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    Questions you'd love to ask (Dan H.) (57 Posts)

  • Jim Jim @ 5:13 PM
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    like to see the question that was asked in 2002 answered again."When and Why it's Time to Replace that Old Boiler" No one mentioned efficiency/environment 7 years ago.
  • Jim Pompetti Jim Pompetti @ 12:19 AM
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  • EricAune EricAune @ 1:57 AM
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    Solar ROI's

    I had a customer ask me about the expected return on investment for a solar domestic water system. She stated that the local gas company was out the day before trying to fix her boiler (failed, that is why I was there). She said the tech. stated that the pay-back on "those" systems was like 20 years or more......WHAT??? I apparently have my prices way too low. I have been able to approximate pay back in the 6 1/2 to 8 year time frame for most systems. (I use RETscreen). I was wondering what other contractors were experiencing in other areas of the country. I know it depends on the existing fuel and size of the system, but most systems are comparable if they are not increasing size over existing standard systems. Thank you Eric Aune To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    "If you don't like change, your going to like irrelevance even less"
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 7:45 AM
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    I'll ask the subscribers in an upcoming issue. Good one.
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  • Glen Aspen Glen Aspen @ 9:49 AM
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    what about -

    The real life expectancy of high efficient gas fired appliances? As stated by manufacturers or more/less? and two - are your local utilities making subsidies/rebates for hi Ef conversions a year long program or just an annual window of opportunity?
  • N/A @ 11:11 AM


    Is it a good idea to test the environment you are about to enter? If I smell gas at the front door of a building what should I do? Is combustion testing really necessary on equipment? Isn't equipment factory tested and set up?
  • ttekushan ttekushan @ 3:14 PM
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    Kind of corollary

    How do you make the client understand that maintaining hvac efficiency is as important as improving efficiency with new/updated equipment? or, in my little steam world: Is restoring a neglected system's efficiency enough to make the client deliriously happy vs improved efficiency with new equipment/controls?
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 11:37 AM
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    Thanks, Tim.

    Number 3 lends its self well to this format. Good one.
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  • Baltimore/Maine Doug Baltimore/Maine Doug @ 9:57 AM
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    This counterbalance thing

    may apply in some circumstances. For small props there is not enough force to make a boat tilt. The boat I have been running has a 12 foot beam and 450HP Cat. My body weight makes no difference to the boat whether stopped, accelerating or moving right along. Pumping 300 gallons of fuel aboard makes a difference but mostly in the Amex statement.
  • N/A @ 8:27 AM

    Wayne & Jean

    You jest I am sure! Believe it or not anything above 1100 to 1200 degrees will ignite gas and propane is even lower. It is amazing how many people in the trades do not practice gas safety. It is only the grace of God that many are not killed.
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 11:50 AM
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    Certainly I was jesting. Hence the smiley. I infer you think some people take things so literally that they might think I was serious. I hope you are wrong, but you may well be right. I shudder at the thought.
  • N/A @ 4:09 PM

    Jean, Smiley did not show up

    but yes after teaching for the last 35 years I have heard it all from looking for leaks with a torch to using matches. Many are the arguements against what is safe but you only die once.
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 6:03 PM
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    I have heard it all from looking for leaks ...

    I had a professional heating contractor do my boiler installation -- one that was formerly oil, but now is gas. Not only was the manual pretty explicit that the only way to look for leaks was a soap solution, but the gas company would not allow them to connect to the meter until they pressurized the system to 15 psi and it had to hold it for at least 24 hours before they were allowed to connect the line to the meter. They did that around lunch time on a Friday, and by Monday it had dropped about 3 psi that seemed pretty good to me (a NON-professional). So they had either a spray can or a bottle with bubble stuff in it (perhaps like kids use, for all I know) and looked around the various joints and found it. Tuesday the gas guy approved and it was connected up. I guess it is just as well they fixed it, but I wonder how dangerous that would be. The whole boiler and all the nearby piping is in my garage that has two vents about 12"x12": one near the top of the roof, and one right next to the boiler with enough capacity to pass code for feeding my old oil burner. Also leaks under the garage door that I know you are not allowed to count. The new boiler gets its air from outside and exhausts right next to it (Weil McLain Ultra 3 80K BTU/hour).
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 5:54 PM
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    Smiley did not show up

    That's strange. When I look at it in my browser, it is there.
  • Radiator Ranger Radiator Ranger @ 1:07 AM
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    Hi Dan - I don't know that these are the types of question you were thinking but they're the kind of questions that come to mind. #1 Can you tell us again about latent heat? #2 There are formulas for equivalent direct radiation of a radiator (EDR) based on size, style of radiator, temperatures etc. Is there a formula for determining the weight of a radiator based on the number, height and style of fins? Are there tables in old books that list this? #3 How many foundries in the United States made cast iron radiators? If there were only a few foundries, how were radiators moved from the manufacturing plant to the customer. I found an interesting article about the American Radiator Company. Very briefly: American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Corporation Litchfield Illinois ...Between 1905 and 1944 the plant produced only cast iron radiation and, in that period more than 150,000,000 square feet of this product was cast. Rococo, Peerless, Corto, and Arco radiators were shipped from Litchfield to all parts of the United States and South America. In the early years before the American Radiator Company built its European plants, large quantities were also exported to Europe.... During World War II the American-Standard Litchfield Plant was converted for the manufacture of sand-molded magnesium castings. ...The plant was re-converted to the manufacture of radiators late in 1945. 3A How many rail cars would 150,000,000 square feet of radiation fill, and how much does that represent in lbs.? The question makes me laugh - every time I talk on the phone about radiators people make sure to tell me 'they (the radiators) are really heavy!' The labor and energy embodied in cast iron radiators boggles me. Curiously, Gwen Healy - Radiator Ranger
    Gwen Healy - Radiator Ranger
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 9:01 PM
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    I've been able

    to use some of your questions, and they'll appear in upcoming eBlasts. Thanks. Since the eBlast questions use the survey format (chose an answer from a list), I haven't been able to use all that you've proposed. Some of these questions that you've posed require essay answers. That doesn't work within this context. Sorry. If you have any more questions that I can ask as multiple-choice questions, I'm happy to post them for you. Let me know. Thanks. And if you don't get the Thursday eBlast, and would like to, just add your e-mail address to the box on the masthead you see at the top of each page of the site.
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  • Wayco Wayne Wayco Wayne @ 12:55 PM
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    I know the answer to your first question. If you go in the front door of a building and smell gas, the first thing you do is turn on the lights so you can see where it's coming from. :O WW To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 9:10 PM
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    I read you should not turn on the lights under that condition. So I guess you should get a kerosene lantern or a candle. 8-)
  • N/A @ 8:12 PM

    Thanks Again Dan,,

    I have never been very good at being polite,, but things ARE sinking-in!

  • N/A @ 6:55 PM

    Thanks Dan H,

    for answering my boat steering wheel question,,
    But what about the others in my first posting?,,, as I said, I am curious.
    When we do meet, I don`t want to pronounce your name wrong! ;-)

  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 7:58 PM
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    we pronounce it HOLLOWhan, but we could be wrong. :-) Thanks for asking.
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    just a few

    if drinking and driving is Illegal why do they allow bars to have parking lots? who put the bop in the bop shue bop d bop and who put the dang in the bada bada bing bang when there is no dang? why is it if you need your tv remote or vcr programmed a 12 year old is the expert?
  • Chris S Chris S @ 5:26 PM
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    double post

  • Chris S Chris S @ 5:26 PM
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    more on port starboard

    I have to chime in now, in an airplane, the pilot is always in the left seat, but some helicopters are flown from the right seat and some are flown from the left. anybody?
  • Barbarossa Barbarossa @ 7:51 AM
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    Planes and such

    First guess for fixed wing would be visibility as most airport pattern turns historically are to the left. As for rotary they usually fly right turns to remain clear of other traffic. But it could also be torque; because in the case of rotary, which way you turn requires more or less Hp to be diverted to the tail rotor and what goes to the tail is not available for lift. Of course if there were good reasons for that they may not be relevant anymore as different countries manufacture equipment where the prop or blades turn in different directions. I would like to hear other views on this even though it is a bit off topic.
  • Scott Scott @ 10:49 AM
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    Starboard . port

    Dan is correct on the origin of those words. It may not be why the steering wheel is located to the right. My sailboat has it in then middle :) Scott To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • rt rt @ 11:38 AM
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    boat steering wheel

    See below
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 4:35 PM
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    What if

    you bring along a beer-drinking buddy and he sits on the port side. Do you go 'round in circles?
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  • Steve Ebels Steve Ebels @ 12:08 AM
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    Why are all the wood/biomass boilers that are way cool made in Europe and not available here? Few of our gas and oil product here use a Lambda sensor and they are using that type of control on cordwood for crying out loud! Why doesn't the US accept DIN ratings and testing standards.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 5:53 AM
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    The format

    in my weekly eBlast for questions is multiple choice. It's a survey. Not sure how to ask these questions you pose in that format, Steve.
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  • rt rt @ 11:45 AM
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    boat steering wheel on the right side

    Haven't seen the answer yet. Seem-so I heard one time it's because to counter act the rotation of the engine. When the engine revs up, it would make the boat roll/lean toward the port side (left side for you land lovers). Having the weight of the driver on STBD side(right side for you land lovers), counter acts that motion. Correct me if I'm wrong!! Thanks in advance. rt
  • R Mannino R Mannino @ 9:03 PM
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    Why do we park in driveways and drive on parkways? Seriously, Why should I upgrade MY heating system, it's working?
  • Rich Kontny Rich Kontny @ 4:32 PM
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    The distribution system

    If the distribution system is a snow melt system can it truly be called part of an energy efficient heating system?
  • Baltimore/Maine Doug Baltimore/Maine Doug @ 3:30 PM
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    on whether the wheel is a right hand or left hand rotation and whether we are talking about an inboard or outboard/outdrive. The walking effect is most noticeable in reverse where the bottom blades have a better bite than the blades when they are at the top of rotation. Also in reverse the rudder is less effective. Outboards etc with smaller props which are turned to direct thrust also exhibit less prop walk. Twin engines or their wheels usually rotate in opposite directions to negate the effect. One can use this effect to help manouver.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 11:53 AM
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    On the first boats,

    the steering board was on the right-hand side (which is where the word "starboard" originates), and because of this, they would pull into "port" on the left-hand side (hence that name) so as to not damage the steering board. That's why the wheel is on the right.
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  • N/A @ 2:37 PM

    Here are some more

    What causes the green deposits on the Mod/Con boiler coils in the heat exchanger? Should there be post purge circulators on high end equipment? What items use the most energy in our lives? When will it stop raining in New England? Just kidding!!
  • N/A @ 2:00 AM

    sorry Dan...

    rt got this right.. The force of the prop will list the boat to left and ' counterwieght' with one person on starboard side will helps the boat float 'straight'.
  • JJ JJ @ 1:38 PM
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    Thanks for that!

    Now I will be able to remember which is which.
  • tim smith tim smith @ 12:54 PM
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    Why are there some many questions ?????

  • This post has been deleted!

  • N/A @ 12:13 PM

    why are there?

    Why there 10 hot dog package for 8 hot dog bun package? Happy 4th to everyone!
  • N/A @ 3:54 PM

    Hey Ray,,,

    another thing I always wondered,,, why are boats with steering wheels always LH drive?,,, or is it right?
    Opposite of the cars we have here anyways,, :-)

  • Mitch Mitch @ 8:07 AM
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    > Why there 10 hot dog package for 8 hot dog bun
    > package? Happy 4th to everyone!

    why do we drive on parkways, but park on driveways.. and what is gay apparel and how do you don it?
  • Mitch Mitch @ 8:07 AM
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    why do we drive on parkways, but park on driveways.. and what is gay apparel and how do you don it?
  • N/A @ 6:17 PM

    I do know why

    I do know why the boat have steering wheel on right side.. I've won bar bets on this one.
  • N/A @ 8:46 PM


    C`mon,,, let`s hear it!

  • N/A @ 10:50 PM

    alright.. I'll give the

    Alright I'll give it away for you ladies and gentlemen to win some bar bets... Learned this a few years ago reading an old fishing magizine printed way back in 1978...
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 4:04 PM
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    Each week

    in my eBlast newsletter, I ask a question in the My Two-Cent's section. We publish the results the following week. I'm always interested in these unscientific surveys and we'll have them on the new site as well. Is there a question you'd like me to ask our nearly 5,000 opt-in subscribers? Let me know and I'll put it in the queue for an upcoming issue. And if you don't already get the free eBlast, and would like to get it, just add your e-mail address to the box that you see up in the site's masthead. We don't share e-mail addresses with anyone else. Thanks.
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  • N/A @ 8:38 PM

    OK Dan, I`ll give-it a go,,

    Not sure if this is what you`re meaning, but I have had arguments over the pronunciation of manufacturers names,,,
    Is it Taaaco,,, or Tawco?
    Weeerzbo,,, or Wires-bo?
    Oooponor,,, or Up-onor?
    I was just curious,, and I think a similar question was asked awhile back. :-)

    BTW- Is your last name pronounced Hooolohan,,, or Hollow-han?
    Again,,, just curious,, no offense intended! ;-)

  • Larry Weingarten Larry Weingarten @ 9:00 PM
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    Just so you know.

    Spell check, (always a reliable source) suggests Holohan is actually Hooligan :~O Yours, Larry ps. I am curious to know how many of the 5000 know what an anode rod is.
  • N/A @ 9:17 PM

    Good call Larry,,

    I also wonder how many know the temp to run their water heater-at to avoid any Legionnella disease?

  • Supply House Rick Supply House Rick @ 3:52 PM
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    It is a lot; > 60C. You can kill some of them at a lower temperature, such as 50C, but they are tough. 66C will not get all of them. You would not want water at this temperature, or anywhere near it, coming out of the tap. But bear in mind that they do not like copper salts and by use of copper tubing instead of steel or plastic, you can discourage them.
  • N/A @ 11:47 PM


    From the heart. Is it acceptable to compromise your craftsmanship for profit for those customers unwilling to pay for your true worth because you need to support your lifestyle?
  • Joe Billow Joe Billow @ 11:25 AM
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    How many options do you give customers? How much time (design/bidding) are you willing to spend.
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 2:50 PM
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    I am not in the business, so I have never had to deal with a real customer. But different businesses work differently. When I had my kitchen remodeled, they charged for design time, so I could do as many iterations as I wanted, bearing in mind that the more time I used, the more it could cost me. But that way, they could cheerfully spend as much time as I wanted them to because I imagine they made money on the design time even if I then decided not to do the job. Though I had them to the job, too. OTOH, when I recently had my nearly 60 year old oil fired hot water boiler replaced with a gas one, and the system divided into two zones (count 'em, three: one for the indirect fired DHW), changing some imitation radiators for two 14 foot sections of SlantFin, etc., they did not charge for design time. Since I knew exactly what I wanted (I read John Siegenthaler's book, for one thing), they only made a few minor changes in what I asked for. They were inclined to put a larger boiler in than what I calculated, but I prevailed on them to use what I requested. I think I did a more detailed heat loss calculation than they did; I did it three ways. One, I used the calculation suggested by the boiler maker (Weil McLain); I also did one by Slant/Fin, and as a check, I knew the oil burner had a 1/2 gph nozzle so that was 70,000 BTU/hr input and always got enough heat. My other two calculations came out between 30K and 40K, so I got an 80K mod/con, the smallest WM make that will turn down to 16k. I know you were not asking for an answer to the original question, but it seems to me that were a heating contractor to charge (enough) for design time, he would have no pressure to shortchange the process.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 11:50 AM
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    Good ones.

    Thanks, Joe!
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  • John L John L @ 8:30 PM
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    Is the government willing to give up to $1500 tax credit for higher efficiency butis about to pass abill that will increase the average homeowners utility casts by up to $3000. Is that taking from Peter so that you can rob Paula. Just asking. John L
  • Jim Bennett Jim Bennett @ 11:07 PM
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    Where's Weezbo ???
    Jim Bennett
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