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    Is this why we make fun of engineers (21 Posts)

  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 7:52 AM
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    Is this why we make fun of engineers

    http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679782/a-simple-solution-for-making-dumb-radiators-part-of-a-smart-home?utm_source=May+17%2C+2012&utm_campaign=Email+Newsletter+Analytics&utm_medium=email

    This nice piece from dans newsletter shows how the knucklehead engineer mind works:
    His solution is not to make the system work as effectively as it once did, but instead to modify the symptoms of faulty maintenance. If this fellow owns a car, what would he do if the brakes were dragging, put in a bigger engine?--NBC
  • SWEI SWEI @ 11:28 AM
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    engineers

    Are given a solid grounding in the basics during their first two years of college.  Unfortunately, they're rarely educated about the realworld solutions which preceded their time.

    TRVs, anyone?
  • jumper jumper @ 2:03 PM
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    defending knuclehead

    The idea isn't THAT bad. Although a big advantage of radiant heat is no drafts.

    I was a knucklehead professional engineer that Dan laughs at. In my defense, there's a time factor. Client wants a solution yesterday, not pay me to study his problem. A safe way out is to generate a long report that nobody will read.
  • Danny Scully Danny Scully @ 9:31 PM
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    TRV

    The solution to this problem was invented quite some time ago. It's called a thermostatic radiator valve. Why does it seem that know one knows about thermostatic radiator valves?
  • gerry gill gerry gill @ 9:46 PM
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    Yup, i read it and thought

    what a reject..how much engineering went into reinventing the wheel..and i assume his design would need electricity to run the fan..i thought trv instantly and then i thought, if we cant get the cheapskate landlords to buy a trv, then how the heck is he going to get them to buy radiator straight jackets!
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.
  • Hap_Hazzard Hap_Hazzard @ 7:36 AM
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    The irony

    I bet it never occurred to them that increasing the radiator's effective capacity, when the fan is running, is going to make it produce more condensate, and if it's piped correctly for its normal EDR, the supply pipe and valve won't be adequate. It's also ironic that they got a "Green Energy" grant when all it does is use energy to move air past the radiator, which convection would do on its own if they hadn't put it in a box.
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S

    3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 9:20 AM
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    Nice

    I'm glad I wasn't the only one that thought the whole idea was ridiculous.
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. Using Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment to greatly reduce corrosion in the boiler.


    Boiler pictures.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
  • MarkS MarkS @ 5:47 PM
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    I thought the worst part

    was when the author wrote, "Steam heat is wasteful". Steam heat is wonderful, poor maintenance is wasteful.
    Homeowner, Royersford PA | 1890 one-pipe steam system | 3009 sf | 3 floors | 14 radiators | Utica SFE5200S boiler
    NEW Midco LNB-250 Modulating Gas Burner | EcoSteam modulating controls | 70 to 300 MBH |
    607 sf EDR connected load | Operating pressure: 0.5 oz/in2
    Four main runs (insulated) totaling 135 ft in length | All Gorton vents on mains & rads |
    A Steam Odyssey | Odyssey 2 | A Steam Enthusiast's Outdoor Reset Control
  • Hap_Hazzard Hap_Hazzard @ 9:40 AM
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    It's also wasteful...

    to give out $220,000 prizes for re-inventing the wheel.

    Sad when you consider what some of the pros on this forum, who have significantly reduced their customers' energy consumption while improving their comfort, could do with that money.

    I just noticed there's a place for comments on that site. So far no one has commented.
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S

    3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • gennady gennady @ 11:41 AM
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    fan coil unit

    Isn't it a standard steam fan coil unit?
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
    www.AbsoluteMechanicalCoInc.com
  • Paul48 Paul48 @ 1:50 PM
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    Efficiency?

    That's about as efficient as putting a servo motor on the window and controlling it with a thermostat.The people that awarded the prize are equally "clueless".Other countries do not graduate engineers.They earn the title of engineer, after time spent in the field.
  • gennady gennady @ 3:21 PM
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    engineers

    I actually refuse to do spec build jobs. And if I hear word "architect" from potential client, I walk away. Cannot waste my time on this BS. It is too depressing. I had a job for very high profile customer, where in emergency I installed 130,000 btu mod con combi in his brownstone, where heat load was 80.000 btu at design temperature and it went trough the winter with no problem, then renovation come in the summer, very "reputable" engineering company went in, recommended removing mod con boiler, ( they were thinking it was a water heater), and specified standard efficiency boiler 400,000 btu. I was fighting them to the blood, with no result, telling them they do not need this boiler. Customer wanted me to go with engineer recommendations. We agreed to leave existing combi boiler, and just add this new boiler . Phase 2 of construction were done already with out me. I see engineers as a major compromising factor in energy conservation. (I have a degree as well)
    Gennady Tsakh

    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.
    www.AbsoluteMechanicalCoInc.com
  • SWEI SWEI @ 4:18 PM
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    engineers

    My schooling as an electrical engineer was followed by a 2+ decades in broadcast and telecommunications, where having PE stamp is a rare requirement.  I've managed to acquire sufficient knowledge of building mechanical systems that I now find myself in the position of fixing work performed by licensed engineers - yet because I never bothered to take the EIT test or apprentice at a PE firm, I am not actually eligible to take the PE exam.  I'm contemplating hiring a recent grad just so we can stamp our own work.
  • jumper jumper @ 11:45 PM
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    avoid stamping

    I minimised using my P.Eng stamp and usually passed cards without the title.The title exposes you to kangaroo courts forever. My mentor installed successful but unconventional steam heating. More economical than hot water. He stopped to avoid liability.
  • gerry gill gerry gill @ 6:59 AM
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    Jumper- tell us more!

    i want to here about these steam systems.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 9:04 AM
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    Me too!

    do you have any pictures you can post?
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • jumper jumper @ 1:48 PM
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    ancient history

    I wish I had schematics. My mentor installed those systems in multistory residential buildings in the fifties. He used lightwall tubing instead of pipes so you can understand why he abandoned the business when Toronto Plumbing & Heating Department started to retain documents. Foyer radiator served as a condenser to enhance steam circulation. I think that basement & first floor units were separate from main heating system so that B dimension was generous.

    My friend was not one to complain so I don't know the complete story. He alluded to vendors of traps,vents, and pumps disapproving his Russian system.
  • Patrick_North Patrick_North @ 8:21 AM
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    Seriously-

    Would Dan or a representative of the "Steam and Vapor Heating Association of America" draft a nice note to MIT and/or this guy's startup firm?
    We're having a good laugh here (though it also makes my skin crawl), but it would seem that no good can come from this. Speak, dead men!
    Thanks,
    Patrick
  • Patrick_North Patrick_North @ 2:28 PM
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    Update

    A few months ago, I took my own advice and emailed the principals of this outfit. In short, I asked them if they were familiar with TRV technology and pointed out that they would provide a simpler, cheaper solution to the same problem they purported to solve. Knowing that the wheels were in motion for them to continue with their initiative, I implored them to visit HeatingHelp.com to learn more about steam, pick brains, etc. Hey- these guys seem to be in a position to enact some steam heat efficiency schemes on a scale that some posters here can only dream about- it's for the greater good if they do so well informed.
    Well, I never heard back, and I never saw any activity on the Wall suggesting they bit, either.
    I did recently find this (attached) in one of their online sales pitches, however.
    TRVs need to be replaced every year? TRVs "cause" water hammer? That's news to me. Good grief. I can understand them not wanting to have their bubble burst, but it's downright depressing to see this kind of thing. Misinformation piling on top of ignorance. Despite the "green" prize from MIT, clearly conservation is not Priority #1.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Patrick
    This post was edited by an admin on October 23, 2012 2:29 PM.
  • ChrisJ ChrisJ @ 2:33 PM
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    But wait

    Besides the out right lies about pipe banging and needing to be replaced the claim they don't conserve energy.

    When did it become completely acceptable to flat out lie in your advertisements?
    Weil-McLain EG-45 connected to 392sqft of radiation via two 2" risers into a 3" drop header and 2" equalizer. Using Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment to greatly reduce corrosion in the boiler.


    Boiler pictures.
    https://picasaweb.google.com/thetube0a3/Boiler?authkey=Gv1sRgCImUxIqv9436MQ#
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:52 PM
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    We SHOULD comment!

    Well, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who read this and thought, "What the ?"It just seemed stupid to me, especially as it's geared towards building owners and maintenance people.  However, It's a very different thing when one is a tenant and your landlord won't maintain the system or add TRVs.  I suppose a renter could put this on and carry it to the next apartment, much like a window a/c.
    Too bad they felt the need to denigrate TRVs and use misinformation to sell this product. Why does everyone think steam is so antiquated?  Urgggh. Maybe I'll comment on that site after all!  CTD
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