Hydronics Design Studio Professional Version 2.0 by Appropriate Designs, www.hydronicpros.com, which is available as download and on CD, is Windows based software to aid users in designing high-performance hydronic heating systems in residential and light commercial buildings.

The software features 12 interactive modules, each performing specific tasks. The modules include estimators for building heat load, pipe heat loss and heating cost; "what-if" simulators for series baseboard and hydronic circuit; calculators for fluid properties, equivalent length of user-specified components and hydraulic resistance; expansion tank sizer; and pipe sizer. Other modules address injection mixing calculations and buffer tank sizing.

The software requires no special training and is designed for users who are generally familiar with modern hydronic heating. The graphical interface, which is simple to navigate, links to sophisticated engineering algorithms behind the scenes. The software enables answers to routine design questions such as: flow rate a given circulator will produce in a system; how to compensate for temperature drops in a series baseboard system; the effect of using the next larger pipe size on the circuit effect flow rate; how adding antifreeze to a system would affect it: and how different tube spacing and supply temperature affect a specific radiant floor panel.

Hydronics Design Studio Pro version 2.0 features a performance database of more than 440 selectable circulators and enables users to work with a wide selection of fuel options. The new equivalent length module enables accurate hydraulic modeling of a wide range of devices. The software also detects impossible or potentially problematic design situations and displays appropriate warning messages and suggested corrections.

A demo/academic version of the software is available as a free download at the website.

Traveling light?
Here are four productivity applications compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Two are HVAC specific and two are business apps.

FanFare HVAC by IKB Design Ltd., (available at iTunes App Store, www.itunes.apple.com under productivity) facilitates rapid sizing of HVAC ducts (unrestricted flow rates) in a wide range of ductwork materials and styles, with the calculations displaying velocity, width and depth order, as well as fan gains and fan motor sizes. The program, from a developer based in Great Britain, operates in imperial and metric units and uses either USA or UK methods.

Blowpipe HVAC, also by IKB Design, (available at iTunes App Store, www.itunes.apple.com under productivity) facilitates rapid sizing of pipes in a wide range of pipe work materials and fluid temperatures. The calculations also include pump motor sizes, pipe expansion, and weight and heat transfer. The program uses calculation methods common to USA as well as UK and Europe, and with international pipe data.

Suitable for a small contracting office, Invoice2Go Version 4 (available at www.invoice2go.com, or www.itunes.apple.com under business) invoice and estimating software enables iPhone, iPad or iPod touch users to easily design, manage and send estimates and invoices on the go, using WYSIWIG form entry. Invoices and estimates can be organized into paid and unpaid folders with purchase orders and credit memos in their own folders as well. After you add your items, taxes and totals are automatically calculated. The software turns estimates into invoices with one click and saves all forms as PDF files, available for printing. The user can select when payment is due, anywhere from that day to one year hence.

Users can upload a fully customized invoice style and include either a stock icon from the program or their own logo downloaded from the Internet, a PC or an iPhone or iPad touch photo album. A preview screen shows what the client will see upon receiving the invoice or estimate. The user taps e-mail to send out an invoice directly to clients (getting the payment process going immediately) or can e-mail the invoice to self and print it out. There is also the option to add a PayPal button to an invoice, enabling a customer to pay instantly.

Over two dozen sales and business reports are available, including customer aging; sales by month, territory, sales person or customer; estimates by month, customer, territory or sales person; and payments by category or month.

iXpenseIt version 4.5 by FYI Mobileware (available at www.fyimobileware.com or at www.itunes.apple.com under business) is utilized for tracking expenses, improving accountability and facilitating faster reimbursements, or for preparing a monthly budget. It sports password protection and has the ability to back up and restore data at any time. Features include PDF Reporting and AirPrint, number pad with calculation, one-time set-up for repeating events, account balance and account transfer, Trend Bar charts for expense and cash flow, visual indicator of monthly budget vs. expenses, and the ability to store digital photo receipts, and a variety of other graphical reports. iXpenseIT also has the ability to do a full text search to quickly locate specific transactions. (AirPrint-enabled applications used on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, can — without any software to download or drivers to install — print wirelessly via an AirPrint-enabled printer.)

Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at: productpad@yahoo.com.