How to Future Proof Your Facility Management Career

Someday your facility’s cooling tower may be queued up to follow an automatic preventive maintenance program and actually self-clean in an effort to boost efficiencies and decrease unplanned repair costs. Cool, right? Well, there’s a growing concern within many industries that “automation” is synonymous with “job loss.”

According to a recent McKinsey & Co. analysis of 2,000 different work activities across 800 occupations, automation will change virtually every job in every occupation. Specifically, McKinsey found that in about 60% of occupations, 30% of tasks could be handed over to robots and bots. Bad news for your career, right? … Think again.

The report concludes less than 5% of global occupations will be fully automated using current technology. The remaining 95% will simply change to account for advancements in technology, connectivity and automation.

Here’s a handful of facility manager skills that’ll be in high demand due, for the most part, by these advancements.

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Goodway’s Ray Field and CDC’s Nancy Messonnier, MD on How Your Facility can Best Prevent Legionella Outbreaks

It’s likely that most facility managers in New York City have already heard the news this week about a police officer infected with Legionnaire Disease (LD). A poorly maintained water supply system at his police station was the likely source for a widespread disease that’s seen a quadrupling of reported cases in the last 15 years.

Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks Trending Up

As the summer heat begins to put a strain on facility cooling towers, more facility-triggered outbreaks are likely to follow. According to Ray Field, Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, the upward trend in outbreaks will likely continue over the next few years as sub-standard maintenance practices, the wrong maintenance tools and shrinking maintenance budgets continue to hamper progress.  In a related podcast entitled Legionella Outbreaks: Preventive Maintenance Practices and Chemical Solutions to Minimize Risk of Occurrence, Ray discusses the challenges facility managers face when battling the resilient bacteria.

“What it comes down to is good industrial hygienic practices,” Field says. “And if you look at cooling towers, in my estimation, they can be neglected in terms of care or maintenance up front when they’re started, in terms of washing them down, getting rid of scale accumulation in the tower fill that causes the air/water intimate contact that causes the cooling with the fan. Both chemical and mechanical solutions are really the best way to approach it, followed by a well-maintained water treatment program.” This is consistent with statements in the recent American National Standards Institute approved ASHRAE Standard 188 – 2015 entitled “Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.”

Just recently, the CDC arrived at a similar conclusion after analyzing 2,809 confirmed LD cases reported from 20 states and NYC. The report summarized that the number one way for facility managers to mitigate LD risk is to better manage and maintain the building’s water supply system. The study also revealed that roughly 80% of LD outbreaks in facilities were preventable and healthcare facilities in particular were more susceptible due, in part, to their more vulnerable populations and more complex water supply systems.

Here are three additional takeaways from the study:

• Legionella grows well in building water systems that are not adequately managed such as those in which disinfectant levels are low or water temperatures are warm.
• The size and complexity of the facility’s water system may increase the risk for Legionella growth.
• Effective water management and maintenance programs are highly recommended to prevent Legionella growth in buildings with large or complex water systems.

Facility Water System Components Susceptible to Legionella Growth

Legionella can grow in parts of building water systems that are continually wet, and certain devices can spread contaminated water droplets via aerosolization. Examples of these system equipment, components and devices include:

  • Cooling towers
  • Hot and cold water storage tanks
  • Water heaters
  • Water-hammer arrestors
  • Pipes, valves, and fittings
  • Expansion tanks
  • Water filters
  • Electronic and manual faucets
  • Aerators
  • Faucet flow restrictors
  • Shower heads and hoses
  • Centrally-installed misters, atomizers, air washers, and humidifiers
  • Non-steam aerosol-generating humidifiers
  • Eyewash stations
  • Ice machines
  • Hot tubs/saunas
  • Decorative fountains

How to Implement a Water Supply Management and Maintenance Program

To help facility managers and building owners prevent future outbreaks, the CDC also prepared a comprehensive thirty-six page water supply management guide to implementing industry standards. Facility managers who have previously implemented a risk management system will be familiar with its structure and the recommended stages:

  • Describe your building, its use and occupants, the plumbing and water handling equipment, with special attention to dead-legs or low flow areas, and outlets that form droplets
  • Analyze your water system to identify points where Legionella might grow due to suitable temperatures, or post-heating destruction of disinfectant, increased contaminants or other factors.

Here’s a helpful building water supply system flow diagram provided in the guide:

Working Smarter and OutSmarting Bacteria

Cooling tower and other equipment susceptible to bacteria growth (hot tubs, showers, fountains, air conditioning) may require a complete shut-down that takes time, inconveniences patrons and costs money.  However, “clean-in-place” (CIP) maintenance solutions may drastically decrease the time, labor and burden of maintaining a water supply management program. For example, with the Goodway Cooling Tower Vacuum there’s no need to drain the tower – you can clean it while the tower is still online. Cooling demand is not interrupted, nor is the comfort of occupants. CIP solutions are typically more efficient and effective when compared to non-CIP solutions. For example, Goodway’s TFC-200 Cooling Tower Fill Cleaner used with a ScaleBreak Gel Descaler begins dissolving scale and grime from cooling tower fill on contact. This low viscosity acidic product is formulated specifically to adhere to and descale mineral deposits from cooling tower fill.

Final Thoughts: Clean Upfront

Whether a facility manager is in charge of an enormous water supply system or a modest system, cleaning up front takes priority over establishing a water supply program. In other words, basic preventive maintenance (PM) as equipment comes online for the first time or back online for the season must be your first step. That means using vacuums, pressure washers and the proper chemicals to safely and effectively remove scale.

Remember, your upfront PM should consider chemical and mechanical solutions that minimize labor costs and maximize effectiveness. Only then do you follow up with a well-maintained, measurable water management and treatment program. 

Next Steps:

 

Latest Cooling Tower Legionella Outbreak Underscores Cleaning Solution Challenges and Importance of Ongoing Maintenance

Another Legionella outbreak linked to cooling towers this week re-emphasizes the urgent need for facility managers to develop an effective cooling tower maintenance program. As we mentioned in part one of this two-part blog series on cooling tower cleaning solutions, various studies strongly suggest 40% to 60% of cooling towers test positive for legionella.

This latest outbreak of the potentially deadly disease was caused by poorly maintained cooling towers in buildings around the central business district in Melbourne, Australia.

Five people between the ages of 51 and 71 were hospitalized. Authorities in Melbourne are analyzing 92 building systems in an attempt to lock down the source of the outbreak. While all five people have been discharged and are recovering, one had been on life support in intensive care.

Cooling towers with heavy limescale buildup on their cooling tower fill can be the perfect breeding grounds for legionella. Once the bacteria gains a foothold, it can infect the entire system. That means sick buildings and sick people, or worse. Short of sickness, dirty cooling towers can make your building smell bad, driving customers away. And there’s also the cost to your company’s image, which might never recover.

Limescale buildup in cooling tower fill isn’t just unsightly, unpleasant and dangerous. Dirty cooling towers increase costs, big time. Limescale buildup can dramatically decrease cooling tower efficiency. That’s potentially thousands of dollars added to your electricity bill for significantly reduced performance.

Still, cleaning dirty fill is a giant headache. It’s filthy, labor-intensive work, especially when done the old fashioned way, scraping limescale off by hand. Cleaning a heavily scaled up cooling tower usually requires multiple tools. Changing tools adds more time to an already labor-intensive process. No wonder so many businesses put off cleaning cooling towers.

However, there is an all-in-one solution available to help you keep your cooling towers clean that’s simple to operate. First, rinse down the cooling tower using an integrated power washing function. Then use an integrated chemical applicator to apply a powerful, yet safe, chemical descaler gel. The gel immediately reacts with limescale deposits to help dissolve and remove them, on contact. The final step is using an integrated turbo nozzle that includes a unique spray pattern to power clean the deposits. If limescale isn’t the issue with your cooling tower fill, use a foaming cooling tower fill cleaner and turbo nozzle combination to remove biological matter and dirt.

Check out this video to get a better sense of the simplicity and effectiveness.

An all-in-one solution means fewer man hours spent cleaning cooling towers and less downtime. That means you won’t have to put off cooling tower cleaning until the last minute, saving your company tens of thousands of dollars in reduced electricity costs annually — and no bad publicity for being the source of the latest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

How Clean-in-Place Cooling Tower Solutions Reduce Hassle, Cost and Liability

Every year about 25,000 case of Legionnaires’ disease and 4,000 Legionnaires’-related deaths occur in the United States primarily due to poorly treated water systems. And your cooling tower’s hot, grimy water is a key contributor, according to a consortium of water treatment experts.

Why? When a cooling tower’s water reaches around 95 degrees in the hot summer months, legionella pneumophila, a ubiquitous aquatic organism, thrives.

Given such sobering facts, not to mention recent negative press, facility managers are certainly trying to be vigilant about cleaning their buildings’ cooling towers.

In a podcast on how to prevent legionella outbreaks, Ray Field, Goodway’s Liquid Solutions Director, says various studies strongly suggest 40% to 60% of cooling towers test positive for legionella.

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How Drones Reduce HVAC Maintenance Costs, Collect Data Quickly, and Improve Safety

Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called “drones,” are coming into their own in facility maintenance. Facility managers employ drones to inspect areas difficult or dangerous to monitor, including HVAC systems. No longer the exclusive domain of hobbyists and the military-intelligence community, drones are poised to revolutionize the way America does business.

Consider drones also being deployed to inspect difficult and dangerous areas like rooftops for HVAC maintenance. Using a drone to survey a rooftop allows you to fully understand a maintenance or cleaning need before sending a technician up, drastically reducing his time spent in a dangerous situation. Even with scaffolding and safety harnesses, he’s taking on risk. A drone, however, takes virtually no risk. You might lose the drone, but drones are comparatively inexpensive and prices keep dropping.

Check out this UAV Boiler Inspection by a drone.

Drones possess benefits far beyond safety, however. They reduce maintenance costs significantly, collecting data faster than any human can. That’s not just money saved in man hours. It’s also money saved through getting equipment back online sooner rather than later. High definition video, recorded via drone, allows facilities managers and maintenance engineers the opportunity to examine potential problems and discuss solutions from the safety and comfort of their offices.

And you can say goodbye to your clipboard. Drones collect data, then send it off for storage in the cloud. Once uploaded, facility management software makes sure maintenance requests don’t get filed away in the “pay no mind” file. Your facility management software will send an alert to the relevant maintenance technician. You then have a record of that alert, increasing both efficiency and accountability.

The footage your buddy took after he strapped a GoPro to a drone is just the tip of the iceberg. Drone applications over the next year will make day-to-day maintenance safer, easier and more cost effective. Perhaps most importantly, drones and related technology will make sure maintenance gets done. That’s an overall increase in your company’s efficiency. And that means more money to reinvest. With the cost of drones plummeting, don’t get left behind as this revolutionary new technology reshapes American industry.
Next Steps:

Subscribe to Goodway’s blog, Just Venting to learn more innovative ways to maintain your HVAC equipment.

How Chemical Descalers Clean and Maintain Boilers, Chillers and Cooling Towers

In this “Just Venting Podcast,” Ray Field, the Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, discusses the physical and financial impact of scale build-up on boilers, chillers and cooling towers. Ray also provides tips on how to avoid expensive repairs, improve energy efficiency and decrease electrical costs by implementing an effective maintenance plan.

 

Chill Out: Chemical Descaling of Condensers Maximizes Efficiency

Chiller-Tube-Cleaners-Before-After

Chiller units — open loop or closed loop — naturally experience performance degradations over time. As noted by Facilities Net, chillers and companion condenser units are often the single biggest energy spend in an organization and despite predictive maintenance methods such as vibration analysis, infrared thermography and rotor bar testing, scale and foiling still occurs. Here’s a look at the impact of scale on your condenser system and the steps you can take to maximize efficiency.

Sources and Spending

To limit the impact of condenser fouling you need to identify the source. If you’re running an open loop system, the biggest problem comes from the water source itself — minerals and other particulate matter can quickly cause scale to build up if water isn’t properly treated before being transferred to the chiller. In closed loop systems, the cooling tower itself becomes the key source of contaminants, which in turn make their way into condensers and drive the growth of scale build-up.

As noted by Innovas even small amounts of scale in your system result in big impacts. For example, a 2000 ton chiller running 3000 hours a year with an energy efficiency rating of 0.65 kW/ton gives an energy cost of $0.09 kW/hr. With just 0.006 of scale, energy costs jump $14,000 per year. At 0.036 inches, extra costs skyrocket to $95,000 per year.

Saving the System

So how do you maximize chiller efficiency and ensure you’re not wasting money on fouled condensers? ACHR News and Facilities Net suggest a few straightforward methods, including:

  • Increased Chill Water Temperature — Even increasing the chill water temperature a degree offers a 2 to 4 percent energy efficiency increase
  • Treat Water Aggressively — ACHR recommends combining an aggressive biocide plan with scale and corrosion protection practices to limit scale production.
  • Ensure a Leak-Free Unit — Leaks in condenser and chiller units introduce air into the system which significantly lowers efficiency and can also cause interior rust build-up. In high-pressure units, leaks can release hazardous gasses into the nearby atmosphere.
  • Keep Daily Logs — Keeping track of day-to-day condenser performance allows you to conduct regular data comparison and ensure you’re meeting efficiency targets.

Despite best efforts, chances are you will need to deal with scale eventually. Best bet? Leverage a high-quality chemical descaling treatment in early spring or winter months when condensers and chillers aren’t on high-use cycles. Worth noting, however, is that even minor scale build-up always trumps existing descale plans since the energy loss simply isn’t worth waiting for regular maintenance. While this may mean an unexpected shutdown of chillers for several days and a commensurate drop in productivity, this cost is minimal compared with the exponential expense of fouled condenser systems.

Scale is a cooling tower’s worst enemy: Design an effective PM procedure and descale on demand to ensure maximum efficiency. 

Next Steps:

Subscribe to our Seasonal HVAC System Efficiency Podcast Series. This time of year our focus is on Boilers, Chillers and Cooling Towers.

Let’s Talk Legionella with Ray Field, Director of Liquid Solutions

ASHRAE Standard 188-2015 has everyone in the industry raising the subject on the most effective way to manage Legionella, including more comprehensive cooling tower maintenance strategies and how these can promote better IAQ. This September 12th – 14th, at the upcoming ASHRAE IAQ Conference, Ray Field, Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, will discuss a five-step preventative maintenance program that answers some of the most common cooling tower questions facility managers and contractors have when combating Legionella and improving IAQ for more efficient HVAC systems.

Goodway_Ray_Field“Putting together a maintenance plan and developing proper procedures is no longer optional. Managers need to take these steps now to minimize the risks of an outbreak occurring in a facility.”

– Ray Field, Director of Liquid Solutions

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Studies have shown that 40 – 60 percent of cooling towers test positive for Legionella. Early detection and action can prevent rapid growth and spreading, but deferred Legionella maintenance can only reduce the performance of system equipment even more – causing higher energy expenses, irreparable equipment breakdowns, or costly replacements.

Check out this related content:

Owners of these human occupied buildings and those involved in the design, construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and service of centralized water building systems are held responsible for outbreaks and are currently holding the lives of its pedestrians in their hands. Don’t drop the ball on proper cooling tower cleaning. Learn what can be done to control the growth of Legionella in HVAC systems and prevent risking the health of others in the community.

For more information on the conference and how to register, click here.

 

The 2016 Dealer Design Award Winner is… the TFC-200!

GOODWAY_DDA_BRONZE_2016

When our customers told us they needed an effective solution for removing scale that was safer than dumping acid into cooling tower water, we were all ears. Shortly after, we introduced the TFC-200 Cooling Tower Fill Cleaner as a solution and 13 categories, 20 contractor reviews and 88 entries later, its unique features and ease of use has earned it a Bronze ranking in this year’s Dealer Design Awards from the NEWS.

A special combination of innovative chemical solutions, pump technology and unique turbo nozzles makes this machine the best in its category and one of the most efficient cooling tower cleaners on the market. This all-in-one-system uses 300 PSI of cleaning power to increase the water flow, deep clean tower fill and eliminate hiding places for Legionella, scale and other energy-robbing bacteria on contact. Plus, it was specially designed for use with ScaleBreak-Gel, our low viscosity acidic solution that provides a safer alternative with far less risks than using acids.

GOODWAY_TFC-200_DD_2016

  • Complete all-in-one system for cleaning lime scale and debris from fill
  • Equipped with two high-performance pumps for superior circulation
  • Includes all wand extensions and nozzles for cleaning hard-to-reach areas
  • Lowers health risks and eliminates growth of hazardous Legionella bacteria

Naturally, this powerful, yet safe award-winning equipment is available at Goodway. See our complete line of equipment to satisfy more of your unique cooling tower maintenance needs.

How Deferred HVAC Maintenance Fails can be Catalyst for Proactive Plans

Sick of School: Air Quality Impacts LearningThe numbers are clear: Deferred maintenance of cooling towers may save money in the moment but comes with big costs over the long term. Worst-case scenario? Employees or members of the public contract serious, water-borne illnesses such as Legionnaires’ Disease. While knee-jerk repairs can put a band-aid on this problem companies need a better way to do business: Proactive maintenance plans that both address emergent issues and keep spending under control. Here’s how to get started.

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