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Mark Eatherton

Mark Eatherton

Joined on November 10, 2007

Last Post on April 22, 2014

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I met then President Jimmy Carter when the first one hit...

@ April 22, 2014 8:25 PM in Happy Earth Day...

And it was on my Birthday to boot.

I shook hands with him and told him it was my birthday, and he said "Well happy birthday young man…" And I WAS a young man back then…http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=30746

I don't really consider myself a tree hugger, but my parents raised all of us kids with the modus operandi of "Want not, waste not", which I instilled into my kids, and they are instilling into their kids. And as the other person posted, reduce, reuse, recycle and conserve is now a good way of life.

ME

Happy Earth Day...

@ April 22, 2014 8:33 AM in Happy Earth Day...

Do SOMETHING for Mother Earth today, won't you?

ME

USEHC Code moves forward.

@ April 21, 2014 4:25 PM in USEHC Code moves forward.

Uniform Solar Energy Hydronics Code Initiative Moves Forward
We interrupt our normal broadcast for a very important announcement…
The IAPMO proposed Uniform Solar Energy Hydronics Code has made its way through the first phases of code development and is now available for any interested party to read. It is available on line by going to [u][size=12][color=#0000ff]www.iapmo.org/codes/aspx[/size][/color][/u]  . Once there, you can click on the USEHC button and gain access to all archived data and reports by clicking on the [u][color=#0000ff]Read the archived revision information[/color][/u] . If you click on the [u][color=#0000ff]2014 USEHC REPORT ON PROPOSALS.pdf[/color][/u] you will see all submissions accepted and rejected for the proposed code, an official Comment form with instructions for properly filling the form out, as well as a “Pre Print” version of the proposed code as it currently stands. We are now in the Call for Comment stage. This is when you, the contractor or other interested party is allowed to look at what is currently being proposed for the code, and if you have any suggestions and or objections or concerns, now is the time to speak up. You must use the IAPMO Comment form (also available at this site by clicking on [u][color=#0000ff]Request Form for ROP/ROC[/color][/u]  in the upper right hand portion of this window), make certain it is filled out completely, and filed before the deadline for public comments, which is June 20, 2014. When providing substantiation, you should cite reference materials you are using in making your recommendation. Anecdotal information does not carry much weight with the professionals on the Technical Committee that will be reviewing your suggested changes.
Bear in mind that this code addresses the minimum standards of issues pertaining to the application of hydronic heating and cooling systems. The RPA intends to develop an Instructive Training Manual, along with a Best Practices Manual for design and installation to act as companions to the proposed code changes. While neither of these items (ITM or BPM) are enforceable as it pertains to code, and this is due to the fact that they go above and beyond the minimum code standards, they will act as a guide for our members and non members who are interested in doing hydronic radiant heating and cooling systems in a manner that is time tested and proven reliable. Our suggestions in the BPM can be equal to or greater than the code minimum, but not less than the code minimums. Hence, if something we really thought to be important doesn’t make it through the code development process, we can still have it in our ITM and our BPM.
 
While it doesn’t guarantee that every installation will be in compliance with the ITM and BPM, it does show professionalism on our part in organizing an effort to get these wonderful systems designed and installed correctly so that they deliver the best comfort known to mankind, and are as efficient as possible, given the field circumstances.
We are in need of lots of good high quality digital photography to complete the ITM and the BPM. If you would like to contribute, with photo credit given, please submit your photos to me at mark.eatherton@radiantprofessionalsalliance.org
 
You should also note that the Uniform Mechanical Code has provisions in it pertaining to the application of hydronics. This code is significantly further along, and when completed, a Technical Correlating Committee will make certain that the USEHC and the UMC match in all of their related code requirements as it pertains to the application of hydronic heating and cooling systems. The UMC can be seen at [u][size=12][color=#0000ff]http://codes.iapmo.org/home.aspx?code=UMC[/size][/color][/u] and then click on [u][color=#0000ff]Read the archived revision information[/color][/u] on that page, and then click on [u][color=#0000ff]2014 UMC Meeting Monograph.pdf[/color][/u].    This code is beyond the Public Comment period, so any recommended changes will have to wait until the next code change cycle, which will probably begin forming in the next year or so. If you are interested in participating in any of these processes, please contact the good folks at IAPMO’s Code Development department by sending an email to [u]Alma.Ramos@iapmo.org[/u].
 
If you are interested in helping the RPA in the areas of Code Development or in the development of the ITM or the BPM contact me at   We are always in need of volunteers, and in fact are in the process of developing the Designer/Installer certification standards which will require the input of Subject Matter Experts in developing these very important standards.

Leave it to marketing...

@ April 21, 2014 9:37 AM in CPVC in hydronic heating system

Wayne, I hear what you are saying. The DIN standard is THE standard, but leave it up to a bunch of marketing guys to take those numbers and "massage" them to make their product look superior.

Bottom line, we ALL have to drive on the same highway, and we ALL are SUPPOSED to follow the same direction signs on said highway. When I saw your spec using CC's, I did a conversion search and found that they were the same. I forgot to look at the rest of the measurements given, because I assumed we were all driving on the same highway, hence playing by the same rules.

The true bottom line is this. All plastic tubing has the propensity to allow oxygen transfer through its walls. Some more or less than others, and most differently at different temperatures of operation. Plastic tubing can not stop the migration of oxygen through its walls, and mother nature in her constant effort to balance everything out WILL see sure to it that imbalances in oxygen on either side of the tube walls do not happen. Even in cases where a metallic oxygen barrier is used (PEX-AL-PEX), she WILL find a way to balance out the O2 on both sides of the pipe. She can and does do it with all metal pipe systems, and she sure as heck can and will do it with plastic piped systems. It's the nature of Nature.

This is the whole reason that the DIN standard for oxygen diffusion was developed, so that the consumer could see what their selected tubing does in comparison to other tubes on the market. It all boils down to this. Plastic tubing (pick your type) does allow oxygen to transfer through its walls, and if the system is not designed correctly and maintained properly (non ferrous components or continuous fluid testing and adjustments) something is going to give up the ghost to the omnipresent oxidizer, oxygen.

But as Copper Head Ken Secor use to say on a regular basis, "Marketing can overcome real world engineering every day of the week", or something to that effect...

Reminds me of claims made by tankless water heater manufacturers. "MY unit can generate XXX gallons per hour of hot water" without giving the temperature rise of said water. The bigger the XXX number, the better they look to the consumer. In reality, its some straight forward math, and if all manufacturers were required to give the information in hourly GPH recovery capacity per degree F rise based on a 100 degree F rise, the marketeers can't mess with the math to make their product look better, and then the playing field is level, and the truth comes out.

By the way, there is a movement underfoot to make this fixed degree F rise a requirement for reporting the output capacity of a given tankless water heater. (UMC 2014). But I digress…

ME

I agree...

@ April 19, 2014 7:33 PM in PEX pipe split (hydronic)

In most of the cases where I have been involved, the tubing ends up on the bottom of the slab profile. Even with rebar and or mesh on chairs, it still ends up close to the bottom at points.

I suspect that in this case, the tube was near the bottom of the slab, and the slab was on XPS insulation. When the tubing finally got to the freeze solid point, the expansion of the fluid in a tube will generate pressures in excess of 20,000 PSI. The insulation gave way when the tube pushed downward due to expanding ice. Had it been more near the top, it would have caused the top of the concrete to spall, showing exactly where the tubing was located.

I have to ask though, who in their right mind would NOT evacuate the tubing after the pressure test. Technically speaking, it is against code to use compressed air for pressure testing plastic pipe (UMC, USEHC, UPC) due to possibility of a catastrophic failure. We attempted to get the use of compressed air approved for codes, but got resistance from the plastics industry.

I have seen PVC and CVPC break in a pattern similar to this, but in most cases, by the time they get done doing "jack hammer surgery" to remove PEX from a slab, there's not much left of the tubing to diagnose anyway.

Honestly can't say I've seen PEX fail in tis mode, but just when you think you've seen everything, you find out you have not seen jack squat…

ME

Thanks Wayne...

@ April 19, 2014 11:43 AM in CPVC in hydronic heating system

I love it when someone causes me to think in different ways and to do some research.

From MR. PEX' web site, I found:

What was the result?
What does DIN 4726 actually say?
The last page of the standard includes explanations, so the basis becomes clear. Following is a translation of the section describing their considerations: “Experience from heating systems have since long established that corrosion levels in hydronic systems with ferrous metals are acceptable at the level one exchange of the system water (to fresh water) per annum. This corresponds to an oxygen amount of 0.05g/(cu.meter * day). An “allow- ance” of doubling this amount is given (allowing for measurement inaccuracy) to make the “tightness require- ment” to be 0.1 grams (per cubic meter and day). Plastic tubing shall meet this requirement after having been thermocycled between 70°C (158°F) and 20°C (68°F) for 28 days while tightly coiled, and a final permeability measurement then carried out at 40°C (104°F) (repeated 3 times). Typically, non-barrier plastic tubing allows about 5 grams to enter; 50 times more than allowable. For tubing that does not meet this permeability require- ment either of following measures must be taken:
• corrosion-resistant components must be used either in the
whole system or at least in parts which come into contact
with water flowing through the plastic pipes.

Here is the full article: http://www.mrpexsystems.com/pdf/Diffusion.pdf

So, if my interpretations are correct, CPVC does allow significantly more oxygen into a system than would a barrier oxygen product, and all wetted components should be dealt with accordingly. This will require a regular and continuous monitoring and adjustment of water quality (corrosion inhibitors, oxygen scavengers, pH etc).

Even though the code says it's OK to do it, doesn't mean it's a good idea. Remember, most codes allow the use of open combination space heating/DHW systems with a single fluid…

Thanks for posting the information you did.

Let's ask superdave. What KIND of problems are you seeing in the field that brought this to your attention? Corrosion, joint failure, pipe failure, pipes sagging, leaks?

ME

Really?

@ April 19, 2014 9:28 AM in CPVC in hydronic heating system

Wethead7, I am hoping there was a typo in your statement. To the best of my knowledge, there is no oxygen barrier PVC or CPVC on the market.

Got reference articles/stories?

As others have said, it is not a standard practice, and I suspect there are economic rea$on$ as to why. It looks to me like a handyman took on the job and didn't trust his soldering skills, but knew how to do plastic fusion/solvent welding.

I see green pumps, which are cast iron. I suspect that rust never sleeps on this job…

ME

Fine with me...

@ April 18, 2014 3:20 PM in Glycol

ME

Pumpin' the hump...

@ April 18, 2014 9:40 AM in Glycol

Alan, If you don't know for sure how much fluid is in the system, it is best to purge with compressed air into buckets, keeping an inventory of what comes out. As HR said, use only glycols developed for solar thermal applications. Glycol, when exposed to stagnation conditions (350 F ) breaks down into a glycolic acid. It likes to eat copper at that point, which is not good. Solar fluid has a more robust corrosion inhibition package than conventional hydronic glycnoids. Use the lowest ambient temperature, and add 20 degrees F to that for proper freeze protection, but don't go less than 30% in order to provide minimum corrosion inhibition. The less glycol the better, to a certain point (30%)

You will need a pump with enough head to get the fluid to the top of the system, and maintain enough velocity at the return to develop a siphon on the downcomer. I find that a sewage lift station/foundation dewatering type of pump has this capacity and won't cost an arm and two legs… Velocity needs to be above 5 FPS at the top of a system, and that depends upon the size of pipe the downcomer is.

Once you know capacity, premix your glycol at a slightly stronger rate than you want to see, and when you have the system filled with the premix, you can use city water pressure to top off the system to its normal operating pressure. Dilution due to the use of straight water for pressurizing is negated by the fact that you overcompensated glycol concentration in the first place. If you have a good hand powered hydrostatic pump, then go in at recommended concentration and use hand pump to top off.

Don't even think about doing this process during full sun. Or you will learn the steam generating potential of stagnated solar panels, and having been there and done that and still having scars to prove it, you do not want to go there. If need be, cover the array with tarps to keep it from seeing the sun.

If there is an automatic air vent on the top of the system, make sure it is closed tight during the filling operation or the bubbles will NEVER come out of suspension, and establishing a siphon will be next to impossible. Learned that trick the hard way as well…

When pumping fluid in, run the system pump, and it will add its capacity to your charge pump, making filling, establishing siphon and sweeping air back down to your charging buckets much easier.

Lots of buckets filled with premix will keep you form having to start and stop. Once through, in and out, and get 'er done. And use short washing machine hoses for making the connections between the pump, the system, the system and the buckets. Keep the return hose submerged in the bucket, and during post fill circulation, when the bubbles stop rising up from the end of the return hose, you are completely filled and ready to top off. Once completely charged, open AV on top, and start and stop pump numerous times, giving any air you missed to vent thru the AV. I've put a ballon on the outlet of the AV so I can see how much air is still coming out.

Don't forget your safety gear whilst on the roof :-)

ME

Interesting read...

@ April 16, 2014 8:28 PM in Better Business Bureau

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

Personally, I have no faith in them. I've seen people who list themselves as "Members" who have horrible business ethics and practices, and a long list of complaints, but none of them show up when you check the BBB list.

ME

Smoke stick versus IR….

@ April 16, 2014 8:10 PM in Thermal Imaging

Having spent three days in a BPI class, I was exposed to the use of smoke sticks. They do work great for checking leaks around windows, doors etc. But to look at can lights on a vaulted ceiling, or something similar, IR stands out hands down.

Maybe a remote extension handle smoke stick???

Knowing how much infiltration is absolutely important information, but knowing WHERE it's coming from is important too.

ME

Yes…. and no.

@ April 16, 2014 4:25 PM in Thermal Imaging

A good energy conservation contractor carries one with them, but in order for it to be able to "see" the points of infiltration, there has to be a BIG differential in air temperature between the inside and the outsides of the home. You also need a blower door to compound the infiltration in order for it to show. If the inside versus outside air temperature differential is zero, then you will not be able to see any thermal traces of where the infiltration is coming from.

Just like you wouldn't be able to see any thermal leaking on the exterior of the building if it were 70 degrees F outside while looking at the exterior skin of the building.

In order to SEE a difference, there has to BE a difference. The IR camera is only looking for differentials.

ME

The Fall class could be in your living room too...

@ April 15, 2014 12:19 AM in So you want to learn how to be profitable in retrofitting hydronics eh...

It will be one of the classes we are offering at the RPA University College of Hydronic Knowledge. But it won't be free, but I guarantee you that if you put HALF of what you learn to use, it WILL pay for itself.

More on this and other offerings later.

THanks for continuing to learn.

ME

It's in your living room...

@ April 14, 2014 9:13 PM in So you want to learn how to be profitable in retrofitting hydronics eh...

if that's where you keep your internet connected PC. It is a webinar, held at 12:00 noon Central time. Oh, and by the way, it's free for EVERYONE.

So yes, it IS in LI NY :-)

ME

So you want to learn how to be profitable in retrofitting hydronics eh...

@ April 14, 2014 6:14 PM in So you want to learn how to be profitable in retrofitting hydronics eh...

How to Sell Retrofit Hydronics PROFITABLY

A FREE webinar Lunch -n-Learn brought to you by the RPA.
This is a pre-cursor to a class that I am putting together in much greater detail for delivery this Fall at the HeatSpring/RPA College of Hydronic Knowledge.

Here are the details. Sorry for the short notice, and if you can't make that time, it will be archived for viewing at a later date.
Title: How to Sell Retrofit Hydronics PROFITABLY.
URL:  [u][color=#0066cc][u][color=#0000ff]https://iapmo.webex.com/iapmo/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=661656543[/color][/u][/color][/u]
Time: 12:00 CDT
Date: April 16th
Cost:  Free to RPA/IAPMO members
Presenter: Mark Eatherton
Description:  In today’s environmentally conscience world, many people are looking for ways to retrofit their home to not only make it more cost effective to condition, but also more comfortable. Mark has 38 years of experience in this arena and will show participants some of his “trade secrets” to selling these wonderful systems to the end users for more money than your competition is selling them for. This course will introduce you to some methods of determining your direct costs of doing business, as well as show you how to build an eye popping contractual proposal that will let your customer know that you are serious about getting their business and making them spend less and enjoy comfort more.

Thank you for the use of your web site for getting the word out on this webinar Dan.

ME

So you want to learn how to be profitable in retrofitting hydronics eh...

@ April 14, 2014 6:12 PM in So you want to learn how to be profitable in retrofitting hydronics eh...

How to Sell Retrofit Hydronics PROFITABLY

A FREE webinar Lunch -n-Learn brought to you by the RPA.
This is a pre-cursor to a class that I am putting together in much greater detail for delivery this Fall at the HeatSpring/RPA College of Hydronic Knowledge.

Here are the details. Sorry for the short notice, and if you can't make that time, it will be archived for viewing at a later date.
Title: How to Sell Retrofit Hydronics PROFITABLY.
URL:  [u][color=#0000ff]https://iapmo.webex.com/iapmo/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=661656543[/color][/u]
Time: 12:00 CDT
Date: April 16th
Cost:  Free to RPA/IAPMO members
Presenter: Mark Eatherton
Description:  In today’s environmentally conscience world, many people are looking for ways to retrofit their home to not only make it more cost effective to condition, but also more comfortable. Mark has 38 years of experience in this arena and will show participants some of his “trade secrets” to selling these wonderful systems to the end users for more money than your competition is selling them for. This course will introduce you to some methods of determining your direct costs of doing business, as well as show you how to build an eye popping contractual proposal that will let your customer know that you are serious about getting their business and making them spend less and enjoy comfort more.

Thank you for the use of your web site for getting the word out on this webinar Dan.

ME

I saw one take out 10 square city blocks of power...

@ April 13, 2014 5:52 PM in But he's SO cute

I was working on a low-high rise (14 storie's) and just as I was walking out the mechanical room into the alley, there was a BRIGHT flash, like lightning, except it was a severe clear day. All of the lights in the building went dark, including the elevator. Shortly thereafter, I could hear a sizzle coming from down the alley, and people were looking up and pointing, so I walked down to see what was up, and there was Rocky J, right across two primaries, just off a transformer… The local power company showed up (along with numerous fire vehicles to rescue people stuck in elevators)

I asked the guy from the power company what the resistance value of Rocky J was, and he smiled, looked up and said "Enough to trip big circuit breaker…"

I concur. Tree rats.

ME

I figured they already had HArvey...

@ April 13, 2014 12:15 PM in What do you think of when somebody says Hydronics?

Refrigeration waste heat recovery was a hot item back 25 years ago when I first got involved with the dairy industry.

They have full condensing tanks which take even more than jus the super heat out of the refrigerant. Have had since forever. That is one tough market to break in to. Lots of very established full service companies available to the industry.

ME

Additional energy savings...

@ April 12, 2014 12:43 PM in What do you think of when somebody says Hydronics?

Harv, good on you for seeing the obvious (fphx pre-cooling) . Now if you can take the additional refrigerant waste heat from the final cooling operations and stick that heat into the hot water production program you will save additional money on energy used for washing (cow udders, equipment washing etc). It can significantly increase cooling efficiency, and the equipment is available off shelf.

Dairy farmers, in fact farmers in general get all of my respect for their knowledge of ALL mechanical systems, and their resourcefulness.

A small solar thermal system would have a high degree of utilization as well, assuming the radiation is available...

ME

I've used all of them...

@ April 9, 2014 11:48 PM in Problems with Open radiant floor system

They all work on the principal of running water through a magnetic coil field.

The last one I installed at my mountain home was a clear wave,

http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/electronic-water-softener.htm

I've spoken with people who have said they could TASTE a difference. I don't drink the water from up there, but can tell a big difference in the way water comes off of dishes etc. It sheens off whereas before it just stuck to the dishes and dried leaving a hard water mark… There are still lime marks if you don't hand dry (we do), but they;re real easy to get off.

Thanks for contributing. And thanks for the thanks. I'm here to help.

ME

Start with the Daikin rep...

@ April 9, 2014 9:50 AM in Looking for residential installer in Denver, Colorado

Shamrock Sales, three zero three-399-9181

Are you absolutely sure it will work? There are limitations on the temperature output of these ASHP systems that may not be compatible with your system design. Baseboard is typically designed around a 180 degree F average temperature.

ME

No expertise in water treatment on the potable side...

@ April 9, 2014 9:21 AM in Problems with Open radiant floor system

But I am aware that if a UV light is used, that it can and will ENHANCE certain algae blooms. Make sure the one you buy has a "bulb wiper" assembly, which will allow you to physically clean the light bulb of any alga that has accumulated on the light emitting surface.

Filters are also going to create a pressure drop you didn't have before. With a municipal water system, it shouldn't be a problem, assuming you have decent water pressure to begin with.

I have successfully used magnetohydrodynamic water conditioners for treatment of limescale, which is sounds like you are dealing with. I have been publicly chastised for stating so, and quite honestly, I DO NOT CARE. If it didn't work, I wouldn't have suggested its use. I've used them all over this country, and with the exception of some :glass water" conditions, typically found in Texas (silica calcification versus lime calcification) they work as designed. Are there some bogus hocus pocus devices out there? You betcha, so make sure you are dealing with a reputable organization, like Chemtune.

The only thing I use to do for water treatment was to remove sodium ion exchange softeners due to the health hazards associated with its use for people with a propensity to have high blood pressure from ingesting sodium.

ME
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