Designed and manufactured in the United States, this advanced self-actuating technology threatens to disrupt traditional hot water balancing practice because it enables plumbing designers, engineers and contractors to install a CircuitSolver® valve at the end of each branch and watch the system balance itself. This thermostatic valve automatically controls the hot water flow (see illustration) ensuring hot water is delivered consistently to all faucets without the need for manual balancing.
CircuitSolver® completely eliminates the need for time consuming and expensive manual balancing procedures and equipment. It is a self-actuating, in-line, thermostatic recirculation valve which automatically and continuously adjusts flow to maintain the specified temperature at the end of each domestic hot water supply line.
The thermal actuator inside CircuitSolver® modulates the valve between open and closed in response to changing water temperature caused by heat loss, water demand, or any other reason. This constant, automatic response to water temperature enables each hot water branch to quickly and consistently deliver the right temperature of hot water to each connected fixture. It also minimizes flow through the system by only allowing water that cools below the set point to flow to the return, eliminating the need for oversized recirculation pumps which cause system wear and waste energy.
Discover ThermOmegaTech’s complete line of quality, self-actuating, thermostatic valves for a variety of plumbing applications.
Deep in the heart of Southern California, there resides a castle. At the LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel at LEGOLAND California Resort, 250 deluxe LEGO Castle rooms with themes like Knights & Dragons, Royal Princess or Magic Wizard host many visitors from far-off lands, and CircuitSolver had a hand in delighting children of all ages.
At this magical 3-story hotel in Carlsbad, California, Ed Parisi, Plumbing Design Manager at ICS (Industrial Commercial Systems) installed CircuitSolvers in this construction project. “At ICS, CircuitSolver is our standard balancing valve for all projects,” Parisi notes.
The 250-room hotel is a U-shaped building and required exactly 99 3/4″ CSUA CircuitSolvers. ICS ordered these through Todd Pipe (now Reece) in San Diego.
“This is a typical installation with the CircuitSolvers installed at the end of each DHW branch before it ties into the circulating main,” Parisi says. “In this project, the furthest CircuitSolver was approximately 650 feet of piping away from the Mechanical Room.”
In the LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel, the domestic hot water mains followed the 1st floor corridor through the building and the branches served two or three-story stacks of rooms throughout the building.
“Time to tap, I have never seen a building so consistently deliver hot water that fast!” Parisi explains. “I’m impressed with the whole system.”
“Ordering the assembled CircuitSolvers allowed ICS to use less jobsite manpower and also enabled us to install every balancing valve correctly. There were no leaks, and I never had a callback during the warranty period. Nothing but hot water!” he says. “It’s a pleasure to use.”
“ICS used a Grundfos Magna3 circulator pump with an ECM motor set for proportional pressure control. This pump used with the CircuitSolvers provided an extremely efficient circulation system. The commissioning agent complimented the Domestic Hot Water System saying that he had never experienced a system with such consistently low “time to tap” readings. The owner’s maintenance supervisor also complimented the system,” Parisi explains.
The LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel project was completed in April of 2018 and was open to the public that same month.
Parisi was introduced to CircuitSolver in 2012 by Chrissy Hamm from Specification Sales in Ontario, CA. “Chrissy guided me through my first couple of orders and I have only ordered CircuitSolvers since then.
“CircuitSolvers are the premier balancing valves available. Reliable, stainless-steel construction, variable temperature settings available, and all the necessary components to satisfy the most stringent specifications and details. All that plus no manual setting required makes CircuitSolvers a great solution,” he says.
CircuitSolver, a brand of ThermOmegaTech®, is excited to launch its newest Talking With TOTs video. Director of Sales for Commercial Plumbing Tom Ruggierio is featured as the subject matter expert on the inner workings of this thermostatic balancing valve.
ThermOmegaTech® is a leader in the design and manufacture of self-actuating thermostatic temperature control technology. Using their trademarked Thermoloid wax actuator, CircuitSolver® continuously monitors the water temperature and automatically adjusts flow as conditions change to send hot water where needed to accommodate demand variations.
“CircuitSolver thermostatic balancing valves have been installed into thousands of domestic hot water recirculation systems since their introduction to the market in 2012,” says Ruggierio, “This year we are celebrating CircuitSolver’s 10 years of active use in the plumbing and construction industry!”
A Temperature Solution to a Temperature Problem
Balancing a Domestic Hot Water System (DHWS) has used the time and energy of many contractors manually balancing and rebalancing to achieve the required flow needed to obtain the same temperature in each branch.
Requiring no power source, CircuitSolver® balances a system based solely on temperature as opposed to pressure or flow.
“During the start-up of a hot water recirculation system, the valve is wide open and will gradually close once the system temperature requirements are met. The valve remains in its closed position to keep hot water in the line, opening as needed when the water temperature drops below the valve’s set-point,” Ruggierio explains. “It takes away a lot of headaches.”
This allows a system to be initially balanced in hours, not days, and to stay balanced even as conditions change. To prevent deadheading the recirculation pump, the valve never fully closes, always allowing a small bypass of flow to the return.
CircuitSolver® balancing valves have many features/accessories, including unions, integrated check valves, ProPress ends, ProPEX ends, a thermometer, and/or strainer. To see the full CircuitSolver® line, visit the plumbing products page.
The CSU-CW is a dynamic valve designed to automatically balance cold water recirculation systems utilizing the same reliable and precise thermal actuator technology as the original CircuitSolver for balancing recirculating hot water systems, the company says.
The valve will effectively mitigate the risk of Legionella bacteria growth in a domestic cold-water system (DCWS) by continuously monitoring water temperatures and modulating flow to maintain a set temperature at the end of each branch or riser, the company adds.
Stagnant, warm water in a plumbing system increases the risk of Legionella bacteria growth. In cold water systems, adequate flow through high fixture usage and low water temperatures discourage the growth of Legionella and other biofilms. However, in the event flow throughout the system or part of the system is insufficient, standing water can drastically increase the likelihood of bacteria colonization.
When cold water flow is minimal or stopped altogether, as seen during the recent COVID-19 lockdowns that left buildings unoccupied for long periods of time, disinfectant levels evaporate, and temperatures gradually rise in the Legionella growth range, leading to bacteria colonization and uneven free chlorine distribution throughout the system.
Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia infecting the lung. People can get sick when they breathe in water droplets or accidentally swallow water containing Legionella.
The CDC says Legionella grows best in a building’s cold water distribution system within a specific temperature range of 77°F-113°F (25°C-45°C). Cold water temperature throughout the system should be maintained at or below 77°F (25°C) to the greatest extent possible to inhibit growth.
To discourage Legionella bacteria growth, cold water systems need to be recirculated. They must be balanced appropriately to establish continuous flow and keep line temperatures below 68°F (20°C), the point at which Legionella can begin to colonize.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) aims to prevent the spread of healthcare-associated Legionella disease and scald injury from water systems in VHA buildings where patients, residents, or visitors stay overnight with the VHA Directive 1061(1).
The directive states, “The use of piping system insulation, automatic drain devices, and recirculation to limit the rate and duration of an increase in cold water temperature in combination with appropriate biocide levels can be effective at preventing Legionellagrowth.”
The Need for Dynamic Balancing
In order to achieve stability, system balancing must be dynamic – continually addressing the ever-changing conditions. Thermostatic balancing valves adjust dynamically, providing the best opportunity for sustainability and Legionella mitigation. Traditional manual balancing valves could provide a solution to cold water balancing, but their static operation inherently does not factor in nor adapt to the realities of everyday system operation & changes, which may render the balancing obsolete over time.
Utilizing our proprietary thermal actuator as the controlling element, the valve should be installed at the end of each branch or riser in a cold water recirculation system. It will modulate open or closed in response to the water temperature to maintain a specified temperature in the line.
The CSU-CW valve features a union with an optional check valve built into the body of the CircuitSolver® to reduce the number of system components installed and minimize potential leak points.
Stainless Steel, which is highly resistant to scaling in high mineral content environments
High thrust actuator keeps orifice free of debris
Union with integrated O-ring for a leak-free seal
Keeps water temperature in branches/risers evenly distributed, minimizing heat gain
Never fully closes, some water always passing through
Provides even distribution of residual chlorine levels
These systems have become more prominent in VA hospitals because of the VHA 1061(1) directive; however, any commercial building such as schools, hotels, high-rise, and multi-family apartment buildings can benefit from implementing a cold-water recirculation system to protect the water lines from the risk of bacteria colonization during periods of low flow or non-use.
Watch how it works and see how the CircuitSolver® Union Cold Water thermostatic balancing valve automatically and continuously balances your cold-water recirculation system to discourage Legionella bacteria colonization and reduce stagnation.
We had another great year, thanks to you! We attended several industry expos, launched the new CircuitSolver® Cold Water Valve, and debuted several pieces of content that showcase how our valves work and engineers’ and contractors’ thoughts about them. Read our CircuitSolver Year in Review below!
TRADESHOWS WE ATTENDED
We attended the AHR Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, in February and the ASPE Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana, in September.
NEW CIRCUITSOLVER® PRODUCT LAUNCH
We launched the new CircuitSolver Union Cold Water balancing valve (CSU-CW). This valve automatically and continuously balances a cold water recirculation system to discourage Legionella bacteria colonization and to reduce stagnation.
By maintaining a set temperature in each branch/riser, the valve reduces stagnation and ensures “residual chlorine” is distributed throughout the system.
Project Manager, Eric McTee of ME Engineers details his experience with specifying CircuitSolver over the last few years.
Cody Cline, Vice President of GW Mechanical talks about the benefits he saw when installing the DTV (Drain Tempering Valve).
New CircuitSolver® Video
CircuitSolver balancing valves are temperature devices that solve a temperature problem. The valve continuously monitors the water temperature in the system and will automatically adjust flow to maintain a set temperature at the end of each branch or riser eliminating the need for manual balancing.
CircuitSolver® Union Cold Water Balancing Valve Video
The CircuitSolver Union Cold Water thermostatic balancing valve automatically and continuously balances a cold water recirculation system (DCWS) to discourage Legionella bacteria colonization. By maintaining a set temperature at the end of each branch or riser, the valve reduces stagnation and ensures “residual chlorine” is distributed throughout the system.
PHCP Pros Interview with Tom Ruggierio at ASPE Expo
Tom Ruggierio, Sales Director for our Commercial Plumbing Division, CircuitSolver, spoke with PHCP Pros’ editor at the ASPE expo about trends in the commercial plumbing industry and the effects CircuitSolver thermostatic balancing valves have made on the industry.
Tom Ruggierio held a Webinar with PHCP Pros in April on Managing Flow Through Domestic Hot Water Systems While Performing Thermal Disinfection.
The webinar is available on-demand on the PHCP Pros website, and attendees can earn CEUs. Watch Now!
WE ARE EXPANDING OUR REACH
In Rep news, we now have 4 regional managers covering the country – Anthony Ceresa, Tim Hartung, Tim Grisi, and Tom Ruggierio.
This will allow us more time to work alongside our reps in our efforts to continue to support the engineers, contractors, and wholesalers in their respective regions.
Eric McTee of ME Engineers, Inc in Boulder, Colorado
As a Project Manager at ME Engineers, Plumbing Designer Eric McTee, CPD, is responsible for all aspects of a plumbing system’s design for new constructions and remodeling projects. In domestic hot water recirculation systems, McTee specifies CircuitSolver® thermostatic balancing valves. “I try to have CircuitSolver specified on as many jobs as possible due to its simplicity of it,” states McTee.
Some notable projects where he specified CircuitSolver® are the Laurel Cherry Creek Condominiums in Denver, the Broomfield Service Center, the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Denver, and Lucky Strike Bowling Centers in multiple locations.
McTee, an ASPE Denver Chapter member, first learned of CircuitSolver® from a manufacturer’s representative in 2014. “Straight from the beginning, I liked how it was a simple product that makes balancing a domestic hot water recirculation system really easy; it’s easy for the contractor and easy for the owner,” McTee says. “You install the CircuitSolver®, set it, and forget it. You do not have to worry about the system accidentally being knocked out of balance. I enjoy having a product that allows the system to work seamlessly,” McTee states.
McTee points out that once installed, the system is balanced. There is no way for the owner or a maintenance worker to adjust the valve accidentally and then need to call a balancing contractor to get the system back in line. “That is the number one cause of hot water circulation failures that I have seen,” states McTee.
“The initial cost of the CircuitSolver® is a little higher than a traditional balancing valve, but installation is faster and cheaper.
The system is already balanced and does not require a balancing contractor. [With CircuitSolver®,] you get a better-performing system that you do not have to worry about,” McTee emphasized.
“Any owner planning to hold onto a building for a long time needs to look past the initial cost and look at life-cycle cost. CircuitSolver® would save them money in the long run.” McTee typically specifies the CircuitSolver® assemblies with check valves because it makes it super easy for the contractors to install.
When asked what he likes most about these balancing valves, McTee said, “Compared to manual balancing valves, it is just a superior product. You will get better performance and system longevity out of it since you do not have to worry about rebalancing in the future. I really like the valves…because it makes [the system] easy to control. It is a product I will continue to specify for the rest of my career.”
This Month, ThermOmegaTech and Grundfos announced a partnership, bringing together two industry leaders to simplify and enhance domestic plumbing systems and installations for contractors throughout the United States.
“We are excited about growing our relationship with a well-respected worldwide company like Grundfos,” said Tom Ruggierio, national business development manager at ThermOmegaTech. “Having two companies with innovative, synergistic products working together will bring optimized solutions for domestic hot water systems that will serve the plumbing community well.”
The partnership supports the companies’ shared goals of enhancing the accessibility and conservation of water, our most precious resource, by providing solutions that exceed energy and efficiency standards. “Working together allows us to save time for contractors who no longer need to source the appropriate pump style and size,” said Ruggierio. “The CircuitSolver® solution will now come with an expert-recommended pump, allowing contractors to focus their efforts on what they do best — the installation.”
“We continue to be impressed by the innovation of our ThermOmegaTech partner. Joining forces is a win-win opportunity for both companies as well as our manufacturer representatives, contractors, and the homeowners,” said Barry Nauss, Grundfos vice president of HVAC OEM. “When used together, our products greatly minimize water consumption and increase energy efficiency by optimizing the recirculating flow rate. This ensures the precise amount of water and power are utilized as water rotates through the system versus flowing down the drain. We’re proud to offer our new, sustainability-focused packaged solutions to the market.”
Grundfos and ThermOmegaTech will also offer expert training sessions together in 2022 with the goal of increasing awareness of the benefits their product portfolios bring to a domestic hot water system.
Warminster, PA – ThermOmegaTech: CircuitSolver, a ThermOmegaTech brand, announced its CircuitSolver Cold Water Balancing Valve (CSU-CW) this month, and will be displaying the valve with a live demo at the AHR tradeshow in Las Vegas from January 31st to February 2nd. The CSU-CW is a dynamic valve designed to automatically balance cold water recirculation systems utilizing the same reliable and precise thermal actuator technology as the original CircuitSolver for balancing recirculating hot water systems.
This unique valve will effectively mitigate the risk of Legionella bacteria growth in a domestic cold-water system (DCWS) by continuously monitoring water temperatures and modulating flow to maintain a set temperature at the end of each branch or riser. This automatic response to water temperature balances the cold water throughout the system, reduces stagnation, and ensures “residual chlorine” is distributed throughout the system.
“Every day, the topic of Legionella mitigation is becoming more frequently discussed within the plumbing industry.” Tom Ruggierio, National Business Development Manager at ThermOmegaTech, says. “For domestic water systems, most of the focus has been on the hot water portion. However, over the past few years, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has taken a more proactive approach in addressing Legionella mitigation in domestic cold-water systems.”
To achieve stability, ThermOmegaTech’s engineers have worked diligently to develop a dynamic design that continuously addresses the ever-changing conditions often associated with cold water systems, including changes in building occupancy, building expansion, reduction in utilization, and other variables that may disrupt the balance of a system.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the plumbing industry in many ways and domestic cold-water systems have been a weak point in many buildings. “Reopening buildings found that their unbalanced cold-water systems had sat stagnant and warmed, leading to dangerous Legionella bacteria growth,” Ruggierio comments. “The CircuitSolver Cold Water valve automatically balances the DCWS and mitigates Legionella risk”.
For over 35 years, ThermOmegaTech® has been a leader in the design and manufacture of self-actuated thermostatic technology. Founded in 1983, ThermOmegaTech® is a privately held company with 40,000 square feet of manufacturing and office facility located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company provides innovative solutions for a wide range of applications including freeze & scald protection, mixing & diverting, steam traps, thermal bypass, tepid water delivery, washdown, balancing, drain tempering, and many other applications where temperature control is critical. Key industries it serves include railroad, commercial plumbing, aerospace & defense and industrial.
ThermOmegaTech® specializes in manufacturing prototype/small volume and highly engineered custom products utilizing phase-change thermostatic actuator technology to satisfy individual project needs. For maximum efficiency and effective communication, ThermOmegaTech®’s R&D, manufacturing, assembly, testing, inspection, sales, and customer service departments are all located in one facility. Their QMS is certified to AS9100D standards demonstrating the focus on quality its products are distributed and used worldwide.
The USF is a public university with its main campus located in Tampa. About 10% of the school’s almost 40,000 undergraduate students live in one of the 44 on-campus dormitories. After temporarily shutting down during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, dorms reopened to students in the Fall of 2021.
Beacon Hall, the newest addition to the university’s on-campus dormitory buildings, opened in August of 2017. A coed, six-story construction, the dorm houses 378 residents in a mix of traditional and suite-style rooms.
Since opening, the 5th-floor gang shower, which is located in the center of the floor with student rooms lining the exterior of the building, had experienced a lot of hot water issues.
Mike Bishop, VP of Engineering at RGD Consulting Engineers stated: “Students used to turn on the showers, go to breakfast for 30 minutes, then come back to shower when the water was hot. Otherwise, they were taking a cold shower.”
A major inconvenience to students and a huge waste of water for the university, the system’s hot water demands needed to be re-evaluated.
After unsuccessful attempts to rectify the hot water supply and balancing issues, the developer contacted RGD Consulting Engineers.
Mike Bishop discovered that the manual balancing valves were a major roadblock in the DHW system functioning correctly due to its inability to adapt to changing system demands, and, with no question, recommended CircuitSolver thermostatic balancing valves.
Working with Spirit Group, a CircuitSolver representative in Florida, thirteen ½” CircuitSolver valves were installed at the end of each branch and one ½” CircuitSolver was placed on the return line to the water heater.
HOW THE CIRCUITSOLVER WORKS
The CircuitSolver® is a thermostatic balancing valve that automatically and continuously adjusts flow through a DHW system to maintain a specified temperature at the end of each hot water supply line. This keeps the system fully balanced with hot water available at all times and on all floors, even with variable and intermittent demands.
On startup, the system automatically balanced itself in under 3 hours, all without manual labor. “In the meantime, the plumber actually went out a did another job,” Bishop mentions, “Then they went and got breakfast, and when they came back [the DHW system] was balanced.”
Since the installation of CircuitSolvers, all balancing issues in the Beacon Hall dormitory have been resolved. Students are able to take hot showers without 30-minute wait times, and complaints have ceased. Water usage has plummeted, and the extra recirculation pump was removed, effectively reducing utility usage.
As for Mike Bishop, in this balancing case study, he says that the contractor on the job reported a favorable experience. “He was ecstatic! This was his first CircuitSolver job, but he’s going to start using it everywhere.”
2021 was a busy year for ThermOmegaTech! Thanks to our loyal customers, supporting partners, and highly trained and dedicated staff, we met our goals while delivering on-time, quality products throughout the year! Check out our most significant accomplishments and highlights for CircuitSolver in 2021 in this Year In Review blog!
We had a record-breaking sales performance for the CircuitSolver product line and developed a new product to be released in early Q2 of 2022.
Attended ASPE Tech Symposium and presented cold water recirculation as part of a joint panel discussion with other industry stakeholders and BOMA (Building Owners Management Association) International Conference in Boston in October:
Logue Family Holdings also produced 2 new videos: LFH Facility Tour & Production Capabilities, to highlight how our companies can help our customers!
We’re excited to announce that CircuitSolver will be exhibiting at the upcoming tradeshows: ASPE Tech Symposium & BOMA International Conference & Expo. See below for tradeshow information on both – we hope to see you there!
ASPE Tech Symposium
Visit us at the ASPE Product Show to learn about
CircuitSolver’s latest thermostatic balancing valve
WHERE: San Diego Marriott Mission Valley – San Diego, CA
To determine the possible effects of hard water on CircuitSolver’s longevity, ThermOmegaTech has been conducting an ongoing hard water test on the same balancing valve at their headquarters in Warminster, PA since 2013.
A single valve was installed in the facility’s hard water on January 15, 2013, with its performance and appearance evaluated annually. 2021 is the 8th consecutive year that the test CircuitSolver has continued to operate efficiently, with no signs of mineral deposits, wear or fatigue in the installation.
Ongoing Effects of Hard Water Study
To determine exactly how hard the water was before the valve was installed, QC Laboratories, a certified test laboratory in Warminster, PA, analyzed collected water samples and found the hardness of ThermOmegaTech’s water to be 229 mg/L – this is considered “very hard” water.
Typical effects of hard water are often damaging and can include mineral deposits, scale buildup on plumbing fixtures, impaired flow rates, and stained appliances.
Test CircuitSolver as of 2021
The photos below display the test CircuitSolver and its disassembled components when they were removed during the latest inspection in 2021.
With no visible signs of mineral deposits, wear, or fatigue, the CircuitSolver continues to cycle normally after 153,120 modulations to date.
ThermOmegaTech® Rewards the 2020 Top CircuitSolver Sales Reps
Recognizing the many struggles and challenges that came with the year 2020, ThermOmegaTech® acknowledges and rewards their CircuitSolver® representative award winners with the prestigious “2020 Top Sales Rep” award and the “2020 Budget Buster” award as a strong thank you from the ThermOmegaTech® family.
The “2020 Top Sales Rep” award is presented, with great honor, to Specification Sales, Spirit Group, Kast Marketing, and Pinnacle Sales to be recognized as ThermOmegaTech®’s top four representative agencies with the largest percentage increase in sales year over year.
Exceeding their sales budget for the year, A6, Dellon Sales Company, Kast Marketing, Pinnacle Sales, RKR, Specification Sales, Spirit Group, PMI Sales, and Urell have been presented with the “2020 Budget Buster” award to recognize their hard work and accomplishments.
Aaron Markward, CircuitSolver® Regional Sales Manager for ThermOmegaTech®, expresses with great gratification his appreciation for the representative award winners of 2020.
“It is with great pleasure that we present these two awards to our top CircuitSolver sales reps and budget busters of 2020. Despite all the challenges we faced this past year, our CircuitSolver® reps proved the ability to achieve and exceed their goals.”
We appreciate the constant support, communication, and effort put forth by all our rep firms this past year and every year. We are excited to continue to grow the CircuitSolver® brand with our reps throughout the commercial plumbing industry. With that, we want to express a BIG Thank you to our award winners!
Since its discovery in the summer of 1976, Legionella bacteria has been an ever increasingly hot topic in the plumbing industry, seeming to lurk in pipes and water systems, waiting to strike in a moment of lapsed attention or vigilance.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the CDC reports that as of 2018, cases of Legionnaires’ Disease, pneumonia caused by aspirating the Legionella bacteria, have risen significantly. With nearly 10,000 cases reported in 2018 alone, Legionnaires seems to be running rampant in modern water systems.
While some attribute the sharp rise in case numbers to improved reporting, awareness, and testing methods, it has also been suggested that aging infrastructure and climate change could be contributing factors.
While prevalent in modern plumbing systems, Legionella bacteria only presents a risk when able to colonize, typically in stretches of piping with warm, stagnant water. For many buildings, simple changes to system design and management procedures can significantly reduce the prevalence of Legionella bacteria and inhibit growth before it can begin.
1. Avoid “Dead Legs” in Piping Design
Minimizing the distance between supply lines and fixtures in your system design can reduce areas of stagnation in the hot water piping which could accumulate scale and biofilm buildup, a prime location for Legionella bacteria to set up shop.
2. Maintain Water Temperature Control
Legionella bacteria flourishes in warm water with comfortable temperatures ranging from around 70°F to 115°F. Storing water at temperatures above 120°F will generally help prevent colonization.
To prevent bacteria growth, specify hot water tanks that store water above 140°F (60°C) and use a mixing valve to recirculate it to the fixtures at 120°F (48.9°C) to comply with anti-scalding regulations.
3. Keep Pumps Running Continuously
Keeping your recirculation pumps running at all times will keep water flowing and prevent bacteria from grouping together and adhering to pipe walls.
4. Perform Routine Maintenance of Equipment
The CDC recommends cleaning water tanks routinely including periodically draining the system to remove scale and sediment. This will prevent biofilm, organic debris, and corrosion from contaminating your water system.
CircuitSolver Sanitary Flush Valve
For domestic hot water systems using a heat-and-flush thermal disinfection method to prevent Legionella bacteria growth, balancing during the flush is essential to ensure thorough sanitation.
CircuitSolver Sanitary Flush Valve utilizes two thermal actuators for automatic thermal balancing of the system; one for normal DHWS operation, and the other for thermal disinfection. Click here to see how it works.
Sister companies come home to Logue Family Holdings headquarters to facilitate inter-departmental operations and communication.
In June of 2021, Logue Family Holdings, Inc. will be consolidating all three of its independently operated business subsidiaries under one roof in Warminster, Pennsylvania.
The building is the headquarters of ThermOmegaTech, Inc., a mechanical valve manufacturer founded in 1983 that specializes in custom-engineered fluid thermal control solutions, as well as BBQ Guru, home of the automatic Guru line of BBQ temperature controllers for charcoal grills and smokers.
Joining the duo will be TJM Electronics, a contract electronic manufacturer specializing in PCB assembly and electro-mechanical assembly for Aerospace & Defense, Medical, Industrial, LED lighting, and non-commodity consumer electronic products, acquired by Logue Family Holdings in 2019.
Douglas Snow, VP of Production for Logue Family Holdings, cites that the consolidation of operations under a single physical roof is expected to result in increased efficiencies, effective resource sharing, and cross-selling between relevant product lines.
“There is already quite a bit of cooperation between the companies for developing and delivering products” Snow mentions. “TJM Electronics provides both the PCBAs and final assembly of electrical components within the BBQ Guru controllers and the PCBAs for ThermOmegaTech’s passenger car railroad heaters. Getting us all under one roof can only increase efficiencies and communication.”
The facility features more than 40,000 square feet of production, R&D, engineering, and office space that is to be shared between the three companies. Both ThermOmegaTech and TJM electronics QMS’s are certified to AS9100D standards which is based on and includes ISO 9001:2015. Due to our growth in the Aerospace and Defense industry, we have decided to pursue AS9100D as our primary Quality Management System to create standard operating procedures across all business segments, which allows us to enhance the quality of our products, while increasing efficiencies and alleviating undue price increases to customers.
TJM Electronics will be bringing to the building an impressive roster of advanced electronics manufacturing machinery including pick and place, stencil printers, multizone reflow ovens, wave solder system, and more.
To accommodate the needs of electronic manufacturing, the production space allocated to TJM Electronics has been outfitted with a specialized electrostatic discharge flooring to prevent static electricity from damaging sensitive electrical components along with a state-of-the-art humidification system.
The move will consolidate all 100+ Logue Family Holding employees under one roof and is forecasted to be completed by late June.
About ThermOmegaTech, Inc:
For over 35 years, ThermOmegaTech has been a leader in the design and manufacture of self-actuated thermostatic technology. Founded in 1983, ThermOmegaTech is a privately held certified small business with 40,000 square feet of manufacturing and office facility located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company provides innovative solutions for a wide range of applications including freeze & scald protection, mixing & diverting, steam traps, thermal bypass, tepid water delivery, washdown, balancing, drain tempering, and many other applications where temperature control is critical. Key industries it serves include railroad, commercial plumbing, aerospace & defense and industrial. ThermOmegaTech specializes in manufacturing prototype/small volume and highly engineered custom products utilizing phase-change thermostatic actuator technology to satisfy individual project needs.
For maximum efficiency and effective communication, ThermOmegaTech’s R&D, manufacturing, assembly, testing, inspection, sales, and customer service departments are all located in one facility. Their QMS is certified to AS9100D standards demonstrating the focus on quality its products are distributed and used worldwide.
Founded in 2003 in Warminster, PA, BBQ Guru has been making barbecuing easier, more convenient, and enjoyable with patented electronic and battery-operated temperature-control devices for charcoal and wood-burning cookers. BBQ Guru are the leaders and inventors of BBQ temperature-control devices. They were the first in the marketplace to develop and sell an entire line of high-tech cooker accessories, including the award-winning PartyQ, DigiQ, and CyberQ.
TJM Electronics has been leading the way in electronics contract manufacturing since 1989 with the emergence of Surface Mount Technology (SMT). One of the first automated SMT companies certified to MIL-STD-2000 on the east coast, TJM is recognized by major defense contractors as a “3 Star Supplier” and maintains a reputable status as a Preferred Supplier List member for electronics contract manufacturing. TJM’s capabilities include custom short or long run PCB assembly, accurate and functional prototype representations of designs, cable and mechanical assembly, product testing and evaluation to ensure Designed for Manufacturability (DFM) and final packaging. Through its brand, TemitroniK, TJM also assembles oversized LED boards of any shape and size, up to 460mm (18.11″) wide and 1200mm (47.24″) long.
TJM Electronics’ automated technology allows them to meet the most rigorous and specialized PCB requirements for industries such as aerospace and defense, medical, industrial, LED lighting, and non-commodity consumer electronic products. TJM Electronics has been ISO 9001 certified for contract electro-mechanical manufacturing for over 2 decades, and has just recently received AS9100D certification.
CircuitSolver and thermostatic technology was featured in the PHCP Pros January issue, with three plumbing industry professionals weighing in on the future of domestic hot water recirculation system balancing technology.
Instant hot water at the turn of a tap is a luxury that many in developed countries take for granted, with little thought spared to exactly how it is available on the 50th floor.
For decades, this feat of engineering has resulted from the many hours spent manually balancing and rebalancing domestic hot water recirculation systems, often performed several times to accommodate flow as system demand evolved. While effective enough in principle, manual balancing flounders in practice, with inflated labor costs and inflexibility in the face of usage variations.
To conquer the challenges inherent to traditional manual balancing methods, ThermOmegaTech invented the CircuitSolver® thermostatic balancing valve. It automatically balances the DHWS by adjusting flow through the system to maintain a set temperature at the end of each supply branch, eliminating the need for manual balancing while ensuring instant hot water delivery to each fixture and accommodating flow to meet demand variations.
Since its debut in 2012, the CircuitSolver has been installed in thousands of domestic hot water recirculation systems throughout the United States and Canada.
ThermOmegaTech caught up with three plumbing engineers for their opinion on the valve: Joper Tupas, PE, CPD, from the Murray Co. Engineering Department, Rancho Dominguez, Calif.; Rick Sawyer from BMA Mechanical+, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Scott Fawkes and Michael Washburn from Architectural Resources Inc., New York, N.Y.”
Residential CircuitSolver Installation Case Study – The Austonian in Austin, TX
Below is a CircuitSolver® success story brought to you from the Lone Star state:
Located in the heart of Austin, TX, The Austonian is a premier luxury residence boasting 360° views, unparalleled amenities, and a Four Star rating from Austin Energy Green Building. Towering over downtown at 683 feet tall, The Austonian is the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi River.
Despite its laundry list of amenities, The Austonian’s managers were not satisfied with the hot water delivery time to the building’s units. In some cases, 2-3 minutes were needed for warm water to reach fixtures.
A team of engineers was assembled and tasked with finding a solution and improving hot water delivery times.
With more than 50 floors to retrofit, the CircuitSolver® was deemed the ideal and only solution to The Austonian’s domestic hot water system challenge.
Hot water distribution lines had originally been placed in corridor ceilings and branched into residential units during construction. Certified plumbers installed CircuitSolver® in each unit’s ceiling near the hot water return line. Located behind false air vents for easy access, shut-off valves were placed on either side of the CircuitSolver® for ease of maintenance in the future.
A majority of the work done was in corridors and access to private residences had to be scheduled. Fortunately construction time in residences was minimized due to CircuitSolver’s® simple installation and set-up.
Residents are reportedly pleased with improved hot water delivery times following CircuitSolver® installation. Units with wait times of multiple minutes saw a dramatic reduction, and fixtures now reach proper temperature in 20-30 seconds. A reduction of water waste and the implementation of lower horsepower pumps has also resulted in significant utility cost savings.
This success story is one among many, and thousands of installations around the country benefit from implementing the CircuitSolver®.
Should you have any questions about implementing the CircuitSolver®, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated team of product experts.
Inspira Health CircuitSolver Case Study – Mullica Hill, New Jersey, USA
Installation Site Overview
Inspira Health operates a variety of healthcare facilities throughout southern New Jersey, including Inspira Health Center Mullica Hill Commons in Mullica Hill, NJ.
Opened in November of 2019, the 5-floor Mullica Hill Commons facility is a state-of-the-art general medical and surgical center, featuring specialized obstetrics and gynecology services.
A new construction, Mullica Hill Commons’ contractors relied on the expert advice of the design engineers to specify products that would meet the needs of a dynamic healthcare DHWR system. The CircuitSolver® Union Assembly Strainer (CSUAS) balancing valve was specified at 140°F to satisfy the design’s hot water requirements and reduce installation time. The CSUAS comes preassembly with the CircuitSolver® thermostatic balancing valve with an integrated union, two ball valves on either side and an integrated strainer.
In accordance with the project specifications, MMC Contractors installed 102 CircuitSolver® Union Assembly Strainers throughout the system saving significant time by not having to manually install each component. CircuitSolver® valves were installed at the end of each domestic hot water branch in place of manual valves to provide a balanced system. “There was no balancing necessary because these valves are self-adjusting,” Mike Formica of MMC Contractors commented. “The CircuitSolver® is the fastest and easiest way to balance a system.”
These self-actuating, thermostatic valves automatically and continuously adjust system flow to maintain a specified temperature at the end of hot water supply line by monitoring water temperature, eliminating manual balancing as well as the possibility of callbacks for adjustments to meet changing system demands.
Soon after startup, the facility was supplied with hot water throughout the building without any balancing procedures. Inspira Health Center Mullica Hill Commons opened on November 8, 2019 to much fanfare and celebration and, thanks to CircuitSolver®, the staff of Mullica Hill Commons will be spending many years caring for their patients with instant hot water at the turn of a tap.
For more information on this Inspira Health CircuitSolver case study or how the CircuitSolver line of balancing valves can meet your domestic hot water system balancing needs, visit our plumbing products page.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare operates five facilities throughout Northern Kentucky, including St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood, a state-of-the-art general medical and surgical facility.
As a healthcare facility serving the larger Cincinnati metro area, there is a constant flow of patients, visitors, and medical personnel through their halls. Unfortunately, the hot water was not flowing quite so quickly. For years the hospital had dealt with an unreliable and unbalanced hot water supply. The domestic hot water system’s (DHWS) return runs were operating inefficiently, leaving some of the hospital wings completely without hot water at times.
To address this problem, MarkCo Plumbing installed around 90 CircuitSolver® balancing valves in their DHWS. CircuitSolvers were installed at the end of each hot water branch in the system, replacing the manual balancing valves.
These self-actuating, thermostatic recirculation valves automatically and continuously adjusted the flow to maintain the specified temperature at the end of each domestic hot water supply line. No manual balancing was required.
After the successful CircuitSolver® installation, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood now has access to an on-demand hot water supply in all wings, on every floor, at every fixture. CircuitSolver® was able to balance the system when engineers could not.
Where manual balancing fails, CircuitSolver® delivers.
The CircuitSolver® is a thermostatic, self-actuating balancing valve that continuously and automatically adjusts the flow through each branch of a domestic hot water recirculation system to maintain the specified temperature at the end of each branch, regardless of fluctuations in hot water demand. It is a direct replacement for manual balancing valves and eliminates balancing labor and callbacks.
Legionnaires’ disease is arguably the hottest topic in the plumbing industry today.
First identified after an outbreak in 1976, this potentially fatal form of pneumonia is contracted by aspirating Legionella bacteria and presents with coughing, shortness of breath, fever, and pain.
Since its initial discovery, the bacteria has been found to be pervasive in large-scale water systems, leading offices, hospitals, hotels, and other sizeable buildings to double down on their sanitization, identification, and prevention efforts.
Legionella bacteria can be found in many domestic hot and cold water systems in trace amounts but does not present a health concern until it colonizes, and the bacteria are atomized and aspirated.
In warm, stagnant water, the bacteria can grow and multiply to high concentrations, which is when it becomes dangerous.
Organizations differ on the specific temperature at which the bacteria will grow, but the most common range stated for Legionella bacteria survival is 68°-122°F (20°-50°C). The bacteria are dormant below 68° (20° C) and does not survive above 140° (60° C).
The key to preventing disease Legionnaires’ disease is to make sure that building owners and managers follow a water management program. Unfortunately, there is no one guideline to follow on how to reduce the risk of Legionella growth and spread. Go to any ASPE meeting and ask the members what the best way is to prevent Legionella and you are likely to get as many different answers as there are attendees.
Organizations that mandate domestic hot water systems design guidelines and recommendations are similarly scattered and contradictory in their requirements, torn between the need for energy conservation and Legionella prevention.
ASHRAE, which touts energy conservation practices, suggests that temperature maintenance systems should be automatically switched off “during extended periods when hot water is not required,” whereas OSHA states that in the interest of Legionella prevention, DHWS should be excluded from energy conservation measures and run continuously.
The Uniform Plumbing Code and International Plumbing Code set minimum guidelines for plumbing system and component safety, but do not provide concrete “how to” documents and checklists for Legionella prevention.
The Center for Disease Control simply suggests periodically culturing potable water samples to test for bacteria growth.
Which codes and guidelines dictate your DHWS design typically falls to your local jurisdictions and personal or corporate preferences. However, it still leaves the question of just how can plumbing engineers best design their systems to prevent, or at the very least discourage Legionella bacteria from growing while still adhering to the necessary requirements so as not to find themselves on an inspector’s infraction list?
Q&A with ThermOmegaTech® about the new automatic DHWS balancing valve – CircuitSolver® Union Thermal Disinfection
Being “first” often sets the bar high. As one of the first manufacturers of a thermostatic balancing valve for domestic hot water recirculation systems, The ThermOmegaTech® commitment has not just been to set the bar but also to raise the bar. Since the introduction of its CircuitSolver® in 2012, the company has frequently added components, including ball valves, strainers, check valves, and ProPress ends, to meet customer demand.
In April 2018, the innovation continued with the launch of the CircuitSolver® Union Thermal Disinfection thermostatic balancing valve for domestic hot water systems. The union is integrated with the valve body, which has an optional integral check valve. A vital feature of the CircuitSolver® Union Thermal Disinfection is the new capability to automatically balance a domestic hot water system during a thermal disinfection procedure.
In the following Q&A with ThermOmegaTech®, Plumbing Engineer explores the new product’s features, including its ability to mitigate Legionella and other bacteriological problems.
PE: What makes CircuitSolver® Union Thermal Disinfection different from other valves on the market?
TOT: It has all-stainless steel construction for maximum corrosion resistance and durability. It is NSF61, and NSF372 certified — even though it seems that all components in a domestic hot water system (DHWS) should be certified and most plumbing codes and specifications say they must be, not all balancing valves are certified. The valve is completely automatic, thermostatically balancing the standard recirculation temperature and the high-temperature thermal disinfection cycle. No power, signal, or powered actuators are required, as in other balancing valves.
ThermOmegaTech® design is highly resistant to mineral buildup and the adverse effects of debris in the piping system. It is the only tamper-proof thermostatic balancing valve on the market. Other competitive devices are adjustable for several reasons: those manufacturers don’t manufacture their thermal actuators as ThermOmegaTech® does. They aren’t as flexible and offer all the setpoint variations we can, so their valve is adjustable, making it prone to tampering and/or being set to a temperature other than what the designer specified.
With this valve, the plumbing system designer specifies the desired temperature, and the valves are factory-set to that exact setting.
PE: What are the benefits or special features of the CircuitSolver® Union Thermal Disinfection specific to those designing and specifying thermostatic balancing valves for DHWS?
TOT: CircuitSolver® Union Thermal Disinfection brings the benefits of the standard CircuitSolver® into thermal disinfection applications. There is no manual balancing required. It can simply be installed once the system is turned on, and within minutes the building’s DHWS is balanced. Unlike manual balancing valves or fixed-flow devices, CircuitSolver® Union Thermal Disinfection will automatically go to full open when high-temperature water is being supplied, providing maximum flow for thermal disinfection processes.
New CircuitSolver® Union Assembly ProPress® combines CircuitSolver® balancing technology and Viega ProPress® ends.
ThermOmegaTech®, a world leader in the design and manufacture of self-actuating, thermostatic valve technology, adds the CircuitSolver® Union Assembly ProPress (CSUA-PP) to its distinguished line of products.
The CircuitSolver® is a domestic hot water system balancing valve that continuously and automatically adjusts the flow through each
branch of a water recirculation system to maintain the specified temperature at the end of each branch, regardless of fluctuations in demand. The CSUA-PP combines the CircuitSolver® technology professionals’ trust and Viega® ProPress ends for improved ease of installation.
Lauren Berenato, Commercial Plumbing Product Manager at ThermOmegaTech® says, “The CircuitSolver® product line is revolutionizing the plumbing industry by making domestic hot water system balancing automatic and continuous. The CSUA-PP’s Viega ProPress® ends makes it even easier for tradesmen to implement our technology into their systems, saving them time and labor costs.”
Each CSUA-PP incorporates Viega’s Smart Connect Technology. Identifiable by a small dot on each ProPress® end, it allows installers to easily identify un-pressed connections during installation. The CircuitSolver® Union Assembly ProPress is lead-free, resistant to corrosion, and all components are NSF 61 Certified. In addition, each and every CSUA-PP valve is leak tested prior to leaving the factory and comes equipped with long service life and a 3-year warranty.
To view the full article on Mechanical Hub click here.
ThermOmegaTech®, a designer and manufacturer of self-actuating temperature control technology, introduces its newest valve in the CircuitSolver® line: the CircuitSolver® Sanitary Flush valve. This CircuitSolver® Sanitary Flush Valve allows for higher water temperatures to flow through the system during the disinfection process to protect against Legionella growth.
“The CircuitSolver® Sanitary Flush Valve (CSUSF) allows for protection against Legionella growth in systems capable of high-temperature flush disinfection processes,” says Nick Tallos, vice president of engineering with ThermOmegaTech®. “We saw a need, especially in hospitals and healthcare settings, for a sanitary flush valve and this technology provides a convenient and reliable solution.”
CircuitSolver® is a thermostatic self-actuating balancing valve that continuously adjusts the flow through each branch of a domestic hot water recirculation system to maintain the specified temperature at the end of the branches. The CSUSF valve uses two high thrust actuators to control the temperature and flow of water through a branch. A low-temperature actuator maintains standard balancing temperature, while a high-temperature actuator allows for high-temperature sanitary flushing of the system.
The CircuitSolver® Sanitary Flush valve is tamper-proof and is the ideal solution for a reliable and automatic high-temperature flush. It is a direct replacement for manual balancing valves and eliminates balancing labor and callbacks. The CSUSF valve is constructed of all stainless steel, is corrosion-resistant, and is pending NSF/ANSI 61 and NSF/ANSI 372 certifications. It also has a long service life and comes with a 3-year warranty.
ThermOmegaTech® will be introducing the valve at the Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Exposition (CMPX) from March 21-23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The product release is set for mid-April 2018.
For nearly a decade, CircuitSolver® has exceeded the standard for balancing domestic hot water systems. The thermostatic self-actuating balancing valve controls temperature and ensures hot water is delivered consistently to all fixtures without the need for manual balancing. The simple design combined with the unique technology of the valve has transformed the future of domestic hot water balancing.
To date, there are thousands of CircuitSolver® installed in buildings across the country with more being spec’d into projects every day. More and more contractors are realizing the convenience the valve creates by eliminating the need for time-consuming and expensive manual balancing labor and equipment.
ThermOmegaTech® interviewed a few contractors to hear about their experiences using CircuitSolver®. Below are the responses from three plumbing contractors: E.M. Duggan Inc, Pan-Pacific Mechanical, and Production Plus Plumbing Inc.
E.M. Duggan Inc. – Boston, Massachusetts
Overview of the project
Founded in 1891, E.M. Duggan Inc. is a full mechanical contractor specializing in commercial plumbing, HVAC and sprinkler systems in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Stephen Thompson, who has been working for E.M. Duggan for 30+ years, talks about the recently completed Avalon North Station high-rise apartments, right next to the home of the Boston Celtics, and the installation of CircuitSolver®.
This newly constructed 38-story luxury apartment building with 537 units used CircuitSolver® to balance its domestic hot water system. The system was broken into three zones of water — low, medium, and high — and required roughly 100 Circuit Solvers.
The contractor was pleased with how quickly the system was balanced. It usually takes two to three days to balance a system manually, but by using CircuitSolver®, this process was done instantly. This translated into huge savings in terms of time and effort that is usually devoted to the balancing process. There was no scaling or gumming up of the system either, which is sometimes an issue when using manual valves. They experienced no problems or call backs.
When asked how CircuitSolver® compares to other balancing valves, Thompson says, “It’s hard to compare to since there really isn’t anything else like it on the market.”
Pan-Pacific Mechanical – Los Angeles, California
Overview of the project
For 60+ years, Pan-Pacific Mechanical has been a family-owned mechanical contractor in California. Richard Parker talks about the USC Village project at University Park Campus Los Angeles, and his experience with installing CircuitSolver®.
This construction project consisted of five buildings — five stories, at 750,000 square feet a piece. Each building required 110 Circuit Solvers totaling 600 valves for the whole project.
Normally it takes a long time to balance a system. A project this size would take three or four plumbers per building at least two weeks to get the system perfectly balanced. With CircuitSolver®, the contractor was able to start up the system, and it was balanced automatically.
This saved them both time and money, plus made the whole process easier. They have had to make zero adjustments and haven’t had any clogging issues that can be a problem when using other valves. Since CircuitSolver® automatically adjusts to the changing water temperatures, the system doesn’t becomes unbalanced and hot water will be at the branch when you need it, so there won’t be any long wait times.
The CircuitSolver® line with an integrated union and optional built-in check valve as well as a complete assembly.
This product will also be NSF 61 certified. It also minimizes flow through the system by only allowing small amounts of water to pass through once the set point is reached, which reduces system wear and allows for a smaller circulator that won’t consume as much power.
ThermOmegaTech® is expanding its CircuitSolver® line to include an enhanced CircuitSolver® with an integrated union and optional built-in check valve as well as a complete assembly.
As is the case with the original CircuitSolver®, the CSU will also be NSF 61 certified.
The new products extend beyond the ThermOmegaTech® flagship thermostatic self-actuating balancing valve, the CircuitSolver®, which continuously maintains the end of each domestic hot water supply line in a recirculation system at the specified water temperature.
This simple in-line valve completely eliminates the need for time-consuming and expensive manual balancing labor and equipment. It also minimizes flow through the system by only allowing small amounts of water to pass through once the set point is reached, which reduces system wear and allows for a smaller circulator that won’t consume as much power.
The CSU and CSU Assembly include all the benefits of the Circuit Solver plus additional advantages not offered anywhere else.
For years, manual balancing valves have been the industry standard in regulating the flow of recirculating domestic hot water systems.
Particularly in large, populous commercial buildings, such as offices, hotels, and multi-dwelling housing, maintaining perfect hot water distribution was very challenging until Pennsylvania-based manufacturer ThermOmegaTech®, Inc. launched its self-operating temperature actuated CircuitSolver® thermal recirculation balancing valve and set a new standard.
“Even people who are very knowledgeable with years of experience in the industry are impressed with what CircuitSolver® can achieve,” shares Nick Tallos, vice president of engineering for ThermOmegaTech® and 40-year industry veteran. “They ask, ‘where was this 20 years ago,’ and call CircuitSolver a game-changing technology.”
However, ThermOmegaTech® is no stranger to game-changing products. Since the company was founded by the late Fred Pirkle in 1983, it has been solving temperature control problems all over the country and the world.
“I was working with Fred before he started ThermOmegaTech®,” recounts Tallos. “He was working as a sales representative for another company when he was offered a position in product development in Pennsylvania. A few years later, in the early 1980s, he decided to start his own company.”
Setting the standard early on, the ThermOmegaTech® first breakthrough product was the highly reliable, cost-effective freeze valve for the railroad industry. “The freeze protection valve has become the industry standard and almost every diesel-electric locomotive in the U.S. has our products,” reveals Tom Ruggierio, director of sales and marketing for ThermOmegaTech®. “We now have 98 percent of the market share for Class 1 locomotives in North America.”
“Our freeze protection valve is critical because a locomotive has 300 to 500 gallons of coolant circulating through to keep the engine temperature down, but antifreeze is not compatible with the diesel engine technology,” adds Tallos. “If the coolant freezes it means a major risk to the engine, not to mention huge costs due to lost operating time.”
The freeze valve is still one of ThermOmegaTech®’s most important products, but Tallos says the company has grown to fit the needs of numerous other industries and applications. “We took the freeze-valve technology and started applying it to other problems our customers in the petrochemical and industrial arenas had,” he explains. “If we saw an opportunity to make a device to solve their problem, we did, and steadily they’ve become standard products.”
From locomotives to commercial dishwashers, ThermOmegaTech® technology can be found in almost every corner of industry. ThermOmegaTech has developed a wide range of valves and systems for the industrial market, including valves for scald protection, steam traps, ambient sensing, surface sensing and more. The company also has mixing valves for water and steam-water applications, which have been incorporated into wash down stations for hot water wash down and instantaneous tepid water heaters.
The most recent generation of ThermOmegaTech®’s game changing technology is the CircuitSolver® thermal recirculation balancing valve and its ability to regulate and cut costs in domestic hot water systems. “The CircuitSolver® is just an extension of the self-operated valve technology we’ve been working on for 30 years; we’re just adopting it to other arenas,” explains Tallos.
One of the major headaches for engineers and contractors in today’s complicated construction projects is properly balancing multi-loop systems.
Getting these systems properly balanced initially and having them stay balanced over the life of the building has, until now, been nearly an impossible job.
Furthermore, with today’s emphasis on more efficient building design and better operation and management, many practices of the past are no longer adequate or acceptable. No process or system can be ignored when looking for improvements. Even the seemingly simple task of supplying domestic hot water to all areas of a building requires another look to ensure that the most current and efficient methods are being employed.
In this article, we are going to take a look at DHWS, how balancing multi-loop systems works, and what some of the newest trends and technologies have to offer.
DHWS are designed to keep the hot water supply at the desired target temperature and to minimize wait times and the wasting of water at the fixtures waiting for the hot water to arrive.
Note: The correct hot water design temperatures are a separate subject as to scalding versus Legionella control and are not a part of this article.
In order to have hot water at all locations, the circulator pump must send water through the system fast enough to overcome any heat loss in the circulating piping system. To ensure this target is maintained, the engineer selects the pump and piping so that the flow rate through the system is high enough to maintain the necessary temperature, but not so high as to cause excessive noise and potential pipe erosion due to excessive velocity in the piping.
Furthermore, the engineer must remember that the temperature drop across the system is dependent on the quantity of water circulated.
See the ASPE Domestic Water Heating Design Manual for further data.
Many buildings require multiple branches off the hot water supply line. Water flows to the path of least resistance. Hot water use is hyper-dynamic, so the path of least resistance constantly changes. Because flow rates often have to be set much higher than “optimum,” manual balancing valves or constant flow balancing valves cannot effectively resolve these issues.
By installing the self-operating CircuitSolver®, a thermostatic balancing valve at the end of each hot water supply branch before it connects back into the return, you are assured of having the right water temperature at all times. This allows for the right temperature of hot water to be made available at any hot water fixture in a building, regardless of the time of day.
For more than 30 years, ThermOmegaTech® has been building freeze protection valves for Class 1 locomotives. Presently, the company has over 98 percent market share for Class 1 locomotives in North America. All of the ThermOmegaTech® products, including CircuitSolver®, use the same technology that was developed for the railroad industry. The company has branched out with numerous products supporting a number of industries.
Plumbing Engineer learned more about CircuitSolver® and some of the questions that ThermOmegaTech® frequently hears about the offering.
Plumbing Engineer: What was the genesis of CircuitSolver® and its design?
ThermOmegaTech®: It’s not an unusual source for new ideas, but a customer came to us with a problem because they saw we make the types of valves or devices that might help his application. ThermOmegaTech® was already manufacturing an inline, self-operating, thermostatic valve that closes on temperature rise, so we showed the customer this valve.
The customer (in this case a commercial plumbing systems expert) asked if this valve could be made to open at 110°F and close at 120°F, for example. We already had such a valve, but the discussion progressed further and with some development work the valve was simplified, made more compact, optimized for recirculating domestic hot water systems; and thus was born CircuitSolver®.
The Energy Efficient Buildings (EEB) Hub recently welcomed a new demonstration unit to its Industry Partner Gallery, as Warminster-based ThermOmegaTech® introduced its latest EEB-related product, CircuitSolver® self-actuating thermostatic recirculation valves.
In replacing the display by FARO Technologies, which completed its demonstration run in July, ThermOmegaTech® is the latest area business to occupy the Gallery with a product for the commercial building Advanced Energy Retrofit (AER) market.
ThermOmegaTech® specializes in the design and manufacture of self-actualizing temperature control valves. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors, as well as architectural firms, rely on CircuitSolver® valves and similar ThermOmegaTech® products to dramatically reduce the expense and energy required to supply hot water throughout large residential, industrial, and other buildings.
“CircuitSolver® valves deliver hot water instantly, eliminating the need to purchase and power oversized recirculating pumps,” says ThermOmegaTech® Chris Ashworth. “We offer significant electrical savings by virtue of our design—an application that required a five-horsepower pump before CircuitSolver® may need less than one horsepower with CircuitSolver® valves. The smaller pump is far less expensive to buy, and the energy savings can be on the order of hundreds of watts per hour.”
The product also represents dramatic labor savings. While traditional water systems might require a crew of workers to properly balance the temperature for a high-rise building, CircuitSolver® valves automate the entire process.
“You used to have a series of manual balancing valves that required a lot of fine adjustment,” Ashworth adds. “They would turn the system on, see how it worked, and radio to workers on other floors to gauge their temperature. Unfortunately, once you get it set for the empty building, everything is going to change once you get people in it. Unless you have someone there opening and closing valves around the clock, you won’t have an optimal system. CircuitSolver® valves optimize those water flow rates to maximize efficiency.”
When asked about the opportunity to exhibit in the Industry Partner Gallery, Ashworth says it’s a way to raise awareness for CircuitSolver® valves as a supremely cost-effective upgrade option.
“I’m excited for those contemplating building retrofits to see there is a way to significantly reduce utility bills without having to spend a whole lot of money. A lot of green projects have high costs of entry, and you may not see a return for a number of years. With CircuitSolver® valves, it’s as fast as 3-4 months.”
“ThermOmegaTech® has developed a product that not only preserves a limited resource, but they did it in a way that exemplifies the kind of innovative thinking we foster here at DVIRC and through the EEB Hub,” says Barry Miller, DVIRC’s President & COO. “We’re proud to have been active with ThermOmegaTech® through a host of Lean, continuous improvement, and marketing projects. CircuitSolver® valves are proof that their spirit of creative problem solving is alive and well.”
The Industry Partner Gallery can be found on the third floor of the Hub’s temporary headquarters in Building 101 at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. The program will accompany the EEB Hub when it moves to its new home, Building 661, in 2014, which will include a permanent display space to showcase building retrofit technologies such as CircuitSolver® valves.
Rob Crossett, DVIRC’s Business Development Manager, coordinates the Regional Supplier Program for the Gallery. These suppliers’ displays rotate at 2-3 month intervals and can be seen together with those of the Hub Industry partners: Lutron Electronics, Inc., United Technologies Research Center, PPG Industries, and Bayer MaterialScience, which manages the Gallery display area. The displays are open for viewing to all visitors and participants in EEB Hub activities.
ThermOmegaTech®, Inc. was established in 1983 to produce a proprietary freeze valve for the railroad industry. This valve is now the industry standard for North American railroads, and ThermOmegaTech® has applied that same technology to develop valves and systems for the industrial market. These include valves for freeze protection, scald protection, steam traps, ambient sensing, and surface sensing, as well as many other applications. ThermOmegaTech, Inc. is a privately held organization whose products are distributed and used worldwide. CircuitSolver® is a trademark of ThermOmegaTech®, Inc.
About the EEB Hub
The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) was established in by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on February 1, 2011 with a mission of improving energy efficiency in buildings—literally re-energizing them for the future—from its headquarters in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, one of the nation’s largest and most dynamic redevelopment opportunities.
Federal funding for the EEB Hub’s first five years of operation comes primarily from the DOE, with additional contributions from the National Institute of Standards and Technology Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC) is a private, non-profit economic development business consulting firm established in 1988 to serve the needs of the 4,500 small and mid-sized manufacturers in southeastern Philadelphia. The organization’s primary focus is to grow the value of our clients’ businesses through consulting services, training and education, and executive network groups. Our vision is to establish the region as an internationally recognized leader in manufacturing competitiveness. We believe growing business value improves the standard of living and quality of life for those that live and/or work in the region. DVIRC is a founding partner of the EEB Hub and a member of the executive board.
DVIRC is one of seven affiliates of the Industrial Resource Center (IRC) Network in Pennsylvania. DVIRC is funded in part by the NIST/Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Community and Economic Development. The collective role of DVIRC and its sister organization New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) is to connect Greater Philadelphia’s manufacturers to projects and opportunities being developed at the EEB Hub, and to grow business value and spur job creation.
The stainless-steel valve has received NSF/ANSI 61 and California Lead Plumbing Law (AB1953) certifications from IAPMO. This is the first of its kind for a self-actuating temperature control valve used for balancing domestic hot water systems. It eliminates the need for oversized recirculating pumps, minimizes heat loss by reducing fluctuations in average temperature and flow rate and lowers flow in hot water return lines.
Certification Believed to be First for a Self-Actuating Temperature Control Valve for Domestic Hot Water Systems
WARMINSTER, PA. – ThermOmegaTech, Inc. the global leader in the design and manufacture of self-actuating temperature control valves, announced today that its new CircuitSolver valve for domestic hot water systems has received NSF/ANSI 61 certification and California Lead Plumbing Law (AB1953) certification from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), an independent laboratory.
The certification is believed to be the first of its kind for a self-actuating temperature control valve used for balancing domestic hot water systems.
“The NSF/ANSI 61 certification further cements our belief that the CircuitSolver is an elite product that can solve long-standing issues related to hot water flow,” said ThermOmegaTech, Inc. President and CEO James Logue, Jr. “This valve can change the way engineers solve domestic hot water system and is a clear upgrade over manual balancing valves.”
Water flows to the path of least resistance, and many buildings require multiple branches off the hot water supply line. Since hot water use is dynamic, the path of least resistance is constantly changing and manual balancing valves cannot efficiently resolve these issues. CircuitSolver fixes this problem when installed on the end of each supply branch. Additionally, it eliminates the need for oversized recirculating pumps, minimizes heat-loss by reducing fluctuations in average temperature and flow rate and lowers flow in hot water return lines, minimizing erosion-corrosion problems caused by excessive velocity. The result is a dramatic reduction in water waste, energy savings and greatly improves comfort and satisfaction from all users of the domestic hot water system.
When entering water temperature is below CircuitSolver’s set point, the thermal actuator will begin to open the valve to establish a flow rate that will achieve set point. If the water temperature exceeds the set point, the valve will begin to throttle back to find the current equilibrium point. Continuously operating at the optimum temperature minimizes system heat-loss thereby saving energy. This constant, automatic response to water temperature enables each hot water branch to quickly and consistently deliver the right temperature of hot water to each connected fixture. The valve is constructed of all stainless steel.
CircuitSolver is now available for sale. More information is available at www.CircuitSolver.com. Appointments with engineers from ThermOmegaTech, Inc. can be made through the Web site to determine if CircuitSolver is the right solution for any hot water distribution challenge.
About ThermOmegaTech, Inc.
Founded in 1983, ThermOmegaTech, Inc. is the global leader in the design and manufacturing of the most advanced, reliable, and compact self-actuated valves for temperature control. The company holds over 25 patents for the design and manufacturing of valves for freeze control, scald protection, and tepid water mixing in the rail, manufacturing, processing, health care, hospitality, and building industries, to name a few. All ThermOmegaTech products are made in the United States of America. More details are available at www.ThermOmegaTech.com.
The facts are frightening – especially since the problem can be avoided.
Consider this: As many as one in 10 patients hospitalized in the U.S. contracts an infection, according to the Wall Street Journal. That means nearly 2 million patients annually are infected by bacterium or other agents.
The end result?
The cost is nearly 100,000 deaths and $6.5 billion in overall losses.
Hand washing is a long-standing means of fighting such infections. Doctors, nurses, and other hospital employees, as well as patients and guests, constantly wash their hands typically using hot water to do so.
The supply of hot water — and the time in which it is delivered – makes an efficiently designed domestic hot water system paramount in a hospital. And that makes thermostatically controlled hot water flow control valves just what the doctors ordered. Unfortunately, these valves aren’t used as often as they should.
Normally, a domestic hot water system is manually balanced. Enough hot water flows at a rate to ensure that when a faucet is turned on, heated water is quickly delivered at a specified temperature set point – often 120 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve this, the system is balanced with manually operated valves opened to produce the desired flow rate.
With multiple endpoints at sinks and showers, balancing usually requires two or more plumbing contractors. They must spend significant amounts of time between the hot water supply and the loop that services a particular bank of sinks or other fixtures, tweaking flow rates until the desired temperature is delivered.
A better method of achieving hot water balancing while using a fraction of the labor is to use a thermostatically controlled valve that opens and closes mechanically based on a temperature set point. For a hospital, this design has many advantages.
One major advantage is the cost reduction realized from the reduced flow. Using a thermostatically controlled valve only requires hot water flow when the temperature drops — not the constant flow that a manually balanced system needs.
“We are excited that CircuitSolver has been approved for sale and installation in Massachusetts,” said James Logue Jr., President and CEO of ThermOmegaTech. “Massachusetts has a strict policy when it comes to plumbing systems. This approval further cements CircuitSolver as the best solution for domestic hot water delivery problems.”
Water flows to the path of least resistance and many buildings require multiple branches off the hot water supply line. Since hot water use is dynamic, the path of least resistance is constantly changing and manual balancing valves cannot properly resolve these issues. CircuitSolver fixes this problem when installed at the end of each supply branch.
Additionally, it eliminates the need for oversized recirculating pumps, minimizes heat loss by reducing fluctuations in average temperature and flow rate, and lowers flow in hot water return lines minimizing erosion-corrosion problems caused by excessive velocity. The result is a dramatic reduction in water waste, energy savings, and greatly improved comfort and satisfaction from all users of the domestic hot water system.
When entering water temperature is below CircuitSolver’s set point, the thermal actuator will begin to open the valve to establish a flow rate that will achieve set point. If the water temperature exceeds the set point, the valve will begin to throttle backflow as required. Continuously operating at the optimum temperature minimizes system heat loss thereby saving water and energy. This constant, automatic response to water temperature enables each hot water branch to quickly and consistently deliver the right temperature of hot water to each connected fixture. The valve, which is constructed of all stainless steel, complies with California AB1953, and meets NSF-61 standards.
CircuitSolver is currently available for sale. More information is available at www.CircuitSolver.com. Appointments for a live discussion with engineers from ThermOmegaTech can also be made through the website to determine if CircuitSolver is the right solution for any hot water distribution challenge.
Founded in 1983, ThermOmegaTech is the global leader in the design and manufacturing of the most advanced, reliable, and compact self-actuated valves for temperature control. The company holds over 25 patents for the design and manufacturing of valves for freeze control, scald protection, and tepid water mixing in the rail, manufacturing, processing, healthcare, hospitality, and building industries, to name a few. All ThermOmegaTech products are made in the United States of America. More details are available at www.ThermOmegaTech.com.
“I turned on the water in the shower and waited for 10 minutes. Warm water finally started flowing, however it never lasted more than a minute and alternated mostly with cool to cold water.”
That’s the exact quote extracted from an online review of a guest who rated a hotel in Pennsylvania on Tripadvisor.com. The reviewer gave the hotel a rating of two out of a possible five. The site is full of similar comments from guests complaining about how long it took them to get hot water when they wanted to take a shower or wash their hands.
In the hospitality industry, when a guest turns on the hot water in their room, most wait patiently for the water to run a while to the proper temperature. Guests do not like to wait too long for their hot water according to the International Hospitality Association. In fact, they specifically address “the availability of hot water” as a factor for consideration in their quality standards and star rating systems that they set as the bar for multi-star ratings.
The cost to deliver hot water to insure customer satisfaction means the domestic hot water system must be balanced in a way that keeps the delivery time low. Until recently, that meant larger recirculating pumps, more recirculating flow, more wear and tear on your hot water system, and more cost.
Reduced Demand on Hot Water System
However, now modestly priced stainless steel control valves are available that use a temperature sensor and may be installed at the endpoints of domestic hot water systems. This inline fitting thermostatically controls a temperature set point typically in the 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit range, or at any specified temperature. The thermostatic signal subsequently controls hot water flow through the hot water system’s branches, which controls temperature to the individual endpoints: showers and other fixtures in the hotel or lodgings facility. Instead of using flow to control the availability of hot water on demand, it uses temperature and consequently requires much less work and demand by the hot water system.
What does this mean for hospitality owners and operators? It provides greater efficiency, lower total costs, and a solution that promotes LEED projects and a “greener” building configuration.
A self-operating thermostatic valve controls flow in response to the temperature of the water flowing through the valve. This was developed specifically for domestic hot water applications. The underlying challenge for hotels and large facilities such as condominiums, apartment buildings, stadiums, hospitals and universities is that patrons want to turn on the hot water and would like it to be hot in some reasonably expected time frame, without a guest waiting a long time when they turn on a faucet for hot water.
CircuitSolver® was recently featured in Contractor Magazine, the online resource for mechanical contracting.
THE CIRCUITSOLVER® VALVE for domestic hot water systems is easy to install and maintain. It responds to changing water temperature and automatically changes flow to keep temperatures evenly distributed. It is constructed of all stainless steel.
The company extensively researched the problem of hot water not being rapidly delivered to all parts of a building and utilized its self-actuating temperature control valve technology to solve it. The result is simple, an elegant piece of equipment that is easy to install and maintain, saving time, money, and energy.
“We are thrilled to announce CircuitSolver after hearing what trouble it can be to get hot water instantly to all parts of many buildings,” said James Logue Jr., President and CEO of ThermOmegaTech. “We have been developing valves to control the temperature and flow of water in many settings over the past 27 years. When we recognized this problem in the plumbing industry, we knew that we could develop a simple valve that would change the way engineers solved domestic hot water system problems. It is no longer necessary to install manual balancing valves and spend lots of time and money installing and maintaining them. Instead, CircuitSolver responds to changing water temperature and automatically changes flow to keep domestic hot water temperatures evenly distributed.”
Water flows to the path of least resistance and many buildings require multiple branches off the hot water supply line. Since hot water use is dynamic, the path of least resistance is constantly changing and manual balancing valves cannot properly resolve these issues. CircuitSolver fixes this problem when installed at the end of each supply branch.
Additionally, it eliminates the need for oversized recirculating pumps, minimizes heat loss by reducing fluctuations in average temperature and flow rate, and lowers flow in hot water return lines minimizing erosion-corrosion problems caused by excessive velocity.
The result is a dramatic reduction in water waste, energy savings, and greatly improves comfort and satisfaction from all users of the domestic hot water system.
When entering water temperature is below CircuitSolver’s set point, the thermal actuator will begin to open the valve to establish a flow rate that will achieve set point. If the water temperature exceeds the set point, the valve will begin to throttle back to find the current equilibrium point.
Continuously operating at the optimum temperature minimizes system heat-loss thereby saving energy. This constant, automatic response to water temperature enables each hot water branch to quickly and consistently deliver the right temperature of hot water to each connected fixture. The valve, which is constructed of all stainless steel, complies with California AB1953, and meets NSF-61 standards.
“After we installed CircuitSolver, we saw nearly 50% reduction in the time it took for the enhanced hot water delivery to reach the plumbing fixtures,” stated Bob Albanese, Construction Manager representing the Austonian in Texas. “It was simple to install and looks like it will be even easier to maintain. Our residents are quite pleased with the enhancements we’ve made to our system.”
CircuitSolver is currently available for sale. More information is available at www.CircuitSolver.com. Appointments with engineers from ThermOmegaTech can also be made through the website to determine if CircuitSolver is the right solution for any hot water distribution challenge.
About ThermOmegaTech, Inc. Founded in 1983, ThermOmegaTech is the global leader in the design and manufacturing of the most advanced, reliable, and compact self-actuated valves for temperature control. The company holds over 25 patents for the design and manufacturing of valves for freeze control, scald protection, and tepid water mixing in the rail, manufacturing, processing, healthcare, hospitality, and building industries, to name a few. All ThermOmegaTech products are made in the United States of America.
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