Don Zehner receives CBHCC’s Educator of the Year Award

Don Zehner receives the CBHCC Educator of the Year award from Rick Hultgren, President of CBHCC

Bornquist would like to congratulate one of our finest peers in receiving the Chicagoland Better Heating and Cooling Council’s Educator of the Year Award for 2016-2017.  Don Zehner has worked tirelessly to help educate the Chicagoland area on heating and cooling over his long career at Bornquist and it’s great to see him recognized for his hard work bettering our industry.  For these reasons (and many more!) we were happy to have him on our team for 35 years.  Congrats Don, and thank you for all that you’ve done for Bornquist!

For more information on the CBHCC and their awards history visit their site here.  To learn more about upcoming BI education opportunities check out our site here.


ESP-Systemwize™ Tool – ensures the most efficient hydronic system design

B&GESP-Systemwize™ is the industry’s only online selection tool that provides you the ability to choose all system components within a single integrated tool to ensure the most efficient hydronic system design. 

ESP-Systemwize offers a guided experience through the specification process by providing side-by-side product comparisons, an express select button that helps quickly narrow down a pump search, and an active warning system that alerts you of potential selection problems.

ESP-Systemwize is also searchable by groups of products — a click of the performance button analyzes a pump’s multiple speeds in real time and the workplace tab offers additional product data. From a single tool you can now select:  Pumps, Triple Duty Valves, Air & Dirt Separators, Expansion Tanks, Heat Exchangers, Pressure Independent Control Valves and Replacement Parts.

 ESP-Systemwize provides the option to create a customized project schedule, share it with a manufacturer’s representative in your area, and edit it, enabling the management of the entire system selection process in a single project schedule. You can also generate submittals and download other technical documentation for information on proper installation and applications of the selected products.

  If you are a current user of B&G’s ESP-PLUS selection software it is being replaced by ESP-Systemwize so you will need to create a new password to take advantage of all of the features of the new system.

 ESP-Systemwize will be updated regularly with new features and capabilities to ensure it remains the most comprehensive system selection software available today. To start selecting the best hydronic systems, get ESP-Systemwize at or learn more in this overview video

B&G Liquid to Liquid Heat Exchanger AHRI  Certification Public Webinar

xylem_750x150_june172To: All B&G Representatives

I wanted to remind you of a great learning opportunity coming up next week, Tuesday, June 20th, when Bell & Gossett will be hosting a webinar with PM Engineer Magazine to share detailed information on Liquid to Liquid Heat Exchanger AHRI Standard 400 Certification and its impact on the industry.

John Boyer, Heat Transfer Market Manager at Xylem Inc., and Mike Kissel, Product Manager at Xylem Inc., will discuss how the standard ensures all manufacturers are designing to the same performance criteria. They will also discuss the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1 and how to specify in consideration of AHRI 400.

Bell & Gossett Liquid to Liquid Heat Exchanger AHRI Certification Webinar Quick Facts   

·    Date: Tuesday, June 20th

·    Time: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CST

·    Topic: Liquid to Liquid Heat Exchanger AHRI Standard 400, industry implications and specification

·    Agenda: Bell & Gossett will provide a 45-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute interactive Q&A session

To register for the Bell & Gossett AHRI webinar, click here.

Follow Bell & Gossett on social media:

·    Facebook: BellandGossett

·    Twitter: @BellGossett

·    YouTube: BellandGossett

·    LinkedIn: Bell & Gossett

To notify your customers about the Bell & Gossett Liquid to Liquid Heat Exchanger AHRI 400 webinar, please use the attached announcement.



John Hein
Segment Communications Leader, HVAC/CBS Americas, AWS

Domestic How Water Heating – Designing for Buildings

Domestic How Water Heating – Designing for Buildings  Friday, April 7th

Have you ever wondered about the best way to design a water heater plant? Well, the answer is not so simple. Come to this presentation to learn about different strategies for designing highly efficient water heater plants. We will cover all sizes and shapes for water heaters to fit the proper equipment for the proper budget. This considers all factors, space, efficiency, and reliability.

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Designing an Efficient Cooling Tower System

This course will seek to teach you about all the considerations needed to design a highly efficient cooling tower system. We’ll discuss different types of cooling towers, cooling tower selection, control strategies and pumping systems. We’ll even talk about cooling tower filters and how they are an important part of an efficient system.
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Bornquist

Radiant Floor Expert

radiant flooring

radiant flooring

With the current frenzy over “green” products lately, I thought I would give some well deserved credit to a product that really stands out in the “green” market. That product is nothing more than hydronic radiant floors. That’s right, no cutting edge technology, no sexy gimmick, just a well designed and installed hydronic radiant floor. In this article I want to talk about what it means to be a ‘green’ product, at least in my eyes, and also explain why hydronic radiant is quite possibly one of the greenest products available.

When we think of HVAC systems and the “green,” eco-friendly options we have to choose from, we quite often think of geothermal systems, solar heating, condensing boilers, VFD controlled pumps and fans and many other highly efficient products. But what is truly important to me is not the device itself, but rather the way you apply it to an actual system. For example, if you run a condensing boiler in a system with a return above 130 F, you will not benefit from the efficiency capabilities. What needs to be looked at when thinking “green,” is not just a single device, but the system as a whole. Hydronic radiant floor systems have many aspects that can contribute to the overall system efficiency. These aspects are what allow the so-called ‘green’ products shine. It is not surprising then, to see why Frank Lloyd Wright, known for his “Organic Architecture,” helped to popularize radiant floor heating in the 1940’s.

A radiant system works by sending hot water through tubing in the floor, which heats the floor surface to 72-85 F. Forced air systems heat air to around 120 – 140 F and circulate it through duct work. The hot air then enters the space and keeps the air temperature around 72 F. A common misconception is that heat rises, which is incorrect because heat goes from hot to cold, in any direction. What is important here is that hot air rises, not just heat. So, when you heat air, like in a forced air system, the hot air will rise to the top of the building, away from the occupants. Radiant floors do not work in this way. Radiant floors transfer heat to the objects and people in the space. This allows for a lower design indoor air temperature, usually 68 F. When compared to a forced air system, a typical residential system will be about 10-30% more efficient, while a commercial hanger or warehouse can see savings up to 60%.

The next aspect we need to look at is supply water temperature. A typical in-slab or sandwich style radiant installation will require about 120 F supply water temperature, on a design day. This is worth mentioning because the low water temperature is what allows a condensing boiler to get its high efficiency. Even a non-condensing boiler will produce better overall system efficiencies if properly designed with a mixing control. Geothermal systems that have a limit of 130 F supply water temperature can be utilized 100% of the time on a low temperature system. The key here is that the radiant floor system is what allowed the heat sources to be highly efficient, not the other way around.

Another great quality of radiant floors is the ease in which they are zoned, much easier than with forced air systems. Each room in a house or building can easily be separated in a radiant floor system. This allows for different temperature settings and the ability to turn down spaces that are not commonly occupied. When you can more easily control your system and send the heat to where you need it, you can save more on your operating costs.

Solar Expert

solarLet the Sun Shine In

Four major things motivated my topic this month:

  1. The rising costs of fossil fuels;
  2. My personal interest in conserving the environment;
  3. Tax time; and
  4. Spring.

All of our budgets are being stretched by the rising costs of fossil fuels. There are many reasons for this, including geopolitical events like the nationalization of fossil fuel companies in Russia, Venezuela and Bolivia, and conflicts in the Middle East. Earth has a limited supply of easily (inexpensively) extracted fossil fuels, and increasing worldwide demand. In particular, we are no longer the only big customer on the world market. Even at our current, historically high consumption levels, both India and China are challenging the U.S. as having the biggest demand and market for fuel. Alternative energy sources, like solar power can help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

As easily extracted fossil fuels become less abundant, we have to find “new” reserves. Those new sources are often in ecologically sensitive areas, like the Alaskan wilderness, and offshore. The risk of environmental accidents like those causes by the Exxon Valdez could have an impact on parts of the world that can never recover. Consumption is just half of the issue: what you don’t burn, you don’t pollute the atmosphere with. More and more experts are agreeing that global warming is caused by human impact on the earth, including emission gasses. Solar energy panels emit no harmful byproducts to the environment.

When we were kids, April was known as the month with showers. As adults, it is known as the month we give a substantial part of the money we have earned back to the government. The good news is that alternative energy sources are supported by Federal and local incentives in the form of tax rebates. Residential projects currently offer 25% of the project cost as a rebate. Commercial projects can offer as high as 30% of the installation, unlimited! These incentives significantly shorten the payback schedule for your solar installations.

Spring, glorious Spring, when we see the sun again in Chicago. Our long winter is coming to an end, and we are reminded of why anyone would want to live here. The sun is a resource that we appreciate because it provides light, lifts our spirits, make us warm, and makes our plants grow. It can also help reduce our energy bills.

Using the energy from the sun is not a new concept, but many things have changed since the 70’s when the first energy crunch hit. Solar collectors have improved, controls have improved, and our manufacturers and installers have had years to refine and perfect their installations.

How much energy is available from the sun? There is something called the solar constant, which refers to the approximately 440 BTU/hr/sq. ft. of energy generated by the sun that could potentially reach the earth. Of that potential energy, 30 to 60% is lost in the journey, and 170 to 315 BTU/hr/sq. ft. eventually reaches the surface. Here in Illinois, we receive 1260 to 1575 BTU/sq. ft./Day of energy from the sun. For optimum output, panels should be installed at a 45 degree angle and face South. Optimum output from a panel is roughly 220 BTU/hr/sq. ft. To absorb or collect this energy, there are several different panel or collector styles available. They range in design from photovoltaic, to tubes painted black with parabolic mirrors focusing on them, to flat panels, to vacuum tube collectors. All of these styles of collectors have different outputs per sq. ft. and different limitations to their installation details. The more efficient the panel, the more energy it absorbs, and the less it reflects. In addition, different panels may operate better for example, on a cloudy day, than others.

In the hydronic heating and plumbing industry, we can easily use panels that are hydronic in nature. We circulate a glycol solution through the panel, and the fluid absorbs the energy from the solar collector in the form of temperature, and the system pump then carries the energy to where it can do some work. Typical applications for hydronic based solar systems include supplement to comfort heating, domestic hot water production and pool heating. Comfort heating may initially seem the most intuitive application, but winter has the highest energy consumption, and the most adverse solar conditions. For Domestic water applications the panels are typically sized for 60% of the total load to insure that there is always a heat sink for the energy. Of all the applications, pool heating may make the most sense of all since we use our pools in the summer when the solar conditions are optimum. A rule of thumb for sizing pool systems is that you use enough solar panels to cover all of the surface of the pool.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Look for upcoming solar seminars from Bornquist, and from our local distributors. Learn about solar energy, how we can reduce our impact on the environment, reduce our energy bills and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Solar systems, like those from Viessmann, represent practical alternative energy technology that is available today.

Residential Steam Systems

Not all hydronic heating systems are water or glycol based. In this area, and on the East Coast, there are still a fair number of steam systems. Many of these systems are residential, and while they are not being designed and installed for new construction, they still represent an important niche in the hydronic market. Just because steam is thought of as an old technology doesn’t mean steam systems can’t operate efficiently.

Steam systems are generally not installed in new residential construction because they require more maintenance than water systems, and have a reputation for being more difficult to control than water based systems. While it is true that steam systems require regular maintenance, and are generally less efficient on the gas side than water systems, they also use significantly less electricity than water systems because they require no distribution pump(s), and gravity systems have no electrical requirement except for the burner and boiler controls. Properly maintained and controlled steam heating systems can be made to operate near the overall system efficiency of high temperature, set-point controlled water based systems.

Steam systems operate by boiling water, and when the water turns from liquid to vapor, it wants to expand. One pound of steam occupies roughly 1,787 times the volume of one pound of water at 0 PSI. The piping in the system contains this expansion and pressure is created. Like water, steam goes from high pressure to low pressure, and this differential pressure between the boiler and atmosphere (or vacuum pump) drives the “circulation”, or distribution of steam through the system. Steam cannot move anywhere unless the air that was there is removed from the system! Venting is therefore responsible for the rate and path of steam distribution. Vents must be chosen for capacity, application and working pressure. Adjustable vents can be used to “balance” steam systems and ensure even distribution so a system isn’t satisfied in one area and starved in another. Thermostatic vents mounted on zone valves, like those for Danfoss can be used to zone steam systems and control overheating in one-pipe steam systems.

The energy in steam comes from two components: sensible, and latent heat. Sensible heat is energy that relates to a change in temperature, and it takes 1 BTU to heat 1 lb. of water 1 degree F. Latent heat is the energy that changes the state of the fluid from liquid (water) to vapor (steam). Steam tables tell us information like the ratio of latent heat to sensible heat for steam at any given pressure. For example, one pound of 2 PSI Steam contains 187 BTU sensible heat, and 966 BTU of latent heat, with a temperature of 222 F. The lower the steam pressure, the greater it’s ratio of latent heat to sensible heat. Steam does work in heating a system when it condenses, and gives off latent heat. After it has condensed, it is still the same temperature as it was at the pressure of the steam at that point. If steam is not contained without condensing first, the latent heat is wasted up the stack. It is the job of the steam trap to distinguish steam from air (by temperature), and steam from condensate (by state) and keep it in the heat transfer device (radiator or heat exchanger) until it has done it�s work and condensed. Companies like Hoffman manufacture several different styles of traps (thermostatic, float & thermostatic, thermo-disc, bucket and other specialty styles), and it is important that traps are selected properly, not only for load and working pressure, but also for application.

When steam condenses, it “shrinks” in size (also roughly 1,787 times) and a vacuum could be pulled if it weren�t for a device called a vacuum breaker. The vacuum breaker prevents the condensate from �hanging up� in the terminal unit. If condensate is left in the terminal unit, noise often results from water hammer, and flashing.

In order to enhance efficiency, water based system can operate on “outdoor reset” when the water temperature of the system varies in relation to the outdoor air temperature. Steam boilers can also operate using the principal of outdoor reset, but rather than varying temperature, controls from manufacturers like tekmar vary the timing of the firing cycle in relation to outdoor air temperature. Steam reset controls enhance heating system efficiency by preventing “short-cycling” of the boiler, and reducing the tendency of steam systems to overheat under light-load conditions.

Most steam systems bear the signature of those that have designed and worked on them. Unfortunately, much of the knowledge that goes into the design of steam systems is being lost to time. Luckily, there places like Bell & Gossett�s Little Red Schoolhouse that offer you the opportunity to learn about steam applications, design variations, and maintenance. Call Bornquist and your local stocking wholesaler for the steam specialty equipment and knowledge that can maximize the efficiency and operation of your steam heating application.

Hydronic Rules of Thumb

Do you know enough to be dangerous?

True or False: Hydronic heating systems offer the maximum amount of comfort and efficiency possible to their owners. The answer, of course, is False! What is True, is that properly designed and installed hydronic systems offer the maximum amount of comfort and efficiency. Hydronic or otherwise, improperly designed systems have the same problems: hot and cold areas, large temperature swings, and inefficient operation. For over the fifty years, the ultimate resource for hydronic design and equipment has been Bell & Gossett. With over 60,000 graduates, The Little Red School House, at the B&G factory in Morton Grove, has literally educated our industry, and all at no charge!

Visit your local stocking B&G Wholesaler and learn to properly design hydronic heating systems. Learn about Primary Secondary pumping, Zoning Made Easy, Flow and Head Loss Calculations, Air Control, and Point of No Pressure Change to name a few. Learn to design and install the most comfortable, most efficient heating system available.

Before you get the chance to attend a class, here are ten simple rules of thumb for designing hydronic systems:

  1. PSI x 2.31 = feet of head (TDH)
  2. GPM x Delta T x 500 = BTU/hour
  3. Pressure Drop for piping system = Linear Feet of Longest Circuit x .06
  4. Proper flow for boiler in GPM = Output BTU/hr. divided by 10,000
  5. Static Height in feet / 2.31 + 4 PSI = Proper fill pressure
  6. Maximum Capacity
    • 1/2″ Pipe = 1.3 GPM = 13,000 BTU/hr.
    • 3/4″ Pipe = 3.5 GPM = 35,000 BTU/hr.
    • 1″ Pipe = 7.5 GPM = 75,000 BTU/hr.
    • 1-1/4″ Pipe = 12 GPM = 120,000 BTU/hr.
    • 1-1/2″ Pipe = 20 GPM = 200,000 BTU/hr.
    • 2″ Pipe = 45 GPM = 450,000 BTU/hr.
  7. Maximum output radiant floor = 35 BTU / square foot
  8. Typical output snowmelt system = 125 BTU / square foot
  9. Estimate for heat loss of New Building = 35 BTU / square foot
  10. Estimate for heat loss of Old Building = 50 BTU / square foot

Visit your local B&G Stocking Wholesaler to be enrolled in a Little Red Schoolhouse class, for design or maintenance.

Hydronic Circulators

bq_aboutDon’t Just “Go with the Flow”

Most modern hydronic heating systems use circulating pumps to move water through the piping system, to distribute the energy in the water to the radiation that heats the space. In previous articles, we have discussed one of the formulas we use most often when evaluating and designing hydronic heating systems: BTU/hr = GPM x Delta T x 500. This formula gives us a way of calculating the proper flow to deliver heat to a system. We have also discussed head loss calculations and means of estimating head losses. What we haven’t discussed is why it is important to have the correct flow?

Unfortunately, pumps don’t know how much they are supposed to pump. They provide as much flow as the system will accept, until friction losses limit their capacity. With constant speed pumps, that can be anywhere along the pump curve.

To understand the importance of proper flow, it is important to understand a little about how the emitters work. After a designer has done a heat loss calculation, they must selects radiation, and they should specify three pieces of information: Output (BTU/hr.), Supply Temperature, and Differential Temperature. Then, using the formula above, design flow is determined. What happens then if the flow is wrong?

If the flow is too low, the differential temperature across the emitter is too large, and the average temperature of the emitter can be too low to provide enough heat for the space. Worse-case, the flow could be so low that it would be ‘laminar’, or without turbulence and be unable to give off much heat.

There are also problems associated with flow being too high. If the fluid velocity is above 8 ft./sec. or so, noise and erosion can be an issue. If the delta T across the system is too short, the average temperature of the radiation will be above what the designer expected, and the space could overheat, and/or cycle excessively. When a pump is providing too much flow, it is using more energy than it needs to.

The inefficiencies created by incorrect flow can go back to the boiler plant where, as we have discussed in earlier articles, boiler efficiency is tied to return water temperature, and combustion efficiency is affected by firing cycle time. Flow sensitive boilers can be harmed, or be unable to sustain firing without adequate flow. The ‘packaged’ pump that comes with many boilers may, or may not be correctly sized for the actual piping arrangement on the job.

Residential circulators are often arbitrarily selected, and ‘one size fits all’ in nature. It is important to properly select your circulators, and if possible, verify that the flow is correct. Some pump manufacturers are able to provide multi-speed, and variable speed pumps that can be hard-set for a discrete speed, or controlled to a process variable to maintain proper flow. Variable speed pumps can even be used for injection mixing to provide for setpoint control, and outdoor reset.

Historically, one of the appeals of hydronic heating systems is their forgiving nature. That is partly because if people got enough heat, they were happy. This forgiving nature often leads to heating systems with oversized components and inefficient operation. Now, with rising heating costs, systems are designed to maximize both comfort and efficiency. Properly sized and controlled circulators which are individually selected for their application and location in the system play a key role in attaining these goals.