Whether for a single family home, large-scale apartment complex, or commercial or industrial facility, installing a boiler system is a significant investment requiring thoughtful consideration to ensure heating comfort, reliability and efficiency for years to come. Building owners, facility managers, engineers and contractors seek systems that meet specification requirements, installation ease, serviceability, reliability, lower operating Read more
Whether for a single family home, large-scale apartment complex, or commercial or industrial facility, installing a boiler system is a significant investment requiring thoughtful consideration to ensure heating comfort, reliability and efficiency for years to come. Building owners, facility managers, engineers and contractors seek systems that meet specification requirements, installation ease, serviceability, reliability, lower operating costs and higher performance. Once these major parameters are met, buyers also should consider design details that may set one boiler apart from another.
The installation process can significantly impact the overall cost of any new boiler system. Look for a boiler with design features that aid in simplifying the installation process, thus saving time and money.
Boilers with a “door-fit” design are ideal for applications that have limited access. Not having to tear out a wall or door frame can save thousands in installation expense. Likewise, boiler room floor space is always at a premium so zero clearance boiler designs where boilers can be placed side-by-side with minimal clearance is also desired. The key here is that the boiler still remains serviceable.
Sometimes getting a fork lift at the installation site is harder than one would think. Smart packaging and mobile design features that mitigate this need should be a purchase target. Integrated unloading ramps that come as part of the shipping container make the unpacking process quick and easy. Couple this feature with integrated roller casters and the boiler rolls on to the site and is easily positioned into place. If the boiler install includes a concrete pad, the shipping ramp can be used to move the boiler on to the pad as well.
Having a correctly-leveled surface is a prerequisite to proper boiler operation and performance. Boiler designs with integrated leveling legs perfectly level the area. Simply position the boiler in place and adjust the leveling legs, which are very similar to the leveling legs on a household appliance but are industrial grade to support the weight of the boiler.
There are a variety of boiler controls on the market that offer varying setup processes and functionality, ranging from simple to complex. An integrated control system that offers a user-friendly setup wizard with intuitive controls will simplify the installation process for contractors. For example, all Weil-McLain condensing boilers, including the new Stainless Steel Vertical Firetube™ (SVF), Evergreen™ and SlimFit™ boilers, include this convenient setup feature in the Unity™Controller (70-3000 MBH).
Multiple pre-set systems are another popular boiler control feature. These units feature pre-set heating systems for typical operating conditions built into the controller so installers don’t have to enter specific supply or return temperatures during installation, but rather a specific application which reduces installation costs and time while increasing reliability.
Simple, user-friendly controls also are essential for efficient boiler operation long after setup is complete. Whether managing a single boiler or a system of boilers, contractors must understand how to leverage system features to optimize performance.
In a multiple boiler system, user controls will manage multiple units to deliver the desired heat and adapt accordingly as the environment changes. For variable primary flow and hybrid boiler system applications, specifically, it is important for user controls to offer configurability between different products and technology. If one boiler in a system goes down, the unified controls will communicate across the units and vary output to adjust for the loss.
With a straightforward interface and simple navigation, contractors should seek controls that provide at-a-glance boiler status, diagnostics, troubleshooting and integration with building automation systems. The right control system will fluidly connect different boilers to work synchronously and ensure the highest level of performance and efficiency.
Similarly, when expanding a boiler system, controls that maximize energy across all boilers on a system reduces energy costs. Weil-McLain’s SmartSequencing™, for example, controls an algorithm that runs as many boilers as possible at the minimum input, therefore maximizing efficiency. With this advanced control feature, boilers maintain optimal efficiency through lead-lag rotation and balanced heat loading.
Maintenance & Serviceability
Boilers must be well-maintained for their benefits to be fully optimized, and the design of a boiler can have a significant impact on its serviceability over time. Proper inspection and regular native maintenance are vital to ensure uninterrupted, reliable and safe boiler operation. Therefore, contractors will appreciate boilers designed to make annual servicing easier.
Tasks such as cleaning heat exchangers, replacing worn out components, adjusting air fuel mixture, adjusting combustion controls, and maintaining water PH balance will improve boiler efficiency and reduce costly failures, while extending the lifecycle of the unit. Easy access to boiler components will make it easier for contractors to complete these and other critical maintenance activities that support a high-performing unit.
Something as simple as selecting a boiler with a hinged cover plate can make the inspection and regular wash down process easier. In these designs, the hinged cover plate can be safely propped open like the hood of a car, granting quick access to the center of the boiler, including the burner and firetubes, for inspection or cleaning. This is especially useful in more compact boiler locations where overhead space is limited.
In addition, consider a design with a serviceable condensate tray that collects condensation during combustion. A boiler designed with a replaceable condensate tray allows for a vulnerable part of the unit to be swapped out quickly and efficiently before an expensive impact to the entire heat exchanger occurs. This improves the longevity of the boiler and reduces maintenance costs considerably.
Commercial-sized boilers are rated according to thermal efficiency, which is the measurement of output heat from the boiler that is transferred into the overall heating system. Higher efficiency boilers offer the most by reducing annual fuel consumption and capturing energy cost savings. Reputable boiler manufacturers are rated and listed by AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute), which is a North American trade association of manufacturers of air conditioning, heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment. For example, the SVF Stainless Steel Vertical Firetube™ family can be found listed with AHRI with industry leading thermal efficiencies up to 97.1%.
Opting for a higher-efficiency boiler will result in significant fuel savings for customers, particularly when replacing an older system with a much lower efficiency rating – such as upgrading from 80% thermal efficiency design to 95% or higher. Boilers can account for about 55 percent of annual energy bills, and building owners with high-efficiency boiler systems often report energy cost savings up to 25 percent or more on their heating expenses. In addition, many regions offer efficiency rebates for installing high efficiency boiler systems.
With more boilers on the market offering similar functionality and performance metrics, it can be difficult to differentiate which design is the best for each application. All the particulars that impact a boiler’s installation including usability, serviceability and efficiency can set the superior unit apart from the rest of the field, showcasing a design developed specifically with contractors’ needs in mind. The smallest design details may have the greatest impact on a boiler’s value and performance over time, so choose wisely.
John Miller is the commercial boiler senior product manager with Weil-McLain, a leading North American designer and manufacturer of hydronic comfort heating systems for residential, commercial and institutional buildings.
With the cherry blossoms popping and temps topping 90+ degrees, it was one of the hottest days to start the spring in the DC area. And you know what that means? From the moment he picked me up for the ride along, Dan Foley’s phone was ringing off the hook, blowing up with service calls Read more
With the cherry blossoms popping and temps topping 90+ degrees, it was one of the hottest days to start the spring in the DC area. And you know what that means? From the moment he picked me up for the ride along, Dan Foley’s phone was ringing off the hook, blowing up with service calls. In addition to his normal daily routine, this day became extremely pressure packed: calls were flooding in with AC unit service calls; routine new construction site inspections; and directing one employee trying to find the right customer’s home. This was all in a matter of the first 15 minutes of the day.
The intention for the day was to take my butt around to different jobsites, which we did, but the experience was magnified due to the extenuating circumstances. But this is all in a day’s work for Foley. Along with what he calls the “persuader,” his trusty Mag-Lite full size flashlight, there is no task too tall.
The first stop was a jobsite that I had visited in the past. A routine maintenance check-up had us visiting the Rosslyn Heights East Apartments, which features two PB Heat/Peerless Brand PureFire stainless steel modulating condensing gas boilers, with Taco 1600 Series in-line pumps for heating.
Quick notes: The PureFire control system will modulate and stage the boilers as necessary to maintain the comfort level in the building, as well as to rotate the lead boiler for even wear.
The boiler control will also handle the DHW priority load and direct the hot water to indirect tank. When the indirect tank calls, the boilers ramp up to high fire and run up to 180ºF supply water temperature to quickly handle the load.
The heating system consumed 47,017 cubic feet of gas with the previous system and 28,729 cubic feet of gas after the upgrade for a total savings of 40%.
The second stop on the day was to visit Foley’s lead tech, Brian Golden, who was installing a radiant system in a North Arlington residence. The system, fueled by a Peerless MI series cast iron boiler, features Mr. PEX tubing and stainless steel manifolds, and an NTI stainless steel indirect water heater to supply domestic hot water supplied by the boiler.
The last stop was a routine site inspection and a brief talk with the owner of an approximately 7,000-sq.-ft. new construction home in northwest DC., in the Kalorama neighborhood. The visit comprised of coordinating where the ducting, boiler venting and radiant system were to be located and how it was to be installed. Mechanical products: Hydronic system will be powered by an NTI Trinity condensing boiler. Domestic hot water will provided by an NTI indirect storage tank. The radiant system will feature Mr. PEX tubing and manifolds.
Foley considers jobsite meetings and planning critical to the success of any project. He makes the effort to visit every jobsite. “It’s easy to make design changes and modifications while the jobsite is wide open rather than after the other trades have taken up valuable space,” says Foley.
Foley Mechanical provides custom-designed and fully integrated radiant heat, steam, hydronic, and mechanical systems. Based in Greater Washington, D.C., the company has designed and installed hundreds of residential and commercial systems for architecturally and historically significant homes and commercial spaces.
Lowering Water Temperature in Existing Hydronic Systems Thursday, July 25 12 noon – 1:00 p.m. CDT As the North American market for high-efficiency boilers and renewable energy heat sources continues to expand, there are increasing needs for hydronic delivery systems that complement those heat sources. In new construction situations, there are ample methods and materials for Read more
Thursday, July 25
12 noon – 1:00 p.m. CDT
As the North American market for high-efficiency boilers and renewable energy heat sources continues to expand, there are increasing needs for hydronic delivery systems that complement those heat sources. In new construction situations, there are ample methods and materials for creating low-temperature hydronic heating distribution systems. However, tens of thousands of existing buildings have “high-temperature” distribution systems that severely limit the potential of these contemporary heat sources. John Siegenthaler, P.E. will present techniques to evaluate those existing systems for potential operation at significantly lower water temperatures. He will also show practical methods of modifying them for low-temperature operation and expanded capabilities such as room-by-room zoning.
→ Is it practical to operate fin-tube baseboard at 120 ºF water temperature?
→ Should you add heat emitters to an existing series baseboard circuit?
→ What needs to be checked prior to using older cast-iron radiators in a modified hydronic system?
→ How can an older single zone distribution system be converted to room-by-room zoning?
→ Do all supplemental heat emitters added to an existing system have to be the same type?
A seasoned industry leader and passionate teacher, John shares his over 35 years’ experience in the understanding and proper application of water-based engineering principles with our audience. He is the principal of Appropriate Designs and a regular contributor to industry publications.
Coffee with Caleffi technical training webinars are free and intended for contractors, designers and wholesalers. All attendees receive a Certificate of Attendance following event. By submitting your webinar registration, you are consenting to email communications to keep you up-to-date on industry news. Please note that your personal information is respected and NOT shared externally.
Milwaukee Tool is committed to providing end user solutions to the core trades—mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP)—and it was never more evident than at its latest #NPS19 event last month. Milwaukee’s commitment to the trades, and its company-wide goal to provide innovative solutions to the end user, is commendable. For example, the company has stressed Read more
Milwaukee Tool is committed to providing end user solutions to the core trades—mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP)—and it was never more evident than at its latest #NPS19 event last month. Milwaukee’s commitment to the trades, and its company-wide goal to provide innovative solutions to the end user, is commendable. For example, the company has stressed that you won’t see their logo on cars during NASCAR races or on outfield walls at professional baseball parks. “Our focus clearly is the trades. How do we develop products, how do we understand what the user does and how do we leverage the technology? We want to combine those points to deliver disruptive innovation by investing in people,” says Steve Richman, president, Milwaukee Tool.
And just wait: later this year the company plans huge announcements that will blow your mind.
During #NPS19—held at a former retail department store warehouse nearby—Milwaukee employees were ready for the “onslaught” of coverage from the more than 100 media and social media influencer attendees. The new tools stretched from the utility, carpentry, electrical fields, and, of course, “You are seeing the depth of Milwaukee Tool’s commitment to the plumbing and mechanical contractor,” said Alex Boll, senior product manager for Milwaukee Tool.
From the very first NPS event, Milwaukee has gone from 200+ people in its R&D headquarters to more than 1,500 today, and is quickly running out of space. Nonetheless, with double-digit growth over that past 10+ years, there is a palpable excitement throughout the company. “We are seeing 100 new products this year, experiencing another year of unbelievable growth, introducing more new products than any of our competitors in this space, and delivering the message that we are a solutions company,” said Richman.
The message is clear: Milwaukee Tool wants to be known as a solutions provider first and foremost. “This is not about products, this is about solutions, and how we make the job safer and more productive every day,” said Richman. As a result, Milwaukee’s new tool lineup includes and increased emphasis on user safety, which includes equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses, safety vests, respirators, hearing protection and headlamps. “How do we partner users to be able to deliver solutions that drive productivity and safety on the job?” asks Richman.
Here are some of the tool highlights from this year’s #NPS19 event:
• M18 FUEL Pipe Threader w/One-Key—Harnessing the power, performance and run-time delivered by M18 FUEL technology, the M18 FUEL Pipe Threader w/ONE-KEY revolutionizes the pipe threading process by delivering unprecedented control for the user. With AUTOSTOP technology, which senses severe kickback and automatically shuts the tool off, a dedicated support arm to hold the tool stationary during threading, and an integrated die head lock that enables side-grip thread starts, this new tool provides.
“The introduction of the first cordless pipe threader is a monumental achievement for the M18 System and a huge step forward in productivity for tradesmen,” said Boll. “Through our advanced M18 FUEL cordless technology, we’re able to deliver a cordless pipe threader that not only surpasses the speed of corded but does so while being lighter than the leading corded solution and offering unmatched control, simplifying the entire experience from start to finish.” Available on the market—July 2019.
• M18 FUEL 9″ Cut Off Saw w/ONE-KEY—The M18 FUEL 9″ Cut Off Saw continues to showcase the power of Milwaukee’s M18 system. With the power to cut reinforced concrete as well as all common metals, this saw is extremely versatile. At half the weight of most gas cut off saws it offers no gas headaches like dangerous emissions, difficult pull start, constantly mixing gas and oil, engine maintenance, and paying for fuel. Overall, this saw gives users a much better experience on the job. October 2019
• M18 Radio + Charger w/PACKOUT Compatibility—The extremely popular PACKOUT Modular Storage System has some added wrinkles. The new M18 Radio + Charger w/PACKOUT compatibility delivers the quality sound quality and functionality. A 10-speaker system provides users with 360° sound with the loudest volume and deepest bass that the jobsite has seen. Full compatibility with the PACKOUT system assures that users can easily transport their tools and audio on and off the jobsite. This new radio/charger accepts and charges all M18TM batteries and stores mobile devices. November 2019
• PACKOUT Dolly—Constructed with impact resistant polymer, the PACKOUT Dolly provides users with a convenient way to transport their tools and equipment throughout the jobsite. Its smooth roll wheels allow the Dolly to easily roll with a heavy load up to 250 lbs, while a QUICKSTOP Loading Lever enables users to hold the Dolly in place when loading and unloading. July 2019
• M18 FUEL Sewer Sectional Machine w/Cable Drive—Expanding the offering within the drain cleaning category, Milwaukee launches the M18 FUEL Sewer Sectional Machine w/ CABLE DRIVE. The tool’s CABLE DRIVE technology provides the first Automatic Feed and Retract solution within sectional machines designed to reduce user strain when pulling back the cable from the pipe. The power to clear roots at 200 ft. with a cordless solution provides users the power they need to clear tough clogs with the easiest set up and transport allowing users to work with less hassles. Available on the Market—November 2019.
• IPS XL Rings & PEX Jaw Expansion—The 2-1/2”–4” IPS XL Ring Kit fits directly in the M18TM FORCE LOGIC Long Throw Press Tools and gives it the ability to press Viega MegaPress XL Fittings without the use of cumbersome tool extensions, while vastly expanding the range of applications the tool can accomplish. “With the addition of these jaws mechanical contractors can now make controlled, flameless connections on 2-1/2”– 4” Schedule 10 to Schedule 40 Black Iron Pipe with the very same tool they use for pressing copper, PEX, and stainless-steel. We’ve just reset the standard for productivity in large steel pipe installation,” said Boll. May 2019
• M18 FUEL SUPER HAWG—Milwaukee Tool delivers the industry’s first right-angle drill with the power to fully replace corded. Designed from the ground-up with an upgraded POWERSTATE Brushless Motor and optimized REDLINK PLUS electronics, the new M18 FUEL SUPER HAWG has the power to drill 6-1/4” holes through 6” beam at corded speed, as well as the run-time to complete single home rough-ins. July 2019
• M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light—The M18 Utility Remote Control Search Light’s magnetic base allows it to be used in alleys, backyards, or mounted directly to the vehicle. With 5,000 lumens of TRUEVIEW High Output light, it boasts a spot distance of more than 1250 yards for more visibility during night work. An easy-to-use joystick remote control provides users with more control. Rated for outdoor use with impact and vibration resistance. October 2019
Ruby’s Inn is a major resort and tourist destination located in Bryce Canyon City, Utah. With 19 buildings, 700 hotel rooms, three restaurants, an RV park, a campground, three swimming pools and a laundry facility that does 19 tons of laundry per day, the hot water system was under quite a lot of strain. Often Read more
Ruby’s Inn is a major resort and tourist destination located in Bryce Canyon City, Utah. With 19 buildings, 700 hotel rooms, three restaurants, an RV park, a campground, three swimming pools and a laundry facility that does 19 tons of laundry per day, the hot water system was under quite a lot of strain. Often, six tour buses will check in at one time, so there is frequently a large demand for hot water for showers all at once.
Ruby’s Inn was operating on an older infrastructure with no redundancy system in place for its boilers. When a boiler went down, the resort could go for up to two hours without hot water. This negative experience for Ruby’s Inn guests resulted in $60,000 a year in guest discounts and refunds due to complaints because it was operating at only 50% to 60% efficiency.
Rinnai’s Commercial Water Heating team assessed the problem and engineered a new, customized system for the resort. With the help of Blue Star Gas, a local propane sales and service provider, 175 new tankless water heaters, 35 tankless rack systems and four Demand Duo Hybrid Commercial Water Heating Systems were installed. This unique hybrid system combined the best of both tank and tankless technologies, all of which were fueled by propane, to help Ruby’s Inn save thousands on energy costs, and most importantly, ensure their customers always had hot water when they needed it.
With the new Rinnai system in place, Ruby’s Inn is projected to save $6,000 per month on propane alone due to the system’s energy efficiency. Since the installation of the Rinnai hot water system, Ruby’s Inn has experienced no lack of hot water and no customer complaints. This has freed up time and money that can be spent elsewhere. This project was the single largest commercial project Rinnai has completed to date and shows how Rinnai products can work together to create a custom solution.