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A PEACH OF A PROJECT


Project
Windsor Over Peachtree, condominiums, HVAC system
Products Used
Aquatherm Blue Pipe®
Location / Date
Atlants, GA
December 2017 - July 2018

Aquatherm Advantages

  • The virtually leak-free performance of heat-fused Aquatherm pipe impressed the contractor — only five leaks were detected out of more than 4,000 fusion welds
  • The ability to fabricate risers offsite presented considerable installation time savings over steel pipe, and dramatically reduced system downtime in an occupied building
  • As this was an occupied building, the ability to install new pipe without welding or open flame was of paramount importance to the building owner
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The Challenge

Replacing the deteriorating and leaking HVAC piping in an occupied, 22-story condominium building with tight mechanical blockouts between floors


The Solution

Lightweight and virtually leakfree Aquatherm Blue Pipe® was installed with no flame or welding, and the fast installation speed made possible by offsite fabrication caused minimal disruption for the residents

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Aquatherm PP-R pipe played a sweet role in bringing new comfort to the residents of a high-rise condominium building

It’s never a good thing when your building is known as “the leaky building.”

That, however, was the unfortunate reputation of Windsor Over Peachtree, a 22-story, 265-unit condominium building in Atlanta. The vapor barrier on the 53-year-old building’s existing steel and copper piping had deteriorated, and the condensation that was forming on the pipes was causing them to break down from the outside in.

The combination of leaks caused by age and damage caused by dripping condensate was proving to be a regular and ongoing challenge in the building, and the need for an upgrade was apparent.

“The management and maintenance staff had been chasing leaks for years,” said Jeff Long, Southeast District Product Manager, Commercial Group, Ferguson. “We had several discussions with them about changing out the piping.”

As might be expected in a half-century-old building, the challenges with the HVAC system ran deeper than just the piping. Foremost among the other issues was that the old two-pipe fan-coil system was struggling to keep up with the cooling demand during Atlanta’s hot summers. So when the money for an HVAC system upgrade was allotted, it was decided that a new system of water-source heat pumps – sized to handle the building’s 500- to 600-ton cooling demand – would replace the old fan-coil system that had been sized for a 300-ton demand.

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‘NOT YOUR TYPICAL PLASTIC’

For Joe Escher, Vice President of E. Escher Inc. Mechanical Contractors, Roswell, GA, the project represented his firm’s first opportunity to perform a large-scale installation of Aquatherm PP-R piping.

“This wasn’t your typical job where an engineer draws up a spec and everybody follows it,” Escher said. “We worked closely with the engineer and the building owner in a collaborative effort to determine the best equipment and the best piping system."

Escher was on board with the conversations between the building owner and engineering firm about using Aquatherm, but he also wanted to see for himself the benefits of PP-R pipe.

“Everyone has an ‘a-ha!’ moment when it comes to choosing PP-R pipe, and before it was determined that we were going with Aquatherm we visited Joe at his shop,” Long relates. “We put together some sections of 2½-in. pipe, and Joe tried to drive a nail through them with a hammer. I remember him reporting back and saying, ‘This is not your typical plastic.’”

Escher pointed out that he also researched the pipe using more sophisticated methods, but he does not discount the value of the hammer-and-nail test.

“Aquatherm is a plastic, but don’t even consider equating it to something like PVC or CPVC,” he said. “If you look at a cross-section of it you can see that it doesn’t even compare to those pipes. It’s in a class of its own.”

Ultimately, the decision to use Aquatherm pipe to serve the new heat pump system was an easy one.

“The building management didn’t want to use any flame or welding in an occupied building, and the project’s engineer didn’t like the idea of having a copper-press system behind the walls,” Long explained. “That gave us the opportunity to discuss Aquatherm pipe, and it turned out to be the perfect solution for this retrofit.”