A Guide to Your Steam Heating System’s Maintenance

Steam heating is one of the oldest forms of heating for commercial and residential buildings. While it might not be as energy-efficient as other, newer hydronics systems, it’s often more energy efficient than using a forced-air furnace to heat your building. Unlike forced-air systems, steam systems send humidified air throughout the building, which prevents your building’s air from drying out during winter. Also, if your business is in a building built before 1950, it may be more cost-effective to maintain your steam system than to install a new one. If you want to keep your current steam heating system design, here is how you can keep it running efficiently.

Perform Regular Preventive Maintenance

Performing preventive maintenance on your boiler system not only will keep your heating system clean and working well, it will keep everyone and everything in your building safer. If not monitored closely, steam boilers can explode, injuring or killing people in the building. These explosions also can cause massive amounts of property damage. Employing a service company like Legacy Mechanical to perform preventive maintenance on your steam system can ensure your safety and save you a lot of repair time and money in the long run. Here are five preventive maintenance steps you can take when you choose a professional to maintain your steam heating system:

  • Perform regular boiler cleanings: These cleanings remove buildup and residue from the boiler, which should be cleaned at least once a year.
  • Perform a boiler blowdown: This procedure removes scale buildup including potassium, calcium, chlorides, and sulfates. Removing scale buildup reduces the chances of boiler failure and increase your boiler’s heat transfer efficiency.
  • Check and maintain water quality: Performing this step is extremely important. The water in your boiler should be free of organic matter and dissolved materials. By checking your boiler’s water quality, you are making sure your system works properly and safely.
  • Insulate your steam system: Make sure your pipes and fittings are properly insulated. If they are uninsulated and remain that way, this can lead to unnecessary heat loss.
  • Maintain a daily boiler inspection checklist and accurate inspection logs: Keeping accurate maintenance logs will help you stay aware of what’s going on with your boiler so your building stays properly heated and safe for everyone in it.

Maintain Boiler Controls

Along with maintaining the boiler itself, you should have the boiler control system maintained. The controls should be tested regularly by a professional to ensure they perform properly. This allows the technician to detect and repair small problems before they become big ones.

Denver Steam System Services

At Legacy Mechanical, Inc., we can install a new steam heating system or help you maintain your current boiler system design. If you are interested in any of our steam services, contact us today! We want to make sure your commercial steam system runs properly and safely so your workplace is well-heated.

Why You Should Convert to a Building Automation System (BAS)

Have you heard about building automation systems and services, but you’re not sure what they do? Have you wondered how they can help you manage your building and run your business? A BAS is a management system that bundles all of your systems together, including HVAC, security, lighting, and power. By installing a BAS in your headquarters and any additional locations, you turn them into smart buildings. A BAS offers many building and system management benefits, including:

Simplified Maintenance

Installing a building automation system gives you access to building controls that let you keep an eye on all of your systems. With these control systems in place, you can see how each system is operating, whether it be electrical power, HVAC, or security. If you notice small problems popping up, you can perform preventive maintenance to stop them from growing larger. Having all of that information at your fingertips allows you to check on your building’s systems regularly, instead of waiting until there’s a problem.

Improved Energy Savings

A BAS only uses light and HVAC power for areas that are occupied, which greatly improves your building’s energy efficiency. With a BAS, your energy costs will go down and your business’s carbon footprint will diminish. An automated light system can save you up to 30% in yearly lighting costs. Additionally, a BAS gives you increased control over your utility systems, since you can observe and adjust them through a user interface.

Reduced Operating Costs

In terms of energy savings, your building’s operating costs will go down after your install a building automation system. Because the HVAC, lighting, power, and security costs are all automated, you will pay for control devices your business actually uses, and that shut off when you don’t need them.

Improved Comfort and Productivity

Since a BAS can automatically adjust lighting and temperature with light and HVAC controls, it increases occupant comfort in your building. When your colleagues and employees are more comfortable, their productivity may increase. Additionally, HVAC building automation is less likely to break down than an older, non-automated HVAC system. The decreased risk of breakdowns also improves productivity because it reduces the possibility that HVAC problems and the resulting discomfort could disrupt a workday.

Improved Security

A BAS can improve physical security by limiting elevator access and monitoring all activity in your building throughout the day and night. With these security controls, you can stay aware of all building operations and prevent any physical breaches.

Increased Property Value

When you install a BAS in your building, its property value rises. Having a BAS is a key selling point for commercial real estate, since it turns the building into a smart building. The raised property value can cover the costs of BAS installation, especially if you are considering selling your property in the near future.

Denver Building Automation

If you are interested in BAS installation for your building and your business, contact us today. We can bring all of the systems in your building together with solutions that will fit your site and your business. Let us know about your energy goals, and we can develop automated system solutions that will meet them.

A Practical Guide to Heat Pump Services

The Denver area has a moderate climate for air conditioning needs, so a heat pump may be more useful for business and home owners than a full HVAC unit. Heat pumps move air from a cool space to a warm space, instead of generating hot or cool air with electrical resistance. With a heat pump, you can heat and cool your home for a quarter of the costs of traditional HVAC solutions, according to the Department of Energy. In this post, we’ll explore the different types of heat pump systems, as well as heat pump maintenance tips..

Types of Heat Pumps

The main types of heat pumps are air-to-air or air source heat pumps, and geothermal, which encompasses water and ground source heat pumps. Each type has its own subtypes and advantages.

  • Air Source: An air source heat pump moves warm air from a cool place to a warm place. In the summer, it removes heat from a building or house and moves it to the warmer air outdoors. When temperatures drop in the winter, it brings warm air in from outside to heat indoor living spaces and workspaces. Air source pumps are definitely capable of heating buildings and homes during Colorado winters as easily as they cool them during the summer. This system’s technology has improved enough in recent years that these systems are now used in regions that experience extended periods of subfreezing temperatures. The different types of air source heat pumps are:
    • Ductless: Requires a three-inch hole through the wall for installation, which connects the indoor heads to the outdoor condenser.
    • Ducted: Requires ductwork and can be added to a building or home that already has a ventilation system.
    • Short-Run Ducted: Requires ductwork, but only runs through a small area of the building or home. This subtype can complement a ductless heat pump system.
    • Split-System: Split-system pumps have one coil inside, and one outside, and supply and return ducts connect to the central fan inside. The majority of air source heat pumps are split systems.
    • Packaged: Packaged system pumps often have coils and the fan outside. They transfer heat or cool air inside through ductwork that passes through a wall or a roof.
    • Multi-Zone: Designed for multiple rooms or areas. Has multiple indoor heads matched to one outdoor condenser. This allows a multi-zone system to heat or cool each zone to separate comfort levels.
    • Single-Zone: Designed for a single room. Has one outdoor condenser matched to one indoor head.
  • Geothermal: Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) include water-source and ground-source heat pumps. These pumps exchange heat energy from the building with that from the ground or water as generated by the earth’s temperature, rather than pulling it from outdoor air. The pump can pull the heat from the ground and water several feet below the surface, because at this level, the ground and the water are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the outdoor air is. This type of heat pump has been around since the late 1940s, and while it’s often more expensive to install than an air-source pump, it can offer you five to 10 years of energy savings. The different types of geothermal heat pumps are:
    • Closed-Loop: A closed-loop system heat pump circulates an antifreeze solution through tubing that is either buried in the ground or submerged in water, where it conducts a heat exchange with refrigerant in the heat pump itself. A few subtypes of closed-loop systems exist: horizontal, vertical, and pond/lake configuration.
    • Open-Loop: This is a water-source system that uses surface-level or well water as the heat exchange fluid that circulates through the heat pump’s tubing. After circulating through the pump’s system, the water returns to the ground through a well or through surface discharge. You must have a reliable source of clean freshwater and comply with local codes and regulations to use an open-loop system.
    • Hybrid Systems: These operate by using multiple geothermal heat sources or a combination of geothermal and air-source heating and cooling methods, such as a cooling tower.

Heat Pump Maintenance

Performing preventive maintenance checks on your system will save you a lot of time and money on heat pump repairs in the long run. Proper heat pump maintenance includes:

  • Checking and cleaning air filters, blowers, ducts, and indoor coils.
  • Checking for and repairing duct and refrigerant leaks.
  • Inspecting electric terminals and tightening the connections if necessary.
  • Lubricating motors.
  • Inspecting belts.

Denver Heat Pump Services

If you are interested in having your building’s heat pump repaired and maintained, contact us today. We can inspect all of the aspects of the heat pump so you stay cool in summer and warm during snowy Colorado winters.