Too much money and fuel are wasted every year because of the difficulty in choosing the right capacity boiler. When a residential or commercial boiler is specified, it must be sized to provide enough heat to overcome the coldest anticipated outdoor temperatures. However, because these extreme temperatures occur very rarely, the boiler chosen is usually forced to produce more heat than is needed.
As a result, the thermostat has to cycle the boiler on and off many times an hour to keep the home or facility comfortable and to prevent the boiler from overheating. This constant cycling is very inefficient, and it wastes a lot of fuel and money. What the industry needed was a practical way to reduce cycling and fuel consumption, and now that technology has arrived.
Intelligent boiler control
That breakthrough technology is the Beckett HeatManager, a patented microprocessor-based control for residential and light-commercial hydronic heating systems. It saves on fuel consumption because it is designed to accurately match the heat output of the boiler to the system's actual heat load. The heat load (also called heat loss) is the rate at which the home or facility loses heat to the outside environment. In order to maintain comfort, a boiler must replenish this heat at the same rate at which it is being lost. This is what the HeatManager does, allowing the boiler to provide just the right amount of heat in a more fuel-efficient manner.
By adding computer intelligence to the boiler, the HeatManager thus reduces heating fuel usage by 10 percent to 20 percent, while also reducing wear and tear on boilers by eliminating excessive on/off cycling.
Here's how it works: The HeatManager uses a single, easily installed strap-on temperature sensor attached to the boiler supply (out-flow) pipe to measure the boiler water temperature. Each time the boiler shuts off, either due to high-limit or end-of-heat call, the sensor measures the rate that the boiler water temperature is declining, which is a direct representation of the heat load. For instance, a fast temperature drop of the boiler water corresponds to a heavy heat load and a slow temperature drop corresponds to a light heat load.
At the next call for heat, the HeatManager determines if there is enough residual heat left in the boiler from the previous heating cycle to keep up with the measured heat load. If the HeatManager detects excess heat, it will delay burner firing and allow the preheated water in the boiler to circulate. Only when the boiler water temperature is no longer sufficient to sustain the heat load will the HeatManager allow the burner to fire.
The HeatManager line is flexible and it works with most new or existing residential or light-commercial boilers – oil, gas or propane. It's available in four models to accommodate a wide range of hydronic heating applications. HeatManager Model 7512 is for residential boilers up to 300,000 btu. HeatManager 2.5 is for light commercial boilers up to 2.5 million btu, and the choices include Model 7514 for hot water boilers, Model 7515 for steam boilers less than 25 psi and Model 7516 for steam boilers 25 to 145 psi.
Installation and service
The HeatManager is also designed to make installation and service easy and fast to help maintain the profitability of your service department. It is typically installed by a heating professional in only 15 to 45 minutes with no programming or follow-up visits needed, and there is nothing for the homeowner or business owner to do. To facilitate service, the HeatManager shows operating modes and diagnostics. Unit dimensions are 4" x 4" x 2-1/2".
The following schematic (Figure 3) shows the connections that apply to all HeatManager installations and help you understand the ease of installation. The unit is installed electrically in series between the boiler control and the burner, downstream of any limit relays. To do this, it is necessary to break the connection between the boiler control and the burner.
The yellow and red wires from the HeatManager are used for interrupting this connection and are the most critical connections when installing. They are wired as follows: The yellow wire from the HeatManager connects to the burner control terminal (B1) on the aquastat or limit relay. The red wire from the HeatManager connects to the hot lead on the burner.
Other connections depend on the power and control voltage of the specific installation. Additional schematics and other information on the HeatManager are available on the Beckett training module, which can be accessed as follows: go to www.beckettcorp.com; enter login "Prof," password "Info" and click Go; select Online Training; select HeatManager.
There is no charge for viewing the training module. Technicians can also take a test (for which there is a charge) to earn credits toward NORA and NATE certification.
A professional speaks
David Cohen is executive vice president/general manager at Standard Oil, Bridgeport, Conn. The company, founded in 1913 as a coal dealer, became an oil-heating company after World War II and is currently the largest independent oil company in Connecticut.
"During these times of high oil prices, customers are eager to save on energy costs," said Cohen. "We have found the HeatManager to be a unique and effective way to acquire and retain customers."
They have seen dramatic changes in k-factors at test sites, with savings as high as 15 percent to 20 percent during spring and fall when the oversizing of the boiler is most apparent. The company has been advertising the HeatManager via direct mail and television, and the response has been very favorable.
The HeatManager can be a powerful cost-cutting tool for both homeowners and businesses, especially in times of rising fuel costs. It reduces heating fuel usage 10 percent to 20 percent in residential and light-commercial applications and saves wear and tear on equipment. It is flexible enough to work with most new or existing boilers, fueled by oil, gas or propane. Installation is fast and easy, and the HeatManager is backed by a 5-year warranty. Use of the HeatManager is an excellent way to build customer satisfaction and loyalty.