08 Aug Why washing filters is a waste of your service dollars
Maybe… why not let machine learning decide?
The problem with HVAC maintenance today is that is generally executed on a time-based interval rather than a needs-based operation, and each piece of airconditioning kit, is installed amongst a set of unique site characteristics that will always influence how often the unit needs to be serviced. As HVAC Techs with a combined 85 years of service and project delivery we found ourselves asking these same two questions.
- Why do we have to continually a wash filters that don’t need to be washed?
- How can we demonstrate cost leadership to our clients and at the same time, grow our business with an ever-shrinking pool of HVAC technicians while we are tied to a hose?
And ultimately, these cleaning tasks are unnecessarily diverting us from our core HVAC activities where our knowledge, and skills are always in high demand. So we thought how can we solve this problem…. and somehow, after much collaboration, exploration and deliberation we came up with the idea of developing a machine learning platform and a certificate two in HVAC Hygiene so we can up-skill the existing pool of talented cleaners.
Sounds easy enough…..Yeah right! 3 years and 500K later, we have almost finished our solution called Airconnect SMART HVAC Maintenance. (Release date 14 October 2019)
And none of this would have been possible without the assistance of Australia’s peak research organization CSIRO and in particular, the good folk at the National HVAC Performance Test Facility. To do smart things, you need smart people backing you!
How does Airconnect work?
Airconnect Smart HVAC Maintenance is where the air-conditioning units can tell you when they need attention through their operating data being back-hauled to our webserver where the machine learning analyses the data for faults and then generates work orders matched to the skill set of the fault type.
For example, when the system detects the filter should be washed it will schedule an Airhygieneist to attend. As I alluded to earlier cleaning staff who have been trained to Certificate 2 Level through our HVAC Registered Training Organization, to perform cleaning tasks on HVAC equipment, they understand the processes, the required outcomes and above all the safety risk. They work under our supervision and can look deeper into some simple fault modes using techniques they have been taught in training and with the Airchek app. We call this new industry occupation an “Airhygienist” If the unit has faulted out on a manufacturers error code embedded in the system, or its just gone offline then a licensed HVAC tech will be automatically scheduled to attend. All of this leads to a much better utilization of labour resources which in turn leaves more in the budget for actual repair work.
Show me the money!
We have demonstrated it saves time and money. A typical large mine site with around 450 units can save around $22,500.00 per month utilizing VET qualified cleaning staff to reduce the labour input by 25% then through machine learning targeting the required interval increase this goes up to 35%.
What organizations would it be suitable for?
The Airconnect platform is aimed at any sector that has volumes of DX equipment already installed such as Hotels, Schools, Mining operations and their Camps, infrastructure and government facilities. It also addresses regional serviceability issues that arise through to geography or where travel costs are a larger component of the field service work.
Its biggest impact is in the light and medium commercial HVAC equipment space around facilities like smaller office complexes, warehouses, distribution centres, shopping centres, big box retailers like Ikea, Bunnings, Super Cheap. Recreational clubs and any building with a reasonable floor plate that DX has been installed instead of chilled water. Rooftop package units, VRF and Splits System units in their various forms will be found in almost all of these facilities. No doubt you’ve all seen the large AC units on these rooftops.
We believe we have an authentic connection to the problem of the high cost for low outcomes of HVAC maintenance due to our involvement across multiple sectors and an intimate understanding of the costs of service delivery through being a HVAC contractor with 18 years of financial metrics to exploit.
If you would like to express your interest in a pilot on your site. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message through Linked in.
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