Reliability at Work: Corrosion Resistant Coatings for Connected HVAC Sensors

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Mallory McGuinness | March 24, 2021

With an increasing dependence on the Internet of Things and a growing emphasis on energy efficiency and air quality, integrated HVAC sensors are now more crucial for heating and cooling systems than ever before. As innovative sensor networks regulate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, indoor industrial work environments become more efficient to maintain and more comfortable.

While the thermostat is the most familiar sensor found in an HVAC system, today’s units employ various sensors to keep equipment running safely and smoothly to preserve human health and improve energy efficiency. While digital temperature sensors monitor ambient conditions and gases and liquids used to cool and heat the environment, pressure sensors provide efficiency, sensing atmospheric pressure to adjust output as needed. Meanwhile, humidity sensors increase comfort as they are integrated into humidification or dehumidification systems. In some cases, the various sensor types are integrated into the same device.

View our video series to see how to improve your IoT product’s reliability and durability.

HVAC Corrosion Protection is Essential

The benefits of connected HVAC systems in the workplace are substantial. But exposure to microbial buildup, airborne contaminants, salt, and acids can cause severe sensor degradation, impacting indoor air quality and reducing output. For engineers who focus on designing these connected systems, mitigating the damaging effects of highly corrosive elements in harsh HVAC environments is top of mind. Corrosion is linked to 40% of all HVAC failures, causing an imminent need to ensure HVAC units are appropriately protected.

Because the entire HVAC system must function as one unit, each sensor must cohesively work together. But when corrosion sets in, it can set off a chain reaction of damage that compounds over time, rendering each successive part useless until the unit eventually malfunctions. When these units are damaged beyond repair, design engineers run the risk of incurring warranty claims and repair costs for their businesses.

View a webinar about proven corrosion resistant methods delivered by Dr. Sean Clancy, Director of Coating Technology at HZO & Anti-Corrosion Expert

The Downfalls of HVAC Downtime

In some instances, connected HVAC systems temporarily fail as a result of sensor damage. Still, even temporary HVAC downtime can cause severe detriments to health and productivity in the workplace, which can cause unhappy customers for product design teams with outcomes including:

  • Compliance Issues: Even a temporary HVAC failure can reverberate through the rest of the building, as regulations may require decontamination and inspections, adding to compliance overhead.
  • IT Downtime: IT server rooms and data centers require continuous cooling to operate effectively. Suppose the temperature in the environment is even a few degrees off. In that case, servers can substantially slow down, causing equipment failure and a cascade of problems throughout the system, ultimately leading to lost data, equipment, and opportunities.
  • Health Problems: Allergens, bacteria, and other irritants can clog air ducts, resulting in employee illness and liability issues.

Corrosion Resistant Coatings Protect HVAC Investments

Design engineers working on HVAC systems should invest in anti-corrosion coatings to prevent system failure and downtime. When protective coatings are applied to HVAC sensor components, it is possible to thoroughly defend sensitive circuitry against corrosive environments and associated effects. When coating systems are implemented correctly, they can extend the life spans of HVAC systems, providing real-world energy savings. Therefore, HVAC protective coatings are not only critical for HVAC performance. They are necessary to meet environmental, economic, and regulatory demands.

However, not all coatings are the same, so the design characteristics and inherent benefits of a coating to a specific location or HVAC unit must be aligned. Product design teams should be vigilant about choosing the suitable coating to meet their needs.

Corrosion is linked to 40% of all HVAC failures.

Protect Your HVAC Sensors With HZO

Known for their liquid-resistant and barrier properties, HZO’s thin-film Parylene conformal coating and nanocoatings are ideal coating products to protect investments, reduce warranty claims, and mitigate downtime risks. With an ability to protect against water accumulation, our coatings work as a barrier to water on contact so that sensors can operate at maximum efficiency. This property is of particular value where cooling is a function of the HVAC unit; excess moisture and condensation from changing pressure levels and temperature can cause water to gather in puddles, allowing corrosion and buildup to occur. HZO coatings can work as a buffer by preventing corrosion and product failure.

Since our thin-films form a uniform, dense barrier around sensors or the circuitry inside, they provide a strong line of defense. Our vacuum processes ensure that the protective HVAC coatings are free of pinhole leaks, voids, or defects. Curing is unnecessary, allowing for an efficient application process. Furthermore, the coatings are highly chemical-resistant and maintain strong protection throughout temperature fluctuations and extremes.

Contact us for a Consultation

Connected HVAC systems can be critical for meeting a business’s financial goals. Large operations, round-the-clock processes, more floor space, and regulatory compliance demands are now every day in industrial workplace environments. HVAC manufacturers investing in protective coatings means that sensors, systems, and architectural structures last longer and don’t need to be repaired or replaced as frequently. As protective coatings allow for efficient HVAC units at all times, carbon footprint and electricity consumption is reduced, giving customers access to more resourceful ways to spend money rather than being forced to rely on simple maintenance.

As a design engineer, before you can optimize your HVAC sensors with superior protection, you must know precisely which type of coating must be used for your particular application. That’s where our experts come in. For a consultation, reach out to us at any time.

When protective coatings are applied to HVAC sensor components, it is possible to thoroughly defend sensitive circuitry against corrosive environments and associated effects.

Mallory McGuinness

Mallory is an electronics protection evangelist who writes content for HZO. In her free time she is reading non-fiction, and hanging out with her beta fish, King Awesome.

Ryan Moore

Ryan is a 9-year veteran to the world of protecting electronics from harsh environments and a lover of all things technology.

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