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Sal Santamaura

Sal Santamaura

Joined on August 12, 2009

Last Post on March 31, 2014

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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.

What about Burnham?

@ April 14, 2011 7:39 PM in Indirect Water Heater lifespan

Anyone use the Alliance?

http://www.usboiler.burnham.com/products/water-heaters/alliance-sl/index.php

It appears not to use stainless of any variety.

Interesting product.

@ April 14, 2011 7:15 PM in reluctant contractor, or scam artist?

Has anyone here used the Smith's Environmental high-output baseboard?  If so, what were your impressions?  Quality?  Durability?  Thanks in advance.

And for a great case study of why active solar...

@ April 3, 2011 4:38 PM in No April Fools here...

...with windows facing North is better, jp should read about Larry Weingarten's home:

http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/whh/pages/hummingbird-home.html

Quite true Mike.

@ March 11, 2011 3:05 PM in Deadmen

Ten years ago, when cleaning out my late mother's house, I found she still had the balsa-and-ball-peened-sheet-stock fish we made in that Lincoln shop class.  So this thread goes round and round back on itself...
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