The causes and effects of corrosion in piping

Rusty pipes waiting to be used retro
Rusty pipes waiting to be used retro

When it comes to piping systems, many factors work in tandem or alone that can lead to pipe corrosion. In fact, depending on the degree of these factors, a piping system can actually show signs of corrosion in merely a few years after being installed.

But how exactly does that happen and what does it mean to your building and the people inside it?

The effects of corrosion

The cost of corrosion can be expensive. It can impact the health of employees and those who frequent your commercial building. Studies have shown that consuming water with high levels of toxic metals – lead and copper – can lead to acute and chronic health problems.

Pipe corrosion can also damage the aesthetic quality of your water and it can be a waste of money in many ways:

  • Corroded water can hurt the efficiency of hot water heaters and cause premature failure.
  • It can cause premature failure of plumbing systems and fixtures.
  • It can result in stained fixtures and potential odors.

The causes of pipe corrosion

Corrosion in a piping system, and the rate at which it happens, is usually related to one or more factors.

The pH of the water: In copper piping systems, if the pH is under a certain level it harms the protective barrier of the pipe and leads to corrosion.

Oxygen in the water: Oxygen degrades metals, gradually converting the metal to rust. As this happens, impurities are deposited into water lines or collected on the piping wall, creating restrictions and blockages.

Water’s chemical make up: Minerals in water can either help or harm corrosive levels. For instance, high levels of calcium can cause a level of build up.

Water temperature: It turns out, the hotter the water, the more pronounced the corrosion.

Water velocity: Excessive velocity and/or sudden changes in direction (turns, elbows) can lead to erosion and corrosion because of water turbulence.

These water issues are some of the things that can lead to corrosion in your piping system. And the effects of that corrosion can lead to numerous health problems along with wasting you money in many ways.

The last thing you want is to ignore pipe corrosion or simply hope it isn’t happening in your building. The technicians at Smith-Boughan can help you avoid, monitor and repair any piping issues that you may have. Be sure to contact us today by phone at 419-991-8040, email us to or fill out our contact form today (LINK) and let us help you avoid corrosive issues.


Energy efficiency

Energy Efficient Programs for Commercial Buildings

If you’ve been considering taking steps toward making your commercial building more energy efficient but are still Depositphotos_29604955_m-2015-2on the fence, maybe it’s time to consider some of the financing programs that can be a big benefit to your goals.

Take a look at some of the benefits and financial programs available:

– State and local governments can issue debt in the form of public bonds, which fall into two categories: tax liability and security bonds. Tax liability bonds include tax-exempt bonds, private activity bonds, and taxable bonds and security bonds include general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, and asset-backed bonds. There is also a bond available known as the Qualified Energy Conservation Bond, or the QECB. The QECB is a bond that allows qualified state, tribal, and local government issuers to borrow money at great rates to fund energy conservation projects. This is one of the lowest-cost public financing tools because the U.S. Department of the Treasury subsidizes the issuer’s borrowing cost.

– Loan Loss Reserves is a type of credit enhancement that can support clean energy finance mechanisms. A credit enhancement is anything that can improve the chances of repaid financing. Loan Loss Reserves are used by state and local governments to provide partial risk coverage to lenders. This means the reserve will cover a pre-specified amount of loan losses. These can be used in any market, from the residential market to the commercial market to nonprofit lending.

– Leases are contracts allowing an entity to obtain the use or purchase of equipment or real estate. Leasing improvements that are energy-related is very common and cost-effective for local governments to finance upgrades and use the savings to pay for the cost of financing. While leases typically have higher rates than bond financing, they are faster and a more flexible tool than bond financing.

There are several types of tax-exempt lease arrangements available including the tax-exempt lease-purchase agreement, private-placement agreements and certificates of participation. The tax-exempt lease-purchase arrangement is the most commonly used lease arrangements by local and state governments. Advantages of taking the lease arrangement route to financing a commercial building include voter approvals typically not required, flexible terms, short development time, and lowers costs. Some disadvantages of this finance option are higher interest rates than bonds and reserve fund and capitalized interest are typically required.

– The last financing option available is a loan. There are financial institution loans used for clean energy projects that are service through an entity other than the government, usually a bank. The state or local government is not the administrator, but can still play a role through credit enhancement discussed earlier or providing capital for the loan, sometimes both. There are also Revolving Loan Funds, which are pools of capital from which loans are made for clean energy projects. When the loans are repaid, the capital is re-loaned for another project. These are great because they are sources of capital that are recycled over and over for new future projects, given that the defaults are low.

There are two types of Revolving Loan Funds: internal and external. Internal revolving loan funds start with a fixed pool of internal funds to pay for the desired projects and money is lent to specific projects internally, then some or all of the savings are repaid. External revolving loan funds are government-sponsored. These revolving loan funds usually offer lower interest rates and more flexible terms than commercial capital markets offer.

As with anything, there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Some advantages of a revolving loan fund are that they are simple to set up compared to other options, expertise may exist in-house because many cities and states already have them available, cheap, available long-term, and can have no interest. Disadvantages include that the government acts as an administrator, capital needed to start a fund, the time it takes to revolved is slower with longer loan terms, and a credit analysis on the borrower’s ability to pay must be conducted before approved.

For more information on these programs, visit Energy Star’s website here.

While these are several of the financing options available for commercial building energy efficiency projects, there are numerous other financing options that we help our clients secure. While considering an energy efficiency upgrade for your facility you can count on Smith-Boughan Mechanical Services to help you every step of the way. Download our guide today for great information on how to get your building ENERGY STAR certified.

Energy efficiency

Cut energy costs in your building with these simple tips

Here’s a pretty startling statistic: Energy costs represent about 20 percent of total expenditures for the typical office buildings. That’s a fairly significant operational cost.

Statistically speaking, most office buildings’ lighting, heating and cooling represent 54 to 71 percent of total energy use, making them the best places to cut energy consumption.

That’s not bad news if you use it to your advantage.

It may surprise you, but many commercial office buildings can get big benefits from simple practices. Making sure things are turned off and turned down is a low-cost way to help save energy. Also, putting in the time and effort to make sure your HVAC system is cleaned and maintained on a regular basis will help your bottom line along with sustaining it for years to come.

1) Cleaning and Maintenance

An HVAC system that receives regular cleaning and maintenance helps prevent higher heating and cooling bills. For instance, trained technicians can clean, performance test and make repairs to the inner-workings of your air-conditioning system, this can save more than 50 percent on your annual energy bill while making sure it’s running efficiently.

Along with having a trained technician regularly check your system:

— Make sure air-conditioning damper vents are working correctly.

— Filters should be replaced on a quarterly basis.

— Every quarter, check the panels on your air-conditioning unit. Make sure they’re secure and check for leaks. Leaks can cost up to $100 per year per unit.

— Condenser coils should be cleaned before each season.

— Check airflow in your registers to make sure it’s adequate. If it’s not, have a technician inspect the ductwork and the unit itself.

2) Turn off, Turn down

Did you know that for every 1,000 kilwatt-hours you have something turned off you save up to $100 on your utility bill?

— Have your employees make it a habit to turn lights off when not in use.

— Occupancy sensors and timers also are a good idea to keep lights off when they aren’t needed.

— Computers and office equipment can really be costly to keep on. Computers and printers burn about 200 watts per day and a single monitor can draw 100 watts per day. Make sure your employees are using their low-power sleep modes when not in use because when they are left on it can result in $30 more on your annual bill.

— Space heaters suck up energy like crazy. The average space heater can be costing you $8 to $10 a month to operate. Have a certified technician determine what adjustments are needed to your existing HVAC system to make the space more comfortable and stop wasting energy with the space heaters.

— Turn down HVAC temperatures during closed hours in the warm seasons and turn them up in colder seasons.

— Dim hallway lighting by 30 percent during the daytime.

These are some of the ways you can immediately help the energy consumption in your commercial office building. Adhering to these daily practices will help you save money while assuring you that your system and your building is running as efficiently as possible.

The best way to make sure your HVAC and building systems are clean and running smoothly is to get the best certified, highest trained technicians. At Smith-Boughan Mechanical Services, our technicians have the experience and certifications to keep your building working at top efficiency. Call us today at 419-991-8040 or fill out our form for a free consulation and let us help you save money and save energy.

HVAC Solutions

5 questions to consider about R-22 refrigerant management

With R-22 phase-out becoming a hot topic in the HVAC industry it becomes important to understand your options before committing to spend money on R-22 equipped systems. Partnering with a refrigerant expert can help you avoid making the wrong choice when it comes to R-22 management.

Here are five important questions that should factor into your consideration about R-22 refrigerant management:


  1. Am I prepared to convert my HVAC systems when the time comes?

There are many options to consider when converting your system(s), but which one makes the most sense?Is your equipment nearing the end of its useful service life? Perhaps a “drop-in” R-22 replacement then makes the most sense. However, if your equipment is less than 10 years old then a more permanent, more efficient R-22 replacement may be desireable. Factors such as capacity threshold, system design and performance are important to consider when choosing an R-22 replacement as some replacements offer less efficiency than R-22.

  1. What constitutes a “true” need to convert away from R-22?

Is your system leaking? Are major component replacements eminent?  A reliable piece of equipment that hasn’t been causing trouble doesn’t necessarily have to have anything done to it.  Conversely, if a compressor changeout is scheduled and the R-22 has been “burnt” and in need of replacement, this often provides an ideal time to convert.

  1. Are all R-22 replacements created equally?

Definitely not. Many options require oil changes, metering device (TXV) upgrades and rubber seal component upgrades as well. Depending on the size and complexity of the system, these items can negatively affect some replacement options.

  1. Can any/all HVAC contractors perform R-22 refrigerant retro-fits?

Advanced training is important but equally important is past experience. A major system refrigerant retrofit is not a suitable training ground for a company that has no proven track record.

  1. Are there any dangers involved with R-22 retrofits?

Possibly. There are “too good to be true” offerings now hitting the market.  Some are actually labelled as R-22.  The problem is their made up primarily of Propane, a highly combustible gas. The concentration is just below levels requiring federal regulation.  The danger results when a compressor shorts to ground and ignites the propane mixture- causing an explosion.  Reports are starting to surface where propane filled systems are found to be the cause of serious loss of property due to explosion and fire.

Energy efficiency

Finding solutions for Northview Laundry


Recently, we helped Northview Express Laundry address and solve a host of problems: Laundry1

  1. Northview Laundry was having problems with hot water heating equipment that was 20-plus years old.
  2. The natural gas atmospheric burner was inefficient.
  3. With high lint/dust concentration in the ambient air, the burner was prone to delayed ignition and flame roll out. Both are serious problems that could lead to fire or explosion.
  4.  A replacement utilizing sealed combustion  was desired, thus eliminating those concerns.


The circulating pump operates with high amps due to higher than normal pressure drop through the old boiler, causing wasted energy any time the system is operating.





Piping was not insulated, allowing for constant heat losses.











Armor Laundry4
Smith-Boughan recommends installing a Lochinvar ARMOR ultra-efficient condensing replacement system which includes:
• A stainless steel heat exchanger;

• A sophisticated electronic controller;

• A variable firing rate for optimal load matching efficiency;

• A sealed combustion chamber for added safety;

• A high-efficiency boiler mounted pump.


All exposed piping insulated for increased overall system efficiency.


Clean unobtrusive inlet and outlet flue piping. Looks good on exterior of any building/structure.


This project was performed with minimal downtime for the facility. Pre-planning and pre-fabrication allowed Smith-Boughan to shut the water off to the facility around 5 p.m. and water service was restored around 2 a.m. the next morning.

For more great projects Smith-Boughan has worked on to help businesses overcome challenges, check out our projects summaries page.