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Ocean-front Geothermal

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An Intro to Ocean-front Geothermal Systems

There is a vast quantity of free, clean, and renewable energy in our ponds, oceans, and the waters that surround the Vineyard. Through the use of geothermal heat pumps, we can collect and concentrate this low grade stored solar energy into high grade energy to heat and cool our buildings. This energy is available 24 hours a day all year long.

Because the Sun is storing this energy for free, a geothermal heat pump can typically collect 2 to 4 units of free energy for every unit of energy put into the heat pump. The end result is an efficiency ranging from 300 to 500%! In comparison, boilers and furnaces are fast approaching their limit of efficiency (currently some of them have 98% efficiency) of 100%.

Because geothermal systems are 3 to 5 times more efficient than the best fossil fuel systems, their operating costs are about half. In other words, the annual cost for electricity to run a geothermal system is half the annual cost of propane or fuel oil to run a furnace or boiler.
We proposed our ocean based geothermal system in November 2006, and our pond based approach in September 2007. The following sections will have additional details about the ocean and pond approaches as well as an introduction to some ecological and permitting issues.
This presentation describes the application of a system already in use around the world to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 50% for buildings on or near the shore. This system uses the amazing power of the Sun and has no adverse environmental impact.

The Concept of Ocean-front Geothermal

Ocean Front Geothermal is slimjimheatexchanger1our application of the geothermal system in a new and innovative way. We propose the use of a titanium plate heat exchanger, suspended below a dock or pier, to extract the immense stored solar energy in the ocean to provide the heating, cooling, and hot water for any size building on or near the shore – a single family home, a restaurant, a hotel, a hospital, or a downtown center.

This system will slimjimheatexchanger2reduce operating costs up to 50% compared to a 95% efficient fossil fuel system. Perhaps the best illustration of a pond or ocean based geothermal system in operation is the Coast Guard Chicago Marine Safety Station.

Located at the mouth of the Chicago River slimjimheatexchanger3on Lake Michigan, this structure was built in 1935 and used until the late 80s when it was boarded up. In 2005, the City of Chicago and the Coast Guard decided to renovate it and make it into an extremely efficient “green” building. The Army Corps of Engineers determined that the most green and cost effective heating and cooling system would be a 32 ton SlimJim heat exchanger suspended under the pier in front of the Station. This plate heat exchanger uses stored solar energy in Lake Michigan to provide all of the heating and cooling for the 12,000 square foot structure.

In February 2006, during a very cold winter, the Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw was plowing through the two foot thick layer of ice in front of the Coast Guard Station. Even though the Lake water was barely above 37 F, the geothermal system worked flawlessly and the officers on duty were warm and toasty. The Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and the City of Chicago agree there is no adverse environmental impact on the Lake from this installation.

Now that the Coast Guard has proven that this technology is safe, dependable, and really performs throughout the brutal Chicago winter and summer weather, we feel comfortable introducing the idea of Ocean Front Geothermal to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Any structure near the shore can have their total heating and cooling loads easily met by a plate heat exchanger submerged in the water and supply and return pipes connecting to the heat exchanger to inside heat pumps.

Because this system is scalable, it is completely realistic to serve an entire downtown with a municipal geothermal system – providing stored solar energy from the ocean to area businesses and residences – reducing fossil fuel use (and potential carbon dioxide generation) by 50%, reducing the operating costs for homes and businesses, and providing an additional “green” revenue stream for the municipality.

The Amazing Potential of Stored Solar Energy:

We are surrounded by both water and a nearly unlimited source of energy – the Sun stores 500 times more energy in the Earth and oceans than mankind uses every year. This energy is available to us day and night, summer and winter, anytime we need it. We can use this stored solar energy to heat and cool buildings, heat pools and spas, and make domestic hot water.

Because the geothermal process involves moving stored solar energy, not making it, typical efficiencies are between 300 and 500%. This is possible because the Sun gives us most of this energy for free – we just have to move it into a building with a heat pump.

This level of efficiency means that geothermal systems save at up to 50% when compared to conventional fossil fuel systems (such as a 98% efficient Viessmann boiler) – so payback periods can be as short as 5 years.

The Big Picture: Both Sunshine and Stored Solar Energy

We have been focused on using the Sun when it shines (or using the wind when it blows) to make electricity. It is counterintuitive to imagine that there is more that the Sun could give us besides sunshine.

But the reality is that we are inundated with free energy from the Sun all year long – it just gets stored invisibly in the Earth, ponds, lakes, and oceans where it awaits our use.

In the past, there was no realistic way to access this stored solar energy in the ocean so we didn’t even consider it as a source.

This meant that we had no easy way to deal with at least half of our problem (in terms of global warming, carbon dioxide generation, and fuel use) – the heating and cooling of buildings.

But with the innovation of the SlimJim stainless steel or titanium plate heat exchanger, we now have an easy, affordable, environmentally sound, and money saving way to extract that immense source of stored solar energy in the ocean – and finally tackle the issue of heating and cooling buildings.cg-mackinaw

A Brief History of Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation

  The heating, cooling, and ventilation industry is quite young – equipment and techniques were developed in the 1930s and 40s and solidified in the 50s and 60s.  Since then, we have seen gradual improvements in efficiency, comfort,  and reliability.  The two biggest innovations to take us into the modern age (2017) have been the computerization of the equipment and the ability…

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About Nelson Mechanical Design (NMD)

NMD is Martha’s Vineyard “green” mechanical contractor, designing and installing just about anything to do with heating, cooling, domestic hot water, water treatment, or controls: geothermal systems, heat pump systems, fossil fueled systems, air conditioning, solar hot thermal, plumbing, well water service, water treatment, ventilation, and internet accessible control systems. In the residential world, they designed and installed the mechanical systems for…

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About Your Equipment and System

About Your System: Each of these menu topics describe the components of  the various heating, cooling, ventilation, and plumbing systems that we install and service.  Our goal is to make this part of our website a resource to better inform our customers about their equipment and systems.  When you call for service, we hope the information will assist you in describing what…

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Air Conditioning

We have spent a lot of effort to find the best air conditioning systems for the Vineyard market – units that combine efficiency with robust design and ease of service.  All air conditioning systems available on the market today use some sort of computerized control to meet current federal efficiency standards.  Unfortunately, the Vineyard electrical grid is overloaded which results in seasonal…

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Air Conditioning 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your air conditioning system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems we…

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Air Conditioning Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of air conditioning systems, please start the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider: – How cold would you like the house to be during the summer?  We have seen customers interested in progressively colder inside temperatures – ten years ago 74 F was the norm and now folks…

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Air conditioning Rescue – Corbin Norton House Chilled Water Retrofit – Oak Bluffs

Corbin Norton House on Martha’s Vineyard The Norton Residence is the most famous house on Martha’s Vineyard. Built in 1891 by Philip Corbin, manufacturing tycoon, it was the most extravagant summer mansion in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. After a 100 years of neglect, it was bought in 1991 by Peter Norton, the computer software pioneer, and carefully restored…

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Air Separators – Air Elimination and Purging in Boilers

All hydronic (water based) heating systems use water to convey heat and there is always some air present in this water.  When the amount of air is too great, circulation in the hydronic system will stop, usually resulting in a no-heat service call.  This air can be continuously and automatically removed by an air separator. The air separator has a stainless steel…

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Annual Maintenance: Why so important?

Annual Maintenance is very important to maintain the safe and effective operation of the heating, cooling, plumbing, and ventilating systems in your home. The good old days:  A hot water boiler with radiators and one thermostat for the whole house. In the old days, many people had an oil or propane fired boiler connected to hot water radiators that needed very little…

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Atria Restaurant Solar Hot Water

The Atria Restaurant in Edgartown is the site of the Vineyard’s first restaurant solar hot water system.  This system successfully generates 700 gallons of hot water every day during the summer to meet the load of the restaurant and the bathrooms.  It is a drainback system – only when the solar collectors get warmer than the storage tanks does water flow up…

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Boiler & Hydronic System Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of boilers and hydronic systems, please start the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider: – Do you have propane piping already installed at your home?  We do not work with fuel oil. – What are the venting options (existing chimney, sidewall termination, chimney liner, etc.) – What…

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Boilers & Hydro Air

We started out over ten years ago installing a lot of boilers and “hydro air” heating systems.   “Hydro air” refers to a heating system with ductwork and a fan coil (an air handler with a blower) with a hot water coil connected to a boiler.  The boiler provides hot water which heats up the hot water coil, in turn heating the…

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Boilers and Hydronics 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your boiler and hydronic (hot water heat) system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts…

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Buderus Condensing Boiler – 96% efficient

The Buderus condensing boiler is simple to install, service, and operate.  We like its flexibility with flue piping as we can use 3″ PVC pipe with no clearance to combustible materials.  Here is an installation of a mid-sized (60,000 Btu/hr) GB142 model.  The flue piping is 3″ intake and exhaust PVC piping which exits the side of the building. Our goal is…

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Carrier Variable Speed Heat Pump System

The Carrier Greenspeed variable speed heat pump is the most efficient air source heat pump on the market.  It is smooth, powerful, robust, and quiet and illustrates the lessons learned by the American manufacturer from the innovations of Daikin and Mitsubishi. We see advantages in the very user friendly thermostat;  it is nicely intuitive for the customer and very powerful for the service…

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Chiller Replacement is a Tight Fit

We recently were asked to replace a 10 ton chiller unit (air to water) that was rusting away in the salt air.  Our concern was that the failure of the chiller’s case would lead to fractured refrigerant or chilled water lines which would result in a total loss of cooling for the residence.  The entire base pan of the unit had rotted…

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Chilmark Residence is Island’s First LEED Home

This residence, overlooking the Vineyard Sound and coast of Massachusetts, is Martha’s Vineyard’s first LEED for Homes project. A ten ton closed loop horizontal geothermal field serves five water to air heat pumps (five forced air zones) and one water to water heat pump (three radiant floor warming zones and domestic hot water preheat). Individual loops in the field were increased in…

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Contact Us

If you are a new customer in need of service, click here to expedite the process by filling out our online service intake form. If you are building a new home or renovating your existing home, click here to expedite the process by filling out our online new construction intake form. Nelson Mechanical Design (NMD) has a new phone system! After dialing 508…

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Contractor HVAC Fillable Form

Fill complete the form below if you’re interested in an HVAC project

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Control Systems Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of new controls systems,  please start off the process by contacting Marlon, our service manager, to discuss your goals: Some things to consider: – What systems (heating, cooling, ventilation, plumbing, etc.) do you wish to control.  We have experience with controlling just about any mechanical system. – Do you wish to add or separate heating or cooling zones?…

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Controls – DDC (Direct Digital Control) Upgrade for Complete Remote Control

We often get asked to rebuild complicated control systems to modernize them and restore their correct function.  Many times, we see control panels that are chaotic and poorly laid out, incorrectly assembled, or just not working. This is the before picture of a control panel that was a mess so we carefully labeled all of the wires and then rebuilt it from the…

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Controls – Emergency Override Panel Protects Against Power Surge Damage

Several years ago, a hurricane came fairly close to the Vineyard and several parts of the island lost power for a few days.  As the high winds were sweeping across the island, various power lines were intermittently shorting out which wreaked havoc on power going into the nearby homes. In this particular home, the emergency generator sensed the loss of power, turned…

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Daikin Altherma Heat Pump Installation

Unfortunately, Daikin appears to have withdrawn their support for the Daikin Altherma in the United States due to low sales figures.  We have a few on the Vineyard that we have installed and we have been factory trained to service these units.  Daikin still has one tech that specializes in Altherma service and setup.  Contact our service department if you wish to…

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Daikin Altherma Heat Pump Pilot in West Tisbury

Daikin Altherma Air to Water Heat Pump Pilot Project in West Tisbury: Ted Bayne and Lea Delacour live on Martha’s Vineyard in a 3,000 square foot home heated by radiant floors and a Viessmann propane boiler. Their goal was threefold – to find a heating source that would make their existing 90% efficient heating system more economical to run, would not involve…

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Daikin Heat Pump – Flexibility and Efficiency

Here are some installation pictures of the now classic Daikin inverter heat pump.  This outside unit is their largest residential offering and is able to provide refrigerant to up to 8 inside units. Here is a series of three of these heat pumps which are able to heat and cool the entire 10,000 square foot house       This inside unit…

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Direct Exchange Geothermal and Radiant in Edgartown

We completed this project in 2007 and it is still working nicely.  The homeowner added solar electric (PV) panels on his roof and is now “net-zero”. A direct exchange geothermal field of 1/4″ copper was installed in a horizontal array 6 feet below grade:         The 1/4″ copper lines were connected to a manifold that was then piped inside…

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Domestic Hot Water

Domestic Hot Water (DHW) is potable water that is heated above 110 F (as opposed to pool heating or space heating) and is suitable for bathing, drinking, and washing clothes and dishes. Massachusetts State Plumbing code specifies that “the maximum temperature of the domestic hot water in residential buildings shall not exceed 130 F” and that showers have a temperature control mixing valve…

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Domestic Hot Water 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your domestic hot water system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems…

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ECM Smart Circulator – Bell Gossett EcoCirc Vario

Circulators are a vital part of any hydronic system.  They provide the pressure differential to make the hot (or chilled) water flow through all of the piping to all of the heat emitters in the heating system. Up until a few years ago, all circulators in the US were single speed and were either on or off.  This was fine until we…

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ECM Smart Circulator – Bell Gossett EcoCirc XL

The larger versions of the ECM circulators have a tremendous amount of features.  While they are designed for the commercial market, we have found that they work well in our larger residential installations.   The Bell Gossett EcoCirc XL is their flagship ECM circulator. Here is an example of a twin circulator set up – the two pumps talk to each other…

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ECM Smart Circulator – Grundfos Magna 3

In addition to the Bell Gossett EcoCirc XL, we also offer the Grundfos Magna 3, which is the flagship ECM circulator for Grundfos.  It too has a tremendous amount of features and was also originally designed for the commercial market.  We have had great success with Grundfos circulators in general and have found that the Magna in particular is very easy to…

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Emergency Services

Our emergency services are for our loyal customers of record.  If you are not a customer, please call us during our business hours to become one. Emergency contact: 508-696-3120 (24 HOURS A DAY OUTSIDE OF BUSINESS HOURS) Emergency hours:  after 4 pm Monday- Friday, anytime outside of business hours Saturday & Sunday Master Technician, $180.00 Technician, $165.00 Holiday hours: National Holidays (observed)…

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Emergency Team

As we develop this page, we will include pictures of all of our team members.

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Energy Efficiency: Its import and impact?

Federal regulations are driving the ever-increasing energy efficiency of modern equipment.  It is no longer possible to get inefficient (and simple, robust, tough, easy to service, and easy to maintain) equipment. No more R22 systems: Heating and cooling equipment using R22 is no longer being made and is unavailable.  This means that all AC and heat pump units will use R410a and…

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Equipment Installation Examples

These pages provide installation examples of the many different types of equipment we install in businesses and homes on the Vineyard.

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Featured System Installations

These pages show some of our finest system installations and “rescue” projects  in businesses and residences on the Vineyard.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The menu topics are representative of questions we have answered about the equipment and systems we install and service. While the laws of physics haven’t changed lately, technology is evolving constantly, and our role at NMD is to understand how this evolution affects our systems and customers.  We are constantly learning about new techniques and approaches to HVAC and plumbing systems so that…

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Furnaces

We currently offer Carrier furnaces to go with our Carrier Greenspeed Infinity air source heat pumps as our top of the line.  They are modulating propane furnaces that can connect to the wifi Carrier Infinity thermostat with remote access.  Their fully modulating blower works seamlessly with the Carrier Greenspeed heat pump – the heat pump provides heat for the first stage and…

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Furnaces & Ductwork Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of new furnaces and forced air ductwork,  please start the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider: – Do you have propane piping already installed at your home?  We do not work with fuel oil. – What are the venting options (existing chimney, sidewall termination, chimney liner,…

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Furnaces and Forced Air Heat 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your furnace and forced air system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems…

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Geothermal 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your geothermal system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems we worked on…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Circulator Too Small and Heat Pumps Won’t Work

This geothermal rescue involved a closed loop system that had 21 geothermal heat pumps that would not stay operating – they were going out on fault codes several times a week.  The fault codes were either low temperature in the winter or high temperature in the summer.  When we were called to evaluate this system, we were told that the heat pumps…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Inadequate Flow Damaging Heat Pumps – Edgartown

We were asked to retrofit a geothermal system because of the failure of three of the system’s five heat pumps.  Compressor overheating and failure was caused by inadequate water pressure in the system, loss of water flow through the heat pumps, and severe short cycling.  Broken pressure gauges that were stuck at a false reading aided in the failure of the heat…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Too Small and System Won’t Cool – West Tisbury

This is an on-going geothermal “rescue” that involves increasing the cooling and heating power of a large geothermal system.  The original system was designed for a cooling setpoint of 76 F which meant that the outside geothermal field was quite small.  Cooling the house to 72 F or 70 F was a strain on the outside geothermal field (the geothermal water got…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Too Small and System Won’t Heat – Chilmark

This geothermal rescue involved a closed loop horizontal geothermal field that was too small for the heating load.  Halfway through the winter heating season, the loop temperature would drop and the heat pumps would experience continued fault codes and would stop working.  This issue had not been a problem in the past due to the seasonal nature of house occupancy – the…

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Geothermal Rescue – Closed Loop Too Small and System Won’t Heat – West Tisbury

This particular geothermal system experienced heat pump faults and unreliable operation due to an undersized horizontal closed loop geothermal field.   The field was not large enough for the heating load of the house – the heating system and the heat pumps would work well at the beginning of winter but by January the Sun’s heat had been extracted from the Earth…

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Geothermal Rescue – Direct Exchange Heat Pump Repiping to Save Compressor – West Tisbury

This geothermal rescue involved repiping the refrigerant lines for a five ton direct exchange geothermal heat pump.  We were brought in to the project because the heat pump was overheating and not operating reliably.  The homeowner was concerned that long term damage would result and wanted to know why his system was malfunctioning.   We determined that the root cause of the…

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Geothermal Rescue – Open Loop Water Turns Acidic

This geothermal rescue project involved an open loop geothermal system, corrosive water, and saving multiple heat pumps from premature failure.  Open loop systems use well water to convey the Sun’s energy from the Earth to the geothermal heat pumps inside.  Because heat pumps need up to 3 gallons per minute per ton of capacity, the required flow of water can quickly become…

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Geothermal Rescue: What is it?

Geothermal systems have worked in a reliable and trouble-free fashion since the 1930s.  There was a tremendous surge of interest in geothermal systems in the mid 1930s by electric utilities as they realized that the heat pump approach was a wonderful way to even out their winter and summer power loads.  The geothermal heat pump systems they installed were still in use…

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Geothermal System Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of geothermal systems, please start off the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider: – How cold would you like the house to be during the summer?  We have seen customers interested in progressively colder inside temperatures – ten years ago 74 F was the norm and…

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Geothermal Team

As we develop this page, we will include pictures of all of our team members

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Heat Pump & Mini-Split Installation, Service, and Rescue

Installation: For the installation of heat pumps and mini-splits, please start the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider: – Mini-splits are great for heating or cooling one room or when ganged together can handle an entire building.  Heat pumps are typically used with ductwork. – How cold would you like the house…

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Heat Pump or Furnace: Which is better?

We often get asked which is a better choice, an air source heat pump or a furnace?  There are drawbacks and benefits to both and we will discuss some of them below. Furnace benefits: As a source of heating, propane has a lot of energy per gallon.  A modest sized furnace can put out a lot of heat very easily.  Modern furnaces…

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Heat Pump Water Heater – more than 200% efficient

Heat pump water heaters use a small heat pump to extract heat from your basement air and use it to heat your domestic hot water.  They are easy to install (essentially the same as a regular electric water heater) but are much more efficient.  We offer the Bradford White version which is identical to the GE heat pump water heater.  Pictured above…

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Heat Pumps (Air to Water)

We have installed several Daikin Altherma heat pumps but it appears that they are no longer available from Daikin.  We are investigating several other heat pumps including those made by Spacepak and Electro Industries: Spacepak http://spacepak.com/hydronic-heating-and-cooling Electro Industries http://www.electromn.com/pdf/NL202.pdf There is a very informative article on the Green Building Advisor website about the state of the air to water heat pump market…

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Heat Pumps (Ducted)

We currently offer Carrier heat pumps for ducted systems, Daikin mini-splits for single room flexibility, and Mitsubishi combination systems (mini-split wall units and small ducted units) for multiple zones.   In our experience, these brands are the most robust in terms of dealing with Vineyard voltage issues while providing flexibility and efficiency in heating and cooling your home.  It is important to…

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Heat Pumps (Geothermal)

We currently offer ClimateMaster geothermal heat pumps for ducted systems that provide heating and cooling in conjunction with a geothermal field.   In our experience, the ClimateMaster brand is robust in terms of dealing with Vineyard voltage issues while providing flexibility and efficiency in heating and cooling your home.  It is important to determine what your summer and winter comfort goals are…

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Heat Pumps (Mini-Split)

Mini-splits Heat Pumps are air source heat pumps that have revolutionized heating and air conditioning around the globe – they are the fastest growing and largest part of the global HVAC market.    They can heat a room or a whole house at half the operating cost of propane heating and provide cooling and dehumidification (“dry mode”) too. We have installed and serviced all…

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Heat Pumps 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your heat pump system.  This page will focus on ducted split systems such as the Carrier, Mitsubishi, and Daikin systems that have an outside heat pump and an inside fan coil / air handler connected to ductwork that delivers heating and cooling.  For wall units and slim…

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Homeowner HVAC Fillable Form

Fill complete the form below if you’re interested in an HVAC project

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Humidification

Humidification is important in the winter months to maintain a healthy indoor air climate.  Relative humidity levels below 40% will lead to sinus irritation and increased respiratory infections.  Conversely, humidity levels above 60% can lead to mold and mildew growth.  Therefore, humidification needs to be well controlled to make sure it is in the proper range and in sufficient quantity. Humidity can…

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HVAC

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HVAC – Contractor Team

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HVAC – Homeowner Team

As we develop this page, we will include pictures of all of our team members.

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Indoor Air Quality

Ventilation, Spray Foam, Tight Houses: RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS: The construction of the residential envelope is getting tighter and tighter. Products such as icynene, high density spray foam, and cellulose insulation are creating little or no infiltration into the building. This is great way to reduce the heat loss/gain of a building.  However, fireplaces, gas appliances, and boilers and water heaters require fresh air…

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Indoor Air Quality & Humidification Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of humidifiers and indoor air quality systems, please start the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider: – What is the size of the area that you would like to humidify?  Water vapor disperses throughout a home until equilibrium is reached.  This means that it is hard to humidify…

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Info Sheets

Below are links to PDFs we have created to provide information for various services we offer      5 Steps Before Calling                                       HVAC Maintenance                        Preventative Maintenance Overview       Preventative Maintenance Services   …

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Installation of Water Treatment Systems

As licensed Massachusetts Master Plumbers, we are allowed to design, install, and modify water treatment systems.  As necessary, we will secure a plumbing permit for the installation of the water treatment system and arrange for its inspection. After performing water testing, we will determine the best type of treatment system to install in your home. If you have an outdated existing system we can…

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Installing a new plumbing or HVAC System?

Are you installing a new HVAC system or plumbing in your home or business and need help from NMD?  Please fill out the form below and our new construction team will contact you shortly.   Thank you!

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Interested in Mini-splits?

Please fill out our mini-split intake form to jump start the process of getting mini-splits installed in your Vineyard home or business.  Everett Walsh will contact you shortly after receiving this form.  His email is projects@nmdgreen.com 

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Internet access to your home

Carrier Infinity Remote Access Touch Control (Wi-fi Touch Screen): http://www.carrier.com/residential/en/us/products/thermostats/systxccitc01-a/ “The Infinity Touch control is the key to unlocking your comfort potential. It’s also the brains behind a Greenspeed™ intelligence system. As part of a complete Infinity, communicating system, this one control can manage temperatures, humidity, ventilation, airflow, indoor air quality and up to eight zones. If your system includes a heat…

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Internet and Wifi Thermostat Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of internet and wifi thermostats, please start the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider: – How many thermostats are existing in the home and what equipment do they control? – If they control equipment from certain brands then there may be multiple thermostat options. – What areas of…

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Internet Thermostat Issues?

The “Nest” Thermostat We have had numerous reliability and operational issues with the Nest thermostat that make us reluctant to sell or service it.   Because it requires a source of power and doesn’t have batteries, it can be connected in various “power stealing” configurations beyond just connecting to Red and Common wires from the system transformer.   While this “power stealing”…

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Jed Phillips

Testing with their HVAC, plumbing, water treatment, ventilation, and control systems around the clock.  Our normal service hours are from 8 am to 4 pm.  After that we have on-call personnel to attend to our customers’ emergency needs.

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Mansion House Heat Recovery Saves $17,000 Annually

The Mansion House is the largest hotel on Martha’s Vineyard as well as the greenest.  They use the 16,000 gallons of groundwater that they pump out of the basement on a daily basis as a source of cooling for their air conditioning system – turning it into a hybrid open/closed geothermal system. For 9 months out of the year, there is an…

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Mansion House on Martha’s Vineyard Goes Geothermal

The Mansion House has over 16,000 gallons per day of groundwater in the basement that must be pumped out.  This represents a tremendous open source geothermal resource that can be used to cool the hotel.     The groundwater is pumped outside to the fluid cooler to remove heat from the geothermal building loop that circulates in the hotel.  The heat pumps in…

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Mansion House upgrades 10 ton Geothermal Heat Pump

We recently replaced the aging 12 ton geothermal heat pump that served the health club at the Mansion House with a new and more efficient 10 ton unit.  This involved a lot of planning and thinking on how to best navigate through the hotel, what heat pump models had different dimensions, and where the tightest fit was along the route from the…

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Mini Split Team

As we develop this page, we will include pictures of all of our team members.

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Mini-Split 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your mini-split system.  This page will focus on non-ducted split systems such as the Mitsubishi units that have an outside heat pump and a wall unit (or units) and slim ducts that have minimal or no ductwork.  For heat pumps with duct work, please visit our Heat Pumps…

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Need HVAC or Plumbing Service?

Are you in need of service on your HVAC system or plumbing?  Please fill out the form below and our service manager will contact you.  Thank you!

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Need HVAC Preventative Maintenance?

Have we installed a heating and cooling system (ducted or mini-split) at your home but haven’t provided you with preventative maintenance to keep it in top notch condition?

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Need Water Treatment Service ?

We offer extensive water treatment service options.  Please visit our water treatment pages on this site for more information. Thanks!

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Net-zero in West Tisbury: Wind Turbine and Geothermal

Nelson Mechanical Design, Inc. installed a geothermal heat pump system in a West Tisbury residence that was electrified by a 5 kW wind turbine.  The use of wind energy and geothermal heating and cooling led to a net-zero energy and carbon footprint for this home.  Since the project was finished over 5 years ago, the homeowners have had no service issues with…

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Net-zero on Lambert’s Cove: Wind Turbine and Direct Exchange Geothermal

This 5,000 squarefoot timber frame Net Zero residence located on Martha’s Vineyard is powered by a 10 kW wind turbine.  One of the primary goals of the mechanical system at the Longview Residence was sustainability – we had to ensure that our annual power use of the mechanical system (combined with the power use of the whole house) would be met and/or…

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Net-zero Yoga Barn: Wind Turbine and Direct Exchange Geothermal

  West Tisbury Net Zero Residence – description This mixed use residence has a large yoga studio on the first floor and living quarters above. Built around the frame of a reclaimed barn (originally built in 1852), this structure features an extremely tight and energy efficient building shell.  As one of Martha’s Vineyard’s two net-zero buildings powered by wind turbines, a 5…

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New Construction Design Process – Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation

  We have built our new construction department on the foundation of our mechanical design abilities. This is one of our favorite services to offer – we can calculate and specify exactly what heating, cooling, ventilation, and indoor air quality system your home or building requires to be comfortable and energy efficient.   Mechanical systems will not operate at their highest efficiency…

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NMD Lab Geothermal System

The residence of Brian K. Nelson and family houses a very unique mechanical room. For years, the basement of the Nelson Residence has been used as the heating, cooling, and domestic hot water plant for their home. But it has also been used as a testing grounds for new heating and cooling technologies and control systems. Currently, an eight ton horizontal geothermal…

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Ocean-front Geothermal

An Intro to Ocean-front Geothermal Systems There is a vast quantity of free, clean, and renewable energy in our ponds, oceans, and the waters that surround the Vineyard. Through the use of geothermal heat pumps, we can collect and concentrate this low grade stored solar energy into high grade energy to heat and cool our buildings. This energy is available 24 hours…

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Our Teams

As we develop this page, we will include pictures and information on all of our teams.

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Outside Reset control installation

Outside reset control is an important part of making a hydronic heating system efficient and comfortable.  It is a control scheme that basically “resets” the temperature of the boiler water based on how cold or hot the outside temperature is.  The thought is that outside temperature will give us a direct idea of how much heat a building is losing and what…

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Plumbing

Nelson Mechanical Design is fully licensed to perform plumbing in Massachusetts: Brian Nelson, Dave Sprague, and Paul Vertifuelle are all licensed Master Plumbers. This means that we have the training, experience, and up-to-date knowledge necessary to install plumbing in both commercial and residential structures. We offer design, installation, and service of all types of plumbing and can review the merits of different…

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Plumbing 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your plumbing system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems we worked on…

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Plumbing and DHW Installation, Service, “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of plumbing and domestic hot water systems, please start the process by contacting Dave Sprague in our new construction department to discuss your goals. Some things to consider:  Is this a new construction plumbing project or a retrofit?  Plumbing fixtures have become more and more specialized and their selection and installation require a great deal of care and attention…

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Plumbing Fillable Form

Please complete the form below for Plumbing Installations

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Plumbing Team

As we develop this page, we will include pictures of all of our team members.

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Pond-based Geothermal

An Intro to Pond-based Geothermal Systems There is a vast quantity of free, clean, and renewable energy in our ponds, oceans, and the waters that surround the Vineyard. Through the use of geothermal heat pumps, we can collect and concentrate this low grade stored solar energy into high grade energy to heat and cool our buildings. This energy is available 24 hours…

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Power Quality and the Aging Vineyard Electrical Grid

The electrical grid on Martha’s Vineyard was never designed for everyone to have air conditioning.  Air conditioners use a lot of power during the summer when it is hottest out and create a huge demand on the Vineyard grid.  NStar routinely brings out emergency generators and temporarily installs them at the Tisbury and Oak Bluffs landfills in an attempt to stabilize the…

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Preventative Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance: All mechanical systems need maintenance to operate correctly during their expected lifespan.  We offer a wide range of preventative maintenance services based on  the manufacturer’s guidelines and adjusted for the Vineyard environment.   Some of these services are optional and depend on the occupancy of the home or business; others are essential for the correct operation of the equipment. Please…

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Preventative Maintenance Flat Rate Pricing

To you, our valued customer, we have put together some simple flat rate pricing for the preventative maintenance of your plumbing and HVAC systems in your home.  We realize that some customers want a brief check on all systems, while other customers need or require a visit that is more in depth.  The packages below will cover this wide range of preferences. …

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Privacy Policy

Nelson Mechanical Design, Inc. does not share client contact information or information about their properties.  We respect our client’s privacy and the security of their personal information and homes.

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Products

Our role is to install and service the most reliable and modern heating, cooling, ventilation, air quality, plumbing, and water treatment equipment available.  We serve as an essential filter for our customers – determining what innovations are worth pursuing and what new products we can stand behind.  This requires a constant commitment to training the NMD team so that we know how…

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Projects for Non Profits and NMD Concepts

We support the efforts to build affordable housing here on the Vineyard.  We have donated time and money to the various housing groups to aid their important work to create long term stability through affordable housing.  Some of our recent affordable housing installations are shown below. Over the years, we have developed some concepts that merit further investigation.  As we move towards…

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Radiant Heating

Radiant floor heating is one of the most comfortable ways to heat a residence on the market.  When installed properly, it can also be very efficient.   Radiant heat depends on a large surface area – such as a floor, ceiling, or wall, that is heated This is due to the relatively low temperature at which radiant floor systems operate. Most conventional…

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Radiant Heating 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your radiant heating system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems we worked…

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Radiant Rescue – Inadequate and Uneven Floor Heating – West Tisbury

We were asked to “rescue” a radiant floor heating system in a large Vineyard home – the heating with the radiant floor had always been inadequate for the coldest days of winter, there was not enough tubing installed in the floor, it was poorly zoned, and it was built around a fixed water temperature.  The fixed water temperature meant that the radiant…

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Rescue Team

As we develop this page, we will include pictures of all of our team members

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Resources

Frequently Asked Questions: The menu topics are representative of questions we have answered about the equipment and systems we install and service.   While the laws of physics haven’t changed lately, technology is evolving constantly, and our role at NMD is to understand how this evolution affects our systems and customers.  We are constantly learning about new techniques and approaches to HVAC…

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Rodent Prevention and Hungry Mice?

One of the downsides of air source heat pumps is that they are very attractive to mice.  Unlike geothermal heat pumps or furnaces which live in the basement of the building, air source heat pumps are outside, it is nice and warm inside the heat pump itself, and it is the idle safe spot for mice make a winter home. Unfortunately, the…

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Service Fillable Form

Are you in need of service on your HVAC system or plumbing?  Please fill out the form below and our service manager, Marlon Dwyer, will contact you.  Thank you!

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Service Team

Our service team is ready to help our customers with their HVAC, plumbing, water treatment, ventilation, and control systems around the clock.  Our normal service hours are from 8 am to 4 pm.  After that we have on-call personnel to attend to our customers’ emergency needs.  If you have a need for service after our business hours, please call 508-696-3120 and follow…

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Services

Installation, Service, and “Rescue” We offer installation, service, and “rescue” for practically anything and everything involving heating, cooling, ventilation, indoor air quality, plumbing, water treatment, and internet access in your home or business.  We have installation teams that focus on new construction projects (new air conditioning, heat pumps, ducted furnaces, boilers, mini-splits, etc., etc.,),  we have service teams that are able to troubleshoot,…

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Solar Circulator Failure and Replacement

All systems need maintenance to function at their peak efficiency and to work successfully for their entire service life.  An additional issue to consider is how often systems will be left inactive.  When mechanical systems are idle for long periods, seals can fail, valves and moving parts can get sticky, and fluids can start to change their composition. This particular circulator was…

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Solar Hot Water

The Sun provides the Earth with an astounding level of free energy every day.  The Sun will also never send you a bill! What is Solar Hot Water? Instead of using the sunshine indirectly (either through the Earth for geothermal or the air for air source heat pumps), a solar hot water system collects this energy directly from the Sun.  Because the…

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Solar Hot Water – 20 panel Solar Pool and Radiant Heat

We installed this 20 collector solar hot water drain back system to provide pool heat, radiant floor heating, and domestic hot water pre-heat.  It featured a 700 gallon storage tank, primary and secondary circulators, and motorized mixing valves to optimize the use of collected solar energy. Because the solar collectors were recessed into the roof line to make them flush with the…

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Solar Hot Water 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your solar hot water system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems we…

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Solar Hot Water Installation, Service, and “Rescue”

Installation: For the installation of new solar hot water systems,  please start off the process by contacting Marlon, our service manager, to discuss your goals: Some things to consider: – Will the solar system heat domestic hot water? –  Will it be used for space heating? –  Solar hot water panels are either flat-plate collectors or evacuated tube collectors.  Each approach has…

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Terms & Conditions

Please review the following items about our billing process, payment, service teams, and other important aspects of NMD.  Once you accept these Terms and Conditions (by clicking Submit at the bottom), we will be able to assist you with your service needs or a new plumbing and HVAC project.  

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Thank you for your inquiry!

We appreciate your interest in our services and installations!  We look forward to working with you towards meeting your HVAC and plumbing needs.  Our goal is to respond quickly to your query – we try to respond via phone or email the same day for service queries and within a few days for new construction projects.   If you are inquiring about…

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The History of Water on Martha’s Vineyard

Living on Martha’s Vineyard comes with many wonders and struggles.  Water quality can be one of those struggles.  The water on the Vineyard varies tremendously based on the different layers of rock and sediment left by the receding ice sheet 10,000 years ago.  So levels of iron, manganese, and other minerals as well as acidic or basic water can vary dramatically from…

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Thermostats (Conventional)

Honeywell TH6110D1021U  (6000 series)  Programmable Digital Thermostat https://customer.honeywell.com/en-US/Pages/Product.aspx?cat=HonECC+Catalog&pid=TH6110D1021/U# “Honeywell’s FocusPRO® 6000 offers the perfect blend of features, performance. energy savings and value. With an easy-to-read digital display, FocusPRO 6000 prominently displays both room and set temperature.”  (from the Honeywell website) Selectable to 5-1-1 (Weekdays, Saturday, Sunday) or 5-2 (Weekdays, Weekend) programmable thermostat. Large, clear, backlit display – easy to read in various…

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Thermostats (Internet and Wi-fi)

Carrier Infinity Remote Access Touch Control (Wi-fi Touch Screen): http://www.carrier.com/residential/en/us/products/thermostats/systxccitc01-a/ “The Infinity Touch control is the key to unlocking your comfort potential. It’s also the brains behind a Greenspeed™ intelligence system. As part of a complete Infinity, communicating system, this one control can manage temperatures, humidity, ventilation, airflow, indoor air quality and up to eight zones. If your system includes a heat…

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Water Softener Systems (Brine Tanks)

There are a few instances where you may need a water softener, sometimes referred to as a brine tank, added to your treatment system. If you have an acid neutralizer currently installed and you are suffering from soap scum or scaling you may need to have a softener added. When installing new acid neutralizer systems we generally install a softener to give…

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Water Treatment 101

The descriptions and pictures below are designed to foster a basic understanding of the parts of your water treatment system.  When you call for service, we hope they will help you to identify those parts of your system that may need service.  When you receive an invoice from us, we hope the information below will help clarify which parts and systems we worked…

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Water Treatment Installation and Service

We are starting our Water Treatment Promotion!  Learn more.… The History of Water on Martha’s Vineyard Living on Martha’s Vineyard comes with many wonders and struggles.  Water quality can be one of those struggles.  The water on the Vineyard varies tremendously based on the different layers of rock and sediment left by the receding ice sheet 10,000 years ago.  So levels of…

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Water Treatment Preventative Maintenance

Your water treatment system works hard to provide you with clean safe drinking water. It is a “living” system, that means that it is constantly getting fresh water from your well that has a unique make-up, each system is different and handles your specific water in different ways. It is important that you get regular maintenance, whether it be iron or acidic water…

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Water Treatment Products

We use WaterSoft Water Treatment Products WaterSoft is committed to providing the water treatment industry’s highest quality and most innovative products—all designed, developed, tested and assembled in Ashland, Ohio. Provectr Product Line Our premier line of products treats up to 15ppm iron and 4ppm sulfur. Provectr systems are designed for use with both constant pressure and jet type pump system. Quiet, high output,…

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Water Treatment Promotion Page

This is our Water Treatment Promotion!  Please fill out the info below to start the process with NMD.

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Water Treatment Systems for Acid Neutralization (Low pH)

All of our water treatment products are safe and natural. Your acid neutralization system will raise your ph by using Calcite. Calcite is a naturally occurring calcium carbonate media, otherwise known as Georgia Marble. One of the advantages of Calcite is its self-limiting property.  When properly applied, it corrects pH only enough to reach a non-corrosive equilibrium. It does not over correct under…

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Water Treatment Systems for Iron Removal and Reduction

For customers suffering from issues with iron in their water, we offer the PROVECTR Plus line from Watersoft. All our products and are safe and natural, providing a chemical-free water treatment. A typical iron system will include an air compressor: this injects air into your water and allows the ferrous iron to oxidize and form ferric oxide, which is then a larger…

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Water Treatment Team

As we develop this page, we will include pictures of all of our team members

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What We Test for in your Water

Your water should be crystal clear and free from chemicals, odors, bad tastes and hardness. However, water quality varies from home to home, and there are many common water problems that can cause your water to appear cloudy, have a bad smell or taste, stain and water-spot fixtures, or even shorten the life of your pipes and appliances. Testing your water is…

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What’s New

Check here for all that is new at Nelson Mechanical Design.  You will find our latest promotions, Constant Contact emails, articles about us that have appeared in local and national press, articles about our team members, and features on our innovations in the HVAC and plumbing fields.

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Why Nelson Mechanical Design?

David Sprague and Brian Nelson started Nelson Mechanical Design in 2004 with a commitment to Martha’s Vineyard – we will provide the best service to our customers,  provide stable, long term careers to our people, and support the fabric of our island home.

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Your Heat Pump Outside: Snow, ice, and defrost

The modern air source heat pump is a marvel of efficiency and automatic operation.  It works well down to 0 F, accomodates snow and freezing weather, and automatically clears away the accumulated frost on the outside coil.  That being said, the heat pump does need your assistance to work effectively.   It is important that you clear away any snow that builds…

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