A Customer Thank You to our Plumber

A customer called to thank our amazing plumber, Brian Kiehm!

_Every great business is built on friendship._.jpg

Our Customer, Mr. R called to thank our Plumbing team for great service and express how much he appreciated the work done at his dad's house.

His dad is an 81-year old retired surgeon.  He has always had an interest in how things work - plumbing, electrical, and the list goes on.  Mr. R's dad could not say enough about how well he handled the service call and how personable Brian Kiehm was during the job.

Great job, Brian!

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Brian Kiehm



For the Moran Group, customer service is our priority.  

Sure, every company says that, but at the Moran Group, we're a family company and we extend that relationship to our customers.


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Joe Beatty Gets Level 1 R&R Card Argonne Award for Lab HVAC Project

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Joe Beatty, F.E. Moran's Pipefitter was honored with an R&R Argonne award card for his work at Argonne National Laboratory. 

Chris Baltas, MDL Safety Manager said, "I don't give out many R&R cards to workers unless I feel they have gone above and beyond or have continually shown to be safety conscious."  He went on to tell the story of Joe Beatty and his gas line replacement project.

Baltas and Beatty were on opposite ends of a gas line that F.E. Moran was replacing.  Baltas was on the phone with the man on the other end of the gas line discussing if it was time to purge the line.  Baltas let Beatty know that they were ready to purge the line.  However, Beatty and his partner, Bruno, insisted in speaking in-person to verify that the line was ready to purge.

Baltas said, "I gave him a level 1 card shortly afterwards and thanked him for taking that extra step!"

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It’s our pleasure to assist the Will County Sheriff’s Office

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Ray Carpenter

Project Manager with F.E. Moran


When the county employees enter the new Will County Sheriff’s Facility in late November of this year it is sure that many of them will appreciate the nice ambiance of the buildings. New fixtures, computers, flooring and so forth but I wonder how many of these good people will give a thought to what went into the creation of such a facility; the concept, the planning, the architecture and from our standpoint at FE Moran, the mechanicals.

Each step in producing the finished building is critical. It involves much cooperation between contractors, suppliers, foreman, project managers and installers.

Mark Tetrick the project manager for FE Moran has the responsibility of coordinating the sheet metal and piping for the project as FE Moran was the lead contractor for the piping, sheet metal and building controls.

Although this project is certainly not the largest one FE Moran has tackled, there is still an enormous amount of materials and equipment required to complete such a building. 

Some of us employees get into the grind and don't think about the bigger picture.  When we reflect, we realize what this facility means to the people who live and work in this county.  Here is a nice facility that makes it possible for many people to be employed, being able to raise their families, pay their bills, and pay their taxes, which, in turn, educates the county's children and allows others to be employed.

There is a state of the art 911 center.  It helps anyone and everyone in the county who may need emergency assistance, saving lives.  What could be more crucial?

And of course all of us at FE Moran can appreciate their involvement with such a building reaping many of these same benefits as above.

In addition creating new relationships with vendors, contractors, equipment and control suppliers which gives us future references for new projects we may encounter.

So maybe next time we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles we face just pause for a moment and realize we are fulfilling a great need for a great many people. Contributing to our communities and to each other just by completing one project at a time.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this new Will County Sheriff’s Facility!

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Why Maintenance Agreements are Your Best Bet in HVAC

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Have you ever been in your office and all of a sudden need a fan?  

Or, it's the complete opposite.  It's ninety degrees outside, but you're wearing a sweater and have a space heater hidden under your desk.

You can avoid that.

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Proactive Maintenance Agreements

By having a proactive maintenance agreement, commercial building, residential high-rises, offices, and data centers reduce or eliminate HVAC downtime.  Not only that, you keep your system maintained, extending its lifetime and reducing energy costs.

What are the top benefits that maintenance agreement customers see?

1.  Reduced Equipment Failures

F.E. Moran Mechanical Services' customers have seen reduced equipment failures, downtime, and lost production.

2.  Lowered utility Bills

Energy bills are usually less once the building begins having regular maintenance.  Your system is running more efficiently and will be less likely to break down.

3.  Less Cost on Training

There is no need to train your internal maintenance manager or buy expensive tools to work with your HVAC system.  Rather than spending money on training and tools, you invest in a company that has been working on HVAC systems for thirty years.


F.E. Moran Mechanical Services has a full service, comprehensive maintenance agreement that includes repairs and preventative maintenance all at a fixed cost.  Businesses can easily budget their yearly HVAC needs with this simple solution.

Learn more about the proactive maintenance agreement here.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC Gaining Ground in the Global Market

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Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC systems are reaching new heights of popularity. 

VRF systems have already long been popular in Europe and Asia.  However, in the U.S. market ducts are built into most properties, so VRF isn't necessary. 

VRF's are beginning to gain traction in the U.S. because of the control.  VRF systems are easily able to be used in zones.  They are also much more energy efficient.  They save about 30% on HVAC energy costs.

Learn more about VRF systems in our article Why Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC Systems Are the Hot Topic of High-rise Buildings.     

variable refrigerant flow

Infographic via ACHR News.

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Employers Need to Emphasize On-the-Job Driving Safety by Banning Cell Phones

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On the job motor vehicle collisions are as prevalent as ever.  It is essential for employers to emphasize on-the-job driving safety.

In the past two years, motor vehicle crashes have increased 14%.

“That is the highest increase over a two-year period since 1963. More than 1,000 people are suffering from life-changing injuries. We also know that the number one cause of on-the-job deaths are motor vehicle collisions,” said Jenny M. Burke, Itasca, Illinois-based senior director of advocacy at the National Safety Council.

The major reason for the increase in crashes is the distracted driver.

In a survey, 79% of people said that they would make phone calls while driving if it were legal.  Another 53% admitted that they would text while driving if it were legal or that they already were.


Exxon Mobile, Shell Oil, and Time Warner have implemented a no cell phone policy.  Experts say others should follow suit.

“We recommend that (employers) ban cellphones from job sites and cabs of heavy equipment,” Ms. Burke said. “We recommend that there are safe limited zones to use cellphones, that they allow cellphone breaks so employees don’t feel like they are stranded and can’t make those phone calls.”

Read more at Business Insurance.

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Profile: WeWork | Chicago, IL

WeWork Profile, Chicago, IL

Contributor: Joseph Perrone, Sales Executive at F.E. Moran Fire Protection; Jason Winter, Project Executive at F.E. Moran; Jason Aeverman, Director of Commercial Plumbing at F.E. Moran; and Patrick Uphues, Project Manager at F.E. Moran

Writer: Sarah Block, Marketing Director at The Moran Group

When the innovative work space company WeWork needed an array of mechanical trades to complete a job with a tight deadline, the choice was simple.

With a sudden change in general contractors, Summit took over the project and was under the gun to meet quickly approaching deadlines at 111 West Illinois Street. Summit had worked with F.E. Moran HVAC in the past and had a good relationship with them, so Summit contacted Project Executive, Jason Winter, and brought them onto the project. With the deadline in mind, Mr. Winter suggested Summit bring on F.E. Moran for the plumbing and fire protection as well.


With three trades from one company working on the fast tracked WeWork project, they were able to synchronize to make it work. In the same week they signed the contract for the project, Summit and the Moran mechanical contractors met and quickly coordinated the project in one meeting.

F.E. Moran Fire Protection was signed on for a design/build and F.E. Moran and F.E. Moran Plumbing division had plan/spec projects. They were able to coordinate everything with enough time to get material on site within a week of the meeting. By working together behind the scenes, the three companies were able to coordinate and resolve issues without having to take up valuable time or use the GC as a go between.


The Moran mechanical contractors found that working on the same project solved a lot of issues that arise while doing construction. There was no arguing over space. They already had a rapport that made working together and coordinating seamless. It provided a comfortable working environment that resulted in a quick turn over.

The project worked out well for all involved. The Moran mechanical contractors enjoyed the opportunity to work together and Summit Design and Build was happy to get a quick turnover. Ari Killian of Summit Design and Build said, "I....want to thank the F.E. Moran team on a job well done. You guys have been great and [we] look forward to working with you again."

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CSI INET Integration: An Interview with Tom Rogers, Building Controls Manager

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Northbrook, IL -- Tom Roger, F.E. Moran Mechanical Services' Building Controls Manager explains why he chose Computrols over their competitors for his I/NET Integration solution.

Computrols has provided a proven integration solution to I/NET 7 and I/NET 2000 systems for nearly a decade that can be found in facilities across the country. Unlike other I/NET integration solutions that rely on slow serial ports, our engineers have developed a solution that resides directly on the controller LAN and SubLAN and allows the existing I/NET 2000 or I/NET 7 workstations to remain in place as needed. 

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$50 Million Building Permit Approved for Wrigley Field Hotel, F.E. Moran Joins Project

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Chicago, IL – The Ricketts family has gotten the building permit for Hotel Zachery, a Wrigley Field adjacent hotel.

It is scheduled to open in 2018.

The hotel will be six-stories with 179 guest rooms and 74 parking spots.  The ground floor will be for commercial use.

Walsh Construction is the general contractor.  F.E. Moran is the HVAC contractor.  See the partial-list of contractors at Chicago Construction News.

Hickory Street Capital is the project’s owner.  This is a real estate development company that is owned by the Ricketts Family.

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5 HVAC Innovations That Are Starting New Trends

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Construction isn’t the only industry seeing a shift in thinking.  Technology is advancing and HVAC is not being left out.  What are some new HVAC innovations changing the industry landscape?

1.     Electronic Air Cleaners

People are becoming more aware of the importance of clean air.  They are adding electronic air cleaners which are 40 times more efficient than a filter in removing unhealthy particles.

2.     Right-sizing

Rightsizing HVAC systems brings the system to peak efficiency.  Learn more about right-sizing here.

3.     Ductless HVAC

Ductless HVAC is a great option for buildings built before ducts were common.  Within 5 years, they could represent 15% of the industry revenues.

4.     HVAC Maintenance

HVAC maintenance needs are becoming more and more known.  By rightsizing, changing filters monthly, and having a maintenance agreement in place, building owners can see 10-15 years of life from their HVAC system.

5.     Energy Cost Smarts

The use of Building Automation Systems (BAS), regular maintenance, and cutting power from unused electronics (75% of utility costs are from electronics in standby or off mode) is cutting utility bills for property owners.


As home and building owners become more knowledgeable on the link between HVAC and energy costs, the HVAC innovations will become even more prevalent.  We’re excited to see what is to come in the next 10 years.

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Recall Alert: Genie Recalls Aerial Lifts

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Genie, Redmond, Wash., a Terex Brand, is recalling certain aerial lifts. The company has found that weld debris in the boom tubes could lead to premature and excessive wear of the upper wear pads. This excessive wear can lead to potential damage to the boom tubes and could cause the platform to drop.

Affected models and serial numbers include:


1.       SX15015H-101 to 161

2.       SX15016H-162 to 228

3.       SX150H-500 to 501


1.       SX18014-101 to 196

2.       SX18015-197 to 313

3.       SX18016-314 to 317

4.       SX18016H-318 to 360

5.       SX180H-600 to 602

Those with impacted machines should order a kit to replace the wear pads. Learn more about the recall and find how to order the kit.

The affected machines may remain in service until this safety notice is completed, provided that inspection for wear pads is included as part of the pre-operation inspections outlined in the machine’s operator’s manual.

Company statement: Genie takes issues like this very seriously and has been proactively working with the customers directly impacted by this issue. Genie has updated its manufacturing processes to resolve the issue with new machines in production, as well as have developed a kit to update affected machines in the field. 


F.E. Moran to Complete HVAC Project for Willis Tower

Willis Tower HVAC

Chicago, IL – Willis Tower is going to look a little different soon.  Chicago has issued a permit for a $50 million building permit to create a retail, entertainment, and dining space wrap around the building.

The addition will be 300,000 square feet with a glass atrium.  The glass atrium adds an extra layer of complication to the HVAC project, and we are excited to tackle it.

Learn more about the project at Chicago Construction News.

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How to make your HVAC more efficient

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How do I make my HVAC more efficient?  It’s something that our team at F.E. Moran Mechanical Services gets asked often.  It’s no wonder that this is a hot topic for commercial buildings.  It costs $.98 per 100 cubic feet to heat and cool a commercial facility on average. 

Get Your HVAC System in Top Working Order

Having an energy efficient HVAC system is not difficult if your system is in good working order to begin with.  That is why you want to start with 1) energy efficient, Energy Star HVAC equipment or 2) Commissioning, re-commissioning, or retro-commissioning your current HVAC system.  Commissioning is when you hire an HVAC servicer who works to get the system as efficient as possible.  Retro-commissioning is what it is called the first time a system has been commissioned that has already been installed and used.  Re-commissioning is what it is called when systems are commissioned after the retro-commissioning has taken place.


Keep Your System Working Efficiently 

To keep a commercial facility’s HVAC system working efficiently, you should complete the following tasks monthly:  1) Change the filters.  2)  Clean the air conditioning coils.

In addition to these tasks, add a building automation system (BAS).  A BAS can be programmed to reduce the air conditioning when the building is unoccupied and turn it up when the workday starts, saving energy usage.  It also has extra benefits like keeping record of your usage, so you can make smart decisions and a single portal control.  If your commercial business uses multiple buildings, you can control all of the HVAC from one portal, saving money in payroll.

Learn more about energy efficient HVAC here.

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The Moran Group’s New Website Promotes Consumer Learning

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Northbrook, IL – The Moran Group wants the new generation website to focus on providing relevant information to the customer.  Their new website, which can be viewed at www.femoran.com, puts the customer journey first, and they are excited to provide a hub for businesses needing a go-to place for educational content on HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, and the latest on construction.

When a business has a problem – a poor fire sprinkler inspection report, inefficient HVAC, or   plumbing issues – what do most people want to do first?  Research and understand their problem.  The Moran Group will no longer say, buy from us.  They say, here is some information you will find useful,  to better understand  your problem, potential solutions to that problem, and what you might want to consider to find the best provider for your business.  While they appreciate being the best provider for your business, they might not always be.  Through research using the Moran Group learning hub, you can read articles, case studies, take e-courses, or watch videos to learn more about your issue.  Then you can make an informed decision and know that you are getting the best solution for your business.  

Brian Ramsey, President of The Moran Group said, “We are excited to launch our new website that better serves our current and future customers.  Our learning hub allows us to stay up-to-date with new developments in our industry.  With broader access to this information, customers have the opportunity to better understand and evaluate their options related to HVAC, plumbing and fire protection issues.”

Customers and readers will find that the new website is simple, easy to navigate, and full of free information.  A bonus for customers is our Client Portal.  This is a space where customers can privately login to view inspection reports and other documentation.

The Moran Group recognizes the need to go beyond the mechanical trades’ typical sales positioning and provide what our readers can really use:  reliable information to help them make informed decisions.

The Moran Group consists of :  F.E. Moran, HVAC construction; F.E. Moran Plumbing, plumbing design/build and service; F.E. Moran Mechanical Services, HVAC service and retrofit; F.E. Moran Fire Protection Northern Illinois, design/build and service in Northern Illinois; F.E. Moran Fire Protection National, design/build and service nationally; and F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems, industrial fire protection nationally.  The Moran Group has been serving the commercial, industrial, and residential community for 60 years.  

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Meet Lumastream

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Do you want to not change a light bulb again in your life (well, 50,000 hours)?  Lumastream is a revolutionary building product that Brian Moran, our CEO, loved so much he had them installed in his home.  While Brian had them installed in his home, the impact that Lumastream could have on a business is huge.

Lumastream is a light fixture that only uses 18/2 or 16/2 wire with no conduit necessary.  The technology has no electronics in the fixtures, just an LED chip, so there is less opportunity for early burn out or breaking.  Because of this streamlined design, less heat is produced.  They estimate that consumers save 1 watt of energy for every 3 watts of lighting energy used.  Consumers will get triple their energy efficiency with the LED light bulbs, less energy needed to run the fixtures, and savings in AC costs.


The aesthetics are a major pull for commercial facilities.  Dunkin Donuts has Lumastream in a number of their stores.  They can quickly customize the color of their lights to reflect their brand colors or celebrate the holidays.  Dunkin Donuts chose to have the outer rim lights of the building in a sunset hue – like their logo.  The coloring of the bulb is closer to natural light.  Any photographer reading this knows that natural light is the most photogenic and true.  Tesla chose to use Lumastream in all of their dealerships, so the color of the cars seen in dealerships were as accurate as possible to what would be seen on the road.

The Moran Group in partnership with Liaison Automation (LiaisonHomes.com or 888-279-1235) can help you navigate this new technology from concept to design to install and service.  We have a trained team of engineers, programmers and installers who can handle any size project.


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Data Center HVAC and the Race to Improve PUE

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Guest Blog By Scott Wilson, HVACSchool.org


Every industry has different ventilation and cooling needs that require some level of customization when designing and building systems to meet those demands. You could even say there are as many specialties in the HVAC trade as there are unique ways to tailor systems to different industrial applications. But few have emerged as quickly or have as big a role in the future of the trade as the specialized systems used to keep data centers cool.

Data centers are the engines that run the internet and are what make distributed computing possible, offering efficient performance at a low price. The trend of software being offered as a service (like Microsoft’s Office 365 product) and with the likes of Facebook and Google keeping all their horsepower in remote facilities, thousands and thousands of servers housed in data centers around the world are relied upon to run continuously day and night.

The internet never sleeps and data centers must never go down. Billions of dollars of commerce and information flow through those wires, so data center HVAC work is also mission critical. This has meant incorporating redundancies to keep temperature, humidity, and particulate count within acceptable parameters even if some units go down or if electricity fails.

By all accounts, the reliance on remote data centers will only increase for the foreseeable future. In fact, according to Data Center Dynamics, construction of new data centers will increase at a rate of about nine percent per year through 2019.

Data centers are all about power, and as the laws of thermodynamics dictate, that power turns into heat at some point. Without massive cooling arrangements, all those vital servers would eventually turn into molten metal.


Data Center HVAC Has Come a Long Way


Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is the metric used to measure the energy efficiency of data centers. To find the PUE, you simply take the total energy required to run a data center (including everything from lighting to HVAC) and divide it by the energy used just to run the servers. In 2007, the average PUE for all U.S. data centers was 2, meaning that 2 watts of overhead energy was used for every 1 watt used for computing power.


The initial approach to data center cooling was just to drop in big coolers and fans as a way to muscle through the heat. But since even a small reduction in that PUE number can mean millions of dollars in savings on energy consumption, there was a major incentive to develop more efficient and specialized systems.


Designs evolved to make use of hot and cool aisles, with servers venting into a hot aisle and large overhead plenums sucking the hot air into chillers to bring the temperature down. Cold air would then be pushed out again beneath raised floors and vented into the cool aisles, where the front edge of the servers would pull it in again.


Although this technique provided real advantages over brute-force, whole-room cooling, many HVAC contractors are taking it further still. Now, some centers are expressly located in cold climates to make maximum use of external air temperatures and reduce the reliance on chillers. Others use passive circulation techniques to reduce the need for powerful circulating fans.


Advances in HVAC design strategies and technology drove the average PUE down to about 1.7 by 2014. But some data center operators have gone even further, with Google hitting an average PUE of 1.12 across all its data centers as of early 2017.


A low PUE is a competitive advantage and HVAC contractors that can put in systems to drop that ratio have a serious edge over the competition. The latest methods for achieving new lows in that PUE number may not even be publicized yet.


As a relatively new practice area, data center HVAC work is also evolving at a much more rapid pace than other areas of the trade. According to Google’s VP of Data Center Operations, in almost seven years, the internet giant changed their data center cooling strategy five different times.


The tolerances and requirements to hit low PUE ratios while maintaining a high degree of reliability aren’t something you just learn on the job. Understanding the science behind air circulation and the refrigeration cycle are concepts you need on day one, making formal education and training more important for preparing to enter the trade than ever before.


Scott is an IT consultant based in the North West and the lead contributor for HVACSchool.org. As a dedicated resource for people exploring HVAC education and training options, the staff at HVACSchool.org works hard to keep up with the latest developments in the industry as a way to keep students and trades-people ahead of the curve.

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Case Study Air Handling Unit Retrofit

Contributor:  Mike Maloni,  Service Project Executive of F.E. Moran Mechanical Services
Writer:  Sarah Block, Marketing Director of The Moran Group

When a fully-staffed office decided they needed a new air handling unit without disrupting business, they called F.E. Moran Mechanical Services for their ability to think outside the box to solve unique issues.

Commercial Facility with Unusual Layout

A Lombard, IL commercial building plagued with high energy bills chose to upgrade to a high efficiency air handling unit on the fourth, sixth, and seventh floors of the high-rise building. The problem: the mechanical room was in the center of an office filled with employees on the sixth and seventh floors. With the need to upgrade the system, but without disrupting business, this commercial business chose F.E. Moran Mechanical Services as the lead contractor to coordinate the difficult task.

Numerous Hurdles Conquered over Holiday Weekend

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Due to the location of the mechanical rooms, this project was certain to have obstacles. The first, F.E. Moran had to install a new air handling unit in the center of two occupied floors without disrupting business or disturbing the facility. To solve this problem, the installation was scheduled over the Thanksgiving holiday, to avoid disturbing employees. However, this tight timeline posed its own difficulties. The F.E. Moran Mechanical Services crew now had to tightly coordinate the installation and all sub-contractors scheduled work to ensure all work was complete before employees arrived Monday morning.

The dismantling of the old air handling system posed a new problem. The old air handling unit was built in 1982. It was so large it needed to be dismantled piece by piece to remove it, and the mechanical room needed to be re-structured. The original air handling unit was obtrusive, providing only a foot of space for service personnel to work. Additionally, a vestibule was inside the already small mechanical room, and needed to be taken down without disturbing employees or blemishing the building.

The final hurtle was moving the new air handling unit onto the sixth and seventh floors without disturbing the building. With the issue of moving a large air handling unit and an additional problem of only having passenger elevators to move it in, the team needed to think outside of the box.

Creative Thinking Provides Solid Solutions

F.E. Moran Mechanical Services was hired as the lead contractor, putting them in charge of coordinating all sub-contractors. Mr. Maloni made a color-coordinated schedule for all contractors, detailing when and where each contractor needed to be. Mr. Maloni worked around the clock the days before the project began to ensure perfect coordination and set-up, ultimately resulting in only two hours of sleep between Tuesday and Thursday. Contractors worked from Tuesday morning to Sunday evening, working straight through Thanksgiving. The crews celebrated Thanksgiving together with turkey chili delivered the morning of Thanksgiving by Mr. Maloni's wife.

To move the air handling unit into the building, three foremen built a custom dolly that angled the pieces of the air handling unit into an arrangement that fit into the passenger elevator without scuffing walls, floors, or ceilings. The team built mock up equipment to test paths and angles to ensure the interior remained flawless. In the F.E. Moran shop, the air handling unit was dismantled for passage. The custom dolly seamlessly transported the unit without issue.

Now, the team had to rebuild the air handling unit in the tight mechanical room. To do this, the team added temporary structural beams above the actual structural beams and used them to hoist the 3,000 pound equipment using chain falls into the air to piece the air handling unit together like a puzzle. Mr. Maloni described it as, "building a ship in a bottle."

Mission Accomplished in Six Days

F.E. Moran completed the project in six days. By Monday morning, employees entered their offices without incident. The sixth and seventh floors were clean and back in working order.

air handling unit

Now the commercial facility had a new, energy efficient air handling system with a smooth, non-disruptive installation. The new air handling unit had many benefits. It was much smaller than the original, providing usable room in the mechanical room for service. An added bonus was the energy efficiency. ComEd gave the facility an $8,900 rebate, to be taken directly off their energy bills, as a benefit of having an energy efficient system. While the old system had 2 compressors, the new air handling unit had scroll compressors with a variable frequency drive that gave a smaller electrical pulse when the unit wasn't needed, reducing energy bills and usage.

F.E. Moran Mechanical Services has been providing HVAC mechanical services for commercial facilities for more than twenty years. They were the first US Star Certified mechanical services contractor in the country, installing, maintaining, and repairing complex HVAC and building automation systems for a variety of markets.

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Infinity Tub Installation Case Study

FE Moran Plumbers in Action

infinity tub installation

Project:  PIRCHin Oakbrook Center
Task: Placement and Install of 2400lbs Solid Stone Infinity Tub

After accepting delivery and maneuvering this behemoth through and around approximately 30 tradesmen installing tile, cabinets, and other finishes, the "real work" began.

Months ago, the floor below the tub was reinforced to accept the weight of this 2,400 pound tub which holds approximately 710 pounds of water. The finished product was set to have a small rock feature around the perimeter with a drain to accept the overflow of the "infinity" feature. This means that the tub had to be set on top of a raised platform. This raised platform was built by the GC with a small opening left for our plumbers to tie in the drain line (which is underneath the tub and recessed slightly into the solid stone bottom).

Journeyman Plumber Jim Jolivette was tasked with the burden of lining up the drain pipes as the tub was lowered and then soldering the pieces together in a manner that ensures no leaking into the finished spaces below. With some much needed help from Assistant Project Manager Dan Yungerman (who says the PM staff doesn't get dirty?), the boys finally set, leveled, and squared this $20,000 tub which sits as the centerpiece of a bath display that showcases upwards of $100,000 worth of plumbing fixtures.

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Data Center HVAC Lift Case Study

Contributor:  Mike Maloni, Service Project Executive at F.E. Moran Mechanical Services
Writer:  Sarah Block, Marketing Director at The Moran Group


data center HVAC lift


When a major Chicago data center needed an HVAC change, they contacted F.E. Moran Mechanical Services and Dearborn Engineering to get them out of a tight situation.

Data Center Serving 9th Largest Financial District in the World

Serving one of the largest financial districts in the world, this Chicago data center is an integral part of Chicago business. With more than 183,000 square feet of secure and reliable data center space, they keep businesses running with high-density power configurations. When F.E. Moran Mechanical Services was approached to provide HVAC service for the data center, they were eager to begin and face the upcoming challenges head on.

Two Inches to Spare

This project included adding chillers and evaporative condensers that added up to 20,000 pounds. The equipment needed to be lifted onto the roof of a 7-story building on LaSalle Street, a bustling, compact area.

F.E. Moran Mechanical Services worked with Dearborn Engineering to safely coordinate and complete the lift. They rented the largest truck crane available that was 600 tons. The two groups had to work together to coordinate and maneuver this large piece of equipment between CTA stops and buildings - working in a very tight spot. With the huge crane and tight location, great care needed to be taken in every move they made.

Another issue that showed itself was the deteriorating conditions of Chicago sidewalks along with the data tunnels beneath the sidewalk. The 600 ton crane could cause the sidewalk to crumble beneath it. A solution needed to be found.

Carefully Choreographed Dance

On Friday, February 20, 2015, F.E. Moran Mechanical Services and Dearborn Engineering performed the set-up of the lift site. It was no easy task. They calculated a short swing radius, distance of counter weights to the nearby building, pick-points, and roof edge of the buildings. In the end, they had mere inches between the nearby building and the crane. There was no room for mistakes.

To resolve the crumbling sidewalk issue, Dearborn Engineering cut the sidewalk, tied shoring onto the foundation of the building, and placed two outriggers for support.

On Saturday, the lift was completed: over 100,000 pounds of equipment (with the heaviest piece = 20,000 pounds) was hauled onto the roof of the data center and brought into the new penthouse. It took the entire next day to remove the set-up for the lift

In the end, the coordination, meetings, and detailed planning allowed the lift to go off without a hitch. By the end of the day on Saturday, all HVAC equipment, structural steel, panels, and electrical equipment was safely inside the building. Service Project Executive Mike Maloni said, "This project was both fun and challenging. With careful planning and coordination with the City of Chicago, Coresite, HITT Contracting, Stephenson Crane & Dearborn Engineering, the crane lift went seamlessly. This difficult task allowed us to really exercise our skills. We're very proud of the results."

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Luxury Condo Gets an Upgraded Boiler in the Gold Coast of Chicago

Contributor: Mike Maloni, Service Project Executive at F.E. Moran Mechanical Services
Writer: Sarah Block, Marketing Director at The Moran Group

When F.E. Moran Mechanical Services (MMS) was called to install a new boiler at a Gold Coast luxury condo complex, the work was like building a ship in a bottle.

state of the art boiler

Luxury Condo Almost Has It All

The luxury condo in the affluent Gold Coast neighborhood was built in the mid-1960s and still had the original boiler, which took up approximately 75% of the mechanical room. The high-rise almost has it all, a ballroom with caterer kitchen, indoor swimming pool, exercise facilities, rooftop decks, valet parking and more. What it didn't have was an updated boiler, and it was time to change that. The old boiler was massive, but only had an output of 6 million BTUs with 80% efficiency. It was time to make a change.

MMS' bid was accepted to build boilers and rough in plumbing. F.E. Moran Plumbing was brought in to complete the heat exchangers, domestic water pumps, and pipes.

Small Spaces and Sediment

With 40 floors of condos, having an energy efficient boiler is important. The cost of heating and hot water can be astronomical with one bedroom condos having 2,000 square feet. It was necessary to replace the new boiler; however, it would also be a very difficult task. The boiler was put into the basement of the building before the building was erected. The building was built around the giant boiler. The contractors considered getting an external boiler that would pump in heat from an external source (the project took place in the summer, so comfort heating wasn't an issue); however, it would save $200,000 to work around the existing boiler. It was ultimately decided to work in the small space of the mechanical room rather than get an external boiler.

Because of the decision to work around the boiler, contractors couldn't work at the same time. This caused an obstacle in scheduling work for HVAC. Plumbing, electrical, and demo, and insulation contractors needed to coordinate a tight schedule, made tighter because the water could only be shut off between midnight and 6am.

An added issue was with the fifty year old boiler and pipes, whenever the water was shut off, sediment would run through the pipes clogging showers and sinks. F.E. Moran Mechanical Services needed to find a solution.

Everything Falls into Place

When F.E. Moran Mechanical Services bid on the project, they already had a team compiled, making the project infinitely easier. They brought on Dan Yungerman from F.E. Moran Plumbing, McWilliams for electrical, FCI for GC work, Falls for insulation, and Nicholson for demo. Because the team was already established and familiar with each other, they were able to coordinate and schedule seamlessly. A schedule was determined that allowed for each contractor to have time in the 30x20 room (with 20x20 of the room used by the boiler) on their own to complete the work.

To ease the space issue, eventually the mechanical room was demoed and an older, unused boiler was used in another space and tied into the water system. The mechanical room was then re-designed and ready for the new boilers.

To resolve the sediment issue, F.E. Moran decided to do a pipe freeze. When a pipe freeze is conducted, a jacket is added to the pipe and liquid nitrogen is pumped through. The nitrogen quickly freezes the water in the jacket and blocks the water. This allows work to be done. When the water was shut down without the pipe freeze, 50 condos complained of clogged drains. After the pipe freeze water shut down, only 16 units had sediment issues.

In the end, the project was completed on time and within budget. The new boiler was a success. Instead of having a large, low efficiency boiler, the condo now has 4 small boilers at 2 million BTUs each, totaling 8 million BTUs. It was also 95% efficient, so the building got more heat allowance, more efficiency, and more free space in their mechanical room.

Mike Maloni said, "When MMS collaborated with F.E. Moran Plumbing, it made this project not only turnkey, but also so much easier. We were able to coordinate with each other easily. It was like a ship in a bottle, but it all came together because of careful coordination."

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