Monthly Archives: July 2017

cfm Tech Tips – SSE (Simplicity Smart Equipment) Control Boards

York Commercial Equipment is currently manufactured with Simplicity SE controls. These controls are dynamic and versatile. An SSE Control Board can be programmed (in the Factory or the Field) for use in a Constant Volume unit, Variable Volume unit, Single Zone VAV unit, Fixed Variable (also known as Intelli-Speed), Reheat Unit, Split System Condensing Unit or Heat Pump. The control board comes with a Joystick, Enter Button, Cancel Button and Display Screen to facilitate programming in the field without a computer. This Tech Tip will help familiarize you with the programming steps for SSE Control Boards.

Factory Programming & Default Settings

New units are pre-programmed at the factory with default settings to accommodate unit operation as built. Every RTU is built with 3 sensors – Supply Air, Return Air and Outdoor Air. As shipped – any RTU can operate stand alone with the on-board sensors, or can operate from thermostat inputs. This results in flexibility when changing out a unit. Say you need to operate the unit immediately after the changeout and intend to operate from a thermostat, but the thermostat cable needs replacing and you need the unit to operate while pulling new thermostat wire. Simply set the unit to run on sensor operation. It will operate from its Return Air sensor until you connect the thermostat. Communication (BacNet, N2, Modbus, etc) is also available for BAS operation.

The Unit Control Board

The Unit Control Board communicates with the Economizer via the SA Bus, thus all programming is done through the Unit Control Board, making economizer setup very simple.

To program from the front of the board, use the joystick to scroll down to the desired menu option. With the cursor (>) in front of the desired option, press the enter button. Use the joystick to scroll to the next required option and again hit enter. Once you get to the desired setting, move the joystick sideways to change information while the display is flashing. Hit enter to save the information. The attached points lists are divided into sections for ease of finding information and navigating the control to make changes.

Example: Details > Control > Econ > Setup > Econ-MinPos

This shows the pathway in to change the economizer minimum position setting.

programming options

Use the example scenario & programming guide below as a reference while replacing a Unit Control Board.

A control board needs to be replaced in an existing unit.

Option:
  1. Available if the board is powered and displaying information on the screen.(Best Option)
    1. Plug a flash drive into the USB Port on the front of the control board in the unit.
    2. Using the attached points list, navigate to Update > Backup, and hit Enter.
    3. The current setpoints will be saved to the Flash Drive.
    4. Install the new Control Board and power it up.
    5. After countdown is complete, insert the Flash Drive into the new Control Board.
    6. Navigate to Update > Restore, and hit Enter.
    7. The original settings will be uploaded to the new control including Model and Serial numbers.
  2. If a flash drive isn’t available when the control board is replaced.
    • Use the ‘Quick Points List’ making sure all points marked with an asterisk are set correctly for the unit.

Not every scenario can be listed in this article, but the method is the same for any programming requirement. Use these Additional Materials for ease of navigation.

Additional Materials:

Quick Points List – Partial list of program points, for use when replacing a board or commissioning a unit.

SSE Master Points List – Full list of program points, for use as needed.

Sensor and Fault information

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Say “HELLO” to a Smart Thermostat

Now that summer is heating up, homeowners are thinking about keeping cool and saving money offering them a smart thermostat is a great solution for both. Consumers have become increasingly aware and interested in smart thermostats due to its attractive features and benefits, as well as successful track record. The Wi-Fi thermostat has become the gateway to smart home technology for many homeowners and who can blame them smart thermostats offer a very attractive value proposition.

Wi-Fi Support

The increasing demand for Wi-Fi enabled home automation devices like the smart thermostat is driving fast-paced market growth that is producing more and more options to support Wi-Fi functionality, convenience, energy savings, usability and aesthetics homeowners are seeking. This is a great time for HVAC contractors to focus around targeting these needs and exceeding them by offering homeowners smart thermostat options.

Remotely Programmable Thermostat

The market is moving away from basic programmable and non-programmable thermostats whose only options are to raise, lower or hold the temp and set a temperature schedule for the week. Smart thermostats offer a whole new level of energy savings, looks, features, and peace of mind for homeowners. Increasing Consumer understanding, interest and excitement around smart thermostats should be equally exciting for HVAC contractors — as this smart age provides a great opportunity to increase profitability and offer consumers a smarter and easier product to use.

Best of Smart

Smart thermostats carry many additional benefits and features besides just setting the temperature of the home.   A few of my favorite benefits to having a smart thermostat installed are, Remote Sensors, Geofencing, Intuitive App’s, and being able to synchronize with various virtual personal assistance devices.

being able to synchronize with various virtual personal assistance devices

Remote sensors
This ability can determine the occupancy of the room with thermal proximity and/or IR motion detection. This, in turn, will help the unit in delivering the right temperature on a room-by-room basis.
Geofencing
A unique feature that works in junction with the homeowner’s smartphone, which allows for owners to set boundaries around the home to know. This allows the system to detect when the owner is away and to put the system into an energy savings away mode. It will also makes it possible to recognize when the homeowner is returning home, at which time the system can bring the climate controlled space back to the normal desired temp.
Intuitive App’s
Some newer smart thermostats now work with Apple’s HomeKit, among many other smart home systems. This ability allows the user to change the desired temperature and settings remotely along with managing other smart devices in their home from a single mobile app.
Hey Alexa
Smart thermostats are even beyond just being touch screen now; today, you can find virtual assistant technology such as, Alexa, Amazon’s built in voice control technology. Allowing a more interactive control than your traditional dial.

The Whole Home Voice:

Installation

Installation of a smart thermostats is a breeze

Installation of a smart thermostats is a breeze, really all that is required is a screwdriver and about half an hour of your time. Some manufactures have even gone a step further by offering a built-in level to make centering and squaring the thermostat even easier. Most smart thermostats in the market come equipped with an on-screen setup menu that asks a series of simple questions and can be completed in just a few minutes. Providing HVAC contractors with less job time and easier startups.

Wrap up

Now that you know a little more about smart thermostats and where the future of thermostats is headed don’t miss the opportunity to be the first HVAC contractor to offer these products to your customer base. Smart Thermostats add many convenience options while reducing the home’s utility costs. Let’s change your thermostat, not your schedule.

Say HELLO to the ecobee4

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5 ways to LOWER your electricity bill this summer!

When most people think of summertime they think of flip flops, swimming pools and beach vacations. But when July rolls around and you get your first electricity bill of the summer, you may have other things on your mind. Here are five surefire ways to lower your electricity bill this summer so you can focus on the important stuff!

Install LED lights

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If all or most of the lights in your house aren’t LED lights, you are throwing away a lot of money every month. The cost of LED lights have come down significantly over the past 5 years, and it now makes sense to pull the trigger on the upgrade. The average LED light bulb uses about 1/6th the energy of a standard incandescent bulb, so the payback is quick. When we moved into our new house last year (2016), we spent about $200 for all new LED lights. At $0.12 Kw/hr for electricity, this upgrade will save us about $270 per year. The payback was about 9 months, if you’re keeping score at home, and now we save about $20-25 each month on the electricity bill. 

Another benefit of LED lights is they put off a lot less heat than other less efficient bulbs. You can actually grab an LED bulb with your bare hand and they hardly feel warm. Less heat being generated in your house means less work for your A/C. Double bonus!

And the best benefit of LED lights might just be that they last about 10x longer than your standard light bulbs, so no more changing bulbs every couple of weeks!

Raise the temperature on your thermostat

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I know exactly what you’re thinking, but raising the temperature on your thermostat can save you about 5% per degree on your monthly A/C bill. The science behind this is pretty simple. Heat transfer into your house is a function of the temperature difference between the inside of your home and the outside air (heat transfer = area x temperature difference x U factor). So for every degree that you raise your space temperature, you will reduce how fast heat transfers into your house. Try to raise the temperature one degree and see if you even notice a difference. If it feels too warm, turn on a fan!

(in case you’re wondering, U factor is the inverse of ‘R-Value’, which is essentially how effective your wall or ceiling insulation is). 

Make sure your filter is clean

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When your furnace or air handler filter is dirty, it takes more energy to get that precious cool air to all the rooms in your house. A dirty filter can also reduce the capacity of your air conditioner (less airflow = less capacity), so the A/C will have to run longer to maintain your desired house temperature. Set a reminder every month to check and replace your filter as needed!

Set the temperature back when you leave your house 

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Is your thermostat set to an indefinite hold 24/7? This is a giant waste of money and energy, unless of course you are agoraphobic. But if you’re like most people, there are long stretches of time when no one is at home; maybe during your working hours, or on the weekend while running errands or at the pool all day. 

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but chances are the thermostat at your house is programmable. Take 5 minutes to program your thermostat to set back the temperature for when you will be away from your house. And do 4 hour overrides when you are spontaneously out of the house for part of the day. Better yet, invest in a WI-FI thermostat so you can set back the A/C at your convenience, from anywhere in the world!

Install an HVAC Zoning system

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I will never willingly live in a house without a zoning system ever again. Zoning systems have an upfront cost associated with them, but they are enormously beneficial for a couple of reasons. 

  1. Zoning systems save you a ton of money on your energy bill. Dampers in the ductwork direct the air from your furnace or air handler to the exact parts of your home that need heating or cooling. So in the summer time, for example, your air conditioning system only sends cold air to rooms you are hanging out in, and therefore will not have to run as long to meet the cooling demand. Less run time = less energy usage = less money. We call that a win-win-win.
  2. Zoning systems reduce, or in a lot of cases completely remove hot and cold spots in your home. If you’ve ever lived in a two-story house, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you want it comfortable upstairs in the summertime, you have to freeze out the first floor. And vice versa in the wintertime. With a zoning system, though, you can completely shut off an entire floor of your home to avoid this. So while everyone is sleeping, for example, you can heat and cool only the bedrooms, and shut off the rest of the house. Pretty cool huh!

What are your favorite ways to save energy? 

Think you have an energy efficient home? Leave your KW/hr usage per square feet in the comments and see how you compare with others. 

If you want more information on any of these topics please get in touch with us!

Need your A/C serviced, repaired or replaced?