Case Studies - February 2021

Case Studies - February 2021

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Buffer tanks help regulate heating in apartment complex

Problem: A large apartment complex in Willimantic, Connecticut, had modulating boilers installed as a means to control their high energy costs. After a year of operation, the property management company noticed higher than usual component failures on the new equipment. Upon investigation, despite the best intentions, the new boilers simply could not modulate down to a rate low enough to heat one or two apartments without serious short cycling. With each apartment maintaining their own temperature control, this problem was not going away on it’s own.

Solution: Dustin Wilson of 860 Plumbing and Heating proposed the addition of Heat-Flo buffer tanks to the system, to add mass to the system without compromising the efficiency.  The apartment complex opted to try the setup in one of the more problematic buildings. The addition of the buffer tank allowed the boiler to operate at a minimum of 10-minute intervals, a marked improvement from before.

Result: Because of the success of the trial tank, the apartment complex opted to add buffer tanks to the remaining buildings at a rate of two per quarter. “The initial intent was to stem some of the service issues that were a result of the boilers short cycling,” says Wilson. “Not only did we achieve that, but we also lowered their fuel bills by allowing the boilers to modulate as they were designed.” The tenants now benefit from uninterrupted heat and hot water. 508-278-2400;

Compression-sleeve fittings securely connect with ease during frigid installation

Problem: Located in Idaho’s Gozzer Ranch Golf & Lake Club, the private residence of professional golf coach Hank Haney overlooks Lake Coeur d’Alene. During construction of the 4,200-square-foot home, Bighorn Plumbing and Heating wanted to offer the highest quality plumbing system that would also install securely in the frigid temperatures. “Out here in Gozzer, Idaho, these are high-end customers; they expect the best,” says Jake Albertson, owner of Bighorn.

Solution: Bighorn chose EVERLOC+ compression ­sleeve fitting technology with RAUPEX UV shield PEXa pipe from REHAU, Building Solutions Division, for its ease of installation in cold temperatures and the ability for immediate pressure testing. In addition, the fitting’s four sealing edges gave confidence to both Bighorn and the homeowner that the plumbing system would be secure. When the fittings and sleeves arrived, temperatures were in the high teens, but Albertson was immediately certain that EVERLOC+ would provide the level of connection, control and security required for this installation.

Result: EVERLOC+ withstood the bitter temperatures with ease. “It’s easy to put the fittings together, even in cold weather. It’s cold out here today and the fittings are going together great — once you get them together, they’re together, they’re secure,” Albertson says. The father-son duo not only praised EVERLOC+ for the system’s security and reliability, but also for its simplicity. Albertson Jr. confirmed, “This product is really easy to figure out and to use.” 703-777-5255;

Building contractor, plumber use drain pump to overcome plumbing challenge

Problem: Dane Perkins, project manager and co-owner of GMH Construction, was working on a basement renovation with a bar. However, GMH faced a challenge — the drainage pipe coming from the new sink would have to connect to the existing basement bathroom plumbing, roughly 20 feet away. This would require an extra full day’s work of cutting out concrete, which would be a labor-intensive, messy and expensive job. 

Solution: Perkins and his crew wanted to find a cost-effective solution to install drainage without breaking through the concrete floor. Then Perkins learned of the Saniflo’s Sanivite drain pump, and knew it would be the ideal solution to install a bar sink without conventional below-floor drainage. The pump is able to discharge gray water away from a variety of fixture types up to 16 feet vertically and/or 150 feet horizontally to the drainline. It is compact enough to fit inside a kitchen cabinet.

Result: The drain pump was the logical option to overcome the traditional costly and timely installations. Perkins estimated that the homeowners saved close to $2,500 and a full day’s labor. 800-571-8191;

Water heater becomes a lever with custom hand truck/adjustable straps

Problem: A busy Las Vegas plumber was called to replace a leaking water heater. Local code required it to be in a pan on a platform, with a bollard in front. It had shelving close by. The customer said her water heater had never been flushed, and the contractor was by himself. The job site was not conducive to two people lifting the tank together. Rigging a winch was not an option. The plumber saw that lifting by hand was awkward and somewhat risky. The plumber had experienced back trouble in the past and wanted to keep his risk of injury low.

Solution: Using a Hot Rod Hand Truck from Wolf Valley Tools with its accompanying strap kit, the plumber leveraged the old water heater out safely without damaging the existing pan or the customer’s property and without using his back. Then, using the stand that he kept on his truck, he changed straps and safely levered the new water heater back into the pan without damaging his back, the pan or the water heater. He used the hand truck to carry both water heaters to and from his van.

Result: The plumber is less sore. More is accomplished per job since having the hand truck for general use, but especially on residential tank water heaters. 951-609-4276; 


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