Use Control Systems to Make Your Heating and Cooling Efficient
Significant improvements can be made in HVAC efficiency by using control systems that provide better options for system operation. The most common control systems boost efficiency by letting you limit heating and cooling system function when it’s not needed while ensuring that indoor comfort is consistently maintained. The following three types of control systems are among the most frequently used and provide excellent control for your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.
1. Programmable Thermostats
At base, the thermostat is an on/off switch, turning your HVAC system on when indoor temperatures go beyond the settings at the thermostat and shutting the system off when settings are reached. Older thermostats had little functionality beyond serving as a switch. Newer programmable thermostats, on the other hand, offer precise control over when, how long, and at what level your heating and cooling systems function. One of the most useful functions of programmable thermostats is the ability to automatically control when your HVAC equipment turns off and on. Most “smart” thermostats come with preprogrammed (but adjustable) set points, which are time and temperature settings that are designed to improve HVAC efficiency.
For example, you can use these set points to automatically adjust heating and cooling system operation when your commercial facility or retail establishment is closed for the evening. This eliminates the possibility of an employee forgetting to manually reset the thermostat and ensures that your HVAC equipment will not operate during a time it’s not needed. The set points on the thermostat can automatically restart your heating or cooling equipment at a specified time in the morning to ensure your indoor spaces are comfortable when employees and customers begin arriving.
2. Zoning Systems
By using a zoning system in your facility, you can provide heating and cooling only in areas or zones where its needed. If you have areas that do not need to be heated or cooled, such as a storage room, infrequently used workroom, or inactive office space, you can avoid wasting energy by shutting down HVAC operation in those areas. Zoning systems are effective in areas as small as a single room or as large as an entire floor of a building.
Zoning systems consist of a series of motorized dampers and independent thermostats that control the amount of heating and cooling that reaches particular zones. These control systems ensure that the temperature in individual zones can be adjusted to reflect the preferences of the occupants of those zones. If the occupant of one office prefers a higher temperature, for example, a zoned control system allows that room to receive more heating without affecting the temperatures in surrounding zones. Facilities with many rooms or several floors will usually require multiple zones.
3. Demand Sensors
Most heating and cooling systems help regulate indoor air quality by pulling in outdoor air for ventilation. The amount of ventilation provided is usually based on the assumed occupancy of the indoor spaces. If the occupancy of the area is higher or lower than assumed, however, the amount of ventilation air brought in could be inaccurate, which will affect HVAC system performance. Demand, or CO2, sensors allow your HVAC system to respond to changes in heating and cooling needs when more people enter an area.
Demand sensors work by detecting the actual amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the air. Since humans exhale CO2 when they breathe, the demand sensor will be able to accurately calculate the number of people in a space based on the amount of CO2 in the air. The sensor regulates the amount of ventilation brought into an area based on this accurate occupancy calculation.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVAC, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on using control systems to improve heating and cooling system efficiency, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!