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Joined on March 1, 2007

Last Post on July 22, 2014

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Don't change....add!

@ June 12, 2010 7:25 AM in house heating upgrade advise

Do tune up your steam system and see how it does, unless required repairs get really pricey. Then you have to do a full evaluation.
I'd suggest that you buy a mini-split heat pump. It will heat efficiently and provide AC and Duhu. You did not list your location. If you are far north the hp will not be your sole heat source, but will contribute a high percentage. The way to make your steam system really efficient is to run it less. The hp will likely qualify for tax credits and local incentives
I'd suggest tankless for your hot water. Again, tax credits and local incentives are likely available.
As always, I must note my bias. I represent a hp manuf as well as a tankless. Having said that, I know they work. Good luck!

Seems to me...

@ May 25, 2010 6:51 AM in Hypothetical question...on short cycling

that the best thing to do is take the hit and sell the oversized unit and buy the correct boiler for the application. Anything else you do is a band aid, and further complicates the intial poor equipment selection.
I'd suggest running the numbers on the material/labor to fix the unfixable vs what it would take to get in and out with a change-out.

While I applaud

@ May 24, 2010 6:36 AM in Trade Organizations

your efforts to improve the "brand", I still think you need to have the wider view of your industry. They say that all politics is local and I can see why you must focus on local issues as you develop your new group. I think your new group will be better if it can follow and contribute to national trends, especially given that it is an energy efficiency, new technology, focused group. The right organization can contribute to the national debate and that is always a good thing. Having said that it is very difficult to run the business, contribute to the local group and have outside the territory influence. Only so many hours in the day.

After many years

@ May 22, 2010 10:51 AM in Trade Organizations

I say you need a combination of resources. Certainly it is good to have a local organizations to keep your eye on local issues, but you also need to belong/follow the national organizations for their unique and broader perspective.
I don't think local organizations drive contractor business today. It is mostly web based or becoming so. Right, Dan?

Where are you going in NCA

@ May 22, 2010 6:41 AM in Foraging in the Woods (OT)

I have a place in Nevada City. Haven't had the chance to explore a great deal yet, but did the CA portion of the PCT, let's see....37 yrs ago and would like to do it again. Love the Sierra's !

Other benefits

@ March 21, 2010 8:57 AM in Modulating is it efficient?

to modulation...when correctly sized, are much reduced starts and stops which in turn leads to better component reliability and seasonal efficiency. I don't intend this as an ad, but I've sold over 200,000 pieces of modulating Rinnai equipment over the last 20 years and when I first began living with the DV wall furnaces, I'd look at it operate and try to figure out, " now, why is it doing that?" My dv will start and stop on the t'stat in Sept and Oct, but by late Oct there is sufficient load to meet the 8,200 btu minimum fire. Last year the unit fired continuously from late Oct to March 24th. It simply modulated on the demand. It did not shut down in that period of time. It has done this for 12 years with no more than blowing off the fan blades and pcb area to keep dust off it. What, to me, is important is not how high a unit will fire but how low it will fire.Oversizing impacts the whole equation negatively.
What affect on efficiency does constant ignition have? The many propane companies who have installed these have said it is a dramatic reduction in usage for the customers as well as a dramatic increase in comfort. I can't offer the science you are looking for Tim, but this is my experience.


@ March 20, 2010 8:40 AM in condensate neutralizers...

If you go under the slab, the condensate will be perfectly happy to eat your slab from the bottom up.

Interested in

@ February 16, 2010 6:44 AM in New Rinnai Condensing as back-up for off-peak system

how the set-up on the Rinnai has gone for you. Many programming options. Are you using the concentric poly-prop vent?

Don't use the combi

@ January 31, 2010 12:59 PM in baxi luna plate exchangers and hard water

unless you treat the water. Are these all one boiler/per condo or a central system. Ithink they would be money ahead to do a central treatment system. That kind of hardness goes after everything in the place. dish washer, faucets, etc.
Does 10.5 gr meet the federal secondary drinking water standards?

I was there

@ January 31, 2010 12:55 PM in ASHRAE

I thought attendance was quite good. Better than I had anticipated. I had all day sales meetings Sat/Sun and then was there for all three days.


@ January 31, 2010 12:48 PM in New Fireplace user

You have the friend do it, and you decide to run the gas part, go get a new smoke/CO detector first.

Oil canning

@ January 21, 2010 8:13 AM in Return plenum "bangs" (contracts/expands) when blower starts/stops

is what the condition is called. Usually a braod expanse of sheet metal will have X-shaped breaks in it to prevent this. Go to your local hardware store and get a couple pieces of angle iron. 1/2' should be sufficient. Light stock is okay. All you are trying to do is stiffen the plenum. Self tapping screws into the plenum and you have braced the metal and it should be ok.

Sounds like

@ January 16, 2010 9:50 AM in Heat pump question

a power surge on re-start. Could be a weak breaker. YOu do not want to roast that unit due to poor power supply. Get your elec. system checked by a good tech.

On the condensing units...

@ January 10, 2010 7:40 AM in Rinnai tankless for domestic and radiant

Be aware that Rinnai does not allow PVC for the vent. They have made a new pipe in the same 3/5" concentric pattern with a Polyprop inner pipe.
We, the sales force, pushed pretty hard for PVC for competitive purposes but engineering came back and said "no joy" with pvc. Their feeling is that on a furnace or boiler pvc is ok as it has either no water or low water content. In a boiler system, you fill and heat a few times and pretty much create an inert fluid. With a water heater however, every gallon of water is fresh water and the long term liability due to scaling and resulting rising stack temps is not unacceptable. PVC can take I think it is 142F where the PP pipe will take 245F. It is the same pipe the new boilers use. The PP system is a bit more expensive but not a deal breaker. Make sure you have the right pipe for the install. You cannot mix and match PP and metal. Metal for R75/94. PP for RC80/98HPi

Nice drawing Kal

@ January 9, 2010 7:02 AM in Rinnai tankless for domestic and radiant

I'm entirely to dim to draw that without using a pencil.
A couple things. I would get rid of the strainer and put a cartridge filter on the cws to the system. If the cws is clean you don't need the wye strainer ahead of the Rinnai's. To much pressure drop. When you are finishing any tankless install and everything is tight and right, as you are picking up, run the heck out of the hot water...making sure you pick fixtures which will not flood the rim...go ahead, ask me how I know that! The last thing you do is shut off the water at the service valves and clean the filters. Then you know the water supply debris is out of the system. If you get a call that ends up being the filter related you have dirty water coming in.
I do not use the EZ Connect when pumping to tanks. When I am using a tank I want max recovery, so I want max flow. I will let the unit modulate on delta t. Set your a-stat for a 20 delta T. Turn off your elec elements. You do not need them.
I like an Aquabooster or a tank with 4 penetrations. CWS to the bottom tap. Pump off the lower portion but not the bottom (debris). Return to the relief valve or top (dhw outlet) of the tank. You have shown it taht way pretty much. What I like about this system is that you satisy the tank from the top down to the a-stat. That tank is full of HOT water. If you look at some of Rinnai's drawings they show the hot water from the tankless coming to the upper tank penetration but still in the area of the a-stat. The hot water influences the A-stat and you can get a perfect sine-wave type operation. Putting the hot water to the top of the tank makes sense as every gallon of water exiting the Rinnai's is at set-point temp and therfore ready to go to the tap...or tempering valve. I have used this system on apts, restaurants and hotels with great success. As well I've done some large homes with it.
Have you tried the new condensing Rinnai water heaters. RC80 or98HPi ? 

I don't try to make it work...more than once anyway

@ January 2, 2010 6:19 AM in Going nuts sweating 3/4 valve!

By the time I screw around with a wet repair I can cut in a union upstream on the wet side. I clean the copper where the union will go prior to cutting. You then have a clean base to work from and that is what this is all about. As well it makes it so much easier to deal with the failed joint, either by disassembly and/or re-sweating.

I forgot...

@ December 31, 2009 7:49 PM in Rinnai tankless for domestic and radiant

to add my usual disclaimer. I represent Rinnai.
If this is a small space, you might want to consider one of Rinnai's direct vent wall furnaces. The first modulating gas appliance.


@ December 31, 2009 7:46 PM in Rinnai tankless for domestic and radiant

no longer approves their tankless waterheaters for closed loop heating systems and has not done so for the last 18 mo or so. They will be happy to sell you one of their new wall hung boilers for these applications.
While I know of many out there working successfully I have always felt that a unit that is happiest with variable flow and large delta t's (water heater) will not be as happy long term with pretty much fixed flows and small delta t's.

Not sure how many

@ August 1, 2009 3:53 PM in Ductless heat Pumps that actually Heat

people can register using the same name but the Jack registering the "Daikin after one year" post is not mine! I have no idea what the global failure rate is Mr Daikin but it is damned low in the US. I suppose we should get on the same playing field. I'm talking residential and light comm mini-splits. You are talking vrv. Totally different world equipment wise.

If thats the case

@ August 1, 2009 7:09 AM in Ductless heat Pumps that actually Heat

look at the Fujitsu multi's. You can mix and match the high wall units, the small cassettes or use the concealed ceiling air handlers. With the 2 and 3 ton condensing units you can get over 110 combinations of evaporators in the 9, 12 and 18kbtu range.

You can continue

@ August 1, 2009 7:05 AM in Mini-splits

to do business as you please, of course. A/C work is typically ducted, with the exception of the mini-splits. Having a sub for this is fine. However, what happens when compressor bearing equipment becomes a primary hydronic option. You can continue to invite the sub into your business or you can become certified/licensed in this catagory and control your business. Who will get the call for service on that equipment. This change in the market isn't going to happen overnight, but it is worth thinking about. It is going to happen. What I tell kids is that life is like a funnel. The goal is to stay up in the top of the funnel where the options and opportunity is greatest for as long as you can. Education, training and knowledge is what keeps you up there. A lack of skills moves you further down the funnel. Me, I'm getting near the tight spot just from a time standpoint. Don't join me! Stay up top!

Technology and your employment future

@ July 31, 2009 10:35 PM in Mini-splits

I've been thinking about posting this for a while and with the other current mini-split thread on the topic, I've decided to put this out there. If you are in the trades, specifically the heating trade and not doing A/C work then you are dangerously exposed, in my opinion. I have had a look at some of the technology beyond the tremendous equipment we are selling today. In the next couple years you are going to see waves of hydronic heat pumps that will do low temp heating like radiant and hydro air. I am not talking water source. You will see air to water HP's producing the cop's of todays water source units. This equipment can be a game changer. If you aren't refrigerant certified you need to get back to school TODAY to become certified. Get ahead of this technology! Don't play catch-up!
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