Using Building Sensors to Reduce HVAC Expenses

If your organization is looking for cost-saving strategies to protect your bottom line and maximize profits, refining your HVAC strategies is an ideal place to start. With cutting-edge technology like building automation systems (BAS) and facility HVAC sensor controls, your team can automate day-to-day operations while intelligent computers continuously optimize energy consumption. In this post, we’ll detail some of the sensor technology your organization can deploy at your facility to save money and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors are quickly becoming the norm for businesses, schools, and government buildings. Traditional HVAC systems use timed schedules to maximize energy efficiency. However, these fixed schedules make it difficult to plan around variable work schedules and room usage. HVAC systems using occupancy sensors, on the other hand, monitor room usage in real-time to ensure you don’t end up heating or cooling an empty room. For example, conference rooms are often unoccupied for more than half the workday. With occupancy sensors, your HVAC system can automatically adjust so it isn’t using any more energy than it has to, translating to direct savings on energy costs.

HVAC Temperature Sensors

While occupancy sensors continuously monitor room usage, thermal sensors monitor the temperature of specific rooms or areas of your building. Since not every area of your building needs to be equally cooled or heated throughout the day, thermal sensors ensure your HVAC system delivers precise climate control exactly where it’s needed. A packed conference room can heat up quickly, while an open office area can lose a lot of heat. With thermal sensors monitoring temperatures throughout your building, your HVAC system can maximize comfort while saving your organization money.

Carbon Dioxide Sensors

While deploying carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors won’t necessarily translate to direct energy cost savings, it can protect your bottom line by maximizing employee productivity. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that high levels of CO2 in a building can negatively impact decision-making, critical thinking, and productivity. By incorporating CO2 sensors into your HVAC infrastructure, your system can circulate fresh air where it’s needed most. When specific CO2 levels are detected, your HVAC increases the supply of fresh air to that part of your building, maximizing air quality, employee well-being, and day-to-day productivity.

Variable Speed Fan Sensors

Traditional HVAC systems use fan motors that can only run at one constant speed no matter what the room temperature is. With variable speed sensors, fans can adjust rotational speed and airflow to match a room’s occupancy levels or temperature levels. That way, your facility remains comfortable while reducing energy consumption.

Cutting-Edge Sensors for Your HVAC

If your organization is interested in deploying the latest HVAC sensors to maximize energy efficiency and cost savings, contact the experts at Garrison today. We’ll work with you to clarify your energy efficiency goals and deploy a solution optimized for your facility.


Why You Should Invest in HVAC Test and Balance

If you’re installing a new commercial HVAC system, you may know you should have your new system tested, adjusted, and balanced. But what exactly is air balance? What will this testing and balancing process do for your system and your building? Here’s what to know about the process.

What Is Air Balance?

Air balance is how much air a heater or air conditioner brings in versus how much air it expels. If the heating and air conditioning system expels more air than it consumes, it has a negative air balance. This commonly occurs in old buildings and in buildings that have been repurposed for new industries or extended through new additions. If the system brings in more than it expels, it has a positive air balance. But if the system brings in and expels the same amount of air, it has a neutral air balance. You want your system to have a neutral air balance.

Potential Air Balance Problems

When the air in your HVAC system is improperly balanced, problems can arise. For instance, if your system has a negative air balance, as described above, it is taking in untreated air and distributing it throughout your building. This creates condensation, and that condensation will invite contaminants into the system. These contaminants could increase the risk of health and safety problems among your colleagues and employees. Improperly balanced air can also cause drafts and cold spots throughout your building, and those will decrease your workplace’s comfort level.

What Does the Test-and-Balance Process Look Like?

At Garrison Mechanical, we have our new installations tested and balanced by a third-party contractor. This contractor performs NEBB-certified tests on our HVAC equipment to check its air flows (or water flows, for chilled water systems). Then the contractor documents all of their findings and compares them against the system’s design plans. They also make any necessary adjustments to make sure the system runs properly and has appropriate air distribution.
It is important to understand that although we do not perform the test-and-balance procedures ourselves, we hire and pay the contractor to make the process simpler and easier for you. We do this because we know you want to focus on running your business, so we provide a test-and-balance solution that’s painless for you.

Benefits of Test and Balance

Performing test-and-balance procedures on your heating and cooling systems provides many benefits for your business and your commercial building. These benefits include:

  • Prolonged equipment life
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Optimized system performance
  • Improved air quality
  • Increased workplace comfort

These benefits contribute to a healthy, harmonious work environment, and they are just some of the reasons you should consider investing in HVAC testing and balancing.

We Can Help With Your Testing and Balancing

If you are interested in having a commercial HVAC company install your new system and letting that company take care of the testing and balancing process, contact us today. We will work with a NEBB-certified third-party contractor to make sure your new system works properly. Though this isn’t a process we work on directly, we can oversee it so you have fewer appointments to schedule, which lets you get back to running your business.

South Florida HVAC

Commercial HVAC Repair vs. Replacement

Determining whether to repair an HVAC system or replace it with a new one is a common dilemma. Sometimes in the HVAC industry, customers feel a technician has pressured them into buying a new system because they presented no other options. Conversely, technicians sometimes find themselves repairing an ancient system many times because business owners don’t realize replacement is an option. It’s important to weigh the decision to repair or replace your commercial HVAC system and to make sure you consider the following factors:

Age of Your System

Most commercial HVAC systems have a lifespan of 15-20 years, so if your system’s age falls into that range, you may want to consider commercial HVAC replacement rather than repairs. Of course, your business’s repair budget should be taken into consideration as well, as should the way your heating and air conditioning currently operates. If you have a 16-year-old system that needs relatively inexpensive repairs every once in a while, you may opt to stick with repairs for now and wait a few more years before you have a new HVAC system installed.

Maintenance Costs

Take stock of how much time you or the commercial HVAC company you partner with spend on reactive maintenance, such as equipment repairs, versus preventative maintenance, such as routine maintenance checks. If you’re spending more time on reactive than preventative maintenance, it’s probably time to consider replacing your system.

Repair vs. Replacement Costs

When considering HVAC repair or replacement, you can remember a simple rule of thumb: If your repairs cost more than 50% of the cost of a new HVAC installation, you’re probably due for a replacement. Other repair vs. replacement calculations include getting a replacement if the repair costs more than $5,000, and whether the cost of your repair multiplied by your system’s age is higher than the cost of a new system. Whichever calculation you decide to use, following the numbers is definitely a solid basis for your decision.

Signs of Deterioration

Does your duct system leak often? Does your HVAC unit make a lot of noise when it runs, or do does it randomly shut off? Does the system suffer frequent breakdowns? These are just some of the signs that may tell you it’s time to replace your HVAC system. If you want to stick with repairs, your system may need them more frequently, and that may interrupt its operation and maintenance. This could interfere with the heating and cooling in your office, and in your facilities, which could affect your products as well as your employees and customers.

Consider System Upgrades

Before you invest in commissioning a new system, you should consider upgrading specific parts of your system that have problems. At Garrison Mechanical, we can replace your system with a new one, but we can also replace individual parts, which will save you time and money on repairs, and could help extend the lifespan of your current HVAC system. The parts we can replace include air handlers, evaporator and condenser coils, pumps, motors, fan coils, chillers, and cooling towers. Upgrades give you a third option so your repair or replace decision isn’t so limited.

Let Us Help You With Your Decision

When you partner with Garrison Mechanical, we do our best to meet your needs every step of the way, and that includes when you’re considering replacing your HVAC system. We can work with you to understand your business’s HVAC system, and we provide a wide range of services, including commercial HVAC installation and replacement. Contact us today, and our team of experts will help you determine whether you should repair or replace your system.

South Florida HVAC

Preparing Your South Florida HVAC System for Summer

As temperatures rise and humidity thickens the air, it’s time to start preparing your HVAC system for summer. What steps should you take to do that? In this post, we’ll outline some tips you can add to your preventative maintenance checklist.

Change Out Air Filters

This is one of the most cost-effective steps you can take to prepare your cooling system for summer. Changing your air filters monthly, or at least at the beginning of every season, will prevent dust and dirty air from building up in your HVAC system, which will save you money on service fees and energy bills in the long run. Taking this HVAC preventive maintenance step will improve the building’s air quality and your system’s energy efficiency. Cleaning out the air filters also can reduce allergens, so you won’t have to suffer through allergic reactions all spring and summer.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat, such as Sensi or NEST, can learn your building’s cooling patterns and adjust your HVAC system accordingly. This means the thermostat will customize the way it runs so your HVAC system doesn’t waste energy trying to cool your building in a way that doesn’t fit.

Insulate and Seal Air Ducts

Checking your air ducts can become part of your annual maintenance, and it definitely should become part of your summer preparation maintenance. If your air ducts are leaking, that could be costing you extra in your energy bills and your cooling and heating system service costs. Sealing and insulating your air ducts will help your HVAC system run more efficiently over longer periods of time.

Schedule an Air Conditioning Maintenance Appointment

While you can take your own steps to keep your system working well, some tasks are best left to the professionals. Scheduling a maintenance visit will give you a chance to find out if your HVAC system has critical problems that need fixing before temperatures really soar. The maintenance appointment should include specific HVAC maintenance measures, such as inspecting machine parts and checking refrigerant levels.
This is the summer preparation step where your system would most benefit from an HVAC preventive maintenance program. At Garrison Mechanical, we perform monthly HVAC service checks as part of our HVAC preventive maintenance contracts. Regular maintenance keeps your HVAC system from developing preventable problems, which is why having a preventative maintenance plan in place is always a good idea. With a preventative maintenance agreement in place, you can have peace of mind knowing your system will be ready for summer and won’t experience any breakdowns when you need cool air the most.

Prepare for Summer with Garrison Mechanical

If you’re ready to prepare your HVAC system for summer or you have questions about the preparation process, contact us today. Centrally located in Pembroke Pines, we perform commercial and residential preventive maintenance. We can work with you to customize an HVAC program that will fit your business’s or your home’s needs.