Five Big Problems, One Easy Solution

Apartment owners face five significant issues when it comes to heating their properties…

1. Rising Fuel Costs – Heating fuel costs continue to rise, and remain one of the largest continuous expenses in a building. You can raise rent at the rate of inflation plus 2% per year, but that doesn’t cover it. Carefully controlling fuel use is an effective way to close the gap.

2. Increased Domestic Hot Water Demand – Domestic hot water consumption now averages 48% of fuel consumption in the average apartment building. Boiler systems used to be sized with domestic water use of 30%. People have moved from taking baths to long showers. More showering has aggravated any cross-connection or water fluctuation issues in many buildings.

3. Outdated Oversized Equipment – Many boilers were installed during the coal stoker and heavy oil days. Many have been replaced over the years with replacement boilers the same size as the old units. This results in a replacement boiler short-cycling and burning just as much fuel as the old unit. Because of modern heating and hot water demands, the equipment strategy has to match these changing needs.

4. Lack of Modern Energy Management Controls – the owner laments, “They use the windows like thermostats!” Buildings often have heating water flowing through the radiators at 190°F or higher during the heating season. On Vancouver Island, full heating temperature is only required for about fours weeks a year. The rest of the heating season can see buildings heated at boiler temperatures of 140°F to 170°F. Having automatic controls reducing heating temperatures from 190°F to 160°F in mild weather can reduce consumption 10% and still heat the building.

5. Potential Fire or Explosion of Heating Equipment – Combustion and mechanical equipment can be dangerous if not controlled and maintained properly. According to the Nation Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, 30% of 52,605 violations reported were classed as incidents involving boiler controls. The proper safety controls must be in place and operational. Do yours work?

The solution to these problems? One call to Mac's Heating can reduce them all.

Ten Questions to Ask your Contractor When Replacing your Heating or Hot Water System

1. How long has the company been in business and do they have a list of satisfied customers?
2. Is the company you are asking to bid the work a combustion/mechanical contractor? A combustion/mechanical contractor has the ability and tools to install the equipment and controls, and set up the combustion properly regardless of the size and complexity.
3. Do all of their servicemen wear uniforms so you can easily identify who is in your building?
4. Are all of their trucks clearly marked so you can tell at a glance the right people are parked on your property?
5. Do any of their servicemen smoke? Will they smoke on your property? Many people are sensitive to cigarette smoke.
6. Will the work site be left as clean or cleaner than when they found it?
7. Will they perform a heat loss calculation to determine the proper boiler size for your building? You are aware that a properly sized boiler is most efficient.
8. Will they provide a temporary source of domestic hot water during a boiler upgrade? Temporary hot water allows tenants to stay in the building during an upgrade, and reduces the need for hotels and arbitration cases.
9. Will they spend the time and explain how your new equipment operates? Modern equipment is often digitally controlled, and so more training is needed to get the most out of it.
10. Will they provide you with copies of the warranty, gas, boiler, and plumbing permits? This lets you know that everything has been put into the system to be inspected. The main purpose of the inspectors is to ensure safety.