Joined on December 10, 2007
Last Post on July 30, 2009
@ July 30, 2009 11:26 AM in protecting transformerA standard 24 volt Class 2 transformer is designed in a special way so that in event of a short in the secondary circuit, the output drops to a level that will not overheat the number 18 wire used in most heating setups. I'm asssuming that it won't overheat itself, as well. This is also a very good reason not to use non Class 2 transformers in heating systems. Use multiple transformers if one transformer does not have sufficient capacity. That being the case, a fuse wouldn't be necesary in the secondary circuit. Rollie Peck, Homeowner.
@ June 18, 2009 4:54 PM in Crude language (Dan H.)I'm with you, Dan. The topic reminds me of the sign above the dock in Sasebo, Japan in the 1950's where the sailors came in from anchored ships in the harbor: "Swearing shows ignorance, be intelligent." Rollie Peck, Homeowner
@ February 9, 2009 4:45 PM in 37 zones of radiant heat...(JohnNY)John: Since you are the only one that knows the history and the details of this job, I'm curious to know how many pumps and/or zone valves you would have used if you had designed this job. Over 5000 square feet for three people! Such waste. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ January 6, 2009 11:15 AM in Take advantage of slow timesThis strikes me as an opportune time to cleanup, fixup, paintup, etc. To straighten up the storeroom, service trucks, and shop. All of those jobs that you didn't have time to do when your were busy. Happy New Year to all! Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ January 5, 2009 12:40 PM in Dekamatik-HK1 controlHi Shawn: My system has a Dekamatik-HK1. The control has an outdoor sensor and a boiler supply water sensor. Using a sophisticated program and a microprocessor, it controls a motorized valve that mixes water from the boiler with water returning from the house to supply hot water to the radiators in the house. As the outdoor temperature gets colder, it uses more boiler water to provide hotter water to the radiators in the house. How hot that water is is determined by the program set up by the installer or the homeowner. The program has dozens of options and adjustments available, much more than I could tell you about here. Your best bet is to obtain a manual from Viessmann. I was unable to find "a blinking, variable outdoor temperature" indication in the troubleshooting sections of my manuals. My guess would be that there is a problem with the wiring to the outdoor sensor. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ January 5, 2009 12:05 PM in instalarm 110volt alarm buzzerWhat you found was a thermal relay, which does the same thing that a magnetic relay does. If the heating coil burns out, the relay doesn't transfer the contacts. Thermal relays are not widely used and would only be available from the original manufacturer. Their advantages are: they are small and cheap to make. The turn signal blinker relays in cars are thermal relays. They use the current going to the turn signal lights to heat a bi-metal disk which pops open the contact connecting the lights to the battery. The lights go out and the current stops flowing causing the disk to cool down and make the contact again. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ January 3, 2009 3:49 PM in instalarm 110volt alarm buzzerI'm going to try to send you a wiring diagram for a circuit that will do the job for you. This is my first attempt at sending an attachment to a message to The Wall, so things may not go right. If you don't receive a useable diagram, send me an Email at email@example.com with your fax number and I'll fax it to you. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ January 3, 2009 12:25 PM in A question for homeowners (Dan H.)I opted for the contractor who was more knowledgeable about hot water heat, even though he wasn't the lowest bidder. Have never regretted it. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ December 16, 2008 12:10 AM in It will take a lot more than plumbers...It appears to me that part of the problem is the global economy that we are now part of. Fifty years ago, workers weren't competing with people in Asia or in Latin America who can live on a few dollars a day. Too many Americans have been able to afford luxery cruises, homes, vehicles etc. for so long that they consider it to be a birthright. Our high standard of living, compared to other parts of the world, is part of the reason for us pushing for higher wages. Our higher wages are now pricing us right out of the market. They are what gave automation such a boost 10 - 20 years ago. Several years ago, the state's oldest Ford car dealer closed because he couldn't sell cars made by people making $20 per hour to people making five dollars per hour. Just before the imported car popularity, the Big Three answered the economy car demand with cars that looked cheap and felt cheap (remember the Pinto?) because the Big Three couldn't make as much money on them as they could larger cars. When the Honda Accord came along people were paying several thousand dollars over list price and waiting up to a year to get one, because they looked great, drove well and were economical to drive. I believe that the time has arrived that us Americans are going to have to learn how to live on less income. This adjustment is going to be painfull, especially for the poor and the middle class. American businesses are going to have to learn to live on less also, especially those with grossly overpaid CEO's and corporate jets. Some of them probably won't survive. The quicker we adapt, the better off we will be. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ December 6, 2008 1:47 PM in wire-codeHi Dk: Generally the connections to a small transformer are not critical. The white primary wire gets connected to the white neutral supply wire and the black primary wire gets connected to the black or sometimes red,blue, or other non-white colored wire. The color of the secondary wires may be significant is some particular piece of equipment, but I'm not aware of any standard arrangement in general wiring. One side of the transformer secondary should be grounded so that if the two transformer windings should get shorted together, a primary fuse or breaker would pop instead of putting 120 volts on all of the units connected to the secondary winding. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ November 4, 2008 9:53 PM in Burnam Mega Steam - COMPLETE!...almostWow, Billy, how did you get that old monster out of your basement? A professional grade Sawzall and a gross of blades? Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ October 31, 2008 11:36 PM in thermostat wireUnder certain conditions, number 22 wire could be a hazard. If one side of the transformer is grounded and the hot side goes to the thermostat and the wire gets shorted to ground, the wire could overheat. If it passed through or under a combustible material, that material might catch fire. A class two transformer is designed in a special way to limit its output current to a value that will not overheat number 18 wire. Using smaller wire reduces or eliminates this safety feature. Using a non class two transformer does the same thing for even number 18 wire. Another trick is to always wire the hot side of the transformer to the relay or zone valve. Then if the wire to the thermostat gets shorted to ground, the relay or zone valve stays on all the time, but nothing overheats. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ October 5, 2008 9:53 PM in zone valve wiringHi Ziptied: Would like to help you with this problem, but don't quite understand the wiring setup, especially the "aux wiring to the pump." If you could send me a diagram via Email, that would be very helpful. Rollie Peck Homeowner and electronics service tech.
@ October 4, 2008 11:20 AM in Heating Pictures from My Summer Trip to Bavaria - mad dogHi Mad Dog: I really enjoyed hearing about life in Bavaria and seeing your pictures. Did you see a lot of: McMansions, gas guzzeling SUV's, floatboats, speedboats, decked out Big Dually pickups, granite countertops, big yards, riding lawn mowers and similar items that so many Americans spend a lot of money on? Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ September 25, 2008 8:04 PM in 3 way 24v zone valve?Hi James: The Taco controller will connect the two "X" terminals anytime one of the pumps is energized, enabling the boiler burner to come on. You could wire the 3-way valve across the gas valve if it is a gas boiler or the burner run relay if it is an oil burning boiler. However, the transformer in the boiler may not be able to handle the additional load. It could handle the additional load of a small relay with a 24 volt AC coil, however. You could wire the contacts of the relay to connect the 3-way valve to an external 120v to 24v step down transformer. I'd like to send you a drawing, but don't know how to do that on this website. Send me an Email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a drawing. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ September 23, 2008 12:22 PM in 3 way 24v zone valve?If your system uses more than one pump, you could use one 120 volt relay wired in parallel with each pump and then wire the contacts of the relays in parallel so that any one of them connects the 3-way valve to a 24 volt transformer. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ September 23, 2008 12:15 PM in 3 way 24v zone valve?One easy and inexpensive way to do it is to connect the primary of a 120V to 24V transformer in parallel with the pump and the secondary to the 3-way valve. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ September 23, 2008 11:48 AM in Transformer oddity...There is another problem with paralleling transformers or using heftier transformers: Transformers designed to work with thermostats and zone valves are built to limit current to a value that won't overheat the low voltage wire going through the walls and cause a fire. Not a problem that I would want the fire investigators to trace to me. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ July 20, 2008 5:49 PM in Who do I listen to?I live in Madison Wisconsin and can highly recommend E & W Heating and Air Conditioning Company in Madison. They helped me do a major upgrade to my hydronic heating system several years ago. They provided the boiler and other major parts, the expertise, the permits, the startup testing and now the annual inspections. I did the piping and electrical wiring because I had experience in those fields. This website provided a ton of great information. If for some reason they don't work out for you, check the website for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association located near Stevens Point Wisconsin. www.the-mrea.org. They list a number of contractors in the central Wisconsin area in their newsletter. My heating system upgrade experience showed me that a good contractor is the best investment you can make in your new heating system. In the long run, you will end up with a safer, more comfortable, more trouble free and more economical heating system. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ May 9, 2008 10:34 PM in Energy Policy?Hi Rich: I was born in Marshall, Wisconsin, about 20 miles east of Madison. Spent four years in the Navy right after high school, 23 years servicing IBM data processing (punched card) equipment and computers, 8 years as their building supervisor doing minor electrical, plumbing, heating, telephone and computer work, and was downsized out in 1990. Have since worked part time servicing mail opening equipment and doing handyman jobs. Moved to Madison after the Navy stint. Did a major upgrade to my hydronic heating system several years ago with the co-operation of a great local hydronics heating contractor. He provided consultation, the Viessman boiler, buffer tank, pumps, Viessman 4-way valve with controller, LWCO, startup checks, etc. I did the wiring and the piping. The Wall was a big help, also. Rollie Peck Homeowner
@ May 6, 2008 10:20 PM in Energy Policy?Hi Rich: Your entry gives me the impression that you are a fellow Wisconsinite. If so, what city/town do you live in? Are you a contractor or a homeowner? Rollie Peck Homeowner, Madison, Wisconsin
@ March 21, 2008 10:03 PM in i did itHi Tom: Man! What caused that mess? Did the water heater blow up? Looks like you bought a real "fixer-upper." The galvanized tee on top of the boiler with the copper to sweat fitting may cause you some problems in the future due to galvanic action. Great job. What kind of work do you do for a living? Rollie Peck Home owner.