Spirovent® air/dirt separators by Spirotherm assure comfort for residents of University of Nebraska Lincoln.

University of Nebraska Lincoln.

It isn't always easy to sell the idea of preventive maintenance to folks who have to answer to budgets and ROI. John Heise, housing special projects manager for the University of Nebraska Lincoln, however, is a firm believer in preventive maintenance. To Heise, it's all about opportunity. "The motivation is simple,"

The relationship started when Heise purchased a couple of small boilers for one of the University Park Apartment buildings. They had always had air problems in the building, so Dallas Pearson (of B.G. Peterson, Omaha, NE) suggested they install a Spirovent air separator as well. Within two days of installation, the system had begun to quiet down, and by the end of the week they couldn't locate any air in the system at all. Before the Spirovent was installed, they had always dreaded draining that particular hydronic system for maintenance because of the weeks of bleeding they knew they faced. "When it comes to operation and performance, it's comforting to know that you can just bolt it up and forget it,"

Nebraska Union VHT Combination air/dirt HV separator.
Heise wasn't the only one on campus who was impressed with the Spirovent. Jim DeCamp, Lead Plumber for Building Systems Maintenance, saw a demonstration of the Spirovent nearly ten years ago and convinced the Architecture and Engineering people to specify Spirovents on all new projects involving hydronic systems, while he made sure that Spirovents were installed on the facilities retrofit jobs.

DeCamp recalls that the Nebraska Union student center was having a terrible problem with dirt accumulating in the heating hot water system. This particular system switches between heating and cooling with the chilled water being supplied from the university's central utility plant. Because the system is not a permanently closed loop within the building, the center is supplied with dirty water in the cooling mode. When the system switches, the chilled water is heated and dirt would precipitate out of the water and deposit in the coils, strainers and associated piping. As a result, the facilities maintenance team was constantly flushing coils and cleaning strainers. They even had to replace a large section of pipe because it was too badly plugged to be flushed clean.

The existing air separator was removed and replaced with a Spirovent combination air/dirt separator. Steve Waltman, lead building service tech, was amazed at the large amount of sludge that poured out of the drain the first time the Spirovent unit was blown down. Now, coils and piping are no longer getting plugged. Says Waltman, "The Spirotherm has definitely done the job they said it would do."