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hot rod

hot rod

Joined on August 27, 2007

Last Post on August 21, 2014

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into 5 gallon buckets

@ July 26, 2014 9:26 AM in Cut oil tank in half, now what?

and most auto parts stores take used oil, antifreeze and solvents, for free.

If you have a Safety Kleen nearby they will take it and give you documentation.

Check with State, City, or County websites they usually have recycling centers for all sorts of stuff listed.


@ July 25, 2014 4:29 PM in Radiant Heat Matrix Other Than Concrete.

Is the most powerful way to move the thermal energy from pex tube. If you are considering a base rock type gravel, which has "fines" or sand that would transfer better than washed gravel

Really base rock is concrete without the Portland cement in the blend, and water to activate the mix

I too would use a concrete slab, gravel over if needed.

Be sure the tank you put in the ground is rust resistant. If it is steel, it needs to be coated like the underground LP tanks Also anode protection.

Almost looks like

@ July 25, 2014 8:51 AM in How Long

Someone tried to glue an electrical PVC ell onto it. The tube exposed to sun or UV for that long may not be in good shape,

could be the hx

@ July 24, 2014 3:01 PM in Lochinvar sheild HIgh limit problem

is getting limed up, check the temperature drop across the HX, see if it matches factory specs.

fun project

@ July 23, 2014 3:45 PM in Cemetery chapel improvements

are you going to be doing the work?

Maybe give the team over at Stack Plumbing and Heating a call for design or install help. They do a lot of those church conversions in the Cleveland area. Andy or Brian Stack.

haven't we all

@ July 23, 2014 9:31 AM in this tool, why didn't I

built up test gauges from cobbled together nipples and reducing couplings.

I like that this one tool covers 1/2- 2", the gauges are top quality and protected in a case with all the attachments.

A bucket full of throw-away gauges is not for everyone.

And a wrench pulling plumber has a chance to see a well thought out product make it into the trades.

When we did fire protection we had dozens of crappy test gauge setups scattered around the project, we spent as much time soaping and finding defective gauges as we did testing :)

Never had great luck flowing backwards through a boiler drain, they are not built for that use, I like the ball valves best for two direction flow.

Kudos to one of our own trying to offer a better mouse trap, and keep us in the wholesalers and out of the "can't build it cheap enough, third world products" box stores. Maybe he will retire to Florida with his success.


@ July 22, 2014 10:40 PM in Replacing electric water heater

how much DHW your family actually uses. Also if you have a dump load like a bathtub, a 40 or 50 electric may not catch up quick enough for your needs.

If a boiler replacement is in the future and solar, consider a dual coil 120 gallon tank with an upper element for back up. Upper element alone gives you the same as a 60 gallon electric tank. Solar into the bottom coil, and boiler into the upper.

Now you have the choice of 3 fuel sources.

Most anywhere in the US a properly sized SDHW will provide 60% of your HW need.
3 collectors with a 120 gallon tank works well for medium to large residential DHW loads.

Here is a 3 panel system, 120 tank, electric element back up, in MN.

Consider the solar now as the tax credits may be gone next year,

finished look

@ July 22, 2014 10:06 PM in drainback tank ideas

Turns out 11" IP pipe insulation has a 12" ID. Circles for the ends cut from sheet fiberglass stock, bubble foil covers for that NASCAR look.

Aluminum saddle to protect the fiberglass when hanging with strap steel brackets.

this tool, why didn't I

@ July 22, 2014 5:40 PM in this tool, why didn't I

think of this? A plumber in Ohio did.

A stepped tube that fits a variety of pipe sizes. The pieces are all nice quality, I used a lazy hand "tell tale" gauge to show this example. Mine came in a nice case with latches.

If I had a dollar for every test gauge manifold that I split, or stripped, or it rusted closed....

With care this could be a lifetime tool, at least the manifold portion.

Like a Runtal brand?

@ July 21, 2014 11:40 PM in Electric Baseboard Vs Hydronic Electric Baseboards

I like the looks of this type better than a finned type electric baseboard. There are also electric, fluid filled, panel rads available.

Or buy the small immersion element and build your own radiator. This has a 300W and mineral oil inside.

depends on the type of tank

@ July 21, 2014 10:55 PM in bladder tank total volume - who cares?

diaphragm tanks have a EPDM or butyl disc crimped into the tank. Notice that crimp mid-way on the tank. If that diaphragm is over stretched constantly, it can fail.

Systems that "eat" expansion tanks are often caused by undersized tanks, too much stretch causing early failure.

Bladder or "bag" tanks have a bag inside and can take just about the entire tank capacity without a problem.

run some numbers

@ July 21, 2014 6:27 PM in Radiant Heat Matrix Other Than Concrete.

to see what type of heating load the greenhouse presents.

I've never been able to make the numbers work. Mainly a lot of low insulation value walls and not enough floor square footage to cover that load.

Possibly some root zone heating, and some additional back up heat source for high load condition days.

I put an 80 gallon 1/2 insulated tank in my 6X8, warmed it with an evac tube solar collector. A 500W heatlamp is enough to keep the space above freezing, if the solar is not available for a few days. I have two glass walls, the rest is 4" foam insulation and the roof also, that helps with the loads, compared to all glass or plastic walls and ceilings.


@ July 21, 2014 2:18 PM in Constantly purging air in hydronic system

often when the bladder fails, the tank fills with water. And water may come out when you push in the air stem.

The tank will be very heavy, use care if you un-screw a waterlogged tank, Shake the tank or rap with your knuckles to see if it is waterlogged.

If the tank has failed I would replace with the correct side, bladder style expansion tank. Add an isolation/ drain valve if you plan on servicing this down the road.

Hydronic bladder tanks, like bladder well tanks are very dependable and should last many years if the fluid quality is correct, they are sized and installed properly, and no O2 is getting into the system.

always pondering

@ July 20, 2014 2:30 PM in drainback tank ideas

ways to make affordable SDHW systems.

I have used pex sight gauges for many years. I don't trust the acrylic or polycarbonate gauges, just not a good fitting available for them. Glass is best, but not easy to work with and expensive fittings. The fittings need to be perfectly aligned to use glass sight tubes.

Uponor rates their pex at 200F 80psi. Rumor has it it can go above that temperature if the pressure is lower. I doubt you will ever see that in a spec, liability issues perhaps?

I run 30 psi in the DB systems. That gives me about 270F boiling point, and assures some NPSH at the circ.

Most solar control ship programed with a 270F lock out temperature. It may be adjustable on some models.

I used a 3/8" drill bit, 12" long and drilled a bunch of holes through the bladder, down through the nipple.

I'd like to buy some bladder-less expansion tanks with 4 nipples welded in. Zilmet builds a VSG tank with a nipple in either end, no bladder. IIt is intended as a cool down tank for evac tube systems, upstream of the bladder tank. Hard to find a dealer for that brand, however.

I have been using used a weak PG solution, 30%. It gives me some color to see in the sight glass, inhibitors for the steel components, and some piece of mind should something cause the drainback piping to lose it's pitch.

I can also set a min. collector turn on temperature for the plain water systems, but you still harvest energy in below freezing conditions with flat plate collectors, let 'em run all winter. Or lock them off a 10•F or something around there, unless you are using them for heating loads.

For that yellow tank I found a piece of 1X12" fiberglass pipe insulation, 36" long about 20 bucks online. I can find that locally also. That will make a nice looking, high temperature insulation jacket. So I'm into this tank about 80 bucks and an hour or so labor.

drainback tank ideas

@ July 19, 2014 10:46 PM in drainback tank ideas

I built these for some single and two panel systems, short piping runs. The red one is a 4.4 gallon expansion tank, had a bad bladder. I perforated the failed bladder out with a long drill bit, and brazed some nipples in. This will replace a leaky tank at my house that was made from an old freon jug over 20 years ago. Pretty good service for a tank.

The yellow one is an 11 gallon, portable air tank. Harbor freight $36.95. I added the nipples and sight glass. A bit thicker walled tank, compared to the expansion tank.
Although expansion tanks are rated to 150 psi (before the modifications :) This will be a horizontal mount up in the ceiling joist.

I use water heater blankets from the box stores, two wraps around for a 2" fiberglass insulation with a white vinyl covering. Limits heat loss and quiets them down a bit.

A dash of glycol or some Rhomar inhibitor in the system helps protect ferrous metals.

I agree

@ July 19, 2014 10:19 PM in Constantly purging air in hydronic system

all air vents fail or leak at some point. The mechanism inside is sensitive to dirt, debris, and just plain wear. Those hygroscopic do have a ball check below them, just un-screw the head to remove and shut off, or replace the consumable cap.

Another option is to put a small service check below the air vent. The majority of air vents we sell to wholesalers go out with that check. It allows you to remove and service, or replace the vent without lowering pressure or draining down.

There is one brand of air eliminator that can be disassembled by hand, or at most a 10" channelocks :) both the top cap and belly seam. It is assembled with fine, straight threads and an o-ring seal. Easy to get under the cap and clean out the needle valve, it is also a replaceable cap. If ever you need one, let me know.

Also you can get and adapter that allows you you put a drain tube on the air vent. so when it does give up the ghost, the drip will be on the floor, or near a drain, not through the ceiling.

more options

@ July 19, 2014 4:35 PM in Constantly purging air in hydronic system

This Hydroscopic vent is both manual and auto. It's used on panel rads and radiant manifolds installed in finished spaces. A bit more features compared to a coin vent. They do not need pressure to seal and can handle dirty fluids better as there is not a seal inside.

Also this check valve cap allows air out, but not in, if you think you have a vent sucking in air, this is a good way to solve or troubleshoot the problem until corrections are made.

You can also add a hydroscopic cap to the check valve.

make the corrections

@ July 18, 2014 11:05 PM in Constantly purging air in hydronic system

as suggested. Then assure the system is leak free, make sure you have 5 psi at the high point, and purge the system.

I'd suggest adding a good micro bubble type air eliminator. it's possible that entrained air and micro bubbles are not being eliminated with a scoop type air purger..

Water will absorb and release gasses as it heats and cools. The hottest point in the system is the best loaction for a micro bubble eliminator.

Some good reading on air and dirt removal in this tech journal.

Reverse return

@ July 16, 2014 7:46 PM in Drain back with evacuated tubes

Would be the simple piping method. Also no vent is needed on top, the return from the collector is in tha air bubble at the top of the tank, pump stops air rises up and breaks the siphon, very simple

RV system

@ July 16, 2014 4:23 PM in need help and ideas with tiny home floor

I think Dennis Bellanti add radiant floors to his RV. About the same concept. As much insulation below as you can stand. Tight spacing on the tube, RV water heater to power with LP or a small electric wh

If electric is an option, may as we'll use electric cable or mats and skip the hydronics

same here

@ July 13, 2014 3:03 PM in Anyone else getting unwanted calls from Angie's List?

3 second rule when I answer, then hang up.

Same as when I drop food on the floor.

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three

good, and healthy

@ July 13, 2014 11:33 AM in Getting into mod/con business

to discuss and understand differences in opinions and opposing views. Our elected leaders should embrace that concept, again.

Numbers are what we have to base pretty much everything on, temperature, money, projections, guesstimates, etc. Sure they can be tweaked to one advantage, the banking industry is good at that.

In this discussion, time is the largest unknown. How much, for how long. Even with the best number crunching and accelerated testing, sometimes it's just a guess based on the data available.

Also forces beyond our control, dirty power, changing fuel content, intake air building mouse turds, etc.

Hats off to Pete for making that study possible and being one of the early condensing proponents.

Keep in mind the MZ is no longer available, parts pretty much gone. So customers that installed them with that 15 year- 20 year formula, may not make out so well.
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