August 2011 ESPCO Newsletter


On July 19, 2011, Reuters reported that “AO Smith will acquire privately held Lochinvar Corp for $418 million”.

I hear great things about the Lochinvar product not only from obvious sources like their distributors and installers but from non-distributors as well. I am told that their “Knight” condensing boiler product is “bullet-proof” and call-backs virtually don’t exist! In today’s world of micro-processor driven condensing boilers, that is a big statement….it sounds like Lochinvar brought the ease of what I call “plain vanilla” boilers to the condensing market and that my friends is unique. My beef with condensing boilers vs. plain vanilla has been that we all can install these high end, super efficient boilers, but many….maybe most of us, aren’t comfortable with setting them up properly and ultimately servicing them.

Don’t misunderstand me….I love condensing boilers and I was there for the first condensing boiler introduced in the States back in the late 70’s….the HydroTherm HydroPulse boiler. Unfortunately, I don’t see that a lot has changed over 30 years addressing the need for a condensing boiler product that is easy to set up and easy to maintain…..until now!

Look, I got no dog in this race, but I’m impressed with what you all tell me about Lochinvar and I hope this recent news doesn’t change that down the road.

Lochinvar has an exceptional representative in the NJ and NY markets in Wallace Eannace Associates. WEA pioneered Lochinvar in the NY metro market and I hope they continue to enjoy what is now the fruit of their earlier hard work with this product.

If you have installed a Lochnivar product and have utilized the excellent technical support offered by WEA then you know they are the market leaders in condensing boilers and they know their product….great technical support and great training offered by their trainer, Dave MacKay. I like to think that Dave and I are cut from the same cloth….we both have turned a wrench in our day and we speak / train from personal experience rather than from what we heard in a sales meeting or read in a piece of sales literature.

If you haven’t yet had an experience with Lochinvar and Wallace Eannace Associates then I suggest you give them a call….now!


I have been learning about the Daikin Altherma system and I have also been reading your thoughts about it in industry blogs and such. I have to tell you this Altherma is some really neat stuff!

The Daikin Altherma system offers a variety of applications that can create a comprehensive climate control system, (heating & cooling), for any home and produce domestic hot water as well.

Among the system components is an air to water heat pump that can be the heat source for radiant floor heating as well as domestic hot water production. Depending upon the system you choose, the hydronic heat exchange components can be contained in the outdoor unit, (called the “Monobloc”), or separate from the outdoor unit, installed indoors in what Daikin calls the “Hydrobox”.

There is a refrigerant cycle which is the medium for the heat transfer to the water but if you choose the Monobloc Altherma system, the refrigerant cycle is limited to the outdoor unit….what I mean by that is you are not running line-sets into the home! Remember this is an air to water heat pump so we are cycling water….yes, water, to and from the outdoor unit to what I will call the “demands” or heating appliances within the home, i.e., hydronic fan coils for heating / cooling, radiant floor heating loops and indirect water heater.

You wet-heads out there getting this? I think you may have the best of all worlds here in that Daikin has managed to marry the efficiencies and simplicity of the heat pump and combined it with the hydronic components you know and love!

Now if that wasn’t enough, (I’m sounding a bit like Ron Popeil here), wait, there’s more!

You all know that I love thermal solar…. I practice what I preach and I have a TSS on my own home. Check this out….there is a Daikin Altherma solar option that you can add to any version of the Altherma system for “primary” domestic hot water production with heat pump energy as back-up if needed.

The Altherma system is available in capacities ranging from 2 -5 ton.

That is a quick and overly simplistic overview of Altherma….I suggest you go to the Daikin website for more details. I’m really fascinated by the versatility of the system and the combining of multiple technologies in what appears to be a very unique, efficient and comprehensive system!


Check out what NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg is doing to help the United States move away from producing half it’s energy from coal at this link.

Last month I told you about a thermal solar manufacturer that I found very interesting, Heliodyne. Well, the August / September issue of SOLARPRO magazine has an interview with Ole Pilgaard, president of Heliodyne. If you don’t get SOLARPRO delivered you can see it online here.

GEOTHERMAL: Want to know what the feds think about geothermal? Check out this article on the White House website.

Geothermal tax credits, (as well as solar water heaters, wind energy systems and fuel cells), will continue through December 31, 2016. You can read more about it in the ACHR The NEWS, article in the July 18, 2011 issue.

Lots of geothermal coverage in the July 25, 2011 issue of the ACHR The NEWS! If you don’t get it delivered you can check it out online here.

Have you been noticing all the full page adds for Bosch geothermal equipment in virtually every trade magazine and journal of late? They even have a “pull-out” brochure in the above mentioned July 25, 2011 issue of the ACHR The News. Well, Bosch is in the midst of re-branding the residential product line which once was Florida Heat Pump, (FHP), and they are making a huge investment in the US geothermal market. Backed by a 10 year parts and labor warranty, the Bosch geothermal product is top shelf.

I was lucky enough to visit the Bosch facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this past month and I was impressed with the high level of commitment to product quality, versatility, as well as customer needs with both the Bosch residential line and the FHP commercial line.

Bosch will be creating a state of the art geothermal training facility at their Florida headquarters that will compliment their existing, excellent “in-the-field” training efforts.

You can learn more about Bosch here.

Last month I promised to get into the basic workings of water to air geothermal heat pumps like the ones being utilized in the Montgomery, NY job that I have been documenting for you over the past few months. So let’s do it!

*In the cooling mode, the refrigerant, a hot gas, is pumped from the compressor to the water-to-refrigerant heat exchanger via the reversing valve. Water, generally with antifreeze, flowing through the water-to-refrigerant heat exchanger removes heat and the hot gas condenses into a liquid. This liquid then flows through a metering device to the air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger coil. In evaporating into a gas, the liquid absorbs heat and cools and dehumidifies the air that passes over the coil surface. The cooling cycle is completed when the refrigerant flows as a low pressure gas through the reversing valve back to the suction side of the compressor. The fluid from the water-to-air heat exchanger is pumped to the ground loop heat exchanger where it transfers heat to the earth. The cooled fluid then flows back to the unit.

During the heating mode, the refrigerant, a hot gas, is pumped from the compressor to the air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger coil via the reversing valve. In the air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger coil, the heat is removed by the air that passes over the coil surface, and the hot gas condenses into a liquid. The air is circulated to the space and provides heating for the house. The refrigerant liquid then flows through a metering system to the water-to-refrigerant heat exchanger. When evaporating into a gas, the liquid absorbs heat and cools the water. The heating cycle is completed when the refrigerant flows as a low pressure gas through the reversing valve and back to the suction side of the compressor.
In the winter the fluid in the ground loop extracts heat from the ground, raising the fluid temperature and circulates back to the heat pump into the house.

*credited to Bosch Thermotechnology Corp.

One last item on geothermal….I have been accepted into the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, (IGSHPA), “Train the Trainer” accredited trainer program and I will be participating this month, (August), in Stillwater, OK on the campus of the Oklahoma State University. Upon completion I hope to earn the status of IGSHPA Accredited Trainer.


I have been thinking a lot lately about Queens, NY native and founding member of the rock power trio, Mountain, Leslie West. Leslie has been in poor health of late, (had a leg amputated due to diabetes complications), and it made me revisit all the great stuff he did with Mountain, West, Bruce & Laing as well as his solo stuff. In fact, I was so inspired that when I discovered Leslie had recently collaborated with Dean Guitars to create his first “signature” guitar, well, I had to have it. What a great instrument! You plug in and with a bit of overdrive distortion you are wailing on “Mississippi Queen” in no time!

Back in the day Leslie was known to play a Gibson Les Paul Jr….considered an odd choice back as it was a “lesser” model and considered a “studio” instrument. Also, the small body of the LP Junior against the then huge West made it even more odd! I listened to a West interview where he mentioned he would visit pawn shops and pick up an LP Junior for $150.00 that’s how under appreciated they were!

The best news is that Leslie will be back on the road this fall with Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth of the Scorpions in the “3 Guitar Heroes” tour and my wife and I will be catching the show at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT this October….can’t wait!