Reliable and Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems

If the lights are on and the building is warm and comfortable, everything is ok, right? Well, that is easy to say when looking at things on the surface. Even though the temperatures seems fine, the heating and cooling system could be ready for maintenance, running inefficiently, or ready to fail. Is it wise to run beyond the maintenance schedule? The performance usually decreases as equipment operation costs rise. If the unit goes down completely, can a repairman come the same day? If not, would it be a catastrophe?

ERV diagram

Heating and cooling systems are supposed to be efficient and reliable. Paying attention to their performance is important. PowerWise recommends "listening" to the equipment as it runs and does it job. And by "listening", we mean "monitoring".

Every piece of equipment uses energy to create the desired output. We recommend measuring energy use by equipment as a means to understand its health. If it is using more energy than previously, there may be a problem. Simple maintenance at the right time could allow the machine to run better, use less fuel, and be more dependable.

heating and cooling system monitored by SiteSage

In addition to measuring the fuel use, another angle is to measure the output. Temperatures are the simplest output for a heating and cooling system. In a ventilation system, the variation in temperature in the supply and returns indicates performance and health. If the difference is less than 10 degrees F can represent a possible problem. BTUs are the common metric for measuring boilers, ground source heat pumps, and domestic hot water systems.

While this concept of “listening” to equipment seems normal, especially to a monitoring and control company like PowerWise, we still hear the scary stories. Rooftop units run until they fail. Ventilation systems get installed incorrectly and the building occupants complain.

Installing a simple monitoring package provides numbers to gauge the situation, and alerts you to conditions needing attention. Is the system doing its job? How are the operating costs and performance outputs trending? With a few data points and a well-planned alerts, this deeper understanding provides the reliability and home comfort everyone expects.

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