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Contractors consistently work to educate customers on the critical role maintenance plays in the longevity and reliability of a water heater or boiler. A. O. Smith and Lochinvar strive to be a key resource for contractors and homeowners to offer tools and resources to protect the life of their unit and prevent failures throughout the year.
We know that for contractors, time is money, and callback services or emergency outages only jam up an already busy day. Offering customers and homeowners the tips below for quick, easy reference can help streamline maintenance and keep water heaters and boilers working in top condition:
Maintaining an Efficient Mechanical Room
Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution to maintaining an efficient mechanical room, the best route for homeowners and facilities managers is to focus on preventative maintenance. This involves scheduling annual maintenance for a mechanical room, which can be performed throughout the year.
Recommended annual service for water heaters includes flushing and draining the unit to prevent sediment buildup — one of the leading causes of water heater failure. This task also keeps a water heater running at its highest efficiency, thus, increasing heating speeds and decreasing energy costs because the water heater doesn’t have to work as hard.
Routine maintenance is also essential for boilers to keep them running at maximum efficiency. Key components of boiler maintenance should include an inspection and cleaning of both the burner and the heat exchanger. Once that is completed, the combustion system needs to be tuned by performing a combustion analysis. This step adjusts the air-to-fuel ratio in the boiler, allowing it to achieve maximum combustion efficiency and ensuring unit reliability.
Leverage Vacation Mode
If a customer is planning on taking a vacation or having a building empty for an extended period, make sure preparing the mechanical room is on their pre-vacation to-do list.
Most modern water heaters and boilers will feature a vacation mode option, meant to maximize efficiency and keep your system safe. This feature, for example, can be found on Lochinvar’s line of KNIGHT residential boilers and nearly all of its commercial products. This adjustment can be easily accessed either via the unit’s SMART SYSTEM technology or integrated software. It can also be found on products like A. O. Smith’s Voltex Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater.
This built-in feature keeps the temperature of a unit low enough to reduce energy usage and costs while away. At the same time, vacation mode maintains a high enough temperature to prevent the risk of a unit freezing if there is a temperature drop in the surrounding environment.
In Case of Emergency
Even in a well-equipped mechanical room, emergencies can still happen, so it is best to be prepared ahead of time with emphasis in a couple of key areas:
• Stay connected: One of the best ways to prepare is to utilize connectivity software to connect a homeowner or facility manager with their mechanical room.
If a unit has smart capabilities, it typically is able to notify a user of any failures as they occur. Knowing immediately when a unit is failing can make a difference, shortening the time between failure and receiving help from a technician.
Smart technology like the A.O. Smith mobile app, which features the iCOMM connectivity platform, as well as the Lochinvar CON·X·US Remote Connect Platform allows users to remotely monitor units for on-demand and emergency maintenance. A. O. Smith’s Cyclone XL works seamlessly with the iCOMM connectivity platform to provide remote monitoring, control of the set point and differential, and run history for each connected unit. Lochinvar’s new FTX 1.0 fire-tube boiler features a 7-inch LCD touchscreen display that makes it easier for contractors to adjust parameters with minimal effort and provides access to the remote connectivity capabilities for improved ease of installation.
• Make it easy for PHCPPros: Similar to preventative maintenance, emergency situations also call for a trained professional.
While homeowners can inspect their water heater or boiler for physical damage, they should always call a qualified professional to fully inspect a unit and prevent any further issues or needs. Advise your customers to keep their utility room decluttered and clear of hazards to make for quicker, easier maintenance.
Water heaters and boilers are a major investment, and they serve a critical purpose in both homes and facilities. Making maintenance a priority can extend the lifespan of a product, prevent failures and ensure consistent, clean hot water your customers can rely on.
When it comes to ensuring proper maintenance, we also know that contractor and technician training play a key role. At A. O. Smith and Lochinvar, we pride ourselves on offering the best and most comprehensive suite of training tools available. Contractors can visit A.O. Smith University or LochinvarU for the latest digital training opportunities, including simulations, full-format videos and live sessions.Charles Phillips, is technical training manager, Lochinvar; and Jason Leonard, is marketing technology & training manager, A. O. Smith
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