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Joined on March 1, 2007

Last Post on September 14, 2014

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@ February 21, 2014 9:46 AM in How to vent oil

We were in a hurry!
It was easy!
Why won't it work?
Even this was more than we wanted to spend!
It's going to cost how much to fix it? We did it for much less than that!
You guys are trying to rip us off!
That paint should have held up better than that. I won't use that brand again!

You just can't dream this stuff up! Keep us posted on the outcome.


@ February 19, 2014 3:35 PM in geothermal vs. airsource

I worked on the Geysers geothermal power plants ,in Healdsburg, CA back in '77. A bunch of dry steam wells would be piped to a small power house. It was great because rather than on a nuke where you could work on 1" ss piping for a year and never find out what was going to go through it, on the geo plants a couple dozen fitter and welders would build a plant that you could see coming out of the ground. Check out the Geo Heat Center at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls for some high temp geo info.

On residential systems we used to also use a ditch witch to trench and install poly solar collectors on edge and bury them with sand. Drip irrigation on top to keep up the heat transfer. I think it was Sola-roll we used. Of course that was in the Napa Valley and you didn't have to worry about freezing ground.

The other thing about geothermal systems is you had better have an A1 guy do it. Wells and piping, ductwork, HP and controls. Not for the faint of heart,imho!

Geothermal is great...but

@ February 18, 2014 5:13 PM in geothermal vs. airsource

It is very pricey. The day the enormous tax credits go away is the day that business evaporates over night. Basically, they are selling tax credits. That was what happened to the solar business. Better to look at mini splits which are tickling the COP/HSPF's of the geo for a fraction of the cost. Also, I think the max output on the geo water to water is not above 140. Correct? Back in the 70's I was doing geo with a glazed solar system heating a pool and driving the hp with pool water. Had to be careful on the cooling side though. Also, I think you have to look at pumping costs as well.

Years ago

@ February 17, 2014 1:19 PM in Wood heat transfer

I built a wood boiler for my Dad. We piped it through the baseboard and put the pump on constant operation. We also built a sheet metal plenum around the whole thing and ducted it up to a large floor grill, ala, a floor furnace tupe grill. It was a straight gravity system on that side. The basement was tight and no radon problems and for a retired guy this worked out great. When he sold the house I took the cutting torch to it and went back to the oil boiler. You can do wood in all kinds of ways. He had the windows open most of the winter;)

It I was going wood I would not do a furnace. Joining the system duct work is kind of a pitn. I think it better to go with a wood boiler and put a hw coil in the furnace plenum. You can get hot water that way too!

Tile liner is not the problem

@ February 17, 2014 1:08 PM in chimney condensing issue

The original mason screwed the original owner by shorting him a complete tile lined chimney, but we can assume he is long gone. The problem is the flue gases are cooling and condensing. Install an insulated vent connector first and see if that helps. Then if needed insulate the SS liner. Is there a block off plate at the top of the liner to prevent cold air from running down the chimney. I bet this could have been done with 5" too.

Don't change, Add!

@ February 17, 2014 1:01 PM in is it worth converting from oil to propane ?

Install a mini-split heat pump. Use it in combination with your oil. I have a friend in a big old VT farmhouse who runs his mshp down to 20* and then turns his oil boiler on below that. He has been doing this for several years and says he sees anywhere from 60-70% $ to$ savings. You also get excellent cooling and dehu.

If you go LP, the way to do it successfully is to own a 1000gal tank and not have to fill during the season. That carries you thru the issues today.

Single stage, two-stage and multi-stage, which one

@ February 15, 2014 3:12 PM in Single stage, two-stage and multi-stage, which one

This is a follow-up to the "Condensing Furnace" thread. I've been selling modulating heating since '91, and have done so very successfully, but it was with Rinnai's Wall Furnaces. Net to the space in other words. Tim's preference for single stage and his reasoning make sense in the scenario he describes, but what, on a clean sheet of paper design, would you prefer? On a retro-fit of 2 stage or Variable speed, what problems have you encountered and how did you fix them?

Tim, thanks for that

@ February 15, 2014 3:06 PM in Condensing Furnace questions

but again, this comes down to perpetuating the mistakes of the original low cost bidder. This one should have another thread on the single stage, two stage multi-stage discussion

For Server Rooms

@ February 15, 2014 2:56 PM in Heat gain in computer server room

the mini-split heat pump MAY be fine. Many of them are doing an excellent job in this application. If it is a really serious server room without a lot of back-up off site, redundancy is key. I don't think the mshp manufs actually support or recommend this type of application, but again a lot of them go in.

As previously noted the Leibert system is the correct way to do this, but you can buy a lot of mini-splits for what you pay for the Leibert.

As far as how....

@ February 14, 2014 12:12 PM in Heating Help for Fireplaces?

To fix it...I guess it is just reorinting the joints unless you feel you need to replace the bricks. FYI, I tore the old fireplace put of my home to open up some space. It had good brick, or seemingly so, but once the base brick were removed you could see the charring in the wood sub-structure. The place didn't burn down, but it wasn't for a lack of the previous owners trying.

"Sliding Curves"

@ February 8, 2014 9:55 AM in mini split heat pump install in wi.

SWEI, that is actually a really god way to look at it and describe it. If you don't mind, I'm going to use that phrase...with attribution of course. The 410A inverters have altered the landscape. Back in the R22 single stage days if one of my customers said he was going to buy a heat pump in the New England area I would say, "What are you, nuts?" Today if someone says they are not going to buy a heat pump I have to say, "What are you nuts?" It is rare that you see such a profound change in technology.


@ February 7, 2014 6:53 PM in mini split heat pump install in wi.

I just installed a Fujitsu 15RLS in my newly remodeled kitchen which opens into living room, dining room. It was 15* the day I turned it on and it was blowing 130* air. I also sold several thousand of these in ME, NH & VT. They might not be the sole source of heat, but my pitch on them was don't change your system, add! A friend of mine in a big old VT farmhouse overlooking Lake Champlain run his multi mini split down to 20* and only then does he fire up his oil radiant. Dollar for dollar reductions of 70%. That is a very common application in the north.

They work very nicely N of the MD line. You have to understand the specs of the individual model/manuf of the product, but there are models running well at -15* too.

First things first

@ February 7, 2014 6:42 PM in Condensing Furnace questions

You should pressure test the ductwork. Google "doe duct leakage" and read for a while. Once the duct is tight I would always go for a two stage at least, modulating if you can. You end up with longer run times generally and with the blower at lower speeds you have a better comfort level and better uniformity of heat, again, if the duct work is delivering the air to the space. You know how so many say they hate warm air because they are either to hot or cold? That is because the furnace is typically way oversized and single stage causing overheating and then no air and drafty living. Then another cycle and it gets old.

Keep in mind that the furnace is being sized for the coldest day/temp of the year. With the exception of this year that is a very small percentage of the year. I guess you can say we size our equipment for the 100 yr storm and then live with what it gives us the other 99 yrs.

Perhaps I am a bit behind the times...

@ February 7, 2014 4:40 PM in Congress seeks to jack up fees on home heating oil in midst of frigid winter

But agreeing that current building methods have our heat loads tumbling down, where is the affordable burner/boiler that can modulate its fire from 10-50kbtu? Most boilers I am familiar with if a tech goes in and has a .5nozzle and the system is giving problems will likely leave that job having installed a .65 or up firing 30%.

Oil is great heat and a great industry, but at $4.65 a gallon and what I think are Ice's correct comments we are looking at a sunset industry. This is exacerbated by the regional nature of the business too.

Also, storage volume is a problem. Several years ago we were looking to increase the amount of oil you could have in your home. Does the current 31 allow this. I haven't seen it so do not know. For me, I am burying a 1000gal LP tank and using efficient modulating equipment (I think the benefits of modulation largely offset the 92-140kbtu discussion...yes/no?). That carries me past the mid-$eason fill-ups and makes LP the better choice. YMMV;)

Insulating an external chimney

@ February 7, 2014 4:19 PM in Flue liner size for new gas water heater ?

Is no guarantee that the flue gases will not condense. If you choose to go this way I would suggest running B-vent from the draft hood to the chimney and I think I'd go B-vent all the way up the flue. Years ago when Rich Krawjeski and John Strasser of Brookhaven ran the numbers for venting that became Appendix E in NFPA 31 I was talking with Rich and he was surprised at what an insulated vent connector could do for a flue. He said that in all their modeling, inside, outside flue, lined or unlined, no matter what, the thing that had the most positive impact was an insulated vent connector.

That said, for the cost of the liner/labor you are in the neighborhood of a tankless water heater. Masonry chimneys are excellent architectural devices but very poor mechanical devices with today's equipment.

Btw, going into that larger flue exacerbates the problem. Basic physics. When a gas expands, it cools. Take a nice 3" vent connector at about 7.1" cross sectional area with all those hot molecules and throw it into an 8x8 tile...approx 56 sq" nominal, if memory serves me correctly(which is happening less and less it seems) and your heat dissipates quickly, along with your draft.

check out Airtec

@ January 29, 2014 10:30 AM in mini split heat pump install in wi.

mini-split brackets. I have two wall hung and one roof mount at my home. You can wall mount them to get them off the ground. You should elevate them to avoid the drifting snow. Also, while you think it will be used primarily for heating, which I get, you will also be using it quite a bit for the dehumidification. They can work indoors, but you need very large spaces (warehouse) to do it properly.

AHR attendees, What did you see?

@ January 25, 2014 11:04 AM in AHR attendees, What did you see?

What caught your eye? What is new? I'll go first...
I saw a new evaporator at Fujitsu that is low wall pin up, H/C dual fan so heat at the floor, cooling out the top. I think the seer was 25 or so and HSPF 12.5. PTACs beware.

In the software aisle I saw a pretty cool app from an outfit called Mypointnow called Venture. Quote schedule and bill as well as other functions from your iPhone/android.

I really enjoyed NY. I got in a couple days early and walked the city. In 2days I must have done close to 20 miles. Once it snowed, the first day of the show, traffic got kinda weird, so I kept walking. Chicago next year!


@ January 12, 2014 11:35 AM in Recommended contractor for bathroom renovation in Worcester, MA area?

Joe and Victor are excellent people and do fine work. I hope to see them at AHR.


@ January 2, 2014 12:02 PM in Rinnai Recall from 2008!

Call 1 800 621-9419 and tell Rinnai the model and serial number (on the gray strip on the lower side of the unit) they will pull up the number, arrange repair and pay for the repair. If there are more of these in the building Rinnai will want to do the same with all affected units. If so, please let your landlord know.

The serial number can be hard to read depending upon position. I find having a flashlight helps.

While I haven't used them on big stuff

@ December 29, 2013 11:31 PM in Large adjustble Monkey or Spanner wrench for boiler and pipe fittings?

as long as we are talking about cold and useful tools I have to put this up.

I have the 6 & 9" versions and cannot believe how well they work. Good tools aren't cheap, but once you start with these you will not believe the quality & value.

Simply amazing...

@ December 20, 2013 11:23 AM in Dan

I have these scrolling issues too. Now I don't. I just find out more and more about these machines all the time. They say you can save stuff on them too, but I'm not sure about that.

you can get

@ December 19, 2013 10:30 AM in Combi boiler dhw and heat or dhw or heat

"proportional" priority on some equipment. The boiler will make heat and on a call for hot water will shed some of its capacity to hot water. As the hot water load increases the heating side diminishes until it is all DHW priority.
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