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Today, we recorded this video in an Ottawa shopping store. The HVAC system was noisy and the indoor air quality was poor. What was the customer’s experience like?

Are quiet HVAC systems efficient?

The HVAC system in buildings and facilities works 24 hours a day to cool/heat buildings and ventilate indoor air. They must work efficiently because:

  • A residential or commercial HVAC system consumes 30% to 50% of the building’s power and costs thousands of dollars monthly
  • Most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors where HVAC systems ventilate the air

Property or facility managers traditionally believe that preventive (regular) maintenance optimizes HVACs and they work well as long as the inside air is cold or warm enough.

Preventive (monthly) maintenance is not efficient anymore!

Preventive maintenance is not as efficient as many people believe. Let’s compare HVACs to cars! Is it necessary to replace oil and filters every 8000 kilometers? There are a number of factors (e.g., weather conditions, car brand/model/age, outdoor air quality, etc) that could push forward or postpone the maintenance. The nature of HVAC systems is similar. Conditions such as dust level, pollution, temperature fluctuations, rain, and much more influence when and what kind of maintenance is required. Shopping centers, for instance, should maintain HVACs according to the number of customers who enter and open doors.

Therefore, calling for maintenance should happen at the right time; otherwise, HVACs may damage and cause discomfort (e.g., noise and pollution), or properties waste money for unnecessary maintenance.

Moreover, technicians just check visible and accessible components of HVACs (e.g., fans and filters) during the maintenance while invisible failures rarely appear at the beginning but suddenly shut down HVACs on hottest days. Let’s refer to the car example. How often do auto service centers check spark plugs? On one hand, the service is expensive and on the other hand, technicians just look for visible damages whereas plugs may be faulty. What happens if a car’s spark plug breaks down on a trip?

Infilock solves the problem

Data processing is magic! Infilock collects data from more than 200 sensors of HVACs frequently. Data shows the historical status of HVACs in detail such as power consumption and indoor and outdoor temperatures. Whenever a component does not work well, data visualization shows the time and the reason. In addition to visualization, data analysis (predictive maintenance) discovers abnormal behaviors of HVAC in detail and forecasts the possibility of failures several days before they happen. This method takes advantage of machine learning algorithms to process historical data of sensors altogether and discover invisible patterns of failures. This information precisely determines what components may break down in close future and recommended the optimum maintenance time.

Conclusion

Preventive maintenance is no longer efficient in the sense that

  • The maintenance time and type depend on many parameters
  • Inaccessible components are ignored during the inspection

Data analysis and predictive maintenance are advanced solutions that precisely determine what components require maintenance, when, and why. This method makes HVACs efficient, which increases air quality and life span and reduces energy consumption and maintenance costs.

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