Antrim engineer receives final approval for patent

  • Paul Mercier of Antrim recently received approval for his patent of an enhanced natural (gravity) convection piping for forced hot water heating. Courtesy photo—

  • Paul Mercier of Antrim recently received approval for his patent of an enhanced natural (gravity) convection piping for forced hot water heating. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/3/2020 3:44:13 PM

Paul Mercier has been waiting for official approval of his patent for four years. But the wait is over after Mercier received word that his neo-gravity hydronic heating appliance patent application was signed off on in late June.

As someone who’s spent “65 years playing with pipes,” Mercier, a mechanical engineer from Antrim, knew his creation could change the way heating systems function.

“I wish I had done this 30, 40 years ago,” Mercier said. “But the technology wasn’t there.”

Mercier first applied for his patent in April of 2016 and spent a year in the non-provisional stage. It gives applicants “a year to make corrections, additions, subtractions,” Mercier said. Then in 2017, he applied for his provisional patent, but as Mercier puts it, the process takes a while to get official approval.

“We waited two years to get any review on it,” he said.

Mercier describes it as an appliance patent, which consists of an assembly of components. He said it’s difficult to achieve, but “there’s nothing close” to his product.

“This is the simplest form of hydronic heating,” Mercier said. “We take advantage of the natural gravity heating of hot water.”

What Mercier has created is a custom part that eliminates up to 40 percent of materials typically used in the installation of a boiler, reduces the distribution energy by about 90 percent and 15 percent of fuel usage.

“The industry has become component directed,” Mercier said.

It was the creation of a Delta-T circulator by Taco Comfort Solutions, a company based out of Rhode Island, that first gave Mercier the idea 10 years ago. The company devised a variable speed circulator that is controlled by sensors that is “like an automatic transmission on a boiler,” Mercier said.

“This is a complete systemization of components,” he said.

Since the company first launched its circulator, Mercier said there have been three or four generations of it, and now his appliance is a combination of the Taco Delta-T ECM paired with the Weil-McLain cast-iron boiler and Mercier’s patented, enhanced natural (gravity) convection piping to provide simple, durable and efficient forced hot water heating.

Mercier said the complete system is expected to last a minimum of 30 to 50 years. The system costs $8,880, but reduces the cost of labor and materials.

Mercier said all that “pretty piping and wiring” that he likes to refer to as “The Plumber’s Playground” actually increases your system energy load and reduces its performance. He said his appliance typically consumes only 8 to 13 watts total while heating, which compared to 80-plus watts minimum per circulator, valving, controls and additional flow resistance on any contemporary system, shows the optimum performance that can be achieved.

“We increased the gravity heating from what it was with modern components,” he said.

With most boilers coming straight from the manufacturer to install, Mercier said there’s “no incentive to optimize performance.” So he set out to change that. Mercier has been installing his neo-gravity hydronic heating appliance for some time now, including a handful of beta units, but hopes this will be the future of boilers.

“I don’t know where this is going,” he said.

For more, visit http://www.boilersondemand.com/.




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