What’s In Your Water?

Drinking water sediment.

Drinking water sediment.

Have you ever filled up a nice cup of crystal clear water and wondered what was in it? Is it purely water or is there something else? If you haven’t had that thought then this little story will definitely make you wonder.

Many of you have heard me talk about my recent experience with our newly dug well at our home and the problem we had with limestone and low oxygen. Well I am glad to say that thanks to Pure Water Oasis we have had no recent issues with our well water and are happy with the system. This story though isn’t about my water but rather the water issue that caused us a few headaches with a recently installed boiler system in KCMO.

To set the scene here is what this job consisted of; we removed an old boiler system and in its place installed a new modulating high efficiency boiler that heated the house and also the domestic hot water (water that you use for bathing, cooking, washing, etc…). The old system had a 50 gallon water heater that heated the domestic water and an in-floor loop that heated the family room area of the home. The family room floor loop with the old system was an “open loop” system. What that means is that it took incoming water from the house and heated it up in the 50 gallon water heater and pumped it through the floor to heat the family room. There was a pump controlled by a thermostat that would run the water through the floor loop when needed and this same 50 gallon water heater would heat the water for their domestic use as well.

The new system is now a “closed loop” system, which means that the water used for heating is totally separate from the water used for general domestic purposes in the home. The closed loop system is much more efficient and also less likely to have service issues.

Well we had a big problem maintaining water flow through the floor heat (that is buried in concrete) in the family room loop. After several hours of work and banging our heads against the wall we came to the conclusion that there was a blockage in the floor loop. So how do you free up a blockage in 300 feet of buried pipe? At first we tried to use the water house pressure (around 50-55psi) to free it by hooking a hose to a special made adapter on each end of the loop, this did not work. We then had the idea to hook an air compressor nozzle up and blow it through the pipe to free the blockage, again no luck. So what we did was hook a hose with water pressure to one end of the loop and blow 120psi of air into the other end (the idea was water pressure on one side, with air pressure to free the blockage on the other side) and after several minutes and lots of attempts with the air compressor the blockage broke free.

It was definitely a high-five moment for the homeowner, Scott and myself when this big wad of rust colored stuff started shooting out the pipe. We continued running water through the system and by time it was clear we had an enormous amount of the sediment. So where did this stuff come from? Well remember before the system was an “open loop” system which meant it was getting incoming city water through the floor loop which means that the sediment was in their incoming water. This incoming water is what you drink. Yuck!

So how do you know what’s in your water? You don’t unless you have it tested. I went to the EPA website to get water study information for our area and the information is very vague. They list a few items that may be present in our water such as Coli Form, Fecal Coli form, E-Coli, Turbidity, Radium and a large list of Inorganic Contaminants. The water districts must test the water and have safe levels of all of the contaminants before they can distribute it and water quality can change on any given day. So in other words just a little poop is OK to eat as long as it’s a safe level, really? My thought is that any of amount of fecal matter or e-coli is just plain gross to be ingesting.

For more information on water quality in your area you can go to your water districts website or the EPA website . If you are looking for a great company that is honest and trustworthy for testing please contact Pure Water Oasis at 816-254-3335. This is the company I have entrusted with my family’s drinking water and they are great people to work with.

Hope I didn’t gross any one out too much and feel free to contact me with questions on this blog or any other indoor comfort question.


James Gallet
Envirotech Heating and Cooling

New Regional Standards For Heating and Cooling Equipment — How Will They Be Enforced?

New Regional Standards in Heating and Cooliong Equipment by the Department of Energy. How Will They Be Enforced?


The U.S. Department of Energy is implementing new regional standards for HVAC (heating and cooling) equipment. How will this affect you? On October 25, 2011 the Department of Energy http://www.doe.gov confirmed that it adoped new residneital appliance standards for central air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps. This new law becomes effictive May 2013 for furnaces and is effective January 2015 for central air conditoners and heat pumps.


Three Regions


The country will be divided into three regions — North, Southeast, and Southwest

North — Staes with population-wighted heating dress days (HDD) equal to or greater than 5,000.

Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Uah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


Southwest — Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico


The Southeastern region comprises states with population-weighted HDD less than 5,000.

This includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


For states in the north, furnaces are the bigget challenge. After May 2013 we’ll no longer be able to install the 80% efficient unit which vent out in metal piping or through a chimney. Instead we’ll be required to have an AFUE (efficiency) of 90% or more, and will be required to vent the unit horizontally using PVC piping to the outdoors. You will only be able to upgrade your current unit through April 2013, and distributors have already informed us they are limited the number of 80% efficient units they’ll have on hand, incresingly, so they don’t have ‘dead’ stock at the end of the spring of 2013.


According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) the deadlines are as follows:


Implementation Time Table

The new standards will take effect May 2013 for non-weatherized furnaces, and January 2015 for air conditioners, heat pumps, and weatherized furnaces.


The effective dates for standards that follow the standards above will be:

  • January 1, 2019 for non-weatherized furnaces
  • January 1, 2022 for air conditioners, heat pumps, and weatherized furnaces (gas-packs).


For more information you can read this PDF


Questions? Please call us! We’re always happy to discuss these things.

What’s The Latest And Most Exciting Trend In Heating and Cooling?

Do you want to save money? Would you like your family’s comfort level to improve even more?

These questions are pretty easy to answer, and there’s an exciting new trend in heating and cooling that can do both of these.

The trend is called “zoning” and it’s the way of the future. Every room has a temperature control, so rooms not being used can cut energy use out completely, and rooms used the most can be temperature-controlled, too. This system saves you money, and ensures your family will always be comfortable. You truly cannot go wrong with zoning.

Watch Honeywell’s video on this, and call us if you have any questions.


Envirotech Heating and Cooling is a business located in Shawnee, Kansas, owned by James Gallet.

A green company, we created this blog to keep you updated on changes in the heating and cooling industry, specials, and tips to save you money.

Sign up to be informed of new posts and specials we run, read articles, browse our links, and please email us with any questions or concerns.  

Your comfort is our business!

Energy Tip-Say No To Plastic and News About Solar Water Heaters

So where in the world did October go? Well for me October was filled with lots of running around trying to get caught up or not get any further behind, one work trip to Lubbock, TX and then a nice week long vacation with my lovely bride to Maui.

I could go on and on about how beautiful Maui was, from the scenic hikes we took, to the snorkeling and so on, but instead I am going to tell you about some other bits of information about the island. I found it fascinating that the entire Island had no plastic bags on it! That meant when we went to the supermarket for some snacks, bought souvenirs or whatever the case you were not carrying out your stuff in plastic bags.


We visited a Walmart (imagine that, they had a Walmart there) and at the check outs they had the bag carousels but no plastic bags. When we bought items at small shops the items were put in paper bags and we were not given a paper or plastic option. It seems that the Island of Maui in January of this year took away all of their plastic bags so you either bring in your own recyclable bags or you just tote your shopping cart out to your car and unload the items one by one into the floor. I thought this was a pretty neat idea and wish the rest of the US would adapt this.

Another neat thing was that our hotel room had no liner in the trash cans and the room even had a separate trash container for recyclables. There were recycle containers located beside most trash containers in almost every public place and you could just tell that they people just had recycling and reusing as a way of life. 
So whats this solar stuff in my title? Well another thing that I found to be of interest was that solar water heating was huge over there. I saw more ads and advertising about solar products (mainly water heating) than I did for any other service. It was weird driving around and seeing a water heaters sitting outside of the homes but it was really cool to see all of the solar panels installed that were preheating the water that fed these water heaters.

Coincidentally enough the week that I returned from Maui I was already registered to attend a solar water heating class so I was anxious to learn more about the design and installation of these products. I learned that solar water heating is quite a bit more expensive to install than conventional and hybrid water heaters so it may not fit your budget, even with the big tax credits available. There is however a market for solar water heating, so it could be something to investigate if you are looking to save on fuel and plan on staying in your home for several years. The way that a solar water system typically will work is that the solar panels (generally located on a roof) will heat the water as it passes through the tubes. This preheated water then travels to a storage tank that can be a standard water heater or tankless type water heater and the hot water that you use in the home pulls from the storage device. If you need more hot water than the solar panels can provide for you then the storage tank or backup source will kick in and heat the water for you.

I can see several advantages and disadvantages in using solar to heat the water in a home. The main advantage is that the sun energy is free, so the monthly energy cost will be lowered in a home. The main disadvantages are the initial cost is high and when most people use the biggest bulk of hot water in a home (morning and night) the sun is not out so you will be likely pulling from your backup source. So if your in the market for a new water heater here is yet another option for you to consider, but I urge you to do some homework first and find a company that has installed several solar systems that can give you solid referrals if you go the solar route.

PS. lets get the rest of the world on board with Maui and do away with these plastic bags, if you want I will send you a free reusable grocery bag to get this fad started. Just shoot me an email at jamesg@envirotechks.com with your mailing address and I will send one to you.

Until next month, thanks for reading have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Energy Tip- Insulate Your Water Heater

I was sitting in the kitchen this morning when my 8yr old came strolling in with a big blanket wrapped around her (I remember those days when I would eat breakfast with a warm blanket around me). For some reason this got me thinking of water heaters on my way into work. I am a big believer in the tankless or hybrid water heaters, however some homes and businesses are better off with a conventional tanked water heater as opposed to the tankless or hybrid models. So if your water heater is one that is a conventional tanked model then you need to give that “girl” a blanket.

Here in the Kansas City area most of our water heaters sit in a basement or garage. The water heaters are constantly losing heat to the air around them. Think of your water heater as a biog thermos with a built in heater, as the “big thermos” losses heat to the air around it the built in heater automatically heats it back up. This is why you always have hot water ready to go at your faucets. This lose heat then reheat cycle is repeated over and over again through the course of the water heaters life. Unfortunately it is even repeated when we are not using the water heater like over night and when we are away from our homes.

One big thing that you can do is to wrap your water heater with an insulation blanket specifically designed for water heaters. You can purchase them at nearly any hardware store and they cost around $25. They are easy to install and this $25 investment will end up getting recouped in utility savings over just a couple of months.

 Here are a few other things that you can do to improve your water heaters efficiency and help cut back on your energy usage:

1. Turn down the heat setting a bit, do you really need it set as hot as you have it now?
2. Insulate your hot water pipes in addition to your heater itself, again you can get pipe insulation at most hardware stores.
3. Fix any leaky faucets; this one little drip can cause not only high water bills but also high gas or electric bills if it is on the hot water side. 4. Insulate the room the heater is in, most of the time the water heaters are located in a cold area or basement room possibly even a walk out basement.                                                                                                                                                                                           5. Turn it off or use the vacation setting when you are out of town.

I hope that you found something in this article helpful. Please feel free to call or email me any suggestions, comments or questions. 


James L. Gallet

Energy Tip- Lighting The Natural Way

In the past I have written about using CFL or LED lighting for your home. Well there is another solution to lighting your home and guess what, its free! Before the widespread use of electric lighting architecs and builders constructed buildings to take advantage of natural light. Well this way of thinking and building has gone by the wayside and in its place we want homes that are pretty and people seem to not worry so much about effeciency and lighting (at least until we open our utility bills anyway).

What can natural daylight do for you and your home? Natural lighting will not cost you anything in utility bills for one, but sunlight also help aids in relaxation and happiness, and helps reduce seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues. Natural daylight has also been proven to improve students test scores, double retail sales in stores, and boost factory workers productivity.

What will it do for our planet? If we all reduced our electric lighting in our homes by 25%, natural daylight could save enough energy to power 17 million homes a year. WOW!!!! 

Who do you call? Here in Kansas City we have one of the best daylighters in the business. Sam Kane with Solar Solutions can install a tubular skylight and bring in the natural daylight for you and your family. Sam and his crew have great knowledge and look at each home on an individual basis to determine where natural lighting would best be served. They can install one tube if you would like and build onto it from there. To get in contact with Sam visit their website at http://daylightkc.com/. They also have some other great products available.

Check out the photo below of a bathroom that is lite with a solar tube. Sam and his gang took this photo on one of their recent jobs and it looks good. Please feel free to pass this along to others and let me know if you have any energy or green tips to pass my way.


James Gallet