Staying constantly tethered to work via your smartphone or tablet can be both a blessing and a curse. But considering how little time you likely spend at a desk, those devices can prove to be your most valuable assistant. With today’s innovative mobile technology, it’s never been easier to keep tabs on your facility’s HVAC system while you’re off-site, troubleshoot remotely, or track down the source of a problem. Mobile applications tend to fall into three general categories of electronic support:
Calculation – Quickly and conveniently replace old-school charts and formulas to perform complex tasks. Calculator apps make it a snap to plug in field readings or other data and let it do the heavy number-crunching.
Sensor-based – Although they’re not precise or accurate enough to substitute for HVAC-specific or highly calibrated tools, apps that leverage the device’s hardware can be helpful. Beyond the camera, these can include a light meter, or a virtual level based on the device’s accelerometer.
Reference and documentation – Rather than loading down your vehicle or field bag with weighty manuals, access code reference guides, vendor equipment documentation and preloaded documents from your device.
Here are six super-helpful HVAC mobile applications to help lighten your load:
Available from Kevin Burandt, this diagnostic and refrigerant-charging HVAC app makes short work of troubleshooting problems and identifying the appropriate refrigerant charge. Key functions and features of this user-friendly app with real-time input include:
• Subcooling – targeted vs. actual calculations
• Superheat for fixed capillary or Subcool for TXV/EXV systems
• Airflow/Delta-T/TEET calculation
• Diagnosis tab for leaks, overcharge, contaminants and more
• Email system status report
• Detailed step-by-step instructions and knowledgebase access
Preview on iTunes
Developed by Carmel Software, these all-in-one toolkits offer psychrometrics lookups, steam tables, pressure drop calculation, and multiple other useful tools for in-the-field use. The Ultimate version includes 14 distinct HVAC software apps. Primarily focused on the needs of engineers and technically savvy facilities operators, it also includes ASHRAE Ventilation Calculation, HVAC Quick Load, HVAC Pipe Size Liquid, HVAC Duct Sizer and HVAC Equipment Locator modules, among others.
HVAC Toolkit Ultimate
HVAC Check & Charge™
This award-winning mobile refrigerant charge calculator from Emerson Climate Technologies allows you to easily calculate the correct system refrigerant charge for R-22 or R-410A air conditioning applications. Simply choose the Subcooling (TXV), Superheat (non-TXV) or Airflow Calculator options and plug in the specified system temperatures, plus the latent sensible environmental loads. Based on these values, it will instantly show you the proper system charge and whether the charge amount needs to be adjusted for the conditions.
The first smart device-compatible wireless digital refrigeration manifold, the Imperial® iManifold™ product wirelessly displays a system’s actual pressures, temperatures, superheat and subcooling while simultaneously calculating performance targets. The color display provides a visual indication of distance from target measurement without guessing. It averts the need for manual calculations while presenting the data in an easy-to-read format on smart devices. iManifold’s software platform allows remote viewing, control and support based on the readings on the technician’s gauges, thereby eliminating travel, saving time and money. http://imanifold.com/
HVAC PT Chart
The most comprehensive pressure-temperature tables on the market spans 100-plus refrigerants and includes “Dew” PT tables for all azeotropic refrigerants. The only ACCA-approved load calc app for iPad, from Carmel Software Corporation, it includes refrigerant properties and a built-in equipment locator, for keeping track by building. There are numerous options, including email function, and choice of English or Metric values.
While not specifically HVAC-centered, this handy-dandy Microsoft app magically makes your smartphone a scanner for capturing images and optical character recognition (OCR). Use it to capture, crop, straighten and store – or email – images. It is an ideal tool for documenting existing building systems, especially in older facilities where documentation may be spotty or out-of-date.
Of course, if you’re looking for helpful mobile HVAC assistance that doesn’t require downloading to your device or remembering a password, you can simply contact the friendly, knowledgeable folks at OK Chiller. Imagine: actually using your smartphone to place a phone call. There’s a novel concept!