Hydronics Equipment Turns Heads at AHR Expo
February 19, 2007
DALLAS - An all-star lineup of hydronic HVAC equipment debuted at the recent 2007 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). Many familiar names in the wet heat segment showcased new products to attendees, drawing “oohs” and “ahhs” from contractors, suppliers, and educators interested in the latest and greatest products on the market. Below is a list of what some of the manufacturers were exhibiting for the first time.
Bradford White Corp. (www.bradfordwhite.com) introduced its new Combi2™ combination water and space heating system. The direct-fired, quick-recovery water heaters provide both home space heating and potable hot water from a single source and are available in capacities of 50 and 75 gallons.
The gas-powered Combi2 systems require a small footprint and are available in power-vented and atmospheric-vented models. In addition to meeting domestic water heating needs, these units serve as a heat source for a variety of radiant heat and “hydro-air” applications, eliminating the need for other heating systems, according to the company.
The system’s 1-1/2 inch outside diameter glass-coated heat exchanger coil ends with 3/4-inch NPT connections welded to the tank. The patented, closed-loop, double-wall carbon steel coil provides a positive leak path, and the coil’s large diameter ensures low-pressure drop and fast recovery.
The non-CFC foam insulated tanks feature a Vitraglas® protective lining for long life. Each model comes with a factory-installed T&P valve, thermostatic mixing valve, and a 10-year limited warranty on the tank and coil.
The 50-gallon, gas-powered systems also come equipped with Bradford White’s Defender Safety System®, a flammable-vapor ignition resistant system.
Bryan Steam LLC (www.bryanboilers.com) displayed one of its new Bryan Compliance+® Series hot water and steam boilers featuring its new Ultra Low NOx boiler/burner design. These gas-fired boilers utilize the latest metal fiber burner technology combined with air-fuel ratio control and a PID controller to provide a 5:1 turndown ratio and corrected NOx levels of sub 12 ppm.
Cleaver-Brooks (www.cleaver-brooks.com) featured its Hawk ICS, an integrated control system with precise boiler/burner management and safety with logic-based ancillary devices that functions as part of a fully integrated CBLE Firetube boiler display.
According to the company, the Hawk ICS maximizes efficiency, reduces operating costs, and increases productivity. Critical information is delivered via a touch screen or by remotely accessing its Ethernet capabilities. Integrating a Hawk ICS into a boiler system can equal energy and cost savings of up to 4.4 percent. Some of the energy-saving features on the Hawk ICS include variable-speed drive control, oxygen monitoring, parallel positioning, and efficiency monitoring.
“A key benefit of the Hawk is how seamlessly it communicates and integrates into an existing building management system,” said Dan Willems, vice president of product development at Cleaver-Brooks. “The Hawk ICS brings sophisticated technologies to our customers allowing them to integrate, optimize, and monitor efficiency trends and boiler room performance.”
The ability to actively monitor efficiency trends allows systems operators to recognize when performance problems occur and correct them before heat and energy loss becomes an issue and increased fuel costs are incurred.
According to Willems, the Hawk ICS is not only important for new boiler systems, but is ideal for retrofitting into existing boiler rooms to help mitigate environmental implications and increase cost reduction. Incorporating the Hawk ICS into a boiler system will improve system reliability, safety, production quality, and increase boiler uptime.
Grundfos Pumps (www.versaflo.com) expanded its line of VersaFlo® multi-speed wet rotor circulators with four new pumps. The new circulator sizes improve the line’s retrofit and replacement capabilities. The shorter flange-to-flange pump length with matching flanges, allows the VersaFlo pumps to be used as drop-in replacements without the need for pipe modifications.
The VersaFlo circulator’s wet rotor design eliminates the need for a motor-cooling fan because the water being pumped simultaneously surrounds the rotor, cooling and lubricating the shaft and bearings. This helps eliminate possible fan noise and vibration. These seal-free pumps do not require lubricants or coupler replacements and are self-venting.
Both cast iron and bronze VersaFlo UP(S) pumps have balanced rotors and laser-welded, stainless steel, curved blade impellers. VersaFlo UPS pumps have a 2-or 3-speed switch, which enhances fluid control and comfort level. The designer, installer or user can select the speed required, thus maximizing the energy savings by matching the pump performance to the system requirements. UP motors are single-speed and dual voltage. All VersaFlo pumps provide indicator lights for on/off, correct rotation, and troubleshooting.
VersaFlo pumps are available in a wide range of sizes and configurations, in cast iron construction for closed (heating and air conditioning), and bronze construction for open (domestic hot water) systems.
HydroTherm (www.hydrothermkn.com) featured its newly updated KN self-adaptive boilers at the AHR Expo.
The KN Series is a family of high-efficiency, commercial, gas-fired boilers that feature a self-adaptive design tolerant to changing conditions. The boilers also feature the onboard Heat-Net integrated boiler management control system. The Heat-Net platform provides the ability to control up to 16 KN units in a boiler network without the need for a traditional wall mount control panel. This control system allows communications with various building management systems such as Lonworks, Modbus, and BACnet.
Each KN boiler is manufactured with Mestek’s Tru-Flow technology to control the air fuel mixture at all firing rates and multiple venting conditions. Combustion air is constantly tracked by the fuel gas flow through the gas valve to maintain combustion parameter consistency (CO2, O2, CO, NOx) throughout the full modulation firing range.
The KN line includes the KN-6, a 600,000 Btu model; the KN-10, a 1 million Btu boiler; and the KN-20, a 2 million Btu unit. Each is equipped with a low-noise blower, an air inlet, and low velocity burner for quiet operation.
Additionally, all KN boilers have a footprint of less than 29 inches, so they can be installed in a wide variety of new and retrofit applications.
Lochinvar (www.lochinvar.com) rolled out its 99 percent thermally efficient Armor water heater. It features inputs up to 500,000 Btuh, a stainless steel heat exchanger, 5:1 modulating turndown, and Lochinvar’s Smart System™ operating control.
Armor is available in five commercial water heater models, offering a choice of 150,000, 199,000, 285,000, 399,000 and 500,000 Btuh inputs. In addition, it is designed to be installed with a separate storage tank protecting against the negative effects of lime scale buildup. By heating the water and then depositing it in an unfired storage tank, lime scale buildup cannot impair the heat transfer efficiency.
RBI (www.rbiwaterheaters.com) showcased its new Futera Fusion and the new 4 million Btu Futera III at the AHR Expo.
Representing the next generation of high-efficiency boilers and hot-water heaters, the Futera Fusion is a commercial boiler that is IBR-listed. The new boiler is designed to meet the changing demands of environmentally sensitive or green building design and comes with a full, 21-year, nonprorated warranty against damage from thermal shock.
This gas-fired condensing boiler, with full modulation and a 3:1 turndown, is available in sizes from 500 to 2,000 MButh. It features advanced heat exchanger technology with a gasketless primary heat exchanger, solid bronze headers, and finned copper or cupronickel tubing. A stainless steel secondary heat exchanger is designed to operate at the boiler’s full flow rate.
It operates in full condensing mode at all times, while a temperature mixing system protects the boiler’s primary heat exchanger. A metal-fiber burner allows modulating turndown, low emission levels, and quiet operation. In addition, the system automatically adjusts energy input to match the heating load without overfiring or wasting fuel.
This design offers a large heat transfer surface area and has a minimum full input efficiency rating of 94.5 percent with certain sizes achieving a rating of 97.5 percent. At minimum inputs, each model is capable of producing efficiencies as high as 99 percent.
Solaronics (www.solaronics.com) reported that their patented True Dual 2-stage heatersare now shipping to distributors and representatives in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
“Architects and engineers seeking the most energy efficient heating system can now specifythe new low intensity Solaronics True Dual 2-stage heaters for a wide variety of building types,”said Tom Lester, vice president of sales and marketing. According to Lester, Solaronics heaters are typically specified for new buildings and retrofit applications.
True Dual 2-stage heaters operate on natural gas or liquid propane. Both air and gas flows are precisely regulated at both the high- and low-heat stages for optimum efficiency.
Design certified by CSA International to ANSI/CGA standards, Solaronics True Dual 2-stage heaters are approved for indoor and outdoor use and have high heat/low heat input ratings from 85,000/65,000 Btuh to 200,000/145,000 Btuh.
Other features include direct spark ignition; 100 percent safety shut-off; a completely assembled and factory tested burner; heavy-duty 12 gauge black steel combustion and heat exchanger tubes with 10-year warranty; and chain mounting. Stainless steel models are available for wet, humid, and corrosive environments.
Takagi (www.takagi.com) introduced its smallest tankless water heater, the T-K3. Tankless units are designed to be compact so they can be mounted on a wall, saving space. The T-K3 is just 13.8 inches wide and can be recessed between two wall studs, saving even more space. Maximum flow rate is 7 gpm, but with new Easy Link Technology, up to four units can be connected, to meet the hot water needs of larger homes.
Also showing for the first time is the T-H1. According to the company, the super-efficient T-H1 maintains high efficiency ratings 94 percent (LP) and 92 percent (NG). Unlike its predecessors, the T-H1 employs a pre-heating system that heats water in a virtually instant two-step process, and a built-in neutralizer system that allows for a longer unit lifespan. As a result, the T-H1 is capable of delivering 10.2 gallons per minute.
Takagi’s Mobius T-M1 made its debut as well. With a thermal efficiency of 83 percent for natural gas and 85 percent for liquid propane, the Mobius T-M1 generates a continuous, unlimited supply of hot water at a maximum flow rate of 9.6 gallons per minute. Plus, its unique flexibility allows up to 20 Mobius units to be installed together using a single main control system. It’s ideal for residential or commercial water heating and warm air or radiant heating system applications.
Taco Inc. (www.taco-hvac.com) displayed a Foam Compensating Low Water Cutoff (LTF) control device for primary use in low-pressure steam boilers. The LTF is an advanced microprocessor-based low water cutoff used for detecting the presence of conducive fluid, like foam, in a vessel or tank. The LTF provides continuous protection against a false water level reading due to its probe being in foam.
The LTF can be used with an alarm or with an automatic water feeder. Its LED features report a low water condition, excessive foaming, and a low signal level from its probe to indicate that probe cleaning may be required.
Taco also introduced its new 5900 FlexBalance Series Separator. The patented 5900 acts as a hydraulic bridge between primary and secondary circuits in hydronic heating and cooling applications.
Constructed of carbon steel materials and manufactured to ASME standards, the green-building-friendly 5900, with internal baffles, provides improved system efficiency, allowing for the use of smaller pumps for each system.
Turbotec Products (www.turbotecproducts.com) introduced Enviro-Pak, a domestic hot water maker and heat recovery unit engineered to reduce water-heating equipment load and provide free hot water. According to Floyd Lewis, director of sales and marketing, Turbotec, Enviro-Pak is one of the highest efficiency heat recovery units on the market today.
The unit is designed to work with existing or newly installed a/c or refrigeration systems in the 1.5 to 5 ton range for light commercial and residential applications. In addition, the unit may qualify for points in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
“A typical payback including the cost of installation is one to three years depending on the cycle time of the air conditioning or refrigeration system,” said Lewis.
The Enviro-Pak unit can be installed by a licensed a/c contractor and connects to the condensing unit on the high side. It can be used with R-22 or R-410A applications, and can provide up to a three-point increase in older systems’ SEER ratings.
It is immediately available, is offered with either a white powder coat paint or stainless steel jacket, and features indicator lights for operational and safety diagnostics. An optional isolation valve kit is available for water and refrigerant connections. The unit comes with a five-year limited warranty.
Z-Flex (www.z-flex.com) designed a brand new drain-backflow adapter for Takagi on-demand water heaters, alleviating stocking issues for distributors and easing installation for contractors. This new, all-in-one part incorporates individual design improvements made with multiple parts through extensive product research and development and has patent(s) pending.
As an OEM supplier to Takagi, Z-Flex has taken three separate parts and integrated them into one single solution. This elimination of multiple product SKUs has gained praise from distributors, while the reduction of installation time associated with this new single piece in the field is welcome news to installers.
Previously, a typical installation of the Takagi system included the use of a backflow preventer, a female-female adaptor, and a condensate drain.
Publication date: 02/19/2007