Thermostat Monitoring & Notifications

Pelican provides an advanced notification system to allow system managers to identify and respond to HVAC operating problems

Overview

Pelican Wireless provides an advanced notification system to allow system managers to identify and respond to HVAC operating problems. Thermostats monitor cooling and heating performance during operating cycles. They also allow for notifications in cases where extreme temperatures in the conditioned spaces occur. Temperature, humidity, electrical phase, pressure and other sensors can also be added to the thermostats as accessories for additional monitoring. Only the standard monitoring features are described in this document.

Cooling & Heating Notifications

During a heating or cooling cycle, the thermostat continuously monitors the temperature rate of change in the conditioned space. During a running cycle, if the temperature does not trend in the correct direction for more than one (1) hour, the potential for a notification exists. Failure to trend in the correct direction either means that the HVAC equipment needs to be serviced or that even though it is operating properly it is unable to keep up with the heat or cool load. In order to eliminate alarms where the equipment is operating properly, the system administrator can set the Notification Sensitivity. This sensitivity combines the trending data with a setpoint deviation. The system will inhibit notifications if the current space temperature is within a defined range of the active setpoint. The following table shows the Notification Sensitivity settings and their setpoint deviations.

When a notification is received the system manager should view the history graph for the thermostat at the time of the notification. If the graph indicates that the HVAC unit is not heating or cooling properly it generally means that 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 most operating cycles but is unable to satisfy during times of extreme loading, the Notification Sensitivity should be reduced to prevent undesirable notifications.

Extreme Temperature Notifications

The Administrators can optionally configure a Safe Temperature Range. If the temperature ever 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 are normally maintained within a narrow margin around 70°F. The safe temperature range could be set to 60°F – 80°F to allow rapid response if the cooling fails.

Unreachable Notifications

This notification is used to identify thermostats which have stopped reporting temperature and operating statistics to the Internet-based Cloud Servers. When thermostats are unable to report data to the Internet 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 due to such things as clogged condensation drains opening water level safety switches. If the Notification Sensitivity of High is used, this additional notification will be automatically enabled. It can also be selectively enabled if the Notification Sensitivity is set to Custom.

Receiving Notifications

All active notifications can be viewed by accessing the Pelican Web App. 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 Pelican Web App. As an example, if during a day the thermostat failed to cool three (3) times but the notification was not cleared from the Pelican Web App, 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.