Building Automation Systems Troubleshooting

Building Automation Systems (BAS) have completely changed the landscape of how we manage our facilities and operate our businesses. With the ability to integrate your HVAC, lighting, security and temperature controls in one single interface, BAS provide optimal efficiency and performance for your building—especially when it is designed specifically to meet your company’s needs by a team of professionals like Control Solutions.

But that’s not to say those building automation systems don’t ever malfunction or have issues of their own. And when it isn’t working properly, that’s costing your company time, money and productivity—so you definitely want to get your BAS up and running smoothly again as quickly as possible. As your trusted controls partner, Control Solutions is available 24/7 for emergency service and repair, but for those times when you need to troubleshoot issues on the spot, here are a few common problems you may run into with your building automation system and how to troubleshoot them.

Lost Connection to the Building Automation System

Just like your wireless network can lose connection to your devices, BAS can also lose connection to its linked pieces and parts. If you’re currently experiencing a connection failure with your building automation systems, it is likely that your system will begin operating in its fail-safe mode. During fail-safe mode, the equipment must run in manual mode until the controller comes back online or is replaced. In the meantime, before your controls experts arrive on-scene to permanently fix the issue, ensuring your BAS is in manual mode is the best way to troubleshoot this issue.

Once your controls company replaces the BAS controller, ensure that the building operator or facility manager put all equipment back into automatic mode with all the same settings as before so your equipment can operate as efficiently as possible.

Leaving Equipment in Manual Mode

If your building automation system does indeed lose its connection and your building operator/facility manager fails to put all equipment back in automatic mode, or if your equipment was left on manual mode for some other reason, this can also cause issues with the system. While most BAS operate automatically, some BAS may be set to run in manual mode or your building operator/facility manager may not be entirely comfortable with leaving the system in automatic mode.

According to Dimax Performance, the average age of a building operator is 55 years old. These folks may not be completely acclimated with new technology and would rather stick to what they know than undergo the growing pains of learning a new way to run a system; however, this can be detrimental to your operations over time. Running equipment in manual mode wastes energy since it will most likely keep equipment running after hours. Furthermore, equipment that has the capability to modulate (boilers, chillers, fans and pumps with VFDs) might continue running at 100% even though the building requirement may be far less.

Essentially, unless your equipment is undergoing maintenance or repairs, manual mode is mostly just an energy waster. Ensure your equipment is up to date and running in automatic mode for optimal performance.

System Overrides

Another common BAS issue that can cause inefficient building performance is system overrides. Systems are set to certain settings specifically based on a building’s size, location, age, occupancy times, and several other factors. If a user or building occupant overrides a set point in the system without eventually returning it to its original setting, it can have a negative impact on other spaces in the building.

Beyond correct optimization during installation, proper maintenance is absolutely critical for a highly efficient and properly operating BAS—and that includes treading lightly with system overrides. Fortunately, it’s typically easy to remedy issues that stem from overrides. Implementing security measures such as PIN control on user access to system changes can help limit overrides. Many systems also have a timed feature to automatically revert to original settings after a temporary override period. Check your system to see if it includes this feature.

Control Solutions is your trusted BAS partner!

Having a partner like Control Solutions on your side to regularly monitor, service and update your building automation systems equipment and networks will help keep your systems running at optimal performance and efficiency. We are the only exclusive dealers of Alerton, Novar, and Trend in the state of Michigan and one of the largest installers of Tridium Niagara AX and Niagara 4 in the state, as well. In addition, we have extensive experience in the management, repair and integration of Honeywell, Belimo, Johnson Controls, Carrier, Trane, Siemens, Steafa, Siebe, Schneider Electric, Barber-Colman, and pneumatic temperature control systems. Contact us today to discuss your building automation systems needs!


Osman Saleem
Contracting Business