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Advanced Fault Detection for Pneumatic Systems

Legacy pneumatic thermostats generate no data, so building operators are blind to the issues that exist behind walls. The terminal units may have stuck actuators or the dampers may be oscillating, but no one knows because there is no information available. These problems often persist until a hot/cold call from an unhappy occupant triggers an investigation. SMARTPneumatics makes it possible for building engineers to know how each zone is performing on an ongoing basis and to prioritize maintenance work to ensure the best performance possible from the building.

Cannot see lurking issues with legacy pneumatic thermostats

Pneumatics have long been in use and are still in around 70% of buildings in North America since retrofitting with traditional rip-and-replace DDC is costly and invasive. They are very robust, but have several shortfalls compared to digital controls.

Legacy Pneumatic Thermostats

Legacy statJCI legacy statHoneywell legacy stat

  • Hard to maintain
  • Waste energy
  • No communication
  • No visibility
  • No diagnostics
  • Difficult to troubleshoot

SMARTPneumatics graphic VAV

SMARTPneumatics automatically identifies and prioritizes faults conditions

The Wireless Pneumatic Thermostat generates pneumatic zone data for SMARTPneumatics to analyze. The system is able to identify and report several fault conditions associated with the terminal units and pneumatic infrastructure.

  • Stuck actuators
  • Oscillating dampers
  • Insufficient cooling
  • Supply or branch line leak
  • Calibration needed
  • Air system contamination

How SMARTPneumatics Works

The Wireless Pneumatic Thermostat system collects extensive sensor and operational data on zone temperatures, setpoints, occupancy modes, air pressure, etc., which is fed to the SMARTPneumatics engine.

SMARTPneumatics how it works

SMARTPneumatics’ patent pending analytics software performs fault detection diagnostics and produces an easy to read actionable report.

SMARTPneumatics report

Benefits of SMARTPneumatics

SMARTPneumatics helps building operators know whether their pneumatic HVAC terminal units are working properly. When they are not, the fault detection system lets the operator know so maintenance can be prioritized and issues addressed quickly. Building engineers can use SMARTPneumatics to achieve several benefits:

  • Prioritize maintenance
  • Reduce hot/cold calls
  • Improve occupant comfort
  • Save energy
  • Gain LEED Ongoing Commissioning points
  • Avoid damage to equipment

SMARTPneumatics Subscribers

Subscribers to SMARTPneumatics can run their own diagnostics reports at by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Daily Performance Log from your Green Box Controller (See short 43-second video)
  2. Log into
  3. Select Analysis to upload the Daily Performance Log and run the report

Download SMARTPneumatics PDF


WSTM Payback Calculator2 (years)

WSTM Installed Cost3:
$1000 per unit

Your Steam Cost:
per 1,000 lbs.

Inspection Frequency4:

Inspection Costs5:
per trap

Facility Uptime:

Failure Rate6:
per year

1. Orifice diameter should not be confused with pipe diameter. Consult the steam trap manufacturer if orifice size is not known.
2. Calculations are theoretical estimates and actual results will vary. Payback calculation includes avoided lost steam and inspection labor. Benefits from avoided damage resulting from blocked traps are not included in model. The formula used for steam loss in this model is: L=24.24*Pa*D2. Where L=pounds/hour, Pa=Pgauge + Patm , D=orifice diameter.
3. Actual WSTM installed cost will vary based on volume and integrator.
4. Refers to the manual inspections of steam traps that are currently being done at the facility. The frequency determines the potential avoided failure time when using the WSTM.
5. The frequency and cost of inspection determine the labor savings enabled by the WSTM.
6. The failure rate per year should be based on historical data from the facility. 15-20% failure rates per year are typical. In unmaintained facilities, the failure rate can be much higher: