Question: I oversee the HVAC depts. for several Boston regional school districts in which all the buildings are standardized with Taco 1600 series for the distribution loops. At one facility less than five years old, several of them have small leaks. Is it worth changing them over to the Grundfos smart pumps?  

 Answer: The short answer is a big YES…. for ALL of them. This sounds like a bold statement, but once you are educated on E-Solutions modern pumping, you will quickly realize what savings that your school district has been missing out on. Go grab a coffee, take a seat in a comfortable chair and let me explain exactly why.

It’s all about the lifecycle cost of energy and maintenance.

 MASSIVE ENERGY REDUCTION OPPORTUNITIES

Let’s start with the energy consumption for your green 1600 series circulators. Their first strike is that that they are ONLY available with 1950’s style highly-inefficient asynchronous motors. ECM’s are the only way to go in circulators these days.  

If data loggers were attached today to one of your current pumps and installed a Grundfos Magna 3 as its redundant lead-lag, you would quickly notice that the Grundfos Magna 3 (ECM with proprietary AutoAdapt self-optimizing logic controls) just sips electricity while your green circulator guzzles it like a drunken frat boy on a Saturday night.

You don’t have to take my word on it. There are hundreds of third-party data results from similar case studies (Many more in Europe) just like the one below that clearly exemplifies the Grundfos E-Solutions energy saving results.  

As an example, shown below for a large VA hospital campus that I work with, they monitored current and E-Solution circulators to compare energy consumption for pre and post metering data information.

For full disclosure transparency, the study was conducted by a VA Hospital HVAC staff and Efficiency Vermont of Burlington, VT in partnership with Urell Inc. providing technical support and training.  

Yes, you are reading the data results properly. This hospital successfully reduced their heating pump energy consumption by over 90% just by changing out the pumps. This is only the beginning of the savings to be gained!           

MAINTENANCE EXPENSES VANISH

Unfortunately for the building owners, they have always been forced to buy expensive replacement parts to keep them safe. The brand does not make much difference, the are all much the same with all having no integrated logic and outsourced generic motors. For those who just need a quick “Circulator 101” crash course, a “three-piece circulator” has three of the main components: 

  • The volute (wet side)
  • Bearing Assembly ( located between volute and motor)
  • Motor.

These three piece circulators are comprised of MANY other costly replacement parts to buy that over the years surpasses than the pumps initial acquisition cost many times over totally under the radar .   

The other manufactures have you as their own captive audience and just love to sell these parts to you though distribution at full list price. Think about this unfair business model –  it pays them to keep their designs in the dark ages.  (Now they are being forced to change due to the advanced European technology that has gained large pockets of regional market share such as in New England due to the high commitment level from Urell to the trades.) 

In just about every commercial mechanical room I have been in, there are thousands of dollars in un-used outdated pump parts in dusty boxes being inventoried in facility shops. Now you have a more intelligent choice with Grundfos E-Solutions.

TYPICAL THREE-PIECE CIRCULATOR.

One of the main design faults with these are they have mechanical seals that leak for multiple reasons that are discussed in another section.Your coffee will be stone cold if I took the time to list all the reasons in this article.

Here in our freezing cold New England states, we see facilities staff that maintain and repair these pumps performing motor, seal, bearing,etc. replacements on an average of every 18 months per unit with parts/labor bills to the unsuspecting building owner averaging roughly $500 a service call.  

Let’s do the math. With the industry average circulator life cycle span of 20 years (240 months), three piece pumps will have to be repaired an industry average of 10-13 times in its lifetime costing the building owners between $5000-$6500 in repair bills. On top of that, their electrical consumption is ten times what a Grundfos E-Solutions will consume.  

MAGNA 3 EXPLODED VIEW 

In comparison, the Grundfos Magna is wet-rotor design (no mechanical seals or parts to replace) is a proven maintenance free design that has been standard in Europe for over 40 years. You install and let it do its job without ever needing to touch it. That’s it. Your maintenance staff can do more important tasks now.

Some of its best design features are:

  • No noise – Less than 41dB
  • No mechanical seals – No seal leaks or seal failures
  • No bearing housing – No bearing failures
  • No oil – No maintenance requirements
  • No accessible electrical components – No risk of touching “hot” windings.

 

 

(The technical benefits of advanced logic controls, BMS integration and control option settings are listed elsewhere within this website)

There is a fully detailed competitive cross reference list in the Magna Q&A section that I personally use for crossing over competitive circulators. I also have had great success in upgrading up to 2 HP base mounted pumps like the most common B&G 1510 series that are EVERYWHERE to the largest Magna 3 65-150 model. I have seen the Kw reductions from 1492 Kw to 187 kw as a result.        

If you need help or can’t read the ID tags to cross over, contact your local Grundfos wholesaler will be able to assist you.