September 5, 2017

There’s an HVAC app for that

Whether you’re balancing a system, charging a refrigerant, or sizing ducts, HVAC work requires many calculations that eat up a lot of time. Fortunately, you probably have a solution for this problem in your back pocket. With a smart phone, you have access to many applications (apps) that will save you time and money.

Apps can be bundled with a manufacturer’s equipment, and, there are apps that help with complicated calculations and formulas. Here’s a few to try:

Award winning HVAC apps

The Dealer Designer Awards sponsored by The Air Conditioning Heating & Refrigeration (ACHR) News recently recognized three HVAC apps in the Contractor Services and Software category.

If you’re considering investing in a balancing hood, you’ll want to know about this year’s gold winner, PredictairTM, from Dwyer Instruments Inc. This app works with the Dwyer SMART Air Hood® balancing instrument and has the potential to cut HVAC balancing time in half. PredictairTM not only does the calculations for you, it will guide you through the balancing process and perform some predictive balancing. The app also adjusts the calibration of the hood based on the type of diffuser in use. Traditional hoods are calibrated for only one type of diffuser. The Dwyer Smart hood costs just under $4000.00. The app is free.

The silver winner is Filterfetch, an app that helps HVAC professionals generate extra revenue. With the Filterfetch app, you can set up an account and arrange to have a year’s supply of filters delivered directly to your customers in advance of routine maintenance calls. This saves you the expense and hassle of trying to carry all of the different filters your customers might require. Filterfetch is a free online app.

The bronze category winner, the Genteq® Evergreen InTune Wi-Fi programmer, allows you to adjust the motor speed in Evergreen electronically commutated motors (ECMs). What’s unique about this app is motor speeds are adjustable while monitoring the system. The ability to measure airflow at the same time as tuning has the potential to save a lot of time. This free app works only with Evergreen ECM motors.

Apps for new HVAC techs

There are some great apps available for new HVAC technicians. HVAC Buddy is one example. This app assists with refrigerant diagnostics. Enter the readings from your pressure gauges into the app along with the temperature. The app will run calculations between the target and actual temperature, which determine whether the system is overcharged or leaking.  HVAC Buddy costs $9.99.

Another useful app for new techs is a terminology dictionary. HVAC Tech Terminology ($2.99) works on IOS devices. For Androids, try Complete HVAC Dictionary (free).  

Apps for any HVAC tech

HVAC Toolkit takes care of all your calculations. The app includes a duct sizer, a pressure temperature (PT) calculator, a refrigerant charge calculator, load calculator, psychrometrics calculator, and pipe sizers (for liquids, steams and gas). HVAC Toolkit is $19.99, and there is an Ultimate version available for IOS devices at $59.99.

Another app of note is HVAC Check & Charge, which allows you to quickly calculate the correct charge for R-22 or R-410A refrigerants. Other refrigerant apps are Refrigerant PressTemp HVACR (for IOS) which provides details for numerous refrigerants, and Refrigerant Slider (IOS and Android) which is a pressure-to-temperature refrigerant converter. All of these apps are free.

Service management apps can be useful to keep you organized. ESC Mobile Tech can schedule appointments, create quotes and invoices, and keep track of your customer records. Breezeworks also offers scheduling and invoicing as well. Both of these apps are available for IOS and Android phones.

Apps that aren’t specific to HVAC are handy to have available as well. The iHandy level is a great tool that means you no longer need to carry a physical level in your van. And in a pinch, you can use the flashlight app to get a closer look at equipment in dark spaces.

If you like the idea of saving time with an app, but you don’t like the idea of fussing with the small screen on your phone, you may want to invest in a tablet.

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