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Joined on September 1, 2010

Last Post on August 14, 2014

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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.

Hot Water Re-Circ and Legionella

@ February 22, 2014 11:34 AM in how prevalent is this?

For what it's worth: the final report that I heard on the original outbreak of Legionaires was that the source of it was the hot water re-circ line in the hotel, not a nearby cooling tower.

The 100* temp in the re-circ line was perfect breeding ground for the Legionella bacteria.

Mr. Mustache's system would produce about the same temp in the floor and then return it to the house for distribution through its shower heads.

But, because his system will save a lot on installation cost, such evidence can be rejected out of hand.

C.I. rads + baseboard

@ February 21, 2014 6:07 PM in Can't Get Baby's Room Warm

This combo is never a good idea on the same loop as you're proving first hand.

Electric BB may solve the problem and be cheaper up front, but you'll pay much more to operate it, especially if you have natural gas. These BB also get much hotter at the element which may be a concern with small children.

C.I. BB may help, but may not be the only issue in this equation. If you have large pipes feeding the C.I. Rads and 3/4" pex feeding the baby's room, there may also be a flow issue. Water takes the path of least resistance and it will naturally seek to go through the larger pipes.

The best solution may be to install a properly sized cast iron rad with the piping sized for the same pressure drop (feet of head) as the rest of the system piping.

Some pics of the boiler, piping and rads would be helpful.


@ February 21, 2014 5:46 PM in Will boiler/pump still work if both zone valves are closed?

The pump will turn on once a zone valve opens.

Why are you considering shutting the boiler off at night? Supposed energy savings? You probably won't see 2% because all the energy that you saved during shutdown has to be used to bring the structure back up to temp in the morning.

Your tenants won't like it either, and rightfully so. They paid for a heated apartment. If you did that to me, I wouldn't pay rent until you stopped. Most states have laws against it.


@ February 21, 2014 5:33 PM in Help!! staple-up insulation foil myth

Some, maybe most home inspectors do a good job. But then there are the ones that are real fountains of mis-information, like this one. Because they carry inspector credentials, home owners, and buyers, assume that what they say is gospel. I've been called out to houses more than once to have to refute some foolishness that a home inspector told potential buyers that was holding up a sale.

Everything that Harvey told you is correct. The main issue is heat transfer plates, not foil-backed insulation. With out plates, the heat output of the floor will be less than half of that with plates. But even that doesn't settle the matter. The real question is: does the floor, and any supplemental heat source, produce enough heat output to match the heat loss of the house at design temperature?

For what it's worth: I have 40+ years experience, several masters licenses and own a business that designs, installs and services radiant systems. I carry a class "A" Virginia license.

Ask the inspector where he got his radiant training and faulty info.

I get real tired of people spouting off info that they haven't researched and confirmed by a recognized authority.

40 minutes

@ February 20, 2014 9:52 AM in how prevalent is this?

That was a new one for me also. Maybe... Maybe 40 minutes of a strong enough concentration of chlorine would kill the legionella bacteria that's free in the water? Of course, the little internet genius didn't provide the concentration or any other data or the source for this claim.

But, what about the bacteria that's embedded in the bio film coating the interior of the pipe? Like you, everything I've read says chlorination in safe levels won't touch that significantly.

Not Surprised

@ February 20, 2014 8:53 AM in how prevalent is this?

I just went to his site and your comments still aren't posted. In fact, there are no new comments since the 2/18.

I can only surmise one of two things:
1. If Mr. Mustache is indeed an honest man (hopefully), he has been given ample cause by the comments here to diligently re-evaluate his system and admit its flaws.
2. If he's only concerned about his pocketbook and reputation, he's blocking any input that would bring his system into question.

Have you thought about emailing him directly to see how he responds? I believe that with your experience and position he would be hard pressed not to ignore you.


@ February 19, 2014 10:34 PM in Alpine Gas Boiler Venting Problem

The Alpine IS a gas boiler. The OP said it replaced an oil boiler.
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