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Water Shortage? Hot Water Circulating Systems Save Lots Of Water!

If you live in an area affected by severe water shortages you should look into obtaining a hot water circulating system. Hot water circulating systems can save tremendous amounts of water, and at the same time provide the user with fast hot water. Fast hot water is a convenience that once experienced, is difficult to do without. Not only that, but when you do have to run water down the drain for long periods of time to obtain your hot water, you feel exceedingly guilty about doing so...or at least I do.

There is a variety of hot water circulating systems on the market, so we shall examine several systems to get a feel for what the differences are. There are pros and cons to every system, and by knowing what they are you can make an intelligent decision as to whether or not you would benefit from such a system, and which kind of system to purchase.

We can begin with the traditional hot water circulating system. The traditional system, the hot water pipe connects from the outlet of the water heater to the first fixture, and then loops from fixture to fixture, and finally it connects back to the inlet of the water heater. There is circulating pump in the hot water line that keeps hot water circulating in the piping. The pump can be placed on a time to reduce the heat loss from the system and the pumping energy during periods of little or no use.

The traditional system is very wasteful of energy, since it keeps all the hot water piping full of hot water, which continuously looses heat to the environment. The water heater must work a lot harder than with a non circulating system, and could end up needing replacement much sooner than normal. The system is so wasteful of energy that it can't be used in California for new residential construction. Grundfos and Taco are manufactures of traditional pumps.

A better approach is to use what is being called a "hot water demand system". It's similar to a traditional system, but it uses the cold water line as the return line. A small pump is placed under the sink furthest from the water heater. When the pump is turned on, it pumps water out of the hot water line and into the cold water line. In effect, it's pumping the water in a big loop out of the water heater and back into the heater. No water goes in or out of the water main and no water gets run down the drain.

When hot water reaches the pump it shuts off. Now you have instant hot water without running water down the drain. According to Grundfos, a large international manufacturer of circulating pumps, a typical family can save up to 16,000 gallons of water per year with a circulating system. Demand systems do not use any more energy than a non circulating system, since they don't really circulate the water; they just pump it to the sink where it was going to go anyway. The pumps run for such a brief time that the energy usage is very small...typically less than $2.00 per year. With a demand system you save time, water, energy, and money. Metlund and Chilipepper Sales are two manufactures of demand systems.

Another type of system is kind of halfway between a traditional system and a demand system. This system uses a pump that connects between the hot and cold water lines like the demand systems, but run continuously or on a timer like the traditional system. The pumps turn on at one temperature and off at a second higher temperature, keeping the water in the piping at warm temperature range. Since the run pump often, the cold water line ends up with a lot of luke-warm water, and when you turn on the hot faucet you get warm water not hot. Like the traditional system it uses a lot of energy since it keeps the piping warmer than normal for long periods of time. Laing's AutoCirc and RedyTemp are two such systems.

True hot water demand systems are by far the most energy efficient and save the same amount of water as the traditional types of systems. Traditional systems are not usually installed in existing homes due to the extensive plumbing usually required along with the expense of operation due to the heat loss. Demand systems range in price from under $200.00 to over $500.00. In many cases the systems are eligible for rebates from the local water company. In some cases the rebate can cover the entire cost of the system.

Saving water and energy also reduces the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the pumping, treating, and distribution of drinking water. So be green and install a circulating system in your home now.

William Lund has been an inventor for over 35 years, and has been working with circulating systems for many years. He has been issued several patents for hot water systems. For more information about hot water circulating systems visit his website: Faster Hot Water

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posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 11:19 PM, ,

Being Energy Concious

As a process engineer working in a private company previously, I'm very sensitive to energy saving and cost reduction.

I used to manage a big physical refining plant and I'm answerable to the production cost. Management will ask me why the natural gas cost is high? Why the electricity cost is high? Why the water and steam cost is high? Why the processing aid cost is high? Why the salary is so high compared to last 3 months? Why the maintenance cost is double that of last month? Why the average production capacity is 10% lesser compared to last year's? Those are the type of questions that have been always been bombarded to me and the others who manages a plant.

Hence, I would tell my supervisors and operators to be more alert on the energy issue. I provided them with the understanding of high production cost and the direct relation with energy saving. High production cost will make the company losses money. That will lead to lower profit, lower salary adjustment and lower annual bonus or incentives. Those are among the explanations that we can provide to them.

We can also explain about the green energy and also the global warming crisis. However, sometimes, being an operator, their academic back ground is not high. Hence, by explaining global warming and green energy would not get them excited. They will become blur and grin while you are explaining to them about those global issues. Hence, by associating themselves with the company performances, salary and bonus, it can make them think and react accordingly.

As for me, the idea of saving energy and utilities are well permanently stored in my mental box. The practice is not just at work but also applied at home. At home, we are the one who pay the bills and we tend to be more discipline at home. We know, we realize the importance of utility savings. An example is using an energy saving bulb (5 kW) for our lamps instead of a normal bulb (40kW) and also boiling water using gas instead of electricity (I do that). My electricity bill is always below RM50 per month. You need to analyze your bills as well. Check on how many kW you are using. Check on how much m3 of water you consuming.

Oh yes, by choosing a well ventilated house, I don't have to use the air condition. I have lived in a house where the ventilation is very poor and I hated living in that house. It was so hot and we need to use the aircond a lot. Using a simple 3 bladed fan is sufficient and breezing. After 3/4 months, we cleaned the fan blades to remove the dirt sticking on it. This will improve the efficiency of the fan and the fan ampere won't be too high - We save power...

But, what about those who work in a place where they do not really concern about energy? I wish to discuss about this in later entry. In the mean time, any ideas? Anybody want to share how they save energy?

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posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 12:40 PM, ,

If I Can Travel Back to the Past...

It has been almost 10 years since I received my Chemical Engineering Bachelor Degree from University of Bradford, United Kingdom. Sometimes I thought myself on what should I have done differently if I can travel back to the past. What I will do if I can repeat the entire life as a chemical engineering student? What changes will I make on my lifestyle as a chemical engineering student? What will be the improvements that I can make upon graduating as an engineer...

After thinking about it, I came out with the following points:

1) If I can travel back to the past, I will put more effort on my studies. I want to consistently do well in all the tests and examinations. I want to excel with flying colours and get first class honours. I don't want to do last minute study. It wasn't easy but I must be strong and discipline in order to do well.
Moral: Excel in your academics.

2) If I can travel back to the past, I will make sure to join a very big multinational oil company - Esso (currently known as ExxonMobil after it merged with Mobil) as an intern or trainee engineer. I was so disappointed to miss the opportunity provided by Esso to join them on summer 1998 for 3 months. The offer letter was sent to my home in Malaysia, but I was studying in UK. Unfortunately, my father informed about the offer after a few days. By the time the offer letter reached me in UK, it was too late for me. I missed a very good opportunity to expose myself to the real engineering world.
Moral: Make sure you take advantage of any industrial training available. You'll be surprise on how the real world is.

3) If I can travel back to the past, I want to take additional classes of process control which will allow me to have a degree called: "Chemical Engineering with Process Control". I would like to have added value in my chemical engineering degree. I should have listened to myself, my heart and not following my friends.
Moral: Make sure you know what your goals are and stick to your plans. Do not simply follow others.

4) If I can travel back to the past, I want to put more effort in my final year design project and get better marks for it. My project back then was "Alumina from Bauxite" and we have to design and build a plant to process bauxite until it becomes Alumina. It would be better if we can visit a similar plant in Scotland to have better comprehension on all the processes and equipments. We should have insisted our supervisor, Prof N. Harnby to arrange the visit for us.

As an individual, one of my assignment was to design a rotary drum filter. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to imagine how it look like although I have read and seen the diagram inside various related text book. That time the internet was just kicking off and there are lack of information on the process and the equipments. I know, I cannot blame the internet. I need to work harder to get more information for my assignment. If I have better network with my seniors or practicing engineers, it would be a different story. I can ask or check with them. But, I don't have know anyone from the industry...
Moral: We need to work extra hard in order to fully understand the subject. This is a chemical engineering course and it is not an easy course. You'll be proud being a chemical engineer...believe me... because I'm proud being one.

5) If I can travel back to the past, after graduating, I will straight away register myself with Board of Engineers, Malaysia (BEM) and Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM). I will straight away get myself a mentor and follow all the training programs. By doing that, I can be a professional engineer at 26 or 27 years old. By associating myself with fellow professional engineers, I can extend my networks and also exchange/share technical knowledge.

When I was doing my degree, I have became a junior member of IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers, UK) and upon graduating, my membership was upgraded to "Associate Member". However, I wish I had followed all the training programs in order to become a registered chartered engineer. The constraint that time was the high cost of the renewal membership fees which hindered me from renewing my membership. Luckily, now we have IChemE Malaysia branch and the fees are charged in Malaysian Ringgit instead of Pound Sterling.
Moral: Make sure you register with the related professional bodies, association or institution and follow the training to be professional engineers. Nobody stresses the importance to me before, hence I ignored it. Now that I'm already following the training program and realized the importance of becoming a professional engineer, I keep advising young graduates to start young.

Well, those are few points which I can share with all of you. I hope you can learn something from it. I wish somebody had come to me and share something if not everything about what chemical engineering is all about. Now, I'm sharing a slice of my career experience for the benefit of young and future chemical engineer.

Anybody else want to share your experience...

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posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 8:24 PM, ,

I Resigned From My Engineering Job

I wanted to blog about it a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I was too tight up with various tasks and issues that need to be settled first. I have resigned from my job as a process engineer. My last day working as an engineer was 30th June 2008. The next day I was officially working as an educator (I like to use educator more than lecturer because it sound better). I would like to take this opportunity to share my experiences on the few last days as a process engineer and my first few days as an educator.

Previous job chapter….

After being accepted as an educator I tendered in my resignation letter to my superior. It was a really mixed feeling that time. Is this really true? I really wanted to be a lecturer and I've been trying hard for 5 years. I could not believe it when I received the offer letter in my house mailbox. I thank God for providing me a chance to fulfill my wish...

What happen to my previous work place… Oh…my plant operators gave me a Parker Pen. I haven’t use it yet because surprisingly there is no ink in the pen!!! Maybe they just bought the pen, wrapped it up and gave it to me. BUT the most important thing is the thought. I missed them and I believed they missed me too… :)

On my last day, my boss arranged for a surprise lunch. I did not expected that. We enjoyed the lunch but I did not ate very much because I was sitting exactly in front of my boss!!! So, although my desire ask me to eat some more, but my right brain asked me to stop consuming more food. Uhhh…. what a waste…..

After lunch, with some assistance from my wife, she helped me ordered 8 pieces of 12? pizza online. It was a lot cheaper ordering online compared to calling them. You should check it out if you still don’t know about it. On top of those pizzas, I ordered “pisang goreng (fried banana) and cendawan goreng (fried mushroom)” delivery. All those pizzas, fried banana and fried mushroom were courtesy from me… a person who is going to leave the company… I treated my friends, operators, fitters, technicians, store people and others who have been very cooperative to me during my stay at the company.

At 5.30 pm on that Monday (my last day at job), I shook my hand with my office colleagues. But when I shook my hand with one of my senior colleague which has been close to me and mentored me a lot… I felt very very extremely sad. Suddenly I felt so sad that I could not help it. Without realizing, tears dropped while I was driving home leaving the company I served for 3 years and 22 days. It wasn’t a long time but honestly I felt like working at that company for 5-6 years. I’m finally free from that type of “factory pressure”…

Before this, I have to be 100% alert all the time on everything that is happening at my plant. I have to know and ensure smooth operation of the plant 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. When ever there is a problem in my plant, I need to ensure that it is settled as soon as possible. I must answer my superior and sometimes to the head quarters for any problem or downtime occurring in the plant.

Please don't be mistaken. I'm not saying that I don't like my job as a process engineer. I liked it a lot very much, indeed. I've learned various aspects of technical knowledge, project management, management skills, manpower management, social, political issues throughout my position and my stay there and I've been sharing some of them in this blog. However, I think I can contribute more when I'm in the academic line. I can educate the young going to be engineers, I can do research work, I can become a consultant, I can do publications, attend conferences and the list simply goes on. I'm more flexible and I know it is going to be a better career for me.

Being an engineer for almost 6 years have given me the real exposure on how to be a good profound engineer which is indispensable for the company. Hopefully, I can educate the students better based on my experiences in the oil and gas field and also the refinery life.

My New Job

I have been in my new job for almost a fortnight. It was quite a solid pact 13 days as I was assigned a lot of tasks. So far the job is not really relaxing but it is still better than my previous job as a process engineer which has more intense pressure. I realized that my new job as a lecturer/educator requires me to be more discipline compared to my previous job. We have the time flexibility and we must know how to manage it wisely. We cannot misused the flexibility given to us. I have my own room @ office, and It is mean for people like me to work more effectively and efficiently. I have my own large working station, sofa, huge rack etc. I just requested for a 2 drawer metal rack to lock my important stuffs, just in case. My wife’s office is just 20 steps away from mine… ;) . Oh yea…we have the magnificent wifi facilities and that means I’m connected to the net all the time…

However, besides all that, the real challenge for me are preparing for the class and also deciding on the research I'm going to do for my pH.D. I need to do some extensive survey on what research I should conduct for my pH.D this coming semester. This is going to be my future because my career will be based on what research niche area I’m indulged in. I need to be an expert in certain area so that I can easily develop that area without competing with anyone locally. So far, I have brainstormed, searched and listed a dozen of research title. Most of them are directly related to renewable energy and reaction / catalysis engineering.

If you have any idea what field I should research in, please feel free to tell me. It should be something meddling with chemical engineering > reaction engineering. Some example of the research is hydrogen production from H2S splitting or from syngas production, biofuel production using catalyst via catalytic plasma reaction, and biodiesel production using heterogeneous catalyst instead of using NaOH which is a homogeneous catalyst.

Special note:

Although I'm no longer working as a practicing engineer in a plant, I'm still an engineer serving in the academic and research arena. I also associate myself with the industry and other engineering institution society. It is my goal and objective to share my knowledges and experiences to engineering students, young engineers and other practicing engineers so that they can benefit positively from this blog.

This is a newspaper cutting from a local paper "Utusan Malaysia" 5th July 2001. This was when I'm doing my Masters in chemical engineering - "Single step conversion of methane to gasoline using zeolite catalysts".

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posted by Kipas Repair JB @ 8:14 PM, ,

The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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