Shoulder season is that tricky period of the year when it’s warm during the day and cold at night, meaning your buildings have different heating and cooling needs, depending on the time. This can put undue stress on your facilities, so here’s how to manage your buildings during shoulder season.
Why should I be concerned about shoulder season?
This in-between period, where it fluctuates between hot and cold weather depending on the time of day, happens in both spring and fall. And it can have major consequences if you don’t maintain your facilities properly.
Temperature fluctuations mean:
- There is a higher chance of mold, mildew, and other environmental problems, such as the growth of Legionella bacteria.
- It can be challenging to figure out whether to heat or cool a building on a given day, and when, to maintain optimal temperature both for residents and equipment.
- You need to be present to start up or shut off equipment, as needed.
- Mechanical systems (including but not limited to HVAC systems and boilers) will be working overtime, increasing the likelihood of breakages.
- You could lose money constantly switching from heating to cooling and back.
What can I do to protect my facilities during shoulder season?
There are several measures you can take to prevent shoulder season breakages and high costs.
Get in Front of the Equipment
First and foremost, increase your rounds and perform them daily. Engineers need to be physically monitoring the equipment to ensure the top performance of systems. The best way to prevent problems is to inspect the equipment firsthand, and feel the temperature and humidity yourself.
Use a tracking app such as SmartRounds to customize and log your rounds. You can assign tasks and require team members to use tag technology to mark their presence so you know, no matter where you may be, that rounds are getting done. Further, you can keep track of important data when you use an app-based solution.
This means you can see what buildings are taking too much energy to cool/heat, and fix the problem before it costs you a pretty penny.
You may need to increase your rounds during shoulder season, but the biggest lift is done by the app, so it’s an easy transition.
Optimize Work Schedules
Instead of having team members perform rounds in the heat of the day, move relevant work on cooling- and heating-related equipment to early morning or evening hours when the temperature is cooler, to minimize costs.
Tracking Metrics to Suss Out Patterns
When you use the SmartRounds app, you can take a look at historical data that shows what time you start or stop a given system, what temperature fluctuations have looked like on similar days in the past, and whether a given piece of equipment is working properly or if it’s being overused and inching close to the breaking point.
By pre-cooling your systems, you can save money and avoid the risk of overworking your facilities equipment. This essentially means shifting cooling to off-peak hours. It takes less energy to cool your building when it’s still chilly outside, because the air is not being heated as you cool it. It subsequently becomes easier (and more cost-effective) to maintain a comfortable temperature during the heat of the day.
Some of the benefits include:
- Reducing compressor degradation by minimizing its cycling
- Taking pressure off of your boiler, cooler, and evaporator by reducing the number of cooling cycles you perform in a day
- Operating at temperatures lower than during peak times, saving on cooling costs
With the right digital solution, you can universalize your shoulder season rounds, customize them daily to suit your needs, and assign as-needed tasks to keep your whole team on the same page.