Troubleshooting HVAC Operations

Mechanical systems providing thermal comfort and air quality fall under the category of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning). These systems include central air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, rooftop units, and chillers. Like any other mechanical unit, HVAC components need to be maintained and/or replaced in order to keep the system running to its full potential.

Issues with bearings, seals, couplings and belts can cause considerable damage in HVAC systems. Other problems such as loose valves, restricted airflow and temperature fluctuations can also raise equipment costs and lower productivity.

In many HVAC applications, MagnaDrive engineers have offered to look at the efficiency and productivity of the system and suggest potential upgrades. The following three examples are applications where MagnaDrive VTX couplings and adjustable speed drives provided immediate benefits to the customer.


University of Utah

When the University of Utah’s steam plant experienced extreme vibration on their hot water pumps, technicians had to replace bearings and seals on each pump an average of twice per year. MagnaDrive approached the university with a proposal to install VTX-11 couplings on the hot water pumps. The intent was to eliminate the need to replace bearings and seals multiple times per year.

After installing the VTX-11 couplings, the University of Utah reported that they no longer had to change seals and bearings out every six months. In addition to saving $2,000 per year on seals, the university also saved almost $12,000 on additional maintenance that was performed before the installation of the VTX couplings.


The Grand Hyatt Hotel — Seattle

The Grand Hyatt experienced a number of complaints that water pressure on the upper floors (during periods of high occupancy) was insufficient. The Grand Hyatt decided to install MagnaDrive’s 10.5 ASDs in order to regulate water pressure and flow so that it could be tailored to occupancy levels and guest demand. The hotel had experimented with VFDs in the past but experienced problems.

The ASDs provided all rooms with the required water pressure and flow regardless of occupancy level. Water pressure was now maintained in an even, consistent manner. System vibration levels were reduced by 70%. Due to this suggested upgrade, the hotel saved approximately $11,000 in energy and maintenance costs per ASD each year.


Fort Wainwright (US Army, Alaska)

This Army post in Alaska serves approximately 7,000 soldiers and 6,500 family members, 2,400 civilians and contractors and 7,800 retirees and veterans. 

Severe misalignment of rigid couplings caused the Army to replace these couplings up to four times per year on each of their pumps. The Army decided to install MagnaDrive VTX couplings to not only solve their vibration issues, but also save energy by  taking the advantage of couplings to slip.

The Army decreased measured vibration levels by up to 60%. However, they were even more impressed with the energy savings – power draw measured only 2.6 kW with the VTX couplings, while it measured 3.3 kW with the rigid couplings. In the end, the Army saved almost $900 (per pump) each year.

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