HVAC systems are a staple in buildings across the U.S.. It’s a convenience many can’t imagine living without, thus reliable performance is expected. This performance cannot be achieved without quality components that are able to withstand the harsh environmental factors present in HVAC systems: high levels of moisture, extreme temperatures, year-round usage, and even the presence of mold and mildew. Luckily, iglide® components can withstand all of these factors, while remaining wear-resistant and maintenance-free.
Where are bearings used in HVAC systems?
Bearings are used at multiple different points throughout an HVAC system. Dampers make use of them at the pivot point of each leaf. Since the dampers move relatively slowly and with low load, plain bearings are most often used rather than ball bearings or self-aligning bearings. Fan motors also require bearings, but both ball bearings and plain bearings are used depending on the system specs. If ball bearings are used, noise generation needs to be considered since they generate more noise than plain bearings, an undesirable outcome in any HVAC system.
Moisture is one of the top causes of corrosion in metal bearings, and HVAC systems are particularly susceptible to moisture due to their function. A faulty seal, lack of insulation or dirty air filter can all lead to damaging condensation throughout the system. Source: 10 Most Common HVAC Problems | Jennings Heating & Cooling If that condensation reaches bearings, gears, or other metal components, they’ll likely corrode and end up failing prematurely. iglide components are able to avoid this entirely, thanks to their plastic composition that inherently resists corrosion. Of course, the shaft can still corrode, meaning stainless steel shafting, other corrosion-resistant shafting such as GKF shafting from igus®, or a corrosion-resistant coating would still be necessary.
Components in HVAC systems can undergo temperatures up to 170°F, making temperature resistance another key factor to consider when choosing component materials. Source: How Hot Can Ductwork Get? - HVAC BOSS If metal bearings get too hot they can warp, or the lubricant being used can deteriorate faster than it normally should, reducing service life of the component itself. iglide solves both of these issues with dry-running, temperature-resistant materials. There are no external lubricants to worry about, as dry lubricants are blended directly into the bearing material. Most iglide materials also offer continuous temperature resistance above 180°F, with the highest offering a resistance of 482°F, so HVAC temperatures are no problem for these materials.
Using metal bearings in any application is going to require some form of lubrication, whether that’s impregnating the bearing with oil, utilizing permawick fibers, or manually re-lubricating the bearing at regular intervals, to name a few. Improper lubrication is an easy trap to fall into, and one of the most common causes of bearing failure. Lubrication can also impact the air quality from the HVAC system, posing potential health risks. Thankfully, these issues are avoided entirely with iglide plastic bearings. The bearings are designed with solid lubricants blended into the material itself which releases and lubricates the bearing during operation. This ensures the bearings remain properly lubricated at all times, and eliminates maintenance entirely.
Reducing noise in HVAC systems is essential to ensuring a happy customer. No one wants to hear constant whining, grating, creaking, squeaking, etc. whenever the system is running. Thankfully, plain bearings reduce this noise somewhat, at least relative to ball bearings. However, iglide plain bearings are able to generate even less noise than their metal counterparts thanks to their vibration damping qualities. Noises stemming from wear caused by improper lubrication and lack of maintenance can also be avoided entirely, since iglide is maintenance-free.
Mold & Mildew Resistance
The conditions in HVAC systems make them ideal for mold and mildew. Source: Mold: A Common HVAC Complaint that Is Easy To Deal With This may raise concerns about the performance of plastic bearings in these conditions and if mold would have any negative impact on bearing performance. However, this is not a concern with iglide. There are iglide materials that pass the DIN EN ISO 846 Method A test for resistance to fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms. The bearings can be easily cleaned of any mold that does form and put right back into use with no issue.
Long-lasting components in harsh conditions are a necessity for HVAC systems. Harsh conditions need to be weathered, and long-lasting, reliable service is expected year-round. Therefore, iglide components from igus are the ideal solution for HVAC systems, as they can handle the harsh conditions and have an easy-to-predict, long-lasting service life, all at a competitive cost relative to comparable metal components.