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Heating upgrades may yield additional perks.

Heating upgrades may yield additional perks

Building owners and managers have been installing computerized heat monitoring devices at an increasing pace to lower fuel consumption. What many of them are realizing, however, is that these devices are also able to monitor water usage, gas consumption and alert them of other system malfunctions. And with the first wave of New York City's water metering plan underway, these devices can prove crucial to maintaining a building.

For example, when the owner of a 100 family rental building in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, upgraded his burner/boiler system by installing a computerized heat monitoring device, he knew he would cut down on fuel wastage, but he wasn't aware it would save him hundreds of dollars in water bills as well.

Andrew Levine, Esq., building owner and president of Realty Information Systems, of New York, installed an indoor, computerized heating device last year to make his building more fuel efficient. The Fuel Monitor 2000, manufactured by U.S. Energy Controls, was equipped with eight indoor temperature sensors, one outdoor sensor, one control, an on-site printer that records a daily three-day summary of the heating system, and had remote access capability.

But Mr. Levine still had much to be concerned about. Soon after installing the machine, a routine print-out of the boiler's fuel meter, running time of the burner, stack temperature reading and vacuum/pressure readings signaled to Mr. Levine that the burner had been running too long and letting too much water escape. The superintendent was not aware of this occurrence because the water loss was spilling out underground and nobody could see it. Prompted by the owner, the super went looking for a leak and found out water was escaping through a hole in the return line underground, which otherwise would not have been detected until Mr. Levine received a very costly water bill and fuel bill. One year later, he had a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption and regularly received hard copy print-outs of all his boiler functions.

Fuel efficiency is crucial to maintaining a building these days and without a device that will signal malfunctions in a boiler or other building systems an owner or manager will waste a considerable amount of money. Because fuel usage in a building is dependent upon many factors, the most obvious being the number of tenants in a building, and the least obvious being adequate window or roofing insulation, high quality fuel monitors should be able to detect things like drafty windows, dirty tubes or water leaks, for example.

An effective heat monitoring product should also warn you about low water cut-off, flame failure, system melt-down, too much gas/oil consumption, condensate return line leaks, or inadequate pressure time on a regular basis. By monitoring fuel consumption and recording heat and hot water systems, an owner will find it easy to satisfy his or her energy management plans, meet government regulations, and fulfill resident's needs.

What happened to Mr. Levine is a common occurrence. Many buildings that still regulate their heating systems based on outdoor temperature sensors, for example, have no way of monitoring water consumption, gas consumption, boiler/radiator problems etc. like a computerized, indoor fuel monitoring device. Outdoor temperature sensors also have a tendency to burn fuel for a predetermined length of time regardless of whether a building actually needs heat, wasting excessive amounts of fuel. On the contrary, indoor temperature sensors regulate heating systems based on the average indoor temperature of an apartment, leaving virtually no chance of overheating. Even without the fuel savings, these devices are worth it for the maintenance of other systems alone.

Hiring the most appropriate manufacturer of these products will also speed your endeavors towards having more efficient buildings. After a computerized fuel monitor is installed, it is essential for building staff as well as the manufacturer of the heating device to analyze the print-outs and regular reports. A professional company will continually monitor the buildings to ensure energy savings even after the first year of installation.

Gerald Pindus President U.S. Energy Controls, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Renovation & Rehabilitation Supplement
Author:Pindus, Gerald
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 24, 1991
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