HVAC Equipment Automated Notifications

Overview

The Pelican Solution provides real time monitoring of HVAC equipment operations. If an equipment issue is detected thermostats can generate notifications to help system managers identify and respond to problems quickly and pro-actively. Each thermostat monitors their unit’s cooling and heating performance during normal operating cycles. They can also monitor extreme temperatures in conditioned spaces. This document describes Pelican’s standard equipment monitoring features and the settings available through the Pelican Site Manager. This document does not cover accessories which can provide additional monitoring capabilities (IE: humidity, supply temperature, electrical phase, pressure, etc.)

Cooling and Heating Notifications

During calls for heating or cooling each thermostat monitors the rate of temperature change in its conditioned space. If the temperature does not trend in the correct direction, for longer than 1 hour, the potential for an HVAC issue exists. Failure to trend in the correct direction means the HVAC equipment needs to be serviced or, even though the unit is operating properly, it is unable to keep up with the heat or cool load in the space. The system administrator can set a sensitivity level to adjust these notifications being received. These sensitivity levels combine the monitored rate of temperature change and the difference between current temperature and the active set point. The system will then only send notifications if the space temperature is outside a defined range from the active set point. The following table shows the Notification Sensitivity settings and their set point deviations:

System managers can receive these notifications by email and/or text message and view them on the Pelican Site Manager. Notifications can be viewed on the thermostat’s history graph to assist administrators in identifying the specific issue. If a graph indicates that the HVAC unit is not heating or cooling properly, this will generally mean the filter needs replacing, the unit is low on Freon, the compressor has stopped functioning or the fan has failed. If, however the graph indicates that the unit is working properly during past operating cycles, but is unable to satisfy the set point during times of extreme temperature loads, the Notification Sensitivity should be adjusted to prevent undesirable notifications.

Extreme Temperature Notifications

Administrators can optionally configure a Safe Temperature Range. If the temperature deviates outside of this range, at any time, a notification will be generated. This setting should not be used to monitor normal operation and should not be set too close to typical temperature fluctuations. The best use of this setting is for critical temperature warnings. For example, setting a safe temperature range of 45°F – 85°F will ensure that the potential for freezing pipes will be avoided. Another example would be in a computer server room, where temperatures normally need to be maintained to prevent server failures. For this scenario, the safe temperature range can be set to 50°F – 80°F which will allow for an immediate notification if the cooling fails.

Unreachable Notifications

An Unreachable Notification is used to identify thermostats which have stopped reporting temperature and operating statistics to the Pelican Site Manager. When thermostats are unable to report data to the Site Manager they will continue to operate normally and follow their schedules. Therefore, loss of communication does not immediately indicate that there is a problem with the HVAC unit. However, this notification is useful in locations where people are not present and HVAC units frequently lose power or shut down. If the Notification Sensitivity of High is used, this additional notification will be automatically enabled. It can optionally be enabled when Notification Sensitivity is set to Custom.

Receiving Notifications

All active notifications can be viewed by accessing the Site Manager. An option will be displayed on the main menu if there are any active notifications. Selecting this item will take the user to a list of active notifications for the site. These notifications can be viewed and cleared from this list. Thermostat notifications are shown on the history graph for the day the notification occurred. A yellow notification bar will be displayed on the graph to show the time of the notification. To minimize clutter on the graph, only the first notification of the day for that device will be displayed.

Access to the list of Notifications can be restricted on a user by user basis. Administrators will always have access to Notifications. Users can be granted access to Notifications by turning them on from the User Manager.

The system also provides the ability to send notifications via text message and email. The number of recipients is unlimited. The phone numbers and email addresses are entered by going to Admin ->Site Configuration and selecting the “Plus” button for either Email Notifications or Text Message Notifications. This list is independent from the list of users who have login access.

To minimize the number of text messages and emails sent to users, the system will only send a single notification for each event. The event starts when the failure is first detected. The event ends when the failure is no longer active and the original notification is cleared by the someone from their Site Manager. As an example, if during a day the thermostat failed to cool 3 times but the notification was not cleared from the Site Manager this would represent only one event with a single text or email. The Notification System will however update the time stamp on the event in the Notifications list to show the most recent occurrence of the event.

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