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4  FM quick reads on hvac

1. Portable Cooling: Preparation and Planning


This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is developing a plan for portable cooling.

For managers to realize the full benefits of a temporary cooling system, they must carefully evaluate their buildings' requirements and select the system that most closely meets the needs of their facilities. Planning is the key, but it is difficult, at best, to plan once the cooling service has failed.

The first step in the process is to identify the most critical areas within a facility that would be most adversely affected by the loss of cooling. Not all areas are equally important. Cooling might be necessary to keep computers and other critical electronic equipment operating, or it might provide comfort only. Managers need to determine the impact a loss of cooling services would have on operations.

Next, determine the extent of any potential disruption. Would it be localized in isolated areas within a building, or would it be building-wide? Managers can address localized, temporary cooling requirements through the use of spot, portable systems. More widespread outages might require a building-wide solution.

Another option — one that would not require additional equipment — is to determine if it is possible to temporarily relocate the operations affected by the outage to another location within the facility.

Managers need to evaluate a number of factors before selecting a temporary or portable cooling system. One of the most important steps in this phase is to determine the capacity of the required cooling system. Specify a system that is too small, and the area might not cool properly. Specify one that is too large, and the result will be inefficient operation, frequent cycling of the unit, excessive noise, and improper humidity control.

Managers can develop quick estimates of cooling loads by looking at the power requirements of all equipment operating in the space. They also can ensure more accurate load calculations by having engineers perform the calculations.


2.  Evaluate Maintenance Benefits of HVAC Upgrade

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Take a close look at maintenance issues when considering an HVAC system upgrade.

There are many factors to weigh when evaluating the feasibility of an HVAC system upgrade. Potential benefits range from reduced energy use to improved comfort to improved reliability. But as HVAC systems age, maintenance requirements also increase. Yet maintenance costs are too often ignored when system retrofits are being evaluated. In fact, as long as a system doesn't stop working, it might not even be considered as a retrofit candidate. But just because an HVAC system is able to limp along doesn't mean it is operating efficiently or meeting the requirements of the application.

When a facility manager is considering an HVAC upgrade, it is worthwhile to look through maintenance records for the building. High maintenance costs and increasing maintenance requirements are an indication that those systems or components might be approaching the end of their service lives. Facility executives should set priorities for HVAC system retrofits based in part on maintenance requirements.

Another factor to consider is the availability of replacement parts. When components for a particular system are no longer manufactured, or if the manufacturer should go out of business, it is only a matter of time before it will be necessary to replace the system. This has happened frequently with building automation systems.

Consider also the maintenance requirements of the HVAC systems and components that are being installed as part of the retrofit. Can they be maintained by in-house personnel, or will the maintenance have to be performed by an outside party under contract? What tools and training will be required if the system is to be properly operated and maintained? What are the projected maintenance costs? Ignoring maintenance requirements for the upgraded system will only guarantee having to retrofit the system before it would otherwise be necessary.

3.  Portable Cooling: Preparation and Planning

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is developing a plan for portable cooling.

For managers to realize the full benefits of a temporary cooling system, they must carefully evaluate their buildings' requirements and select the system that most closely meets the needs of their facilities. Planning is the key, but it is difficult, at best, to plan once the cooling service has failed.

The first step in the process is to identify the most critical areas within a facility that would be most adversely affected by the loss of cooling. Not all areas are equally important. Cooling might be necessary to keep computers and other critical electronic equipment operating, or it might provide comfort only. Managers need to determine the impact a loss of cooling services would have on operations.

Next, determine the extent of any potential disruption. Would it be localized in isolated areas within a building, or would it be building-wide? Managers can address localized, temporary cooling requirements through the use of spot, portable systems. More widespread outages might require a building-wide solution.

Another option — one that would not require additional equipment — is to determine if it is possible to temporarily relocate the operations affected by the outage to another location within the facility.

Managers need to evaluate a number of factors before selecting a temporary or portable cooling system. One of the most important steps in this phase is to determine the capacity of the required cooling system. Specify a system that is too small, and the area might not cool properly. Specify one that is too large, and the result will be inefficient operation, frequent cycling of the unit, excessive noise, and improper humidity control.

Managers can develop quick estimates of cooling loads by looking at the power requirements of all equipment operating in the space. They also can ensure more accurate load calculations by having engineers perform the calculations.

4.  Water Treatment Demand Planning and Ongoing Attention

Today's tip comes from James Piper, contributing editor for Building Operating Management: Water treatment programs require careful planning and ongoing attention if they are to provide the benefits that they are capable of providing.

Experienced facility managers realize the importance of water treatment programs for HVAC systems. Although water treatment programs are unglamorous, they help ensure that HVAC systems operate at peak efficiency by keeping heat transfer surfaces clean and free of scale. They also help to maximize the life of the equipment and enhance safety, protecting both staff and equipment.

Water treatment might seem to be nothing more than adding chemicals to water. But in reality effective water treatment must be part of a program.

For example, water treatment efforts will require installation of specialized equipment, generally including chemical feeders, monitoring sensors and sampling ports. Once this equipment has been installed, it should be monitored. Water samples must be taken and analyzed, typically weekly, to determine the contaminants that are present in the water and their concentrations. And adjustments will have to be made in the program to match changing water conditions.

Facilities have the option of implementing the program in-house or contracting all or part of the program out to firms that specialize in water treatment. If in-house personnel are used, it is essential that they be fully trained in all of the procedures involved in the water treatment program, including the safe handling of chemicals used in the program. If the program is contracted out, it is important that a qualified contractor be selected, one that is experienced in working with systems similar to the ones in the facility. Regardless of the method of implementation, the staff responsible for water treatment should be monitored and supported by the facility manager to ensure that proper procedures are being followed.


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hvac , portable cooling , spot cooling , cooling , temporary cooling

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