Reliable. Forward thinking. Solution oriented. This is how people describe B&D Heating & Cooling.
Those traits, along with a powerful work ethic, were brought to the U.S. by Vasile Totorovici and Emilian Moldovan from Romania before they founded the company. Vasile immigrated to the States in 1995 and learned the HVAC trade. Emilian, or Emi, as everyone calls him, moved here in 2003, following his family who preceded him by eight years.
“I had a Master’s in computer-aided design and manufacturing in Romania,” said Emi. “Two years after arriving here, I joined Vasile and helped him take on more complicated projects.”
At the time, the company was focused on residential forced air. When Emi joined, they expanded into commercial work and hydronic projects. The company now has four technicians and tackles all variety of projects in the Chicago area, from service work to new construction.
Because of the B&D’s capacity for large, complex heating and cooling systems, they’ve forged a relationship with a local custom home builder, Glenn Gutnayer Custom Homes, and have for years been installing supremely comfortable systems in some of the finest homes in and around Chicago.
Northfield, IL, just outside of Chicago, has no shortage of million dollar-plus homes. The affluent bedroom community is in a perpetual state of new construction and renovation.
Glenn Gutnayer Custom Homes broke ground on a large residence in Northfield in 2018. B&D was hired to handle all the mechanicals, installing six forced air systems in the house before the end of the year. In 2019, Emi and Vasile returned for the final project: a large snowmelt system.
Above: The large custom residence in Northfield.
“This neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of snowmelt systems,” said Moldovan. “There’s not much room to push snow when there’s a big weather event, so many people have the snow trucked offsite. The owner of this property didn’t want to deal with any of that, so we designed a snowmelt system for the 4,800 square-foot driveway. Given the tight spaces between three giant garages on the property, it would’ve been tough to plow.”
Over the course of two weeks, the B&D crew installed three-quarter-inch REHAU tubing, a tekmar control system and a dedicated Alpine condensing boiler made by U.S. Boiler Company.
Above: The 4,800 square-foot snowmelt system includes 3/4” radiant tubing.
“This is not a very complicated system,” explained Emi. “Most of our boiler projects include 10 or 15 zones of radiant inside the home. Whether the jobs are complicated or not, we usually rely on our boiler rep, Lyall Thresher, for support. They’re a large part of the reason we use U.S. Boiler products, and we’ve worked with them for a long time. Mike Thresher and Darek Nowak are often onsite for startup, and even help us troubleshoot components they didn’t sell.”
The right support
“I met the B&D guys 12 or 13 years ago on their first ever radiant job,” said Mike Thresher, at Lyall Thresher. “It was a 27,000 square-foot house with a lot going on inside. They’re sharp, and always eager to learn. We provide training, but they’re very self-sufficient.”
In addition to providing training, Lyall Thresher offers design support and load calculation to B&D. Since Emi joined the company, they’ve installed condensing boilers almost exclusively, along with the occasional steam boiler.
“The Alpine is our go-to boiler,” said Emi. “We have about 120 of them in the field. We also started installing a few K2 boilers here and there, depending on the application. Both units are easy to program and service. Our familiarity with the product definitely makes our installations progress smoothly.”
The capacity options of the Alpine boiler, from 80-210 MBH as a wall-hung unit and floor-mounted commercial models from 500-800 MBH, allows B&D to install them on just about every hydronic project they encounter.
“Vasile and Emi aren’t afraid to try new things, but when they find something that works, they stick with it, like the Alpine,” said Nowak. “They’re loyal and creative, the kind of customer everyone wishes they had dozens of.”
The entire project was relatively straightforward. The fact that the boiler was dedicated to the snowmelt system helped. Because of the size and shape of the snowmelt zone, it took some time to design the loop layout. Three manifolds are pumped with Grundfos circulators. A Caleffi hydro separator is used to provide primary/secondary pumping, and makeup water/glycol is provided by an Axiom glycol feeder.
Above: B&D Heating and Cooling installed a dedicated 800 MBH U.S. Boiler Company Alpine Commercial boiler to satisfy the entire snowmelt load. The system’s near-boiler piping includes a large hydro-separator and three Grundfos ECM pumps.
The only actual challenge was coordinating with the other trades. From the time that ground preparation for the radiant layout began until concrete was cured, the entire driveway was off-limits.
“The customer is absolutely thrilled with the system,” said Emi. “We finished it in time for the last few snowfalls of the year. Everyone else on his block hired snow removal crews, and he just watched the snow melt as soon as it landed on the driveway. We love this kind of work, and appreciate the opportunity to provide high quality systems on par with what Glenn Gutnayer expects from all his subcontractors.”