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scott markle

scott markle

Joined on March 28, 2007

Last Post on February 25, 2014

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Odd

@ February 25, 2014 8:34 AM in navien and odr?

I have a couple of Navien combi units installed. I was a bit surprised to see a condensing boiler sold without ODR in the box. After doing a training on these boilers I can see that they are kind of dumbing things down for the American market, they seem to want to keep it simple and make this boiler an easy swap for a conventional boiler. I will say that the menu structure on the remote is not terribly elegant but the advice that it should be hidden from the end user (given in the training) I find a bit condescending. It certainly depends on the client but I generally work for intelegent tech savy people who I feel deserve the opertunity to understand how to operate thier boiler at it best efficiency.

To clarify a few things in the post. The remote is not an indoor "sensor" it is just an on/off thermostat. The boiler pump and burner are activated when the set point falls below target, if an outdoor sensor is installed supply is determined by the k-factor and outdoor temperature, if not supply is determined by the dip switch settings (it's fixed).

One notable think missing -The boiler has to be pumped P/S but there is no relay for the secondary pump. So if you want to do a single zone system running on the remote you will have to figure out how to turn the secondary pump on and off. My solution was to use an ECM pump that uses about 20 watts and run it continuously durring the heating season, it gets manually unplugged and plugged into a timer durring the summer (1 min. Day for exercise)

I'm a big believer in a tight reset curve (k-factor). I also feel that when you turn down the heat you should be turning down the reset curve as opposed to turning the boiler on and off. So I have instructed my clients (vetted for this ) to set the remote thermostat to 80 (constant demand) and slowly tweek the k-factor to find the setting that keeps the house comfortable. When they are away they set a lower k-factor as opposed to turning down the thermostat , I have also explaind that when they want the house to warm up quickly they can set the k- factor avove it's required setting to get hotter water flowing. Not for everybody and takes some patience to explain since it's so different from how most people are used to operating a heating system, but it works nice and the heating bills have gone down dramatically. Since these systems were originally multi zone I put a TRV's on the upstairs zone (directly in the baseboard). Most zoning is about balancing not the ability to heat one zone and not another, so I think the TRV is a fine substitute in most cases, it also helps with cycling which can be a real problem if a small zone is calling solo and you have a 105 target temperature. Bottom line is this boiler is priced very competitively but you have to kind of hack it's operating system to make it run like a European system.

Are you sure you can leave the remote connected, not use it's thermostat and still get the boiler temp to run on ODR with the TT ? , I was also under the impression this was not an option

Not enough

@ October 17, 2013 6:38 PM in Triangle tube pte110-ng short cycling

That's probably not enough.

Base ratings are maximums, most of the time you don't need the rated capacity, and that's the beauty of full outdoor reset, you can actually run the heat all the time instead of being on an analog switch (on/off).

The only way you can solve this is with mass.
I suggest you do this:

Pull the elements from a 40gallon electric ,Insert 1" black nipples and unions, connect to boiler, (top taping to boiler return) Run base on a three way mixing valve with outdoor reset taped from the top of tank (return to bottom of tank) (taco makes nice simple valve/moter), indoor thermostat to zone relay to mix pump , TT to demand contact on mix valve. Calibrate the reset ratio (simple dial on taco) to match load, if you can't stand the fluctuations that wind and sun will make on a outdoor only controlled system (it's not bad) then you will need set the curve higher and use the thermostat,otherwise set the thermostat as a high limit and let the house warm up a bit on a nice sunny day, also forget about night time reset, when the sun goes down the house will naturally cool off, to hell with the programmed morning wake up, let the house warm up with the day (sun) , if its cloudy and windy it will be cooler so put on a sweater or burn some cord wood.

Oh yes you have to have a boiler demand make this a tank aquastat and run it on a reset curve with a wide differential, how big is your boiler?, bla bla bla sorry for this not very tight blabbering.

Performance vs. efficiency

@ October 17, 2013 11:22 AM in Triangle tube pte110-ng short cycling

Conditions and connected system have so much influence here. Bad cycling seems to happen most on small systems at low load. Generally it takes a system a long time to get to equilibrium and we installers are out the door before we really see this behavior.

I can see how it would be really hard for a boiler control to interpret the real load, with just delta t. I'm sure the designers have to balance responsiveness with efficiency, in my opinion most systems (including Tekmar) are too performance oriented, they don't want to seem unresponsive so they ramp up much faster than they need to. From experience I can look at a house and "know" with relative certainty what my input needs to be at a give outdoor temperature. In other words when I go into a modest relatively tight house with decent radiation when it's 40 outside, I know with certainty that that boiler has no need to fire above its minimum modulation. But the boiler doesn't know how big or leaky the house is, it can't do a guesstimated heat loss calculation the way I can and its connected to a dumb on off thermostat, so the engineers had to figure a way that the control could look at rate of change in supply and return and interpret the load to come up with a target and differential. It works a amazingly well when the load is within the modulation range of the boiler but once you get bellow that point and the boiler needs to cycle it gets harder for the boiler to understand that it can stay in minimum modulation and satisfy the load.

Cycling

@ October 17, 2013 9:33 AM in Triangle tube pte110-ng short cycling

If your reset curve is set tight/steep, 120 could be a bit hot for this time of year, If your using a sensor boiler temp is of course a moving "target". Even with base it's possible to heat in mild weather with sub 100 temperatures. In my experience some boiler native controls make the mistake of trying to reach target quickly by ramping up quickly. This was a big issue on the early Viessmann boilers, the new generation have gotten much smarter as far as how fast they ramp up and how far past target they will allow the boiler to go.

One of the problems with buffers is that they don't necessary help this problem of ramping up too fast, intact some controls will "see" mass as load and it will cause the boiler to go to high fire even faster. I would start by getting your system to run in constant circulation by setting your thermostat to 90 and adjusting the reset to achieve your desired room temp. This probably won't solve the cycling but it will get your boiler temps down as low possible and boost your efficiency.

Another possibility is to set the maximum modulation on the boiler down lower, (I think you can do this with the TT boiler) I have done this with success on other systems and been really surprised by how low you can actually go. Also consider the parallel shift feature on the TT, (if it still exists on the new trimax) with this you can set a really tight reset curve and then wire a room thermostat to activate this shift if room temperatures go too high, this is the next best thing to a true indoor outdoor reset system like you would get with a Tekmar or a new Viessmann 200 system.

Buffers are great but for best performance you need a rig that's "smart enough" to hold a low modulation rate when loads are low.

I like to use a cheap 40 gall electric tank heater as a primary secondary "header"/buffer.
(nod to hot rod on this).electric elements tapings are not tapered but I'v had good luck with (German) locktight thread dope. Only limitation is system flow (3/4" tapings at the top), fine for modest residential apps. though.

Self balancing

@ November 5, 2012 9:33 AM in Balancing Uponor TruFLO manifold

If the manifold has meters and you want to justify the expense, then go ahead and do some tweaking, it may not have much effect on system performance because the Trv's are such a great automatic balancing device. It's super easy to balance with an alpha on constant head mode because as long as you have some residual pump capacity making one adjustment does not effect another. (Ie restricting one circuit will not force more flow to the others.)

Make sure the Trv's are all wide open and then make some estimations of the design output you expect from each radiator. Using the universal hydronic equation figure your flow rates. (1 gpm moves 10kbtus at delta 20)

I agree with bob that you don't need the balancing manifold but since you have one, and your using an alpha it's fun to see what's going on. Probably the most useful part of having the flow meters is determining how low you can set the constant head setting (the three position ramp icon) on the pump. if your doing full reset and constant circulation (which you really should be with the Trv's).

Oops

@ September 29, 2012 7:26 PM in Revolution boiler, buffer tank, and micro zones.

Buffer considerations

@ September 29, 2012 6:39 PM in Revolution boiler, buffer tank, and micro zones.

Cycling is (in my opinion) often a control problem as opposed to insufficient load problem.
I don't know anything about the revolution, but mod cons generally see a high delta and respond with a high firing rate, when not required. A buffer can have the effect of "appearing" as load (high delta) and the boiler responds with higher firing rates.

I'v hade some good results setting very low maximum firing rates, on boilers that have this parameter.

Also I once purchased a boiler buddy more or less from the manufacture in Wisconsin or Milwaukee or where ever it's welded up, the small tank was a fairly reasonable ups rate.As the distribution expanded they wanted me to go through a regional distributor and the price went from ok, to Idk. To low volume to pass along at a competitive margin I guess.

I like Tekmar and mixing down stream of the buffer. The threads (1" I think) on hot water electric element tappings are not taper but I'v had good luck with loctite "floss" dope. Use unions so if you have a problem you can't try again without to much trauma

monel

@ September 4, 2012 2:26 PM in Copper tank Id

The tank may be made from a nickel copper alloy called monel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monel

If so Its worth a small fortune in scrap

More

@ July 17, 2012 12:31 PM in Foreclosure Questions / Checklist?

Sorry for the previous digression,

Its hard to give good advice with limited information, and honestly unless your Hvac outfit has the time (compensation) to pressure test and determin the extent of the damage they will also be operating with less information than is needed. This is why I recomend pricing a total replacment. Rebuilding a gravity system would be incredibly expensive, I would ask about home run pex, thermal radiator valves, condensing boilers (do you have natural gas) and outdoor reset controls. Not exactly historic but also consider runtle or quality panel radiators. Most here shun forced air, they like to call it scorched air, it also very difficult to build a well ballenced air distribution system in a existiing structure without a lot of aesthetic compromise and disruptive work. Good luck sorry for the guilt trip on the foreclosure thing.

Cast iron rads

@ July 17, 2012 12:12 PM in Foreclosure Questions / Checklist?

I hate what banks and the investment class have done to this country and feel very sad for those pressed into forcosure.

More to the point- cast iron radiators (quality American made) are very expensive. A few large ones could easily be as expensive as the boiler it self. The 100 year old pipes may very well have sustained damage as well fixing these large threaded pipes that are probably concealed behind historic plaster could also easaly exceed the cost of the boiler.

You won't know the full extent of the damage until you own the problem, if you can afford to heat and maintain a 4k sq. ft. historic house than I would not be sweating the details, consider the system a total loss and you won't be disappointed. If your hoping to get a deal on a forcosure, you are obviously aware that the kind of uncertainties that concern you are the very reason you may just get a deal.... It's a risk assessment game. I don't think we have hit the bottom of this economic mess so in my opinion the the boiler is kind of a moot point.

If I was king....

@ July 7, 2012 9:51 AM in The AWESOME power of Mother Nature...

I don't believe in kings.... but we could probably use some kind of enlightened despot right now.

I'm pessimistic about political solutions but I don't believe we have to move back to caves to drastically cut carbon emissions. Have you ever traveled to a less developed part of the world? I don't want to romanticize poverty but when you see a functioning (basically non-hydrocarbon) agricultural society in the mountains of nepal you begin to realize that we have been out of caves for a long time... history didn't begin with the steam engine. Mark twain said of modern life "it's taken a thousand luxuries turned them into necessities and satisfied nothing" we don't have to go back to the dark ages to avert a catastrophe, but if we don't change this is probably where we are heading.

If I had to be king, I would tell the people of the world that the economic industrial and political system that runs the world is broken and will face major contraction in the face of resource depletion and environmental degradation. We can engineer this contraction or we can just wait till "nature" forces the point.

Honestly I have no idea what I would do... seems like nobody does.

Clouds cause global warming!

@ July 5, 2012 11:14 AM in The AWESOME power of Mother Nature...

Mark,

What are you getting at with the comment about dihydrogen monoxide (water).

The overwhelming majority of the scientific establishment believe anthropogenic climate change is underway. Just because the planet has seen a lot of "natural" changes over the last 3 billion years doesn't diminish the seriousness of this problem. Harping on the notion that there is some kind of debate about climate change amounts to putting your head in the sand. By the time this "debate" is settled to your satisfaction the world as we know it may be permanently diminished. There are so many potential positive feedback issues to be concerned about; Amazonian die back, methane in the permafrost, shrinking ice sheets. The enhanced plant growth from elevated Co2 is a possibility, but will this potential positive effect make ocean acidification, desertification, agricultural failures, human dislocations, etc. etc. less of an issue?

Wast is bad, but consumption is the real problem. In our society there is no real check on how much a person can consume. Race, class, education and circumstance certainly conspire to keep many out of the conspicuous consumption club, but even at the lowest levels of our society consumption seems to be a birth right, just substitute plastic crap for high end luxury goods. What to do?

equilibrium

@ July 3, 2012 12:02 PM in The AWESOME power of Mother Nature...

Mark just because there has been a lot of change on this planet in the last 3 billion years, doesn't mean we should not be very concerned about how human activity effects our climate.

Our assent as a species has coincided with what has probably been the most stable 10,000 years of weather in geological history.

Sure the bacteria and plants will do things with our carbon cast offs, life will find a way.

Humans on the other hand are in for a rough ride. Casting GW as a planetary natural cycle amounts to ignoring an unfolding genocide. Our options are limited but inaction and denial is criminal.

net nonsense

@ June 3, 2012 12:09 AM in Viessmann Stirling heat/electrical generation...

Net zero needs to explain a few things to me. The grid is not a energy storage system. Net metering is an incredibly sweet deal. It amounts to taking away the problem of energy storage.

The use of mathematical terminology (net zero) implies a kind of scientific authority, but it shouldn't take an engineer to understand that "counting" every electron a pv system makes is not playing fair with numbers. It's like clocking a gas meter to measure the load, collected vs. delivered.

Solar overlaps with demand, but heating loads are highest in the dark. How can micro CHP benefit the grid?

net metering

@ June 2, 2012 5:11 PM in Viessmann Stirling heat/electrical generation...

I love heat recovery but seems to me that micro-CHP is a net metering cheat. Thermal loads are up at night, when the grid is flush with power. What purpose would it serve to pay retail prices for electricity put on the grid when it's not needed. I'm not sure what the actual rules are on this, but if I was making these rules, I'd need a good explanation for how night time net metering advances the public good.

Got to love Viessmann... they really invest in R and D. While I may not be sold on the concept, the sterling is a lot more convincing than a water cooled honda reciprocating internal combustion engine. Freewatt needs supplemental combustion for thermal, I'm going to assume that the Viessmann sterling system is a boiler that takes efficiency to a new level by utilizing waste thermal energy and mechanically converting it to electrical energy. Freewatt is a relatively low (compared to a combined cycle turbine) efficiency generator that recovers waste heat. The sterling system (I assume) is an efficient boiler that pushes the limits of efficiency by recovering the "wast" heat to spin the sterling.

Lots of innovation going on at Viessmann, including hybrid boiler heat pump systems.

Vito advice

@ May 30, 2012 6:47 PM in Combi Boiler Recommendation

Zacmobile,

Glad to here that the V is doing well I your area, I'm proud to be a bit different from the rest of the pack, but I don't understand why the brand is a but underrepresented in my area. When it's so clear to me that it's the front runner. When I have used other brands it often had something to do with a home owner preference, some think Viessmann is going to be like maintaining a troublesome VW. , that it exotic and not widely understood, sometimes it's best not to argue with these people, although I've become more ardent in insisting that Viessmann is the one. I think you will like the vito combi, I had bad luck with some thread fittings (not Viessmann supplied) and I found the O-ring conections w/ stainless locking clips on the "pac"to be very helpfull, (eliminated destructive disassembly).
If orings and plastic fittings scare you be warned, I found the construction innovative,the plastic intake manifold on my 11 year old Toyota is doling fine, there are shapes that can be made in plastic that would be very expensive to cast or machine from metal, plastic is our friend:)

vito 100

@ May 30, 2012 9:48 AM in Combi Boiler Recommendation

I did a couple of Viessman Vito-100 with the combi-pac earlier this year, very nice and affordable set up.

The combi-pac "or what ever they call it" is an add-on to a Viessman vito 100, It uses the very cool Grundfoss vortex flow meter, sensors on the domestic supply and return, a flat plate HX, variable speed pump and a very compact engineered plastic pipe and impeller housing that ties all the components together in an easily serviceable package.

I'v been doing Viessman since they were "expensive and exotic", the new line is very competitive on price. Before you buy a TT, have a look at what's involved in opening the combustion chamber. Viessmann is a breeze to open it uses a honywell gas valve and the same ebm papst blower as just about everyone else, It's not exotic and it has a established reputation for quality and reliability.

I don't quite understand why Viessmann does not have a larger share of the NA condensing boiler market. I think it may be related to the fact that their original offerings were quite expensive and a bit difficult for a lot of americanized installers to understand. This is no longer the case and you guys who are wedded to triangle tube etc., should have a look at a company that actually has the metallurgical capability to build their own stainless heat exchanger.

happy indeed

@ May 8, 2012 10:49 AM in Hey, Alan Mercurio!

Alan,

Funny coincidence.

I was just thinking about contacting you. I'm looking to refer some clients of mine to a good oil service man in the High Falls area. Is this something you could help me with?

Viessmann

@ May 5, 2012 2:24 PM in Why Is the US Always Last

Chris,

After checking out the iOS app I spent some time last night flipping through the euro Viessmann catalogue. Wow!

There are so many options I think it would actually be a bit overwhelming if all this stuff was available here. It's hard enough to explain indoor/outdoor feedback and variable water temperature distribution via a mod-con, imagine adding Sterling engine micro CHP to the mix?

I think that part the problem with the i-phone app is that Viessman control stratagies are so different from what most americans are used to. Here we associate a high end hydronic systems with lot's of zoning. When I did my first Vitodens in 04 I really tried to wrap my head around how the native controls were designed to work. I ended up with a single well balance zone, using the Sun/Moon dials on the boiler as the primary user interface. It was difficult to explain the benifits of this configuration to people raised on multiple T87 wall stats, but the low fuel consumption and even heating made converts.

I think the original Vito had trouble here because it was designed to run so differently from the way most guys build systems here in the USA. We see a lot mod-cons these days but how many are doing true full reset ? Not many. Most just run a default reset curve that's 10-20 degrees hotter than it needs to be and then get connected to conventional zone relays with a bunch of unsyncronized bing bang stats. This is very different from the global "zone" full reset, TRV ballencing systems that dominate residential heating in germany.

Here in the US most mod-con systems still hide the ability to shift the reset curve from the end user. Unless we are using open therm or some other communication protocol our thermostats are just dumb on/off switches. When you turn down a Vitotrole or como OT wall "stat" you are shifting the reset curve, when you turn down a T87 you do nothing to the reset curve, you just shorten the run time. Obviously on a condensing appliance lowering the operating temperature is superior to just making a shorter demand.

I recently looked at a Rinnia boiler which was nicely plumbed (except for the unnecessary circulator zoning) but showed a complete lack of understanding of the boilers control capacities. The instaler had disconected the outdoor sensor to run the boiler at a fixed temperature, probably because the reset curve could not provide hot enough water for DHW production. I studied the wiring diagrams and not very well translated literature and installed an ice cube relay to close the DHW demand contact (labeled as an optional DHW sensor but which acts as a high temp demand when "shorted") then I dialed in a very low .5 reset curve, which apparently enough for this all radiant well insulated structure.

This particular instal was done at a friends new house, he had chosen an installer he believed would be less expensive than me with my fancy tastes in german hardware. After a year of holding a grudge I decided to have a look at what he ended up with, in all likelihood without my curiosity this system would have run as connected for the next 20 years, I charged him $350 for the relay which will probably pay for it's self in the first year.

Getting back to the iOS remote, I think this would be a great thing to be able to offer some customers, but I have a feeling there are going to be some big differences in how europeans are used to controlling their heating systems and I'm not sure this device is going to be able to bridge this divide. Honestly as much as I like the capacities of the Vito 200 series , I'm reluctant to have homeowners navigate the boiler interface, the Vitotrol with it's simple analog Celsius adjustment dial solves this but this even throws some people off. Most of the high end customers that we would market this equipment may feel short changed by a one zone or two temperture system, they may also think that TRV's are ugly. Not sure were really ready for the best the world has to offer.

Viessmann

@ May 5, 2012 2:19 PM in Why Is the US Always Last

Chris,

After checking out the iOS app I spent some time last night flipping through the euro Viessmann catalogue. Wow!

There are so many options I think it would actually be a bit overwhelming if all this stuff was available here. It's hard enough to explain indoor/outdoor feedback and variable water temperature distribution via a mod-con, imagine adding Sterling engine micro CHP to the mix?

I think that part the problem with the i-phone app is that Viessman control stratagies are so different from what most americans are used to. Here we associate a high end hydronic systems with lot's of zoning. When I did my first Vitodens in 04 I really tried to wrap my head around how the native controls were designed to work. I ended up with a single well balance zone, using the Sun/Moon dials on the boiler as the primary user interface. It was difficult to explain the benifits of this configuration to people raised on multiple T87 wall stats, but the low fuel consumption and even heating made converts.

I think the original Vito had trouble here because it was designed to run so differently from the way most guys build systems here in the USA. We see a lot mod-cons these days but how many are doing true full reset ? Not many. Most just run a default reset curve that's 10-20 degrees hotter than it needs to be and then get connected to conventional zone relays with a bunch of unsyncronized bing bang stats. This is very different from the global "zone" full reset, TRV ballencing systems that dominate residential heating in germany.

Here in the US most mod-con systems still hide the ability to shift the reset curve from the end user. Unless we are using open therm or some other communication protocol our thermostats are just dumb on/off switches. When you turn down a Vitotrole or como OT wall "stat" you are shifting the reset curve, when you turn down a T87 you do nothing to the reset curve, you just shorten the run time. Obviously on a condensing appliance lowering the operating temperature is superior to just making a shorter demand.

I recently looked at a Rinnia boiler which was nicely plumbed (except for the unnecessary circulator zoning) but showed a complete lack of understanding of the boilers control capacities. The instaler had disconected the outdoor sensor to run the boiler at a fixed temperature, probably because the reset curve could not provide hot enough water for DHW production. I studied the wiring diagrams and not very well translated literature and installed an ice cube relay to close the DHW demand contact (labeled as an optional DHW sensor but which acts as a high temp demand when "shorted") then I dialed in a very low .5 reset curve, which apparently enough for this all radiant well insulated structure.

This particular instal was done at a friends new house, he had chosen an installer he believed would be less expensive than me with my fancy tastes in german hardware. After a year of holding a grudge I decided to have a look at what he ended up with, in all likelihood without my curiosity this system would have run as connected for the next 20 years, I charged him $350 for the relay which will probably pay for it's self in the first year.

Getting back to the iOS remote, I think this would be a great thing to be able to offer some customers, but I have a feeling there are going to be some big differences in how europeans are used to controlling their heating systems and I'm not sure this device is going to be able to bridge this divide. Honestly as much as I like the capacities of the Vito 200 series , I'm reluctant to have homeowners navigate the boiler interface, the Vitotrol with it's simple analog Celsius adjustment dial solves this but this even throws some people off. Most of the high end customers that we would market this equipment may feel short changed by a one zone or two temperture system, they may also think that TRV's are ugly. Not sure were really ready for the best the world has to offer.

Pictures

@ April 22, 2012 11:14 AM in Drainback Innovation?

Kevin,

I'v seen this air line in drain back schematics before, but think it was just to assist the breaking of vacume in pressurized systems.

I don't mean to be a jerk but those photos don't exactly sell this very well. The work looks sloppy and not well anchored. But I guess if thermal is going to be deliverd at an economically competitive price this is what it's going to look like. I'v seen several clogged saddle valves over the years, probably a good idea to open and close that valve periodicly to avert a potential clog. Still the whole thing looks like if you tripped into these pipes you could end up taking a 180 degree shower.

Pictures

@ April 22, 2012 11:13 AM in Drainback Innovation?

Kevin,

I'v seen this air line in drain back schematics before, but think it was just to assist the breaking of vacume in pressurized systems.

I don't mean to be a jerk but those photos don't exactly sell this very well. The work looks sloppy and not well anchored. But I guess if thermal is going to be deliverd at an economically competitive price this is what it's going to look like. I'v seen several clogged saddle valves over the years, probably a good idea to open and close that valve periodicly to avert a potential clog. Still the whole thing looks like if you tripped into these pipes you could end up taking a 180 degree shower.
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