Heating, Cooling and Natural Gas Apps for iPhone

Natural Gas Pipe Size, Heating Pipe Size, Floor Heating, RadiatorOutput, Heating Cost, Hydraulic Separator. Apps for iPhone.

Pipe Sizing

Required pipe diameter depends on a few parameters specific to the application. For heating and cooling installations the pressure drop of the fluid in pipes should be lower than the circulator pump head at the given fluid flow rate. For natural gas installations, the available pressure at the burner should be at least the minimum required by the burner itself to ignite. In both cases the pressure drop of the fluid should be within some predefined limits. The pressure drop itself is calculated as:

\(\Delta p = \lambda \cdot \frac{l}{D_{h}} \cdot \frac{\rho \cdot v^{2}}{2}\)


\( \frac{1}{\sqrt{\lambda}} = -2.0 \cdot log_{10}\left( \frac{2.51}{Re \cdot \sqrt{\lambda}} + \frac{\epsilon}{3.7 \cdot D_h}\right) \)

These are just two of the equations that are used to determine the pressure drop of a fluid flowing through a pipe when the flow is turbulent. How do you solve that?

It turns out it’s pretty easy.

When dealing with a heating or cooling system, use Heating Pipe Size.

When dealing with natural gas installations, use Natural Gas Pipe Size.

Both apps are available on the App Store. Using them, you will never have to worry about those two equations or their parameters. Each of the apps requires just the input of parameters relevant to the use case. For the calculation of required pipe diameter in hydronic heating or cooling systems, the engineer never starts thinking about water density at specific temperature, or about water velocity inside pipe, which in turn has its own roughness, and about relative roughness which is a function of pipe diameter. Or the Reynolds number. An engineer who needs to size pipe sections in a heating or cooling system generally thinks in terms of heat output of heating bodies and generators and required temperature difference between flow and return water. That’s basically everything. The only other input that needs to be specified is length of each pipe section, specification of fittings and valves which represent local pressure drop and pipe material. Everything else should be automatically computed - and with these apps, it is.

Some features:

  • small, fast, easy to use
  • just the most important user input, focused on the use case
  • recommended diameter is shown, but user can choose a larger or a smaller one
  • no data connection required
  • always in your pocket
  • no in-app purchases
  • no ads
  • no personal data required or collected
  • no user tracking

User reviews

Natural Gas Pipe Size

Erdgasleitung ★★★★★
von MOMOG62 - 10 Dec, 2013
Ich benutze diese App sehr viel und immer mit Erfolg.
Habe die Angaben oft nachgerechnet und sie stimmten immer.

Heating Pipe Size

heating pipe size ★★★★★
by italianrott - 3 Oct, 2012
Molto rapida. Usata per preventivi e dimensionamenti e un aiuto valido e rapido. Complimenti!

Excellent ★★★★☆
by Test Patrol - 16 Jan, 2013
Very fast and simple estimate pipe size. Support for ethyleneglykol would be nice.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Deer in deep snow after having crossed the road. Shot in the morning just outside town, using iPhone 4S. The image is heavily cropped and edited in VSCO Cam app.

Deer in deep snow after having crossed the road. Shot in the morning just outside town, using iPhone 4S. The image is heavily cropped and edited in VSCO Cam app.

Heating Pipe Size 1.5

Heating Pipe Size app for iPhone was updated to version 1.5. It now looks at home on iOS 7.

The app is used to quickly estimate pipe diameter of heating and cooling systems. Additionally it allows to input the selected pipe diameter and calculate flow rate, velocity and pressure drop for a pipe section. Manually combining pipe sections enables the user to determine characteristics of the circulator pump.


The app is available in English language. Each pipe section should be calculated separately. Only metric units are supported.

Download on the App Store: http://AppStore.com/HeatingPipeSize

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

RadiatorOutput 1.5

RadiatorOutput, an app for iPhone that helps you quickly calculate a radiator’s heat output at specified temperatures, has been updated to version 1.5.

This version brings a fresh look that reflects the changes introduced with iOS 7, but also some minor refinements such as a new name displayed for German, French and Italian languages.

Download on the App Store http://AppStore.com/RadiatorOutput

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Heating source, insulation, heating costs and energy

Changing a heating source might reduce heating costs. The reduction of heating costs in this case comes from the following:

  1. better heating generator efficiency;
  2. favourable price ratio between heating sources (e.g. pellets vs. heating oil etc.)

Efficiency of the new heating generator should be generally higher than that of the existing one. But this is not a given: it can also be lower, but the combined effect of a lower efficiency and far lower price of the new heating source might still result in lower overall heating cost.

Counting on a lower heating source price is gambling, though and might result in just a temporary reduction in costs. Truth is, we don’t know what is going to happen with heating source prices in a few years’ time.

The correct approach to minimizing heating costs should therefore be this:

  1. thermally insulate the building;
  2. choose a heating generator based on this new building condition (i.e. thermally insulated);
  3. choose the heating generator with the best possible efficiency.

This way, the primary energy used by the building will be reduced:

  1. by protecting the building from losing large amounts of heat (this is what thermal insulation does),
  2. by ensuring optimal operation of the heating generator (by choosing the most suitable heat output to match the reduced heat losses of the building) and
  3. by having the most efficient heating generator on the market.

From here on, install the most energy-efficient circulating pumps on the market and hydraulically balance the whole heating system.

Finally, don’t forget to insulate the piping system as good as possible.

Such a heating system should provide a sustainable heating cost reduction.

The article is written with a replacement of an existing heating generator in mind, but it also applies to new heating systems as well.

Natural Gas Pipe Size app for iPhone 1.5

Natural Gas Pipe Size got an update today. The app was redesigned so that it now feels at home on iOS 7, the best mobile operating system to date.

This application provides probably the fastest way to obtain required pipe diameter when designing natural gas piping systems. It was designed to work on the iPhone and iPod touch, but it also runs on the iPad.

Only some basic user input is required and the result is instantaneous and accurate. Despite this fact, the application allows to perform calculations at a wide range of conditions.

Natural Gas Pipe Size for iPhone and iPod touch features:

  • Provides required pipe diameter in an instant;
  • Required pipe diameter is displayed as a standard DN size;
  • Gas working pressure and temperature can be specified;
  • Wide range of working conditions (heat output, pressure and temperature);
  • Suitable for individual (home) as well as industrial applications;
  • Different predefined materials can be selected;
  • Fittings and valves can be selected from the list;
  • Displays natural gas volume flow and pressure drop for selected pipe section;
  • Suggests whether the selected pipe diameter might be too small;
  • SI units only;

Note: the application displays results for a pipe section. Multiple pipe sections should be calculated separately.

Please note that the application is localized and is available in the following languages:

  • English - Natural Gas Pipe Size;
  • Deutsch - Erdgasleitung;
  • Italiano - Tubi metano;


Natural Gas Pipe Size app availability

Natural Gas Pipe Size - Sebastjan Valic

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

On poor building insulation

A poorly insulated building requires larger radiators and/or higher water temperatures than a well insulated one. #energyefficiency

Heating an insulated home

There’s no need to worry about heating1 when your home is well insulated.

  1. Heating in general, heating generator, heating bodies, heating costs, etc. 

Combining heat pumps and solar heating systems

Engineers are obsessed with energy efficiency, and people would love to cut the costs of heating and hot water preparation.

Over the years, heat pumps have proven to be very cost effective and energy efficient when it comes to heating a home and preparing hot drinking water. The number of heat pumps is rising, and efficiencies (COP) are rising, too. There are some specifics to consider, though. With rare exceptions, heat pumps generally provide lower water temperatures than traditional oil/gas/firewood boilers, typically ranging from 55 to 60 degrees C. This means that in order to be able to heat a home, larger heating bodies (radiators)are required than when heating with a boiler. Underfloor heating is the preferred solution in many cases as it offers the largest possible heating area.

There is another thing to consider, though. With all the heat pumps, and especially with the air to water ones, efficiency drops when the source (air, soil, water) is colder. In the same situation, they also generate less heat. To be specific, air to water heat pumps perform the worst when heat is needed most. Soil and water source heat pumps tend to have a time lag, because soil doesn’t cool down as fast as air. But eventually, it does, especially towards the end of winter.

Solar systems share the same problem with heat pumps, and it is even more pronounced. Their heat output during cold, foggy winter days is low. That’s when your home needs the most heat to keep you warm and comfortable. The problem is not insurmountable - you install a larger array of dolar panels and a heat storage tank and you need another heat source to cover the coldest days. The same applies to heating and hot water preparation.

Now, here’s an idea: a combination of a solar system with a heat pump. Is such a combination possible? Two heat sources that both offer low heating costs. Sounds great. It sure is possible, in different variants:

  • solar panels provide hot drinking water, heat pump provides heat for space heating
  • solar panels provide hot drinking water and space heating support and heat pump provides the rest of space heating
  • other variants, used more rarely.

But there are a few questions regarding effectiveness of such combinations.

First and foremost, both systems provide the least heat when it’s most needed. This is especially true for solar systems and air source heat pumps. 0 + 0 is still close to 0.

Second, let’s suppose it’s early spring and the sun is shining, but heating is still needed. The solar system provides so much heat that the temperature of water inside the hot-water tank rises to 70 degrees C. In this case, the heat pump’s circulator pump better not try to run, because the heat pump would get those 70 degrees C on its return and that would cause a high pressure switch to shut it down (which will probably require a service intervention). Not that this isn’t preventable, but it should be considered, raising cost and adding complexity to such a system.

Third, the summer. There’s lots of sun, and the temperatures of air, soil and water are warm. Solar panels perform very well and heat large quantity of water to hot temperatures. Sometimes too hot. If the system is designed to work reasonably well in winter, it will probably produce way too much heat in summer. It can be used to shower more frequently, but still, there is too much heat which is thrown away. Also, steam may form inside pipes, which isn’t a desired effect. Now to the heat pumps. Again, air source heat pumps are the ones who suffer the most, as the air gets warmer than soil or water. Generally, with increasing source temperature, COP gets higher and heat output also rises. Sometimes to the point where the heat exchanger in heat tank cannot transfer such a quantity, causing the heat pump’s compressor to stop. In order to protect the compressor, it is only restarted a few minutes later. Meantime, electric heater kicks in, consuming large amount of electricity when the heat pump should perform best. Another problem is heat pumps’ upper source temperature limit. When air reaches over 35 degrees C, heat pumps stop working because of high refrigerant pressures.

But of course, combining solar panels and a heat pump you won’t run in such trouble, because in summer only solar panels should more than suffice.

Which brings us to the financial aspect of solar panels and heat pump combination. Firstly, such a system is costly to build. It is basically two costly heating systems combined with hot water tanks with two spirals instead of one plus some additional controls. And the running costs? Solar uses little electrical power to operate. It is basically one circulating pump, and with modern, low energy pumps, that makes for very low operating cost. But, during winter, additional energy is needed to heat drinking and heating water. Heat pumps use more electric power to operate, but require less (or zero) additional heat than solar systems. Also, in summer, COP numbers can be very high, and combined with the fact that a household generally requires a reasonably small amount of heat for hot drinking water (at least in comparison with heating water), it is fair to pose a question whether it is sensible (cost wise) to actually combine a heat pump with a solar system.

Lastly, there’s the complexity aspect. Adding complexity means:

  • adding investment cost (pumps, valves, electronic controls, installation)
  • adding user frustration (switching between systems, telling what works and what does not, poor automation user interfaces made for technicians instead of users)
  • using more room
  • increasing the risk of mechanical/electrical failure or leakage, also increasing inspection and servicing costs
  • increasing running costs as additional pumps and motorized valves use electricity.

The last point here is quite interesting. Both heat pumps and solar systems perform best with small heating loads, like in passive and low-energy houses, for example. In such cases, electric power needed to drive a heat pump is very low, maybe 300-600 W. Adding a single additional circulator pump, which might use some 20-40 W of electric power, lowers the overall system efficiency significantly. So it is again fair to ask if it is reasonable to add complexity to the system by combining these two systems.