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Earlier Heating Season?

Have you noticed how much cooler temperatures have been this Summer in the Northeast? Do you think that trend will continue into the Fall? Are we looking at an earlier Heating Season?
Something to think about…

Earlier Heating Season?

Have you noticed how much cooler temperatures have been this Summer in the Northeast? Do you think that trend will continue into the Fall? Are we looking at an earlier Heating Season?
What do you think? Slant/Fin will be ready!

Hurricane-Damaged Boilers Will Be Replaced in New York Public Housing

By VIVIAN YEEMARCH 23, 2014 (NEW YORK TIMES)

Thousands of New York City public housing residents faced an agonizing wait for heat and hot water to return after Hurricane Sandy flooded their buildings’ boilers in 2012. Even after officials rushed temporary boilers to New York in the weeks after the storm, service has remained unreliable through two winters.

But under a deal between federal and city agencies that was announced Sunday, all 110 public housing buildings that have been relying on temporary boilers to serve 8,862 apartments will be getting new boilers, with the process expected to begin within six months. Under the terms of the $100 million agreement, federal funds will be used to reimburse the city’s financially stretched public housing authority for the costs of the temporary boilers as well as the new ones.

“The hardship is still real,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, who shepherded the deal between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New York City Housing Authority, said on Sunday at the Stanley M. Isaacs Houses, a public housing development on the Upper East Side.

The temporary boilers are “not up to snuff,” he added. “We’ve cut through the red tape and we’ve brought this situation now to a speedy end.”

The housing authority has been spending $3 million per month to rent the temporary boilers since the storm — in all, about $56 million at developments in the Rockaways, in Coney Island and on the Lower East Side. The borrowed boilers have each been doing the work of multiple permanent boilers, 60 of which suffered flood damage.

The installation process is slated to start within six months, Mr. Schumer said, but it is unclear when all the boilers will be replaced.

Announcing the deal alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio and the chairwoman of the housing authority, Shola Olatoye, Mr. Schumer said the agreement would improve on FEMA’s normal policy of repairing, not replacing, damaged infrastructure. The original boilers had been showing their advanced age even before the hurricane hit, he said, making replacements all the more necessary.

The new boilers, which will be paid for with funds from the federal aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims, will be more water-resistant and built at higher elevations to help protect them from floods, he said. They will also burn natural gas instead of oil.

Mr. de Blasio praised the senator for pushing the agreement forward, adding that as the city continues to rebuild, “we have to find a way to right some wrongs in the process,” including replacing the antiquated boilers.

Though the news is sure to please some residents, Mr. de Blasio, who has been fending off criticism from several directions lately, had a run-in with yet another group of protesters on Sunday: Outside the building waited several dozen Upper East Side residents who oppose the city’s plan to build a waste transfer station nearby.

As they tried to swarm the mayor, he and his aides beat a hasty retreat indoors, moving the news conference with them. Mr. de Blasio said that while he respected the protesters’ opinions, he wanted to focus on the boiler deal, a “very important moment for New York City.”

Computer Backup by Al Levi

Tips on saving critical information on your computer system.

Backing up your computer files is not important!
It’s only important when something goes wrong. And something can always go wrong.
I know because it did at my shop years ago. It was so long ago IBM was the powerhouse in mainframe computers and laptops were still a twinkle in Steve Wozniak and Steve Job’s collective eyes.
The good news is we did have two big backup drives that were more like giant reels of tapes, each the size of a pizza. The bad news is we never quite got around to actually making those backups as often as we knew we should have. We were always too busy using and accessing the computer. Back then, you had to backup the computers when everyone signed off the system. This must seem quite archaic to some of you, but it was the norm.
So when the fateful day came and the mainframe crashed, we were left to restore our data and database from our last known backup. It turns out that was done a month before!
We had to manually re-enter all the invoices and bills for the previous month. And we had thousands of active customers. The sad fact is this reclamation project could have been avoided if we had only practiced a sound computer backup routine.
Be smart and learn fi’om my mistake. Take action now to spare yourself the agony of rebuilding your files, database and more.

Mild to wild habits
This is a quick overview of steps to take, beginning with mild and heading toward wild. You are well-served to have your own IT people work out a computer backup strategy at your company. In the meantime, here are prudent habits I practice and what I recommend clients do on a consistent basis:
• Do a simple save frequently as you’re working on a document. Then you won’t spend hours on it and have something fluky such as the power going out or your software freezing up and you end up losing everything. The best software will automatically save your document periodically but make sure that this is indeed happening.
• If it’s not life-critical and you want it to be copied and be portable too, copy a bunch of stuff to a jump drive.
• Copy a whole bunch of your data to an external hard drive. Today hard drives can hold so much and they’re so cheap, you can pretty much copy your whole computer to it!
• Set up a system so that when your office is closed and even when you’re sleeping, the computer automatically backs up to an external hard drive.
• Have two external hard drives and do a manual backup once a week; you can put a recurring note in Outlook so you remember to do it. Rotate taking one copy off-site in case a disaster strikes your office; you still have a copy that’s no more than a week old to restore from.
The devastation to many offices from Hurricane Sandy proves you don’t want all your eggs in one basket.
• If you’re networked, make sure the backup system is backing up not just the server with the shared files but also the files on a person’s own computer or laptop so it’s safe and recoverable.
• Outside companies such as Carbonite provide online backup services. Even Apple has iCloud. There are many more strategies,  to take advantage of the cloud, which gives backup protection and cloud access.
This can prove to be a double-edged sword if the sites get hacked and your data gets exposed, but the conventional thinking is these companies wage a never-ending battle to minimize this from happening.
• Finally, many computer experts have said that burning a “hard copy” to DVDs — depending on the size of the files — is helpful because, to date, it’s probably one of the best ways to keep something for a long time. Even though I’m sure this technology also will be replaced in time, for now it’s a pretty fail-safe strategy.
This topic is so important that I spend a portion of my first on-site visit with new clients coveting items just like this.
Here is the sobering news: You can do all this but if you don’t test the quality and quantity of your backup periodically, you can never know for sure how good it is. Should you need to restore information, a good computer backup strategy will address this issue as well.
My advice is to remember that having a parachute is a good thing. Knowing that the parachute is packed right and that an emergency parachute is there — just in case — is even better. A smart strategy and execution of computer backup provides great parachutes.

For more than I0 years, AI Levi has been helping plumbing businesses solve problems, turn greater profits, and help owners get their lives and free time back. This is all based on his 25-year career at his family-owned and -operated contracting business. To discover more, visit www.60MinuteRecessionSolution.com.

From August 2013 edition of: www.PMmag.com

An open letter from Cornetta Bros. P & H on Hurricane Sandy

An open letter from CORNETTA BROS. INC. PLUMBING & HEATING ABOUT HURRICANE SANDY

HURRICANE SANDY UPDATE

I’ll never forget the conversation I had on the morning of october 29th 2012 with a salesman in North Carolina. “Wow you should see the trees blowing down here” he remarked. The hurricane known as Superstorm Sandy was flexing her muscles across an 800 mile area as I too watched the trees beginning to sway. Hours later the storm hit land and Long Island with a powerful punch. The storm arrived as high tides crested and created record setting water surge levels. The winds knocked out power to over 80% of long Island and the ocean rose above seventeen feet in some communities. Recent FEMA data announced damage to over 74,000 structures as well as thousands of cars and boats destroyed on Long Island alone.

In the coming weeks an army of  Licensed plumbers were needed to start rebuilding. The Nassau County PHCC scheduled a meeting the following week and invited Representatives from National Grid, and all associate members. Information was badly needed and our members were concerned about dealing with salt water damaged gas regulators and the availability of heating equipment.

National Grids early estimates projected about 25,000 boilers and water heaters were subjected to salt water damage. Associate members representing Weil Mclain, Burnham, A.O. Smith, Bradford White, Taco and others advised members not to attempt repairs on heating equipment damaged with salt water.  National Grid supplied us with guidelines for safely getting gas restored to homes. The PHCC then began spreading the urgent message to “Hire Only Licensed Plumbers”.  State President Hunter Botto  contacted local media and news papers. We printed dozens of laminated lawn signs with our PHCC logo and posted them on the south shore.

A request for additional labor was sent to upstate PHCC members. Many calls were made to manafactures to ensure shipments of much needed heating equipment. I had conversations with past National president Keith Bienvenu who was in Louisiana after hurricane Katrina.

Going forward the Nassau county PHCC will continue its efforts to achieve a county license. A platform on the county level would have been a big help. The ability to alert the public and notify consumers against unlicensed contractors frustrated us. Some media outlets were also relunctant to print our notices. Local building departments were unable to handle the unprecedented amount of work and could have benefited from county support. Many of our members are now receiving calls repair incorrect and unsafe gas installations.

The PHCC was truly in the forefront of of this disaster. Today the so called” Second Wave” of work is quickly coming in. Homeowners who were forced to leave their homes are only now receiving the funding to start rebuilding. The exposure Nassau county PHCC created will also help attract new members and associates. We will continue to rebuild and promote the use of licensed plumbers.

Nassau County PHCC President

Joseph Cornetta

Solco’s Feb/March 2013 Newsletter

Our friends at Solco have put out their February-March Newsletter!
Copy the following text and copy it into your URL to view:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/126786067/Newsletter-Volume-1-February-2013-Final

A PERFECT MARRIAGE

A great article about Hydronic Floor Systems from PMEngineer’s 2013 Flooring Guide:
Comfort and economy of operation are linked with
well-designed and properly installed hydronic radiant floor systems.
Providing thermal comfort by transferring energy from point-of-source to point-of-use in hydronic (water-based) systems is achieved by a wide variety of radiant-floor installation methods and each requires varying degrees of water temperature to deliver the same results. The radiant floor temperature boundary for human comfort revolves around maintaining a floor surface temperature below 85° F.
The human body loses heat in four basic ways: radiantly (your body radiates heat); convectively (air currents); conductively (direct contact — barefoot on an unheated tile floor); and perspiration (latent heat of evaporation). Skin surface temperature averages 85°. A floor surface temperature above 85° upsets the balance between the four and will cause people to be uncomfortably warm.
A general misconception about radiant floor warming is that the 85° design limitation was required to protect hardwood flooring. If that was true, hardwood floors heated to well above 100° while baking in direct
solar gain would be easily and permanently damaged!
Radiant floors are often a perfect marriage with all types of hardwood floor coverings and all available floor surface materials are compatible with hydronic radiant heating. Modern hydronic radiant design programs provide the system designer with the ability to “install” virtually any type of floor covering over the radiant floor panel, which provides an ability to determine compatibility and the required water delivery temperatures to offset the heat loss.
It is not unusual for room-by-room designs to require a wide variety of water delivery temperatures. Numerous reliable methods are available to precisely control multiple- temperature delivery from a single-temperature source or from blended systems where multiple- and varying-temperature energy sources are incorporated.
Comfort and economy of operation are inexorably linked with well-designed and installed hydronic radiant floor systems. Low-temperature designs offer
the greatest opportunity to blend a wide variety of energy sources, maintain peak operating efficiencies (especially true for geothermal or air-to-water heat pumps), and to incorporate alternative energy sources such as wind, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal. The lower the system’s temperature requirements, the better the overall system-wide efficiency, which will ensure the lowest possible operating costs for fuel and power.
The majority of hydronic radiant systems, certainly the better-designed ones, will employ a control strategy that will alter water temperature based upon whatever Mother Nature is giving us outside. The building’s heat loss will be greater as outdoor air temperatures fall. Conversely, system water delivery temperature will be increased
to transport more comfort-energy to the radiant floors — the colder it gets outdoors, the hotter the water.
How hot depends on the installation method used for the floors, the materials between the radiant tubing and/or panels and the room served, the desired
20 RADIANT FLOORING GUIDE
temperature of the room, and the insulation below the radiant tubing/panels that directs radiant energy toward the conditioned space.
CONSTRUCTION/DESIGN METHODS
When designing or considering installation methods, system delivery temperatures will vary widely. In order to provide thermal comfort, offset the heat loss of the space being served, conserve energy, stay within consumers’ budgets and use heat sources effectively. Limiting floor surface temperatures to a maximum of 85° ensures comfort.
The illustration on page 20 depicts a variety of installation methods and their corresponding required water delivery temperature where the floor surface temperature must equal 80° on a design day in order to provide sufficient thermal comfort.
RETROFIT AND ADDITIONS
A large market exists for adding hydronic radiant floors to existing homes where steam, hot water baseboard or even hot air systems exist. A number of manufacturers provide add-a-zone prebuilt hydronic radiant control panels that incorporate everything
required except for the installation of the radiant floor components.
FLOOR WARMING
High-density tile and stone products feel cold (conduction) to bare feet and the human body can sense heat loss (radiant) to the high-mass flooring products
Imagine the joy of stepping onto a warmed bathroom floor in summer and/or winter and then discover it can be a reality instead of just a dream. Floor-warming systems are typically controlled via programmed cycles so the floor is heated only as desired.
CONTROL STRATEGIES, ENERGY CONSERVATION
If the existing heating system in the home is water-based, then heated water is available but most likely not at the correct temperature. Once the radiant system’s design and installation method is chosen, any primary hot water source can be tapped into and adjusted in the radiant zone’s mixing strategy — from simplistic mixing valves to more advanced injection mixing.
Electrically commutated motor circulators can dramatically reduce electrical power consumption by 80%
or more. Low-wattage zone valves can be incorporated to complete the energy conservation picture.
If the existing system is air-based, older low-efficiency furnaces can be upgraded by the addition of a hydro-coil or replaced with a hydro-air furnace. Existing water heaters can be replaced with ultra-efficient indirect water heaters or by boilers with a built-in domestic hot water generation system.
BEYOND COMFORT
Homeowners today want to know what Energy Conservation Value the installed hydronic system will provide and how it relates to the return on investment.
ECV is the amount of energy conserved at today’s utility rates when compared to an existing appliance and/or new appliances. The entire system from energy source
to energy transportation to radiant panel construction determines the real-world performance and efficiency.
Hydronic radiant heating equals healthy heating, too. Indoor air quality is enhanced, homes are easier to keep clean, drafts are not created, germs have fewer places to hide and people get sick less often.

Press Release: The CHS Series Boiler

Slant/Fin is happy to announce their new CHS line of Condensing, High efficiency, Stainless steel boilers. The gas fired CHS is offered eight modulating & condensing stainless steel wall mount gas fired boiler models.  Each boiler modulates up to a 5:1 turndown with sizes ranging from 85,000-399,000 Btu/hr inputs can be installed with flexibility such as top or bottom supply and return connections, top or bottom gaCHS boiler_fbs connections, vent runs of up to 150’ and five vent termination options.
The new CHS Boiler is yet another example of Slant/Fin’s goal of providing the very best heat exchanger designs and Condensing High Efficiency Boiler options to the industry.  The CHS series boiler is manufactured to the highest industry standards. The ASME certified fire-tube exchanger is constructed of 316L stainless steel for better overall corrosion resistant. This grade of steel is particularly higher resistance to pitting and crevice. The CHS Boiler combined with Slant/Fin’s industry leading Customer/Technical Service department results in a sure fire winning choice.

Hybrid Boiler Systems – Definition, Sizing, and Efficiency

A “Hybrid Condensing/Non-Condensing Boiler System” is a combination of condensing and non-condensing boilers working together to heat a building. The predominant reasons to use a hybrid system are lower installed cost and optimization of system efficiency. Here we discuss why a hybrid boiler makes sense and how to size and design a hybrid boiler system.

A Slant/Fin hybrid boiler system consists of a Jaguar or CHS modulating, condensing boilers installed with Caravan modular cast iron boilers, or even an existing boiler system. Since modular boilers inherently have built-in back up, a boiler system can be sized closely to the calculated heat load. This also helps control the initial cost of the boiler system.

A Slant/Fin hybrid boiler system is controlled so the system control modulates the input of the CHS or Jaguar boilers and then step fires the Caravan modular boiler while resetting system water temperature based on outdoor temperature. The result is a simple system that delivers high efficiency while improving system control and dependability. One control for a hybrid boiler system is the Heat Timer CNC Control, CNC stands for “condensing and non-condensing”.

The water piping of a Slant/Fin hybrid boiler system is simple. Slant/Fin recommends “injecting” the condensing boiler water with primary/secondary piping into either the supply or the return water piping of the Caravan modular boiler, please see figure 22 in the Jaguar Caravan Application Guide. Publication No. CJ-10-HWG. This drawing shows 1 J-390C Jaguar boiler and 2 each GGT modules used in one hybrid boiler system. As mentioned, Jaguar boilers can also be added to existing boiler systems provided there is room to do so.

Condensation of the water vapor in the products of combustion for natural gas in a high efficiency boiler occurs when the flue gasses are cooled by the heat exchanger to less than 130 F.  As the water temperature falls further below 130 F the amount of water vapor condensed increases thereby driving efficiency up further. It could go as high as 96.7% with low water temperature and therefore low flue gas temperatures. With higher water temperatures in the heat exchanger the boiler efficiency will decrease, depending on water temperature to a low of approximately 86- 87%.

A properly controlled “hybrid condensing/non-condensing boiler system” operates the condensing boilers when the water temperature is low enough for condensing to occur and when the water temperature is above that point the non-condensing boilers are added to handle the additional load. With return water temperatures at or below 130F, condensing boilers operate and when the water temperature required is above 130F the non-condensing boilers are fired when additional btu’s are required.

The system designer determines the heat load of the heat emitters when the supply water temperature is at 140F and the return at 120F, an average water temp of 130F. Typically in the New York City area the heating system would require this temperature when it is 38F outdoors. This load is used to size the condensing boiler(s) used in the hybrid system, which is usually about 47% of the load in NYC. The non-condensing boiler(s) of a hybrid boiler system can be sized to handle the remaining heating load – typically 40-60%, again in New York City. When the return water temperature is above 130F, the non-condensing boiler(s) will handle part of the load because the water temperature required in a heating system needs to rise as the outdoor temperature drops and the load increases. As evidenced by the heat loss and the outdoor reset curve.

A properly applied hybrid boiler system will optimize efficiency and be cost effective. There will be a faster payback for the boiler plant and a higher return on investment. In the example above, and generally speaking*, the High Efficiency boilers would be operating at least 50% of the time by themselves with average efficiencies of say 87- 92%. When it is more than 38F outside, the cast iron boilers would run at 82% and the Jaguars about 87% with a combined average efficiency of 84.5%. Therefore half the time we are at let’s say 92% (between 91.7 to 96.7% depending on boiler output) and half the time at 84.5%. But at the 92% efficiency the building only needs half of the Btu’s. When it is running at 84.5% we are at full load, needing all the output of all the boilers. This means that 25% of the Btu’s are consumed at 92% and for 75% of the time at 84.5% efficiency. This will give us a yearly average efficiency of 86.4%. (In the example, an all high efficiency system would run at 92% efficiency 25% of the time and 87% for 75% of the time for an average of 88.25%. Interestingly however, according to Brookhaven National Laboratory testing, in a residence near New York City, they found that a residential high efficiency boiler when installed in a typical, older designed home, it would operate 85 – 95% of the time in the condensing mode because of the low water temperatures required due to the fact that it is frequently over 38F outside. Using that figure here would result in a high yearly combined average efficiency.

A new heating system can also be designed to satisfy the full heating load under design conditions with a water temperature at or below 140F. In this case, a boiler plant using only condensing boilers makes sense. Slant/Fin publishes residential baseboard and commercial radiation output ratings down to 110F water temperature. Many existing buildings are over designed with much more radiation than needed. This should be taken into consideration when replacing the boiler plant. With extra radiation, lower water temperatures can be utilized thereby changing the ratio of condensing to non-condensing boilers.

Sizing a Hybrid system example:

Job has 1250 feet of H-1 element in HD-850 cover. Heat output 720 BTUH’s per foot at 180F for a total of 900,000 BTUH’s. Design conditions: 10F outside, 70 F inside. At 38 F outside, heat loss is 47% of total load or 423,000 Btu’s.  At a reset curve of 1.8:1, the boiler will provide 140F supply water temp with 340 BTUH’s per foot for a total of 425,000 BTUH’s.  Performing a heat loss at 38 F reveals that the output at 140 F would meet it. This means that two Jaguar 390’s (612,000 net IBR) and one GG 399 HEC (284,000 net IBR) module would be used. Some designers would size the job with all high efficiency boilers but that would mean extra equipment costs with a small incremental increase in overall efficiency over the hybrid.

Other design conditions for other climates using different reset slopes could be calculated similarly.

*This whole discussion is very general in nature. More scientific data (such as temperature BIN Data) needs to be calculated to determine the actual energy savings. Suffice it to say, higher efficiency equipment saves energy and needs to be weighed against equipment costs to determine payback and the efficacy of these types of systems. The calculations above may not reflect actual savings of the project you are considering.

Copyright Slant/Fin Corp. 9/12/2012

Water quality problems?

No problem with Slant/Fin High Efficiency boilers.

Some people think that water quality is an issue only with Aluminum Heat Exchangers in boilers. Every heat exchanger, whether it is cast-iron, aluminum, or stainless steel, can be affected by sludge, calcium and magnesium buildup. Hard water tends to be scale forming; soft water tends to be corrosive. This is easily controlled. More about that later. Because heating systems re-circulate the same water, there is little opportunity for new hardness salts to enter the system unless you have a leak! The small amount of hardness in a dosed system will tend to initially deposit itself on the heat exchanger of any type.  The quality of the water is critical in all heat exchangers when using anti-freeze protection chemicals such as glycol, according to a leading manufacturer of glycol solutions. They also say that good quality water has less than 50 ppm of magnesium, 100 ppm of hardness, 25 ppm chloride and 25 ppm of sulfate.  In an aluminum boiler, such as our Lynx or Jaguar models, the system water must have a ph range between 7.5 and 8.5 so using an inhibitor alone (for non freeze protected systems) or Glycol with inhibitor such as RhoGuard with ProTek 922 or NobusrtAL by Noble is recommended.

In stainless steel boilers of other major manufacturers, they too recommend using a cleaning solution, sludge removal and corrosion inhibitor when using glycol solutions. As noted above, good quality water should be used.

So whether you are installing a boiler with an aluminum heat exchanger, such as the Lynx or Jaguar, or our Stainless steel high efficiency boiler, such as VSL, or anyone else’s high efficiency boiler, start with good quality water, and use the proper cleaner and inhibitor, as recommended by the manufacturer. Remember to add the proper Glycol if needed.