July 2011 Newsletter


Although the June curriculum’s location changed and the number of classes reduced, overall, the classes were successful thanks to the unique and gracious assistance from InterCounty Supply and specifically, ICS VP, Bryan Gettler.
I have posted some great new pictures from the 6/28/11 “Hydronic Heating System Wiring” class on the ESPCO website in the “Gallery” under the new “June 2011 Wiring Class” tab. You can see the new training boards with products from class sponsors such as Argo Controls, Armstrong Pumps, Honeywell, Erie and McDonnell & Miller. These sponsors, along with ICS, Wallace Eannace, Rathe Associates, Venco Sales and Thermco made the June classes possible and we should all be grateful to them for their dedication and support of the trades.


I have posted a picture of the 6/13/11 Small Duct High Velocity, (SDHV), Air Conditioning class sponsored by SpacePak which was held at the Mahwah, NJ campus of Lincoln Tech. You can see the picture at www.ESPCOtraining.com in the “Gallery”.

I want to thank Lincoln Tech HVAC Instructor, William Ginocchio and the administration at Lincoln Tech for inviting me and always making me feel at home. I have conducted three classes at LT, Mahwah and I am always blown away by the incredible facility, the dedication of the faculty / staff and the eagerness to learn shown by the students.

If you own an HVAC company and are looking for talented and skilled employees, drop me a note and I will get you in contact with William Ginocchio at LT. The techs that Bill and LT produce are top notch and eager to put their skills to work for you!


Check out this list of the 10 most sluggish state economies. Unfortunately New Jersey is #10. See the entire list at this address.


The New York City Solar America City Partnership, led by Sustainable CUNY, has launched the New York City Solar Map. This map shows existing solar PV and solar thermal installations in NYC and gives an estimate of solar PV potential for every rooftop in the five boroughs. The New York City Solar Map is a tool that all New Yorkers can use to learn about the potential for solar on their buildings and across the city. It also provides practical information and steps for installing solar. If you are installing thermal solar systems in NYC you can add your systems to the map at this address: http://nycsolarmap.com/

Here is a thermal solar manufacturer that I have found to be offering interesting and unique TSS products / systems that you may want to take a look at:

Heliodyne Solar Hot Water: Founded in 1976, Heliodyne™ Inc. is proud to be among the oldest solar hot water companies in the U.S. Their continued focus on solar hot water has made them true specialist in the solar industry, and a leading supplier of quality solar heating systems throughout the country. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Heliodyne Thermal Solar System is their use of higher operating pressures. A standard “pumped” TSS might see operating pressures of 40 PSI but a Heliodyne system operates at higher pressures….higher pressures mean a higher collector fluid boiling point thus allowing for “stagnation without boiling”.  You can see Heliodyne’s website at this address: http://www.heliodyne.com/index.html


Here is a great article from Chris Williams at the Heatspring Learning Institute titled, “What the Geothermal Heat Pump Industry Can Learn from the Solar Pros”.  The Geothermal market is growing but at nowhere near the pace of solar. Chris offers his take on what the geothermal industry can learn from the solar industry. Check it out at this address.

Okay, back to our ongoing job in Montgomery, NY with my friends at Geotemp Geothermal Services and Malmark Construction.

A couple items from last month’s newsletter that I wanted to offer more detail on:
The three “slinky” loops / trenches I discussed last month obviously need to come together at some point into a “header”. The header connections are such to create a “reverse return” flow through the loops, (first in / last out). I was discussing with Shane Kanter of Geotemp Geothermal Services why he chose to have the header buried rather than inside with the mechanical equipment. Shane felt that limiting the number of penetrations through the foundation, (two as opposed to six), outweighed any benefit of valving the loops independently of each other at an interior header could provide.

A common practice to pressure test the ground loops is to pressurize the loops to 120 PSI, (or a minimum of twice the operating pressure), using water. Normally the water pressure and / or temperature will expand the pipe and within 30 minutes, the pressure will drop to the 60 to 80 PSI range, depending upon the size and volume of fluid in the heat exchanger. Pressure testing is usually done above ground before placement in the trench so that every foot of pipe can be visually inspected.

That brings us to another important issue with the slinky….air removal!

Air removal is critical and must be accomplished during flushing and purging of the ground source heat exchanger. This process not only removes air from the system but flushes any debris / contaminants which may have entered the heat exchanger during the installation process. The minimum flushing flow velocity is 2 feet / second. This velocity ensures proper air removal. Now, with the header buried and no opportunity for the loops to be flushed / purged independently of each other, a pump with a greater flow capacity of the “system” pump, (a Grundfos UP26-99 in this case), must be used.

I have added a few new pictures to the website “Gallery” under the “Geothermal” tab. You can see a couple pics of the flush cart used to flush and purge the ground source heat exchanger and also to introduce the antifreeze to the system. You can see the flush cart has a pump which generally is either a 1 ½ HP, (for up to 6 ton systems), or a 2 HP pump, (for up to 10 tons). The flush cart is connected to the closed-loop system so the ground heat exchanger can be flushed independently of the water-source heat pump. Flush carts can be purchased completely assembled from many GSHP equipment manufacturers and their distributors.

The last detail I want to cover is the antifreeze. The antifreeze chosen for this job is ethanol based, (I added a pic of the container in the “Gallery”). There are essentially three choices of antifreeze for geothermal applications; methanol, ethanol and propylene glycol. There are some ex-geothermal installers who used methanol….it is VERY flammable and toxic but it was used because it has a very low viscosity when cold and thus was easier to pump, (methanol is now rarely used and in many cases not allowed). Ethanol is less flammable and toxic than methanol and has similar pumping characteristics to propylene glycol. So why not use propylene glycol? Its simple….ethanol cost less and you need a fair amount of antifreeze in these systems.

I also added a picture of the finished exterior of the home….the home is not only super efficient but it is beautiful as well!

I know I said I was going to get into the heat pump equipment this month but I think we covered a fair amount for now so next month I will dissect GSHP which in this case is equipped with a desuperheater to produce domestic hot water as well.

One last geothermal note; I’m pleased to now be an Accredited International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, (IGSHPA), Geothermal Installer and National Association of Technician Excellence, (NATE), Certified Ground Source Heat Pump Installation Technician.  I want to thank Ryan Carda of Geo-Connections, Inc. and instructor for the Heatspring Learning Institute for his assistance with my studies and also Patrick, “Murph”, Murphy, VP at NATE for his testing accommodations.


The summer concert tour season is well under way and my wife and I have been to three shows recently. The first was Deep Purple at the Beacon Theater in NYC. No, Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord are no longer in the band but Steve Morse and Don Airey are more than adequate replacements….in fact, it is really a Steve Morse show in my opinion.
We also saw Peter Frampton at the Paramount Theater in Peekskill, NY. It is the 35th anniversary of “Frampton Comes Alive” and he played the two album set over three hours. Unfortunately, Stanley Sheldon is the only surviving band member from the original tour but the new band members were outstanding and Frampton is one of the most underrated guitar players of all time!
Third may be a surprise to some….we went to see Sade at the Izod Center in Rutherford, NJ. I’m a huge Sade fan and she has the same band members with her from the first album and tour. You may not know it, but the band has recorded without Sade under the name Sweetback…check it out.

Have a GREAT 4th holiday weekend and I hope to see you soon!