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Joined on May 13, 2004

Last Post on January 1, 2009

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Mad Dog....

@ January 1, 2009 2:49 PM in Business New Year's resolutions............a survey

"...from a deer I harvested last year with German Beer and Merlot in it." May I ask...what was the deer doing with beer and merlot in it? How did it get the beer and merlot? Was it of legal age? Did its parents know it was wondering around in the woods drunk off its antlers on fine German beer and Merlot? Did its drunkenness ultimately lead to its demise? Did its inebriation lead it to mouth off to you in a Mano E Deero challenge? Did it in fact only bring an antler to a gun fight? Just curious, Rocky

Need feedback from those who have cut # of calls per day

@ December 29, 2008 2:15 AM in Number of service calls per day

Am thinking of going to fewer number of service calls per tech per day after the first of the year. Just seems like we can never quite complete the number of calls each tech is assigned each day. This leads to lots of invoices that have tech stating, "need to go back to Mrs. Jones' house and put on a T&P gauge" or whatever the part was that they ran out of time to do. Then our office is left trying to find a place to squeeze in a return visit to complete the required work. Often this is a month down the road before we have an available hour to re-schedule this work. Often this is not due to the part not being on the service van, but the tech running out of allotted time for that call. Currently the techs leave the shop in the morning with the work orders for that day: anywhere from three to four depending on what type of work, and how busy we are. I am feeling that doing less calls per day, but being able to complete them 100% would actually increase profitability. I also feel it would lead to greater customer satisfaction because all the issues would be handled in that one call. Hopefully this would also reduce call-backs by allowing the tech more time to properly diagnose/repair ALL the issues. Has anyone out there done what I'm talking about, and how has it worked out for you? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Rocky

Saw him a couple days ago at the parts counter

@ December 29, 2008 2:05 AM in Did you know temperatures have odors?

He is hale and hearty, just busy these days. Rocky

Design temp for Fairbanks is -47...but its a dry cold ;-)

@ December 28, 2008 11:38 PM in Did you know temperatures have odors?

Yeah, as in 79 degrees below freezing. Fairbanks has 14,000 heating degree days. Sad thing is, there have been several times when my heating equipment would barely keep up because we were BELOW design temp! Coldest actual temp (not wind chill) I have seen here in Fairbanks since doing this work is -55. That was the winter of 1989. That was a rough winter. We have battery, block, oil pan, and tranny pan heaters installed on all our service vans. You plug them in to an outlet at nite if you are one of the unfortunate techs to get back to the shop late and all the indoor parking spots are taken! Tires freeze with flat spots on them and they don't round back out until you've driven about 2 or 3 miles on them. Makes for a bouncy ride until they round back out again. Seats are literally hard as a rock. Ice fog (frozen exhaust from cars, heating systems, power plants etc) gets so thick you literally cannot see a stop light when you are directly under it. Visibility is sometimes reduced to less than 20 feet. Stuff just snaps for no reason... (well, other than its 50 below). Even though its a pain in the heiny, there is still something kinda cool about weathering a cold snap of this magnitude. Makes you realize you're living in a very unique place. In fact, Fairbanks has the largest temperature swing of anyplace in North America, maybe even the world...Fairbanks' highest and lowest recorded temperatures..99 above, and -61 (I think), for a difference of 160 degrees between the two. Been listening to my boiler fire almost non-stop the last two days. Tonight we should get pretty close to design temps so, in theory, my boiler, if sized right, should hump pretty much non-stop. I'll see how close I came when I sized it! Stay warm, Rocky


@ May 10, 2008 2:45 AM in Expanding my horizons

Maybe you could drop me a line at Thanks Rocky

Real TSP

@ June 14, 2007 5:14 PM in TSP concentrations

We have an old hardware store here that you can find just about anything in. A real dinosaur compared to the box stores, but if you have some hard to find item, trust me, Samson's Hardware will have it, from oil drip stoves to pike poles. They still have real TSP. This is going in a water system with about 85 gallons of fluid. Have 17 of these buildings to do. They want the old (25 year old) ethylene glycol blown out, system cleaned, flushed, and new 50/50 propylene put in. Should be a lot of work. Will probably dissolve the proper amount of TSP in hot water then pump it into system and let it circulate for a few days, then dump and flush. So, any ideas as to actual volume of TSP in a hot water heating system? REgards, Rocky

Tekmar 260

@ June 14, 2007 5:01 PM in outdoor rest

Sounds like you just need boiler reset and DHW production. If that is the case, the Tekmar 260 does those two things. If you do not have the tekmar thermostats then resetting the boiler temp and controlling the DHW production is about all you can do from a control standpoint to increase your efficiency. Have literally installed hundreds of the tekmar 260's. They perform well and are very reliable. Hope this helps, Rocky


@ February 26, 2007 2:07 AM in ultra installs

I see a tekmar control on the wall behind the bank of Ultras. Is that a 265 or what? If it is, did you have to use the AM4 Interface kit to make the Ultra's controls talk to the Tekmar mod control? Fixing to install multiple Ultras on a condo job and wanted to know if you used the AM4 module and if so, how easy it was to wire in properly. Thanks in advance, and warm regards from chilly Fairbanks (-36). Rocky

Darrell, where in AK are you?

@ December 17, 2006 10:10 PM in If you had to do it over again...

We, (my Ferguson salesman) are trying to get Siggy up here in the spring. I wish we could get him here in late June to take him to the Gulkana and do some king salmon fishing, but we will take him whenever we can. If you are anywhere near Fairbanks in the spring, keep this in mind. Me and Weezbo traveled to Anchorage last year to take in his seminar, and, as usual, it was well worth the trip. Rocky

One More,

@ December 17, 2006 1:42 AM in Anybody Remember,,,

"Dark Shadows" with Barnabas Collins. Ewwwwww....really scary to a 7 year old. A soap opera about vampires. Combine that with "Night Gallery", "The Night Stalker", and "The Twilight Zone", well, I don't think I slept with the light off till I was in high school! In the immortal words of Bob Hope, "Thanks, for the memories". Rock

Lynn Combustion

@ December 14, 2006 1:42 AM in Boiler Eff. Vent Temp

My Lynn combustion analyzer has cards that show efficiency based on stack temp and oxygen content of exhaust gasses. One card for each type of fuel. You might try Lynn Combustion products web site. Rocky

ProPress systems

@ October 23, 2006 2:13 AM in Press Fittings Part 2

Have three of the 320-E battery tools. Have done miles of everything from 1/2" to 4". Most of our systems up here have HEAVY glycol percentages to keep our sytems safe from the -50 below boogie-man. Have not had any leaking press joints. We service probably 90% of our installs so we see whats going on year to year. Do I think this system is fail safe? Nope. But I do know that with the money I've saved in labor, if I ever do have a few leaks, I can probably take care of them and still be WAY ahead. I do not envy anyone who has a customer demanding that their system be "ripped out and redone" due to something beyond the contractor's control. But to trash what appears to be a very fine product and process too hastily is ill advised. I know I will personally continue to use the press fittings. My 2 cents worth. Warm regards, from chilly Fairbanks, Rocky

So, I need a pump

@ October 6, 2006 12:57 PM in Am I thinking right?

capable of 10gmp at 31.5 feet of head. Hmmm. Any ideas for such a pump? Sounds like I will need to make sure I have a differential P valve in the system. Should I put one large one on the header ends, or, is it better to put one on each tap? This header will have 14 1" taps for 14 remote manifolds. Should I put a 1" dif. bypass on each tap or perhaps would it be better to put one large one on the end of the header? any suggestions would be appreciated. Regards, Rocky

Head loss calcs...

@ October 5, 2006 10:29 PM in Am I thinking right?

Have 1" MultiCor running 200 feet feeding a remote 12-loop manifold of 1/2 pex. Running 30% glycol. Need to move approx 9.5 gallons to the manifold as each loop needs about .75gpm. Trusty Uponor CDAM says to each foot of 1" MultiCor at 30% glycol at 120 degrees has "X" head loss per foot. When I multiply the "X" by the 200 foot supply and the 200 foot return I get "X" times 400. This gives me about 25 feet of head. Now, do I also add the head of the longest 1/2 loop of that manifold (about 6.5 feet) to the 25 feet of head in the 1" Multi? Or, is the 6.5 ft of head in the longest 1/2" pex loop already handled by the pump pushing 25 feet of head for the MultiCor? So in essence, do I need a pump capable of pushing 9.5 gpm at 25 feet, or a pump capable of pushing 9.5 gpm at 31.5 feet of head? Just can't seem to think clearly on this one as too many 16 hour days in a row have fogged my already maxed-out mind! Warm regards from rapidly cooling Fairbanks, Rocky


@ August 28, 2006 5:40 PM in Off Topic - Hawaii

My vote is for Kauai. It is the oldest island and therefor has GOBS of beaches. In fact, it is just one long beach. Scenery is the best as well as far as I am concerned. The locals are still very personable and rural. Not a lot of big developments as local codes keep buildings under about 5 stories. Absolutely gorgeous. Rocky

What type copper should be used for 1-1/2\" Hotel Mains? L or M

@ August 25, 2006 1:52 PM in What type copper to use for Hotel job.

Should I use type L or M copper for the 1-1/2" Hotel Heating Mains?

When does my expansion tank need to be ASME

@ August 24, 2006 5:30 PM in ASME requirements for expansion tank

Under what conditions do I need to use an ASME rated expansion tank on a boiler system?

Pumps on boiler return side?

@ August 24, 2006 2:21 AM in Boiler pump placement on parallel P/S two-boiler system

Can I place the boiler pumps on a parallel primary/secondary system on the individual boiler returns? Usually I put them on the supply outlet, but I am using two Buderus SB615-640 Mod/Con's and the centerline of the outlet is already about 65" high. By the time I get a Grundfos 50/240 pump and B&G 4" Triple Duty valve and a 4" ball valve all stacked vertically on each other, I will be almost above the ceiling. Am wondering if I can put the pump and triple valve on the boiler returns instead? What say Ye? Warm regards from soon to be chilly Fairbanks. Rocky PS. I installed a Buderus 515-12 with a Riello RL50 last week. That is one SWEET system! 1.8 million BTU's running so quiet I can whisper sweet nothings to my honey on my crappy cell phone standing right next to the burner. Second identical boiler and burner goes into the system next week.


@ August 16, 2006 11:02 PM in Hydro carbon contamination and ProPress \"O\" rings

Spoke with Dwight there at Rhomar. They cannot test for hydrocarbon contamination. It actually is surpisingly hard to find anyone who can tell you what is in your glycol as the glycol itself presents problems for most test equipment. It is a distilling process to test for quantity and type of hydrocarbons. Had to send a sample to a test lab in Seattle as no one here in Alaska can do this test. Haven't heard back yet from the lab. Rocky

Runtal Baseboard

@ August 16, 2006 10:42 PM in Runtal

Yep, Put some in my own house about three or four years back. Love 'em. Nothing like waking up on a -40 morning and "feeling" your baseboard. Just like a nice wood stove. My wife loves them too as they are very easy to wipe down and keep clean. Rocky

ProPress O rings and hydrocarbon contamination

@ August 16, 2006 10:28 PM in Hydro carbon contamination and ProPress \"O\" rings

Is the ProPress O ring a captured seal? Meaning, does it really "see" the boiler fluid or is it there as a back up? Reason I am asking is I have a large system that has a mixture of Vic, Propress, and sweat and black iron. Recently the Vic couplings have been failing. Sent some back to Victaulic and they said their testing showed hydrocarbon contamination of boiler fluid and that is why the couplings are going south. Pulled some Grundfos pump gaskets that are only about 1 year old and they too are showing serious signs of deterioration. Looks like a beaver has been chewing on the inner circumference of the gasket. Seeing as how they just paid me $80,000 to re-pipe their entire mechanical room last year with 3 and 4 inch ProPress to get rid of old, leaking Victaulic fittings, I am a bit concerned. Any info will be appreciated. Am trying to avoid cutting out a 4" fitting to slice it open to see of O-ring is going south. Can't remember if the O-ring sees the fluid or if the crunch makes the seal, with the O-ring as a back-up. Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks, Rocky

Runtal BAseboards

@ July 31, 2006 11:42 PM in Runtal baseboards

Installed them in my house about 4 years ago. LOVE 'EM. My wife likes them too as they are very easy to wipe clean. Nothing like laying in bed on a -50 below morning and feel your baseboard radiating like a wood stove. Regards, Rocky
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