Category Archives: Industry Applications

Explaining NSF 61 and NSF 372 for Plumbing Systems

The “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act” was enacted on January 4, 2011 and signed by President Obama. The purpose of this Act was to amend Section 1417 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA” or “the Act”). The Act established a prospective effective date of January 4, 2014, which provided a three-year time frame for affected parties to transition to the new requirements.

Since 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act has prohibited the use of certain items that are not lead free and since 1996 the Act has made it unlawful for anyone to introduce into commerce items that are not lead free. The primary purpose of the 2011 change was to lower the maximum lead content of the wetted surfaces of plumbing products such as pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures from 8.0% to a weighted average of 0.25%. The Act also established a statutory method for the calculation of lead content (now known as Annex G). Finally, to eliminate the requirement that lead free products be in compliance with voluntary standards established in accordance with SDWA 1417(e) for leaching of lead from new plumbing fittings and fixtures. Since the voluntary standard was eliminated, this made it clear to the industry that the lead content requirements would now be mandated, which would require “Third-Party Certification” by a “Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory”.

The STANDARD

Since the Act required a standard be set to determine compliance, NSF 61 was developed to provide a standard for the approval of such products to facilitate compliance. As NSF 61 has been modified over the years, a number of additional clarifications of compliant materials and methods were created. These materials and methods are known as Annex G. At about the same time that Annex G was evolving, California passed a separate State Law known as AB 1953 which required both NSF 61 compliance, as well as a quality standard and revised the lead content down to “lead-free” as defined by the standard. Once the California Law was in place, and with the imminent mandate of January 2014 on the horizon, a trickle-down effect started to occur and consultants, contractors and manufacturers either began the certification process or were well under way. The new method for determining this “lead free” (a weighted average of .025%) mandate has become known as NSF 372.

The METHOD

NSF 372 is NOT a standard. It is a method of measurement used to comply with the standard. Therefore, anything that has a full NSF 61 Certification has been certified to NSF 61 via the methods and values defined in NSF 372. Since NSF 372 actually mirrors the California AB1953 Law, it will eventually replace the language. This means that to have a certification by a third-party laboratory which says that your product is in compliance with CA AB1953, you have already complied with the same standards as defined by NSF 372, so the certification is semantics.

Misrepresenting the STANDARD

SDWA Section 1417 was revised to put teeth into the Act from a legal standpoint by:

• Lowering the maximum lead content of the wetted surface of plumbing products such as pipes, fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures from 8.0% weighted average (1986) to 0.25%.
• Establish a statutory method for the calculation of lead content. (which became NSF 372)
• Eliminate the requirement that lead free products be in compliance with voluntary standards established in accordance with SDWA(e) for leaching of lead from new plumbing fittings and fixtures.

You will notice that the Act which went into effect January 4, 2014 now makes it UNLAWFUL for non-compliance! Since this is a FEDERAL mandate, it is automatically enforced without the need for adoption by any local jurisdiction. This is why it became mandatory that all products be in compliance with NSF 61 in January of 2014. This is also backed by the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and International Plumbing Code (IPC) which recognize and enforce the NSF 61 Standard in their associated codes. Both the IPC and UPC DO NOT recognize NSF 372 as a standard since it is part of the procedure to facilitate certification to NSF 61. You will also note that the SDWA Section 1417 recognizes all plumbing devices, including pipes, fittings and all components within the plumbing system from “source to tap”. In the case of a commercial building, the law is applied to anything in the plumbing system from the water meter to the last fixture in the building.

Boosters are now considered one of these plumbing devices which are pre-fabricated and therefore must be compliant as a complete system. The only way to guarantee that standards are met was to certify the “system” rather than the sum of all parts. This means that the system is now part of a certification program which requires the manufacturer to document the materials of construction and have the “system” tested as a complete device within the plumbing system. Simply using NSF Certified valves, pumps, fittings, tubing, etc. is not sufficient because the system has not passed the NSF 61 Standard in accordance with NSF 372 requirements.

As the deadline has approached and passed, some manufacturers did not begin compliance testing on their products and are now trying to scramble to get testing. Unfortunately, there are now Federal Statutes being violated as these manufacturers have not taken the statue seriously or they feel that enforcement would be lax. The booster system MUST be certified as a complete system with all passageway components assessed and certified to the NSF 61 standard. This is the certification that QuantumFlo holds on all of our products and it is the ONLY reason that label can be affixed to the controller (signifying that the “system” and not the “component” are certified). Additional components within our system will sometimes have additional NSF Labels themselves, but these components are highly regulated by our certification and any change in these components must be documented and re-certified with the laboratory, particularly if their chemical makeup changes. These components include:

1. Coatings
2. Pipes
3. Valves
4. Gaskets
5. Headers
6. Fittings

The SCAM

ENGINEERS, CONTRACTORS and OWNERS, BEWARE! There are manufacturers out there who continue to try to game the system, but their irresponsibility can easily become YOUR LOSS! Here is an excerpt from the EPA in a summary statement made about the SDWA Section 1417.

Since 1986, the Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA” or “the Act”) has prohibited the use of certain items that are not lead free and since 1996 the Act has made it unlawful for anyone to introduce into commerce items that are not lead free.

ANY MANUFACTURER WHO IS MISLEADING THEIR CUSTOMERS INTO BELIEVING THAT THEIR SYSTEM IS CERTIFIED TO THE STANDARD IS VIOLATING FEDERAL LAW AS OF JANUARY 4, 2014! There is no nice way to say this! Unfortunately, this irresponsible behavior has become commonplace within the industry as there have been many manufacturers who have put off certification believing the enforcement would be low.

I spoke with our third party lab regarding the testing of components and systems and this is what they said:

Manufacturers can request the testing and certification of either a component or system. If a client chooses to only certify a component, then only the component can be labeled and advertised as certified.

To clarify, standard NSF/ANSI 61 addresses several different types of potential contaminants, but not specifically lead content. Low lead requirements are defined separately in three different requirements:

• Federal lead law: “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act” – Effective January 4, 2014
• California lead law: “The California health & Safety Code 116875”
• NSF/ANSI 372: Standard, not a law, providing test methods.
It is important to note that having compliance to NSF/ANSI 372 does not substitute certification to either the Federal or CA State lead laws.

If a manufacturer has a SYSTEM certification, this will be obvious to the user if they look at the certification document provided by the test laboratory. The QuantumFlo Certification is, without question, perfectly clear. Here is an excerpt from that portion:

quantum flo quantum flo 1

If the certification does NOT show the complete series of product, BE CAREFUL! The manufacturer may have ONLY certified a component and NOT the system. This does NOT make them compliant as a system! As mentioned previously, there are many different components within the system in addition to many different laboratory and chemical tests required by NSF 61 which make up the compliance to the standard. Any product that represents their system as compliant and has not completed system testing is in violation of Federal law.

SUMMARY

When it comes to “booster systems” the law is very clear. Since the SDWA references ANY device within the potable water system, the booster is, by this measure within the potable water system. Here is an excerpt from the EPA, Summary of Lead in Drinking Water Act and Frequently Asked Questions;

EPA interprets “potable services” to be services or applications that provide water suitable for human ingestion (e.g. drinking, teeth brushing, food preparation, dishwashing, maintaining oral hygiene).

There is only one solution for a device which was installed in the potable water system that cannot pass compliance; replacement of the entire device. Any item that is/was installed after the January 4, 2014 deadline that does not meet the definition and is not certified accordingly must be removed from the system. In many cases, the manufacturer is not the loser, the OWNER, ENGINEER and CONTRACTOR are. I am certain that this will likely create many new lawsuits that will be fought between these parties as to who is responsible for the violation and subsequently, who will pay for the labor and product cost to completely replace new equipment that does not meet the standard.

The EPA further defines the term “introduction into commerce,” which is the term used in SDWA Section 1417(a)(3).

In 1998, after Section 1417 was amended to prohibit the introduction into commerce of any pipes, pipe or plumbing fittings or fixtures, EPA issued guidance on the enforcement and implementation of Section 1417. In the guidance, EPA explained that it “interprets ‘introduce into commerce’ as used in Section 1417 of SDWA to cover not only the initial offering of products for sale but also the sale or distribution from an inventory of products.” (WSG #129, Sept. 24, 1998, at 2).

At the end of the day, certification to the standard is about proof. If the manufacturer has not passed product testing in accordance with the procedures set forth in the SDWA and NSF 372, they are NOT APPROVED and are excluded from providing ANY product for potable water service. The danger to all participants is substantial as the engineer specifies and accepts the product, the contractor installs the noncompliant equipment, and the manufacturer and his representative participate in the ruse by misrepresenting the product to all parties. You can verify product compliance for QuantumFlo products by navigating to the following link, selecting Search by Listee and typing in our name:

http://pld.iapmo.org/default.asp

 

Breaking the Hydro-pneumatic Habit for Boosters

QFUFor some strange reason that is beyond my comprehension, some designers and consultants seem to have an affinity for hydro-pneumatic tanks.  When I ask for a reason, it is always the same; I need a hydro tank for shutdown of my booster system.  Since this is the first of a series of re-education topics on the application of 21st Century pumping technologies for 21st Century Problems, I thought I would open the series with this very provocative subject that will not go quietly into the night.

Don’t get me wrong!  I do not have an axe to grind against these devices.  In many cases, tanks are a necessary component for the proper installation of piping systems for Plumbing, HVAC and other applications.  I just have a problem with them being used for “shut-down” on a booster system.  The fact of the matter is these tanks DO NOT enhance shutdown on modern variable speed boosters.  In fact, they do NOTHING, and that is the point of this article.  There WAS a time, however, that these were necessary components in constant-speed booster systems simply due to the fact that constant speed systems are not very energy-effective, so the tank was an “enhancement” to shut-down, but NOT required, per se.  Let’s look at the purpose of the tanks, which will help us understand why they seem to persist even in modern-day designs.

THE HISTORY

Constant speed booster systems waste energy!  This is a fact that all manufacturers have understood from day one.  A typical booster system is churning away in the basement of a building for the convenience of the user at the other end of a fixture, at any given time.  Boosters have (essentially) a simple job; they “charge” the riser with pressurized water so that when a fixture is opened on an upper floor, the water is available immediately for the user.  Since these times of usage can be sporadic, there is simply no way to know when a user is going to decide that “Mother Nature” is calling, so the riser must be charged and ready.  This reality has its inherent “inefficiencies” since many times throughout the day, the pump must either re-start to replenish any lost water in the riser or continue to run as the water is disbursed to the fixture throughout the day.  Sometimes these “occasional” loads can last throughout the day, so manufacturers began to realize that this run-time was costing money.  About this time, the hydro-pneumatic tank was developed and packagers began to use the tanks as a way of “storing” this pumped energy so that the pump could be turned off during these low load conditions.   This technique worked rather effectively until the advent of variable speed pressure control.

THE APPLICATION

Hydro-pneumatic tanks or bladder tanks work effectively if any of (2) conditions exist.

  1. There is a high differential pressure at the inlet of the tank (i.e. Cut in and Cut out)
  2. There is a relatively low pre-charge pressure when the cycle begins

The problem is that as these booster systems become more and more accurate in maintaining constant pressure, the first of these conditions above becomes harder and harder to meet.  Without a differential pressure at the tank inlet, there can be NO water storage!  The advent of variable speed pressure control meant (2) things to the industry.

  1. Differential pressure is (essentially) eliminated in the plumbing system making tanks useless.
  2. Energy reduction due to constant pressure maintenance created a far greater option for energy savings by regulating pump speed.

What many consultants, who still insist on these tanks forget, is that the hydro-pneumatic tank requires a pre-charge EQUAL to the cut-in of the water pressure before a single drop of water is stored!  This allows the tank to use the physics of Boyles Law to store energy in the tank as the pressure is raised proportionately to the fill pressure.  This means that whatever you pre-charge your tank to, the final pre-charge will be equal to the cut-out pressure of the pump when it stops filling the tank.  In order to make the tank work effectively and completely empty, however, you must start with a pre-charge equal to the start pressure (call value) of the pump!  By getting the pre-charge right, you avoid the possibility of a “dead-leg” due to water never exiting the tank before the pump turns back on again.  This does not provide much room for storage as the storage volume is based on the cut-in pressure, the cut-out pressure and the total volume of the tank.  As a rule of thumb, I suggest that a properly-sized hydro-pneumatic tank will store about 10% of its total volume when applied to a constant speed booster with (at least) a 10 PSI differential.  Unfortunately, this is not the case of a variable speed booster!

THE REALITY

Since the primary goal of a variable speed booster system is to maintain a constant pressure by varying pump speed, VFD systems do not inherently possess a differential pressure on the control-side (discharge) of the system!  The whole concept of variable speed boosting is to adjust the speed to maintain pressure, not to store the overage!  The very nature of variable speed pressure boosting does not even consider the application of a hydro-pneumatic tank for pressure storage!  By changing the speed of the pump, the cost savings far outweighs any meager amount of storage that a tank could store in a constant speed application, making variable speed systems cost effective while they are running, not during short shutdown periods.  Furthermore, the cost savings far outweigh the cost of running a constant speed pump at a higher voltage and amperage for longer periods of time just to store about 10% tank volume.  With this small amount of storage; the shutdown time is very short.

Unfortunately, we still see these tanks on current variable speed designs today.  Unfortunately the use of these tanks for current-day VFD applications is misleading as these tanks are NOT designed for any storage whatsoever, they are designed to accommodate the application of (less than state of the art) old PID controllers.  Since these tanks still exist on VFD applications, the assumption is that they are performing the same service as they were on constant speed systems, but that could not be further from the truth.  VFD systems that utilized hydro-pneumatic tanks are using them for a completely different purpose, to sense low flow!

THE WATER BALLOON THEORY

There still appears to be a contingent in the industry that insists that the laws of physics no longer apply to the world and that hydro-pneumatic tanks can be used and are (in fact) necessary on variable speed booster systems which have no differential pressure.  Perhaps the problem here is NOT the “physics” but rather, a dirty little secret that some don’t care to discuss.  Some manufacturers still use these tanks because of an inherent flaw in the design of their drives PID; the inability of the drive to sense when there is a no-flow condition.    PID (proportional, integral, derivative) control is the algorithm inside the drive itself that many call the “anti-hunting” software.  This algorithm takes values from a variety of electronic sensors built into the drive to determine either how fast or slow to run or even to run at all.  Over the years, these devices have become smarter and smarter and (some manufacturers) have even been able to determine when there is no longer flow across the pump, much like the QuantumFlo iQFlo™ program has done in “award-winning” fashion!  Unfortunately, some of these technologies have not changed in 10-15 years such as the integral motor-drives which some manufacturers still produce.  The PID in these devices is old and slow and (in many cases) it cannot tell when there is a no-flow condition.  This is a problem as the drive needs to shut off during these conditions or the pump will begin heating the water due to pump churn which is also wasteful from an energy perspective.  The simple fix for this problem is a small diaphragm-type, hydro-pneumatic tank which acts like a water balloon.

We all remember having water-balloon fights as kids, particularly in the hot summer months.  How does a water balloon have anything to do with badly tuned PID?  As previously mentioned, these older PID algorithms simply don’t know when the pump is churning as the pressure control gets more and more accurate.  Remember that PID works on differential and if that differential is very tight, it can “fool” the PID into thinking that the pump is still under a demand when it is actually just churning water in the casing.  That’s where the tank comes in.  Since the PID cannot tell that there is flow anymore, the booster senses that the system pressure is met and (after a timed delay) it begins “testing” for no flow by raising the speed of the pump slightly, creating a higher pressure in the discharge of the booster.  Think of this higher pressure as entering the hydro-pneumatic tank in the same way that you fill a water balloon from the water spigot.  When you clamp your fingers over the top of the balloon, the water will not flow, but as you release your finger just prior to tying it closed and plopping it over someone’s head, the water leaks out due to the elasticity of the rubber compressing the water out of the balloon.   By speeding the pump up momentarily, some of the water that is typically not moving in the casing now has an “escape” to the small tank.  Its diaphragm acts like the water balloon, trying to push the water back out, but if there is no more flow in the system, the water has nowhere to go, so the net effect is that the pressure in the header rises slightly due to the pressure imparted by the tank with an equal and opposing force as when it entered.  (Boyles Law at work once again)  If the pressure stays high, the tank proves that there is no flow, if the water escapes (like releasing your fingers from the water balloon) the system pressure does not rise and resets beginning the timeout again, since flow still exists.

THE SOLUTION

Now that we understand that hydro-pneumatic tanks are ineffective on variable speed systems, except for those systems that have ineffective PID, let’s look at the solution which QuantumFlo provides.  NO QuantumFlo booster system requires a tank either for storage of water at no flow conditions (which cannot happen on VFD systems due to the lack of differential pressure) or for the lack of PID technology since iQFlo’s award-winning algorithm can sense very low flows that most flow switch or paddle-wheel flow sensors cannot.  We guarantee that the hydro-pneumatic tank is not required for our systems to work properly and we have over 1,100 systems in the field running without the need of these tanks to prove our point.  The key to high energy savings is to design systems that utilize state-of-the-art technologies to react immediately to the demands and drops in system flow.  This is the essence of a great pressure booster system; it only runs when it is NEEDED!  Unfortunately, for the tank in these applications, the current tide is working against their viability and pressing their extinction from the plumbing, water-storage venue.

THE COMING CODE CHANGES

ASHRAE 90.1 is an energy standard for mid to high-rise structures sponsored by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers), ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) which specifies those energy conservation technologies and applications which must be implemented by October 2013 for the entire country.  A small but otherwise ignored section of Section 10.4.2 requires that all booster systems must NOT create or cause a change in pressure anywhere throughout the building, but rather these potential pressure changes must be recovered in the form of speed reduction.  Since the standards will no longer allow pressure changes to occur, the use of hydro-pneumatic tanks for plumbing-side applications is coming to an end.  Without differential pressure, these tanks do not store any water, so the only application that these tanks will be useful for would be for those systems with inefficient PID which use the “water balloon” method of sensing no flow.  Consultants need to be aware of the sales techniques used to justify the use of these unnecessary devices in the plumbing system, and knowledge is the key.  Hopefully, by understanding the nuances of these tanks and their applications, the consultant can make a more informed decision as to the necessity of these devices and provide the client with the best possible system without the waste associated with components required simply to “make the product work”.  QuantumFlo believes that this information is paramount as the industry moves forward toward 21st Century Energy-Engineering and this newsletter will assist in this education.

Eco-Friendly Pump Systems Manufacturer to Make Waves at National HVAC Show

Pre-Packaged Pump Manufacturer QuantumFlo to Attend ASHRAE 2012 in Chicago

(DeBary, Florida) — Quantum Flo, the world’s leading manufacturer of pre-packaged pump systems for commercial and industrial plumbing applications, will be attending the ASHRAE 2012 Winter Conference in Chicago to showcase its eco-friendly line of pre-packaged pump systems, widely used in commercial and industrial HVAC&R applications.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) holds this yearly industry event to bring vendors, manufacturers and technology developers into a location where they can exhibit, educate and deliver technical presentations to thousands of attendees.

This industry event is of great importance to QuantumFlo since this Central Florida manufacturer produces a pre-packaged pumping system designed specifically for HVAC applications that boast increased efficiency and eco-friendly features.

Furthermore, QuantumFlo’s HVAC pumps feature EATON Corporation-brand electrical components to include circuit breakers, disconnects, power supply, terminals, programmable logic controller and HMI (human machine interface)—all thanks to its strategic partnership with EATON Corporation, a global developer of diversified power management solutions exhibiting at ASHRAE 2012.

QuantumFlo President, David Carrier, will be present at the EATON Corporation exhibit on Booth #4768 to interact with attendees and potential customers seeking expert opinion about pre-packaged pump systems and solutions offered to this industry.

“This is a great opportunity to meet current and potential customers who are interested in innovative products”, says Mr. Carrier. “Our pump systems are designed to outlast the plumbing or HVAC systems they support, giving customers peace of mind.”

Based on its reputation in the HVAC&R industry, QuantumFlo has been granted the opportunity to present its products and solutions at the EATON Corporation booth to a captive audience of engineers, developers and system integrators who seek to learn the latest and greatest HVAC&R applications and technology.

As a leader in the industry, QuantumFlo is also one of several organizations in the U.S. qualified as an “EATON Corporation Panel Builder”, which allows them to build control panels under the EATON Corporation brand as a UL508A Industrial Controls Manufacturer.

About QuantumFlo

Quantum Flo is a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of advanced packaged pump systems for commercial plumbing, HVAC, municipal, irrigation and industrial market applications. Our innovative pump technology includes aftermarket applications for the modification, upgrade and retrofit of aging or obsolete pumps systems. Based in Central Florida, Quantum Flo’s pre-packaged pump systems are exported to more than 25 countries.

To learn more about Quantum Flo, its products and solutions, please visit http://www.quantumflo.com or read our latest news at blog.quantumflo.com.

 

Media Contacts:

David Carrier
Chief Executive Officer
QuantumFlo, Inc.
Email: dave@quantumflo.com
Phone: 386.753.9702

Partnered with EATON Corporation for ASHRAE 2012, QuantumFlo is Showcasing their HVAC Pump Systems.

Packaged Pump Systems Manufacturer Achieves Prestigious Plumbing Standards Accreditation

QuantumFlo NSF 61 Low Lead CertificationFlorida-Based QuantumFlo is Awarded NSF 61 and Low Lead Certification by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials  

(DeBary, Florida) — QuantumFlo, the world’s leading manufacturer of pre-packaged pump systems for commercial and industrial plumbing applications, has been awarded the prestigious NSF 61/ANSI Standard 61 and Low Lead Compliance certification by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) for its ability to control the manufacturing quality of portable water system components.

The National Sanitation Foundation’s Standard 61 certification is a coveted accreditation by U.S. manufacturers of plumbing devices that process water for human consumption, which tests and evaluates its ability to shield them from contaminants that can lead to human health issues, in accordance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

NSF 61 is an arduous certification process that evaluates all materials used on the manufacturing, the processes involved, validation from suppliers and vendors, and a thorough inspection of the manufacturer’s facilities that includes a toxicology evaluation—all designed to ensure that the products manufactures follow the highest quality and performance in the industry.

In addition to NSF 61, QuantumFlo has also been accredited with Low Lead Certification as required by Federal Legislation S.3874—a mandatory requirement that closely mirrors guidelines adopted by California in 2006 which asks manufacturers to reduce the weighted average amount of lead content that is acceptable in plumbing products carrying drinking water to a maximum of 0.25 percent.

As a manufacturer of pre-packaged pump systems and related equipment, QuantumFlo’s certification enhances its already widely-recognized leadership, providing end users with expert validation regarding the sanitary protection level of its products.

IAPMO is an independent, nationally recognized ANSI-certified third party testing organization recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada—two of North America’s premier government agencies tasked with the protection of the environment and human health.

Recent health scares about pandemics and disease outbreaks have made news because of the threat they pose to public health and NSF 61 certifies that the engineering and workmanship of QuantumFlo products is up to the challenge—reassuring its customers that they are dealing with a manufacturer who is proactive about mitigating potential health threats.

QuantumFlo’s complete product line of commercial and industrial pre-packaged pumps are covered under NSF 61 and the company and additional information on the performance and certifications of its products is available at the company’s blog at http://blog.quantumflo.com.

About QuantumFlo

QuantumFlo is a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of advanced packaged pump systems for commercial plumbing, HVAC, municipal, irrigation and industrial market applications. Our innovative pump technology includes aftermarket applications for the modification, upgrade and retrofit of aging or obsolete pumps systems. Based in Central Florida, QuantumFlo’s pre-packaged pump systems are exported to more than 25 countries.

To learn more about QuantumFlo, its products and solutions, please visit http://www.quantumflo.com.

Media Contacts:

David Carrier
Chief Executive Officer
QuantumFlo, Inc.
Email: dave@quantumflo.com
Phone: 386.753.9702

Andres Goyanes
Chief Marketing Officer
Dream Factory Productions
Email: andres@dreamfactoryproductions.com
Phone: 407.224.5227