|SmartDiagnostics® vibration sensors on a chiller in an university HVAC facility.|
The three different studies summarized in the report concluded that the best HVAC maintenance practices could produce energy results of five to 20 percent. "In contrast," one report concluded, "poor maintenance practices can increase energy use by 30 to 60 percent"--a clear sign not only that are all maintenance practices are not equal, but that some may actively defeat their own purposes of reducing energy use and expense.
The report also painted a picture of the state of current HVAC maintenance practices in the United State today:
"There are three basic approaches to maintaining HVAC systems in buildings:
- Reactive maintenance. Under this management practice, used by 55 percent of companies, HVAC systems run until a problem or failure occurs. (This strategy is also called run-to-fail maintenance.)
- Preventive (or scheduled) maintenance. This practice used by 31 percent of companies, includes the periodic maintenance of HVAC equipment, generally as prescribed by the manufacturers.
- Predictive maintenance. Practiced by 12 percent of companies, this strategy differs from preventive maintenance by basing maintenance on the actual condition of the machine, rather than on a preset schedule. Predictive maintenance can be the most cost-effective over the long term, but does require technology infrastructure investments up front."
Photo by Christopher Shannon/KCF Technologies. All rights reserved.