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Sometimes really cool projects fall your way. This giant stainless-steel air separator was one of them. A customer called asking if Taco made “custom” tanks, air separators, etc. Of course, Taco is capable of building virtually anything made of metal / steel that can be fabricated, and everything is ASTM certified. The customer needed a VERY large, custom air separator for a process application and the system required that the air separator be constructed entirely of stainless-steel.

Removing air and dirt from any hydronic system is critical to maximizing system efficiency and most importantly, for prolonging the life of the pumps and the rest of the equipment in the system. The project was a tall order, literally, but Taco was up to the task!

Custom Design

The design was based on Taco’s top-of-the-line 4900 series air and dirt separator with some very unusual dimensions; 132” (11 feet) tall and 66” (5.5 feet) in diameter. Flow requirements necessitated the tank to be 30” in diameter!

Once we had the requirements from the customer, we asked Taco engineering to provide design and full submittals, including drawings, pressure drop calculation and minimum / maximum conditions of the unit. After the submittals comments and design were finalized, the unit was released for fabrication using ½” wall, 304 stainless-steel. All work was performed in-house by Taco craftsman, using Taco equipment, including rolling the ½” wall steel on their own rolling equipment. Taco’s fabrication shop, certified welders and capabilities are second to none in the industry!

A Small COVID-19 Setback

The project began, just as the COVID-19 virus hit, requiring Taco to shut down briefly, then adjust to local (Massachusetts) state ordered production rules. This reduced the total weekly operating hours, limiting them to four-day shifts, and requiring sanitization of the entire facility at the end of each week to ensure the safety of their employees.

Despite this, Taco’s Fall River Massachusetts facility (the pumps and drives are made in Rhode Island) completed the fabrication, pressure tested the unit and shot-blasted it prior to shipping it. According to Anthony DeMoura, Taco’s Vice President of the Fabricated Products Division & PIFA Foundry Operations, this was the largest stainless-steel vessel they have ever made.

Specialized Shipping

A specialized cartage company had to be used because the air separator weighed four tons! As you can see from the photos, the design, transportation, and install was a tremendous success! Everyone involved in the project pulled together in order to make this custom air separator and the unit was featured in this month’s Taco newsletter.

Need a custom piece of equipment for your project? Trust us to handle it successfully for you. Give us a call at 800-355-7061 to talk through your needs and get ideas on how to tackle it.

Nexus has released another Nexus Fast Fact video introducing their Bypass & Flush Kits. Host Nick Howell explains the benefits of both kits and how they can offer you complete isolation and protection of sensitive equipment on the supply and return of your coil.

Both of these kits are going to allow for forward and backward flushing without removal of any strainer screen, flow control cartridge, coil, or any other orifice or piece of equipment that shouldn’t be flushed through.

It’s going to offer complete isolation and protection for all the sensitive equipment on the supply and return. And it will allow for full circulation of the system during flushing.

If you have any questions on these new bypass and flush kits or want to place an order, give us a call at 800-355-7061.

One of our top selling manufacturing product lines, Nexus Valves, has started a new Fast Facts video series on some of their products. They are short, to the point, and very helpful. Please take two minutes to watch them and you’ll be glad that you did!

The first one is on the Flamcovent Clean Smart air separator, which removes even the smallest microbubbles from the system water. Air and dirt in an installation cause problems like unnecessary breakdowns and extra wear or noise, but also lead to disruptions in the installation, less heat transfer and reduced pump performance. The result: higher energy consumption and an unreliable installation.

The Flamcovent Clean Smart air separator is virtually maintenance-free with a negligibly low flow resistance. The air and dirt separator can be incorporated in a variety of heating and cooling systems and in every desired direction. The absence of obstructions in the main flow ensures that clogging or blockage is prevented which guarantees superior and continuous operation over its service life. The air chamber of the separator is conical in shape leaving little chance of contamination. According to Nexus, the Flamcovent Clean Smart air separator offers 60% better performance compared to conventional separators.

Here’s the Nexus Fast Facts video, hosted by Nick Hallowell, featuring the Flamcovent Clean Smart air/dirt separator.

And, here’s an illustrated video of how the product works.

If you have any questions on this air/dirt separator or want to place an order, give us a call at 800-355-7061.

Sterlco® Boiler Feed Units are very popular with our customers for a variety of reasons. With more than 100 years of application experience, a diverse engineering staff, state-of-the art engineering design capabilities including custom applications, Sterlco is a brand you can trust to build into your customer solutions.

Their company vision is to be the foremost equipment provider in the steam auxiliary marketplace, which makes us proud to represent this line.

Their boilers are designed to be reliable and efficient at maintaining proper water levels.

Each unit features heavy-duty cast iron receivers for long operating life. In addition, the 3450 RPM motors assure maximum efficiency while maintaining minimum motor horsepower.

Available in steel, cast iron and stainless steel receivers, Sterlco Boiler Feed Units are available with extensive capacity configurations and optional features. Decades of reliable system performance draws customers to Sterlco steam control equipment for commercial and industrial HVAC, food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, schools, power utilities, refineries and petrochemical applications.

In addition, Sterlco boiler units are assembled and tested in New Berlin, Wisconsin and have plenty of accessories and options to meet your specific needs.

You can grab a copy of their Boiler Unit Brochure here or give us a call with any questions on products or pricing at 800-355-7061.

 

All heating equipment needs maintenance in order to operate in peak condition. Do you offer a service to take care of your customers’ boilers, with a regular maintenance program?

If not, you should. Boilers, like cars or any other mechanical devices, are subject to wear and tear. They need adequate maintenance, to ensure that they don’t break down because if they do, it’s guaranteed NOT to be at a convenient time to repair it. Waiting until something breaks down before repairing and maintaining it, always ends up costing you far more money, unhappy residents, higher labor rates, etc. because it’s usually during peak service demand, or in the middle of the night, or on a weekend. Usually, you end up in scramble mode trying to fix a problem that could have been avoided with regular care.

Providing regular maintenance programs to your customers, is also a good way to build long-lasting customer relationships and add a consistent revenue stream for your business.

Annual maintenance and monthly water quality checks can prevent premature malfunctions and potential boiler breakdowns caused by poor water quality, leaks or water pressure. Any boiler’s functionality can be easily compromised and impact energy efficiency which creates a large bill for your customers.

So, what are some best practices to keep boilers operating in peak condition? Here are 8 annual maintenance steps from Patterson-Kelley to help maintain energy efficiency and extend the life of your customers’ boilers.

  1. Replace all parts affected by wear and tear, every year!

Your annual maintenance kit should include all parts that need to be replaced, including gaskets to re-seal the combustion inspection covers that were removed to clean the fireside. We offer a P-K annual maintenance kit that includes all parts you need for this. Give us a call for information and pricing to get yours.

  1. Inspect the fireside of the heat exchanger

After 2,500 hours of operation, or at least once a year, you should inspect the fire-side of the heat exchanger. You can access the fireside by removing the inspection covers. Any fireside fouling should be removed by using clean out tools and water washing the fireside surface. A thin coat of mineral oil can be used on an aluminum boiler to help minimize potential fouling in between annual maintenance checks. Verify that no debris came loose and fell to the bottom, potentially clogging the air path.

  1. Remove the burner, thoroughly wash and clean the mesh

This should be done even if the burner appears to be clean. After washing the burner; reinstall it and use the fan test option to blow dry the burner. DO NOT fire the burner while wet.

  1. Replace old igniter, flame rod and gaskets

These parts are included in your maintenance kit. It is important that you DO NOT reuse old gaskets.

  1. Select the righT Water Treatment to Prevent Scale

Water side scale is equivalent to having a thin film of insulation between the furnace gases and boiler water. It can drop a boiler’s efficiency by as much as 12% – 21%.

  1. Re-start the equipment and adjust combustion using a calibrated analyzer

A water tube manometer will be necessary to check for proper draft readings.

  1. Inspect electrical connection for corrosion

Condensation can cause corrosion on the electrical connections of a boiler. Check for broken or cracked fusers and replace anything that looks questionable, then test the unit. It is also important to ensure that the electrical connections are tight.

  1. Clean the condensate trap

Once again, the condensate produced by condensing natural gas boilers is corrosive. The condensate trap must be cleaned annually and inspected for potential leaks.

You can also download this checklist from Patterson-Kelley on how to design the system to ease annual boiler maintenance.

Mechanical Equipment is your local Patterson-Kelley representative, and you can call us anytime if you have questions, concerns or would like to order a Patterson-Kelley Boiler Annual Maintenance Kit.

BoilerCondensing BoilersHydronic BoilersNon-Condensing BoilersCondensing,commercial boilers

A commercial hybrid heating system can be the perfect option for your next boiler room upgrade. In this latest blog post from Patterson-Kelley, “Commercial Hybrid Heating Systems, Explained in Less Than 700 Words!” you’ll see how a hybrid heating system can help you save money on your initial investment, while still operating at the highest levels of efficiency.

 

Commercial Hybrid Heating Systems, Explained in Less Than 700 Words!

Eventually, all commercial heating systems need to be replaced – and whether you replace one unit, or five, it will require a significant investment in time and money.  In upgrading your system with the latest technology can offer in condensing equipment, high system efficiency, building management and connectivity, the cost to retrofit your boiler room can escalate quickly.

Fortunately, there is an additional option. You can choose to update your boiler room while saving on installation cost and optimizing your heating system efficiency by considering a hybrid system approach.

 

What is a Commercial Hybrid Heating System?

Hybrid systems consist of one or more condensing boilers, combined with one or more non-condensing boilers that perform the same function. It is designed to both, accommodate building loads, and provide instant savings on the cost of installation.

The design of a hybrid system is calculated to handle the building load with the condensing boiler(s) until it can no longer condense or maintain high efficiency levels. Condensing boilers are more efficient when maintaining lower temperatures and lower percentage of boiler modulation (1-50%). Once they begin exceeding certain parameters, they become less efficient.

In a hybrid system, the temperature required to heat the building on a given day would be used to calculate the building load and size the unit(s) accordingly. For example, an engineer would select a specific building and calculate the energy required down to a specific outdoor temperature without exceeding 150°F boiler temperature. When the system calls for 150°F and below the condensing boiler will run, but when the system calls for 151°F or above the non-condensing boilers will kick-in to accommodate the load. This is assuming that the system will operate at a 30° delta T, so that the return temperature is at 120°F to 130°F. This will cause the condensing boiler(s) to provide high efficiency to the best of its capacity.

 

Proper Control of a Hybrid Heating System

Applying the right control to a hybrid system design is extremely critical for proper boiler sequencing, and to attain the most condensing run-time during boiler operation. The end user must be able to prioritize the start sequence of the boiler system. In the case of mild weather, the condensing boilers must have priority in satisfying building load requirements. When the weather changes, and the outdoor temperature drops below the point of boiler condensation (90%+ efficiency), the control should engage the non-condensing boiler(s).  At this point the difference in efficiency between the two types of boilers should be about 1-1 ½ %. The condensing boiler will now be operating at 88%, while the non-condensing boiler operates at 86.5-87% efficiency.

 

Why Install a Hybrid Heating System?

The benefits of installing a hybrid system include increased savings on installation costs and maximized efficiency. A non-condensing boiler can be about 40% more cost effective than a condensing boiler. When replacing a multi boiler system, purchasing a multiple condensing boilers can become more expensive than a combination of condensing and non-condensing boilers.

 

Prevent Challenges with a P-K Hybrid System Solution

Lacking a good boiler control system that can effectively manage the boiler input based on the temperature requirements of a building can become a great disadvantage when setting up a hybrid system. In which case, the building loads would need to be calculated in a way that a portion of the boiler plant will be condensing and the other portion will not be condensing.

In the past, setting up a hybrid system could have been intimidating for both the system designer and the installer. Those times are over! With recent boiler technology breakthroughs, controls are now able to achieve boiler sequencing and manipulate loads based on the type of boiler and temperature requirements.

The Patterson-Kelley NURO® Touch-Screen Control has the flexibility to control hybrid system applications. Just with one click within the settings option, the control can walk you through the easy steps of setting up the appropriate parameters. Even if the boilers are connected to a building management system, properly setting the hybrid system with the NURO® control can be a piece of cake!

Next Steps?

Interested in more information on the Nuro system and how it might help your clients? Give us a call at 800-355-7061 and we’d be happy to answer any questions or help you with the engineering specifications.

 

 

 

Sterlco recently sent us an email with information on why you should choose a Sterlco Boiler Feed unit. We wanted to share their reasons so you can use or adapt them when talking with your customers.

  • Sterlco Boiler Feed Units are reliable and efficient at maintaining proper water levels
  • Units are available in steel, cast iron and stainless steel
  • The 3450 RPM motors assure maximum efficiency while maintaining minimum motor horsepower
  • Sterlco has been serving the commercial & industrial HVAC industry ­for applications such as food, beverage, breweries, distilleries, pharmaceuticals, hospitals & schools

See all of their Boiler Feed Units.

Need more reasons to choose a Sterlco Boiler Feed Unit? Give us a call!

One of our most trusted brands, Patterson-Kelley, provided us with this great explanation breaking down turndown in commercial boilers.

Boilers are rated on thermal efficiency, which is simply the chemical energy added to the boiler, divided by the energy added to the boiler water. As more energy is transferred from the hot gas into the boiler water, the thermal efficiency increases and the temperature of the hot gas decreases. Turndown ratio plays a key role in this energy transfer. Many engineers and owners have been intentionally mislead regarding turn-down ratio’s and this article will dispense with the misleading information and down right nonsense about turn-down ratios and efficiencies!

Almost all boilers are tuned to add excess air, which ensures ideal combustion of the fuel for proper air-fuel mixing. The excess air can also prevent the burner from overheating by “pushing” the combustion flames off the burner.

When energy from the hot gasses is transferred to the boiler water, the gas temperature dips below the dew point, which causes vapor to become liquid. The energy released from the conversion is picked up by the boiler water and results in a significant boost in efficiency.  Every pound of condensate from flue gases condensing adds approximately 1000 btu’s to the boiler water. However, dry flue losses and loss of vapor can result in energy loss.

Energy loss can be readily calculated if the amount of CO2 and O2 in the flue gas and the stack temperature is known.

 With the evolution of boiler technology, manufacturers have found a way to offer units with multiple firing rates, and units that can modulate seamlessly between fixed low fire rates and fixed high fire rates. The fixed fire rates are defined as the boiler turndown capacities, and modulation is accomplished by reducing the air and gas flow into the boiler.

The benefit of this modulation is threefold; it reduces cycle losses, it reduces the wear on the components, and it can potentially lead to higher thermal efficiencies.

Impact of Turndown

This begs the fundamental question – wouldn’t a boiler with extreme turndowns be much more efficient than one with 5:1 turndown?  The answer to that is ‘NO’! And the proof of that is a simple engineering calculation that anyone can verify for themselves (shown below).

To achieve high turndowns the boilers are tuned to deliver greater amounts of excess air at low firing rates to keep the burner from overheating. The additional excess air will significantly reduce the dew point of the water in the flue gas and alter the losses in the dry gas.  To illustrate this effect, the example used in Figure A is updated to reflect a 20:1 turn down where the O2 is set to 11% (corresponding to a CO2 of 5.6% and 97% excess air).  The results are highlighted in Figure B below.

Note that the dew point has been lowered from 130.6° F to 117° F  and the boiler is no longer in the condensing range.  This represents a 3.7% DECREASE in overall efficiency and this is just the beginning of the bad news! 

When excess air well above 50% is used in the boiler, it impacts the stability of the combustion flame which can lead to excessive flame failures, nuisance trips and cycle losses.

The P-K Analysis

Realistic boiler modulation rates have helped improve the overall boiler system efficiency from reduced cycle losses and increased thermal effi­ciencies. Extreme turndown produces the opposite effect. Boil­er plant designs must factor in actual (not extrap­olated) boiler efficiencies through the firing range of the equipment and matching the expected plant loads with the right boiler size selections.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to us at sales@buymeinc.com

Going to be at the 2019 AHR Expo?

Dave Connors, Patterson-Kelley’s Trainer and National Accounts Manager will be giving an exclusive presentation at the 2019 AHR Expo. Be part of his “The Dirty Little Secret Associated with High Turndown” presentation to get a new perspective on the controversial topic.

Join Dave Connors on Wednesday, January 16th between 1:45 PM and 2:05 PM at Theater A – Room C101 of the Georgia World Congress Center. 

As an owner or as a design engineer, you want to be sure that your boiler selection will operate at peak efficiency, under all conditions. Thermal efficiency is simply the chemical energy added to the boiler, divided by the energy added to the boiler water. As more energy is transferred from the hot gas into the boiler water, the thermal efficiency increases and the temperature of the hot gas decreases. Turndown ratio plays a key role in this energy transfer. Many engineers and owners have been intentionally misled regarding turndown ratio’s and this article will dispense with the misleading information and down right nonsense about turndown ratios and efficiencies!

Patterson-Kelley, one of our most trusted brands of boilers, has published a blog post on the advantages and disadvantages of high turndown. We are sharing that post below as well as their explanation of how Patterson-Kelley will introduce 10:1 turndown without sacrificing system efficiency.

Commercial Boiler Efficiency

Placing system efficiency at the forefront of commercial boiler acquisition continues to be a trend in the heating and water heating industry. Manufacturers are racing ahead to push the limits of technology by offering aggressive turndown capabilities approaching, and even exceeding 20:1, at the detriment of system efficiency.

In an age where energy conservation is important and condensing boilers are increasingly being adopted, the dewpoint plays an important role in system efficiency because it determines whether the boiler will condense or not, as well as how much condensation will occur. The dewpoint is the atmospheric condition below which water droplets condense and dew can form, releasing heat that can then be absorbed back into the system. Condensation can occur at up to 130º F depending on pressure and humidity. The returning water in the heating system is used as the cooling medium; as the temperature of the returning water drops, the amount of condensate increases.  The potential amount of condensate estimated at 100,000 BTU’s per hour is one gallon, if the boiler is operating at reduce temperatures.

Heating System Flexibility

Although heating systems are designed to meet peak loads, they spend most of their run-time hours off peak. Along with efficiency, flexibility is an important factor in boiler operation. As the building loads change, the heating system must be flexible enough to change with it. In the instance where the heating system is sized at a higher capability than is required, the flexibility of a boiler could accommodate the imbalance by turning down the input to match the load. This has become the key driving factor in the high turndown story.

Traditionally, turndown has been the limiter of efficiency. To maintain stable flames, excess air is introduced which depresses the dewpoint of natural gas. The dirty little secret associated with high turndown is that, in most cases, the boiler is no longer condensing.

Aggressive turndown capabilities usually lower the dewpoint and reduce the window of opportunity to condense due to excess air. The 970 BTU/lb. of condensate that engineers expect to get from the system, will continue to go straight up the flue.

Excess air to achieve highest possible efficiency:

  • 5 – 10% for natural gas
  • 5 – 20% for fuel oil
  • 15 – 60% for coal


A Patterson-Kelley Solution

Due to technology improvements, Patterson-Kelley will introduce 10:1 turndown capabilities for the first time during 2019. Patterson-Kelley has achieved higher turndown with a unique process that allows the gas valves to reliably turn down without adding large amounts of excess air, resulting in flexibility and efficiency. This method delivers a 10:1 turndown rate while preserving the dewpoint of a 5:1 turndown rate, which helps maintain high condensation levels. This higher turndown capability will provide designers the ability to match input to building loads without sacrificing reliability. No more nuisance flame failures that have traditionally plagued high turndown boilers.

You can see the original post here.

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We’ve been talking about how important it is to perform annual maintenance on your clients’ equipment. Boilers, as you know, are subject to wear and tear. They need adequate maintenance, to ensure that they don’t break down. If they do, it’s usually at a very inconvenient time and it makes you look bad to your customers.

Waiting until something breaks down before repairing and maintaining it, always ends up costing you far more money with unhappy clients, higher labor rates, rush parts orders, etc. because it’s usually during peak service demand, or in the middle of the night, or on a weekend. Usually, you end up in scramble mode trying to fix a problem that could have been avoided with regular care. Providing regular maintenance programs to your customers, is also a good way to build long-lasting customer relationships and add a consistent revenue stream for your business.

To help, here’s a video on how to perform the annual maintenance on a Patterson-Kelley SONIC Condensing Boiler.

If you have any further questions or need parts, please give us a call at 800-355-7061.