Hooked on Hydronics Blog

Prevent Boiler Problems As Winter Approaches

Posted by Andy Hayes on Oct 26, 2018 8:46:00 AM
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Let’s face it, we live in a world of instantaneous gratification. We want it now. We want it now and we don’t want to wait. We want it now and we don’t want to go any further than our finger tips to get it. In today’s IoT world, everything is immediate.

Think back to the old way building equipment worked. Equipment in the mechanical room fails. The building gets cold. The occupants complain about being cold. Service is called. How long did that process take? During the time the equipment was down, the occupied space and the occupants were NOT warmed and we hadn’t even started to fix the problem yet!

Shutdown equipment brings a long list of questions. For instance:

  • How long will it be until the space gets conditioned back to a level of comfort for the occupants?
  • If a service contractor needs to come in, how long will that take?
  • Will there be an emergency fee for an immediate service call?
  • What if the equipment needs a part the serviceman doesn’t have on the truck?
  • Does the service company have it at their shop?
  • Does that part need to be ordered from the manufacturer?
  • How many days can your building be occupied without heat?

This method of operation is reactive. We must do expensive corrective maintenance on the equipment to get it running again.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could be proactive and get ahead of this situation and address any equipment issues BEFORE a failure?

The good news is this:  we can.

Modern, high efficiency equipment must be installed and calibrated by certified technicians at startup. Is the new equipment running as efficiently as it is ever going to run? Following the prescribed planned maintenance program will keep that equipment running in topnotch form for a long time. That is preventive maintenance. However, Murphy’s Rule is real; these are complex mechanical systems and issues do come up.

The equipment is already continuously monitoring how the components are working. The control panel has stored all of the information from the sensors and critical components. The drawback is someone has to actually go look at the control panel to collect and then interpret the data. Is the technician, or maintenance person, going to proactively go to the equipment to check on the performance data?  Often, the performance data will go unnoticed.

Today’s building automation systems track real-time data on how the entire building is performing. AERCO’s onAER monitoring system tracks real-time data on how the EQUIPMENT is running. Now, you can have remote visibility into how the equipment is running and that data can be accessed from anywhere on a smartphone.

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With the real-time data, the owner or maintenance staff can check the operation of the equipment and determine how it is trending. The monitoring system tells them the equipment may have an issue coming up soon! This creates the ability to do predictive maintenance.

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 2.27.37 PM.pngPredictive maintenance is the cheapest form of maintenance for a building owner. onAER sends a warning to the maintenance department about potential issues with the equipment.

The service technician is called in before there is a problem. There’s no ‘firefighting’ and emergency fee required to keep the building warm. The service technician has already seen how the units have been operating overtime and plan for the service or parts that are needed to get the equipment back in shape, ELIMINATING downtime.

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AERCO has recently implemented the AERCO EDGE on its Benchmark Platinum boilers, a state-of-the-art controller, designed to simplify start-up and maintenance and strengthen system performance.  EDGE offers greater connectivity directly from its app for assistance with start-ups, troubleshooting, and maintenance.This controller allows you to trend parameters for insight into the health of your system: a hallmark of predictive maintenance! 

The new way is to let the equipment send you performance information so you can see any potential issues before they occur.  This keeps costs down and building owners happy.  And, it keeps the occupants comfortable, which makes everyone happy.   Predictive maintenance is a win-win situation for everyone.  Our customer service department is already loaded down with calls about boiler problems due to lackadaisical, or even nonexistent, boiler maintenance schedules.  Shouldn’t your equipment be helping you practice predictive maintenance?

 

Click on the video below to learn more about onAER monitoring offered on AERCO's Benchmark Platinum boilers.

 

 

 This blog post was originally published on October 17, 2017.  It has been slightly revised prior to republishing.

 

Topics: Boilers and Water Heaters, Design Engineer Tips, Energy Savings

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