Distributed Diagnosis of Actuator and Sensor Faults in HVAC Systems

Panayiotis M. Papadopoulos, Vasso Reppa, Marios M. Polycarpou, Christos G. Panayiotou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a model-based methodology for diagnosing actuator and sensor faults affecting the temperature dynamics of a multi-zone heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. By considering the temperature dynamics of the HVAC system as a network of interconnected subsystems, a distributed fault diagnosis architecture is proposed. For every subsystem, we design a monitoring agent that combines local and transmitted information from its neighboring agents in order to provide a decision on the type, number and location of the faults. The diagnosis process of each agent is realized in three steps. Firstly, the agent performs fault detection using a distributed nonlinear estimator. After the detection, the local fault identification is activated to infer the type of the fault using two distributed adaptive estimation schemes and a combinatorial decision logic. In order to distinguish between multiple local faults and propagated sensor faults, a distributed fault isolation is applied using the decisions of the neighboring agents. Simulation results of a 5-zone HVAC system are used to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4209-4215
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • actuator faults
  • building automation
  • distributed fault diagnosis
  • sensor faults


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