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Joined on March 1, 2007

Last Post on September 16, 2014

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I was just

@ September 16, 2014 10:46 PM in What can prolong the service life of oil fired boiler

Going to say, lower per gallon pricing.

What model?

@ September 14, 2014 11:00 AM in Rinnai tankless woes

Condensing or non? How is it vented? If it is the standard vent kit (90 on top and termination pipe thru the wall) is that horiz pipe graded to the outside? If this is only happening very cold conditions it could easily be from the gas regulator. Lp or natural? Also, this is the perfect situation for an undersized gas line to show itself. Error 12 is where you need your fastball. It could be gas supply, air supply. Is there another appliance vented in the same area? How far away? Depending upon age, I would consider throwing a new flame rod(s) sparker at it...but not first.

So many times

@ September 11, 2014 12:16 AM in Chimney for forced hot air oil

I have been told by a consumer that, "I wanted to make sure I had plenty of draft so Instead of the 6", I bought the 8". It is a common mistake, but a mistake none the less. Use the size specified. You are not helping yourself upsizing. Basically, you have a bunch of nicely packed heat molecules in the 5". If you look at the cross sectional area of 5"vs 6" it is 20 vs 28 sq in. When those heat molecules expand they cool, and you loose draft.


@ September 9, 2014 10:11 PM in Rinnai Continuum 2532

Is the digital controller set at. Default setting is 120. I believe it is dip switch 6 to allow settings above 120. Confirm all this in your Installation Operation Manual. Run the water heater and while the unit is running, hit and hold the down arrow and while holding it hit the priority key. That will read the output temp of the water exiting the water heater. Again these codes are in the IO manual. If you don't have it you can call Rinnai. The number is on the side of the unit. Start there and report back

Mini-split achilles heel

@ September 5, 2014 5:04 PM in Mini-split achilles heel

During the house remodel my GC took a 12" sawzall blade to the line set on my Fujitsu 12RLS. Honest mistake and one that actually gave me an opportunity to move the evaporator. anyone who has followed my posts knows that I am a major fan of the mshp's. I regularly clean the filters and vacuum the face of the coil, that which is exposed. The performance of this 3+ yr old piece of equipment has fallen off. i thought perhaps a refrig leak, but once I got this thing off the wall I was blown away at the condition of the coil and fan blades. This condition is entirely my fault due to lack of scheduled maintenance, adequate maintenance that is. Cleaning these things in place is going to be a real wonder. I have three more in the house. Here goes! I'll keep you posted. Any suggestions?

The topic that

@ September 5, 2014 4:48 PM in PVC Venting on boilers again!

correctly, in my opinion, will not go away. Charlotte took a page from the tobacco industry. They have published their disclaimer. Nowhere in any of the ANSI Standards to which their pipe is tested is appliance venting listed. their "tobacco" warming that tells you that then goes on to say that "the appliance manuf are best able to determine the best venting methods on their appliances". Essentially saying they are disclaiming any liability by posting tobaccos warnings. I think some enterprising attorney will blow right through that defense.

I represented Selkirk back in the Plex-vent/Ultravent days when the product was recalled. Wow, what a scene. I think PVC is going to end up being the mother of all recalls...someday
Someday the Trail Lawyers Assoc is going to get wind of this "unapproved product" with big numbers attached to it and whether it works or not, it will blow the whole thing up. There will just be too much money attached to it. I wonder how the CPSC views this?

The thing is, when we began using PVC for a vent material there was really nothing else. Today there are better products and they are available.


@ September 1, 2014 11:00 PM in hot water demands

I wasn't suggesting you recommended anything. I did think you would relate to the story!


@ September 1, 2014 10:43 AM in Code or Best Practice for connecting 2-appliances to Chimney Liner

In any training I do I always tell the guys that "just because it fits doesn't mean that is where it goes" You have to be able to access and service it!

I've seen this so many times

@ September 1, 2014 10:33 AM in hot water demands

"why didn't they tell me what it would take to heat let me use the fixture", be it tub or showers. These type systems do very well with tankless...multiple tankless that is, depending upon flow rate.

Measure the ground water, pick the model heater and use the manuf spec on temp rise to give a hard number per fixture. Count each shower head and add the body sprays, etc to arrive at a flow rate per fixture. Compare that to the output of the tankless at that temp rise. How many will it take. the diversity factor comes into the discussion at this point. This gives a hard number that the customer can see in print and you don't have to get into recovery rates, time, etc. You can also begin to compare the systems. At this point the customer can begin building the system back to reality or can go for the whole enchilada. As well, you can then get into the boiler indirect should you choose.

To me, I think the right sized boiler for the heat loss and tankless for the high flow fixtures is the right way to go. Storing vast quantities of hot water for occasional uses is hard to justify.

Should this go multi tankless the other part of the discussion is placement of the equipment. this type of demand/customer/house is usually enormous. I think it is better to break the system up and get more local to the demand.

I had a distributor call me several years ago asking me to assist a plumber on a house in MA. This poor plumber was scared to death and asked if I would come out and help him with the hot water sizing. I met the plumber at the house. It was framed up and very impressive. I would have been perfectly happy living in this guys garage. He explained that he was having a real hard time with the owner and GC. Having been there, I understood and we walked the building and checked plans and fixture loads. The master shower was 25 gpm. Ya gotta love it! I based all the load on that shower. We are standing in the garage when the owner and GC kinda come storming into the garage. Very imposing pair! Anyway, a short conversation ensues and I explain what we had done and and what it would take to heat the hot water for the shower...5 Rinnai's. The owner throws his hands up in the air bellows, turns and storms out with the GC following dutifully behind. I turned to the plumber, who was absolutely ashen, and said, "that went well". A few minutes of discussion while standing in the garage and I noticed there was a small odd sized garage door. I asked if that was for a golf cart. The plumber responded, "No, that is for the Zamboni " I looked out and this guy was also building a full size skating rink. At that point my attitude changed. I had made the trip, I told him what he needed and he blew me off in a not very nice way, just as he had been doing to the plumber. I took the plumber in tow and found the owner and his guy. Basically at the point I told him, very directly, in so many words;), that he had built it and now he had to feed it...or be PO'd every time he got in the shower. BTW, his alternate system was going to be a 200kbtu boiler and 4 120 gal storage tanks on the second floor. I laughed. Anyway, he went with the 5 and it worked well and when his son washed his hands the 25 fpm capable system fired at about 20kbtu and there was no storage.

The worst part was they continued to ride that poor plumber and he let them. Again, having been there, I get it, but it still aggravates me that I put up with it then, but you learn. Oh well, a Labor Day tale;) Think good thoughts of the working people!

I would suggest

@ August 30, 2014 11:58 AM in IPads/Tablets

that you go to iTunes and search Mypointnow/Venture. It is a program for contractors to quote schedule and bill from an iPhone or Android platform. I spoke with Chris recently and know he is working with a couple fuel delivery companies on exactly what you are looking for.

Btw, he grew up in the front seat of an oil truck, is an ME and ran a distribution company. You won't have to explain your business to him. He just won the Gold Medal for contractor software from the HVAC News. Perhaps best of all, I have seen him work on equipment. He remains the best service tech I have ever seen.

Here in CA

@ August 26, 2014 8:55 AM in Big Changes for Duct Testing in MA

the test requires a maximum of 6% leakage on either new construction or retrofit. Testing to be done by a third party. I guess they don't trust the original contractor to evaluate the system. Smart really. Google "DOEductleakage" and read for a while. DOE is saying the average home is loosing between 18-42% of its energy in duct loss. Necessary repairs will be costly and then the homeowner will have to pay for the new equipment. On a commercial job, if you don't pass the pressure test, you don't get paid. In the residential market there has never been a requirement for it, other than good sense. At least in MA you have a basement into which the duct is installed. In other parts of the country it is crawl spaces and attics. Imagine you are the guy who does the duct repair. "Oh, boy! I get to crawl under the house today, tomorrow, all week..." It's a job, but who is going to do it and do it well?

Anyway, this to my mind has been the "crazy aunt in the back room" that the Unitary manuf don't want to talk about. They can put all the technology they want in the box. They can't deliver it. Their problem is they are strapped over poorly installed ducting.

I do see it as an opportunity for hydronics. Hydro air systems to small air handlers. Small duct, small pipe, zones, combinations of panel rads, radiant, etc. A lot of positives from a business, economy and comfort perspective.

The other side is the "Net to the Space" side of things. When I moved west the 5 yr old central system in the house was so poorly done that there was no way to save it. It wasn't the equipment. It was the duct work. Huge leakage in a crawl space from 10-30" deep. I pulled 100% of the duct work and took the whole system to the dump and installed a couple mini-splits and a couple Energysavers. Nicely zoned heating and cooling. Excellent comfort and economy. Quiet, which the central system was not.

In consideration of the 18-42% leakage and its implications, I think the duct testing is the correct thing to do. It will be interesting watching how this develops.

If the system works other than the very coldest months of the year

@ August 15, 2014 10:06 AM in Geothermal vertical loops

Before I threw the well drilling cost into the equation I'd look at methods to augment the supply water temp. What about installing a boiler with a buffer tank to help out on this. All he needs is about 20* or so temp rise to get the HP in operation.

The comments on poor heat transfer in rock is correct. Years ago there was a big geothermal project in the Reno area. It was a "hot rocks" project. It worked fine until they had depleted the rocks temperature. The heat transfer to the cooled area was glacial in pace. End of project. In a well of this type you also have to look at the "flow gradient" across the well. Klamath Falls, OR has geothermal resource and everyone heats their homes with a hair pin of pipe in a well. That same system in Calistoga, CA where I lived would not work. The hot water in Klamath Falls flowed underground, and replenished the resource. Calistoga is on a lake of hot water and the water has to be pumped.

I wouldn't't spend the money on the wells. It may be good money chasing bad.

The first time I saw this

@ August 13, 2014 12:46 AM in Rinnai cycles by itself

I thought there were ghosts. It was in a catering business. Having secured all faucets, bibs etc myself every few minutes the unit would pre-purge, fire and shut down immediately. After throwing the bones, offering a blood sacrifice and doing doe see does on one foot I realized that there was no check or back-flow preventer on the building water supply. Occasionally the flow in the street main was great enough to pull a negative pressure on the lateral feeding the building. Once the pressure in the main became neutral the water would surge back into the building causing the water heater to do its thing.

Confirm the "balance point"

@ August 12, 2014 11:46 PM in Boiler with mini split for heating

That Z speaks of. The manuf has the outputs, and associated electrical inputs, at various temps. Most of the multis that I am aware of are not as efficient as the individual units. For instance, my dual 12 unit is 16.5 seer and 9.5 HSPF, while my single 12 is 25/12. Those a 5 yr old systems and the numbers may have improved on the multis. It makes a difference. You can run the numbers, but net/net every system and building has a personality. You have the excellent options. On a cold day you will quickly decide what makes you comfortable, and when it is cold, that is all that matters

If the Rinnai's are not throwing an error code

@ July 28, 2014 8:23 AM in r85 rannai problem

I'll say that they are "functioning correctly". Faint praise under the circumstances, but lets look at it. Your drawing is incorrect. Yours is a "series" lay-out where, for high capacity you want the "parallel" piping.

I believe you have the MSA control on the 85 to join the operation of the two units. With this control the units function as one, modulating together and rotating the staging automatically. This can be an excellent lay-out...depending upon the configuration of the plumbing system. If the bathrooms and kitchen are widely spaced it is frequently best to split the units up. One on either end of the house.

I think what you are seeing is a flow issue. The R85 will fire at a flow rate of .4gpm and fire as low as 10kBTU. It will hold operation down to .25, I believe it is. I'm a bit rusty on that unit, but I think those are correct numbers. When the MSA control,is added, the minimum flow rate goes to, I think it is .6 gpm

Get your install manual out and look at the page that discusses the sequence to read flow on the controller. You are going to put your track shoes on as you need to read the flow rates by each fixture. By doing this you can develop a schematic of the system and exactly what is going on. As well, how far away are the fixtures from the water heaters? Consider both the length and rise in this calculation. Do you have a recirculation line on the hot water system? Do you have a basement or an easily accessible crawl space? I would suggest that you also check out

Oh, and also, turn off the supply valve on one unit and run all the time and temp checks that way too. These flow/time checks should be done with cold water through-out the system. So, turn the 85's off and run cold into the system. Turn them back on and do the flow check. Tedious, but necessary to understand your system.

How many baths room, kitchen, high flow fixtures do you have in the home? Curious why two units are installed. I apologize for making you do all this, but with this information we will all have a better understanding of what you have. Only then will we be able to understand the solution.


@ July 27, 2014 7:08 AM in Sanyo-Panasonic Rep

You are in the Northeast it would be Stamberger Sender. 800 747-5705

No, it will not use the gas

@ July 23, 2014 10:07 AM in Rinnai E50C

Required on a tankless. It is a max 50kbtu. I cannot answer your gas supply and CA requirement issue. You have to calculate that and provide it regardless of the product you choose. 3x the hot water is excess capacity when you need 1x the hot water. The 2.1 gpm at 75* rise will mix to about 2.5 at use temp. In a 1-1.5 bath place that should be sufficient. Also, within the 4.6ft head the E50C does not require PS piping. That means you use the provided boiler pump to drive the system. You don't need the second circ, relay control, parts and labor to do the p/s job. You have 2* temp increments! not 20*. A robust ODR included. 96% eff. It comes set up for PVC venting, but you can adapt it to the poly prop concentric (5"OD) if desired. That is the right way to eliminate CA issues. Personally, I like outdoor air for everything. I've had tremendous success with Rinnai products over the years and one of the keys to the reliability has been sealed combustion direct venting.
Do your due diligence and let us know which way you go.

It will

@ July 22, 2014 10:15 AM in Rinnai E50C

Fire 13,500-50,000. Hot water 2.1 gal @75* rise. You do not have to p/s if the heating loop is 4.6 ft head or less. LLH is available as an option if it is.

I give up...

@ July 20, 2014 10:18 AM in No end of aggravation

Another of the Brass Craft ips angle stops cracked at the brass nipple. This one was all ready replaced. In the master bath, I replaced the cracked stops with the compression model. I have several other fixtures to do. As to the failed ips units, I have to look at it as over tightening, at least on the originals. On the replacements I was very careful to not over tighten. Maybe it is the new lead free formulation coupled with the thinner body of the valve. Live and learn!

Reminds me

@ July 16, 2014 7:26 PM in Trap on 4" sewer main in basement

of the time my Mother-in-law, a wonderful girl, was screaming from the upstairs bathroom. Something about the "beady little eyes" of the dead squirrel floating in the toilet. Freaked her out!

When I was an apprentice I worked on one of the vet school lab buildings at Cornell. There was a 12" building trap at the bottom of the riser. There was a nipple and plugged valve on the bottom of the trap. I don't think anyone had ever pulled that plug, so...I did. I got just a tad under 2 qts of mercury out of that trap. Can you imagine how many thermometers were broken in the lab sinks over how long a period to get that much mercury.

Have you checked the

@ July 14, 2014 7:57 PM in Not Cool:

Static pressure on the both sides of the equipment. I'm assuming a .5" external static. Just because they changed the ductwork doesn't mean it is correct. I used to use(pre-digital worl) a Dwyer 100-5 incline manometer for these tests. Today the UEI digital units do really well. I think your problems could be the duct system. Yes?

I'm assuming this is an end wall and therefore

@ July 14, 2014 7:46 PM in Do I need a chimney liner?

Exposed chimney. Your chimney contractor is correct. The other guy making the BS accusation is in fact full of it. NFPA 211 which regulates chimneys requires a liner. NFPA 54 the gas code also states that Category I appliances which you have will require a liner. You can get condensation out of the chimney.
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