CHATSWORTH, Calif. — Venstar announced that its Explorer connected Wi-Fi thermostats, wireless temperature sensors, and Skyport cloud services are being used at the Rudy’s Bar-B-Q and Mighty Fine Burger chains to ensure indoor comfort, remote thermostat control, and HVAC equipment management.

“Using Venstar’s free Skyport mobile app, I can view and control all of the restaurant thermostats, helping to preserve the health of our HVAC equipment,” said Jay Andruk, facilities and fleet manager at Austin, Texas-based K&N Management. K&N Management is the licensed operator and local area developer for Rudy’s Bar-B-Q restaurants. It also owns the Mighty Fine Burger chain.

Challenge: Ensure Indoor Comfort and Preserve HVAC Equipment Health

 Andruk oversees the facilities management for these popular restaurant chains as well as its office buildings and storage building. In choosing new thermostats, Andruk had three main goals:

  • Preserve the health of the HVAC equipment
  • Ensure indoor comfort for the guests
  • Enable remote control of the thermostats

Solution: Venstar Explorer Thermostats and Remote Sensors

Andruk chose Venstar’s Explorer (T4900) connected Wi-Fi thermostats with Wi-Fi modules and Venstar remote sensors (model ACC-PSEN) along with Venstar’s free Skyport mobile app.

The thermostats are located in non-public areas, including kitchens and offices. The remote sensors allow monitoring of air temperatures in the areas where there are not any thermostats. Andruk also placed remote sensors in dining rooms, which are sensitive to temperature differences.

Having both thermostats and remote sensors enables temperature averaging across a wider space. This provides greater control of inside temperatures, helping to ensure a comfortable environment.

Using sensors rather than thermostats in public areas, such as dining rooms, also reduces the opportunity for guests to try to make adjustments.

Andruk uses Venstar’s free Skyport mobile app to remotely access the thermostats to check on or adjust temperatures in the restaurants. He can also turn on or off HVAC equipment so that it is not left on and running overnight, potentially damaging the HVAC units.

Using Venstar’s free Skyport mobile app is especially helpful after hours. For example, when a contractor let Andruk know that the humidity was too high for the grout to set overnight, Andruk was able to use the Skyport app to reduce the temperature from 72°F to 67° to allow the humidity to drop. This enabled the grout to set so the restaurant could open on time the next morning.

Because the kitchens can run hot, Andruk programmed the thermostats to give restaurant managers the ability to make minor temperature adjustments. This gives them some flexibility to ensure comfort in the kitchens while making sure that dining room guests aren’t too cool.

Results: Comfortable Restaurants, Optimally Performing HVAC Equipment

 Venstar’s Explorer thermostats and remote sensors with free Skyport cloud services meet Andruk’s goals of:

  • Ensuring indoor comfort at the restaurants with consistent, comfortable temperatures;
  • Enabling remote monitoring and control of thermostats; and
  • Preserving the health of the HVAC equipment by using remote access to avoid air conditioning or heating being left on overnight.

As a bonus, using the app, Andruk and his team can remotely turn HVAC units on or off when contractors are making repairs, without having to physically go to the restaurants. Andruk also appreciates that the Venstar thermostats work with all types of HVAC systems.

“In the restaurants where we installed the Venstar systems, we have not had a single rooftop unit freeze up due to people overriding the system, lowering the thermostat, and letting the A/C run all night,” Andruk said. “Today, thanks to Venstar, no matter how hot or cold it is outside, Rudy’s Bar-B-Q and Mighty Fine Burgers restaurants have consistent, comfortable temperatures.”

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