An app to help with commissioning boilers makes this important task easier to perfect, as Andrew Lambert, Area Service Manager for Viessmann, explains.
Let’s be honest about this: not all boilers are commissioned with the same degree of thoroughness. Commissioning steps recommended by manufacturers sometimes get accidentally forgotten or ignored, even though this can detrimentally affect the boiler’s performance and efficiency for years afterwards. But now there’s an app that helps ensure commissioning is always done perfectly and safely. What’s more, the app has an automated function that increases the chances of the commissioning engineer being offered subsequent servicing work.
This handy tool is Viessmann’s ViStart app. Useable on smartphones and tablets, it’s currently compatible with all wifi-enabled (E3) Viessmann boilers with output up to 35kW in the Vitodens 200-W range. The app automatically establishes a connection with the boiler as soon as its integrated WiFi access point has been activated, then it communicates directly with the boiler control via its WLAN interface. This eliminates the need to access the customer’s home internet.
The app’s purpose is not to speed-up commissioning (though it does remove the need for installers new to the Vitodens to consult every page of a commissioning book, and the need to call technical support) but to ensure that no important step is missed, so that every boiler is commissioned to a consistently high standard. The app makes this easy by providing an intuitive step-by-step guide, with helpful prompts along the way. It covers time programmes, heating circuits, heating curves, DHW, the circulation pump and generates a final completion report. Even installers familiar with the Vitodens range will find the app helps them fine-tune each boiler for the scenario in which it’s fitted.
Another especially helpful part of the ViStart app is the early step covering filling and venting, which makes sure the system is kitted-off properly and starts properly. After asking for the boiler to be filled-up, the app gives a read-out of the system’s water pressure, and if this is acceptable, the app’s venting mode shifts the diverter valve backwards and forwards, periodically turning the pump on and off, to remove air from the system. Whenever I have to replace a component, I always use this filling and venting function because it’s the best way of knowing, before switching anything on, that the water is at the required pressure and the air is out.
We all know that weather compensation is becoming more popular as installers and customers are looking for efficiency from their new heating system. The ViStart app allows you to set this up, fine-tuning with an interactive graph demonstrating to both installer and end-user exactly how the Vitodens boiler will modulate as the outdoor temperature changes.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a boiler installed without these parameters being changed. This is possibly because heat curve, slope and shift are deep in the boiler settings. Now, the app leads the installer through before moving on to the next step.
The ViStart app also helps the installer-customer relationship. Even if the boiler is inaccessibly located, in a loft for example, the installer can show the customer the settings on a smartphone or iPad. Many end-users appreciate this because they want to be able to hold connectivity and information in their hand. And because the app asks the engineer to fill-in some contractor details, if a fault code should later present itself on the boiler, the end-user will be shown the installer’s phone number, increasing the installer’s chances of being asked to handle servicing and maintenance work.
The ViStart app is downloadable from the Apple app store and Google Play store free of charge. Even though I have years of commissioning experience and know Vitodens boilers well, I honestly wouldn’t be without it.