The arrival of spring means commercial HVAC systems will begin the transition from winter heating to a mix of heating and cooling. Make sure your customer’s buildings are comfortable and equipment is running efficiently by keeping a few simple operations and maintenance opportunities in mind.
- Keep it clean. Check filters and clean outside air intakes on rooftop-mounted equipment. Take time to change filters, remove leaves, clear bird screens of debris, and ensure modulating dampers are working properly. You’ll save headaches later when the cooling season is in full swing.
- Low-cost upgrades. Consider installing advanced rooftop unit controls (ARC) on existing units. They save a lot of energy and have built-in fault detection and a web-based interface to make complaints and hours of troubleshooting a thing of the past. Plus, many come equipped with CO2 sensors, which with proper installation and commissioning can lead to better indoor air quality for building occupants.
Thermostat setpoints are critical to customer comfort and energy efficiency. Here are several best practices to ensure systems are operating efficiently without sacrificing comfort:
- Install connected thermostats. Help your customer earn an incentive from participating utilities by installing a connected thermostat. They are low-cost, easy to install, and their connected features help optimize HVAC operations to the needs of the space. If your customer has them already, perform a re-verification of the existing connected thermostats. Re-verification takes very little time and can result in meaningful energy savings for a building as the seasons change. Plus, some utilities offer an additional incentive for re-verification to help save even more.
- Reduce equipment cycling. As the seasons change, ensure that the setpoints match the surrounding zones and confirm a four-degree dead band between the heating and cooling setpoints so that the system does not toggle between heating and cooling. If setting up a heat pump thermostat, verify that the backup electric resistance heat is locked out until necessary. Commonly this backup heat is set to kick on well before the unit runs out of capacity, leading to unnecessary energy waste.
- Stop simultaneous heating and cooling. If you have the opportunity to install or relocate thermostats, place them in areas that are away from adjacent zones to avoid the possibility of simultaneous heating and cooling. Better yet, combine smart thermostat placement and modest dead band settings with demand control ventilation (DCV) and you’ll reduce the risk of simultaneous heating and cooling even further.
- Maintain flexibility. If the thermostat has a limited duration occupant override function, set it to revert to the original schedule in three hours or less. Doing so will keep the system from operating inefficiently while the space is unoccupied and keep energy costs in check.
Start the sales cycle early and help scope future upgrade opportunities today. Your customers will understand the long-term value of energy efficiency and will be ready for a new, more efficient option when their current unit is ready for replacement. As you explore new project opportunities in your area, remember to work with your local field specialist to get up-to-date information on utility incentives and project requirements.
Category: Best Practices
Tags: connected thermostat hvac operations and maintenance rooftop units