What is a Building Automation System (BAS)?

When someone refers to a “smart building” or a “smart home,” they are referring to a building or house that has a Building Automation System. A BAS system automates and centralizes control of a building’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, security and other systems. To do this, a BAS consists of a series of electronic devices, which all monitor the various aspects of a building’s systems to make sure they are secure and functioning properly.

Most new office buildings are built with BAS. However, they can be retrofitted into an older building or upgraded when they become outdated. It is also possible to limit automation to one or two rooms, but this would not provide you with all of the benefits that having an entire building or home automated would.

Benefits of Building Automation

While building automation is most common in multistory office buildings, many of its benefits are also available to homeowners that decide to install Nest products and similar devices.

  1. Improved Energy Management and Lower Utility Costs

A BAS enables building owners to have more control over their energy output. With building automation, you are able to set a schedule and different zones. This allows you to lower the temperature or turn lights off when no one is in a room. By cutting down on wasted energy, a BAS can lower your energy bills anywhere from 5 to 30 percent.

  1. Control Your Property Remotely

With building automation, you do not have to physically be in a building to lower the thermostat, turn off lights, or check in on the security system. Many BAS let you check the status of your building through a smartphone.

If you are thinking about switching your home or office building over to a Building Automation System, contact L&M Heating and Cooling with any questions. We’ll be happy to help you determine which BAS meets your needs.

Why Room Temperatures Vary

We’ve all been in a house or building where every room is a different temperature. Often, these temperature differences are drastic. One room feels like it’s summer, while another room feels like it’s the middle of winter. It’s common for these temperature difference to be exasperated by older buildings, which tend to have drafty rooms and old, inefficient heating and air-conditioning systems.

Even newer buildings may have inefficient heating systems. Regardless of age, any building can have clogged ducts and/or a thermostat that isn’t located in a central location. When a thermostat is not in a central location and the house or building doesn’t have multiple zones, you may not get an accurate temperature reading of the building. However, the thermostat in that room controls the entire system, so the thermostat will turn the air on if that room is too hot and the heat on if that room is too cold. This can be a problem because it doesn’t take into account the temperature in the other rooms.

Multi-level homes and buildings make the problem worse because heat naturally rises and cool air sinks. If you have a multi-level home or work in a multi-level office building, you may feel like you need a bathing suit on the top floor and a winter coat under three blankets on the bottom floor.

This happens because the rooms closest to the heating and air conditioning system will receive a temperature close to an optimal one, while rooms at the end of the ducts will have less temperature control.

The weather also affects room temperature. Depending on the time of day, some rooms may feel warmer because the sun is beating down on them, especially if they have a lot of windows. Other rooms may get cold when it’s windy because there’s a draft.

The only real solution to this problem is to have a zoning system, which are becoming more common in office buildings and larger homes.  If you would like to explore options to level out the temperature, L&M HVAC will be happy to help.

Dangers of Pipes Freezing

In the winter, your pipes can freeze unexpectedly and without warning. Pipes commonly freeze in New Jersey because of the sometimes sudden and drastic change in temperatures throughout the winter season. Because your pipes handle water, they can freeze once the temperature outside is 32 degrees or less. When the temperature drops, you will want to keep an eye on your water pipes. If they burst, the water damage can easily cost $5,000 or more to fix.

To prevent uninsulated water pipes from freezing, you’ll want to keep garage doors closed, open cabinet doors that contain plumbing, let cold water drip from a faucet, and keep your thermostat set to the same temperature regardless of time. If you are going on vacation and the temperature is predicted to drop, you may want to drain your pipes or leave the heat set to a temperature above 55oF, so you don’t come home to any nasty surprises.

While those are all good options in the short-term, you will want to find a more permanent solution. Fortunately, pipe insulation isn’t expensive and can be found at your local hardware store. You will also want to fix the cause of any drafts by sealing any crack that lets cold air in.

If you suspect it’s too late to take any of the aforementioned precautions, you can look for the signs of a frozen pipe. The first sign is frost on the exterior of the pipes. The second is that no water comes out of the faucet. The last sign is an odd smell coming from the faucet or drain.

If you suspect that your pipes are frozen or are in danger of freezing, call a licensed plumber. They’ll be able to check all of your pipes, including the ones you can’t access.