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Joined on March 1, 2007

Last Post on September 16, 2014

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The question is...

@ July 3, 2009 1:41 PM in mass. code requirements for oil vents in masonry chimney

Does a masonry chimney serving an oil fired appliance require a SS liner. 31 does not call for it but does MA code.

Don't know about the new boilers, but

@ July 2, 2009 8:06 AM in High efficiency oil boilers

When I used to clean the Yukon Ultima condensing furnaces some 20 yrs ago, I would securely tape up all the places that could leak and take the CVT drain line and use it as a site glass and fill the condensing coil and secondary with water. Once filled I'd drain it into a 5 gallon pail and after two fills that thing was as clean as a whistle. I'd then let the water evaporate off and deal with the "residue". Prior to developing this was a freakin' nighmare to clean.


@ June 26, 2009 9:54 AM in Tankless and Whirlpools

There are modifiers. I've just found it good practice to start with the lowest point of providing the hw required, or at least that will do the job and once that is rejected you can build the system/sale from there. That way there is ownership and acknowledgment (make sure the owner knows too) of the systems requirements and features that need to be fed, like the waterfall faucet.

The discussion...

@ June 25, 2009 6:11 AM in Tankless and Whirlpools

"speed costs money, how fast do you want to go. I figure these jobs with one or two and present the $ to them and explain the "cost vs time". For instance, a Rinnai (which I represent) R75LSi will make +5gpm at tub temp, so it will take 12-13 minutes to fill the tub. For somewhere in the range of double the cost I can save you six minutes. When explained that way, it is amazing how many people find something to do for six minutes.

Have done many

@ June 21, 2009 12:57 PM in booster on tankless

I represent Rinnai so note the bias. I have done many tankless with storage. While the preference is to do straight tankless sometimes the characteristics of the demand or lay-out of the floorplan preclude that possibility. I do prefer higher burner capacity to more gallons of storage. In analyzing your pumping demands the GPM X Delta T X 500 = BTU is useful. For a single tankless unit I find a 008 or at most a 009 to be sufficient. Rinnai likes to size for the "max performance" which is the higher head pump. That works fine. Personally, I kinda prefer to back off on that a bit. A 008 will pump a Rinnai at about 4.5-5gpm unless you have a million 90's in there. The 009 closer to 6. Plug some numbers into the formula and see how it works out for you. Your choice on the pump! Systems do work very well with the bigger pumps. It causes no harm to the equipment. In piping the tank (Aquabooster, for example)I have my own thoughts. Feed your CWS to the bottom of the tank, of course. Pump to the tankless off on the upper of the two low tank penetrations on an Aquabooster. Make sure you return to the top of the tank. Most Aquabooster piping diagrams were done when they were feeding these tanks off a boiler which gave a lower delta t and gradually raised the tank temp. Tankless on the other hand are set to only allow set point temp out of them and will regulate flow to do soozZLHPuh. Therefore every gallon exiting the tankless is ready to go to the building. You can pipe it either into the relief valve opening or the HWS opening before the temp valve. This piping arrangement gives a nice smooth operation of the pump and the tankless units. Returning the tankless outlet water to the lower portion of the tank can influence the A-stat and give varying supply temps to the tankless units which can make them ramp up and down. Give a 20F delta T between the tankless and the a-stat. A local plumber did a restaurant here in town a bit ago with two Rinnai R75LSI's and an 80 gallon tank. He ran them at 160/140. He said it took him less than 12 minutes from a cold start to pick up the tank to 140.

Check out

@ June 13, 2009 12:34 PM in propane heaters Rinnai Energysavers are the best in the catagory. What is the lay-out? How many sq ft. Also look at the Airshare at By way of disclosure, I represent both of these products.

Me Too!

@ May 30, 2009 5:50 PM in two

Wine cellar

@ May 26, 2009 6:16 PM in Oceanfront Problem In NC

Don, I lived in the Napa Valley for several years, so when you say "wine cellar", are you talking Joe Phelps wine cellar or a little room. Exactly what conditions are you looking to maintain and for how much space? You don't get a high side port because the metering device is in the condensing unit so while they call them liquid and suction you are really looking at two gas lines. When you look at these things they are a true variable speed unit and they will continue to monitor temperatures about 500 times a second. As the actual t-stat is the thermistor mounted on the evaporator it is, shall we say, ever vigilant. As well, they do their best dehu in those low fan speed cool coil conditions.

Greg is correct

@ May 25, 2009 9:49 PM in Oceanfront Problem In NC

You will find that all the primary mini-split manuf (Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Sanyo and Daikin) offer true variable speed equipment, which includes, variable speed compressors, condenser fans and indoor evaporator fans

At some point

@ May 24, 2009 8:54 AM in Oceanfront Problem In NC

you have to look and ask if it is worth trying to resurrect a poor system, specifically the ductwork. The two speed and variable speed suggestions are correct, but you are still trying to correct a distribution sytem and can do so only where accessible, which means an incomplete repair. Do you want to continue down that track? What guarantee can be given that the dollars are going to be well spent and the system actually work and be an asset to the house. I would suggest that you look at mini-split heat pumps. I represent Fujitsu, ( so my bias is acknowledged, but they are the most efficient units out there, up to 26 SEER and 12 HSPF. You can use an assortment of interior evaporators, all of which are variable speed, very, very quiet and excellent dehumidifiers as well. You will also have "net to the space" efficiency as you have only .5-1% loss in the line set, as opposed to your current duct system. I am sorry to hear of your problems and shudder at what this must have cost you, in both $ and heartache, but at some point you have to say enough money spent on a failed system and look at better alternatives. As you have started this thread, please let us know how things work out for you as you go forward. Good luck!

I once had a call

@ May 3, 2009 12:23 PM in Is there a need for an expansion tank with a tankless heater?

for "phantom operation" of a Rinnai. With no draw on the system the unit would start and stop. Very brief, but it would spin up to operation and shut down immediately. It turned out that there was no building back-flow prevention and upon heavy draws on the town main running down the street it would pull a back pressure on the buildings system and when the heavy draw stopped, re-pressurize the buildings system and the "phantom flow" would occur. Also, so not use a t&p on a tankless. Pressure only. I've seen T&P's leak like crazy. Totally dependent upon the piping arrangement and the systems "personality" but it happens regularly.

Glass lined tanks

@ May 3, 2009 9:18 AM in indirect - glass vs stainless

are not like buying a pyrex coffee pot. They are not all glass, due to the production method. Once you make the tank and run the glass gun up into it and then run the tank through the industial furnace you get a process called "burn back". Which basically is the flue gases racing through the tank openings at a very high velocity, burning the glass back from the tank penetrations. Once your anode rod is gone...and how would you know, the water attacks the next tastiest thing, which is the tank itself. Check and maintain/replace the anode rod. If you do it you will be in an incedibly low, probably hundreths of 1% who do, you should see what you are dealing with. As well, I think any decision on a long term spec should start with a thorough water analysis. If you are on city water the information is readily available. If it is a well, you should get one done yourself.


@ April 30, 2009 7:12 AM in Is there a need for an expansion tank with a tankless heater?

Feel free to correct my numbers, but if I recall correctly, from 32-212F water will grow in vol. by about 1/23 or a bit under 4%. Given that the tap is always open when the unit is firing and the burner shuts off immediately upon the stoppage of flow,if anything, you will actually see a contraction of vol. as the water cools. As the overwhelming majority of dhw systems suffer from a lack of pipe insulation this will happen in very short order. Having said that, in my experience, and I only get invited to the jobs with problems, every system has a personality. Over the years I have had, I think 3-4 jobs where an exp tank solved a problem. That is out of a total of a few tens of thousnads of units, so I'll say you don't need one...until you do;)


@ March 11, 2009 9:26 PM in Instructions on operating a japanese toilet

that was to wierd even for me. When the toilet starts saluting the plumber you can start getting assorted complexes. I figured none of them would be good. On the other hand, since I shave my head, it will be nice to get a warm wash and blow dry on the other end!


@ March 11, 2009 11:28 AM in Instructions on operating a japanese toilet

Having used those toilets in Japan, and being in the process of remodeling the master bath I have purchased a Toto Washlet 300 toilet seat with pretty much all the bells and whistles. I don't know, maybe it will make me whistle. Utterly decadent, but we'll see how it goes...or we'll see how I go on it ;) I did hold the line and did not get the top of the line unit which automatically raises the toilet seat when you stand before it. I will only go so far, after all!

not a good app

@ March 8, 2009 11:09 AM in unvented gas heaters

Vent free heaters are intended for supplemental use in the residence. I've used them at home and I've run them in my workshop for trial and for very short time periods. Cleanliness is very important to a vf heater. Dusty, dirty environments are terrible for them. As well, whatever is airborne will go thru that burner and it will not come out smelling better that it went in. Direct vent and be happy. I represent Rinnai but also run a Rinnai 1004 in my shop and love it. I do clean the firlters regularly and seasonally take the cover off and use compressed air to clean the blower wheels and get dust off the pcb. In that environment, maintenance of anything is key.

Well, let's see...(longish)

@ March 8, 2009 10:52 AM in installing tankless hot water heater

My normal disclaimer first, it is my pleasure and great good fortune to represent Rinnai for the last 18 yrs. I considered writing this when Paul Harvey's passing was noted here a couple weeks ago. The way Paul Harvey came to the promoting Rinnai was that upon returning to his Scottsdale home one day he found that one of his hot water heaters had failed and made a mess of the place. To his plumber he said, "There has to be a better way". His plumber replied, "Well, I just returned from this seminar on these Rinnai's..." "Let's try that" says Mr Harvey. A couple months later, Rinnai received a call from the network saying that Mr Paul Harvey would like to see a representative from Rinnai at his home, at this time, on this date. "Will you be there?" "Yes", says Rinnai! As you know, Mr Harvey promoted only what he used, knew and had personal experience with. As the conversation went, Mr Harvey said to Rinnai's Sales and Mtg VP, "when you consider the energy savings and look at the national implications of this product, it is enormous". He went on to say, that, while he "was an old man he could still make some tracks in the sand", on this energy saving topic. He was correct. This was related to me by the man who met with Mr Harvey. On his first broadcast I remember smiling when he said he was "so very thankful to the plumber who had brought Rinnai to his attention." I smile because Mr Harvey had endless, sufficient and efficient hot water as well as a couple extra million bucks. What a guy! In response to some of the other points: 1. Minimum Flow: Yes there is a minimum flow. On our units it is currently .6gpm, but will be going to a lower rate soon. As with any new appliance, you get used to using it. If you open the faucet to a trickle, you will not get hot water. If you open the faucet to at least the minimum flow you will fire the unit and then you can turn the vol down to the level you need. My Rinnai will hold operation down to .3-.4 gpm. You can read that flow rate on the touch pad for confirmation. After a few days of working with it, most have no problem. It is different, but most people can deal with it. that is especially so when explained by the certified installer. 2. Wasting water: I'm currently re-modeling the Master Bathroom. After 8 years of living with my Rinnai, due to the construction process I went back to my indirect off the boiler for this winter. Next weekend, I'm installing the new Rinnai and happily turning off the indirect and disposing of it. In my home, with no re-circ, it takes 45 seconds first thing in the am to get hot water, with the Rinnai. It takes 40 seconds with the indirect and that is purely a piping difference. I will be adding a Metlund recirc and reporting on that in the near future. I recently began representing them also. Any reduction in water waste, or delay with a tank is from a constant thermosiphon within the piping, which increases energy consumption. The trick is to design a system which neither wastes energy nor water. 3. Annual service: Personally, I haven't touched my Rinnai in 8 yrs except to clean the inlet filter after the town flushes the hydrants. We have clean and good town water. If you follow Rinnai's installation instructions and check to make sure you have decent potable water then you too can enjoy years of trouble free use. If not...well, you are crapping up your tank water heater also. 4: More moving parts: Absolutely! In 45 yrs in the business as either an appentice carrying the journeymans toolbox down the street (I really did that;), journeyman, mech contractor or rep, I've never seen as reliable a piece of equipment as a Rinnai. I've sold more Rinnai's than anyone in North America. Everything in the box is made by Rinnai. It is their flow control, their modulating gas valve (they were the first in the world to make one), their burner, hx and they make and program their own pcb. All the individual components are friendly with each other. Yes, there are more components and it is why being a certified installer is a big deal. If you follow up on the certification step and attend the follow-up tear down trainings you will be a better mechanic when you leave the training that when you went in and better able to take care of your customers with Rinnai water heaters. So it isn't a throw away appliance like a tank water heater. 5: Multiple units: Perhaps! I've never lived in a house or apt that the dhw system didn't have its own personality. We hope it is more Jeckel than Hyde, but again, that is why we used trained installers. You have to qualify the use, explain the output as either a feature or it can be explained as a liability, if you choose to do so, but you must educate the consumer on its output capability and overlay that on how they use the system. Tankless water heaters are all about flow and temp rise. I never tell anyone how many bathrooms they can run. I will tell them that an R75LSi at a 70f temp rise will produce 4.3gpm 24 hrs per day. How they use it is up to them. Is it enough? That is why we trained installers. I once had a guy (homeowner) get pissed off at me for telling him his 25gpm shower was going to take 5 units. I said, "hey, mac, you built the damned thing, this is what it takes to feed it." The advantage of the Rinnai system is that when he wanted to use the bizarre shower he had capacity as long as he had gas, water, elec and septic capacity (kaboom), and when he shut if off it was OFF. When jr washed his hands, with a min. of .6gpm, that was all the water it provided and the system modulated from 15k-900kbtu. Pretty cool. Very cool to install and watch it work! 6: More vents: One per unit seems reasonable. Direct vent, pipe in pipe, zero clearance, 5" od is pretty neat imho! 7: Inefficient: All I do with gas in the summer months is dhw. When my girls were home, we used between 36-44 therms/mo. When I turned the boiler & indirect off and the Rinnai on, for the past 8 yrs I've been using 10-13 therms/mo. That is significant to me. Rinnai's do not condense and are rated at a .82EF. We will have a condensing unit soon, but I have to say, I'm not sure it is for everyone. I'm absolutely a high eff guy and support it. I'm kinda surprised that I say this, but if you look at how people actually use hot water, typically very short duration draws, I'm not sure you will see significant savings using the condensing hot water unit in the average home. For extended vent runs and high duration loads, absolutely. My suggestion for a system is to get the smallest condensing boiler you can to meet the heat load. When the heating season is over, turn it off. Get the right Rinnai water heater AND PUT IT IN THE RIGHT LOCATION. In other words, don't compound or extend the application mistakes of the original low bidder. As to the Navien, they do not have good temperature control. They spike. Take the cover off one and hit the right codes on the board for output temp and watch it. They overshoot. We put output temp and flow info on the controller on the front of the unit for ease of use. Rinnai will be +/- 2F. If we exceed 6f over setpoint the unit shuts off. Safety first! To have precise temp control you must have three things. A modulating flow control, a modulating gas valve and a cold water by-pass. They lack the by-pass and therefore lack good temp control. Tanks vs tankless: Obviously my choice is clear, but I would like to ask the installing contractors here how many of the water tanks that you pull do you cut up and show the homeowner what is inside their water heater. My guess is that if you did so, and showed the homeowner, you would sell fewer tank water heaters.

It was interesting to watch

@ March 2, 2009 6:27 AM in Paul Harvey...another American Broadcasting Treasure has passed

the trajectory of Paul Harvey's Rinnai relationship. I had several people call me and ask where they could get a Rinnai. As I began to describe the product they would simply say, "You don't have to tell me about it. If Paul Harvey says that is what I need then that is good enough." Consider for a moment what that means. It is such a pleasure to watch a man in the spotlight for so many years finish his life and career with such a reputation for honesty and integrity. The comment about "lunch with Paul" is spot on. I heard him in the hogger (lunch trailer) in the 60's when I started in the business and since then. In recent years, I didn't particularly seek him out on the dial, but when I ran across him on the air I never turned him off. Happy Trials, Paul! I'll miss you!

First of all

@ February 25, 2009 12:52 PM in Rinnai Tankless Waterheaters

check the installation manual for the limits of different chemicals in the water. Best done before installation with a water test. Get a water test so you know what you are dealing with. If you are getting an "LC" (lime control) error code, then you need to flush the hx. This is a pretty simple process if piped according to the instructions. White vinegar is typically recommended. Make sure when you flush that you also clean the immersion sensor at the top right of the hx. If it is not cleaned it will be coated and can still give an LC code after flushing. It is the sensor held by the two small phillips head screws. When you pull the sensor, be aware that there is a very small o-ring on the sensor which if lost can alter your happiness quotient. I am very sure about that! That o-ring will sometimes stay on the snesor when pulled or sometimes stay in the well. If it stays in the well, pull it and install it on the sensor for reassembly. If you try to install the sensor with the o-ring in the well you can possibly refer to the alter happiness thing above. Do not back flush, as in reverse flow as it will screw up the turbine. If you have bad water you can wither put this on a schedule to clean or treat the water.

Cool, Paul

@ February 23, 2009 12:41 PM in what do you drive?

Did you ever run at The Glen? The thing about '02's is that BMW is still producing all the parts and they, as you know, are a great car. The tii's are starting to get up there $wise, but a straight can still be had for short money. My turbo is a pretty special car. In fact, to special for me. I'm going to turn it. I want something I can drive and not have to worry about. The turbo I have to worry about. Anyone have Jay Leno's number?

Secrets and Shotguns

@ February 22, 2009 10:55 AM in what's in your closet


Cars! It's all madness you know!

@ February 22, 2009 10:53 AM in what do you drive?

Let's see, for work, 05 Yukon XL & 06 Subaru Outback Others: 1975 BMW 2002 Turbo, 1972 BMW 2002, and '04 Mini Cooper S In this scenario, a two car garage is wholly deficient
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