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Sal Santamaura

Sal Santamaura

Joined on August 12, 2009

Last Post on July 16, 2014

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Timely corroboration

@ July 30, 2012 10:41 PM in The AWESOME power of Mother Nature...

Just published yesterday:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?pagewanted=all

His work was funded by, of all entities, the Koch brothers!  In an interview tonight, he made clear that the money came with no strings.

Carbon footprints and humanity's relationship to climate change

@ July 8, 2012 12:10 PM in The AWESOME power of Mother Nature...

Those who refuse to accept that human activity is the major contributor to this planet's rate and direction of climate change over the last centuries are burying their heads in the sand.  Unfortunately, that camp has made the policy decisions which led to and perpetuate this problem.

Reducing one's carbon footprint is all well and good, but such efforts are swamped by earth's hugely increasing human population.  Worse yet, places where the number of people is growing fastest are using dirty energy sources as well as adopting western energy-intensive consumption patterns.

I consider myself fortunate to be childless.  I will retire to a northern location and spend my remaining years "benefiting" from milder winters.  Those of you with children and grandchildren deserve sincere condolences.  It's not going to be pretty.  And was avoidable.

"The worst thing that ever happened to the natural gas industry was de-regulation..."

@ April 28, 2012 12:59 PM in The Propane industry

Tim, that's a correct statement, but applied much too narrowly.  The worst thing that ever happened to this country was deregulation in its many forms.

Regulation seeks to place citizens' interests above corporate interests.  Despite the most recent in a string of absurd Supreme Court decision (Citizens United), corporations are not people.  They are legal constructs granted certain advantages by a government which used to require appropriate corporate behaviors in return.  Unfortunately, for the last three decades, those requirements have been incrementally dismantled.

The people most affected by deregulation, average citizens, haven't a clue that they're complicit in its progression.  Seeing only the immediate, short-term benefit of apparently lower prices, they embrace a brief ability to get "more" of whatever product/service.  Many flock to big box stores and purchase imported absolute garbage for pennies.  They can't grasp the decimation of domestic jobs that results from this unregulated, but unfair, trade.  Until it impacts them.

Extremely significant deregulation took place with the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  No longer were broadcasters required to serve the public interest.  No longer was licensing based on proof of doing so.  No longer were there reasonable limits on number of outlets in a market.  No longer did "news" actually need to be real news.  Now the corporate masters completely controlled what was electromagnetic spectrum owned by all US citizens, with no compensation to the public required.  For the past sixteen years, oligarchs have made good use of their propaganda system.

A Boiler File made reference to "the current administration" and its record on public land drilling.  Let's be clear -- both parties have been complicit in deregulating the industries that, thanks to now nonexistant campaign financing regulations, own them, especially oil and gas industries.  That Telecommunications Act was signed by Clinton.  However, neither party is willing to make appropriate decisions because a public spoiled by "more for less" would turn them out of office for doing so.  icesailor asked ask who will buy Mr. 1%'er's products when everyone is working for miniscule wages.  Executives of entities in the government-corporate complex will happily sell to wherever on the planet a market for those products exists; they don't care if customers are in the US or elsewhere.  Identity and allegiance has transitioned from country to corporation.  Indeed, they "own" this country, which is now of the multinational corporations, by the multinational corporations and for the multinational corporations.

The world's population greatly exceeds its carrying capacity.  Humans haven't demonstrated intelligence superior to other species, failing to recognize this fact and not limiting our reproduction rate.  Therefore, the only thing that can mitigate excessive energy consumption is higher commodity prices.  Gasoline at $5 per gallon should have been implemented by taxing to that level at least fifteen years ago.  Government, owned by big oil, obviously wouldn't go there.  Now, with all our dollars pushing demand in China, the market has finally elevated it to more than $4 per gallon.  Better late than never.  Prices of other energy sources, while not yet tracking directly, will climb proportionally as soon as infrastructure is put into place that enables our NG to reach China et al.

Jean-David Beyer, denial and/or depression will not help you.  My approach is to ignore the mess and concentrate on other things of interest to the maximum extent possible, while still remaining sufficiently engaged to cast informed ballots.  The situation will eventually rectify itself, just as it did the last time we faced similar circumstances nearly 90 years ago.   Citizens United, like Plessy v. Ferguson, will eventually be overturned.  But perhaps not within my lifetime.  :-)

OK, on the third point...

@ February 23, 2012 11:45 PM in Compressed natural gas for home heating?

...I'm willing to yell "uncle."  :-)

I don't think exchanging tanks is a viable approach.  If cars can be made to function  on CNG, your second concern seems surmountable.  However, if the tanks need to be 12 times the size of comparable LNG tanks (is that volume or linear dimensions?), it's probably impractical.

How large...

@ February 23, 2012 10:53 AM in Compressed natural gas for home heating?

...is a "very large tank?"  There are many residential installations that bury 1 or 2 1,000-gallon LPG tanks.  As long as one is digging holes anyway, if the fuel cost per BTU makes sense, it might not be out of the question to install even larger tanks for CNG.  That's what I'm driving at.

I didn't confuse the two products.

@ February 22, 2012 11:47 PM in Compressed natural gas for home heating?

While LNG has 2.4 times the energy density of CNG, LNG isn't practical for individual home heating applications.  My question is whether there's any sign of a CNG market developing to supply individual residences.  The economics might be getting to where it can compete with LPG.

No, I meant CNG,...

@ February 22, 2012 11:42 PM in Compressed natural gas for home heating?

...certainly not LNG.  The extremely low temperature storage requirements of LNG make no sense for individual home heating applications.

Compressed natural gas for home heating?

@ February 22, 2012 12:40 PM in Compressed natural gas for home heating?

Conventional wisdom seems to be that compressed natural gas (CNG) is not used as a heating fuel because it's more expensive than propane.  Given the trends in crude oil and natural gas prices of late, I wonder whether that situation is changing.

What insight can you informed Wallies shed on the possibility of CNG becoming available for home heating in areas of the country where natural gas utilities don't exist?  It would appear to be win-win on multiple fronts, using some of the surplus, domestically produced natural gas as well as cutting oil imports for No. 2 and propane.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Radiant ceiling cooling in the humid northeast?

@ January 30, 2012 12:50 PM in Gypcrete, Warmboard, Quik Trak... Which should I choose

Rob, how do you set up / run Warmboard R ceilings for cooling in your area?  How do you avoid condensation problems during periods of high humidity, i.e. most of the time cooling is necessary in the northeast?  :-)

Or get Warmboard's benefits...

@ January 24, 2012 1:06 PM in Gypcrete, Warmboard, Quik Trak... Which should I choose

...by using Warmboard R on the ceiling, then drywalling over it.  :)

http://www.warmboard.com/radiant-heat/warmboard-r/

Freewatt questions

@ January 4, 2012 1:00 PM in Freewatt questions

I posted this in the "Defective Generator" thread but, in case it gets lost there, decided to start a new dedicated thread so anyone with Freewatt experience will see it.  The Freewatt hydronic package looks attractive. However, there are some aspects that bear further inquiry:

* What mod/con is it, which HX is used and how has overall reliability/performance been?  How compatible is it with various pumping/control strategies?

* A "typical" engine run time is stated as 4,000 hours
per year.  What time-between-overhaul has the single-cylinder Honda
engine been exhibiting?  What's the overhaul cost when required?

* There doesn't seem to be a combustion air input pipe
for the Honda engine.  That implies it runs off room air.  If one must
degrade a home's thermal envelope to provide ambient air communication
with the outdoors for a basement / mechanical room, what's the point of
the sealed combustion mod/con or trying to squeeze out every bit of
efficiency using this system?

Interesting concept, but I wonder whether it's cost-effective when all
these factors are considered.  Any Wallies have experience with Freewatt
and able to answer the questions?  Thanks in advance.








Reply
Edit

Freewatt questions

@ January 4, 2012 12:34 PM in new residential generator - defective control

At first glance, the Freewatt hydronic package looks attractive, but there are some aspects that bear further inquiry:

* What mod/con is it, which HX is used and how has overall reliability/performance been?
* A "typical" engine run time is stated as 4,000 hours per year.  What time-between-overhaul has the single-cylinder Honda engine been experiencing?  What's the overhaul cost when required?
* There doesn't seem to be a combustion air input pipe for the Honda engine.  That implies it runs off room air.  If one must degrade a home's thermal envelope to provide ambient air communication with the outdoors for a basement / mechanical room, what's the point of the sealed combustion mod/con or trying to squeeze out every bit of efficiency using this system?

Interesting concept, but I wonder whether it's cost-effective when all these factors are considered.  Any Wallies have experience with Freewatt and able to answer the questions?  Thanks in advance.

I watched it...

@ November 25, 2011 3:47 PM in The FUN has begun...

and thought us lucky that a few brief shots of (Myson?) baseboards survived the cut.  Then you and your diamond plate-mounted artwork appeared.  You looked a lot less tired than one would expect for a contractor who must have recently become an engineer and who's working 24 hours per day.  :)

Congratulations!  Enjoy your 15 minutes...

Follow up question

@ November 23, 2011 8:02 PM in new residential generator - defective control

Doug, my follow up question to you probably got lost when I combined it with a reply to ERF above.  Here is is again:

"Doug, please expand on your concern about the auto-exercise feature not including a load test.  My understanding of the primary reason for auto-exercising is that it gets the engine running and oil circulating on a regular basis.  Alternators don't typically deteriorate when mostly sitting idle and then 'going along for the ride' during short weekly exercise periods.  Wouldn't an occasional  full-emergency-load test be adequate confirmation that the alternator remains OK?  This probably relates to my prime question:  which brands/models have been exhibiting good reliability?





"

How about something like this?

@ November 23, 2011 1:24 PM in new residential generator - defective control

I've been searching the Internet and found this Onan LP model:

http://www.cumminsonan.com/www/html/Common/pdf/specsheets/a-1492.pdf

It's water cooled,  runs at 1800 rpm and has a 4-pole alternator.  Price and kw capacity are on the order of 2-1/2 times those of your Perkins diesel set.

Any Wallies know whether Onan products from this line have been reliable and whether their output is clean enough to avoid problems with electronic boiler controls?

Follow up questions

@ November 22, 2011 11:05 AM in new residential generator - defective control

ERF, I appreciate your replies to my question.  In my opinion, while a diesel unit might be "better" in certain respects, unless one also has a diesel vehicle, issues related to the fuel (storage, aging/deterioration) are substantial negatives.  Also, in an extended electrical outage, sources of diesel fuel like service stations would likely be unable to pump from their storage tanks.  The manufacturer's information doesn't say one can use #2 either.  Most states haven't yet required 15ppm sulfer in #2, so it wouldn't be viable to hook the generator to one's #2 tank.  If that were possible, your approach would be great when combined with an oil boiler when making the heat source choice in new construction.

Given all that and the number of homes heated using NG or propane, can anyone offer first-hand experience with which auto-exercising, auto-start, auto-transfer standby generators running on those fuels have been most reliable?  Are there any residential models built to the same rugged standards as the Perkins diesel unit?  Propane in particular, while more expensive per BTU than diesel, could be kept virtually forever in a large tank to power the generator.  This is especially convenient if there are no NG lines available and one also uses propane for the boiler.

Doug, please expand on your concern about the auto-exercise feature not including a load test.  My understanding of the primary reason for auto-exercising is that it gets the engine running and oil circulating on a regular basis.  Alternators don't typically deteriorate when mostly sitting idle and then 'going along for the ride' during short weekly exercise periods.  Wouldn't an occasional  full-emergency-load test be adequate confirmation that the alternator remains OK?  This probably relates to my prime question:  which brands/models have been exhibiting good reliability?

So which one is acceptable?

@ November 21, 2011 1:07 PM in new residential generator - defective control

Since that Generac suffered poor reliability / teething problems, which make and model is better?  The "good old days" of mechanical controls seem to be almost gone, whether discussing boilers or standby generators.

As with most devices and situations, one is usually looking for a "least bad" option.  I'd appreciate hearing which auto-exercising, auto-starting, auto-transfer NG- and LP-powered standby residential generators have been working best for Wallies and their customers.  Both in terms of generator reliability and compatibility with modern boiler controls.  Thanks in advance.

Warmboard R as a ceiling installation

@ November 4, 2011 11:59 AM in Tricky radiant design requirements for a vacation home

Mark, that's something I was wondering about recently. How do you mount it up there?  Type/amount of insulation above?  Attachment of drywall below?  Water temperatures?  Any other tips?  Thanks!

Here it is...

@ October 31, 2011 10:34 AM in anybody got a real link to burmham residental site?

http://www.usboiler.net/

Here you go...

@ October 14, 2011 7:48 PM in Burnham website

http://www.usboiler.net/

Turning the world upside down

@ October 11, 2011 12:41 PM in Radiant ceiling help

Mark, have you (or anyone you know) ever put Warmboard on a ceiling?  I know the substrate is thick (even the "R" version), but its even radiation characteristic might be just as useful up there as it is under a floor.

Had my first one seven years ago...

@ May 18, 2011 2:26 PM in It is done...

and due for a follow up this year.


The doctor, upon entering the room, spoke a phrase I'd been warned was his standard.  "Sal, are you going to do this like a man?"  Meaning, without sedative.  I said:  "Sure, but let me have my eyeglasses back;  if I'm going to go through it that way I should at least be able to watch the monitor / enjoy the show."


And so I did.  Fortunately, completely clean, and a fascinating journey the screen provided.  :-)  In addition to the camera, three other capabilities are provided by the probe;  air injection, water injection and suction.  The only thing approaching discomfort was a feeling of bloating when he injected air.  That quickly subsided after suction deflated things each time.


I highly recommend that anyone comfortable with this approach take the opportunity to forego drugs.  Safer and a more interesting experience.
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