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For facility managers looking to save on cooling costs and be more energy efficient, using an economizer on their rooftop unit (RTU) should be a no-brainer.
One of the biggest benefits to an economizer is sensing outside air temperature and humidity, and if the outside air temperature is favorable, switching the compressor off to cool the facility only with outside air. This is what some in the industry call “free cooling,” and it can provide huge savings.
An economizer can also be used to improve ventilation, or even as a building’s primary ventilation system. But this could have an energy penalty if not done correctly. As well, if dampers get stuck open, energy use will increase dramatically, so facility managers should have some sort of fault detection and diagnostics system in place to alarm when a damper is stuck open and energy use is much higher than expected.
In the video below, Ryan Hoger with Slipstream provides a quick course in everything you need to know about economizers, including understanding control units and how to troubleshoot problems. “Sometimes, the most common problems are caused by us, the operators,” says Hoger. So it’s important to understand how to be able to fix these most common issues.