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Dave Yates (GrandPAH)

Dave Yates (GrandPAH)

Joined on January 18, 2008

Last Post on November 2, 2013

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@ July 7, 2011 4:36 PM in Some prayers needed PLEASE !

Lois & I send best wishes for a speedy recovery and will keep them in our thoughts & prayers.

Geo floor bump!

@ July 6, 2011 4:58 PM in Geo floor bump!

Visited a geo site today. Bore holes (4) were installed. Roughly 20' from nearest one to front of home. Basement is 30' wide. Towards the far side of the basement, the concrete floor heaved up, breaking the slab & creating a 2" offset. Center support pole supposedly rose up to lift the steel beam & cracked the first floor drywall. No one was inside the home to verify it happened during drilling. HO (they contracted directly with the driller) & driller are locked in a dispute & the geo installer ran away from the job.

Aside from the oddities created by the ongoing disputes, which do not involve my firm, have any of you seen this type of damage caused when drilling bore-holes?


@ July 6, 2011 4:42 PM in Terrible news

Hard to read the account & prayers for the survivors.


@ June 30, 2011 7:04 PM in hype, bunk, or for real?

Off the thread topic, but yours is the first negative Acadia comment I've read. What was the experience?

hype, bunk, or for real?

@ June 30, 2011 9:58 AM in hype, bunk, or for real?

Tough for me to believe the stated 20% to 30% energy reduction. Given that induction motors draw high amps on start-ups, wouldn't cycling the compressor tend to cancel out the energy reductions?


@ May 17, 2011 8:24 PM in Happy Birthday, Johnny White!

Older but you never look it! Hope it's a blast and best wishes for many, many, more.


@ May 14, 2011 1:02 PM in Is PVC an acceptable vent material for flue gases?

You had to go there!?! That phrase still raises my BP(G). I too must confess I've found the PVC issues to be unwarranted from an anecdotal personal experience level. The worst case for us was a supply house telling us it was OK to vent what turned out to be an 80+ furnace with PVC. Seasonal service revealed yellowed & discolored PVC within the first few feet - badly abused PVC temp-wise. Lesson learned: don't let a supply house counter dude tell you what's correct!

However, not one single PVC install on a 90+ furnace, modcon boiler, power-vent, or DV water heater has shown any evidence of any looming danger & we're now past the 20-year mark. I've encountered a few foam-core PVC exhaust vent installations & recently replaced one because we were replacing the modcon installed by another firm. I was pretty surprised to find it appeared to be in perfect condition after so many year of service in a system not utilizing outdoor reset that ran at much higher temps than required (following analysis and adding outdoor reset).

The lone issues I've encountered were all a result of a faulty installation and exceeding the manufacturers' specifications.

food prep or dishwashing?

@ April 28, 2011 9:22 AM in A question for the plumbers

If food prep sinks, then that's the correct method with each bowl having a separate line to the floor sink with an air gap 2x the pipe diameter and a domed strainer inside the waste receiver.

However, if those are sinks designated for dishwashing (meaning they cannot, in theory, be used for food prep work because the bowls are considered to be contaminated), then the commentary edition of IPC indicates in several passages that not only is that wrong, it creates "a known health hazard".

Never a dull moment for codes interpretation at the local level!

One local twp allows fernco couplings above grade and no-hubs below grade only while a neighboring twp has the exact opposite rule. Another twp requires a 6" sanitary sewer line be run into any building designated as 'commercial'. Once did a strip mall with each store having just a 1/2-bath & 1.6-GPF water closets & we had to install 6" house traps sets for each one! The head scratcher - soon as you penetrate the building's foundation wall you can reduce to 4". Go figure.

lost one ywo years ago - revisited

@ April 15, 2011 5:53 PM in reluctant contractor, or scam artist?

We lost a bid two years ago in a remote house where copper thieves had ripped out both floors (two zones) of baseboard & basement mains. Figured on running 160F to 180F since they had an oil-fired ON/OFF boiler. Did not get the work.

Two years later, a call to bid ANYTHING that would use less fuel! Imagine my chagrin to return and discover the 'cheater' had installed lots of dummy-baseboard where once they'd had 'active BB. Running the system at 210F allowed them to cut corners and use half the previous 'active' BB & disguise their cheating by placing empty BB shell between the pre-drilled holes for the previous copper runs now PEX. PEX looked like a spaghetti free-for-all-toss in the basement too.

The owners had not clue-one that anything was wrong - just that they were in need of a back-yard oil-well!

Sounds like (tugging my ear) they did this home too! Not sure what was agreed to by both parties here, so I'm not weighing in on either side. I do, however, agree that an accurate heat loss/gain calc is the first step and is a must-have in order to determine the ratio between the existing heat emitters and the individual room they're in for required water temps on a design day. Absent that calc, you might as well be playing pin-the-tail on the donkey.

200F water temps for any hydronic system is a mortal sin. I'd be looking for ways to get that down to at least 150F (lower would even be better).

You're at a cross-road & have an opportunity to get it right. Botch this and you'll be draining your wallet from this point off into eternity via annual fuel and electricity usage.       

The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation

@ April 3, 2011 9:22 PM in True or April Fool?

Stop by & leave a message. I did: 

struck me too

@ April 3, 2011 7:46 AM in True or April Fool?

One of the things I learned during my research was that rubber components offer a very favorable site as food and nursery for Legionella. But, all things being equal, they don't appear to be looking beyond the faucets themselves. The bacteria did not swim upstream through the faucet outlets! Kind of like the old song about the knee bone being connected to the....... Those faucets were colonized from the Distribution Network that's connected to the Point of Source (water heaters) that's connected to the Bacterial Source (municipal water supply).

If they were to treat the water where it enters the building using either Chlorine Dioxide or Copper/Silver Ionization, raise the Point of Source temperature above 140F, elevate the 2nd-stage heat-pasteurization and circulate the DHW Distribution Network with minimum of 125F at the end of the return, and, only lower the water temperature at (within a few feet of) the Points of Use, well then - they'd have a germ-free system! Water delivered to a hands-free Point of Use faucet free from germs would find it difficult to be colonized and Copper/Silver Ionization is the only known treatment with a residual kill-rate in idle temporarily stagnant lines. It would seem logical that water treated in this manner passing through a Point of Use faucet would tend to maintain its sterility.

Dang near

@ April 2, 2011 3:29 PM in end of the week ?

split my sides laughing, But that AF joke almost got me banned for life from here! Wish I'd saved those all-too-funny posts.

The iWorx geothermal revival job (7-stages of heat & 6-cooling) we're doing in western PA has a real live "Tickles the Cat" living in the huge cavernous basement. Ours was the first sighting in two years. They put out food & clean the box, but never see Tickles. The wife has a medical business & this cat was run over by a car. Her patients left the waiting room to attend to Tickles & Doc took it to a vet. No one expected it to live. Once home, it went straight to the basement to hide & has only been seen a few times since.

I asked about the cat because we were using the walk-out cellar doors. The owners were stunned we'd seen Tickles! "Haven't seen her for two years. We weren't sure she was still alive."

Could be she's living in the hydro-air ducts?


@ March 27, 2011 6:30 PM in Legionellae article

show me the bodies - ahhh, that old chestnut

Some reading for those interested! It was a bit more than 10-years ago that I discovered the information (more like getting smacked upside my head!) while researching information about using water heaters instead of boilers for hosting a gig at - a subject sure to incite strong feelings. I never in my wildest dreams suspected/expected to be stopped dead in my tracks by what was revealed. In fact, I was sure it wasn't "hard" evidence and set out to find credible evidence to the contrary - a search that has lasted for more than a decade without one single shred of credible evidence to support open-direct cross-connected potable/hydronic systems as being "safe" from bacterial amplification. The plain truth, it seems, is that they are the Field-of-Dreams you-build-it-they-will-come perfect-storm of amplifiers. But, what the hey-ho do I know, I'm just a guy who stumbled onto evidence that was there all the time.

Took a lot of flack in the beginning, but over the years those who have bothered to read & research on their own (as I encourage all to do) with an open mind unbiased by sales/profits have virtually all arrived at the same conclusion. Google any combination of things and you'll find tons of rock-solid data/evidence regarding warm potable water systems and bacterial amplification.   

Think of a residential hot water system as being three distinct parts: Point of Source (water heater); Distribution System (network of piping); and Points of Use. The cheapest least expensive solution to Legionella bacterial amplification requires heat pasteurization by elevating the storage temp to 140F or above to hold down the number of bugs; ASSE listed scald-guard mix vlv to flat-line the outlet temp; constant circulatuion with min of 124F at the return (this can be done without compromising the ASSE temp setting). The distance from hot recirc to Points of Use should be short.

Nosocomial (hospital) vs. Community Acquired (home)



From Robert Bean's web site:

slight benefit with new pipes

@ March 26, 2011 5:04 PM in Legionellae article

As soon as biofilms form, which is soon after copper lines are installed, there is no longer any benefit or bacterial kill-rate. The bugs live freely to replicate within the biofilms, which also protects them from chlorine, which does not penetrate biofilms well and is far too weak at 2- to 4-PPM anyway. Chlorine Dioxide, on the other hand, does penetrate biofilms and whack the bugs. As does copper/silver ionization, which offers a residual kill-rate. UV, by itself, doesn't work & needs ultrasonic bombardment upstream to break open the cysts of one-celled animals (trojan horses) within which legionella have set up a nursery that eventually bursts open spewing forth the offspring.

It was disappointing to see that the list of approved methods includes ones that either don't work (chlorine) at concentrations found in potable systems or are weak players where eradicating the bugs is concerned. But, it's a huge step in the right direction.  

open systems anyone?

@ March 26, 2011 11:10 AM in Legionellae article

The tide is shifting!


@ March 4, 2011 9:26 PM in Can't touch this - not even going to try

They're friends with the general contractor who says the sub is top notch and that his heating systems work. Some friend. I gave them my information and the energy wasted $ amount. I've done my due diligence as a friend and advisor. Bear in mind, I was only asked to review the sketchy info & it was the sub who revealed the sub-par system info when I spoke with him late today.

Local supply house branch manager does a lot of hand-holding with the sub from what I discovered this afternoon. He does that frequently for a number of contractors after selling them high-efficiency products they cannot start-up and/or adjust & provides the combustion analyzer too while performing the analysis for free. Gee - thanks for selling me my rather expensive combustion testing equipment that I'm maintaining at my costs while performing this free service for contractors who don't bother obtaining training and the equipment. No problem mate, I can purchase at other more loyal suppliers.       

Can't touch this - not even going to try

@ March 4, 2011 9:13 PM in Can't touch this - not even going to try

 General contractor is remodeling a kitchen and breakfast area for a friend who asked me to look over the heating issues his sub is proposing. So, I asked the friend some pertinent questions & he went to the builder who had his sub call me. They currently have a steam boiler & the rads in these two areas will be going away.

Absolutely clueless. Could not answer a single one of my questions except for the size of the water heater & heat emitters.

Has no clue as to how to measure their chimney either and I can tell you that if it's a standard 8" x 8" terra cotta flue, it is not capable of adding that third load to ensure safe venting of carbon monoxide.   

Heat source? 40-gallon gas chimney-vented water heater. 

It's efficiency? Doesn't know. 

Manual-J heat loss. No. 

Type of heat emitters? Baseboard and two toe-kick fan-assisted heaters under the kit cabinets. (FYI: two toe-kick fan-assisted heaters is totally out of whack for that postage-stamp-sized kitchen space.) How do he know how much to install??? 

Operating temperature of the system? Not sure, but thinks it will be 140 - 160F. 

Projected annual operating costs? No clue. 

Circulator & controls? Not sure, but probably a Taco 007 & relay. (This will be oversized and waste energy too.)  

Run hours? No clue 

Power usage? No clue

 Life cycle costs? No clue 

Have you measured the chimney? No 

Will there be sustained flue gas condensation in the water heater during operation? No clue (I have yet to see one used in this manner that doesn't have this issue.) 

Also said he considered using electric resistance heating! 

Claims he's had training with Fujitsu mini-split inverter heat pumps, yet could not answer a few basic questions regarding their performance in cold weather.
Nope - can't touch this!  

FYI: I did crunch the numbers. Compared to a well-designed high-efficiency system, the energy wasted comes to $1.53 per square foot per year! Multiply that by the square footage of the project, gather up the cash - and then burn it in the fireplace. Add 5% for each new year & repeat.


@ February 7, 2011 5:45 PM in The Biggest Loser

I never really realized just how roomy those calcs were until we had three geo systems in & running before the electric resistance supplemental toasters were connected. Where calcs indicated the assistance was needed, the homes (under construction in one case at design temps with contractors in/out all day long) had no issues maintaining desired indoor temps.

Mark - Modcon with automatic ECM circs so both load-match to the home's conditions at that moment in time. Or inverter geo (what the hey-ho are they waiting for???) units with the same circs or ECM blowers allowed to roam.

We're rapidly approaching nirvana, but still woefully inaccurate on the load & flow sizing side.  Soon there will be feed-back from our installed equipment that will provide accurate lods under actual operating conditions with fuel utilization tracking in real-time.

Could it be that soon equipment might be available in a one-size fits all (within reason) that will self-adjust & self-tune to the actual operating conditions while constantly maintaining peak efficiencies. I sense the already wild ride getting wilder and faster. 

true today

@ February 6, 2011 10:52 AM in The Biggest Loser

But turn back the hands of time a few decades & there were lots of leakers and motor failures. The ECM study has certainly turned my head towards zone valves. No big surprise, really, given our extensive use of telestats in radiant systems for zoning straight off a common manifold and their steadfast reliability.

NRT-Rob, Should have added why - suspect you know already (sure of it, so I am - knowing you from years of posts here). The one thing that prevents us from seeing 100% run-time with standard outdoor-reset is wind and its adverse affect on heat loss due to 40% (or more) of a structure's loss being related to infil- exfil-tration. As a result, our programmed 'curve' needs to be high enough to provide comfort during those more adverse conditions.

spot on

@ February 5, 2011 3:49 PM in The Biggest Loser

At first I thought about 100% run-time, but knew that wasn't right for weather-responsive outdoor reset. Tracking my actual run-times for zone valves vs. circs and cross-checking that against historical degree-day data, I too arrived at 75% for the primary circs: 2,250 divided by .75 = 3,000 run-hours

The zones, on the other hand, did not see the same number of hours and eventually I was able to peg them (on ave) at 2,800 run-hours.  

run hours

@ February 5, 2011 7:51 AM in The Biggest Loser

Swapped an 87-watt induction motor fixed speed wet rotor circ with a ECM on a baseboard system (actually two for two with two zones). and the ECM settled in at 14-watts. Run hours should ave 2,250 in my heating zone (SE PA).  They had bad experiences with zone valves, so that option was tossed.

If that's accurate for run hours, we're paying 12-cents per kWH, which renders a 10% ROI in the first year (increases with the increase in energy costs) with a $200.00 difference in costs between circs and simple payback on that difference in the 9th year if power costs rise by 5% per year. At the end of the 20th-year, each circ will provide a bit more than $600.00 cost avoidance.

Interesting job in that the customer did not choose the hi-eff boiler due to the end of the fed tax credit (also because they plan to move in two years). Even more so given the short 2- to 3-year simple payback on the increased cost for the hi-eff boiler vs. the chimney-vented model.  


@ February 4, 2011 7:01 PM in The Biggest Loser


I have used the ECM circs very effectively to win bids for replacements and new work by showing the long-term energy-conservation. In several cases, it was the circs that caused the owners to sign our higher-priced (up front costs) contracts.

Present the options; provide the economics; ask for the contract.

The competition is not doing the due diligence and they are not providing the after-the-sale ongoing costs of operating their hi-head circs and equipment. An additional $200.00, or $2,000.00, becomes an easy pill to swallow once the justification education has been presented.

Or present yourself (not referring to you Charles) as just another commodity item based solely on up-front costs and get lost in the card-shuffle. I want everyone in this business who has a passion for what they do to have the tools rrequired to go forth and sell these things like hotcakes at a pancake jamboree. I am & If I am, so can anyone who wants to.   
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