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How to select the right HVAC drive

It’s one thing knowing you need a HVAC drive to increase the energy efficiency of your air-handling system, but choosing the right equipment isn’t always straightforward. Here are some quick tips to help you make the right variable-speed drive decision and maximise the performance of your HVAC system.


On certain sites, particularly older ones not designed to house a variable-speed drive, space may be at a premium. Drive technology has meant VSDs are getting smaller, with mini drives available. If a lack of room means enclosing a drive within a control panel is not possible, the drive must have an appropriate ingress protection (IP) rating to protect components from dirt and moisture.

Communication features

Choose a HVAC drive that will easily connect to an existing building management system (BMS), with a built-in communications systems (e.g. BACnet) to enable vital data such as energy consumption to be transmitted.

Real-time clock

This is an invaluable feature, as it allows drives to reduce or eliminate energy consumption while the building is unoccupied. A real-time clock also enables accurate error logging for faster fault diagnosis.

Integrated PID controller

A PID (proportional-integral-derivative) controller interprets signals from pressure and flow sensors to enable automatic control of fan and pump speed.  

Fire mode operation

This potentially life-saving feature allows a VSD to override protection systems in the event of a fire so that fans can continue to run and extract smoke.

Of course, you can always call in an expert HVAC supplier such as Gibbons to take care of everything. We’ll assess your HVAC system and be able to recommend the ideal drive – such as the ABB ACH550 – to achieve the greatest possible energy efficiency. For more information, call HVAC Services Manager Andrew Knight on 07850 204915 or email

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