Setting the hydronics bar for the industry

Two December 2011 articles by John Siegenthaler have set a new bar for Plumbing & Mechanical that I look forward to you meeting or exceeding on every hydronics article going forward.

The first I’ll call “Success & Finesse” rather than “Glitch & Fix.” In that article, John took an adequate system by today’s standards and finessed the design implementation to garner notable performance efficiency with minimal cost increase. Keep it up. We benefit from that.

The second was “Coil envy.” Hats off to John for laying it out there — nonproprietary design parameters to finesse the efficiency of components of hydronic systems. Hopefully within a design cycle, a manufacturer or two will have implemented these concepts in their next product iteration, to the benefit of the industry.

Thomas R. Newman, P.E.
Progineering Inc.
Necedah, Wis.

‘Hats off to the foundry man’

I enjoyed Dan Holohan’s article about his experience in the Peerless Boilers foundry (“The work,” December 2011). It reminded me of my first job working at John Deere as an engineer in the tractor transmission group. I was the liaison between the transmission engineering group and the foundry and was given the grand tour of the foundry in Waterloo, Iowa.

I would agree with Dan that, after seeing what goes into casting transmission housings, engine blocks and heads, I never looked at them the same again.

One of the most thrilling days of my life was at the old foundry when a crucible of molten iron went over my head, hanging from a monorail track. The most deafening day was in the shaker room, where they shook out the sand from the cooled castings.

Hats off to the foundry man.

Larry Klope, P.E.
Bioenergy Alternatives
Gladstone, Mich.

Better planning needed for future Greenbuilds

I read Bob Miodonski’s editorial in the November 2011 issue (“How to make Greenbuild better”) and enjoyed it. I agree that Greenbuild could and should stay in the United States for the foreseeable future. Maybe I would not have gone anyway, but a U.S. city would have made it more likely that I would attend. I do know that IAPMO’s presence was downsized, but date conflicts also might have had something to do with it.

On the panelists issue, however, I come down on the side of the panelists. Having been in the position many times of speaking in a poorly planned venue, I can imagine the frustration of the panelists. The noise distraction must have significantly altered their perception of how much the audience was able to hear. I’m surprised that the professionals at Greenbuild/USGBC let that happen.

Steve Lehtonen
The IAPMO Group
Ontario, Calif.

A second look at Tool Tips

Regarding the “Simple solution to locate gas pipe leaks” Tool Tip (December 2011): This simple solution will create future gas leak problems. If you use laundry detergent, you must thoroughly wash down and remove all the laundry detergent from the pipe joints tested. Laundry detergent has chlorine in the solution and will “eat” at the pipe dope seal. This chemical corrosion will end up causing gas leaks on all joints sprayed with laundry detergent!

There are gas leak detectors on the market that come in spray-bottle form, such as Big Blue and several others. Gas leak detector solution is chlorine-free and will not create gas leaks.

Note that gas leaks also will occur with corrugated stainless-steel piping systems if you use laundry detergent. The chlorine actually causes pitting and breakdown on the flexible stainless-steel pipe. In addition, using laundry detergent voids all warranties on stainless-steel pipe systems.

Dale L. Zipperer
Lakeshore Heating and Sheet Metal
Manitowoc, Wis.

I was flustered to see the first-place Tool Tips prize in PM’s November 2011 issue awarded to an explanation on how to make an illegal, unprotected cross-connection between the potable water supply and raw sewage (“Easy water supply for flushing drains”). It then goes on to explain that this Roto-Rooter tech’s actual intention is to complete this cross-connection. Just for kicks, I ran the “tip” past the girls in the office and asked them why it was a bad idea. Two out of three got it right.

Marty Haley
Haley Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning
Friendswood, Texas

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