Case Studies - October 2019

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Magnetic filter protects old cast iron system

Problem: During a service call at a new house that had two high-efficiency condensing boilers, Pete Zandstra of Grand Mechanical Solutions in Brantford, Ontario, noticed that one of the pumps had failed due to excessive debris in the system. He was unaware of what was causing the corrosion in the system.

Solution: Knowing the benefits of magnetic filters, Zandstra decided to install a BoilerMag BM/R from Eclipse Tools North America. The residential heating system filter uses magnetic technology that ensures that virtually 100% of iron oxide and scale is removed on the first pass. The filter is designed so the water is fully exposed to powerful magnetic rods that draw out the iron oxide that collects in the hydronic heating systems. The unit can be installed and cleaned in minutes.

Result: The BM/R was installed on the cast iron system, and after only 18 hours of operation, Zandstra was shocked by the amount of contamination that was pulled from the system. “I returned within a day or two and was surprised at the amount of metal filings that the BoilerMag had removed,” he says. “This will ensure long operation of the pumps and boiler.” 905-664-5585; www.eclipsetoolsinc.com.


Five-unit tankless system meets hot-water needs of brewery

Problem: The Garage, one of two brewhouses owned by Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta, is a commercial barrel-aging and souring facility for making high-quality craft beers. Opened in October 2017, the 22,000-square-foot facility consumes approximately 10,000 gallons of hot water daily, including 150-degree-F water used in the beer-making process and 180-degree-F water to steam and sterilize the wine, whiskey and rum barrels that give the brews their distinctive flavors. 

Solution: David Hardegree and Tim Casper of Hard-Cas Mechanical installed five high-efficiency (95%) tankless water hears — all of them NCC1991-DV condensing units from Noritz America — to deliver a maximum flow rate of 16 gpm. Connected in a series, the heaters were preengineered, prefabricated and preplumbed with a system controller as a single, integrated package on a metal rack before being shipped intact to Atlanta. Their combined maximum inputs total 999,500 Btu/h, meeting not only the brewing and sanitation requirements of the Garage’s beer-production process, but also the general hot-water service needs of the rest of the structure.

Result: Besides providing an uninterrupted flow of hot water at the correct temperatures, the multiple-tankless option offers the ability to service any of the five units without shutting down the entire system. 714-433-7831; www.noritz.com.


Press tool makes quick work of valve repair

Problem: For a surgery center in New Jersey, an operating room with a broken valve in a hands-free scrub sink had the potential to delay surgeries and shut down the center temporarily while a repair was made. In reaching out to All-Star Plumbing and Heating, surgery center staff were relieved to learn there was a solution that would require minimal downtime.

Solution: Matt Fleming, vice president of All-Star, and his team utilized the RIDGID RP 241 press tool to repair the valve. The compact press tool is ergonomically designed to simplify overhead and tight-space press work. It enabled All-Star to make the repair while water was still in the line and without torches and open flame. This meant the difference between closing the surgery center during the repair and isolating the area needing to be shut down to one operating room.

Result: A repair that had the potential to close an entire surgery center for three to four hours, delaying needed surgical procedures, was cut in half and contained center shutdown to one area. The ability to streamline tools needed and eliminate open flame also reduced the number of elements potentially contaminating a sterile operating room and creating hazards near flammable medical supplies. 800-474-3443; www.ridgid.com


Plumber installed dual-flush toilet system in own home

Problem: Plumber Bret Mischler needed to turn a 3-by-10-foot closet into a half-bathroom in his own home in Terre Haute, Indiana, despite the lack of below-floor drainage. 

Solution: Mischler decided to purchase the one-piece Sanicompact dual-flush toilet system from SANIFLO. This above-floor plumbing system can pump waste up to 9 feet vertically and 120 feet horizontally, sparing Mischler the time-consuming and costly task of creating new, below-floor drainage. Operating with either 1.28 gallons or 1 gallon of water per flush (depending on whether solids or liquids are being removed), the compact toilet also allowed Mischler to save water. It combines a built-in macerator with a floor-mounted toilet bowl, measuring only 14.5 inches wide and 21.5 inches deep. That makes it suitable for tight areas, such as Mischler’s closet, where installation space is limited. The interior of the unit houses a pressure switch and a circuit board assembly, which starts and stops the unit; and a 0.3 hp motor, which drives the macerating blade and the pump. This motor is sealed for life in an oil-filled enclosure. A common spindle/shaft drives the impeller and the blade, keeping the moving parts to a minimum. Water and organic waste matter enter the chamber and are quickly reduced to slurry, as the blades rotate at 3,600 rpm. The reduced solids are discharged through a 1-inch, rigid pipe by the impeller mounted beneath the motor.

Result: The Sanicompact has performed without a hitch for Mischler. With so few moving parts, the system has proven to be an almost soundless solution. 800-571-8191; www.saniflo.com.


Plastic used in repiping of historic building

Problem: The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles needed to renovate 235 guest rooms on 10 floors while remaining open for business, operating at a capacity level of around 90%. Installing a new plumbing system in a historic building, especially under such challenging conditions, can be complex and difficult.

Solution: These challenges led Shamim Engineering to specify plastic piping, rather than copper, to handle the massive repiping job in a timely, cost-effective and unobtrusive manner. Polypropylene piping was used for large-diameter lines in the mechanical room and for the vertical risers from the ground level to 10 guest floors. Inside the guest bedrooms, Uponor cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) piping that connected the toilet, sink and tub to the risers. Roughly 14,300 feet of PEX — in six different sizes, from 1/2 through 2 inches, was installed. Branch lines from the corridor piping to the guest bathrooms were straight runs with no breaks. As a result, there was no need to make connections that would slow installation. “With copper, there would have been so much more cutting and soldering, which would have added significant amounts of labor and materials,” says Andrew Valenzuela, director of field operations for the general contractor City Constructors. “Also, with PEX, relocating a run or a stub-out because of an error or miscalculation is so much faster and easier.”

Result: The hotel’s choice to use PEX not only significantly cut installation time, but also helped to avoid inconveniencing hotel guests. “Copper has its place, but with all the tight spaces we must inevitably run our plumbing through, PEX is so much better,” Valenzuela says. “Ease of installation was probably our best friend.” 800-321-4739; www.uponor-usa.com.  



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