Why the HVAC industry should embrace #cloud software

The cloud is a wonderful way for small/mid sized HVAC companies to really and truly make a serious change to the way they work and manage their business.  Adopting a well designed cloud solution to manage assets, workflow, scheduling, F-Gas compliance and staff will have long lasting beneficial effect for any company that are forward thinking enough to realise that the crazy spreadsheets and “Only I know how to do it” systems will ultimately be their demise in a world where young and tech savvy startups are appearing daily just waiting to out tweet, out market and out price you!


What is the cloud?

Put simply, Cloud is a way of delivering software via the Internet rather than more traditional methods of installing software on computers from disks or downloads.  There are also some cloud based models that use Internet based software and a combination of locally installed software and/or mobile apps.  These are a kind of cloud “hybrid”.

What are the main benefits of a cloud solution over traditional software?

The benefits are numerous.

  • Lower CAPEX costs
  • Faster deployment / lower risk
  • Low or nil running and upgrade costs
  • Easy to expand if you choose the right provider
  • Lower cost backup and security
  • Always upto date
  • Available on almost any Internet connected laptop or tablet

To explain these benefits further:

Lower CAPEX costs are a common feature of cloud solutions.  Because the software is usually shared across many users, it costs less for the provider to “setup” your software.  In fact setup is often “Instant” and requires little more than a simple signup process to begin using the software immediately.  This means fast deployment times and low risk as many providers offer free or close to free evaluation periods.

Once you find a solution you get along with, rolling out across the company is usually a simple administration process rather than a technical one.  In a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, you simply choose a payment option that suits your needs and begin using on a fixed cost or pay as you go basis.  Adding more engineers, assets and other information as you are required to.  The provider expands your storage space and computer resources to serve your needs so you only pay for what you need.

The same is to be said for upgrades to hardware.  A reliable provider will be undergoing constant hardware expansion and upgrading to their servers which in turn means you get the best experience possible at a fraction of the cost of setting up “Bare Metal” (servers in your building or data centre)

Most cloud services will include automated backup features as part of the SaaS model.  This means the provider takes responsibility of at least ensuring your software and settings are backed up and ready to restore on demand.  Further to this some providers will give you the option to download copies of your data to store offline as well.

A modern hosting provider will usually have far better backup facilities than the average business can ever hope to achieve.

Software has always been subject to updates! In fact it always will be. Cloud makes this an almost irrelevant consideration.  As new versions of the software are developed and bugs are fixed, they are rolled out onto the cloud in such a way that the end user is always using the latest and best version of the software.

Last but not least is availability… This where cloud wins hands down every time.  Getting access to your software is usually as simple as launching a browser window on your laptop or tablet.  A well designed cloud platform will have some form of resilience built in that enables the main function of the software to work whilst not connected to the internet or in bad signal areas.  But lets face it, if you think how many hours you have lost to restarting windows and how many times you honestly don’t have an Internet connection then cloud really has very few drawbacks.

What are the drawbacks of cloud?

There really are none, but if you had to pick one then it would be concern over privacy.  By that I am talking about the dreaded idea that someone else might see your data.  My answer to that would be “Stop worrying”.  A really well developed enterprise cloud solution is far less likely to be a privacy issue than your 5 year old, out of date laptop with free AVG virus killer and 300 malware issues.

Further reading

If you are still not convinced that cloud can make a difference and you are asking yourself “Whats the catch?” then why not read Pitfalls of migrating from paper to mobile for AC & Refrigeration engineers which covers some of the less commonly discussed considerations as well as discussing ways to make your first step into the cloud.








Don’t use 2 systems to track F-Gas bottles and manage service visits

Computers are supposed to make things simple.  However, as the ACR industry moves closer to a fully digital future the risk of adopting several systems to manage different tasks will likely lead to serious data sharing and access problems over time.


The tracking of F-Gas bottles via barcodes used to be the domain of large enterprise FM companies, however there are several emerging systems that help you keep a basic track of what bottles you have and when to return them.  No bad thing? Well, not if thats all you want to do with them.

The real benefit of computerisation however is the idea that all systems can talk.  Until now this has been a fairly unachievable goal.

If you have considered using a digital or mobile F-Gas and ACR field service solution (which many have) the problem of having more than one system holding useful data becomes compounded.  You end up using bottle tracking to remind you when to return bottles, field service to schedule jobs and possible XL or some oner solution to print and manage F-Gas, ODS and service certificates.


Meet RedPoint F-Gas Software, the 2013 RAC Cooling Award Finalist

A complete turnkey solution that integrates not only bottle tracking, but F-Gas usage on a per bottle/asset basis along with a seamless field service applications that uses all common barcode systems to integrate barcode scanning into the ACR facilities management work flow.

Engineers can :

  • add and return bottles from stock with a single scan
  • select bottles to decant or recover gas to directly into the job sheet
  • add and commission new ACR assets
  • carry out ad-hoc and scheduled maintenance on assets in your care

Asset and facilities managers can:

  • see all jobs in progress
  • schedule service
  • deploy engineers to a single or 100′s of assets
  • search, view print or email PDF F-Gas and commissioning certificates in seconds
  • see upcoming work
  • create calendar events
  • view all f-gas usage on a per asset/bottle/engineer level down to 0.001 kg per delivery/recovery
  • see all f-gas across any location/installation/entire group of companies
  • deploy ad-hoc sub contractors via the economical app
  • produce tailored asset lists

This is how F-Gas asset management should be.  A single sign on cloud based solution for organisations from 1-1000 engineers that takes care of everything required to perform HVAC service and installation work wight he added bonus of complete F-Gas compliance that exceeds current requirements!

Available for single engineer companies on a pay per use basis and from £360 plus Vat for multi engineer companies.

See the main website for more information today






RedPoint F-Gas V1.0.4 now supports A-GAS barcodes

Keeping track of not just F-Gas bottle locations and return due dates but also F-Gas usage is a tricky task. Thankfully there is an easier way thanks to RedPoint F-Gas V1.0.4.

The latest app update now supports the direct scanning of popular F-Gas bottle barcodes directly into its existing app workflow.


Simply add and remove bottles from the system by scanning the generic barcode provided by the manufacturer. There is no need to print your own codes as all bottles supplied already have barcodes.

As well as providing you with easy ways to add and return bottles with a single scan, RedPoint F-Gas App also allows you to scan bottles used during service directly into the service job sheet. Simply enter the quantity of gas used and RedPoint does the rest, keeping your F-Gas records accurate to an unmatched level of accuracy!

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Drill down on every bottle to see how every drop of gas is used by asset, date, even the engineer who added or recovered the gas.

RedPoint F-Gas is the only cloud based F-Gas compliance and HVAC field service software that supports the direct scanning and management of F-Gas bottles.

Read more here, or why not download the app today and get started with your free single engineer account?



Case study: Managing F-Gas compliance for asset owners in local authority settings

Customer X is a local authority with numerous offices and commercial buildings, many of which are equipped with Air Conditioning and some with F-Gas containing heat pumps.

Since the introduction of F-Gas recording legislation, customer X has strived to manage F-Gas compliance and services using a combination of paper, spreadsheets and shared calendars.

The existing approach was troublesome for many reasons.

  • Often more than one contractor was used to carry out service work on F-Gas containing assets across the local authority area.
  • In addition, spreadsheets were often lost or corrupted.
  • Sharing spreadsheets only added to the confusion.
  • Large amounts of paper were in use that require storage in an accessible way.

It was identified that a centrally available solution was required to reduce the chance of legally required records being lost or corrupted, reduce errors, manage contractors more efficiently and reduce the amount of unnecessary paperwork being generated.

  • RedPoint F-Gas was employed to setup a central database of locations and responsible managers for these locations.
  • The authority employed a single contractor to oversee management of the system and to capture asset lists for all locations during their next scheduled service.
  • Engineers were added to the system and provided with mobile apps for their devices.

Since the deployment of RedPoint F-Gas in this setting,

  • All F-Gas certificates are stored electronically for immediate retrieval.
  • The responsible contact is easily accessed securely.
  • Maintain detailed records of all AC assets and their service and performance history.
  • As scheduled services become due the appropriate contractor is notified and allocated the work.
  • As soon as the contractor completes work the system records all service work carried out.
  • All F-Gas regulations are complied with through the use of RedPoints strict F-Gas compliance frameworks.
  • The cost of using RedPoint F-Gas is calculable to reduce the net cost of AC F-Gas compliance paperwork management by 66%.
  • The use of RedPoint F-Gas to enforce the F-Gas compliance framework keeps the local authority legally protected.


Customer X reports that the system has made it easier to manage their F-Gas compliance records leading to peace of mind and improved legal compliance throughout the setting.

RedPoint F-Gas is available via your Air Conditioning installer, authorised RedPoint Reseller or directly from our UK distributor.








How can #CAFM lower cost and improve efficiency in Air conditioning service #SaaS #cloud

Computer Aided Facilities Management or CAFM is the term used to describe the use of one or more integrated software systems that allow an organisation to organise and catalogue assets in a database.

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The database is the central core of the CAFM system and allows multi hierarchal systems to act upon and select the data to drive useful information systems and processes critical to the core business function.

Examples of information gathered or created by CAFM are:

  • Schedule on demand and ad hoc service visits
  • Keep track of consumables used to deliver the service
  • Manage remote engineers and mobile work force personnel
  • Interact with remote Machine to Machine M2M systems to gather sensor data
  • Monitor job status and service performance
  • Generate reports
  • Predict future work loads and drive decision making

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Service is a perfect example of an industry that can lever the potential of CAFM.  The high number of assets involved and the on site nature of their maintenance make it voracious consumer of man hours.  Costs saving opportunities are few and far between so small savings in fixed processes are obvious targets to save money and time.

Our research into costs attributed to the use of paper and pen versus mobile digital asset capture and service record generation threw out some interesting results.

The average small Air Conditioning  service business can service at least a thousand AC assets in a year.  A typical F Gas and service sheet would contain anything upto 30+ fields of specific information.  Roughly that is 30,000+ fields of text (100,000 words) to hand write onto paper.  Those same 100,000 words are then typed across to another system when an engineer gets back to the office, and by this point there is no real database as such in place for all that effort! Just duplication and time wasted.   The average unskilled typist manages just 19 words per minute when composing text!

“Paper and pen is costing your Air Conditioning service business AT LEAST £926  to $1398 USD a year”

100,000 words / 19wpm = 5263 minutes 5263/60 minutes = 87.7 Hours spent typing up information from written service forms.  Another way to put that is around 5 and a half minutes to process a single service form from paper to spreadsheet.

The average wage of a HVAC and Refrigeration engineer is £10.57 or approx. $16 USD.  So with the above in mind, paper and pen is costing your Air Conditioning service business AT LEAST £926  to $1398 USD a year for a single busy service engineer.  That equates to approx. £0.92p or $1.39USD per asset serviced.

Add to that the cost of 1000 paper forms X 2 in duplicate, printed out again in the office and possibly then sent to a customer.  Add the cost of printing and the cost of your ever swelling hard disk and backups

Add further to that the cost of errors, lost paperwork, return visits etc and we can see the cost keeps growing.  If that sounds realistic to you, then clearly there is some room for improvement?

Any size of HVAC business can move to a paperless solution and realise huge savings and improve their image to customers and reduce carbon usage and waste.

Until today you may not have considered the hidden costs of service work, slowly eating away at your bottom line.  Hidden as they are they are easy to see once you look for them.  Click here to run our free online HVAC Service Cost Calculator and see for yourself. The good news is that no matter what size of service business you run, you can have access to the latest technology for a cost that totally makes sense.  Not only does moving paperless save cost, time and reduce errors it also adds a number of other benefits such as:

  • improved efficiency
  • more accountability
  • reduced theft
  • improved customer experience
  • improved company image
  • competitive advantage
  • the ability to expand and reduce team size quickly
  • reduced staff frustration
  • more pens in the stationery store ;-)

RP F Gas is the clear standard in multi device and cross platform service software.  Offering what we believe to be the most simple to calculate cost per use available today.

Built on some of the industries most powerful cloud computing platforms for seamless scaleability, RP F Gas Software is managing, protecting and helping service teams nationally to deliver cost reductions and improved efficiency.

Backed by a growing number of international distributors including HVAC trade counters who can help and advise you on how to get the best of your system and keep you upto date with the latest developments.