Are you getting the calls? Now its October, we’ve been noticing our heat maps warm up as our customer’s heating systems come on. For a facilities helpdesk, the summer’s steady diet of ‘too hot’ calls start to change – data from IFMA shows complaints of too hot and too cold run at the same rate in the autumn, so if your occupiers can’t make up their minds they’re not alone!
Getting your HVAC strategy right at this time of year can seem like an impossible task, but there are some ways to solve the conundrum and to set yourself up for winter.
Get a handle on temperature complaints
Your occupiers are confused. They have been accustomed to higher summer temperatures and while autumn weather fluctuates, their ability to adapt can’t keep up. So they are likely to feel different levels of comfort even where the temperature is acceptable. To add to the problems building systems may also struggle with temperature swings so some of their complaints will relate to genuine but temporary problems. What is needed is data of the real temperature for occupiers so that help desks can work out the right solution without calling out engineers every time. In this situation, data saves time and money, as well as the energy involved in constantly adjusting heating systems.
Setting up the right heating strategy
When to turn the heating on is a bone of contention in many work places. Some facilities managers run systems for short hours during the shoulder seasons to avoid see windows open and fans being used at the end of a warm autumn afternoon. Others simply aim for a lower temperature. The right answer will vary from building to building, depends on how much control you have, and how your building behaves. Temperature data help you spot the patterns of heat loss and decide which option will work best for your situation.
Call out the heating engineer
Underused over the summer, even well maintained heating systems can be temperamental when started up. A complete failure is easy to spot, but regional problems – broken TRVs in hot water systems, for example – can go unreported until you get into the cold months, leaving facilities managers with a series of small jobs which would be better dealt with in a batch. A comprehensive survey over the first weeks of the heating season to quantify all the problems will save time and complaints in the long run.
Finally, don’t forget the summer
Have you been fighting for budget to do something about HVAC problems all summer, only to have the exec team decide that since cooling is not now needed the decision can be deferred for a few more months? How do you keep making the case, when the ‘too hot’ complaints have died away? Collecting hard data on the extent of the problem defines the problem and creates the business case for intervention.
And in case all this data sounds intimidating or a potential time suck, take a look at our tools for collecting and working with it to tame your temperature problems. Or get in touch with your heating challenge.