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Joined on April 15, 2008

Last Post on February 22, 2010

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@ February 22, 2010 9:21 PM in Orienta

Thanks for the reply!  I hadn't even thought about what might happen if the tank were to become too heavy for its fitting.  I'll definitely have the tank reoriented.


Orientation of Expansion Tank

@ February 21, 2010 1:29 PM in Orienta

When mounting an expansion tank (an Extrol Model 15) -- in the piping
for a hydronic coil in a air handler -- is it OK to mount it
horizontally?  The contractor mounted it that way, and I just noticed
that it says on the expansion tank to only mount it vertically.  If this
is going to be a problem, I'd like to get it fixed before he's finished
with the job.



@ February 21, 2010 1:25 PM in Orientation of Expansion Tank


@ February 4, 2010 2:10 PM in Quality Peripheral Items (e.g., circulator pump)

Well, it appears that I was wrong about the usefulness of primary/secondary piping in my situation ... at least according to the contractor.  He is planning on using it.


Quality Peripheral Items (e.g., circulator pump)

@ February 3, 2010 7:12 PM in Quality Peripheral Items (e.g., circulator pump)

Thank you both for the information!

 I haven't asked the contractor yet about whether he's using primary/secondary piping ... but from what little I understand, I don't think that's needed in my situation (a closed loop for a hydronic heating coil in a Spacepak air handler, and also our DHW needs).  If I'm wrong, I'd love to be corrected.



Concentric Venting

@ February 3, 2010 2:48 PM in Concentric Venting

For a mod-con boiler (a Heat Transfer Elite), are there are disadvantages to using a concentric vent pipe?  Are there any advantages (other than aesthetics)?



Quality Peripheral Items (e.g., circulator pump)

@ February 3, 2010 2:38 PM in Quality Peripheral Items (e.g., circulator pump)


I'm heavily leaning towards having a Heat Transfer Elite boiler and Superstor Ultra indirect installed.  Hopefully, these are good, quality products (maybe not as good as Viessmann; but, with any luck, close).  I'd also like to have installed good quality circulator pumps and the other little geegaws that go along with the installation.  The boiler guy was proposing to install Taco 007 circulator pumps and a 1/2 Bell and Gossett feed regulator --- these are the only items that he specified by brand.  There are also other items: temperature gauge, pressure gauge, 30 lb. relief valve, auto air vent, and condensate neutralizer.  Are there any brands that stand out?  Are there any brands that I should stay away from?

Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated!


Elite v. Munchkin

@ January 26, 2010 8:30 PM in Elite v. Munchkin


I need a boiler for (a) DHW and (b) a hydronic coil in an air handler.  I'm looking at Heat Transfer's new Elite ( and their Munchkin (  The Elite is about a $1,000 more and I'm having trouble deciding if it's worth the extra money ... to me it seems as if the biggest benefits are the 6 to 1 turn down ratio, and the new monitoring and system controls.  Any thoughts?



p.s., If it matters, there will also be indirect water heater.

Tankless with hydronic heating coil

@ December 12, 2009 12:15 PM in Tankless with hydronic heating coil

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post, I appreciate it!

I should probably step back and say that I don't plan on installing this unit ... I don't have the knowledge/expertise.  I had gotten an estimate from a boiler guy,  but I don't quite feel comfortable that he had properly evaluated the system and its needs (perhaps he had, but he didn't ask for model # of the air handler, or -- at least from what I could tell -- do a load calc).  Since I was burned on the initial install 6 years ago (long story), I'm trying to make sure that it doesn't happen again.  And I should also mention that I need to do something for DHW, the person suggesting the Rinnai for the hydronic coil was also going to add a second Rinnai for that.

Yes, the MCC-91 was the control unit that was going to be used.  I looked at the specs that you pointed me to, and I'm afraid I don't quite know how to figure out if the Rinnai will work properly with the hydronic coil (Spacepak AC-WPAK-120).  I also had looked into getting a condensing boiler -- either a Triangle Tube Prestige Solo 110 ( coupled with a Triangle Tube Indirect Water Heater (, or a third option was Heat Transfer's Phoenix Water Heater (  The 2 Rinnai's were the cheapest option by about $1000, but I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish and end up with an installation that doesn't quite do the job.

Any thoughts (or other suggestions) are greatly appreciated.


Tankless with hydronic heating coil

@ December 11, 2009 5:38 PM in Tankless with hydronic heating coil


I have a Spacepak air handler (5 ton) which uses a hydronic coil for heating.  I'm leaning towards pairing this up with a Rinnai modulating condensing tankless water heater (RC80HPi).  Are there any disadvantages to using a tankless water heater for this purpose?



@ March 19, 2009 4:42 PM in Reasonable \"trick\"

Ahh, I should have mentioned that there's a height constraint -- so the 40 will definitely fit, but the 50's a bit iffy. Thanks, Paul

Reasonable \"trick\"

@ March 19, 2009 1:20 PM in Reasonable \"trick\"

I need a boiler to supply hot water for DHW and an air handler with a hydronic heating coil. One of the proposals I've received uses a Triangle Tube Prestige Solo boiler and a Smart Series 40 indirect. The "trick" is that for DHW they heat the water to about 160 and then use a mixing valve to get the appropriate temperature. By doing this they claim to effectively double the capacity of the indirect. Does this seem like a reasonable thing to do? Is this inefficient (as compared to a larger capacity indirect)? Are there any disadvantages to doing this? Thanks, Paul

@ February 16, 2009 12:02 PM in Right solution for DWH and hydronic heating coil

Thanks for the reply! And I apologize for not responding sooner ... damn flu. So just out of curiosity, what's the downside to a tankless unit? I've read good things about the TT boilers, but unfortunately there don't seem to be any installers in my area that are familiar with those units :-( Do you know if these boilers require any special knowledge to install, or perhaps even more importantly to service? I'd hate to get someone to install one, and then find out that I can't find anyone to properly service it. Thanks, Paul

Right solution for DWH and hydronic heating coil

@ February 13, 2009 4:29 PM in Right solution for DWH and hydronic heating coil

I'm a little confused and am looking for some advice on what sort of setup is reasonable for DHW and the hydronic heating coil used by our air handler. Our house has 3 bathrooms (i.e., 3 showers) and according to the specs for the air handler's hydronic heating coil it requires a water flow rate of between 2-5 gpm (at a water temperature of 160). I've had a few contractors come by and have received just as many solutions: (a) 2 Takagi T-K3 (11-199M) water heaters (b) a Phoenix water heater (PH199-55) and a sidearm heater (type not specified) (c) a Phoenix water heater (PH199-55) -- NO sidearm heater (d) a Munchkin boiler (199M) and a Triangle Tube Smart 30 (30 gallon) sidearm tank We live in an area that in the winter times the temperatures typically get down into the low 40's at night and up into the 60's or 70's during the day. So do any of the above solutions seem reasonable? Is there anything else I should consider? Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Paul p.s. The location of the unit does have a height constraint, which is why the Phoenix water heater is the 55 gallon model.

@ April 23, 2008 10:14 PM in Plastics buzz and PEX

One of the founders of Greenpeace comments on the nonsense surrounding the plastic controversy

@ April 21, 2008 8:18 PM in Combi Boiler Recommendation

Sorry for not responding sooner ... We've had problems with this product from the get go. The first unit that was installed kept failing (no heat). This seemed to be an electrical problem that they couldn't nail down, so that one was replaced under warranty. Unfortunately (in some sense), the problems with the second unit have been more intermittent -- to be fair, there have been extended periods of time during which the unit works fine. However, there are only so many unexpected cold showers that my wife and I are willing to take before it seems that the unit just needs to be replaced. Actually, I initially wanted the thing to be overhauled. Unable to find someone local to do the job, I was willing to ship it to the U.S. distributor and have them completely refurbish the unit; but they won't do that ... sigh. The current problem is that the low water cut-off valve gets stuck causing the unit to shut down -- at least that's what I'm inferring since a (more or less) gentle tap with a wrench results in the unit firing up again. Another recurring problem is that the safety relief valve gets stuck on open. Typically, I don't catch this right away, leading to a bit of a mess in the crawl space where the unit is installed. Also the circulator pump is seeping water at the joints. Perhaps this unit will last a long time, but we just don't trust it anymore. Paul Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about boilers, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Combi Boiler Recommendation

@ April 18, 2008 12:15 PM in Combi Boiler Recommendation

Hi, Does anyone have a recommendation for a really good combi boiler? Currently, I have a Cosmogas Axia 29E (which I've had for 4 years). It's given me nothing but problems, and the company that installed it won't come out to look at it (yeah, I did a great job of picking an installer). So before it completely gives up the ghost, I'd like to replace it. Any recommendations for a really well made, reliable unit (even it costs a little more than most) would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Paul