Once can imagined that students would be excessively frightened if they were forced to evacuate their school because smoke was filling the space. This would be a scary situation for anyone, but for young children, it would be particularly nightmarish. Fortunately, the smoke at a middle school recently did not result in an uncontrolled burn of the building. Better yet, the students had already gone home for the night when the clouds of smoke filled the school. The issues resulted from a malfunctioning HVAC unit on the roof. A motor within the system overheated and caught on fire, causing smoke to be back-fed into the building.
The fire department was called to the building just after 7:30 in the evening, long after students had left or the day. Nevertheless, parents were concerned when they heard about the problem, and wondered how things might have played out had the motor malfunctioned during school hours.
Once the smoking motor casing was discovered, and no more flames were found, the firefighters deemed the space safe for regular access, and the school maintenance team began work on the rooftop unit. The work began at close to nine o’clock that night, but a statement released by the school indicated that it was safe for students to return for regularly scheduled classes.
SRP controls provides controls solutions that may have, at very least, given warning of the underlying problem before smoke started to billow. With duct mounted temperature sensors, and duct pressure sensors, a problem with the fan could have been relayed. Information such as a drop in supply temperature or drop in static pressure indicating, the maintenance crew could have predicted a fan issue. Another option that is available is the use of plug and play sensors for data collection. By collecting data, and analyzing it, better preventive maintenance (PM) schedules can be developed. By performing more affective PM schedules, faulty fan problems are caught before they become a catastrophe.