Archive for the ‘HVAC’ Category.

An Ounce of Prevention…

When it comes to your building’s HVAC System, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A well-maintained alarm system that monitors water temperature can save your building from disastrous repairs!

Here is an example of the importance of this sometimes overlooked safeguard. At 11 PM on Sunday December 29, 2013, we received a call from the super of a West Side condominium. He reported multiple leaks in the building’s HVAC hot water heating system.

We sent our on-call mechanic right away and found water leaking in several apartments. Individual risers could not be isolated, so there was little choice but to shut down the entire system.

Of course this meant no heat for the entire building. Compounding the problem, the HVAC system was now vulnerable to the dropping temperatures. If the pipes and components were to freeze, there would be severe implications and more leaks.

We dispatched a five-man crew and went to work. Walls were opened in the apartments with reported leaks. As leaks were located and fixed, individual risers were turned back on. As each riser was repaired, the heat for that section of the Leslie Control Valvebuilding was restored while work continued on the remaining risers. It was a painstaking process that had to be done quickly to prevent any further issues with the freezing temperatures.

After the work was completed we discovered the culprit. One of the Leslie High Pressure Steam Control Valves, which regulate steam, malfunctioned. It was letting steam through when it was supposed to be holding it back. Temperatures rose and super heated water circulated through the system causing excess expansion resulting in leaks. The result was leaks on the risers, inside the walls, and at the radiators in the apartments.

Could this have been prevented?

System Alarm PanelYes, with a simple, yet effective alarm system. When the Leslie Control Valve began to malfunction and allow excess steam through, an alarm system would have alerted the super to the rising temperatures. One call to us and a mechanic would replace the faulty valve before any damage was done. It would be a simple and inexpensive repair. No leaks, no shutting down the heat and hot water, no risk of HVAC system freezing.

By Spencer Kraus – Account Manager – Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating Co.