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Joined on September 1, 2010

Last Post on July 22, 2014

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Installed Several...

@ March 2, 2014 10:34 PM in Lochinvar Knight boiler problems

Never had a problem or heard of any such thing like you've been told.

You've tagged onto the end of an existing thread. In order to stay on topic, we don't do it that way around here. You should start this as a new thread if you want more responses.

Radiant floor

@ March 2, 2014 10:21 PM in Mixing Radiant Floor and Rads

Is the floor gonna be a slab or wood framed? Either way, you need a second loop of the boiler with its own circ and temp control. Allowing the boiler return water temp to go below 130* can also result in flue gas condensation. Your control strategy must also address this.

If the floor is a slab, then variable speed injection mixing is the proper way to control the slab temp while protecting the boiler. Look up Tekmar's essay on this from their site as well as info on their 356 control. It's something you're probably gonna need a real hydronics pro to do or guide you through.

Don't even consider running the floor off your water heater! You'll create a Legionella breeding machine. There's a long thread on the "main wall" right now, as well as many others, dealing with this. It's titled "How Prevalent is This".

Not enough info...

@ February 27, 2014 11:13 PM in help!!

For an accurate diagnosis, but a safety in the control circuit may be causing power to be interrupted to the igniter.

The two most likely would be:
1. A vent pressure switch which would point to blockage in the vent, collector or condensate drain if it's a 90% + furnace.
2. A limit switch which could mean something as simple as a dirty filter or as serious as a bad heat exchanger.

The igniter itself may be cracked if it's hot surface type.

It would not be in the thermostat or its wiring if the draft inducer was running.

I'd really recommend you get a pro and not attempt any DIY repairs.


@ February 27, 2014 10:55 PM in Apologies and explanation

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who can accomplish such great feats in Geekland. :)

Good Advice

@ February 27, 2014 10:49 PM in lennox gwb8-150e-2

I would second what Slim has said and re-iterate that you find a good HYDRONICS contractor. The installer is 98% of the equation and there's a whole lot more to this than just joining pipes.

I also question that boiler size, unless your house is very large or leaky. Don't let someone size the new boiler based upon the size of the old one - send that hack packing. A load calc is essential and easy to do.

Find a good wet head that will do a load calc and take his recommendation for a boiler.

By the way, Dunkirk makes good products, particularly their "Laser Tuber" boiler which is advertised at the bottom of the page under "product of the month". The Utica SSC is the same boiler.

Pex A or B

@ February 27, 2014 10:30 PM in pex size

Pex A is the highest quality and has a life expectancy of 200+ years. Pex B is inferior, has a 25 year life expectancy and is almost surely made in China. Pex B cannot use expansion fittings. I would not consider using it.

Pex requires support at 32 inch intervals minimum and will expand in any direction it can.

Let me put it in perspective:
A 3/4 inch x100 ft length of pex will grow in length about 12 inches when it's temperature is raised 100*. That's about the normal amount of temp rise between on and off cycles with BB heating. Think about it: your pipe will be growing and shrinking one foot in length between each boiler cycle.

Now look a 3/4" length of 100' copper. Under the same conditions, its expansion will be about an inch. And it will still retain its lateral stability.

Pex-al-pex has almost the identical characteristics as copper and it also retains its lateral stability.

Now before you write off using it, please listen to the advice of a pro who has run miles and miles of it as well as pex and copper. You can buy compression fittings for it and all they need are two adjustable wrenches. You don't have to use press fittings.

Secondly, when you bend it, it stays put, just like soft copper. You can even use a tubing bender to make perfect bends, but it's not required. That ought to lower your fitting count also.

Third, it has a larger internal diameter than pex and carries about 30% more than pex in 3/4 and 1" sizes.

Fourth, it only requires support at 8' intervals.

Without knowing how much radiation you're connecting to any loop it's not possible to know what size pipe should be feeding it. But, 3/4" copper or pex-al-pex will carry up to 4 gpm which translates to 40k btu's in a standard BB system. That translates to 80' of BB at 170* average water temp. I doubt that your loop will have anywhere near that much and if it does, the loop should be split.

You ask for a pro's advice and more than one has pointed you to pex-al-pex. FostaPex is a brand of it.

Another Option...

@ February 27, 2014 9:51 AM in pex size

Pex-al-pex is a composite of pex and aluminum but acts very similar to soft copper including its co-efficient of expansion. In simple terms, it won't act like a piece of spaghetti when heated the way that regular pex does and is usually a little less expensive than type A pex with an O2 barrier.

I have installed countless miles of it and it's usually my first choice for what you're describing.

It's also listed as pert-al-pert. "Pert" means poly ethylene raised temperature.

Your System?

@ February 27, 2014 12:21 AM in Apologies!

What happened with your system?


@ February 26, 2014 11:18 PM in pex size

Pex has almost the same flow rate as copper. The barbed fitting can be restrictive and should be used very sparingly. The ideal thing would be to run the pex all the way back to the manifold with no fittings, but that's not always possible.

Two things, one essential:
First, you MUST use oxygen barrier pex, not plumbing pex.
Second, type A pex is "memory" pex which means it will return to its original size after expansion. Several manufacturers offer expansion fittings which do not reduce the I.D. of the pex. The Uponor ad to the right pictures one brand. It does require a special tool, but it's a much better method than barbs with crimp rings.


@ February 26, 2014 9:57 AM in Underground Insulated Pex

The only caveat with Insul-seal is that it has no flexibility at all. Even less than bare PVC because of the polyurethane coating. They do have pre-made fittings for it, but trying to improvise your own with electrical sweep fittings can be real fun since the PVC in the Insul-Seal is SDR22, not schedule 40.

Don't even ask me how I know this. :(

Missing Peices

@ February 25, 2014 8:49 PM in Has anyone ever heard of this?

There are several missing peices to this puzzle. Particularly any info on the hydronic system. What's its maximum operating temp? How is the tubing installed? I have seen online hack advice that instructed for the tubing to be attached to the side of the Ijoist or even directly to the top flange. I've come across it in the field also.

These "systems", of course, required elevated water temps in an attempt to compensate for the improper installation of the tubing. Ive never known of a properly designed and installed radiant system to damage a floor or framing members.

If heat transfer plates were install and the floor surface temp limited to 82*, how could the Ijoist be damaged since it would be cooler or about the same as the floor surface?


@ February 25, 2014 4:04 PM in Venting mod con up a (lined) chimney flue?

The chimney can be used as a chase, but nothing can vent into it if you choose to do this. S.S. Venting can get expensive.

I don't understand your conception that a side wall vent will get blocked by snow if it's done correctly. The instructions for horizontal venting specifically state that both the intake and exhaust must terminate above the highest anticipated snow fall for your locality. To accomplish this, you simply turn the pipes up vertically once they exit the exterior wall to a point above the anticipated snow level. Then, Ell the intake over and the exhaust horizontal. My house is done this way and there's never been an issue.

There are also inexpensive freeze alarms that will call you if the house gets too cold. The Lochinvar WHN has a set of alarm contacts that can be incorporated into an alarm system should the boiler control lock out.

You're gonna have to forget the chimney if you want to keep your fire place, unless it's in a separate liner.


@ February 25, 2014 9:18 AM in Janitrol Automatic pilot

You should move this over to the"Gas Heating" forum and post it there. If anyone knows the answer to your question, it would be Tim McElwain.

Load calculation

@ February 23, 2014 2:48 PM in Rinnai RH180 or 100 Gallon Atmospheric?

You need to do a domestic load calculation. Neither you or your customer will be happy if he spends a chunk of money on something that doesn't meet his needs. Don't guess at it.

Use a 5 gal. bucket to time the flow rate of each fixture since you don't know that with the orifices drilled out.

Then, get with your rep and let them size it if you don't have a program or know the formulas. Ask your customer how many fixtures, particularly showers, he expects to run at the same time.

From what your describing, it looks like he may need two tankless (at least) twinned together.

Not 80%

@ February 23, 2014 2:31 PM in Bonnet capacity

That's not an 80% furnace, it's probably 65% at best. Any thing that would have "bonnet capacity" stamped on it is probably at leas 35 years old, maybe much more.

A new 80% furnace must have a liner installed with it to prevent flue gas condensation. By the time you pay for that, you could have gotten a 95% one and been better off in most cases.

Also, a heat loss calculation needs to be done as the old furnace is probably way over-sized for the house and a higher efficiency furnace would have more output.

I'll go with...

@ February 22, 2014 5:12 PM in Forensic Investigation:

It wore out.

Pump Curve

@ February 22, 2014 3:14 PM in friction loss

Go on Taco's web site and use their pump sizing tool.

I question using 2" for 50 gpm on a hydronic line. Your velocity maybe too high.


@ February 22, 2014 3:11 PM in Will boiler/pump still work if both zone valves are closed?

Cost is not something we are allowed to discuss on here. See the site rules.

However, the outdoor reset control probably won't cost more than a couple of higher end programmable thermostats, labor excluded.

As far as making the system more expensive to service, I don't see how. It's a simple control and I've been installing them for close to forty years.

You've only stated the make of your boiler. That doesn't answer any of the questions about it. The more we know of your system, the better we can answer questions about it.

Does the boiler have a tankless coil in it that heats your domestic water? Some pics would help.

Old Farts?

@ February 22, 2014 2:57 PM in how prevalent is this?

I'll have you to know that we're ALL young men around here! :)


@ February 22, 2014 1:06 PM in how prevalent is this?

Just had this show up on my IPad:

Half the tapwater tested by the EPA has Legionella!

Regarding chlorination: even if it worked, what do you Mustachians propose for the many homes on well water like mine?

Younger and Smarter??

@ February 22, 2014 12:28 PM in how prevalent is this?

So they think. That's the curse that this modern society has placed upon our young people: they've been taught that they know more than the older generation. Common sense would dictate differently, but it's part of the Kool Aid they've been made to imbibe so that they feel they're entitled to take over.

No society has ever held this view until recently and we see the results.

Mark Twain said: " When I was seventeen, I couldn't believe how stupid and foolish my father was, but by the time I'd turned twenty-one, I couldn't believe how much the old man had learned in just four years".

A better approach

@ February 22, 2014 12:08 PM in Will boiler/pump still work if both zone valves are closed?

What type of boiler do you have? Oil, gas, cast iron, mod/con? Post some pics if you're not sure. What type of radiation? Cast iron rads, baseboard?

A better, and different approach would be to have outdoor reset installed on the boiler. The amount of savings will vary depending on the type of boiler and radiation you have, but it should be significantly better than using setback thermostats. And the tenants will actually experience better comfort instead of sacrificing it.

Outdoor reset will adjust the water temp in the boiler to actually match the heat loss of the building based on outdoor temp. The warmer it is outside, the lower the temp in the boiler and vice versa.

Beware that this is something you should have a hydronics pro install and adjust. It's also not compatible with setback thermostats, but typical energy savings are at least 15%. Your actual mileage may vary.
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