Building Automation System for Optimizing HVAC System in Winter

As winter has officially arrived in Canada, it brings on a myriad of troubles and unseen issues when it comes to keeping your HVAC system running. This makes the onset of winter the perfect time to start prepping your commercial building so that you do not run into last minute issues, resulting in costly repairs, downtime, and a dent in your profit margin. Although there are several ways you can optimize your HVAC system for tackling winter challenges, investing in an efficient building automation system can definitely take a lot off your plate and keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently.

Importance of Building Automation System for HVAC system

Are you sure that your heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system can handle this winter season without giving you any trouble? If you are a commercial building owner or facility manager, then pretty sure you know the energy spikes that take place during winter season to keep the premises running and the occupants comfortable, which is why it is imperative that your HVAC system is functioning efficiently. So how can building automation system help you manage your HVAC system better during the winter season?

Building automation and control system offers a distributed control system tailored to track and manage several building components such as mechanical, HVAC, lighting, security, and so on within a building or several buildings. The ultimate goal of building automation system is to maintain building ambiance in a specific range based on the presence of occupants. In addition, it also helps to monitor the various system and provide updates and alerts regarding any system issues.  With HVAC system overworking during the winter season, it makes sense for commercial building owners and managers to invest in such a system that can do all of these without any hassle or expert help. 

Common HVAC problems in winter and how to solve them

Frozen or malfunctioning heat pump

Rooftop commercial HVAC units are exposed to extreme cold temperatures during harsh winters. Although slight frosting is not an issue, prolonged and repeated exposure can be detrimental to your HVAC system. For example, the HVAC coil could be covered in snow or other debris or may have frosted in freezing rain. Often these rooftop units are out of sight and maintenance is neglected until it is too late. Having a building automation system can help you provide remote HVAC monitoring and alerting while automated defrost setting can ensure your heat pump does not freeze and malfunction. Otherwise, if the coils or fans are frozen and this setting is broken, then you would need to manually remove the frosting. 

 Dirty air filters

During winter, due to extreme weather conditions as well as negligence in proper maintenance of HVAC system can result in dirty air filters. This can obstruct airflow and reduce HVAC system efficiency, making the system put in twice as much work to maintain the building environment. Clogged filters also have a secondary impact on the coils which result in poor heat conduction, improper humidity level and decreased efficiency of the compressor. With building automation system of your HVAC, it can notify you of any anomalies in airflow, pressure change, so that you can take corrective actions. Also, if the filter is permanently discolored or disfigured, you need to replace it with a new one.

Improper airflow

During winter, the required quantity of airflow to heat a space differs than the required airflow in summer as the goal in summer is to cool a room rather than heat. Also, different areas in your building will have different requirements so you may feel one room is colder than others. When you are a commercial building owner or manager, it can be hard for you to track these small nuances. With a building automation system, you can adjust airflow supply settings remotely and make changes in real-time to not only increase your HVAC efficiency but also enhance occupants’ comfort. 

 Incorrect temperature settings

It is very common for humans to forget obvious things like changing temperature settings during the winter season. If you have a thermostat that is not properly calibrated, then your HVAC system will not provide proper heating, whereas investing in a smart thermostat or building automation, allows you to control the heating and cooling of your commercial building much more effectively. With this, you can find out which areas are using unnecessary heating and cut down costs by 20%-50%.

Leaks and improper refrigerant level

Sometimes, your HVAC system can give out cold air even if the thermostat is working properly in case of improper refrigerant level or leaks. When you invest in building automation and controls, you can stay ahead of these issues with alerts even before a major problem occurs and prevent damage to your equipment.

 Carbon monoxide leaks

Although new HVAC systems will be efficient and only release hot or cool air, with time your HVAC system will get rusty and release toxic fumes. Carbon monoxide leaks can be extremely detrimental to health so if you own or manage a commercial building, you must be vigilant about carbon monoxide HVAC problems and have carbon monoxide detectors installed and checked routinely. Also, inspect your heating and cooling equipment by professionals like A-TECH Engineering – a leading HVAC Contractor based in Toronto for making sure they are safe and sound. 

Having a professional HVAC inspection

Apart from investing in building automation system to keep your HVAC running smoothly, you should also make sure that the HVAC system is inspected by a professional annually. These inspections should be done in fall, spring or before onset of winter to prevent major issues when HVAC demand is the highest. Also, it is recommended to have a HVAC maintenance agreement with a qualified and reputable HVAC contractor so you get on time and priority service any time there is an issue. 

You can contact A-TECH Engineering Ltd. to optimize your HVAC system through smart building automation, professional contracting services and discover untapped potential while increasing the lifespan of your HVAC system.