ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — There was definitely no shortage of hydronic-related equipment manufacturers at the 2002 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Exposition.

The gamut of products ran from boilers to radiant floor systems, water heaters, and pumps. Below is a sampling of some of the new or updated products exhibited during the three-day expo.

Mike Chiles (right) is all smiles as the Watts Radiant staff prepares for the flood of expo attendees.


Watts Radiant(Springfield, MO) highlighted several different products. Among them was the HeatWave underfloor mat, which the company touts as the “new UL solution for cold floors, whether the problem is tile, carpet, wood, or vinyl.”

High-tech heating elements are woven into mats that fit between 16-in. joist spaces. Foil-faced insulation fills the joist space to improve heat transfer to the finished floor above. Mats are available in several lengths, and can go from one joist space to the next with a single electric connection.

Mike Chiles, general manager for Watts Radiant, said, “The HeatWave underfloor mat is designed for professional installers who want to answer customers’ most common heating question: What’s the easiest way to radiant heat an existing frame floor?”

Weil-McLain (Michigan City, IN) featured its Qual-Pex® tubing. The company says Qual-Pex is the newest version of PEX tubing on the North American market. The tubing contains an oxygen barrier, which is safely protected between two layers of PEX, protecting it from external conditions, construction traffic, and moisture, the company says.

Dave Laursen, Weil-McLain director of Radiant and Plumbing Systems, said, “The common practice of placing the oxygen barrier on the outside of the tubing exposes the integrity of the barrier. With the Qual-Pex oxygen barrier, there is no delaminating, no abrasion, no worries.”

Grundfos Pumps Corp. (Olathe, KS) is excited about its new product, which the company claims will bring instant hot water to homeowners from any location in the home. Expo visitors had a chance to see this new technology — the Comfort Series instant hot water system — at work.

The system is a retrofitted Hot Water Recirculation (HWR) system, and will “provide instant hot water and significant water savings to owners of existing homes,” according to Grundfos.

The Vitodens 200 wall-mounted condensing boiler from Veissmann.
“This is the only ‘under-the-sink’ HWR product we are aware of that requires only a single pump installed at the water heater and doesn’t require a return line, instead recirculating the hot water back through the cold water line after use,” said Hans Kircher, hvac segment manager.

The system will be shipped with a UP15 circulator with a timer and power cord, a Comfort Series thermal bypass valve, mounting screws, and instructions.

A.O. Smith (Irving, TX) is a leading name in water heaters, tanks, and boilers. While exhibit visitors pored over the external features and benefits of the company’s products, they were also impressed by what they couldn’t see. That’s because the company’s Permaglas Ultra Coat process, which spreads a special glass coating over the entire inner surface of a preassembled tank, is invisible to the naked eye.

The process takes place after the tanks are assembled and welded. The tanks are rotated while the coating is pumped into it. The technology “ensures an even glass coating — increasing tank quality and effectiveness,” said the company.

Viessmann Manufacturing Co. Inc. (Warwick, RI) highlighted one of its new products at the expo, the Vitodens 200 wall-mounted condensing boiler.

The company claims the Vitodens 200 is a “high-quality and very reliable condensing boiler.” Some of its features include an Inox-Radial heat exchanger surface of high-alloy stainless steel; a modulating MatriX compact gas burner, designed to provide maximum energy savings and minimum emissions; and a small space requirement.

“A balanced flue design with self-regulating gas burner and self-calibrating combustion are the key features of this product for reliable operation and maximum performance,” said Ed Nordstrom, general manager for Viessmann USA.

Jeff Hurst is armed and ready to tell booth visitors about Hurst boilers.
Five models are available with rated inputs from 23 to 222 MBtuh as a heating boiler; and as a combination heating boiler/ DHW unit from 23 to 91 MBtuh. All units are ASME approved and have an AFUE rating up to 94%.

Hurst Boiler & Welding Co., Inc. (Coolidge, GA) could have rolled out some of its “Performance” boilers at the expo, but there wouldn’t be much room for anything else. Instead, Jeff Hurst, vice president of marketing, took the time to explain the features of some of his company’s boilers.

One of the newer offerings is the Series 500 four-pass wet back packaged scotch boilers, available in steam or hot water versions from 100 to 1,500 hp, and pressures up to 250 psig. Other features and benefits include minimum maintenance, rugged construction, and a UL-listed packaged burner for firing gas, oil, and combination gas/oil. The boiler is factory tested and checked for optimum operating efficiency.

Slant/Fin Corp. (Greenvale, NY) showed off its Victory VSP direct-vent, sealed-combustion boiler. Slant/Fin emphasized the “safety, comfort, and versatility of sealed combustion.”

The company said its compact-sized boiler is a logical choice for installations without chimney venting. The company states that venting choices expand installation options, such as direct through-the-wall or roof vent, and nondirect through-the-wall or roof vent.

The theme is "World Class Boilers" at the Slant/Fin exhibit.
Additional features include:
  • Operation in total isolation from household air (outdoor air is used for combustion);
  • The advanced-design Victory Series cast iron heat exchanger; and
  • Near-zero CO emissions.
The boiler is available in five sizes, from 60,000- to 180,000-Btuh AGA input.

Dunkirk, an ECR International Co. (Dunkirk, NY), is known for its natural or propane gas-fired boilers. But there are some other things that Ronald Passafaro, vice president of Sales and Marketing, wanted expo attendees to know.

“Our boilers are very good with radiant applications,” he said. For example, Dunkirk’s new 90-200 hot water boiler is 90% efficient when used in radiant systems featuring low supply and return water temperatures, he said.

The reason? According to the company, the 90-200 “does not require a return bypass or injection pumping system to preheat return water prior to entering the heat exchanger.”

Passafaro also pointed out that cooled flue gas can be vented through inexpensive PVC piping. Five feet of CPVC piping is included with the product.

Utica Boilers, an ECR International Co. (Utica, NY), manufacturer of gas-fired hot water boilers, has a Nautica Series boiler with an efficiency rating of up to 84% AFUE. It has a “revolutionary” design and flexible installation features, Passafaro noted.

“It is easy to install and service,” he said. “The Nautica is on casters, so it is easy to move around.”

Other “easy maintenance” features include self-diagnostic operating lights, a front access panel, and plug-in transformer and relay control components.

Peerless Heater Co. (Boyertown, PA) was anxious to roll out the red carpet on a new product offering. Expo visitors were shown the new Peerless Pinnacle, a high-efficiency steel boiler that will be available in March 2002.

Jeffrey Alexander was quick to point out some of the features of the new boiler, which has a fully modulating burner for maximum efficiency (92% AFUE). Some of its other features include a lightweight design (available in three sizes), natural or LP gas direct vent, and a comprehensive one-year parts-and-labor warranty.

Uponor Wirsbo (Apple Valley, MN), one of the better-known names in the hydronic heating business, is probably most remembered for its Wirsbo Radiant Floor Systems, featuring the Engel Method of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing.

PEX tubing is used in both residential and commercial buildings. It can be installed using the company’s patented Quik Trak system or directly into concrete slab areas during the initial construction phase. More than 5 billion ft of Wirsbo PEX tubing is currently installed throughout the world, said the company.

Publication date: 02/18/2002