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Small Box Energy Features

3 Spring Preventative Maintenance Tips You Gotta See

By | Early Equipment Diagnostics, Remote Diagnostics, restaurants, Small Box Energy Features | No Comments

As we spring into a new season we see numerous issues regarding HVAC units in particular. Most of the common problems we see in locations are related to the lack of preventative maintenance resulting in long-term wear and tear on units and not to mention the energy that these units are consuming because of that. Our client success managers took their expertise and decided to show their process and how they diagnose problems with HVAC units remotely using the chameleon™ platform and application. Here are 3 ways our client success team here at Small Box Energy diagnose and help remedy problems with HVAC units.

General HVAC Tips

  • Set kitchen target temperature in the mid-70s. Most units will not achieve lower temperatures during heavy volume periods and running at temperatures lower than 72 cause unnecessary strain on units while utilizing more energy than is truly required.
  • When modifying target temperatures, instead of changing by 5+ degrees in one move, update by 1-2 degrees each week to minimize staff recognition. Making smaller adjustments on a regular basis allows them to adapt vs. noticing an immediate change which will cause them to bypass the system back to original temperatures that were not optimal.
  • Clear drain lines from HVAC units can help performance by allowing airflow through the coils to cool more efficiently and causing less strain on the other components of the unit.
  • Proper functioning drain pans help the HVAC system performance as allowing the condensation to flow through the drain and not build up causing other issues.
  • Conduct preventative maintenance on a consistent basis with all of your HVAC units.

Example 1 – Unit running all the time but running well

Observations

  • Two stages running at all times
  • No unoccupied time/temperature set (if not 24-hour location make sure schedules are set properly)
  • Temperature not hitting target temperature
  • Strong splits between discharge and actual temperature being achieved – System running well

Considerations:

  • Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. A two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.
  • As system is running at full strength at all times, unit should not be expected to last as long as if it were running fewer stages and energy usage will be high
  • Unit may be undersized for the space and should be discussed further
  • Raise the target temperature to one allowing the temperature to be achieved, thus reducing strain on the unit.
  • Consider “unoccupied” temperatures during low volume periods if 24-hour operation
  • Confirm that both stages are configured correctly at the unit itself, as well as in the thermostat corresponding to the unit

Example 2 – Unit running all the time and not functioning properly

Observations

  • Two stages running at all times
  • No unoccupied time/temperature set (if not 24-hour location make sure schedules are set properly)
  • Temperature not hitting target temperature
  • Discharge temperature tracks the outside temperature and raises as the day heats up
  • Discharge temperature is above the set point

Considerations:

  • Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. A two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.
  • With discharge temperature not in the 50 to low 60 – degree range during 2 stages of cooling this unit needs to be serviced by an HVAC professional.
  • As system is running at full strength at all times, unit should not be expected to last as long as if it were running fewer stages and energy usage will be high
  • Confirm that both stages are configured correctly at the unit itself, as well as in the thermostat corresponding to the unit

Example 3 – Unit Running Well

Observations

  • 1 and 2 stages running throughout the day as needed
  • No unoccupied time/temperature set (if not 24-hour location make sure schedules are set properly)
  • Temperature is achieving the target temperature consistently throughout the day
  • Strong splits between discharge and actual temperature being achieved – System running well

Considerations:

  • As this system is running well, if other units in the same location are not, this system could be helping compensate the entire space for other units.
  • Consider “unoccupied” temperatures during low volume periods if 24-hour operation

These tips can help prevent long-term wear and tear on your equipment. Preventative maintenance is essential to energy savings and elongating the life of your equipment. This is true not only for HVAC units but for refrigeration equipment as well and every piece of equipment in your restaurant, c-store and even your home. Take a look at our platform page to see more screenshots of the chameleon app in action!

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Small Box Energy Announces New Features and Hardware! Occupancy Controlled Lighting & Hot Water Heater Temperature Monitoring and Alarming

By | Small Box Energy Features | No Comments

The News!

This week Small Box Energy announced new features for chameleon 2.0, hot water temperature monitoring and alarming and occupancy controlled lighting. These two features, driven by customer requests, add capabilities to help owners improve their visibility into operations and further reduce the risk of something critical going wrong.  They’re a great addition to the award winning building automation/energy management system and here’s why!

Recently demand has risen for restaurant and convenience store owners to be routinely aware of the temperature of the water coming out of sinks and dishwashers and dishwashing units. Health codes mandate the temperature of the water coming out of handwashing sinks be 120 degrees and water at dish machines to be 140 degrees. How can you really know what the temperature is, other than the setting on the hot water heater…which could be faulty? Small Box Energy’s water heater sensor measures and records temperatures of the water every minute. The consistent temperature monitoring allows for notifications to be sent whenever the temperature goes above or below a selected range.

 

Deliveries happen at night and lights need to be ON during the delivery times. Rather than keeping lights on all the time or relying on someone who might be preoccupied with customers to manually override a lighting schedule, this solution allowed lights to turn on automatically when someone enters the area. This solution also addresses the need for lights to be temporarily turned on for other activities, like cleaning after hours, assuring they will be automatically turned off when no longer needed. This minimizes the amount of energy used by only turning on the lights when someone is present.

chameleon’s hot water temperature monitoring uses a sensor to measure the temperature of a restaurant or convenience store’s water at the output of the hot water heater. To achieve this function two devices are needed. A temperature sensor to read the temperature of the water coming from the water heater and a communication device to transmit the information back to the system for recording. The temperature sensor that Small Box Energy uses is a sensor that straps directly onto the copper water pipe of the hot water heater and is physically wired to the communication device. The communication device, in this case, communicates back to the chameleon programmable web server wirelessly.

Occupancy controlled lighting uses a sensor to detect motion in a lighting zone and override the lights to ON.  This sensor can override current lighting schedules to turn on the desired zone by interrupting the signal coming from the Small Box Energy I/0 controller with a set of relays held inside of the Occupancy sensor.  The occupancy sensor itself can be mounted in the ceiling near the desired location to give maximum coverage of the area. It uses PIR or Passive Infrared technology, to measure infrared (IR) light radiating from objects in its field of view. It has a 360-degree field of view with up to an 800 ft range.

The occupancy sensor cuts down on the amount of energy used by only turning on the lights when someone is present then turning them off automatically. Typically occupancy sensors are installed to eliminate the problem of lights being left on. What we typically see is the lights being left on by an employee who simply forgot to turn them off, and honestly who hasn’t been there? The hot water sensor directly reduces the amount of energy consumed as well, in most cases, we will see overheating of the water which causes money spent on warming the water for no reason. These two solutions are one of the many options Small Box Energy has to offer. The great thing about the chameleon platform is that once you have a base system in, it changes and molds to your business model. Hence the name! Chameleons blend in….just as we blend into your business while enhancing your visibility and operational efficiency.

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