Hydronic Heating Systems, HVAC

Hydronic Heating Systems, HVAC

Geothermal technology reduces humidity and saves money in historic mansion

Internal pipe heater prevents shallow septic sewer pipes from freezing

Problem: A shallow septic sewer pipe in a four-season vacation cabin near Gresham, Wisconsin, was freezing due to high-efficiency furnace drainage when the cabin was unoccupied in the winter. This led to messy backups when vacationers rented the cabin.

Solution: Owner Darrell Deck chose the HotLine Internal Pipe Heater after performing an online search. “Jetting the ice out for every occurrence was getting expensive,” he says. “I was looking for a solution I could install myself that is low-voltage, efficient and reasonably priced. HotLine’s Internal Sewer Pipe Heater fit the bill perfectly.”

Result: “It was a very easy install with basic tools, excellent packaging, excellent communication and quick shipping. The instructions were fantastic, with good-sized diagrams and pictures — and in color! The hardest part of my install was getting the lid off and back on the septic tank,” Deck says. “Now I feel much more comfortable with winter coming. And we won’t have the sewer freeze problem that we had last winter.” 877-881-2980; www.hotlineinternalpipeheater.com.


Old boilers at historical estate replaced with efficient solution

Problem: Perched atop an outcrop overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, the 12,000-square-foot Castle in the Clouds was built to resemble a European castle. The property is owned and operated by the nonprofit Castle Preservation Society. “Over 10 years or so, we’ve been busy with urgent repairs,” says Charles Clark, executive director of the society. “We also became painfully aware that the two primary buildings use about 400 gallons of oil each week during the winter.” A nine-section, 1.7 MBtu boiler served a cast iron radiation system in the castle, while an 800,000 Btu cast iron boiler in the Carriage House provided hot water to a mix of fan coils and fin-tube baseboard. Both were oversized by roughly 300 percent.

Solution: Replacing the boilers became a priority in 2017. In the castle, the outdated boilers were replaced with 285 mBh LAARS Heating Systems NeoTherm condensing boilers that provide redundancy and double the turndown ratio. The 95 percent AFUE boilers are ground-mounted and piped primary/secondary. In the Carriage House, they chose to install two 210,000 Btu NeoTherm boilers.

Result: Estate managers now enjoy much lower energy bills and a more sustainable future. They’ve also reduced their carbon footprint. 800-900-9276; www.laars.com.


Geothermal technology reduces humidity and saves money in historic mansion

Problem: The Breakers historic mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, needed to find a way to drastically reduce heat and humidity in the 125-year-old structure without extensive remodeling or unsightly outdoor condensers. Because of the humidity and lack of central air conditioning, historic artifacts, furniture and carpentry work was at risk of damage, including splintering and cracking. The mansion also sees hundreds of thousands of guests per year, and visitors fainting had become an issue because of the extreme heat.

Solution: To solve this issue, The Breakers mansion looked to direct exchange geothermal technology. An eco-friendly Waterless Geothermal System from Total Green Mfg. was installed, free of water, circulating pumps and toxic antifreeze. By using the original ductwork, the installation process was not invasive, protecting the structure from extensive rebuilding. Once the system was installed, the unit was able to offer humidity removal while maintaining low humidity levels throughout the 70-room mansion, preserving the home and its furnishings while making visitors comfortable.

Result: Because of the efficiency of the technology, not only did The Breakers mansion solve the issue of high humidity, but the system also keeps operating costs low. A conventional HVAC system would have cost much more to operate and required outside condensers that would disrupt the historic look of the mansion. 419-678-2032; www.waterlessgeothermal.com.


PEX piping a key component in radiant heating and cooling system

Problem: Los Angeles’ 100,000-square-foot UCLA Wasserman Eye Research Center sought to combine occupant comfort and LEED Silver certification in a building with high ceilings and large glass walls, rendering it highly susceptible to heat gain.

Solution: Architect Richard Meier & Partners selected a hydronic radiant heating and cooling system to help meet energy goals and capitalize on the specific benefits such a system offers buildings with large glass walls and high ceilings. The first three floors were specified to include radiant heating and cooling, and PEX pipe manufacturer Uponor was asked to help with design and product guidance. Working closely with mechanical contractor Circulating Air, Uponor helped design the system in conjunction with the project’s engineers and architects. The four-person Circulating Air crew worked closely with Uponor rep Keyline Sales to ensure efficient installation of 16,000 feet of Wirsbo hePEX piping. “We were truly amazed at how quickly and easily we installed the piping for the radiant heating and cooling system,” says Matt Fitzgerald, Circulating Air job foreman. “Receiving training on site from Keyline really helped us, and our crew got up to speed very quickly.” The PEX pipe hooked up to six manifolds and six cabinets divided between the three lower floors. “The installation was fairly straightforward,” Fitzgerald says.

Result: The radiant heating and cooling system helped reduce the load on the building’s forced-air system, cutting energy usage while keeping occupant comfort and indoor environmental quality at the forefront. 800-321-4739; www.uponor-usa.com.


New method expedites repair on old building

Problem: Roberts Environmental Control outside of Chicago received a call about a leak in a Michigan Avenue building originally constructed in 1901. The building had a leak in a steam line, and the owners needed a quick fix. The repair project was estimated to take all day.

Solution: Because the leak was within a chase, they didn’t want flames used or someone to have to thread pipes in a small space. The chief engineer of the building installed the  Viega MegaPress XL. The repair was finished within two hours through the use of MegaPress XL and the MegaPress XL PressBooster. “We use MegaPress on all our gas piping jobs in the suburbs,” says Clayton Lietz, mechanical engineer and account executive with Roberts Environmental Control. “They’re an ongoing client, and I use Viega all the time, so it made sense to use MegaPress XL. The repair required a 4-inch fitting, but the crew also needed the PressBooster, which is when Lietz called Michael Hanney, Viega industrial accounts manager. He brought his loaner tool and met Lietz’s crew on site so they could make the repair. Lietz says it was tight quarters to make the repair so there really would have been no way to weld or thread anyhow. They simply angled the PressBooster in and made the presses necessary.”

Result:  “We projected it would take eight hours, and it was done in two. We sure appreciate that,” Lietz says. 800-976-9819; www.viega.us.



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