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Case Studies

Oct 31, 2023 1:04:09 PM by Lauren Mangano

Decades of Comfort: A Germantown Homeowner's Journey with ECI HVAC Upgrades

PROBLEM: Our homeowner was looking for a high-quality cooling solution that would not compromise the integrity of his stone home. He was also interested in an efficient heating option to replace his outdated boiler.

SOLUTION: ECI installed a Unico High-Velocity system and a Buderus boiler radiant floor heating system. Throughout the years, we also added a second high-velocity system, an upgraded boiler, and a new water heater.


Discovering the Perfect HVAC Solution

About 20 years ago, our customer explored various options from different companies on how to incorporate air conditioning into his Germantown home. However, the challenge arose from the fact that the house was constructed with 18 inches of stone, leaving no space for traditional ductwork. Other companies suggested building soffits for ductwork, among other recommendations, but Bernie was not thrilled about these ideas.HVAC Upgrade in Germantown, Philadelphia Home

Fortunately, Bernie noticed our ECI trucks in the neighborhood, prompting him to investigate the services we provide. Upon discovering that we specialize in designing and installing Unico High-Velocity systems, which he had previously researched, Bernie decided to take advantage of a free consultation with ECI. It was during this consultation that he realized a high-velocity system was the ideal solution for his air conditioning needs.

Aside from his desire to add air conditioning to his home, our homeowner also aimed to enhance the efficiency of his heating system. Consequently, he made the decision to upgrade their outdated Slant Fin Boiler from 1964 to a modern Buderus Gas Boiler with radiant floor heating. This upgrade not only provided him with efficient and reliable heating but also delivered a quiet and cozy ambiance to his living space. The Buderus boiler has reliably served Bernie for the past 20 years, ensuring comfort throughout the seasons.

HVAC Installations Over the Years

High-velocity and radiant heating approximately 20 years ago

unico high-velocity

During the first installation at Bernie's home, we installed a Unico High-Velocity system in the basement to cool the first floor. Not only does this system provide efficient cooling without the need for bulky ductwork, but it also offers several other advantages that our homeowners were thrilled about.

One of the main benefits of the small-duct high-velocity system is in its name -- while a traditional forced air system would require major renovations in their stone home, the small ducts of the Unico system provided a seamless and non-intrusive solution. Bernie and Amy were relieved to discover that they didn't have to sacrifice the integrity of their beautiful home to enjoy the benefits of air conditioning. The Unico system's small ducts could be discreetly installed in tight spaces, ensuring that their home's original architecture remained intact. The small vents are also easily concealable.Wilson After - Unico

Another advantage of the high-velocity system is its quiet operation. Traditional HVAC systems can be noisy, especially when the air is forced through large ducts. However, the Unico system uses small, high-velocity outlets that create a gentle and whisper-quiet airflow. 

Furthermore, the high-velocity system offers superior humidity control, which is a must when living in the Philadelphia area. By delivering air at a higher velocity, the system effectively removes excess moisture from the air, creating a more comfortable indoor environment. The Unico high-velocity system is also energy-efficient, which catered to their interest in energy savings.Learn More About Unico High Velocity

buderus boiler

In an effort to enhance the efficiency of his heating system, we also replaced their 1964 Slant Fin gas boiler with a Buderus gas boiler. Impressed by the efficiency of radiant floor heating that Bernie had learned about online, we gladly installed this innovative heating option for him. Radiant floor heating systems produce heat through thermal radiation. By heating the floor rather than the surrounding air, they provide indirect, diffused heat that radiates from the floor up. This heat is absorbed by surrounding objects which help to warm the entire room. Unlike traditional heating systems that rely on forced air or radiators, radiant floor heating provides a more efficient and comfortable heating solution.

The advantage of a gas boiler radiant floor heating system is that it eliminates the need for bulky radiators or heating vents, as the heat is distributed evenly through the floor. This not only maximizes space utilization but also eliminates the circulation of dust and allergens that can occur with forced air systems.

Additionally, radiant floor heating is highly energy-efficient. Because the heat is delivered through the floor, it maintains a consistent temperature, minimizing heat loss and reducing energy consumption. It also allows for individual room control, so occupants can adjust the temperature to their desired comfort level in specific areas.

When speaking with Bernie, he reminisced on how much he loved the new boiler system. "It's quiet, it's a great unit, it's overly large-sized, and I still love the Buderus..."

High-efficiency boiler in 2019 and high-velocity system in 2021

Lochinvar Knight Fire-Tube Boiler Installation in Germantown, PAFast-forward to 2019, and it was time to replace old faithful with a new, high-efficiency boiler. ECI installed a Lochinvar Knight boiler with a 95% AFUE.

The Lochinvar Knight fire-tube boiler offers a range of benefits that made it an excellent choice for our homeowner. One of the key advantages of the Lochinvar Knight boiler is its advanced fire-tube design. This design maximizes heat transfer and efficiency by allowing combustion gases to flow through a series of tubes, increasing the surface area available for heat exchange. As a result, more heat is transferred to the water, allowing the boiler to operate at high efficiency levels.

The Lochinvar Knight boiler features a modulating burner for efficient heating and precise temperature control. It offers multiple venting options for easy installation and is known for its quiet operation. Learn more about the system's benefits below!

Lochinvar Knight Fire-Tube Boiler

In addition to the boiler replacement, we went back in 2021 to install a second high-velocity system in the attic to cool the second and third floors of the home. With all of these upgrades, Bernie was able to experience year-round comfort throughout his entire home.

New water heater in 2023

This year, we went back to Bernie's to replace his water heater with a Bradford White natural gas water heater. One of the key advantages of this water heater is its energy efficiency. By using natural gas as its fuel source, this water heater offers significant cost savings compared to electric water heaters. Natural gas is generally more affordable and can heat water more efficiently, resulting in lower energy bills for homeowners.

Furthermore, the Bradford White natural gas water heater boasts a high recovery rate, meaning it can quickly heat a large volume of water. This is particularly beneficial for households with multiple occupants or high hot water demands, as it ensures a steady and ample supply of hot water for various needs, such as showers, laundry, and dishwashing.

The water heater also features superior insulation, which helps to minimize heat loss and maximize energy efficiency. With its advanced insulation technology, the Bradford White water heater keeps the water hot for longer periods, reducing the need for frequent reheating and saving energy in the process. Lastly, Bradford White is known for its durable construction and long lifespan, meaning we won't have to install a new one for at least another 20 years!


It has been a pleasure to have Bernie as a customer over the last 20 years. We are happy to be able to provide him with efficient HVAC solutions that keep his home comfortable year after year. 

If you're interested in installing a high-velocity heating and cooling system, a Lochinvar boiler, or a Bradford White water heater in your home, contact us today!Contact ECI Comfort

ECI Comfort specializes in installing heating and cooling systems in the Delaware Valley area. If you are interested or would like to know more, click the button above or reach us at (215) 245-3200 or www.ecicomfort.com.

This entry was posted in Lochinvar, Efficiency, Gas Heat, Water Heater, Boilers, Philadelphia, PA, Gas Boiler, Unico High Velocity, High-Efficiency