One of the greatest forms of recognition for fine mechanical craftsmanship is peer review. So when Taco asked its broad, 16,000+ online FloPro community membership to submit photos of their best work (primarily in the hydronics category), 107 entries were received. About 2,000 participants cruised through the submissions while their casting votes.

The top two winners, as chosen by their peers, were Robert C. O'Brien, president of Technical Heating, based in Mount Sinai, NY, and Tim Reinhardt with Burnsville, MN-based Genz-Ryan Co.

O’Brien’s entry – an oil-fired system installed in a new home – was built by a team of 12 installers for a wounded veteran by the Long Island chapter of Oil Heat Cares, with components donated by Taco & Wales Darby and several other companies. The systems included an oil-fired boiler and indirect water heater. The oil tank was also donated and the oil was delivered free of charge.

The system that O’Brien helped with – to keep things simple – was a one-zone hydro-air installation with priority to an indirect tank for domestic water. The installation included a Taco air separator, two 007 circulators with IFC, isolation flanges, and a Taco 329 pressure reducer. The 1,500 sq.ft. “raised ranch” home was dedicated on Veteran’s Day, the day the soldier and his family moved in.

Reinhardt and the Genz-Ryan team installed a parallel primary/secondary system, after a storage tank to serve both radiant floor heating and pool heating. "The primary heat source is a geothermal water-to-water heat pump. For fossil fuel backup, we installed a 97% AFUE natural gas mod-con boiler," Reinhardt says.

"I often find that the bigger the system, the smaller the space we get for mechanical systems,” he adds. “It just doesn’t add up. So with that comes the need for smart use of hydronic components, all sized to do a big job, yet with little space required to get it done.”

Reinhardt says the team installed four Taco VDT circulators and several zone valves, 10 “00” series circulators, and three 2400 series pumps.

“Geothermal was chosen early-on as the primary heat source for the 13 radiant in-floor heating zones throughout the home,” Reinhardt explains. “We also installed three zones of snow and ice melt and summer-time pool heating.”

Taco sources they will repeat the "Do Your Best Work" contest next year.