5 HVAC Sensors to Monitor More Than the Temperature

HVAC sensors are a vital part of the system, but often are unsung heroes when looking to install a new heating or cooling system. According to Techavio, the HVAC sensors market is increasing at a 5% rate and is set to grow by two billion dollars during 2020-2024. Advances in sensor technology are fueling the industry's growth.

Everyone knows Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) installations monitor and regulate temperature, but it is a little known fact that these same systems track other environmental conditions as well. Keep reading to learn about 5 other useful sensors included in HVAC systems.

Types of HVAC Sensors

HVAC is all about changing the properties of the air around us for the better. The temperature of the air is one important element, but there are other environmental considerations as well. 

Modern HVAC systems integrate a variety of sensors into their systems to monitor and fight a variety of conditions. With the proper instrumentation, your system can be set up to produce the best quality air conditions as possible.

1. Pressure Sensor

Pressure changes in rooms indicate problems with airflow. The sensor alerts maintenance crews to check for problems in the system. Often times a filter needs cleaning or duct cleared of blockage.

Pressure transducers can pick up subtle changes in the pressure of the environment. They are often installed in:

  • stairwells
  • basements
  • storerooms
  • cleanrooms
  • utility rooms

Pressure sensors are also used to monitor pressures within the heating and cooling units themselves. They monitor elements of the HAV system such as:

  • compressors
  • coolers
  • boilers
  • heat recovery systems
  • burner control
  • VAV

2. Duct Smoke detector

Where there is smoke there is fire and fire isn't good for nobody. If there is a fire in an area of the building the air circulation from the HVAC system will send smoke and chemical fumes everywhere the ducts blow.

Smoke sensors use photoelectric technology to detect any smoke flowing over them in the air ducts.  The air duct smoke sensor nearest will sound an alarm so action can be taken to keep toxic smoke from being circulated to other areas. Shutting off exhaust fans or closing vents will help isolate the fire and can even starve it of oxygen and put it out.

3. Occupancy Sensor

As the name suggests, occupancy sensors are used to automatically control heating and cooling according to the occupancy of a room in the system. Sophisticated HVAC systems use these sensors to save on energy bills by shutting down the heating or cooling of areas that are not being used.

The average building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes. A large chunk of this wasted energy comes from a failure to shut down HVAC for parts of the building that are not being used. 

Demand controlled ventilation is the industry term for the process of controlling the airflow according to its demand. Occupancy sensors are becoming the standard allowing for more energy-efficient and cheaper HVAC solutions.

4. Air Quality Sensor

Foul odors or dangerous gases are detectable with air quality sensors and can alert you before the problem gets worse or harms someone. Air quality sensors monitor for proper air circulation. The sensor is designed to recognize undesirable levels of:

  • carbon monoxide
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • particulates and bacteria
  • other contaminants

The system detects and adjusts the ventilation to safely remove the polluted air from the building. Sophisticated sensors can pick up on gases that may go undetected causing illness, respiratory irritation, or even death.

Air quality sensors are used to prevent bad air from reaching the driver and passengers of automobiles. When the sensor detects harmful gases it shuts the vehicle's air vents temporarily.

5. Humidity Sensor

A recent arrival to HVAC systems, the humidity sensor measures and reports how much moisture is in the air. If the air is too dry or too humid the system can make adjustments to bring the humidity to a comfortable level.

High humidity conditions invite mold and can damage property at the location. Here are a couple of places where humidity gages are integrated into the buildings HVAC installation:

  • Libraries, book stores, offices with paper storage
  • refrigeration plants
  • reefer units
  • grow rooms and greenhouses

There are two types of Humidity sensors; type MHT and type HTC. They both measure humidity in the air but differ in their sampling method and element for measuring. The methods are comparable in their accuracy.

Sensor Maintenance

HVAC systems are complex and have many parts that all play an important part role in keeping the system running and running well. It is recommended that you inspect and test your sensors often and keep your HVAC system well-maintained.

Sensors that go bad are sometimes easy to detect because the malfunction triggers an alarm. Other times, sensors are not working correctly but without testing them it is impossible to know there is a problem. A schedule of regular testing of sensors is not only recommended but could be part of your local laws and building regulations.

Well Informed HVAC

HVAC Sensors are vital to the overall efficiency of the system and the safety of those that use them. Sensors play an important role in keeping everyone comfortable and breathing clean healthy air.

If you are looking for HVAC sensors you came to the right place. Cold Air Central has a wide variety of HVAC supplies for all your heating and cooling needs. Contact us for more information or if you have any questions. 

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