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11 Must-Have Digital Tools for HVAC and Plumbing Design Engineers

Engineers have a lot on their plates. As manufacturer's reps, it's our job to make that burden a little lighter by providing expert engineering design assistance, design tools, and product comparisons.

We all want the best possible solution for building projects, whether it be a small commercial office building, a large hospital, or several university campus buildings. So, to make the job a little easier, here are a few free tools and apps you may find helpful for your next design project.

  1. Bock Water Heaters AccuSize Water Heater Sizing Program: Input operating parameters, fixture types, fuel types, and more to calculate demand and determine the energy required for your building water heaters and storage tanks.

  2. Unit conversion apps: There are a variety of unit conversion apps on the market suitable for iOS and Android users. They can help design engineers quickly convert measurements, pressure, torque, flow, and more. Try Conversion Calculator if you're an Apple user and Unit Converter if you're a fan of Android.

  3. The Engineering Cookbook: This free tool from the Loren Cook company is available in PDF format and as a free app. This handbook for mechanical designers offers information on fan basics, system design, duct design, motors and drives, heating and refrigeration, and formulas.

  4. FE Select: With this pump selection tool, you answer a few questions regarding your application, and it will generate a list of products based on your answers.

  5. PsychroApp: This free psychrometric calculation tool is an app from Munters that lets you calculate the thermodynamic properties of moist air more accurately than using psychrometric charts.

  6. Pure Humidifier Load Calculator: Fill in the form to determine load size and to help you select the right humidifier for your application.

  7. NVent RAYCHEM Tracecalc Pro: This is a Windows desktop heat-tracing system design software. It will guide you through a step-by-step process to obtain the best heat-tracing solution for your project. It also provides pipe heat loss, number of circuits, electrical loads, maximum sheath temperatures, and more.

  8. Raypak SureSpec 4: This is a web-based sizing application tool that can be used to estimate water heater requirements.

  9. Shipco Pumps Product Selector: This pump and motor selector allows you to select the unit application (non-vacuum, water pump, and air pump) and then the pump flow rate and discharge pressure to select pumps. You can also download pump curves in the selection app. The Shipco site offers a variety of calculators and apps to help you with sizing pipes and valves, unit assemblies, NPSH and steam tools, steam regulators, and more.

  10. Spirax Sarco Steam Tools app: This app, available for iPhone and Android users, offers easy access to steam tables and saturated steam pipe sizing tools. Additionally, you will have access to steam engineering tutorials, product literature, and more.

  11. Taco Comfort Solutions software: Taco Comfort Solutions has a lot of apps and software to provide assistance for engineers.

  • Download the new BEST (Building Efficiency System Tool) software to compare different styles of HVAC systems.

  • Taco’s Hydronic System Solutions software helps engineers design and compare HVAC systems, eliminate recalculation time for changes, calculate plant total loads and flows, size pipe and equipment, select and schedule equipment and make design changes easily, all while reducing errors.

  • The FloPro Designer System Creation software is a tool for designing hydronic systems with heat loss analysis and near boiler layout materials lists. This tool also aids engineers in generating professional design documents.

  • Taco CAD Library: CAD files are available for Taco products in English or Metric units.

  • Taco Comfort App: Available on both iPhone and Android, this app features how-to videos, factory training, Taco Tags with eLink Connectivity, pump selection tools, Accu-Flo Slide Rule, and more.

These are only a few of the free tools available to mechanical design engineers to make your job – and life – easier. What are your favorite design tools?

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