High Performance HVAC Air Conditioning & Heating Thermostats
Data Logging Thermostats
1) Question: Is there a thermostat for a nursing home with a print out for temperature verification?
This is a touchy one and takes me back to the days when I started my HVAC career working in a hospital maintenance department. It also reminds of when I was doing service calls at a nursing home and listening to all the different residents complaining about the temperature. The fact is it is almost impossible to maintain a comfortable temperature between two different people. Someone has to make a decision on the temperature setting on the thermostat and live with all the complaints. For every person who says they are cold there will be a person who says they are hot. When I worked in the hospital sometimes I was assigned to verify temperatures. The hospital had a state of the art direct digital control system and every morning the maintenance chief would get a print out of all the room temperatures. He would also have a print out of all the complaints received the day before. He would hand them off to a couple of technicians and we would go manually verify that these rooms were maintaining what the computer print out said the temperature was in those particular zones where the complaints came from.
While some would think it was a waste of time verifying temperatures when the hospital was equipped with a state of the art direct digital control system the idea of sending a few technicians to all the rooms where the complaints were coming from gave the hospital staff and patients the idea that we truly cared about their comfort and that we really had no control over the temperature because the temperature was set by the director of the hospital via computer control system to maintain a precise temperature. We were simply there verifying that the state of the art DDC controls were maintaining the temperature as designed. Beyond that, the buck stopped at the directors desk.
There are thermostats and dataloggers one can purchase that will record temperatures over a period of some time to verify temperatures. Some are state of the art and some are very basic data logging thermostat temperature readers that will record the temperature over a specific period of time. The information is recorded on a graph or chart along with a time period. These data logging thermostats are often used by manufacturers who ship food and drug products via third party transporters and they want to make sure the transporter maintained the proper temperatures for the product as specified by the shipping agreement between the manufacturer and the transporter. Transporters and shippers most often use the term tattle-tale to describe these temperature dataloggers because it will tell the receiver if precise temperatures were maintained during the shipping process. This can be a solution to see if the proper temperatures are being maintained in any type of environment.
Other kinds of data logging thermostats include a temperature sensor you place in a specific location. These data logging thermostats are powered by batteries and typically need to be set up by hooking them up to a computer and using specific software made by the manufacturer of the data logging thermostat. After a specific period of time you retrieve the data logging thermostat and hook it back up to the computer and download the data stored in the data logging thermostat. You can put the downloaded information retrieved from the data logging thermostat into charts and graphs. Some data logging thermostats also have humidity sensors so you can record both humidity and temperature. See the data logging thermostat video below.
Another option is to check to see if the building is equipped with a Building Automation System or DDC system which controls the air conditioning and heating systems in the nursing home. If so, many of these systems record the temperatures in an archive file called a trend log. These trend logs are used most often by the maintenance staff to verify accurate temperatures and to troubleshoot intermittent problems with heating and cooling systems. The trend logs should record the temperatures of the zones around the clock and depending on how the program is set up will depend on how long this information is saved before it overwritten or dumped by the program. If the building is not equipped with a building automation or DDC system one would have to find a datalogger and probably the best place to find one of this the local HVAC outlets.
Remember, temperature or desired temperature is always different between different people. What is comfortable to you will not be comfortable for someone else. Many an argument has started over the setting of the temperature on the thermostat and unfortunately that is the way it is and probably always will be. You can bet that this problem is not unique with the nursing home where you work but it is the same in practically all nursing homes across the country and around the world. Temperature and comfort are always variable things where we must learn to tolerate a temperature we not so comfortable with because another person or a nameless director has the final say of where this temperature will be set. Perhaps the decision to set the thermostat where it is was based on budget concerns or perhaps it was based on a consensus of comfort factors among a group of people residing there. No matter where you set the thermostat not every person is going to be comfortable and there will be complaints. It’s just one of those things we have to learn to tolerate. Whenever I got a chronic complainer I always thought to myself or wondered what this person would have done 100 years ago or even a thousand years ago. These things are usually beyond our control in a public or even private place so we just need to learn to tolerate the temperature as set by the management. In many cases it is beyond our control so relax, throw another blanket on the bed or take a walk and get the circulation going. Another option is a portable fan. There is always a way to make yourself more comfortable in any environment.
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