Ray Wohlfarth

Ray Wohlfarth

Ray Wohlfarth is the author of “Lessons Learned in a Boiler Room: A common-sense approach to servicing and installing commercial boilers.” In his spare time, he is president of Fire & Ice in Pittsburgh, Pa. Ray writes a monthly newsletter on commercial boilers. He can be reached at 412/343-4110.


Boiler safety lessons

An average of 17 boiler incidents occurs each year.
May 21, 2014

I am not sure whether it was divine intervention or just plain luck that allowed these brave firefighters to walk away from this.

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What can you do to affect the performance of your heating systems?

More power.
April 22, 2014

One of the things I have learned about this industry is that no matter how much you think you know, things can still surprise and humble you

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The boiler gas train

Understanding this critical safety system can save your customers costly repairs.
February 20, 2014

One of the most misunderstood portions of the commercial heating system is the gas train. The gas train is a series of components that safely feed natural or propane gas into the burner.

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Controlling an existing hydronic boiler

Use a little more care when repairing or maintaining this equipment.
December 19, 2013

I like working with the control techs in our industry. They have such a passion for their craft. If left alone, they will control or monitor everything that moves, slides, shakes or switches.

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Are reps and distributors extinct?

Face-to-face customer service beats buying online in this business.
November 18, 2013

One of the companies we represent was owned by Russ Geaslen. He changed the boiler industry as we know it by designing and patenting the primary/secondary piping of modular boilers in 1964 (Patent No. US3329343A). Russ was half genius and half mad scientist. Unfortunately, he passed on to the big boiler room in the sky in 1996. I still miss him.

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Have you read the installation manual?

Documentation may save you from a lawsuit.
October 18, 2013

If you are like most designers or installers, I would wager that you have never read the installation manual for the piece of equipment that you design or install. And if you do not, you may be held responsible for any omissions recommended in that manual but not implemented.

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Are boilers dangerous?

Take precautions when repairing or maintaining commercial boilers.
September 20, 2013

John was a custodian for a local school district. We used to call him “20 Questions” because he would constantly ply us with questions about the boilers when we would perform the annual service. He would jokingly ask how many of the 20 questions he would have left.

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Are modulating burners worthwhile?

Consider low-high-low burners on your next replacement.
August 22, 2013

For years we have designed boiler rooms consisting of two oversized boilers with fully modulating burners. 

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Two-pipe system

How to control such a system during the shoulder seasons.
July 18, 2013

A complaint building maintenance departments frequently hear is that the occupants are either too hot or too cold. In some instances, both complaints may come from the same room. 

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Steam, the Original ‘Bad Boy’

Don’t approach steam like a hot water system.
April 19, 2013
Steam systems have the reputation of being the “bad boy” of the industry and I believe it may be unfounded. Many contractors will suggest replacing the steam system with a new system but it may be fiscally unrealistic to do so.
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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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