Sometimes the best way to learn something is to dive in and get your hands dirty. Rob ‘Doc’ Falke has been sharing his industry knowledge and expertise through his technical articles in the Hotmail newsletter for several years. His articles give contractors a ‘hands on’ approach to solving issues like balancing a zoned system to exhaust fan pressure measurement. Click below to get access to some of the best of Rob’s past articles.

The Evolution of the Definition of HVAC Efficiency

During a recent industry committee webinar, an extended discussion took place that was very significant for the future of the HVAC industry. The discussion was centered on defining HVAC efficiency. Initially it was argued that efficiency could only be determined by following HVAC industry design standards. But then it was proposed that without proper installation, the intent of the design could never be met. Then the conversation jumped to a whole new level that took the committee by surprise.

How to Retire From the HVAC Industry

Last week my Dad, Walt Falke, finally retired from the HVAC industry. In his mid-eighties he has made the decision to move on to the next chapter in his life. He was completely prepared and the business was perfectly organized for it. So, how prepared are you for that big day in your future? Will you be in the position to retire? Are you preparing your company for that transition?


How to Easily Avoid Cooking Blower Motors

When airflow increases 10%, motor amp draw will increase 33%. It’s because of this little known fact that thousands of blower motors are cooked each year as technicians adjust fan speed to increase fan airflow. The good news is that anyone can predict amp draw in less than a minute if they are equipped with Fan Law Three. Let’s review the math and function of this fan law and learn to avoid ongoing blower motor damage.

Why Some HVAC System Designs Don’t Work

If each of us searches our memories we can remember a system or two that we designed which never quite performed like we intended it to. Let’s take a look at four of the top reasons HVAC system designs fail and consider a few tricks that will assure we aren’t faced with these same problems again. Some design solutions require that we look beyond manufacturer sales literature.

Balancing Hoods Under Attack

Just as other energy standards have chosen to embrace air balancing as a specified method to measure the performance of HVAC systems, the State of California has proposed a ban on air balancing hoods as we know them. With thousands of HVAC contractors and energy professionals heavily invested in commercial balancing hoods and enjoying success by satisfying consumers with comfort and energy savings, why would the rules change in the middle of the game?

A Very Unofficial Maintenance Agreement Opinion Poll

Over the last few months we’ve had the opportunity to interview over forty HVAC contractors concerning their opinions on what a typical US residential maintenance agreement consists of. We were amazed to find prices ranging from $29.95 to $649.00 for a single residential system and the services offered ranged from a filter change to a complete ACCA Standard 4 Quality Maintenance Checklist. Our objective was to better understand the “average” US HVAC maintenance agreement.

Air Balancing as a Verification Tool

Testing and balancing has been the specified method of verification of commercial HVAC system performance for over 50 years. Only now is it beginning to be utilized in residential system verification. Let's take a look how this timeless art is moving into its rightful position as the preferred verification method in the residential HVAC industry.

First, Meet Manufacturer’s Specifications

In a recent public forum, system performance testing was criticized by a manufacturer as being unnecessary because the equipment would always work just fine as it was shipped. I was delighted when before I could respond, another manufacturer declared that system performance testing was essential because it allowed a contractor to adjust the system so it would actually meet and perform to manufacturer’s specifications. Without field testing and adjustment a system cannot perform as intended.

Implementing Home Performance In the Real World

For the last three decades, an invitation has been extended by the powers that be for HVAC contractors to add home performance services to their businesses. This time around we see it finally beginning to stick. Let’s take a look at exactly how successful HVAC contractors are implementing home performance in the real world and on their own terms. Let’s also take an honest look at challenges that have caused others to hesitate accepting the opportunity.



Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician interested in a basic NCI HVAC System Renovation Procedure, contact Doc at robf@ncihvac.com or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at nationalcomfortinstitute.com for free information, articles and downloads.