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Roughly 15,000 miles of neon tubing illuminate the streets of Las Vegas. There’s no surprise that it’s called the City of Light, the brightest city on Earth and easily seen by astronauts inside the International Space Station.
For decades elsewhere, the glow of neon lights could be seen in the windows of every pub, diner and pawnshop across the country. The colorful, free-swirling fluorescent bulbs are used these days to dazzle eyes, competing in an ADHD world ablaze with every trick imaginable – anything to grab attention.
Signature mechanical system
Kris Beaton, a service manager for Tasses Fuel Corp., based in Southbridge, Massachusetts, has always been a fan of the bright lights and shiny showcasing.
“I’ve always wanted to apply a certain unique look to my work,” explains Beaton, who installs residential and commercial mechanical systems.
Sharing his vision with clients without a physical example proved to be difficult, so Beaton decided to build his own model.
“Our home needed a new heating system so badly, anyway,” Beaton says. “Our old oil system just wasn’t cutting it.”
Beaton and his wife, who was expecting a baby at the time, live in the downstairs portion of an old, 2,000-square-foot farmhouse. Upstairs, a family of three rents from the Beatons.
“With up to five showers a day, our oil system couldn’t keep up,” Beaton explains. “We’d lose hot water in no time – no thanks to the old, mineral-crusted tankless coil inside it – and the boiler was starting to leak, too, regularly making a mess on the basement floor.”
The inconsistent domestic water heat paired with the brutally cold Northeastern winters they experienced before (though nothing compared to the 10-day record lows experienced this past winter) didn’t make for an ideal situation to bring a baby into. Kris and his wife knew it was time for a change.
Last November, Kris threw in the towel on his old oil system and turned his sights (and a bit of imagination) toward propane.
And he knew just the place to get the fuel, too.
Tasses is a third-generation, family-owned business that’s been providing various types of fuel and services, including plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, for more than 70 years.
New replaces the old
Beaton has spent 10 years in the trade, including four years at Tasses. Since he wanted reliability and efficiency, he didn’t look back when he said goodbye to the old, loud, leaking boiler and brought in an efficient wall-hung boiler.
The new boiler saves space and, of course, propane burns cleaner than oil – and it’s also not wasting a ton of fuel to inefficiently heat all that hot water like the old one was.
“Now, the boiler only fires when it calls for heat – and when it does, it’s extremely quiet. It’s nice to finally experience mechanical silence,” he laughs, recalling the old boiler that would noisily kick on and off below their master bedroom several times an hour.
Because Beaton was designing the new hydronic system for his own home, he had complete control of what components went into it.
“Tasses uses Taco pumps and controls on every hydronic installation,” Beaton says. “All shelves at the shop and Tasses trucks are stocked with their products – Taco is a staple ingredient for our projects.”
Seven Taco 007e ECM circulators and zone controls manage circulation in the homes’ six zones. The system was designed with a primary/secondary piping strategy.
“I installed a Taco 3450 combination boiler feeder/backflow prevention valve,” Beaton explains. “The one-piece body configuration of the 3450 is extremely convenient in any installation.”
To prolong the life of the pumps, Beaton chose to install a Taco 4900 series air separator.
Beaton wanted to create a serviceable mechanical space, so the expansion tank is equipped with isolation valves and each zone has its own purge station.
A 50-gallon, Bradford White indirect water heater is set as the priority zone.
“The Bradford White units have big, high-flow stainless steel coils inside, ideal for quick heat transfer and recovery,” Beaton adds. “But their biggest attribute is that we’ve used them exclusively for decades with no disappointment.”
A Taco low water cutoff was installed to prevent dry firing in the event of loss of water in the system.
Las Vegas touch
The new system operates on an outdoor reset. And it’s got a rather unique, attention-getting setting stemming from Kris’ well-fueled imagination.
Here’s where it gets really good: The backboard for Beaton’s custom-designed mechanical system is shiny diamond plating.
But wait; it gets better. The entire area is framed in green lighting – modern LED, but, certainly, an updated “neon” look.
“The Taco green is hard to beat,” Beaton says. “I knew this was the finished look that I wanted, and that color would just make everything pop. The light show starts whenever the main circulator activates.”
Beaton says that the extensive kitchen/living room remodel used to be the main talking point for the house.
“Then it was the mechanical system – at least until the baby arrived,” Beaton adds.
Future Tasses customers will be given the option to make their mechanical systems a functioning work of art, too. Beaton has hopes that being able to show clients a unique approach that isn’t too costly, will encourage clients to give their mechanical rooms some pizzazz, too.
“I’ve got elaborate plans for installing diamond plates and colored lights to my son’s nursery,” Beaton jokes. “But something tells me I’m not going to get the green light on that one.”