Energy-efficient Ventilation ...

Today's buildings are air-tight to help maintain heat and conserve energy, although ventilation is still necessary for healthy air flow. Yet most ventilation still works in the same way as opening a window – losing warmth.

The latest systems overcome this by extracting heat from the stale/outgoing air and using it to warm the fresh/incoming air. This is energy-efficient because, by retaining the air's warmth, less demand is made of any heating system.


What's a fan coil?

A fan coil is like a hybrid between air conditioning and radiators. Air-con pipes contain refrigerant gas for cooling or heating, whereas water-circulating radiators can only be used for heating. However, in a fan coil system a fan takes room air and passes it over a coil of pipes circulating water, then gently returns it to the room. This can be driven by an energy-efficient heat pump (looks like an external air-con unit), and switched to heating or cooling. It is also effective for dehumidifying.


Air-con in Spore Condition!

Penguin received a call from a lady who felt sick whenever she ran the air-conditioning in her bedroom, believing it to be giving off toxic fumes. The system was old and hadn't been receiving a regular maintenance service for several years.


Prepare for summer cooling!

All air conditioning systems need annual maintenance. Spring is the ideal time, in readiness for the long summer ahead, and particularly in rental properties to prepare systems for rigorous use by holiday clients.


Catch your energy thieves!

Penguin now offer a new service to determine your main 'energy thieves' and identify possible money-saving solutions. For a period of 1-7 days a monitor is connected to your mains supply, with similar devices connected to appliances likely to be high energy consumers, e.g. radiators, boilers, water pumps etc. A graph is then produced to show the pattern and amount of power consumption.


Air-con Sense and Sensor-bility...!

Modern air-conditioning is more energy-efficient than ever, but people are still conscious of unnecessary waste when systems are left running in unoccupied rooms. To combat this, there are several movement-sensor products, of various degrees of sophistication, which turn systems off when no movement is detected after a pre-set period. Yet these have drawbacks, as some are connected direct to the mains supply and simply interrupt this, but most systems do not like being switched off in this way and require several seconds to re-balance their gas/liquid levels. Normal de-activation allows this shut-down process whereas cutting-off at the mains does not.

Maintain a sunny disposition...

Solar hot water systems need annual maintenance to remain in good order and operate at best efficiency. A neglected system operates less effectively and in extreme cases will switch permanently to its electrical back-up, therefore using no solar energy at all. This may require a thorough flushing of solar panels and water tank, removal of calcium deposits and replacement of the tank's sacrificial anode.

Cool choices!

For most domestic situations there are 3 main types of air conditioning system -


Warm Winter Wishes ....

The Algarve's clear skies give us wonderful winter sunshine - but cold nights too. Damp can also be a problem in properties not built with winter insulation in mind, and such conditions can persist for 3-4 months.

And whilst a roaring log fire makes for a seasonal Christmas, it isn't the most efficient way to heat a home. With festive expenses looming large, now may not feel like the ideal time to be investing in home-heating but, if you're feeling the cold, now IS the time to at least plan ahead.


Bugs, bats & beasts!

External air-con machines offer a hideaway for all manner of small creatures. Insects are unlikely to cause serious problems to machines, but it's not uncommon for bugs to block the narrow condensate drainage pipes, which can cause units to drip indoors and/or damage interior walls. Geckos are frequent visitors, seeking safety and warmth. Usually they pose little problem (and eat the insects!) but they can sometimes crawl across a live circuit, not only meeting a sudden end but also causing an electrical failure in the process.