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Paul Pollets

Paul Pollets

Joined on July 24, 2003

Last Post on August 11, 2014

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Indirect temps

@ August 11, 2014 12:56 PM in Indirect heating system

Any of the systems I've seen (or worked on) did not qualify for a mod-con application. One was connected to a steam boiler.  180 -215 water temps were required.
 In one case, the large home was insulated and windows replaced, which significantly reduced the load, but not in the "sweet spot" of a condensing load. All of the systems we used for replacement had a motorized 4 way mixing strategy with outdoor reset.

Indirect radiators

@ August 11, 2014 12:06 PM in Indirect heating system

I've worked on several of these systems. If you're not replacing the ducts with direct radiators than leave the existing system and size the radiators within the duct boxes for output. Replacement should consider a cast iron boiler, as most of these systems were designed for 180 degree supply temps and a mod-con may not be in the optimum design range.
The cast iron replacement boiler will need protection from thermal shock when re-piped.


@ August 10, 2014 11:51 AM in Burnham has tested Beckett gas burners in oil-fired boilers

Viessmann is the only company I know of that offers either a gas or oil chassis burner for the VBC-Vitola boiler.


@ July 16, 2014 10:06 AM in Runtal towel warmer connection

Towel warmers, or any wall panel radiator works better if piped with a separate supply and return, rather than in series. If the TBW is at the end of a series run, it may not get warm enough. It also means you can't use a TRV or you'll affect the other heating elements attached in series. The restrictive flow from 3/4" to 1/2" will also have an affect on the connected baseboard.

Pump exercising

@ July 3, 2014 12:05 PM in Pump Exercise

Most modern outdoor reset controls will exercise the pumps if they have not been used for 72hrs. At least the Tekmar and Viessmann controls do....


@ June 30, 2014 6:30 PM in One of the greatest heating tech' has passed away

Very saddened to hear of JC's passing. He was a really good man. What happened?

My 2 cents

@ June 28, 2014 8:35 PM in Poor radiant floor hydronic installation

Sawzallectomy required!!!

Radiant in DC

@ June 28, 2014 3:35 PM in Heat loss on DC rowhouse?

Siggy's software will allow you to compare room heat loss with radiant output for each room. The new radiant zone would have an increased output if installed on top of the floor (Climate Panel or QuickTrak) but for whatever method is used, the rooms need to be analyzed with the correct software to make sure supplemental heating is not required. Is the home air conditioned?
You may want to talk with Dan Foley of Foley Mechanical. He's done many a DC rowhouse and is one of the best hydronic (and HVAC) experts you can find.
I'd be considering changing the old cast iron boiler to a condensing mod-con and adding an indirect storage tank for DHW. You're going to have to repipe the "near-boiler" piping anyway and it's a good time to go for greater efficiency, if budget allows.

Good idea!

@ June 16, 2014 12:56 PM in CI Rad, intlet & outlet setup - Bushings, nipples, elbows and TRV’s

Pics would be very useful!

Radiator re-valving

@ June 16, 2014 11:40 AM in CI Rad, intlet & outlet setup - Bushings, nipples, elbows and TRV’s

The radiator bushings will need to be changed to standard bushings so the tailpiece of the TRV can be installed on the radiator supply. We often use a 3/4" lockshield union connection on the return or use the existing radiator angle union. We pipe in black iron or copper from the TRV to below the floor and use a conversion fitting to connect to the distribution piping. Most radiators only require a 1/2" supply, but the "aesthetic" may look better in 3/4 or 1". If re-piping the distribution, any pipe size changes can happen below the floor.
You'll need a large pipe wrench (3 ft.) to remove the radiator bushings and a special radiator spud wrench to install the TRV's. Spray the bushings with an oil penetrant (WD40) prior to removal. Sometimes the bushing needs to be heated to break loose.


@ June 13, 2014 2:08 PM in Weil-McLain Recalls Ultra Series Boilers Due to Risk of Fire, Explosion

From their recall notice:

"Plumbing and heating wholesale distributors, plumbers and contractors nationwide from June 2012 through March 2014 for about $4,200 to $6,200."


@ June 13, 2014 10:56 AM in Princess Model

Try A1 for used sections. They are in Somerville, MA.


@ June 11, 2014 1:58 PM in TRV, with remote sensor or no?

10 years and still the same advice. I do use the remote actuator head when the radiator is covered by an enclosure. The room where the T-stat is located should not have a TRV.

The fix

@ June 3, 2014 10:51 AM in Reconnect oil boiler after copper ransack

The homeowner posted a pic with pipes in place; this presumes he owned the property before the theft. I've done a lot of work for insurance companies. They may pro-rate the boiler, if defective, but generally pay for replacement and restoration, less deductible. 
Why would someone send an apprentice to review or price what is in the realm of a journeyman?  How is a homeowner able to set up and tune an oil burner? While this is a free country, some skills is in this trade/industry do require more than obtaining the manual.  I realize some homeowner's are more handy than others but what is the liability?


@ June 2, 2014 4:46 PM in Reconnect oil boiler after copper ransack

Testing the boiler, controls, burner and pumps should be done by a trained technician. Your homeowner's insurance will most likely pay for the service.

Corrosion Paths

@ June 1, 2014 11:19 AM in Rinnai boiler corroded in less than two years

Another path for corrosion is the combustion fresh air intake. If you're using a uninvent, or the boiler vent is close to the CFA, the boiler can take in contaminated air (Reversion). Had a Munchkin that died in my shop in late Dec. with failed heat exchanger that was pinholed at the top, not the bottom. The appliance was cleaned yearly and the water was treated...

Doing the Calcs

@ May 31, 2014 11:56 AM in Heat load calc( to pay, or not to pay)

I agree. If the Geo contractor can't do the math, you've got to ask why not? The software is neither very expensive nor difficult to use.  Sizing the system is critical and should not be guessed. 

tank bracket

@ May 22, 2014 2:29 PM in Here's to 100 years of useage


@ May 22, 2014 1:22 PM in Here's to 100 years of useage

Weez, I doubt the mod-con will last anywhere near the pancake boiler. Still, 92% efficiency is pretty good for radiators. We set the curve at 1.4 but it may need to go higher in the winter. It's fun to take these systems into the 21st century.

Here's to 100 years of useage

@ May 21, 2014 2:19 PM in Here's to 100 years of useage

This Mueller pancake boiler has been in service for 100 years. From coal, to oil and natural gas. We replaced the boiler with a new Vitodens 200; repiped the basement mains and installed TRV's on all the cast iron radiators.

Wall panel radiators

@ May 20, 2014 5:10 PM in Wall Mounted Hot Water Radiators?

I often use DiaNorm wall panel radiators as an alternate (as well as Runtal)  The #22 radiators rough-in easy and a 20x48" or 24x48 may give you the required output. They look identical to the Buderus wall panel radiators.

Towel Bar

@ May 7, 2014 10:05 AM in bathroom baseboard

Put in a towel bar radiator and avoid the "pee on the BB" syndrome
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