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Joined on March 1, 2007

Last Post on July 28, 2014

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@ 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

The reason

@ February 20, 2009 11:04 AM in hot water recirc

they use the higher head pumps is to pump the water at high velocity. Metlund has a drawing of the actual flow characteristics in the piping of the hot/cold relationship. It's pretty neat. It shows that at 1gpm you end up with a skim coat of hot water going over the cold remaining in the pipe. At 1-3gpm yo end up with what looks like a long spear point of h/c and in the 5gpm range you basicall have "plug" flow where the hot totally displaces the cold. That takes a higher head pump. Given they have the temp sensor for shut-off purposes, the high head pump is best. If you are recircing to an on-demand make sure you run your return line in 3/4" so you can get the higher flows.

Running wild

@ February 19, 2009 2:50 PM in hot water recirc

recirc is not really a solution to anyones issues and we are certainly in agreement with that. The Metlund's electronics are designed to only recognise the call for operation every 8 minutes, so it will prevent the short-cycling to which you refer. As well, because it has the thermistor on the hot side of the pump, when it sees an 8F delta t it will shut off because it knows that 2' behind that there is hot water. I think it is a pretty slick system One of the biggest issues for us here in MA is that with the Boston Harbor and Charles River clean-ups, worthwhile projects, but we are paying for them, we have the highest water rates in the US. I was reading a report (I think from Lawrence Livermore labs that said that every 3 gallons of water down the drain is equivalent to approx 1kw of energy/cost for delivery and treatment. I think we will be seeing more attention placed upon recirc. I'm looking forward to it and the further discussion. In my own home, I re-modelled two fo the three bathrooms last year and didn't install the recirc. I'm now doing the master bath and will install it there. Without it, in the morning, I have a 45second wait for hot water with the shower going. I'll report back what the time difference is when I get the Mstr Bath done...ahem, whenever that is;/

Respectfully, must disagree MArk

@ February 18, 2009 10:58 PM in hot water recirc

Time and/or temperature controlled recircs are serious energy wasters. Why would I want my aquastat running my recirc pump while I am at work or in bed? The best of the recirc systems is the demand system, imho. Go to and look over the Metlund system for comparison purposes.

For climate control

@ February 16, 2009 9:37 PM in Clamp on Multimeters

I'd look at UEI or Fluke. Fluke gets a lot of support here but UEI does a great job for climate control. Whatever you buy make sure it has a Microamp range for your ignition checks. The microamp symbol is a long nosed U. I used to have a heck of a time with Autoranging meters. I was (or am) a tad dim with meters at times and with an autoranging meter and a modulating piece of equipment that meter would scan and scan and never settle down. I figured it out but I still prefer the manual adjustment of the UEI 383. Can't beat them for the money, imho.

I'm planning

@ February 13, 2009 6:32 AM in Solar roofing material

on a solar system for the house. DHW for sure and looking into a PV system also. While I have instaled many solar system and worked on more roofs, I would not install my system without first doing a re-roof. Mine is a pretty much standard low pitch colonial roof in New England, which I would "over-collector" as necessary to compensate for the pitch. The house is a a two story with a walk out basement, so effectively three stories. This south pitch cannot be seen from the ground as the property slopes also so appearanace of the material is not a consideration. My question is, What type of roofing material do you like to work on. Cost is certainly a factor, but durability (you do have to clean panels) and ease of drainage are important also.

You can contact me

@ February 9, 2009 6:38 AM in Small 4 apartment building,best way to control heat bill

on my phone at 617 834-8751. Be happy to help!

Would your building owner

@ February 7, 2009 4:55 PM in Small 4 apartment building,best way to control heat bill

like to sub-meter and have the tenants who "like it hot" pay their own fuel bills? If so, we have done a few tens of thousand apt conversion using Rinnai DV modulating gas valve and blower wall furnaces. They work very well. I represent them and have sold about 125,000 of them in New England. They are excellent and ideal for this application.

Check Appendix E in 31

@ February 7, 2009 4:39 PM in chimney liner and insulation - oil boiler

for some sizing guidelines. Sweeps with whom I've spoken find the sizings to be spot on. Is this an interior or exterior chimney. It makes a significant difference in performance. Answer those questions all ready asked and consider an insulated vent coneector. I've posted this before, but when John Strasser and Rich Krajewski did their vent modeling they said the thing that had the greatest impact on performance was an insulated chimney liner. Depending upon the size, you can get DS from Selkirk or DVL from Duravent.

@ February 3, 2009 6:03 AM in Combustion Air Intake Efficiency

You will find equipment that is either single stage or variable speed for combustion air.

Just saw at ASHRAE

@ January 29, 2009 6:58 AM in best ductless mini split with heat

the new (March availability) 12 RLS unit from Fujitsu. 26seer/HSPF 12. Cooling capacity 3,800-14,500 Heating capacity 3,100-24,000 btu I represent them, so my bias is acknowledged, but it is an excellent line.

Saw the originals

@ January 29, 2009 6:48 AM in Another Lynyrd Skynyrd Tragedy

in Tempe in 74. Jas Cotton Blues Band, MArshall Tucker, LS, Boz Scaggs, Steve Miller, and Elton John came up out of the crowd to play. MT and LS just blew the place away. Ronnie Van Sant had a huge shiner and a bandage on his head, but it didn't seem to affect him, but then again, ho would you have known. There were some bizarre stories surrounding that event, but I can't talk about them in polite company;/

Tim Dwyer

@ January 19, 2009 1:53 PM in Tjernland Power Venters

Tim is at 800 255-4208 X 132.

I have done many of these,

@ January 16, 2009 7:00 AM in Instantaneous Water Heater

but with Rinnai's, as I represent them. You still need the booster at the dishwasher. That way you can run the water heater at 140 and supply the rest of the kitchen with hot water temps. The booster will then peak the temp the last 40 degrees. Everyone likes to try to eliminate the booster, but with a good pre-heat you can minimize the size and cost of operation of the booster. The reason yu need the booster is that if the water heater is 10' away from the dw, if the unit produces 180f water, by the time it gets to the dw it will no longer be 180...Period! The rinse cycle is where the "rubber meets the road" with on-demand. Never call it instantaneous, it isn't. Satisfactory rinse operation requires water at both the correct temperature, but also the correct pressure. You will find that if the unit is making hot water for the kitchen faucets and the rinse cycle calls, the unit will respond without issue. If however the unit is in stand-by mode and the rinse cycle calls the unit will see high flow instantaneously, recognize that water is getting thruough at the wrong temp, slow the flow down de-pressurinzing the rinse cycle, it gets control of the flow immediately, re-opens the flow valve and by the time the water heater is happy the rinse cycle is almost done. Ka-boom! I have had very satisfactory results, but I had a pretty rough apprenticeship in these applications. Rinnai engineering likes to be involved in these designs. How many one/two/three bay sinks, spray systems, lavs, dishwasher make and model (imperative that you understand the flow characteristics). In other words, what is your total load.

JIm, what is plugging the screen?

@ January 12, 2009 7:08 PM in rinnai call backs

If the screen gets plugged it limits flow to the unit and stresses the flow control valve which over time in this situation will cause it to moan and groan prior to failure. That component with good clean flow is very reliable and operates quietly. I'd suggest replacing the flow control valve and see if it quiets it down. Are you in the New England area? If so, I'm your rep. I'd be happy to help. Give me a call if you'd like 617 834-8751.
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