Reviewing the High-Efficiency HVAC System

Bob reviews the heating and air conditioning equipment that will bring the Shingle Style house into its second century.

Clip Summary

Bob talks with Mike Kaufmann from Energy Kinetics about the high-efficiency System 2000. The low mass unit will be used to supply both the heat and hot water for the entire house. Bob and Mike are joined by plumbing and heating contractor Frank Iadarola, who has isolated the zones for servicing ease. Bob and Frank look at the hydro air unit, which will supply the first-floor heating and air conditioning.
Hi, I'm Bob Vila. Welcome home again.

You know, we've got a big technology show planned today. We're bring this house into its second century and that means all new mechanical systems. We'll get started today looking at our heating equipment which is a System 2000 boiler, air handlers, and all sorts of interesting bells and whistles including some radiant flooring.

Then we are going to be looking at the electrical systems, including how to pull the wires into the different sub-panels and we do have an electrical inspection, so that's a very important part of the job.
Stick around. It's good to have you home again.

Bob Vila's Home Again.

We're going to get started today in the basement and most basements in Old New England houses are dark, dank places that go bump in the night because of the furnace and all the other equipment. We've made a lot of changes here, we have got a new concrete floor, we've got metal stud partitions, we've created an area for an exercise room, a woodworking shop, a laundry room, all sorts of specialized areas. This is going to be living space, but there will be a furnace room. And right now lets Join Mike Kaufman, who's from Energy Kinetics in Clinton, New Jersey.

Morning, Bob.

Inventors and makers of the System 2000. How are ya?

Very good, thanks.

What do you think? This is a pretty impressive installation we've got here.

Frank has done a great job.

You have got a great plumber. But let's talk about the yellow box in front of us and all of these components because I don't really understand how it works.

I know that there's gas coming to it, natural gas, and that this system is providing all the heat and all the domestic hot water that we'll need here, right?

That's correct, Bob.

What you have is a low mass boiler with low water content. Four gallons of water, 190 pounds in mass.

OK. Let's review that a minute.

What does low mass mean?

Low mass would be the amount of metal to be heated up that's actually what makes up the boiler itself.

Okay, so it's not like those old boilers that had the huge cast iron... lamb chops or whatever.

That's correct.

OK, and then the other thing you said was four gallons.

Four gallons of water is the total content of water inside the EK2. This is our larger boiler. Then we make a smaller boiler with two and a half gallons of water.

Alright. And then what are some of these components? What's this thing here, for example?

This is your external plate exchanger that makes your domestic hot water. What you'd have is the hot water would come up through a pumpaway on the circulator on the supply side with a bypass line going down through the plate exchanger. Which is, every other plate is domestic water, and every other plate is boiler water.

So -

The two never touch.

- this is my hot water heater for the whole house.

That is correct.

It fits in the palm of my hand.
How can that possibly work?

What you've got is your maximum thermal transfer between the plates. Your boiler water is going through and your domestic water's coming in cold. And every other plate is heating up. Your thermal transfer between the two is allowing for -

If it's fifty degree water temperature and could be a 150 degree water temperature out.

You'd have a 100 degree rise going off and being stored into the top of the two hundred and twenty gallon storage tanks you have here Ffor your domestic needs.

OK. An incredibly fast rate. Right?

This will supply at two hundred thousand Btu's in. It's gonna give you four gallons a minute or 240 gallons an hour recovery.

And is it still efficient in summer when we no longer need the hot water for heating the house?

Making hot water is extremely expensive. This about the lowest cost that we're aware of right now in making domestic hot water.

OK. And because of the storage tank systems we're not making ex--we're not holding onto hot water at all times, were only making it on demand.

That's correct. This boiler will stay cold until it's called for demand.

Whether the demand being in this house you have an assortment of demands. It's a versatile house, where you have radiant domestic space. to someone. When this gets cold, it will then heat up and turn around and start immediately, without condensing, it's a non-condensing unit, will recover your hot water and store it between a balance of recovery and storage.

Now something this complicated has to have a computer attached to it somewhere, right?

This is the system manager, the actual brain if you will. That actually controls every demand that comes in from the house. And this literally tells the system, what to do next and how to distribute the heat.

So, this basically acts in conjunction with all of the piping and all of the different zone valves.

That is correct.

What do you think of this installation?

This is one of the finest divisions of breaking the zone valves down to be able to balance a house out of this size or any size.

Let's get Frank out, to roll over here because he's really the man responsible for installing all of this copper here. Frank, nice job. Can you tell us exactly what you've got going here?

Well, what we've done here, Bob, is taken each individual zone, and isolated it with each one of these valves that you here, see here.
One in the return, and another one on the supply, which is right here, so that a basically we have ease of servicing. If you have a problem down the road, and one of the circuits at one of the zones, you can isolate it without shutting down the whole system.

Now I've got a third floor that's basically a teenager suite and they're gone away to school.
Do I come down here and shut down some of those zones?

No, no. That's done automatically with your setback thermostats.


We have setback thermostats in each one of the zones that will control the amount of heat, when and if you need it.


In the zone.

And although we're talking gas as a fuel source, and we're talking copper pipes filled with hot water, in fact, we're delivering heating to the different rooms It's in the house via forced air, right?

That's correct.

So what we've got to look at now, is what you call an air handler?


All right.
Mike, thanks.

Thank you Bob.

We're gonna go on to the next step for a minute.

Okay, Frank,so what's happening here?

Well, John is assembling the return air plenum for this hydroware unit. This is the unit that's dedicated for the first floor heating and air conditioning.

OK, so the plenum is where the air collects before being either heating or cooled, right?

That's correct, all the air from the rooms are being brought back through this plume connected to duct work, brought up through the unit, which is a moved with a blower, goes through a hot water coil that's being fed from the boiler that we just left from the boiler room.

This is supposed to be vertical though isn't it?

That's correct.

Is it ready to go up?

It's ready to go up.

Is it very heavy?

It's very heavy, I'd better get that.



Oh, it's heavy.



And that just, it just sits on a slab like that, right?

Looks like about it. Now we have a canvas connector here which eliminates any vibration noises or anything.


It's a rubber, rubberized connector.

So that's the transition between the duct work and the...

That 's correct.
That kills all the noise, all the sound.

Excellent. And then the copper pipes will be joined to here. But, can we take a look in, inside here to see?

Of course.

Half a dozen screws.

Well, why don't we take a break for some messages, while we remove this panel. So don't go away.