Case Studies - January 2021

Case Studies - January 2021

Circulators get apartment residents ready for the cold

Problem:  An apartment complex in Indiana, Pennsylvania, needed reliable circulators to keep residents warm in the winter months.

Solution: Tom Gdaniec, president of G3 Clean Energy Marketing, suggested AquaMotion AMR-3FV1 cast iron, three speed pumps and isolation flanges be installed. The contractor installed 14 pumps. The pumps have flushable and replaceable stainless cartridges with long-life, carbon-infused sintered bronze bearings for long life.

Result: The owners of the complex could not be happier how the project came together, according to Gdaniec. 401-785-3000;

Wall-hung condensing boiler excels for retrofit

Problem: Pennsylvania-based Jason Golden of J. Golden Plumbing Heating and Cooling needed to replace a 30-year-old chimney-vent gas boiler and an electric water heater that served as a hot water backup. The homeowner wanted a hot water solution that provided energy savings and used less space than the existing system.

Solution: Golden used a Bradford White Brute FT wall-mounted combination boiler and water heater, capable of providing both domestic water and radiant heating, with a 95% AFUE for a residential plumbing and heating retrofit job. The unit has a low pressure drop fire-tube stainless steel heat exchanger design with finned aluminum core fire tubes, sealed combustion chamber, pre-mix ceramic fiber burner, and welded construction. It meets low NOx requirements at 17 ppm. It may be vented horizontally or vertically to lengths up to 100 equivalent feet.

Result: Bradford White factory representatives visited the worksite during the retrofit to provide insights and best practices for operating the unit. According to Golden, his customers increasingly are seeing the value of the energy savings they can get from high efficiency heating equipment like the Brute FT. 800-523-2931;

Internal water heater installation solves frozen well line problem

Problem: Premier Pump Service of Fairplay, Colorado, provides water system sales and service to homes and businesses. Some of Premier’s customers are at elevations exceeding 10,000 feet, with winter temperatures plunging to negative 30 degrees F or lower. Premier owner John Lazanas was contacted by a mountain homeowner with a well waterline freeze problem. The waterline was a 1-inch, 175-foot poly pipe and was only buried two feet deep, far too shallow to keep it from freezing. Because the installation required a tee, Lazanas needed something that would install easily through the tee and feed straight down the line.

Solution: Lazanas chose the HotLine Internal Water Pipe Heater system. But, as HotLine is low voltage, its maximum length is 120 feet. Lazanas needed 175 feet to completely protect the line. So what to do about the remaining 55-foot run? He installed two opposing HotLines, one from the house to 120 feet and one 55-foot HotLine from the well, completing the entire 175-foot run. Then he ran electricity to the well to power the HotLine in the well.

Result: The dual opposing HotLines permanently solved the homeowner’s water pipe freeze problem. Lazanas reports installation was easy, and the homeowners are happy with HotLine’s permanent trouble-free and economical low-voltage solution. 877-881-2980;

Plumber installs above-floor drain pump and grinder system at riverfront restaurant to comply with FEMA regulations

Problem: The Widow Fletcher’s is an 18,000-square-foot restaurant and bar in the historic community of New Port Richey, Florida. Their riverfront location resulted in a unique remodeling scenario and involved collaboration with not only the city, but also engineers and architects, to overcome a major obstacle: The building is 8 feet below the floodplain. According to Florida’s building department, when a building is even 1 inch below floodplain, the plumbing must be equipped with backflow, and impervious to outside elements.

Solution: The project team decided to move forward with Saniflo’s above-floor plumbing solution. “We had to go to the building department and show the inspectors and jurisdiction authority what we were planning to do,” says Mark Spier, owner of Widow Fletcher’s. “Saniflo came back and told us exactly what we needed to make sure that the plumbing plan was engineered correctly and that the setup would work correctly.” Based on the recommendation from the supply house and product recommendations from Saniflo, Spier felt comfortable installing three Sanibest Pro grinder systems for the male and female restrooms, plus a Sanicom 1 drain pump to handle three hand-sinks and three tub dishwashing sinks for the bar.

Result: As with any construction or remodeling project, the cost is a key consideration. “I felt very comfortable with the cost-versus-benefit comparison,” says Spier. He adds approvingly that installing the three grinders and the drain pump took less than two days. 800-571-8191;

Boiler unit up to the challenge at high-water-use car wash

Problem: Mudbusters Carwash Co. in Wasilla, Alaska, is a family-owned business that only uses soft water and high-pressure nozzles instead of brushes or friction. Therefore, they require more water than a traditional car wash. With expanding to a new location, they were looking for a heating system to handle a large continuous load to heat the building and also heat the water being used in the wash.

Solution: Mat-Su Mechanical, a Wasilla based contractor, was hired. Triangle Tube’s Prestige Cascade unit was their product of choice for radiant and snowmelt. Triangle Tube boilers have a 95% AFUE rating, which allows for cost-effectiveness. The Prestige Cascade is controlled internally so no need for an external zone panel -- saving money and setup time. The team decided to save space within the mechanical room. Prestige boilers can be cascaded in a system that saves space in tight areas.

Result: The boiler has performed admirably, keeping the car wash in full operation. 856-228-8881;

Snow melt system makes commuter platform safe for riders

Problem: The Northstar commuter rail in Minnesota provides a critical link for commuters along one of the most congested highways in Minnesota. Each platform is 425 feet long and 26 feet wide, and crosslinked polyethylene (PEX-a) tubes are embedded in the platforms to keep riders safe from slipping in the icy and snowy Minnesota winter weather.

Solution: Installing contractor Greg Koba of Klamm Mechanical chose a snow melt system manufactured by Uponor that circulates a 50-50, water-and-glycol solution through PEX-a tubing buried in concrete. Warmed by a high-efficiency boiler, the water/glycol solution then heats the station surface until it is warm enough to melt snow and ice. “We laid down a total of 48,000 feet of tubing for the Big Lake station,” says Koba. “We took advantage of Uponor’s Wirsbo hePEX 3/4-inch tubing for the two platforms.” In addition to the tubing, there are also eight 2-inch PEX main lines for each platform that run from two manholes in the landscape area, then enter the slabs and stub into the manifold boxes. The two manholes connect through a 16-inch jacket housed beneath the track that also holds the two 4-inch mainlines that supply the platform.

Result: “By using large-dimension tubing to feed all the manifolds, we were able to route the system efficiently and correctly,” says Koba. In addition, the crew was able to turn around a design in just 48 hours to avoid slowing down the installation timelines. 800-321-4739;  


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