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Joined on September 1, 2010

Last Post on July 30, 2014

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@ July 30, 2014 12:34 PM in Brazing without nitrogen?!

Nice video; and it makes the point of the need for using N2. I'm not disputing that, but please look at everything I said.

I've worked on everything from 1000 ton centrifugals down to household refrigerators. I've seen a four inch suction line on a recip so full of carbon from a burnout that it filled 2 quart jars. What could not be removed by hand cleaning had to be left in for the driers to catch. They did just that and after the second change, remained clean.

I've seen centrifugal burn outs so bad that after chemical cleaning, the driers still required multiple changes. But they did their job and the compressor ran fine for many years thereafter. Don't discount what the drier can do.

A Slight Compromise

@ July 30, 2014 11:58 AM in Brazing without nitrogen?!

I almost hate that word, but some circumstances warrant it.

If it's a mini split system or multiple joints, then N2 should always be used. If it's just connecting the line set on each end (2 joints) with a properly sized filter/drier installed, then I don't see where there's enough oxidation produced to make a difference.

Just MHO, but in 40+ years, I don't know of a compressor failure that I've had in less than 10 years of service from a unit. Electrical and other component failures which would cause a compressor failure being excepted. It may even be closer to 15 years. I'm very meticulous and a leak free system, a good vacuum and proper charging are more important than a MINOR amount of oxidation.

Again, JMHO.

Primary Loop

@ July 22, 2014 7:21 PM in Suggestions wanted

I would connect the house piping to form a primary loop and then use two sets of closely spaced Tees to inject into it. Moving from return to supply, the first set would be from the indirect that's connected to the wood boiler. The second set would be from the oil boiler into the loop. This way the wood boiler would supply whatever heat it could and then the oil boiler would kick in if the wood boiler is not producing enough. You could use a strap on aquastat or ETC to hold the oil burner off if the wood is producing enough heat.

I concur with HR that some form of thermal protection for the oil boiler would be prudent.

Obviously, your biggest obstacle is your thick-skulled customer who won't listen to his pro. Setback on a gravity system is totally counter-productive. It's using more fuel and also sacrificing comfort. Not to mention the thermal stress it's imposing on the boiler.

Another issue with ODWBs is that most are slow to recover, especially when hit with a dump load like your facing when that system comes out of setback. The more buffer that you can add to the wood boiler, the better it will handle the dump load and the more efficient it will burn.

I like Harvey's solution best. :)

Still Gravity?

@ July 22, 2014 11:31 AM in How to loop 2 cast iron rads

I agree with Ice that it probably won't work well, particularly if it's still gravity. If it's been converted to forced flow, you make it workable by adding a small circ on that riser, but the first rad will still heat up first.


@ May 1, 2014 12:06 AM in Please take this survey

But SlantFin is only listed in one place. I haven't installed any of their newer stuff, but it looks like they have a good product line. Especially with their fire tube mod/con.

Argo Priority

@ April 16, 2014 11:45 PM in Buderus GB142/30 no heat as outdoor temps rise

"The main Argo is on PRIORITY for zone one". This setup will NOT work correctly when using the AM10 with outdoor reset. The water temp being supplied to the indirect will always be tempered by the reset curve.

For priority, the indirect must be piped from the domestic charging connections provided on the boiler manifold and the Buderus sensor that came with the boiler must be used in the indirect's temp well. The sensor connects to the "FW" terminals on the boiler and the domestic charging pump connects to the "PS" terminals. The boiler control will automatically provide domestic priority and override the WWSD for domestic charging. Use the dial with the faucet icon to set the tank temp.

And ditto on properly setting the WWSD.


@ April 11, 2014 9:50 PM in Can a Circulator Pump Past a Stopped Downstream Pump?

The impeller in the down stream circ will cause some resistance to flow, but like Charlie said, it won't stop it.

4 inch flex - never

@ April 7, 2014 10:08 AM in New install Furnace

A 4inch flex line will carry about 40 cfm at normal static pressure. That's 240 cfm for 6 of them - well below the minimum cfm that even the smallest (40k btu) furnace would require.

We never use 4" flex on duct system except maybe a short run to a 3x5' half bath with no exterior exposure.

4" flex is for bath exhaust fans.


@ March 30, 2014 10:19 PM in Gas piping

Any word back from Navien?

We know they monitor this site. Why don't they reply?

Rebuild Kit

@ March 25, 2014 10:09 AM in Munchkin replacement

I'd recommend finding the local distributor for HTP and obtaining the parts from them. You should also replace the swirl plate if you go this route.

In general, I'd don't deal with Internet peddlers, but a google search for "Munchkin Boiler Parts" should give you some options, too.


@ March 24, 2014 10:31 PM in HELP!

Here's a good steam pro:


@ March 24, 2014 9:53 PM in Munchkin replacement

The cleaning process is simple for a tech that knows the boiler, but would be lengthy to describe. I'd look for the video.

One thing that is essential is removing ALL the debris BETWEEN the HX coils. This is what most people miss, but what must be done. Use a credit card to get between the coils and a soft scrub or toothbrush with CLR. Make sure the drain flows freely.

Has a combustion analysis ever been performed?

Not Just Orifices

@ March 24, 2014 9:41 PM in Natural Gas to LP gas conversion .. orifices

There's more to converting a gas appliance than just changing orifices. It also involves replacing the regulator spring in the gas valve and setting the manifold pressure with an accurate manometer. The pressure MUST be set to the manufacturer's specs and the installer must assure that the inlet pressure remains at a constant minimum level with ALL appliances on the line firing. Then the fuel to air ration needs to be adjusted and the only accurate way to do this is with a digital combustion analyzer - something your guy has probably never even seen.

Had all these steps been followed, you would not have had any shooting.


@ March 22, 2014 11:11 PM in Radiant

How does the DHW work? If I'm following the piping correctly, the cold comes through a BFP (imagine that), then through a PRV and into the cold port of the TMV. How will this induce circulation through the tankless when a faucet is opened?

Top Nipples

@ March 21, 2014 11:41 PM in Ornate Cast Iron Radiators

That's correct. Your rads only have bottom nipples and therefore can only be used on steam. The Oventrop valve won't change that. It's purpose is to allow both supply and return to enter from one point so the rad won't have to be tapped from the other end.

Rads with top nipples are compatible with steam or hot water.

Shooting Gallery

@ March 21, 2014 11:31 PM in Munchkin replacement

You keep using the shot gun approach and sooner or later you might hit something. How do you know that you need any or all of those parts? It may just need a PROPER cleaning of the burner, HX and condensate drain. Most so called "techs" don't know how to properly service a Munchkin.

Why don't you hold off on the parts until you get the boiler properly serviced? Without proper maintenance and diagnosis, you're gonna have a heat exchanger failure, then you'll be recycling the Munchkin at the scrap yard.

CIBB on One Pipe

@ March 21, 2014 7:38 PM in Adding cast iron baseboard to one-pipe steam system

How is it gonna vent?


@ March 21, 2014 7:31 PM in Gas piping

"Under advisement". Whatever that means.

I have been in Navien training class where less than stellar attendees have ask why a199k btu appliance could not be connected to a 1/2" gas line. After the instructor gave a detailed and correct explanation, the knucklehead replied: "You ought to make that thing where it can be hooked to a 1/2" line". The instructor then explained again why it could not be done and the knucklehead said: "Well, I don't know about any of that stuff, but you ought to make that thing where it will work with a 1/2" line".

I think someone at Navien has realized that they sell to a lot of knuckleheads and therefore they're gonna "tell 'um what they wanna hear".


@ March 21, 2014 7:10 PM in Munchkin replacement

R.E. Michel for ECR/Utica, Aireco for Dunkirk.

Fire Tube

@ March 21, 2014 10:59 AM in Munchkin replacement

Any of the numerous manufacturers that have adopted the fire tube heat exchanger would be a good choice. Lochinvar WHN, Triangle Tube, HTP Elite Fire Tube, SlantFin, Weil McClain to name some. Not all of their boilers use the fire tube, though. HTP still makes a wall hung version of the Munchkin (the Contender).

The ECR/Dunkirk/Utica is not a fire tube, but has an excellently design HX and is very reliable. I'll attach a pic of its HX and there's a previous thread under my handle that discusses it.

The main thing, the most important thing IS the installer/servicer. Focus on getting a good one; he's the most important factor, not the boiler.

I'd recommend that you contact Alan Forbes @ California Radiant and see if he can help. Use the"Find a Contractor" tab above.


@ March 20, 2014 6:43 PM in Gas piping

I couldn't agree more. If a cubic ft of gas has a caloric value of 1050 btu's, then that's all you're gonna get no matter what you do in the appliance. The chart that I just peeked at says you'll get 110 cubic feet through a 1/2" line that's 24' long. That looks like about 115,500 btu's to me.

Someone's doing funny math again.

Heat loss?

@ March 20, 2014 6:27 PM in Burnham ESC vs. Combi Wall Hung

What's the heat loss of the house? Has a load calc been done?

We always recommend doing one and sizing the boiler to that, especially a mod/con. Otherwise, you'll have a short cycling problem. Just a simple calc of the entire envelope is sufficient for sizing the boiler. Modern boilers are low to medium mass and over/sizing will greatly shorten the boiler's life as well as efficiency.

Don't size it based it based on domestic, unless it's a combi like the NCB.

Also, the NCB can be twinned with an NR, but I seriously doubt that's needed for the load you've described.

On other caveat: depending upon the type of emitters and the water temp required, you may not get the full 120k for space heating as the on board pump will only deliver 4.5 gal. for space heating also. (4.5x500)x20* delta T= 45,000 btu's.

120k btu's would be enough to heat a 4000 sq. ft. house that's not well insulated. Is the house anywhere near that size?
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