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Show & Tell Boiler Installation Contest Entry

The next entry in….

From Chris S. of JV Enterprise, LLC, Grand Forks, ND
Slant/Fin S60 in a vintage sign collector’s shop (museum).
Glycol make-up injection pump.
Variable speed injection for floor heat.
High temp zone for forced air handler for quick recovery.

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Show & Tell Boiler Installation Contest Entry: Galaxy Steam Boiler

The next entry in….
From Bill S. of Verne & Ellsworth Hann, Inc. Cleveland Heights, OH
“The homeowner had become increasingly concerned with the original coal boiler from her house. The house was built in the early 1920’s. It was converted to natural gas at some point. During the extremely cold winter months, the homeowner decided it was time to invest in peace of mind and higher efficiency. Old boiler hauled out, new Slant/Fin Galaxy Steam boiler in its place… the heat was back on in one day.”


What is a Hybrid Boiler System?

A Hybrid Boiler System is a combination of two types of boilers used in the same system. Slant/Fin Hybrid Boiler Systems combine high efficiency condensing boilers with non condensing cast iron boilers.

How do you decide the make up of a Hybrid Boiler System?
On most existing hot water heating systems generally two thirds of the boiler system capacity will be in the non-condensing water temperature range and one third of the capacity is in the condensing water temperature range. Condensing water temperature is 130F or lower and above 130F water temperature we are above the condensing water temperature. Your mechanical engineer can calculate what percentage of your heating load can be satisfied in the condensing water temperature range and therefore, choose the condensing boiler capacity for your heating plant.

If you have questions about Hybrid Systems, give us a call!

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


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

From August 2013 edition of:

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



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:


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
temperature of the room, and the insulation below the radiant tubing/panels that directs radiant energy toward the conditioned space.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.