Data-based Predictive Maintenance Boosts HVAC Efficiency

The importance of HVAC preventative maintenance can’t be stressed enough. Regularly performing tasks like changing filters, cleaning in and around equipment and sealing leaks ensures HVAC systems effectively heat and cool residential and commercial properties with maximum energy efficiency.

However, even seasonal preventative maintenance has its limits. After all, there is no guarantee a problem won’t develop by just following a system checkup, and of course the maintenance itself – while far more cost effective than reactive maintenance alone – isn’t free. However, technology now provides a superior solution.

What is predictive maintenance?

Predictive maintenance takes preventative maintenance to the next level. It involves the use of data-driven strategies to predict when maintenance should be performed. By determining when tasks need to be performed, predictive maintenance saves money over preventative maintenance by maximizing productivity and reducing maintenance costs. While some tasks like changing filters will always need to be performed periodically, others can be conducted only at precisely the times needed rather than on a just in case basis.

“By using commercial HVAC data, HVAC contractors can create whole insights into what is likely needed for an HVAC asset in the next month, quarter, or year,” Hytech chairman Chuck Lafferty wrote. “Compiling this data into a digestible visual aid removes surprises for building managers, and helps HVAC contractors plan for future maintenance needs. As a result, buildings use less energy and HVAC equipment is maintained well. Even better, the HVAC contractor is able to charge a monthly or annual fee for the monitoring services and maintenance reports.”

What are the benefits of predictive maintenance?

The benefits of predictive maintenance mirror those of preventative maintenance at a heightened level. It protects equipment, but it’s even better. It boosts energy efficiency more than regularly scheduled maintenance. It saves more money than seasonal preventative maintenance, and fewer disruptions and more effective heating and cooling go far in boosting tenant satisfaction.

“Whether you are an eco-warrior or a skeptic, the hard data demonstrates an undeniable truth: efficient use of resources saves money,” Augury Systems co-founder and CEO Saar Yoskovitz told Facility Executive. “Nowadays, being green means more than just solar panels and recycling. It is about reducing waste and prolonging the longevity of machine parts and components. When they ask what you are doing about it, [predictive maintenance in commercial HVAC] demonstrates forward thinking and ongoing effort— all while saving you money.”

How can you implement a predictive maintenance program?

Even basic preventative maintenance has as predictive nature to it. After all, by monitoring the need for replacement filters over time, for example, even an inexperienced facilities manager can eventually determine how frequently they need changed in a particular system. But the amount of data that needs analyzed to implement a complete predictive maintenance program requires more processing power than the typical human brain can muster. Fortunately, technology and the Internet of Things now allow more facilities the power to analyze data generated by their usage and equipment, then maintain their HVAC systems with the help of predictive software.

Motili believes in working smarter, not harder. Its technology platform tracks HVAC assets for residential and commercial properties. It monitors buildings systems, and the data generated is used to provide advanced insight and optimize energy savings. The Motili Asset Condition Index is a proprietary HVAC asset indexing system that predicts equipment failure for Motili customers before they experience a loss of service. The system examines a variety of indicators across large data sets of HVAC systems in single-family, multi-family and commercial properties across the United States. The system considers factors such as the equipment’s age, condition energy efficiency and refrigerant type, and it assigns scores to properties to help improve tenant satisfaction and help guide maintenance and replacement decisions.

“What we’re seeing is the data creating less reactivity in heating and cooling and it’s really allowing our clients to become more proactive because they have visibility into what they can do in advance of a resident saying ‘my system is broken,’” Motili Vice-president of Multi-family Matthew Sallee said. “Being proactive and avoiding service calls keeps satisfaction high in our customers’ communities.”

“Once a property manager gets a service call from a resident, you’ve already have a dissatisfied resident by virtue of ‘my system isn’t working,’ they are uncomfortable and that’s bad. What we’re doing is getting ahead of that service call and working with our clients to be proactive, so that we’re not waiting for a technician to tell us that the system needs to be replaced,” Sallee explained. “If we know that a system needs to be replaced, let’s replace it when it’s most cost effective, when you can get a good contractor, and an attractive price. Get it done in advance of the resident having to call and say, ‘hey, my AC isn’t working; when are you going to come and fix it?’ and it’s 100+ degrees outside.”

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