The 2014 ASPE Show has now come and gone with thousands of professionals and over 300 exhibitors and suppliers within the industry exhibiting their products. As always ASPE does a wonderful job in putting together a great show that offers something for everyone from the contractor, engineer, and to the supplier. This convention and expo Read more
2014 September – October
The 2014 ASPE Show has now come and gone with thousands of professionals and over 300 exhibitors and suppliers within the industry exhibiting their products. As always ASPE does a wonderful job in putting together a great show that offers something for everyone from the contractor, engineer, and to the supplier. This convention and expo included programs to earn CEU’s, educational sessions, new product innovation showcases, and a keynote address from Chicago Bear’s great, Dan Hampton. It is clear that ASPE does a spectacular job and works diligently to offer the best value to every attendee.
Surfing the expo floor is always a pleasure to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest technology in the industry. What’s especially interesting is the methods manufacturer’s come up with to showcase their innovations. This always includes fascinating demonstrations and often a clear, see-through model of the product to view the behind the scenes technology in action before your very own eyes. Or witness demonstrations and hands-on training on the latest tools to save contractors time and money with installations.
Yes, the ASPE Convention and Exposition has it’s excitement. But what’s interesting to note is how things have changed over the years because of the economy and modern digital technology advancements with the internet, smart phones, and social media. Strolling the floor between exhibitors, one couldn’t help but notice a growing trend; the all to often lack of interaction between exhibitor and attendee.
Now this was certainly not the case in all instances by any means. In fact, many exhibitors were very busy and giving demonstrations one after another, drawing the attention of additional attendees. But it displayed a transition from expos years ago and how much things have changed over the years. We are all so use to getting information at our fingertips almost instantly. And we decide how much we want and if we want to know more. Everything is fast-paced, get-it-now, and in short bursts of information like twitter, 140 characters are all that’s needed. It’s interesting to observe how modern technology has affected our interaction with each other and the art of developing rapport while building personal relationships and business partnerships.
We typically say or hear “This is how I’ve been doing it for 20 years so why change?” It took trust, relationships, and partnerships for this thought process to begin. But it’s evident how difficult it can be to change someone’s mind to go in another direction on a product or installation process. The effort and often cost can be substantial. This was evident during the Exhibitor portion of the expo.
Does this make conventions and expositions void or without need? Absolutely not. For information technology and social media can only go so far in someone gaining enough knowledge about a product. There’s nothing quite like seeing it up close and in-action to make a better assessment. However, it’s apparent that our industry is still trying to find the perfect balance of using digital technology and social media with human interaction to build relationships and partnerships. Both are extremely valuable and it will be worth watching over the next 5 – 10 years. It will be worth witnessing the industry’s development on using both of these vital methods of communication in the world today and how it will enhance and transform expos and conventions in the future.
The 2016 ASPE Convention and Exposition in Phoenix, AZ will be here before we know it. It will be a must see.
The gas piping system has a direct effect on appliance operation and performance. Many nuisance shutdowns can be attributed to gas-related piping errors. We will look at some gas piping basics and identify common issues that come up in the field. GAS PIPE SIZING Proper gas piping is essential for each appliance to function correctly Read more
The gas piping system has a direct effect on appliance operation and performance. Many nuisance shutdowns can be attributed to gas-related piping errors. We will look at some gas piping basics and identify common issues that come up in the field.
GAS PIPE SIZING
Proper gas piping is essential for each appliance to function correctly and most efficiently. When planning a gas piping system, it is important to draw it on paper and plan it out. You can flow only so much gas (or water) through a given pipe size, so restrictions will manifest themselves as a lack of pressure or volume.
Sizing a gas line is not too difficult. It is easier to start at the last appliance and work your way back to the as meter and/or regulator. The main pipe size will increase as a branch is added and increase again as another branch is added. Each branch must be properly sized to carry the Btu load of the connected appliance. If a branch will serve more than one appliance , then it must be sized to carry the total Btu load. As you work your way back toward the meter or regulator, the main pipe will increase in size to accommodate the total Bty load of the system.
he gas sizing charts shown are from the National Fuel Gas Code/ANSI Z223.1/NFPA54. They indicate thousands of Btus that can flow through a given pipe size based on the length of piping. Fittings must be added to complete the calculation. Each fitting has an equivalent footage equal to straight pipe, and these must be counted and added to the total footage.
Pipe is too small to carry total Btu input
Size reductions or fitting restrictions can create a lack of gas volume or unacceptable gas pressure drops. This is common on piping branches. The length of the branch plus fittings must be considered and appropriately calculated.
Reduced-size flexible connectors
Flexible connectors are typically smaller than the connection itself. A 3⁄4″ flex connector will normally have 1⁄2″ or 5⁄8″ corrugated SS tubing. Flexible connectors have a rating label attached – Check length and Btu capacity!
Small or reduced port ball valves
Always use full-port valves to prevent reduced volume or pressure. Many valves I see in the field are small-port or reduced-port. These valves do create issues and they can cause flame failures.
Gas regulator too close to heater
A regulator cannot always respond when it is mounted too close to the heater. It can’t always open fully and regulate properly when installed too close.
First and second stage regulators too close to each other
The fist and second stage regulators can “fight” each other if they are located too close to each other. It takes a length of piping to allow the first stage regulator to open and operate properly, and the same applies to the second stage regulator.
Lock-up style regulators
Lock-up style regulators may require a pressure relief reset to operate properly. They can “lock up” and cease to function. Gas pressure must be relieved from the regulator inlet for it to reseat/reset.
Ball-check vent limiters must be installed with the regulator in the horizontal position and the ball-check vent limiter in the upright position. The ball-check can stick if installed in another position.
Tankless retrofits almost always require a gas pipe size up- grade. A typical 40-gallon gas tank-type heater uses approxi- mately 40,000 Btu per hour. The standard tankless heaters are rated at 199,000 Btu per hour! The branch and main lines must be considered if a tankless heater is being added. The branch must be able to carry the increased tankless Btus. The gas main line must be able to carry the additional and total Btus.
Modulation allows a heater or boiler to operate at a lower input. Tankless heaters are good examples of this technology. As flow increases, the burner will ramp up and require more gas to operate, all the way up to its maximum input. Tankless heaters can operate on low fire with an undersized gas line, but when input demand increases, the heater will experience flame failure issues.
Always verify gas pressures with a slack-tube manometer. You cannot effectively troubleshoot a gas issue without a slack-tube manometer. They are the only device approved for a pressure-drop test and they always give a true reading. A gauge-type manometer will also give accurate readings. Avoid using a digital manometer for troubleshooting gas volume or pressure issues. They can be erratic with jumping pressures and require calibration. A digital manometer is best applied to measuring minute pressures or differentials. Gas inlet pressures must be taken with the unit off and with the unit on to make sure there is not a substantial drop when the burner comes on. Gas manifold pressures must be measured with the unit on or as it comes on.
A 1⁄2″ WC drop is an acceptable pressure drop—any higher drop in pressure indicates a gas supply issue that must be found and corrected. Some regulators will have a higher pres- sure drop, but it drops when the regulator opens and then holds steady at the set pressure.
More than a 1″ WC drop can cause many fan-assisted heaters to go out on flame failure. Many newer appliances use a variable frequency drive (VFD), and dropping gas pres- sures can affect the ignition or burner operation resulting in flame failures. Fan-assisted appliances also require a mini- mum gas pressure that must be present at all times to oper- ate. If the pressure falls below the required minimum, the heater will experience nuisance flame failure shutdowns.
Atmospheric heaters will operate on low gas pressure or volume. They are more “forgiving” of low pressure or volume. They are dependent on gravity make-up air, and the open burner can still burn at reduced input. This can be a big issue if the gas supply is undersized. The heater will operate at a lower Btu input and have a reduced recovery rate. If a heater is marginally sized or in high demand, the reduced Btu input can cause premature failure and operational issues such as condensation. Reduced gas supply = lower Btu input = less hot water gph recovery.
A gas supply problem can indicate many potential issues. It can be tedious trying to figure out what the cause of the prob- lem is. It may require sketching out the piping and doing a cal- culation. Sometimes it can be easily overlooked like a fitting re- duction, or it can be hard to find like a reduced-port ball valve. I always say that the slack-tube manometer never lies, and it can clear up any confusion. We have listed a lot of the common issues here, but there are many more to be encountered!
As part of a 100-year old operation, the Wyandotte Adult Detention Center in Kansas City, Kansas, seeks to provide a safe, secure and humane environment for correctional staff, deputies, visitors and detainees. In order to provide the best service possible, the Wyandotte County Jail turned to Lochinvar for an efficiency upgrade that would help the Read more
As part of a 100-year old operation, the Wyandotte Adult Detention Center in Kansas City, Kansas, seeks to provide a safe, secure and humane environment for correctional staff, deputies, visitors and detainees. In order to provide the best service possible, the Wyandotte County Jail turned to Lochinvar for an efficiency upgrade that would help the facility save on water and utilities.
Kansas City-based contractor Lexington Plumbing worked with Lochinvar to design an installation that would provide the utmost advancements in energy efficiency for the county jail. With thermal efficiencies as high as 98 percent and a turndown ratio of 5:1, the fully modulating ARMOR® Condensing Water Heater was the ideal fit.
Unlike a normal bid and spec project, Lexington Plumbing started the conversation with the facilities department about high efficiency. The facility team had initial concerns about the upfront costs and reliability of high-efficiency systems, so Lexington Plumbing provided testimonials and local referrals that had similar installations. When the County team found that the energy savings were real and significant, and the installations highly successful, they were very interested.
“Plumbing Contractors have historically not had payback and high-efficiency systems to sell to the customer,” said Tom Axtell, President of Lexington Plumbing. “For the contractors who have the technical capacity and sales confidence in the product, it becomes a competitive advantage.”
The facility’s original system was comprised of two 70 percent efficient water heaters tied into a vent that extended up through the building. The Lexington Plumbing team removed the old units and installed two 800,000 Btu/hr ARMOR models, stacked with two 500-gallon insulated storage tanks to provide maximum savings. With ARMOR’s flexible venting options, the new units could be vented directly though the sidewall of the building.
Another key ARMOR feature is Lochinvar’s exclusive SMART SYSTEM™ interface, which provides complete control of the system’s entire range of functions, simplifying installation and operation while also offering complete access to performance data and history. The SMART SYSTEM operating control also features a built-in cascading sequencer that allows the two ARMOR units to work together to fire as low as 10 percent of total maximum input and smoothly modulate up to 100 percent as demand increases, keeping operating costs to an absolute minimum.
“We consistently recommend Lochinvar equipment because of their constant innovations and technologically advanced systems,” said Don Lawhon of Lexington Plumbing. “With the installation of the ARMOR units with their SMART SYSTEM control, the facility managers at the county jail can now adjust the firing rate of these units as opposed to using the 100 percent firing rate on their old water heaters. The ARMOR units will fire at the rate needed to keep the water supply at the right temperature – and energy bills where they should be.”
Adding to the energy savings, the SMART SYSTEM’s night setback feature can be pre-programmed to shut off or slow down when the jail is less occupied. In addition, SMART SYSTEM enables ARMOR to communicate seamlessly in real time with building management systems by utilizing an on-board MODBUS protocol.
The unique ARMOR design also protects against the harmful effects of lime scale buildup, which can cause a traditional water heater to fail in as little as two to five years and substantially increase operating costs. For example, just 1/4-inch of scale in the tank can increase operating costs by as much as 25 percent. Since ARMOR heats the water and then deposits it in an unfired storage tank, lime scale buildup does not impair the heat transfer efficiency.
Following the installation, facility managers are extremely pleased with the increase in efficiency delivered by the two ARMOR Condensing Water Heaters, the fact that they have never run out of hot water and that the system has not required maintenance.
“The facility management team at the Wyandotte County Jail was initially attracted to the fuel savings attributed to the Lochinvar units, and they haven’t been disappointed,” said Tom Axtell, president of Lexington Plumbing. “Having a highly efficient system is vital for a facility that uses this much hot water on a daily basis, and they will be able to pay back the cost for the new equipment in two and a half to three years. Now that this project is completed, the facility personnel told us they wish they would have upgraded sooner.”
For more information, visit www.Lochinvar.com.