Remote boiler controls like Heat-Timer® Platinum Series under control of web-based interfaces like BuildingNet®, have given building managers and heating contractors the convenience of managing all their buildings and boilers remotely. Perhaps one of the most useful features of this system are the programmable, automated alerts that can be sent. With properly configured alerts, the right person is notified as soon as there is a problem, meaning boiler lock-out or water leaks may often be fixed before the residents even know there is a problem. With such a system, the days of midnight runs to the boiler room to find oneself knee deep in brackish water, may be all but over. Key to solving this problem correctly is the flexibility and ease of configuration of the remote alarm sensors and alerts that are configurable in your system.
As is the case with many complex systems however, there is having the cool features, and then actually using them. Ease of use and configuration complexity is an issue for everyone, no matter how well trained the HVAC technician or building super is.
Some heating system control software offers so many choices of alert levels and recipient groups that it becomes difficult to tell who is going to get what alarm. The result is that critical alarms get ignored because of alarm fatigue, responders don’t receive critical alarms and trivial alerts cry wolf constantly, defeating the purpose.
Other building control software claim to be easy to configure, but it is only easy to configure because it has limited functionality. It does not give enough choice of alarms and alarm recipients to be useful, except for managing a small single building.
With the September 2020 update of BuildingNet®, building managers have even more powerful tools that ensure the right alarms go to the right people easily – whether they manage a single building or a large portfolio of buildings. The alarms are easy to configure, exceptionally reliable, and the average user can configure the software themselves without reading the manual or spending hours on the phone with technical support.
Why Heat-Timer’s BuildingNet® Stays Ahead of the Competition
BuildingNet® is easy to use, scalable and has the features that building managers and HVAC professionals depend on because Heat-Timer® has listened to its customers and added the features that matter most to them. In this update, BuildingNet® is introducing three new alarm features.
Temporarily Suspend Alerts
Configuring alarms for multiple sensors in multiple buildings can be time consuming, even with a good configuration interface. Then once the alarms are configured, no one wants to completely delete an alarm just to keep it from sending alerts during scheduled maintenance or during the off-season. Now available with BuildingNet® is a new temporary alarm suspension feature. The user can temporarily suspend specific alarms to handle situations where equipment or sensors are offline during repair, maintenance, or off-season. The user only receives the alarms they need and does not have to delete alarms and then reconfigure them every fall.
For a manager, it can be annoying when employees copy you on every single email, flooding your inbox and burying the important emails that need your attention. Some building management software is like that, flooding you with alerts that can easily be handled by the technicians on duty, and burying that critical alert that needs answering.
The new BuildingNet® multi-tier alarm eliminates alarm overload. This new feature allows the user to set levels of escalation to the alerts. First, the on-site technician can be alerted in real time. Then the supervisor can be alerted if the problem isn’t remedied in a certain amount of time. Lastly the executive or area supervisor can be alerted if the problem is still open after an extended period of time.
Executive Summary – Portfolio Wide Alarm Report
Coupled with the multi-tier alarms is a new executive summary report. This allows managers to view the full alarm activity of the entire portfolio every morning. Even if they are no longer receiving every alert thanks to the new multi-tier alarm feature. This summary report will be a valuable tool to identify problem areas, plan staffing levels and make upgrade decisions. As well as seeing alarm response time from the on-site staff.
To ensure that these new features are utilized, Heat-Timer® has listened to its customers again. At the same time, Heat-Timer® is introducing these new alarm features and streamlining the configuration interface to make BuildingNet® even easier to configure and administer.
Three Step Sensor Set Up and Alarm Configuration
The new sensor set up and alarm configuration makes configuring the sensors and alarms in a building easier than ever. The software guides you through the three-step process making it easy to set the right alarms for each Building, and to also ensure that those alarms go to the right people.
In the first step, every wireless and wired sensor in a building or Platinum series control panel is named and configured using intuitively designed tables. The user simply needs to move down the rows showing the available sensors and fill out the information. Once the sensors have all been configured, the user can then configure the alarm alerts in step 2.
The Platinum controller alarms, and the wireless and wired sensor alarms are configured using the same intuitive tables used in step 1. The user can quickly go through the rows of alarms, setting alarm parameters. The allowed settings for each alarm are clearly displayed in the row.
Once the sensors and alarms are configured, the last task is to define the recipients for those alarms and determine how those alarms are escalated. A single pop-up box for each alarm allows you to select a recipient, specify if they are to receive an email or text alert, and then set the tier level. The tier level setting defines the order that recipients will be notified of an alarm, so that the alarms initially go to the person first in line to respond and then are progressively escalated up the tiers if an alarm is not cleared after a set time period.
Easy configuration of email/text alerts
Sending an urgent alarm to someone who left the company six months ago does not help you maintain tenant satisfaction. BuildingNet’s new interface makes it easy to maintain the list of alarm recipients in the database, and to keep their email addresses and phone numbers up to date. Coupled with the new alarm configuration menu, BuildingNet® makes it easy to ensure that the right alarms go to the right people, every time.
Your Remote Capabilities are Only as Good as Your Underlying Control
While many heating control manufacturers boast about their remote capabilities, the real purpose of remote boiler management software is to manage real boilers in real buildings. Only Heat-Timer® offers best in class Platinum controllers for steam, and hydronic and DHW systems, whether it is one boiler or multiple boilers. While building managers and HVAC professionals are enjoying the benefits of the powerful and easy to use BuildingNet® software, Heat-Timer’s Platinum controllers are in the boiler room 24/7 reducing fuel costs and providing reliable heat to building tenants.