Lower Temperatures Equal Less Heat Loss

[Editor's note: This letter was sent in response to Mike Murphy's "Winning the Thermostat Wars," Oct. 16.]

I've followed the setback thermostat controversy for many years now. I think the amount of money I have spent on newer and fancier thermostat models probably chewed up any money I might have saved in fuel over the years. I do love the toys of the trade.

However, the idea is this: Setting the heat back a few degrees saves heating fuel costs simply because the building will lose less heat at the lower temperature setting. The amount of heat a building loses at 65°F is less than it loses at 75°. There has always been much discussion on how much setback is too much, and I agree with those who say that 10° is the maximum. Personally, I set mine back 7° at night and during the day when the house is unoccupied. I have never tried to verify fuel savings, I simply believe in the concept. In truth, I like it cooler in the house at night so the furnace cycles less overnight. I'd turn the heat down manually, but I like the automatic units doing it for me.

I will also admit that in the cooling mode I do not utilize a setback. I leave the equipment to hold the same temperature all day and night (typically 73°) because, as I mentioned, I prefer it cooler at night. During the day, I want the humidity effectively controlled, and I don't see any benefit to holding a higher temperature for a few hours.

Murphy is right about the potential benefits of a properly specified, properly installed, and correctly programmed thermostat. Unfortunately, in my travels, I have seen too many thermostats that don't meet any of these criteria.

Ian McTeer, Field Service Representative
Trane Canada DSO
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Federal Prosecution of Copper Thieves Needed

In the Oct. 30, 2006, issue, I read articles ["Have Copper, Will Steal Units" and "Rising A/C Unit Thefts Inspire New Hardware"] on the stealing of copper and a variety of solutions from staking out warehouses to putting alarms on equipment.

My question is: Are the criminals stealing these coils being prosecuted for releasing refrigerant by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] the same way legitimate contractors would be? As I remember it, [the fine is] $25,000 for each occurrence and a bounty of $10,000 for the information leading to the arrest.

I am not a lawyer, but it seems that this action would bump the crime up to a federal offense, which may have more bite. I would hope the guys captured stealing the equipment from Shumate Mechanical would be fined under this, and any other laws, and the bounty given to Shumate to help cover their losses.

Once the word got out that the EPA is prosecuting and giving bounties, these thieves won't be able to trust their buddies in crime anymore and it may help to curb some of this.

Rick Kincel CIE, Technical Instructor / Developer
Lennox / HVAC Learning Solutions
Nashville, Tenn.

Trust Is a Part of the Relationship

[Editor's note: This letter is in response to John R. Hall's column "How Important is Loyalty to Your HVACR Supplier?" Nov. 6]

Unfortunately loyalty no longer exists. If loyalty existed, Joe would not have to explain the change. If you want loyalty, get a dog or a fat wife. This is about trust and communication. Any good relationship must be based on trust and communication.

If Joe and the HVAC contractor had trust and communication, Joe would have notified and consulted with the HVAC contractor before the change occurred. Joe could have sought his opinion and asked what the potential impact would be on his business if they were to change. People embrace change quicker when they are at least a part of the process. In reality, Joe was not a part of the decision to change product lines and had no idea change was coming. Joe has the task of leveraging his relationship with the HVAC contractor and begging for forgiveness after the fact. This is why many HVAC suppliers fail: communication breaks down, trust is questioned.

Successful HVAC suppliers and distributors work as one for the benefit of the HVAC contractor and the HVAC contractors' customers. Great column.

Chris Weatherly, Rep.
N.B. Handy, Ellicott City, Md.

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Publication date: 11/27/2006