With Hurricane Ian quickly approaching, facility managers are taking precautions to minimize damage. As a reminder, the GridPoint team is available to assist customers in any way we can during the storm. If your business has locations in Ian’s path, here are a few things to help you prepare for the storm and what to do if your site encounters an issue.  

  1. If you are adjusting business hours for sites in the storm’s path, contact our support team to help adjust the site hours by calling 866-800-8906, option 1. 
  2. If you have access to GridPoint Energy Manager (GEM) and you have sites that may experience power outages:  
    • Use GEM to see which sites are experiencing an outage by selecting all your sites in the Site Tree and navigating to Site Details on the top right of the homepage. 
    • If a site has power and the controller is not displaying as connected, please perform a reset using these instructions for the type of controller you have installed. 

EC-2000 Controller:  

  • Use a paperclip to access the pinhole reset at the bottom of the controller 
  • Upon rebooting, a screen should appear 
  • Wait a few minutes before testing 

EC-1000 Controller: 

  • Depress the plastic clips at top and remove the faceplate 
  • Unplug the ethernet cable (should be in left port under the touchscreen) 
  • Hold the reset button for 3 seconds 
  • As the screen boots back up, reconnect the ethernet cable into the ethernet port on the left side. Reboot may take up to five minutes. 

EC-100 Controller: 

  • Make sure the USB adapter is removed 
  • Press and release the white button on the top of the controller 
  • If after the reset the controller still appears offline in GEM, please call GridPoint Support to troubleshoot further at 866-800-8906, option 1. 

3. If a controller is displaying as offline at your site but the site has power:  

  • Your thermostats will remember the schedule and your units should continue to operate as expected. 
  • The data will not be visible while the controller is disconnected. When the controller comes back online, the data will be backfilled. 

Businesses in high-risk zones typically have structured emergency protocols. However, protecting costly, essential equipment like HVAC units is often overlooked. Below are a few tips on how to avoid damage to your HVAC units and further minimize downtime during and after the storm. 

Why is it important? 

  • High winds from a storm or hurricane can easily damage the fins of HVAC units, and in some extreme cases, dislodge the units from their mounting base. 
  •  Exposure to a small amount of water can cause corrosion and damage, even if the outside of the unit looks dry. If saltwater gets in the units, the wiring and valves can quickly get corroded.  
  • Units that are kept on during the storm can get significantly damaged from power surges caused by lightning and other broken power lines. 

What can you do? 

There are a few simple steps that you can take to prepare your HVAC units for extreme weather. This can help your facility avoid major damage, costly repairs or replacements, and extended downtime after the storm.  

Before the Storm 

  • Cover your HVAC unit to keep debris out and prevent water flooding into the interior components. 
  • Tightly secure your unit down with hurricane straps; heavy winds can dislodge components of the unit. 
  • If floodwater is a concern, have your HVAC unit placed on an elevated platform. 
  • Understand how your unit is performing prior to the storm to evaluate whether the storm had an impact on performance. You can do this through data collected by an energy management system (EMS) or through a preventative maintenance check. 

During the Storm 

  • Turn off the breakers to your AC or heat pump and indoor air handler or gas furnace to avoid damage caused by power surges when power is restored. 
  • Turn off the gas supply to furnaces to prevent leaks. 

After the Storm 

  • Do not turn on your HVAC system right after the hurricane has passed. 
  • Remove the tarp or cover and inspect the unit for any signs of damage. 
  • Remove any debris that may have lodged around the unit. 
  • If there is any indication of flooding in or around the unit, do not restore power or turn on the thermostat until a technician has checked the unit and confirmed that it is safe. 
  • Utilize GridPoint’s HVAC testing tools or have an HVAC technician test each unit to ensure everything is properly working.

Smart building technology, such as GridPoint’s, provides facility teams with greater visibility into how their facilities operate during these stressful, severe weather events. Users can view performance graphs across their sites in real-time, as well as monitor power quality and energy consumption at sites that are in a storm’s impact path.  

Please reach out to the GridPoint team with any questions at 866-800-8906, option 1 and stay safe!