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    how prevalent is this? (90 Posts)

  • remodel remodel @ 10:09 AM
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    how prevalent is this?

    Is this type of install done a lot and does it save a bunch?   

  • Robert_H Robert_H @ 10:55 AM
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    He needs to go back over those courses.

    I cant talk to the legality of using a hot water heater for heating but He missed the "pumping away" lessons and is pumping to the expansion tank.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 11:35 AM
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    Another hydronic expert is born….

    He is missing the boat on a BUNCH of stuff.

    Promoting the use of open potable water systems for space heating is akin to playing Russian Roulette with the health of his loved ones. As a survivor of Legionaires disease, I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy.

    He's headed in the right direction by going hydronic radiant, but he needs to finish doing his homework before he goes public with this and convinces a bunch of other people that his idea will work, and not compromise their families health.

    I am intimately familiar with two other people who contracted this deadly disease (Legionella) from systems EXACTLY like he is talking about. And that doesn't include me. I got mine from a water heater that was simply set too low.

    And in the interest of full disclosure, I actually DID install one of these systems in my own home many years ago, and the performance sucked.

    I eventually replaced it with a real closed loop system, and in the process, when I was cutting the old stuff out, there was a bluish green ooey gooey slime that came out of the pipes. It's called bio film (food and shelter for bacteria) in scientific circles. I'd NEVER intentionally expose anyone to that mess, and if he were smart, he'd do research on Legionella Pneumophila and quit promoting this deadly, CHEAP method.

    Someone, please, hold me back… And by all means, DON'T let Dave Yates know what this guy is promoting…. :-)

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 20, 2014 9:29 AM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 11:42 AM
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    Someone once told me that it is a fleet of ships about that Legionella stuff.
    I told them that the CDC has a whole Armada of information on it and I hoped that no one he worked for ever got it because it was going to cost them dearly.
    He didn't believe me.
    Thanks for the story and qualification ME.
    It can happen to anyone. Tell them about the critters that live in shower heads that come out in the aerosol mist that don't seem to effect men but seriously effect women.
    Can't remember the name. Its a serious problem in Nursing Homes where the maximum water temperature to residents rooms are 112 degrees. 106 being ideal.
  • earl burnermann earl burnermann @ 1:00 PM
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    How about adding a loop using a flat plate heat exhanger?

    What would you think about using a flat plate heat exchanger to create heating water to go to the radiant heating in a home. Did a energy audit with a group of fellow students on a Habitat for Humanity home built here on LI. The house was so tight and so well insulated I thought it might be a good idea to just install an efficient water heater and add a radiant loop with the heat exchanger.
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 8:38 PM
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    Personally, I don't think there is such a thing as an efficiency gas fired stand alone water heater, but what you propose is better than the alternative, provided that the heater is approved for dual use.

    And I wouldn't do radiant floors. I'd do radiant ceilings, andI'd also recommend you consider doing radiant cooling from the same panels.

    I don't recommend floors for low load apps because of the associated expense, and the fact that the floors really won't be THAT warm. Bathrooms floors yes, but other areas, wall ir ceiling panels work great in delivering excellent radiant COMFORT. We've gotta quit pushing warm floors and get back to delivering excellent radiant comfort. Heating and cooling.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
    This post was edited by an admin on May 11, 2014 8:42 PM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 11:35 AM
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    Code Compliant:

    Unless things have changed and I am unaware of it, it was my understanding that tank-less water heater manufacturers do not list their water heaters to be used as boilers for heating. They don't have that great big "H" on them. If the heaters fail under warranty, the warranty will not be honored. The problem was so bad from installers improperly installing water heaters as boilers, that manufacturers started putting domestic hot water tanks in their boilers.
    Any "green" or "homeowner" can do anything they want, and not be code compliant because the work is never inspected.  Or inspected by some AHJ who only collects the inspectional fee and is clueless about current code requirements..
    Just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you know what you are doing or that it is correct.
    If you're so good at fitting pipes together, why don't you go into business like many of us here are. Anyone can go to PEX Supply and buy a bunch of stock. When it doesn't work, they come here for advice.

    Mr. Mustache, that looks like an attractive installation. If you did the piping and installation without any help, you belong in business competing with us. Not leading unsuspecting consumers down a path that will cost them.
    Don't do it. Just because someone can do it, doesn't mean it is right.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 11:42 AM
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    Open system = Bad News

    Open hydronics systems like that one are illegal in most places and are breeding ground for Legionella as well a host of other issues.

    The tankless water heater is not designed, controlled or approved for space heating. It also will have no warranty if installed like that and probably won't last 3 years.

    There are reasons why things like delta T, gpm, head loss, btu's, emitter output, R values, etc, are involved in doing radiant heating: they are necessary to providing a reliable, comfortable and legal heating system. And there's no magical DIY way to getting around them. If there were, we'd be doing it.

    You don't go to an auto mechanic for a root canal and GC has no business passing himself off as a hydronic designer whose advice can be trusted. He ought to be sued for practicing hydronics without a license. Every error that he's advocating is based on doing it cheap, rather than correctly. A person that follows his mis-guided advice will soon find that the laws of physics out weigh the laws of economics - every time.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 12:27 PM
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    Unintended results

    Here is a graphic description of the drawbacks of such a system, and it doesn't take long for these symptoms to appear

    I wonder if the original blogger would incur any responsibility for any deaths which may occur.--NBC
  • SWEI SWEI @ 1:00 PM
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    The site allows comments

    and one of them links back to this thread...
  • remodel remodel @ 1:22 PM
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    recently I installed a..

    boiler, DWH etc.   A friend of mine (who I was advocating hot water heat too) sent me this website as he checks MMM very frequently so I started this thread with it and all on the Wall replied with some good info.  I too noticed that this thread has been linked on MMM's website. 
  • HDE HDE @ 1:50 PM
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    Actually water heaters, tankless included as long as its used as a combi system is not illegal in most places for heating, and approved by the manufacturers.
    Not that I agree, with the true combi boilers that are available today that segregate the two circuits, why do it? But you cant stop the tankless unit use in a combi application.
    What I whole heartily don't agree with is a water heater applied to anything else but an air handler with a hydronic coil that has some built in protections such as higher heat operation and coil purging. Putting a water heater on a radiant system with all the added mass of stagnate water is asking for trouble, odors and dangerous exposures to potential illness.
    Here's an interesting read though why tanks and tankless in combi applications can have their issues and not what they are expected to be:
    BTW, that house looks to big to be heated with that number of loops, pipe size and tankless flow restriction.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 17, 2014 2:16 PM.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 2:52 PM
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    Thanks for that PDF

    some good info and great photos there.

    I like to tell people that while it is possible to safely use an approved tankless water heater for space heating, that by the time they add the buffer tank, ODR-controlled mixing valve, and (for combi systems) heat exchanger which will allow it to deliver comfort, they will spend less on a properly-sized mod/con boiler.  It will also use more fuel than the mod/con.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 17, 2014 11:10 PM.
  • Bob Bona Bob Bona @ 8:42 PM
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    stupid me

    I used to get my gall bladder out at hospitals but after seeing all the scary instruments and hoses I am self performing any future surguries and will sketch out some diagrams so my friends and neighbors can get in on this cost saving alternative. I mean really. How hard is it?

    Nice job MM insulting the trade.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 9:33 PM
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    Great Idea, Bob

    Maybe you can do like Mr. Mustache and get all of us a group rate on surgical supplies, anesthesia, pain meds and bed pans too?
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Bob Bona Bob Bona @ 7:43 AM
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    I'm a big

    Fan of cradle to grave thinking so after the sketches of various simple operations, I will have an addendum of simple embalming or cremation procedures for all to share.

  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 2:21 PM
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    I'll be volunteering to perform radiant colonoscopies to proponents of open systems...without lube or anesthesia.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 11:47 AM
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    Plumbing vs. surgery

    Ha ha! You think that plumbing and human surgery are equally difficult? I think there's a reason why you just need a certain amount of experience + a written exam to become a plumber, and you need years of training and advanced degrees to become a surgeon. ;)
  • Ironman Ironman @ 1:46 PM
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    Plumbing and Surgery

    No one said they were equally difficult. It was simply an analogy to convey a point. Obviously, it was lost on you.

    Also, we're not talking about "plumbing". We are talking about Hydronics. And radiant floor heat in particular. Something most plumbers and HVAC people are clueless about. Then along comes Mr. Mustache, a GC, passing himself off as an expert in a field that he's woefully ignorant of and plying his ideas upon trusting people who take his advice as though he's some guru.
    If you think this just involves learning to put pipes together and passing a written exam, then you're very much in the dark.

    Mark Eatherton has over thirty five years experience and is president of the Radiant Panel Association, the nationally recognized authority on radiant heating. He has personally contracted Legionella and survived it. Therefore, he is passionate about its prevention.

    Ice sailor has about 50 years experience in this trade. I think he brings a little more to the table than just putting pipes together.

    I have over forty years experience, masters licenses in five trades and five years of college.

    Others here could list similar qualifications. We contribute here for free out of our own time because we want to help others by giving back to an industry that has benefited us. Seeing bad advice being given to others that we know will result in serious problems and maybe even death is not something we're gonna let slide. It will be vigorously addressed and refuted. If that bothers you, too bad. You would do well to educate yourself a little before you come here hurling accusations and defending blatant and willful error. Most, if not all of the men on here are gracious and willing to educate and help others about our industry if approached with the right spirit. But if you come hurling stones, don't be surprised when the response is a mortar round.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 18, 2014 1:53 PM.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 3:50 PM
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    Plumbing vs. surgery


    I understood the point; I simply didn't agree that it was a valid one. I was pointing out the ridiculousness of comparing installing a radiant heating system in your house to doing surgery on yourself. Obviously the two are on a whole separate playing field. Extend the analogy, and you'll be saying no moron should cook their own food - everyone knows you should hire a professional chef! They have years of experience, after all. And mowing your own lawn? Insanity! Think what could happen if some idiotic untrained lawnmower operator ran over his own foot! No, that is definitely a job for the professional landscapers only!

    The commenter above made snide, sarcastic remarks suggesting that anyone who even tries to install their own system must be a complete moron because it is so complicated that it is beyond the grasp of anyone but the most highly trained and experienced people (like surgery). I accept that experience is a benefit here, and that the poster may have more to learn, but I do not accept that anyone without experience in something deserves to be ridiculed for even attempting it. That's how you get experience, after all. The person in question here is an engineer and probably neither stupid nor incompetent. He is installing a system that is accepted and in fact recommended by various manufacturers and installers. If you disagree or have concerns, say so. If you want to get really radical you could even offer solutions. Throwing around personal insults and making fun of someone who knows less than you is not constructive.

    Maybe most of the people here are gracious and willing to educate, but that's certainly not the attitude I see on this thread.
  • RobG RobG @ 4:40 PM
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    I will refrain from responding to your post the way I would like to. The people on this site are here to HELP other people. As this is your first day on this site, I can only conclude that you are in some way related to the MMM site as you are only condoning poor practices. The only comments that I have seen on this post (other than yours), were made to ensure a safe and functional system.

     As there is a link to this site posted on MMM I don't think that it is anyone's responsibility to go there and correct the system that he designed and will not work nor be safe. If MMM wishes to learn about the correct way to install a radiant system, he should come here and find out how to do it , The folks here would be more than happy to help him. All he is doing is showing people how to do something the wrong way, with the wrong equipment and it will only cost them more money down the road as they will have to pay an experienced pro or allot of time and effort on their part to correct it.

    I would rather have many of the folks that lurk here remove my gall bladder than some of the doctors (or engineers) that I have dealt with.

  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 5:18 PM
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    I didn't mean to offend anyone. I am indeed an MMM reader and I am planning on putting a radiant in-floor heating system in the house I'll be building in a couple of years. Someone posted a link to this thread and I thought, hey, that's probably a great resource, I'll have a look! But what I found was mostly people bashing MMM and suggesting he was a con-artist and/or a moron, that open systems are totally unacceptable (yet I've seen them recommended by companies that specialize in this) and saying only the professionals can handle this type of thing - DIYers need not apply. Yet no one seems to have pointed out problems in the system that render it unuseable. Some have said another type of system is better, but for a low-cost and simple, DIY-maintainable system, is this unworkable? It doesn't seem that way, as far as I can tell, and therefore I don't think the original post at MMM is anything evil or misleading. The concerns identified so far are Legionnaire's disease (this can be addressed, as far as I can see), building code requirements (not really a system problem - MMM can take care of this, I'm sure), the possibility that the water heater will not last and will not be covered under warranty (this is experimental, so if it fails, that will be valuable feedback MMM can pass on, and again, I'm sure he can figure out warranty details), and the possibility that it's sized wrong for the house (we really have no idea, but MMM has had it approved by a system designer and presumably thought about that).

    I'm not saying anyone has a responsibility to go to the MMM site and correct him. But if you're genuinely concerned that some aspect of what he's promoting is unsafe, and you would like to see it corrected, wouldn't that be a nicer thing to do than just posting a snarky comment here about what an idiot he is?

    Anyway, some people have posted helpful links and info, so thank you to them. Looks like some good information. I'll check it out.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 5:36 PM
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    You're missing the point

    Analogies are designed to illustrate a point, not be extended to ridiculous conclusions. It's illogical to reason from an analogy; we reason from truth. Any truth reasoned to an extreme becomes an absurdity. If I extended your statement about a doctor being the only one qualified to do surgery to the extreme that you have about cooking your own food, etc, then we would have to conclude that I shouldn't remove a splinter from my finger because that's surgery and only a doctor is qualified!

    Your are indeed missing the point which was simply to show that you go to someone who's qualified when the need arises: i.e. You don't go to a mechanic to get a tooth pulled. Nor do you go to a G.C. to design a radiant heat system.

    Then you stated that Bob was suggesting that anyone who tries to work on their own heat was "a complete moron because it's beyond the grasp of anyone but the most highly trained and experienced people".

    You have totally fabricated this from your own mind. I challenge you to show where he said anything like that or implied it. By making such a false accusation, you have proved that you are obviously totally ignorant of what this site is all about. Just in this thread alone there are multiple posts by homeowners who state that they have received tremendous help from the pros here on doing repairs or installation on their systems. There are also thousands of pages of threads here that prove that your statement is outrageously false. Have you taken the time to read any before you start making such accusations? Obviously not. Your history shows that you just signed on today and your only posts are on this thread.

    You've also missed the point of why the pros on here are so adamant about the real issue which is: Mr. Mustache is pushing a system that not only is loaded with design errors, but is potentially deadly to those who follow his advice.

    But that doesn't seem to bother you. Instead, your upset about how some have commented about it. And you have the audacity to come on here where you've never contributed before and rebuke those who are genuinely concerned and who seek to warn others.

    This is America and Mr. Mustache is entitled to his opinion about how to design a radiant system just as we are. But he's not entitled to pass himself off as an expert and then promote that system in a public forum when that system is fraught with errors and potentially lethal. Freedom of speech doesn't allow that anymore that it allows someone yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

    Why is it that you're more concerned about how we've expressed our opinions than you are about the issues with Mr. Mustache's system? Are you another one of the thought/speech police or do you care about real issues?
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 9:58 AM
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    Ridiculous conclusions

    My point was that the original poster who first posted the insult was in fact extending it to a ridiculous conclusion. ;) I.e., the surgery analogy is ridiculous. By using it Bob certainly said quite clearly that attempting to design your own radiant heat system is on par with attempting to perform surgery on yourself (i.e., you'd have to be a complete moron to do it - only the most highly trained and experienced people should do surgery on humans, and surgery on yourself, well, that's a whole other matter!)

    Anyway, none of that is really important. It's just that the tone of that post, and a few others here, has been very condescending and insulting, and it set me off. I reacted inappropriately with a similarly condescending remark to the OP. I think we could all benefit from more civil discussion so I apologize for being uncivil myself.

    Regarding the nature of the comments, and people's desire to help: expressing your opinion here about MMM's competence or lack thereof does not in any way help or improve the situation. It will in fact have no bearing whatsoever on whether MMM modifies his system design, or whether other people follow his advice. So I don't think the people complaining here are doing so in an attempt to improve the safety and protect people. They are just complaining. If they were concerned about incorrect information being promulgated, and wanted to improve the safety of the system, they'd pop on over to the MMM comments section and raise a concern there. No need to sign up or anything, so it wouldn't take them any longer than posting the comment here. Anyway, thanks very much to Harvey/Chris who have done that. If you check out the MMM article again you'll see he's made some additional comments/acknowledgements of reader concerns and concerns raised on this forum.
  • RobG RobG @ 10:22 AM
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    I'm Done

    I'm done with this post.

    Moving on.

  • Bob Bona Bob Bona @ 6:12 PM
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    "just need

    A certain amount of experience and a written exam to be a plumber"

  • HDE HDE @ 11:04 PM
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  • SWEI SWEI @ 11:51 PM
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    Equally interesting

    and mostly covers the bases.

    > A comprehensive control strategy needs to be developed and tested to optimize the control of heating pump flow, air handler flow, and TWH heating output, to control on heating water return temperature, heating SAT, and DHW supply temperature to better optimize and monitor efficiency and comfort of specific combination systems.

    Last time I checked, much of this hardware and software were included with the best of current mod/con boilers.

    > There are really no standards or peer-reviewed guides for efficient combination system design. Most systems are designed and installed by trial-and-error “experts” from smaller independent heating system companies.

    Not really sure what to say here.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 18, 2014 12:08 AM.
  • HDE HDE @ 10:48 AM
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    Look to Canada for advances in combi use

    They are developing a new standard (CSA P.9-11) that makes sense, we shall hear or see it soon or something similar in the states.
    They do this stuff a lot in Canada with the small tight homes they live in.
  • Canucker Canucker @ 6:47 AM
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    On the positive side

    A trip through the comment section brings up just about every myth/misinformation related
    to radiant heat that I've ever heard, so it lets me know what I'm up against(Using 7/8 inch pipe under floor for better heat transfer was a good one, among others) I think it just reinforces the fact that the industry needs a better informed consumer as to why it costs what it does for this type of system. They don't know what they don't know." It's just water pumped through pipes, right? Anyone can do that" The comments weren't much of a surprise, I've heard variations of them in my short time learning this trade and those people tend not to be your client base. (Lowest price=best system)
    This post was edited by an admin on February 18, 2014 6:50 AM.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 12:01 PM
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    Sterilizing water?

    Lot of negative/angry responses here! If you are concerned, why not go over to the comments section on that blog and post your concerns and possible solutions? :)

    Re: Legionnaire's Disease. Would the tankless heater not heat the water enough to destroy bacteria before going to the house? I note the hot water supply comes directly from the water heater to fixtures. Could the Rheem not heat the water to the required 140 degrees to destroy the bacteria, then temper with cooler water on the way to the fixture? That way, the water would be first sterilized before going to the heating loops, and then if anything developed in the heating loops, it would be re-sterilized before being used for domestic hot water. Am I missing something here?
  • Gordan Gordan @ 12:32 PM
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    You're missing a lot.

    Firstly, educate yourself on the hazard of Legionella prior to surmising that what you propose is sufficient to protect from it. (It is not.)

    Secondly, Legionella aside, a host of issues with open systems have been laid out here, in this thread and many others - issues that put into question both the touted efficiency and the cost-effectiveness (due to longevity issues) of such systems.

    Thirdly, as a do-it-yourselfer who chose to do his homework rather than rationalize not doing them properly along the lines of "if it exceeds my attention span or my budget, it must not be worthwhile", I have found the professionals (and other do-it-yourselfers!) here to be very generous with their time and advice, and any negativity expressed toward Mr. Moustache would have to do with the casual way in which he rejects knowledge out of hand and not with elitism or the impulse to protect their livelihood. Weighing costs and benefits, something that every design (especially on a tight budget) should have a lot of, involves considerably more mental effort and discipline than Mr. Moustache seems to have afforded his project, and the health of his wallet and his family might be the worse for it.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 4:08 PM
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    Legionella etc.

    Hmm, I did look up legionella and found that 140 degree temp required to kill it... Just looked it up again and I'm still seeing from other sources that water can be disinfected of legionella at 60C/140F. Is your concern that it's not held at that temperature for long enough in a tankless system?

    I 'm not sure where your criticism is coming from about "the casual way in which he rejects knowledge out of hand". What knowledge has he rejected? As far as I can see, no one is over there pointing out flaws and getting shot down. He designed this system in consultation with the pros, had it approved by a professional system designer, and then posted it publicly and invited people to critique it. He's already made one correction to the system based on advice from the comments. You may not agree with the conclusions he came to, but I don't think that suggests that no mental effort was put into it.
  • knotgrumpy knotgrumpy @ 8:00 PM
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    "Is your concern that it's not held at that temperature for long enough in a tankless system?"

    Not really.  That 140 degree water will not stay that hot.  As soon as it is circulated through the PEX it, by design, is meant to give up its heat.  It is not the same as water in a closed loop system, it will be full of oxygen and will be a lukewarm bacteria incubator.

    Because it will be mixed with the same water MMM will shower with, he will be bathing in a soup of this water.

    In a proper setup there is a physical separation between the heating fluid and the domestic hot water side.

    BTW - I am a homeowner who has learned a lot from this site.  Enough that I redid my entire heating system.  These are some of the most helpful people on the internet.  Sometimes you just have to humbly admit you don't know everything about everything.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 10:08 AM
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    Thanks knotgrumpy! I know it won't stay at 140 degrees... What I am wondering about is whether it matters that legionella may breed in the heating loops, since the water will be sterilized again after that, before being used for DHW? Also, whether this is a problem at all in a chlorinated system? A quick search turned up a paper finding that 99% of legionella was destroyed by 40 minutes in mildly chlorinated water as would be in a municipal drinking water supply.

    And thank you for the kind comment - I don't mean to come off like I know more than the very experienced people here, I certainly don't! I didn't mean to question their experience, just to call out a condescending attitude. I may be back in a couple of years for help designing my own system, but maybe with a different screen name so everyone doesn't hate me. ;)
  • Gordan Gordan @ 11:16 AM
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    Let's not be dramatic

    It's good to be skeptical, especially when there is a good reason to suspect that the people who are telling you that "it ain't that simple" have something to sell you. Well, those internet peddlers also have something to sell you, so it certainly pays to be skeptical of their claims. There's no shortage of people who are selling you what they promise is a no-pain, all-gain shortcut to something desirable. If reasonable comfort is what we're after, how do we go about providing it?

    It pays to start with understanding the basics and work your way up from there as needed. One size clearly does not fit all, so how do we size a heating system? We do a heat loss calculation for each room. We size the heat emitter in each room to the heat loss of that room, which tells us what amount of flow we require for that room. Is radiant realistic (taking into account heat loss, available area, R-value of any building materials or carpeting or furniture between the tubing and the room, and the installation cost) as the only heat source for this room, do we require a backup source or an alternate approach?

    We do our best to use equal length branch piping/loops so that it starts out fairly well balanced and we don't have to resort to balancing valves, artificially creating pressure drop that we will waste energy to overcome. We size the circulator(s) to the total required flow, at the pressure drop of the "longest" branch. We use appropriate materials and fittings (so: no PEX, with its associated high pressure drop fittings, in areas where many fittings are required.) We consider what control strategy would be optimal; some systems may not require a single thermostat (for instance, mine has none) and others may require several. We decide whether we want this system to also handle DHW production, which comes with its own set of design trade-offs. Finally, on the basis of all of this and what economical fuel options are available to us, we pick a suitable heat source and lay out the necessary boiler room piping, paying attention to the ability to purge any air and isolate components that may need servicing so that the whole system doesn't have to be drained. We look at whether there are any possibilities to further optimize our emitter design for the heat source while staying within our design parameters. We balance initial cost against expected operating cost.

    We keep track of assumptions/requirements we made along the way and double- and triple-check everything, maybe settle for giving up on some stated objectives if it means that we can save money that we need to save.

    Then, once we think we have it all figured out, we hold onto our seat and try to work out construction details, which is its own can of worms!
  • Gordan Gordan @ 11:26 AM
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    The above is just a SUBSET of factors to consider

    There's a lot more to it than that. None of it intractable or mysterious, but all of it with varying degrees of impact to the final outcome.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 20, 2014 9:52 AM.
  • knotgrumpy knotgrumpy @ 11:59 AM
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    No need

    "I may be back in a couple of years for help designing my own system, but maybe with a different screen name so everyone doesn't hate me. ;)"

    No need to change your name.  You'll still get excellent advice because that is how it goes here.  A bunch of hydronics nerds that love the art of heating with water.   (And some Air Heads as well...)
  • Tim McElwain Tim McElwain @ 8:04 PM
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    Sterilazation does not take

    place at 140 degrees, it has to be above 180 for that to happen. Legionnaires also has to do with keeping the water moving along with the magic temp of 140 degrees. Almost all bacteria harmful to humans dies at 140 or higher.

    Another point to consider here which it has been my experience on the service side of this subject has to do with cycling and the fact that these systems are not designed for the cycle rate of most boilers. The result is the life of them is drastically shortened.
  • Gordan Gordan @ 8:16 AM
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    Rejection of knowledge

    I quote:

    "On top of that, hydronic heating is an art and science unto itself, with things like ΔT, GPM, BTU/hr, and R-value calculations involved. If you can get through all that, you’re faced with boilers that start at $2000, a complicated selection of parts that nobody except the experts really understands (you won’t be getting advice at Home Depot on building one of these systems), and all sorts of other hurdles.
    However, after digging through all this rubble, I found a few simplifications that bring the cost and complexity of radiant heat way down, to make it a DIY-compatible project for the average handy Mustachian."

    So, after digging through all the rubble he doesn't understand, he has found "simplifications" that do away with all the complexity that he doesn't understand, but has managed to convince himself is unnecessary. But somehow, if you DO understand all this stuff, you're compelled to use much more costly components than if you DON'T understand all this stuff, so the answer is clearly to NOT understand all this stuff - and save some money!

    A properly designed heating system does not require a modulating condensing boiler, a hydraulic separator, multiple thermostats/actuators/valves/circulators/zone controllers, or miles of meticulously soldered copper tubing (unless it does, but how would he know?) It does require understanding "things like ΔT, GPM, BTU/hr, and R-value calculations involved." Oh, and head loss, too.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 8:56 AM
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    Rejecting of Knowledge Redux:

    Where I worked was an isolated place that is well known. People were always moving there to show us the error of our ways and to make money. The old timers used to say that they came on the afternoon boat with plans of making a pile of money. After losing their shirts, the left on the early morning boat, leaving a pile of unpaid debts behind and unhappy customers.
    They say about how far back you have to go to find a connection. One such person showed up with such plans from a State to the North. He found all these cheap "contractors" that wanted his services. He had figured out that Bock oil fired water heaters were the ultimate combo unit. We all wondered why he had to come South to work and why didn't just stay where he was from. As with all, there must have been a reason. A Bock oil fired water heater used as a combination system will start to fail after a year and you can't put hot enough water through it to work well as a heating system. Without causing premature failure. And the warranty is voided. After a short amount of time, he left on the morning boat, like most before him. A few years later. my wife and I brought her horse to go to a riding clinic in the same Northern State that the expert was from. When we met the father of the woman that owned the facility and we said where we were from, he asked my if I knew "so and so" who was a plumber where we lived. I told him that I had heard about him but didn't think he was around anymore. He then went on a rant about how the guy had done a heating system in their old farmhouse and they were on their 3rd Bock oil fired water heater and they couldn't find the guy. Like he had dropped off the earth.
    Bock Oil fired water heaters aren't New Yorker Boilers.
    When I started plumbing, 1964, they had been using oil fired water heaters in summer cottages so you could use the cottage for Spring and Fall heat. The tanks all failed and the potable/domestic hot water was scalding.
    Nothing changes. We learn by our bad experiences to not do something.
    Some youngsters have to learn the lessons we have.
    Which is sort of like the little boy wise guy who was watching a farrier hot shoe a horse. The farrier would heat up the shoe in the forge until it was cherry red. Put it on the horses hoof. Smoke and steam would rise up, the farrier would take the shoe and beat it on the anvil with a hammer to shape it. He's heat it up again and fit it, over and over until he was satisfied. The little boy watched intently. Finally, the farrier was done and threw the shoe on the ground to cool down and he could nail it to the hoof. The boy ran up and picked it up. He immediately threw it down and rubbed his hand. The amused farrier said "Burned you, didn't it". To which the wise guy boy replied :No, it just didn't take me very long to look at it".
    For some of us, our experience has made it so we don't have to take very long to know that something isn't going to work. Its that thing about "Unintended Consequences". That no good deed goes unpunished.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 9:42 AM
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    I see where you are coming from now. That could certainly be interpreted as meaning he didn't understand those things and didn't try to. However, I didn't interpret it that way, based on my previous experience with MMM: he usually researches things thoroughly, enjoys learning about those kinds of things, and since he has a technical background (he's an engineer) I'm sure he would have no problem with them. In this case, what I had assumed was that the had done the research to try to discover a system that his readers, often fairly handy DIYers, would be able to tackle. He was doing the heavy lifting in research and understanding and passing down what he learned about what was the simplest kind of system. But, I could be wrong.
  • Gordan Gordan @ 10:15 AM
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    I make no assumption about his usual approach

    I'm simply responding to what I see as "not rising to the occasion" in this particular instance. Saying "nothing to see here," which he certainly seems to do, is usually not the mark of intellectual honesty (again, pertaining to this endeavor and not the man in general.) It's not demystifying radiant heating; it's glossing over details that make the difference between getting your money's worth (whatever the amount) or not.

    He does little to address the trade-offs inherent in any design process and to justify why his scaled-back approach will still work. If his mission is to inform and not to misinform, then his approach in this instance would not seem to be a recipe for success. To his credit, he is updating the article but, not having a solid frame of reference, it will be difficult for him to parse out good feedback from bad. (It certainly seems that he was on the receiving end of some bad advice from self-avowed experts so far, and the comment section is largely an unmitigated disaster.)
  • remodel remodel @ 1:17 PM
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    all I can say..

    is I did not expect this to get as much attention as it has. That being said all of these guys/gals (on the wall) are very experienced and I don't think the argument was a plumber is smarter than a doctor or vice versa, (I don't know haw many doctors can read a pump curve, or how plumbers can remove a gall balder).  The point and somewhat valid is you get what you pay for (many companies have low overhead, operate efficiently etc...)  But the real point now; is the system safe, correct and efficient.  Sounds like no, no, no.  So instead of these highly skilled mechanics, engineers plumbers, contractors (with advanced degrees), giving advice on that blog let the designer learn the ins and outs of his mistake(s) and ask later or let the designer scan the infinite wealth of knowledge on this wall and do the research himself.         
  • Ironman Ironman @ 12:06 PM
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    Cutting Corners

    It doesn't make sense. We all want to save where we can. In fact, we'd all like to get it for free. But anyone with some life experience and a little comon sense has come to realize that you get what you pay for and cutting corners costs more in the long run than doing it right to begin with.

    Anyone that would build a house that includes radiant should realize that's the Cadilac of heating systems and you're not gonna get that kind of quality by throwing it together with Yugo parts.

    In my opinion, Mr. Mustache is preying upon people's technical ignorance and their natural desire to save money for the sole purpose of promoting himself and his own business interests. In other words, he's an internet snake oil salesman. How can any other conclusion be drawn when he's stated that he knows there's extensive knowledge and design required for these systems but he's found a back door around all that? He even posted a pic of a correctly designed and installed system as well as his hack job diagram. No, he can't plead ignorance. What other conclusion is there?
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Kenoryn Kenoryn @ 4:28 PM
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    Trying to make DIY accessible for others

    As a retired millionaire who runs this blog for charity and to help people improve their lives and reduce their environmental impact, I don't think that's his purpose. ;) I think he's trying to promote a way to make an environmentally friendly technology more accessible and encourage greater adoption and, you know, help people. He's using himself as the guinea pig to try to come up with a simpler system that is safe, efficient and effective, yet less expensive and more manageable for the DIY-er, because he advocates lifelong learning and hard work rather than outsourcing the things you need to do.
  • Rich Rich @ 6:07 PM
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    that you speak of Kenoryn usually utilize tried and true materials and methods and benefit from Sweat equity . They on average do not try to re invent but save money by doing it themselves .
      MMM will soon find that the expansion tank he should have used was one meant for a potable water system , He will also find out that heat does not rise (lack of insulation ) nothing to show otherwise . His SUPER DUPER efficient condensing water heater will not condense nearly as much with 120* fluid entering it as it would with the manufacturer anticipated 55-60* water entering . He will go through pumps like a madman unless they are stainless or bronze . He will suffer from higher than normal air accumulation . Is that oxygen barrier tubing , not for use in potable systems ? He should really use poly propylene venting or at a minimum sch. 80 CPVC as we have now identified that PVC does not withstand the exhaust very well over about a decade . Internet companies that promote open systems usually end up defending those systems as is the case for the past several years , and you'll never see them out on a job site in jeopardy of being smacked upside the head , this is not by accident , a computer is easy to hide behind  . Do you think the water in the radiant tubing will not breed nasties during the summer months or will hot water run through that tubing in summer heating the floor ? So much for no A/C .  By the way , the men that frequent and comment on this site are the very best that  exist in the design , consultation , installation of heating systems . We regularly solve horrendous problems from 100's & 1000's of miles away that the average guy cannot figure out standing in front of scratching his head . My guess is that we'll be assisting him at some point also . How's that for a diagnosis ?  Just so you know , the average time in the field before you can even be considered a heating technician is probably a few more years than the average doctor spent in school and doing his residency . See the human anatomy has not changed in millennia , heating systems change all the time , we are kinda more like veterinarians , many different types of anatomies .   
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would
    This post was edited by an admin on February 18, 2014 6:14 PM.
  • Harvey Ramer Harvey Ramer @ 6:47 PM
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    For what it's worth, I went over to this blog and made a post with a brief description of Legionella and how his system design has the capacity to kill people. That was my main concern. I didn't delve into the mechanical problems this system will have because I don't feel like writing a book. The problem is not so much in what Mr. MMM is doing, (he will learn) it is all the people that are reading and believing what he is telling them. One or two of these people could end up dead or gravely ill because of it.

    How would that make you feel?

  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 10:03 PM
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    That sums it up beautifully.

    We've been discussing, and witnessing, the dangers of these open radiant systems since this site began 17 years ago. The attraction of that low price is still compelling, though.

    All we can do is continue to tell what we've learned. Not everyone will listen but we do know that we tried.

    Adults make decisions and deal with the consequences.
    Site Administrator

    Hug your kids.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 10:13 AM
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    Paved with good intentions

    I'm sure he is well intentioned, but he should at least make sure his advice does not cause any problems down the road for his followers.
    A badly selected water heater can always be changed later when it is found lacking, but pipes buried wrongly in a concrete slab will be more difficult to reconfigure.
    When he compares his materials price tag to the guesstimated cost of a professionally installed system, he is not comparing apples to apples, but rather bricks to hammers.--NBC
  • HDE HDE @ 4:50 PM
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    Sometimes people need to learn a good lesson to share with others

    1. When the 1,600 to 1,800 ft of 1/2" PEX doesn't meet the heat loss requirements
    2. The tankless wont flow over 3 GPM with the piping setup, thereby restricting the PEX flow requirements
    3. The limited flow of the tankless  wont give him the BTU's needed
    4. His system is air locked filled with entrained air
    5. He realizes hes taking a shower in odorous dangerous water that was sitting in the tubing
    6. The excessive cycling on the tankless gives him far from expected operation efficieincy

    Maybe after he discovers all that he can go back on the blog, admit his mistakes and offer to compensate all that followed his example with his millions?
    This post was edited by an admin on February 18, 2014 4:51 PM.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 7:16 PM
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    Yes, but

    He got a good price.
    Site Administrator

    Hug your kids.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 10:38 PM
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    I went to their web site, and posted a long post on why not to do open systems, and posted another one showing that their Rheem tankless water heater would have NO WARRANTY if used for a radiant heating system, and it never came up. I suspect that MMM monitors the posts coming in, and only lets those that agree with his ideas hit the page…

    I even posted with my real name, my real title with the RPA, and even posted my cell phone number if someone wanted to talk to me.

    I also didn't see the post from KnotGrumpy.

    A person can only go to certain lengths to try and keep people safe.

    Makes one wonder what goes through peoples minds, don't it?

    Here's what I posted the second time just in case some of their readers migrate over here to see whats up. This is from the Rheem web site. See item D.

    WARRANTY EXCLUSIONS This Limited Warranty will not cover:
    a) Service trips to your business to teach you how to install, use, or maintain this water heater or to bring the water heater installation into compliance with local
    building codes and regulations or manufacture installation requirements.
    b) This tankless water heater if it is installed for use in: spa or pool heating; a recreational vehicle; a boat or any other watercraft.
    c) Units installed in any circulating system in which the temperature of the incoming water to the water heater is in excess of 140° f.
    d) This tankless water heater if it is installed in any installation supplying radiant heat, such as in floor, baseboard, radiators, snow melt or closed loop systems,
    or any system using glycol or non-potable water.
    e) Damages, malfunctions or failures resulting from failure to install the water heater in accordance with applicable building codes/ordinances or good plumbing
    and electrical trade practices.
    f) Damages, malfunctions or failures resulting from improper installation or failure to operate and maintain the unit in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
    provided including outside recommended water quality levels:
    g) Performance problems caused by improper sizing of the water heater or the gas supply line, the venting connection, combustion air openings,
    electric service voltage, wiring, or fusing.
    h) Damages, malfunctions or failures caused by improper conversion from natural gas to LP gas or LP gas to natural gas fuel source.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 8:53 AM
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    Not Surprised

    I just went to his site and your comments still aren't posted. In fact, there are no new comments since the 2/18.

    I can only surmise one of two things:
    1. If Mr. Mustache is indeed an honest man (hopefully), he has been given ample cause by the comments here to diligently re-evaluate his system and admit its flaws.
    2. If he's only concerned about his pocketbook and reputation, he's blocking any input that would bring his system into question.

    Have you thought about emailing him directly to see how he responds? I believe that with your experience and position he would be hard pressed not to ignore you.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 20, 2014 9:40 AM.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 9:28 AM
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    Yes, I agree with your assertion regarding direct contact. I am taking the high road, and hoping that MMM is just too busy, and hasn't had a chance to vet the incoming messages, and hasn't gotten around to releasing them. Let's give it a chance to soak in.

    What does concern me though is some of the other posts claiming that we are full of bunk in our open system assertions, and that one person in particular, from Colorado Springs defiantly disregarded professional suggestions, and intentional set out to prove everyone else wrong. Seriously? You have to stop and step back and ask yourself, "What's in it for me?" What GOOD is going to come to any participants of THIS forum in keeping THEM from using a methodology that is KNOWN to create health problems?…

    One of them, who came by here and posted, did some research, and found (allegedly) that 40 minutes of exposure (allegedly) will kill 99% of the Legionella bacteria. That goes counter to all of the government reports I've read that said in order for chlorine to be effective it has to be done in concentrations that are harmful to the pipes, and the humans consuming the water. "But I read it on the internet, therefore it is true…."

    I don't like seeing or using this saying, but I am getting the feeling that "You can't fix stupid…" You probably can't FIX stupid, but if you get involved early enough in the process, and educate well, like contributors at this site do, you CAN AVOID stupid things being done by well intentioned, but inexperienced people.

    Let's give it time to soak.

    By the way, to anyone else reading this post, be careful what you say about these internet peddlars. They have been known to slap a cease and desist order on people in a heart beat, with the threat of additional legal actions regarding libel and slander suits. I am familiar with at least two cases, and one threatened case of that happening. No one deserves that kind of attention.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 9:47 AM
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    More proof

    why the Radiant Professionals Alliance is so important, especially these days. 
    Site Administrator

    Hug your kids.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 11:48 AM
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    Here here Dan...

    Our job of education will NEVER end… NEVER!

    And we will never be able to get it out to all the people that need to see it.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 9:52 AM
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    40 minutes

    That was a new one for me also. Maybe... Maybe 40 minutes of a strong enough concentration of chlorine would kill the legionella bacteria that's free in the water? Of course, the little internet genius didn't provide the concentration or any other data or the source for this claim.

    But, what about the bacteria that's embedded in the bio film coating the interior of the pipe? Like you, everything I've read says chlorination in safe levels won't touch that significantly.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • remodel remodel @ 9:54 AM
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    Didn't intend to take up all your guys time.  More curious as to how this system would work and if it was possible/feasible,  from,  it seemed a fairly well thought out individual.  Experts and so called experts screw up all the time.  But once an "" can potentially get someone killed that's another thing.     After this long thread I searched the wall for open system and BAM, NOT GOOD.  I think MMM will come around to common sense, you guys did more than your share.  Andy      
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 10:33 AM
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    And, Andy, look at the dates on those search results. We've been talking about this for so many years. This is just the latest event.
    Site Administrator

    Hug your kids.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 11:41 AM
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    No sweat. We are here to help ANYONE in need, professional or not.

    His idea could very well deliver some decent comfort, but he's "experimenting" in an area that has been experimented to death. He's trying to reinvent the wheel, only cheaper, and cheap and comfort do not go together.

    His methodology has been used MANY times before, with mixed results.

    If he is really interested in delivering excellent radiant comfort, he'd quit looking at the floors, and begin looking at the walls and ceilings as his emitter. Champagne expectations on a beer budget don't usually end up working real well. There are reasons we like to avoid the use of the lesser expensive heat transmission plates (or reflectors which he incorrectly calls them) and stick with the proven extruded aluminum technology. His term :someone is making WAY too much money on these) also causes me concerns. Who is he to tell people how much money than should or shouldn't make?

    Honestly, I think the guy is basically well intentioned, and obviously has the entreprunerial spirit working in his favor, but he is trying to use methods and manners that have already been proven to be less effective than other proven methods. He had an entreprunerial seizure instead of an epiphany :-)

    Had he come here with his ideas first we would have given him the guidance necessary, and he then would have been able to make some intelligent decisions about which direction he wanted to go, and what kind of results to expect. We can't catch al the bad stuff out there. Just the stuff that is brought to our attention. Thanks for at least doing that.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • SWEI SWEI @ 11:42 PM
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    Insterested to see what shows up

    once the MMM moderation machine has had a chance to digest your post.  A number of posts already mention Mark.  Both Weegie5 and Kenoryn posted links to Radiantec, a site with a well-documented history of flaunting accepted industry practices, building codes, and the occasional law of physics.
  • Harvey Ramer Harvey Ramer @ 2:56 PM
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    Looks like

    the Mustachian has pulled my post off of his blog. It was up for a while but it's not there now. Apparently it is not ok to disagree with a mustachian. I count no less then 5 posters that expressed the intent to mimic this fool hardy approach to radiant heating.

    I think they look at us as just another internet opinion. They don't realize that we are in fact, the industry itself. 

    It's just plain stupid! Makes me want to drink bleach.

  • remodel remodel @ 6:21 PM
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    It didn't go well so I came on the wall, asked questions and learned a lot  Hired the right people, paid them and got my system working .  Seems like guys on this site strive for perfection which I think is awesome and they will share what takes most people a lifetime to learn.  But now MMM wants someone to design his system better than it is and he will pay them $100.  It goes against the whole idea of MMM's philosophy, I agree live frugal, be a shrewd business person but at this point just swallow your pride come on this site and ask for help.  Sorry to keep it going, but it just...... 

    excerpt from MMM website; Reader Correction Challenge: If you don’t like my open loop design, please re-do my diagram with a heat exchanger separating the loops. Include a parts list from PexSupply with any extra things required. If your design wins the challenge, I will publish it in this article and send you $100 via check or Paypal!
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 6:33 PM
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    I'm glad you're here.

    And good luck to the others. They seem quite happy.

    Let's move on and do what we do best.
    Site Administrator

    Hug your kids.
  • Harvey Ramer Harvey Ramer @ 6:34 PM
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    Not that simple.

    MMM I know you are reading this. Before anyone could make an intelligent design, a heat loss analysis must be performed on the structure.

    Here you go
    Download the heatloss calculator and start from there. You need to know how much heat the building looses before you know how much heat to put in.The entire design revolves around it. 

  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 7:29 PM
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    To his (limited) credit...

    He did revise his blog, admitting to the possibility of LD, and also posted a link to this thread. If you will note the number of reads for this thread, it is obviously getting more than normal action so we can at least hope that some of his readership who is considering doing their own thing will contact us for guidance.

    He also posted a challenge, for SOMEONE to design a better system (with drawings and materials list). I think he's ringing our bell…, but I am not interested in going in to his tightly controlled yard to do his work. If as I said, his followers comes here seeking advice, I am sure we can handle it.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 7:49 PM
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    Well said, Mark.

    And thanks for saying it. It's the spirit of the Radiant Professionals Alliance, which you lead so well, and also of this place, which has also been around for a while. We study, learn from experience, accept criticism, and help each other.

    Site Administrator

    Hug your kids.
  • Rich Rich @ 7:52 PM
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    as we have recently been educated about kills Legionella Harvey . Drink away , apparently it's OK .  Had to say it guys , sorry !
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would
  • icesailor icesailor @ 11:02 AM
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    Legionella, bleach and sanitizing plumbing:

    For what it might be worth and that might not be much. I've studied and read this LD thing for some time. There's the issue of the bacteria hiding in the slime that forms in copper pipes. Legionella is an Anaerobic Bacteria. Meaning that it lives without Oxygen. Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) is a "Oxygenator" and kills anaerobic bacteria by exposing them to oxygen, scavenged out of the water.
    I always drained my houses with compressed air. I found that the compressed air, swirling through the pipes, picked up anything foreign in the pipes and scavenged it out. I found that I had systems that for years, I drained the "old way" and never had a broken pipe from freezing. When I started using air, I drained it the normal way and then blasted it with air. I was really surprised at the amount of water left in a system. Note draining a copper piping system and trying to fix a leak. Water comes from every where. Blow the system out with air and there will be no water.
    I suggesting that if you want to really disinfect a potable water system, blow it out with air first. It will get rid of the slime and uncover the bacteria. Then, run the bleach through the system to disinfect it. Then, flush it out with fresh water. Blow that water out again with air. Then set the system back in service. I'll bet that it will get rid of most if not all of any bacteria. For what it is worth,
    I did service work in a nursing home for over 20 years, Every time I had to get into the potable hot water system, I would have to purge the return circulation system. The nasty brown water that came out of the return lines during purging always made me worry. What was in that water.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 11:34 AM
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    Hot Water Re-Circ and Legionella

    For what it's worth: the final report that I heard on the original outbreak of Legionaires was that the source of it was the hot water re-circ line in the hotel, not a nearby cooling tower.

    The 100* temp in the re-circ line was perfect breeding ground for the Legionella bacteria.

    Mr. Mustache's system would produce about the same temp in the floor and then return it to the house for distribution through its shower heads.

    But, because his system will save a lot on installation cost, such evidence can be rejected out of hand.
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    This post was edited by an admin on February 22, 2014 11:50 AM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 11:54 AM
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    Saving Grace:

    What probably saves the Nursing home is that ALL hot water starts off in two Bock 73E oil fired water heaters that recover 220 GPH and run at 160+ degrees for a kitchen. That water is mixed and circulated around. We used to do a lot to keep the system clean. The past maintenance people retired. The last one is an expert and knows far more about things than I do. Like how to be a construction supervisor for a company building bridges.
    Me, I'm just a lowly turd chaser. Getting old and having to deal with so many younger and smarter than I got me to retire. That and my body falling apart.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 12:28 PM
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    Younger and Smarter??

    So they think. That's the curse that this modern society has placed upon our young people: they've been taught that they know more than the older generation. Common sense would dictate differently, but it's part of the Kool Aid they've been made to imbibe so that they feel they're entitled to take over.

    No society has ever held this view until recently and we see the results.

    Mark Twain said: " When I was seventeen, I couldn't believe how stupid and foolish my father was, but by the time I'd turned twenty-one, I couldn't believe how much the old man had learned in just four years".
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Gordy Gordy @ 12:50 PM
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    Just turn the power off Bob

    To see how bright the new generation can be. I love that Twain quote!
  • Harvey Ramer Harvey Ramer @ 1:15 PM
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    Guys Guys!

    Us young whippersnappers are not all, that bad. I have nothing but the highest respect for you old farts ;-)  Your lifetime's experience that you share everyday is worth a lot to guys like me.

  • Ironman Ironman @ 2:57 PM
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    Old Farts?

    I'll have you to know that we're ALL young men around here! :)
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 11:06 PM
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    Something to think about

    If I give the wrong advice here about someone's steam problem, and it does not correct the situation, then I do not suffer much liability. If I however advise something very radical, which is known to cause a health problem, and then enlist the aid of a vendor in giving a discount for parts to accomplish this unusual, and perhaps deadly project, then both the vendor, and I could be liable for any death or disease caused to those who took my advice.
    I wonder if either the Mustashian, or his partner in sales have thought of these possibilities, especially as the potential for infection is so well known to those in the trade.--NBC
  • Zman Zman @ 10:15 AM
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    I had to chuckle that he posted this to support his notion that chlorine kills all legionella.
    The article clearly proves the opposite.
    Even though a good dose of legionella is exactly what the man with the mustache deserves, I feel for his family and sheep.
  • Ironman Ironman @ 1:06 PM
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    Just had this show up on my IPad:

    Half the tapwater tested by the EPA has Legionella!

    Regarding chlorination: even if it worked, what do you Mustachians propose for the many homes on well water like mine?
    Bob Boan

    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • duffy duffy @ 4:38 PM
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    picture in blog

    dont know if i should be happy or mad that he used a picture of my work from a job i completed 2 years ago in the chicago area as an example of overly complicated job {it wasnt},but i have know idea how he got that picture
  • RobG RobG @ 3:19 PM
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    Beautiful workmanship

    Beautiful workmanship but not overly complicated. I love the tube bending. He probably didn't even notice that the job was not finished either. I'm sure MMM's all pex system will be just as well done, after all, it doesn't take years of experience to do simple plumbing work like that. By the way, is that an A.O. Smith or a Rinnai tank-less water heater.  :)
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 11:27 PM
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    Getting the message

    I see his advice has changed, and may include a separation between heating loop, and DHW, so some improvement .--NBC
  • RobG RobG @ 12:47 PM
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    He is also offering a one hundred dollar reward for anyone who can fix his system. I don't know about you all, but if I worked that cheap I would be out of business. All he has to do is come here and ask some questions and he would get some great advice.

  • RobG RobG @ 12:59 PM
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    Use the tank-less as a water heater, buy a modcon, stainless pump, potable exp tank, MBR bronze separator, check / fill valve (bronze). and some miscellaneous other stuff.

    Golly, I forgot to mention that little detail of a heat loss.

    Where's my hundred bucks?

  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 8:56 PM
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    Marvellous Moustashian mega millionaire Merchant of Misinformation

    He does seem finally to have made some changes to his grand plan of radiant heating, while acknowledging contributions from HeatingHelp.--NBC
  • Rich Rich @ 9:27 AM
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    his attorney advised him that if he wanted to continue to be a wealthy know it all he should cease and desist from encouraging others to follow in his installation full of health risks . Or maybe he actually did some research and decided an experiment was not worth the risk to his very own family
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would
  • Techman Techman @ 10:22 AM
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    WOW! I am impressed with each and everyone of you ! Fabulous thread ! Thanks for the lessons!
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 9:27 PM
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    I hope that guy has a good lawyer

    and a doctor who knows how to diagnose Legionnaires' Disease. Since he knows the risks but is going ahead with this anyway, his expertise and judgement are questionable at best.

    And you're right, ME, we don't want to give Dave's cardiologist any extra work.
    "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.
    This post was edited by an admin on May 11, 2014 9:28 PM.
  • jonnycowboy jonnycowboy @ 11:25 PM
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    Canadian Recommendations

    Hi guys,
    this is my first visit to the site. It's obvious that you care a lot about spreading knowledge.

    I'll keep it brief.

    There is a paper from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (government entity) which details a limited study done in northern towns (where the majority of days will be heated) of using tankless DHW systems (gas or oil fired) . It notes that even after 6+ years of use the heaters were still going strong.

    I didn't see any mention of possible health issues but no fouling or buildup (Beyond normal) was noted.

    It is possible that by having a tempering valve (cold + hot water), they can run the heater significantly hotter than the 140deg recommendations.


  • Zman Zman @ 6:38 AM
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    You realize this article is 25 years old?
    Much has been learned since....
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