone to over-heating caused by solar gain.Cities with a number of high rise, glass fronted buildings, such as London and Birmingham, are often 1–3°C warmer than rural locations.To counter this effect, some buildings have solar control glass installed which reflects heat and reduces glare from the sun’s rays. As well as being practical, it’s also a requirement under Approved Documents L1A and L2S, which require the limit of solar gains through the summer pe…

Watt the BTU . . . ?

When deciding whether to buy or hire a portable air conditioning unit, you may come across the term ‘BTU’ or alternatively Kilowatts.     BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and in the world of HVAC  is the amount of heat that an air conditioner can remove from a room.  If an air conditioner’s capacity is measure in Kilowatts then one Kilowatt is equivalent to 3,412 BTUs.  For the science-minded among us, One BTU is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 pound of water 1°F at sea level.
Why are BTUs or Kilowatts important when choosing an air conditioner?Having the correct number of BTUs for the space you need to cool means that the room will be cooled efficiently.It should also be borne in mind that as the BTU rating increases so does the weight, size and cost of the air conditioner.
Too high a BTU means that although the room will cool quickly, the unit will cycle on and off once the temperature is reached and to keep itat that temperature, overworking the compressor and shortening th…

Air conditioning – a condensed history

The first air conditioning systems were in use as early as 1902, but they were not for the comfort of people!

According to Tim Hartford of the BBC World Service[1], Sackett & Wilhelms Lithographing and Printing Company in New York found that varying humidity levels affected the quality of their printing.The paper had to be printed up to four times in four colours and changing humidity made the paper expand or contract slightly, misaligning the print.
The company approached a heating company, Buffalo Forge, to devise a system to control the humidity.Engineer Wills Carrier invented the first modern type of air conditioning in which air circulated over coils chilled by compressed ammonia which kept the humidity at a constant 55%.
Carrier’s invention soon proved popular in industries where excessive humidity was a problem – such as flour mills and the Gillette Corporation, where excessive moisture would cause the razor blades to rust.
The benefits for workers in these industries were…

My air conditioning is not working. What should I do?

As the outside temperatures rise and the sun is beating through the windows, it is tempting to turn your portable air conditioning down to as low as 16 degrees, thinking that the colder the air conditioner is set, the faster it will cool the room. 
In fact, this is not how the cooling units work.  Whatever the temperature is set at, an air conditioner will pump out the same amount of cool air, and setting it at a lower temperature only tells it when to stop pumping out the cool air, rather than speeding up the cooling effect.
The air conditioning units should ideally be set at around 24/25 degrees, to ensure that the units are not working so hard that they stop working altogether. 
The models most affected by the hot temperatures are the Climatemaster, KY32, Trotec 2600, PKY12 or Compact 12, whereas units such as the Weltems, can cope with the exceptional temperatures.
If your portable air conditioner does stop working or is not cooling the room, there are a few things you can do –
·…

When is hot too hot in the Workplace?

Employers have a legal obligation to provide a ‘reasonable’ working temperature which is covered by the Workplace(Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.  Safe working temperatures are important in any work environment. 

Excess heat can cause drowsiness which could lead to mistakes or unfinished work.High temperatures can also cause heat stress and other health problems.Heat stress occurs when the body’s means of controlling its internal temperature starts to fail. As well as air temperature, factors such as work rate, humidity and clothing worn while working may lead to heat stress.
Maximum Temperatures
Surprisingly there is no legal maximum safe working temperature - the only requirement is that workplace temperatures in buildings should be ‘reasonable’. (Workplace Regulations 1992).A meaningful maximum figure cannot be given due to the high temperatures found in, for example, bakeries, glass works or foundries. In such environments it is still possible to work safely provided a…

London Cool ensures compliance with EU F Gas Regulations

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Companies who service air conditioning units containing F Gas (fluorinated greenhouse gas) must, under a 2014 EU regulation, be certified to handle the F Gases.

London Cool is registered with REFCOM (Register of Companies Competent to Manage Refrigerants), to show that we are certified to service stationary air conditioning and heat pump systems containing F Gas.Servicing includes installing, repairing, maintaining, leak testing, commissioning and decommissioning.Our engineers also have to be qualified as individuals if they handle F Gas.
REFCOM has been appointed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to operate as a certification body under the EU fluorinated greenhouse gas (F gas) regulation.
In addition, all our air conditioning units containing F Gas must be labelled as part of the written procedures for handling F Gases and the equipment used.We have developed a comprehensive set of labels to ensure we are fully compliant with these requirements …

F Gas Regulations and your air conditioning system

The use of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is governed by Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 and impacts anyone who -
·manufactures, uses or services equipment that contains F gases, like refrigeration and air conditioning systems, solvents or aerosols ·produces or wholesales F gas ·imports or exports F gas, or equipment containing F gas, to or from the EU
Many air conditioning and heat pump systems contain F gases.Companies that operate or service and maintain fixed air conditioning units containing F gas must meet the following requirements. Check if your cooling system contains F gasLook at the list of Fgases regulated by the EU.HFC 404A and HFC 410A are common in air conditioning and heat pump systems.To find out if your equipment contains one of these F gases you can: ·check your manual or the labels on your equipment ·if we installed your equipment, then contact us for advice
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