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hot rod

hot rod

Joined on August 27, 2007

Last Post on August 26, 2014

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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.


@ July 13, 2014 9:51 AM in hydroniCad

it has a lot more potential, and the price is right. Nice to be able to change the size of the component also. Here are some Visio stencils we built that you are welcomed to.


@ July 13, 2014 12:19 AM in hydroniCad

is nice for piping diagrams, maybe not what you want for loop layout. LoopCAD might be a better choice.

Go with the Combo Pack HydroniCAD and HDS V-2 I use the Hydronic Design Studio all the time.

there have been products, over the years

@ July 12, 2014 6:00 PM in Getting into mod/con business

built to do exactly what you have in mind. One of the finest was designed and built by Robert Bean up Canada way. He designed a line of beautiful and functionally acurate ZCP. Zone Control Panels. One version was built to add onto a water heater to add a small, or large, it the tank could provide it, radiant zone. inside a nice powder coated box was the FPHX, pump, electronics, mix valve, balance device, all the correct components. I put a few in, 12 years ago or more, I'll bet they are still running. Possibly the WH they were connected to :)

I think Danfoss bought the company, Wirsbo sold them for a time, maybe Robert and some partners bought it back from Danfoss, been a while.

He was on the right path, contractors balked at the cost and that it took some of their skill set out of the installations.

I believe AO Smith offered a module for some time also.

Bradford White tried to jam the HX inside with the CombiCor, great idea, bad choice for the coated aluminum HX. The ones that did last 10 years, considering the @ $900 cost, probably penciled out nicely for the customers. Bradford White did, by the way, stand behind every one that failed with replacements, or two separate WH option. Good for them.

You are correct in the big "unknown" being yearly and ongoing maintenance and repairs for the higher tech. Keeping in mind some contractors are in excess of $200.00 / hr. for that service work.

On the plus side the new mod cons seem to have many, most, of the early glitches worked out.

Early inducer motors and fans the flew apart- gone. Ignitors that were un-dependable- gone. leaking HX and connections- gone. Parts availability and knowledgable tech support, mostly gone.

In all these examples it's playing the odds. Will it break, when will it break, is it repairable, what are the repair costs, will the manufacturer be around in 10 years, on and on.

High efficiency is here to stay, pick your partner, stay current on product, maintenance, design, upcoming technology, and do right by your customer.

My 1978 Ford 250 was never in the shop in it's entire career. My last Ford "highly engineered" 6.0 diesel left me stranded 3 times before it had 20K, a couple weeks of lost revenue, sold at a loss with 60K. Go figure those odds :)

Radiant Ray is mia

@ July 11, 2014 6:46 PM in Radiant Ray is mia

He is a 10 year old, about 6 feet tall, very over weight, looks a lot like our host, ten years ago, anyways :)

I finally found this pic on my still working Sony Mavica! floppy disc camera.

When plugged in he has a warm, stainless hand shake from the B&G series 100 flow and heat.

I built him in Missouri, he has been spotted in, Utah, Colorado, NY, and PA, at the various RPA headquarters.

If you know of his whereabouts contact ME at the RPA..

good and relevant questions

@ July 11, 2014 11:59 AM in Getting into mod/con business

I believe the questions and points discusses are in fact on the minds of our customers, home and building owners.

There are so many way to heat hydronically, it's good to have choices. If the products are approved and listed to heat water, and installed in a code like fashion, they should be considered.

Pretty much every water heater manufacturer now has a boiler offering, and some have heat pump, solar and solid fueled offerings.

Oddly, doesn't Canada still approved combined DHW/ radiant with water heaters? .

my thoughts

@ July 11, 2014 11:38 AM in Drain back with evacuated tubes

make sure the tube collector you are considering do in fact drain 100% or you could freeze the headers. I have done a few with the collectors mounted sideways, if the manufacturer will allow horizontal mounting.

That looks like a centrifical pump? which is fine if it can handled the lift and temperature.

Remember those tubes will get smoking hot when drained.

With that in mind water hitting an absorber in the tube at 400F plus will flash to steam.

You could pressurize that loop to drive the boiling point up, 30- 40 psi could be considered.

Or consider a solar controller to limit pump operation at extreme collector temperatures. There are 12 and 24VDC controllers available. That controller could offer additional features, drainback specific functions, data logging, etc.

The controllers

@ July 10, 2014 7:09 PM in Caleffi (and other) Web-based Controllers

and interface with the various loggers has been worked out, no more issues with current versions, that I know of.

Getting them online is still a hit and miss. I think more has to do with the ISP, routers, hand held devices, etc. Finding someone that can get all the technologies on the same page isn't easy, then to understand the solar and water side to boot. Not many building owners have stable, or static IP addresses unless you pay for that or go with a third party service to provide one. That is what throws a wrench in the works. The logger is always searching for the address you programed in.

I hear the has cleared up lot of the problems. Your logger talks directly to their server, and you pull data from it. Try a demo at the sight.

I also came across this chat room for the vbus user, looks like most of the issues and questions are addressed here along with a factory person or two that I recognize. This would be the most current advice I could offer.

Sorry, I don't deal with these enough to stay current on the versions and updates.!forum/resol-vbus

maybe the best plan

@ July 10, 2014 6:57 PM in Hydronic underfloor used to effectively enlarge direct solar thermal mass?

is to talk with as many passive home owners as possible. Nothing like living in a passive home for a few years to get a feel for what works and what doesn't. There is a passive home group in the US and a International association or two also.


@ July 10, 2014 10:09 AM in Getting into mod/con business

if the concern is being able to generate DHW on a design heating day, you could priortize the DHW. That is how the mod cons with onboard plate HX operate. Usually stopping a pump or diverting a 3 way zone valve is how they do it. Additionally some have an adjustable time out so the boiler cannot ignore the heat call.

heat traps

@ July 9, 2014 9:43 PM in DHW configuration

either the heat trap nipples or Sioux Chief Heat Trap loop will eliminate thermosiphon.

Or if you have a recirc add thermostat, timer, and insulation.

I think Carl has it right, your heated water is moving energy dollars from the tank, somehow.

DHW with a plate HX

@ July 9, 2014 9:35 PM in Getting into mod/con business

at my house and shop I generate DHW with 5X12 30 plate HX. The shop runs off a large solar tank, 180 gallons. I get a hot shower with the tank as low as 130°F via the plate. Size to a 10° approach on the HX. So at 130° on the "a" side I still see 120° on domestic side.

A Harwill flow switch triggers an Alpha to run the "A" side. DHW up to about 2.5 gpm heats instantly. That Buderus could do that use a 3 way thermostatic to protect from cold return temperatures.

In the winter my 120 Lochinvar Cadet produces DHW with an even smaller plate HX inside, but it does run up to 180°F.

Summer months at the house DHW from a 30 plate HX on a 50 gallon Thermocon buffer. But it does get a solar pre-heat from another solar drainback system.

no doubt

@ July 9, 2014 9:26 PM in Getting into mod/con business

we will be forced to buy 90%. Old habits die hard, I'll miss those old cast iron "boat anchors" they served us well. Miss my 78 Ford 250 4X4 also.

another homeade

@ July 9, 2014 9:21 PM in Looking to make condensate neutralizer

Bought 3" clear PVC online from US plastics. They sell short lengths. Glued into a 3" plugged closet flange, and a 1" MIP adapter glued up top for the drain out. You can watch it work, if ever you bet bored.

That is about a years worth of work on the limestone rocks.

In the summer I dump my AC condensate line into it.


@ July 9, 2014 7:57 PM in Getting into mod/con business

I'm not a huge fan of a common water heater as a heat source. The small boiler would be my choice.

We had this discussion many years ago at the RPA. Larry Drake the director always wondered why an "H" stamp is such a important feature. Why does a low temperature heat source need to be called a boiler even. Boilers is an old term dating back to steam days :)

If the "heating appliance" can be built safely with all the appropriate LWC, over temperature, no flow, low pressure cut out, gas train safety, etc, why not. Most of these controls are standard on Euro origin mod cons, or the connection is provided for LWC switches for example. Most of the mod cons that came from off shore did not have the H stamp early on and proved to be equally as safe, or safer than H stamped products. The Euro boilers meet some fairly strict standards.

Some of the tank style "boilers" on the market do not have the H stamp, and have adequate protection, like their mod con kin. Maybe it's an entire mod con assembly shoved into a tank? I think my tank style condensor has a vacuum cleaner motor for the inducer fan. Sure is robust.


@ July 9, 2014 7:39 PM in Hydronic underfloor used to effectively enlarge direct solar thermal mass?

We did a passive home in Utah many years ago that had black, stamped concrete in the south facing great room. We did what you are considering. t didn't end up moving much energy around as we had expected. We watched it for a few heating season with some simple hour meters.

The cost for the additional controls to allow that, may not have been recovered with any energy savings.

I think you would be better off using the $$ amount on the building shell upgrades, best insulation, triple glazed windows, top quality heat pump brand, etc.

With a super insulated, passive home the energy costs should be very low to begin with. You may see heat load numbers in the single digits for BTU/ sq. ft. The back rooms not seeing that passive gain directly, can still be warmed with some air movement from the ERV or other exchange device, with some planning.

The biggest complaint was overheating. Wakeing up in the morning after a cold night had the slab with a belly full of energy. All that mass needs time to ramp down, it is not a quick responding system, a concrete slab.

If I were to do it again i would look into low mass heat emitters, maybe some radiant floors in the bathrooms and tiled kitchen floor.

Most of those early passive homes in the sunbelt mountain areas had their windows and doors open on sunny days, too much of a good thing can be un-comfortable when it comes to a 90° passive home.

This article may help put some numbers to the question. Thanks to PM Magazine for archiving all this info.

I do see the point that bc is making

@ July 9, 2014 6:54 PM in Getting into mod/con business

keep in mind a modern cast iron or copper tube boiler is much different from a 30 year old one, size and mass, ignition system, insulation, to name a few. A 100K cast iron is not that much larger than a mod con these days.

What is the most expensive component to replace on a cast iron boiler? What the most common failure on a mod con? Price a inducer fan and motor, available only with the circuit board attached. A mother board $$?. These are the unknown, or known unknowns that can throw the numbers out of budget quickly.

Not to go back too far, but standing pilot boilers ran troubleefree for decades, some without any maintenance over that life cycle.

I know some contractors only install mid efficiency equipment in the very rural areas where parts availability is slim, and a service call round trip could ring up hundreds in fuel and windshield time, usually requiring two trips. Parts and multiple service calls could ring up a grand rather quickly.

Keep in mind the elements out of our control, low gas pressure, ever changing fuel BTU content, obselete OEM parts, all realities. These are some of the common realities of 90% equipment. Ignore PVC venting for this discussion :)

At the end it is what is best for the individual customer, and their expectations for on-going yearly maintenance.

Many of us here embrace modcons, but we are able to service and repair our own stuff, the consumer doesn't always have that option.

would that condensate

@ July 9, 2014 11:08 AM in Radiant cooling

water be the same a desalinated water. Able to be treated for drinking?

SRCC is rating

@ July 8, 2014 10:25 PM in Low flow air solar walls

and certifying performance of air (transpired) collectors now. Some some actual performance and durability data is available. Looks like your brand is one of the listed.
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