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hot rod

Joined on August 27, 2007

Last Post on April 18, 2014

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Is it

@ April 18, 2014 7:47 AM in The dreaded Entran

In a slab, or staple up? The lower the operating temperature, the less the o2 ingress, run the fluid temperature as low as possible. Use a Rhomar or Fernox product to provide O 2 scavengers. Hard to know if or when it could fail. I would add a dirt separator, not a Y strainer. This will separate any particles without restricting flow like a Y strainer can.

Check it yearly, especially the level of protection in the hydronic conditioners you add. Both brands have test kits available.

Use only

@ April 18, 2014 7:36 AM in Glycol

Solar rated fluids for solar. Take a sample in a clear glass, it should not be dark colored or have a sharp smell. Ph as it comes from the container is usually 10.5 - 11. If it drops into the 8 range it's time to buffer or replace.

It is a small system, under 10 gallons flush and replace. It if flushes really dark you might run a cleaner like Rhomar or fernox, before re-filling.

A small electronic "stick meter" is the best way to check ph, and a refractometer for concentration level.

Rare to ever need over a 45- 50% mixture! even in the coldest climates. Use a pre-mixed fluid instead of blending on the job site.

Many of the solar glycols are now a corn based fluid, better for the environment and high operating temperatures for solar.

that's common in solar drainbacks

@ April 13, 2014 6:03 PM in Can a Circulator Pump Past a Stopped Downstream Pump?

two circs run to fill and establish the siphon, then the downstream one drops off, and goes along for the ride. A small pressure drop thru the un-powered one is all..

I've heard of problems with trying to start the downstream one when it is spinning? Maybe they spin backwards sometimes.

Also if you flow thru an unpowered ECM, like an Alpha the display lights up! Wonder if it turns into a generator?

Great article

@ April 10, 2014 10:44 AM in home owner

In the current issue of PHC News regarding water quality. It does promot electronic treatment the data on hardness, ph, etc does apply to closed loop fluid issues also. I think a treatment device the de-mineralized the fill water is an excellent idea. Handle the fluid quality before it goes into the pipes, heat exchangers, etc.

It's a non barrier tube

@ April 9, 2014 1:15 AM in home owner

And allowing O2 into the system. Either a boiler treatment chemical or all non ferrous components are the fix

Another new storage

@ April 7, 2014 11:59 PM in DIY Solar advice

Is a vacuum sealed tank. Several vacuum insulated tanks are mentioned in the current edition of SWE magazine for above or underground application

Solar air collector company

@ April 6, 2014 2:23 PM in DIY Solar advice

possible but $$$?

@ April 6, 2014 2:21 PM in DIY Solar advice

This company in Switzerland specialized in 100% SF installations. Their website has some good info and installation pics.

Also Contact Randy at SolarSkies and Rod at Solar Spectrum. They are building underground insulated tanks for drainback ground mount systems. the tank has a chamber to install trhe pumps down at the bottom.

I think Randy ran this winter on one in Minnesota for his brooder barns.

I'd start with a heat load calc, then spend $$ on getting the building as efficient as possible. Any passive solar potential?

Warm air solar collectors are another option, fairly easy to build. There is a Canadian company that offers warm air collectors for commercial applications.

a couple thoughts

@ March 30, 2014 7:42 PM in Hydronic radiant heating subtleties

Zehnder is a manufacturer of ceiling heating and cooling panels. They build some really WOW stuff. Perhaps they have some design advice or contractor leads. They had an amazing display at the ISH Expo in Germany last year. I believe they manufacture in the Buffalo NY area now.

Monterey Energy Group does a lot of radiant heating and cooling design. is an award winning contracting firm that designs and installs unique radiant systems. has some good ideas and advice on radiant cooling and a handful of engineers hang their with radiant design experience.

the current splice kits

@ March 30, 2014 8:26 AM in Entran III

will work on the 17- 19 mm tube, by the looks of it. This one is what I would use for in-slab repair. exposed splice could use the spring clamps.


@ March 28, 2014 11:06 PM in Entran III

is not the same hose as the E2 and twintran. The E3 version was on it's way to becoming the current Onix which now has an aluminum wrap and multiple layers to address O2 ingress.

The concern was alway about the O2 ingress, or the amount of ingress. I suppose that is why different compounds, barriers etc were added or changed.

I have not seen any E3 get hard and brittle like some of the E2 and twintran did, but...?

Different opinions on leaving or flushing the fluid. If the system is flowing, heating properly, and not causing pumps and expansion tanks to corrode, I would leave it.

The theory was flushing the smelly fluid might flush the plasticizers that are keeping the hose intact.

In fact when the tube started to harden tests were done to try and add plasticizers and antioxidants back into it to

Various chemical treatments were promoted with that tube including the Fernox SuperFloc cleaner, CP-3 corrosion proofer and Alphi 11 for glycol systems.

Fernox products are showing up again in the hydronic market, hmmm?

Did the system ever have glycol? Were treatments ever added? Check the fluid ph?

The Germans developed a DIN standard back in the 80's when O2 was rearing it's head in plastic tube systems in Europe. HI (hydronics Institude) endorsed parts of that standard DIN 4726 including

Use of only barrier tube
Non ferrous components or isolation with a HX and non ferrous pumps, etc
Ongoing anti-corrosive additive and fluid testing.

I'd consider a chemical treatment to the system that has fresh water, Rhomar or Fernox and check it yearly with the proper test kit, need to keep the O2 in check or things could go downhill quickly. Higher temperature promote faster O2 ingress, run it low possible and on a reset control.

The tubing has a lifetime warranty and the manufactures promoted it as "high-pressure high-temperature and very unlikely to deteriorate before the building is torn down"

How's the building holding up :)


@ March 28, 2014 7:39 PM in Radiant Roof snow melt ??

rubber hose with a UV jacket might get you 8-10 years in that climate. Look around at tractors and machinery, backhoes etc, that hydraulic hose lasts in the sun.

It might take some clever clips to keep the snow creep from tearing it off.

Maybe fasten the hose below the roof sheathing, you just need to warm the shingles a bit above freezing to melt. I'll bet this has been tried before.

We did run the rubber hose down drain PVC to keep the snowmelt waters running away from some driveways that we melted.

E 3

@ March 28, 2014 7:23 PM in Entran III

was one version of the transitional hose between the Entran 2 and twinTran that had some "issues" E3 evolved into the current Onix.

The 3/8 barbed coupling that fits Onix should work, but you would want to use the stainless style clamp if it is going to be buried.

They had a stainless gear clamp with a spring washer to cold constant tension, called a TorqueTite 17-19mm size (2007). Over the years it was also called a SureClamp (2002), and SelfTite (1994)

A hose clamp and barb 3/8 coupling from an auto parts would be one option. Don't over tighten the clamp or it could damage the soft jacket.

The factory stainless clamps has a smooth inside, unlike a traditional gear/ hose clamp. The factory spliced tube had a heavy shrink tube over the splices.

It would be a rare find to come across the exact clamp for that vintage tube, and the adhesive that was used. There were a number of different diameters of that tube as it evolved..

It's in self protect mode

@ March 25, 2014 1:03 PM in My first ALPHA pump

Un plug for 1 minute and it resets. Either under over voltage locked rotor or air lock. It can be unlocked 5 times then it locks out for good

Did you check voltage, pull the motor for a jam and burp the air. I have had excellent luck with Alphas

Any Habitat jobs around?

@ March 24, 2014 3:53 PM in Need help installing a Solar Hot Water System???

They are usually open to ST installations. Maybe a local dealer or rep could help a bit with equipment cost

Put it in writing

@ March 24, 2014 3:44 PM in How should I insulate this tank?

As far as the promised DHW performance


@ March 23, 2014 6:25 PM in 9 kW Mini boiler reset problem

has the correct answer from my experience with these boilers. There is not much on the board that is repairable. I have sourced the triac relays locally. Usually when the relay fails the element does not get power. If it is powered all the time, it is probably the board as suggested above.

Was it hit by a power surge, maybe a connection to a generator? has some tech support help available via phone or e-mail.


@ March 22, 2014 9:44 PM in Weil-McLain & Caleffi Installation

keep up the great work.

Check with local plumbing codes

@ March 22, 2014 9:40 PM in Why would i want a mixing valve for my indirect hwh?

I'll bet many, most? require an ASSE listed valve be installed now a days.

An ASSE 1017 is installed at the tank, a 1070 is intended for point of use, at a tub, shower, or faucet. A 1016 could be a shower valve with an ASSE approved mixer inside. High end Grohe shower valves and others are listed to ASSE standards.

Not all the extender type valves are listed to ASSE standards. This could put you in a bind, and/ or expensive soft tissue lawsuit, if someone were to get scalded, it can happen in a few seconds!.

The hotter you run the HW tank, the more mineral precipitation. In hard water conditions, and excessive HW tank temperatures, you may need to de-lime the valve every six months or so. Depends on how many gallons you flow thru them, also.

I'd estimate
90% of thermostatic mixing valve failures are due to the valves scaling up. Keep a spare cartridge, soak the scaled one in vinegar or CLR for a few hours and the valve will work troublefree for a long time. Rarely do the wax pills inside fail.

To build an accurate valve that regulates quickly, 2.7 seconds or less, and accurately, within a degree or so, which the ASSE standard requires, takes tight tolerances. Tight tolerances requires maintenance to maintain smooth, free operation of the spool.

Remember also, you need a 20- 27 degree difference between the mixed outlet temperature, and the hot water supply. Fall below that ratio and the accuracy of the valve drops.

So don't expect the valve to mix accurately to 120F if the tank is set at 130F, it needs the 27F or higher delta T for the valve to mix and respond properly.

AND the pressure between the H&C needs to be 2-1 ratio or less for the valve to regulate properly. Sometimes when check valves are installed, or mis-installed :) No thermal expansion provision, typically on recir pump piping, you might see much higher pressures on the hot side compared to the cold, until the pressure balances the valve will not mix properly.

Quite a bit of engineering goes into those simple looking 3 way thermostatic valves to make them accurate and dependable.

Tankless style DHW heaters and thermostatic valves don't always get along either. The valve and the heater keep "hunting" against one another as the wide delta T comes and goes with the burner on/ off cycles.

dirt or debris in the system

@ March 22, 2014 8:51 PM in American Air Purger 443 - Are they every 1 1/4" Thread?

can also cause air vents to fail or seep. Consider a two in one device the separates dirt down to a 5 micron size and eliminates all the air.

In critical locations I suggest adding a hygroscopic cap. This cap has fiber discs that swell if the float vent should ever leak. So a second level of protection against leaks. The cap can be added to most vents. These are commonly used on vents on radiant manifolds that are mounted in closets or other spaces where leak damage is not an option.

Look for a vent that is easy to disassemble and clean and service if you have old piping or radiators that shed rust or scale that can cause vents to plug. Some brands have a cap that is hand tightened and can easily be removed to service the small "needle" valve inside.

how pretty, and how safe

@ March 22, 2014 12:22 PM in How should I insulate this tank?

sometimes hiring a pro insulator is worth the time and money.

You need to be aware of fire codes if it is in a commercial business, not all foamboard products meet the flame spread requirements without additional protection, same with spray foam.

These large Lochinvar tanks we see in commercial jobs have a foam with a cement type coating for fire rating.

Or tanks can be site wrapped and sealed by commercial insulation contractors.

limited air removal

@ March 22, 2014 12:08 PM in American Air Purger 443 - Are they every 1 1/4" Thread?

with a scoop type air removal device. Flow velocities need to be between 2-4 feet per second. You need a section of straight pipe upstream of the purger to allow them to work well.

The microbubble type of air eliminators are designed to scrub large, small, micro, and entrained air.

Best heat transfer, and system efficiency is only accomplished when all air is removed, even the stuff you cannot see or hear :)

If you have a chronic air problem, a micro bubble type of device is a wise investments.

Look for a valve or a device in the piping that is restricting flow, maybe a balance valve of any valve that is chocked way down, or an oversized circ.

Either the system has never had a clean purge, or you have something going on in the system that is causing the air problem.

Expansion tank location is also critical so you don't pull sub-atmospheric conditions that can allow air into to be drawn into the system, thru auto vents.
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