The Plumbing Connection

Volume 1 | Issue 8

Brought to you by Herkowski Stickler & Associates

Your Trusted Rep Solution Since 1931

Tech Talk

High-Efficiency Boilers and Direct Venting

Today’s modern world is full of examples of technological advancement, and the plumbing/mechanical industry is no exception. From toilets to water heaters, there is new technology being incorporated into the design/production of products and materials every day. This necessitates the need for the modern technician to evolve and learn each new product as it hits the market. High-efficiency water heating for space heating and domestic hot water supply (high-efficiency boilers) is a prime example of this industry advancement. Unfortunately, there are many examples of improper and poor installation practices of high-efficiency boilers, with the operation and lifespan of these systems suffering greatly when this happens. One of the most common installation errors can be found with the intake and exhaust vent piping.

Most high-efficiency boilers and water heaters use what’s called, “Direct Venting,” which means the exhaust and intake are piped/ducted to outside air. If done correctly, this design eliminates variables that can negatively impact the efficiency of the combustion process, as it does not take much to de-rate a unit that has an efficiency rating of upwards of 95%. The gains from installing a direct vent high-efficiency gas-fired boiler or water heater can be quickly negated if this part of the system is incorrectly installed.

For this type of appliance to maintain its efficiency, it must convey flue gasses outward and fresh oxygenated air inward at specific minimum/maximum velocities and volumes. Aspects of installation that might affect these volumes and velocities include the vent piping’s nominal diameter, developed length, and pitch. Every manufacturer will include a set of instructions that provides this necessary information to reference during installation. It usually will offer a table or chart to provide nominal pipe size, maximum developed length of vent piping, fitting take-offs, authorized piping material, etc. Reference the tables below, which are from the installation and operation manual of a LAARS MagnaTherm boiler. Always follow these specifications to guarantee proper operation.

Hot Water Techinical Solutions

What's Happening at HSA?

The Whitehall/AcornVac Mobile Showroom

Last month, HSA had the opportunity to showcase the Whitehall/AcornVac Mobile Showroom in our Wisconsin and Illinois Territories. Whitehall Manufacturing is a tremendous plumbing resource for the healthcare industry with products that help ensure protection and safety, including patient care units, scrub sinks, bariatric toilets, dialysis boxes, and ligature-resistant plumbing fixtures and restroom accessories.

The mobile showroom features an assortment of products including the BestCare line by Whitehall and a functioning vacuum waste system by AcornVac. We will be releasing a virtual tour on our YouTube channel of this awesome showroom in case you missed it in person. Meanwhile, check out the product offerings Whitehall and AcornVac have to meet your needs.

Whitehall Manufacturing

ASA Central Dinner

Recently the HSA Team attended the ASA Central Dinner and was proud to be a dinner sponsor. They had the chance to mingle, bowl, play bocce ball, and hear inspiring words from Kathryn Poehling Seymour, ASA President, and Isaac Wambua, the keynote speaker. We can’t wait for the next ASA event! 

Golf, Golf, and More Golf....

HSA participated in multiple golf outings last month, including the AIA Northeast Illinois Golf Outing, 25th Annual MSC/MAPC Golf Scramble, and the Epstein Community Foundation Charity Golf Outing. Take a look at our team in action!

Need Product Fast?

Herkowski Stickler & Associates has an expansive assortment of products in warehouses at both its Illinois and Wisconsin facilities from leading plumbing manufacturers, including Bradley, Bradford White, Chronomite, Elmdor, Jay R. Smith, and Murdock. Contact us at to place an order!

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Manufacturer Highlights


Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co. offers a wide variety of Cleanout and Access Door models to meet the needs of any application.

Cleanouts provide access to pipes for easier cleaning and maintenance.

Access Doors provide an entry point in the wall or ceiling that allows for easier maintenance of plumbing or mechanical systems.

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AcornVac Toilets and Flush Plumes

A Flush Plume is the dispersal of potentially infectious aerosols released into the air resulting from a toilet flushing. These germs and bacteria can then land on nearby surfaces or even float outside of the restroom. Did you know AcornVac commissioned a test from NSF International to compare the flush of an AcornVac® toilet against other commonly used toilets placed in public restrooms? The AcornVac toilets showed no flush plume at all. The NSF International report stated, “the two AcornVac vacuum toilets had non-detectable levels of overspray.”

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Have You Seen the BradVan?

Join HSA's Tara Jensema as provides a virtual tour of the traveling Bradley showroom revealing the latest featured products, and discover how you can book the Bradvan for your location!

Follow us at @HSAreps to see our latest content.

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Herkowski Stickler & Associates

203 South Curtis Road, Milwaukee, WI 53214 

890 Supreme Drive, Bensenville, IL 60106 

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