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With water companies continuing to reduce the mains pressure to help hit leakage targets, the requirement particularly from local authorities and housing associations for pressure boosting equipment to ensure there’s water coming out of the taps on the top floors of tower blocks continues to grow. Un-boosted water struggles to get above the third floor in most parts of the country.
A company that has specialised in the provision of these systems is Letchworth-based Complete Building Services (CBS). Director Peter Bradbury says that several of their clients have been looking to install pressure boosting equipment and the key to the success of these projects – apart from reliable pressure boosting sets – is easy installation and as little disruption to the lives of tenants as possible during the installation process. They’ve hit on a solution to all these requirements through their partnership with leading pump manufacturer Wilo.
This is perfectly illustrated by recent work undertaken by the company for clients Enfield Homes, the social housing arms-length management organisation (ALMO) for Enfield Council. Four tower blocks in Enfield, just inside the M25 in north London needed pressure boosting equipment to get the mains water reliably up to the top of the 13 story buildings.
The existing equipment – based in the basement of Brittany House was not up to the job and its reliability had begun to be called into question. CBS was asked to provide a solution that would provide reliability, cost effectiveness and the minimum of disruption to the tenants in the nearly 400 apartments affected. CBS is well placed to deliver the complete package of support with its excavation, building and heating and plumbing expertise.
Enter Wilo UK with its comprehensive range of pressure boosting sets. They recommended their Wilo Comfort – Vario COR-2 Helix VE speed controlled pressure booster set, supplied with a CAVSA anti surge valve to address the potential issue of hydraulic shock in the mains water system. Controlling the flow of water into the system can prove difficult, as you don’t want to affect the flow rate under normal working conditions. Wilo multi-pump sets are fitted with a CFS (controlled fill system) which limits the starting sequence after a forced shut down reducing the rate at which the system is refilled.
Preventing a vacuum can be achieved by fitting CAVSA valves (combined air vent & surge arrestor) at the top of each riser which will act as a vacuum break by allowing air to enter the system. These valves will also control the release of the air from the system when it starts to refill, therefore slowing down the rate at which the water enters the system.
The pump set selected for this project combines three pumps and the three-pump approach sees one operating, one able to assist if the call on water exceeds the capacity of that first pump, whilst a third ‘sleeps’. All three pumps operate on a cycle, ensuring even wear across each of the pumps, with the added benefit that there is no stagnation of water addressing any legionella bacteria issues in the system.
The Wilo pressure boosting system option selected by CBS - a Wilo-SiBoost Smart Helix VE - delivers in all areas. Powerful motors allow a powerful drive and reliable pressure boosting. The highly efficient automatic functions offer a wide range of flexible parameters to be utilised to optimise the pressure control according to the specific characteristics of the building's water network. Moreover, the system hydraulics were designed to meet the highest demands in terms of long service life and effectiveness. Beyond the optimised 2D/3D laser-welded pump stages, flanged pipes minimise pressure losses while the stainless steel, high quality hydraulic parts ensure a high resistance to corrosion. The installation-friendly systems are easy to operate. The display with in-built backlight, shows all relevant information at any time and the transparent menu structure allows quick access to the main parameters.
Set-up is achieved in no time thanks to the standard interface on the control cabinet and the pumps. The combination of an LC display and "red-button technology" from Wilo, allows easy settings and status information and the Wilo systems are ready for use very quickly. In order to optimise security, the pressure gauge and the pressure transmitter sensors are protected with extra covers. In addition, a cable channel ensures improved integration of the cables. Communication between the pressure boosting pumps and building management systems if installed, is possible via different data buses, including LON, ModBus and BACnet.
The Wilo-SiBoost Smart Helix VE system has two to four stainless steel high-pressure centrifugal pumps – in this case three - of the Helix VE range with an IE2-equivalent standard motor. The pumps of this highly efficient and connection-ready water-supply unit are switched in parallel and vertically arranged - including an air-cooled, integrated frequency converter. The integrated dry-running protection makes sure that in the event of low water, the motor control electronics will be automatically switched off. Thanks to the Smart Controller SCe control device, operating this system is particularly easy.
The solution suggested using a Wilo pressure pump does the job perfectly and the design of the unit offers the in-built reliability and back-up that is essential for us and the tenants
Kevin Alexander, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Enfield Homes
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