Articles by John Siegenthaler, P.E.

Trade-offs in boilers

Two boiler characteristics that need to make a comeback.
July 18, 2013

 North American hydronic professionals can now choose from dozens of modulating/condensing (mod/con) boilers. Many are designed for wall-mounting. Those who design these boilers strive for small enclosures and low weight.  

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The basics of radiant ceiling cooling

No drips allowed.
June 25, 2013

 For decades, well-designed and -installed hydronic heating systems have earned a reputation for superior comfort. Still, potential customers who understand and desire the benefits of hydronic heating often ask, “But how does this system provide cooling?”  

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Biomass heating systems can use both big and little tanks

How they can work together in a wood-fired heating system.
May 29, 2013


Interest in biomass heating systems continues to rise, especially in rural areas of the United States and Canada. Although plenty of devices are available that burn wood to heat water, the state-of-the-art device is a wood-gasification boiler.

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Solar Thermal Report- Spring 2013: If I Made the Tanks, Part 1

What would an ideal pressurized thermal storage tank for a solar combisystem look like?
April 26, 2013
Residential solar combisystems provide domestic water heating and some percentage of space heating. Although less known than domestic hot water-only systems, combisystems can be practical and efficient if properly sized and designed.
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Smoke Gets in your Eyes

It’s time to do wood-fired heating right.
April 19, 2013
Every August, I make a short trip to a local event call the Woodsmen’s Field Days. This gathering is all about cutting down trees and then slicing them up into either firewood or lumber.
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Energy and Power

They're not the same thing
February 13, 2013
Most of you reading this column consider yourselves heating professionals.
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Heat pumps are renewable energy heat sources

January 15, 2013
I recently read an Internet posting asserting that heat pumps, both air-source and geothermal, should not be considered renewable energy heat sources.

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Do this, do that

December 1, 2012
A new piping concept and control wiring challenge.  
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Avoiding thermal depression

November 1, 2012
A new way to protect a heating system.
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Larger than necessary

October 1, 2012
You’re probably oversizing expansion tanks in low-temperature systems.
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June 2014

2014 June

In the June issue of Plumbing & Mechanical, read about the Burke Agency and find out why they are the 2014 Plumbing & Mechanical Rep of the Year. Read about the latest method for renewable fuel, what to take into account when installing indoor climate systems and learn to be a trusted advisor with the 2015 water heater regulations. Find out who is this month's Truck of the Month, read this month's Tool Tips and check out the latest products and news from the plumbing and mechanical industry.
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