The importance of commissioning

Rushed or poorly planned commissioning is undermining the heating industry’s efforts to reduce energy use – so says boiler and water heating manufacturer Lochinvar.

Commissioning plays a key part in making sure that installations are set up correctly and continue to perform well throughout their operating life.  However, deadlines on building projects can often be so tight that the commissioning of heating and hot water equipment is sometimes arranged just a few hours before the building needs to be handed over. This can make it difficult to address any problems, according to Lochinvar’s Service Manager Paul Mitchell.

“We do what we can under the circumstances, but advanced planning and earlier involvement of specialists would help deliver a better long-term outcome for the building user,” he says.

“Commissioning of heating and hot water equipment should be considered as early as possible in the process so that easy access to the equipment is included in the design and comprehensive technical information is passed on to the commissioning team.

“This not only helps with the handover process, but also means the pieces are in place for ongoing service and maintenance,” he adds.

Lochinvar believes a collaborative approach is more important than ever because of the growing trend of integrating renewable technologies, such as heat pumps with high efficiency boilers and water heaters. The initial set-up of such systems is particularly crucial in ensuring that a system with different technologies works in harmony.

“Manufacturers have intimate knowledge of their products and applications, and their commissioning engineers will already have experienced most of the technical challenges they are likely to meet,” says Paul Mitchell. “This allows them to quickly identify potential issues and ensure the system is set up to perform well throughout its operating life.”

The commissioning team at Lochinvar is able to make sure boilers and water heaters operate at maximum efficiency from day one. The company’s engineers are also able to assist on-site staff with the operation of the equipment, including some targeted training.

“As buildings become more complex and performance challenges increase, the role of the commissioning engineer must be given greater attention and status,” says Mitchell.

“The secret with increasingly sophisticated heating and hot water solutions is to ensure the sophistication remains behind the scenes and the equipment is relatively simple to operate for the building occupiers; otherwise, the performance will drift over time.”

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