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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on August 20, 2014

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Fine Design:

@ August 20, 2014 4:20 PM in condensate drain ?

What does that do to the ability of the coil to remove moisture from the conditioned air?

Have you ever seen anything like that before with that manufacturer? Did someone perhaps not read the installation instructions for draining the pan?
Dis it need an evaporative heater to get rid of that like walk in coolers?


@ August 20, 2014 4:15 PM in Hydronic Baseboard Altitude Derate?

I guess I see the concept, I'll have to get my mind around it.
Like an aircraft flying at 5,000 feet sees less air resistance than it does at sea level. Because the air le less dense and there are less air molecules to heat at 5,000;. The same would then apply to warm air or air conditioning.
Interesting thought.


@ August 20, 2014 2:05 PM in Weil McLain VHE 5

I've drained more than one VHE-5 into a 5 gallon bucket and never had a bucket overflow.
I would have suggested 3+ gallons.

Hydronic Vs. Scorched Air:

@ August 20, 2014 2:01 PM in New heating system

As someone who has lived for over 50 years with forced HW Hydronic heat, who has just spent a years+ with scorched air and chilled air, it really sucks. It is noisy, drafty and uneven. Did I forget dusty? Even with filters which will cut down on air flow.

Altitude Derate:

@ August 20, 2014 1:52 PM in Hydronic Baseboard Altitude Derate?

I don't understand why you would need to de-rate a closed hydronic system if the internal pressures are equal.
In Denver CO, water is supposed to boil at 194 degrees at the atmospheric pressure that equals the atmospheric level. If you put water into a pressure cooker at sea level or in Denver CO, and you heat and pressurize the water to 3#, it will be boiling at about 215 degree F.  In a closed water system like Hydronic baseboard system, it shouldn't make any difference. If the water temperature in the system is set for 160 degrees, it shouldn't matter where it is. It will still be 160 degrees.
I may be wrong. Tell me if I am.

Usual Fineness/Crooked Threads:

@ August 19, 2014 7:56 AM in Not the Usual Failure

You and your guys really know how to screw pipe together. Fun with threads.

Do you know how to make crooked threads? The 2" drop to the return from the 4" to 2" can be threaded to fall into a perfect plumb and vertical  plane with a crooked thread. You need this die stock and only one like this one:

It HAS to be a receding die stock without "True Centering" with just one lever to center the pipe in the die stock tail piece. It MUST have the single centering screw. With the R-85r-c, you can make any pipe from 1" to 2" crooked, including nipples if you make a backyard nipple holder. You can make nipples from close to whatever size you need or want. In the case of the 2" pipe that connects to the 4"X2" coupling, take a longer piece of 2" with no thread and set the centering collar on the back for past 2". Pick a spot (like a 1/2") past. Set the die stock on the pipe and tighten the centering screw. The pipe is now centered in the threading dies, but crooked in the tail stock. When you start the machine, the handle will osculate from front to back on the tool holder. Because it is not centered on the pipe. But when you take it out of the die stock and put it in the crooked fitting, it will osculate in an arc of whatever you have that is crooked. The reason you use a scrap piece is so that if you didn't make it crooked enough, you can adjust it. Adjust it into a plumb or level plane so that you don't need an offset joint to get it so you can measure and pipe accurately.
If you use an All In One Power drive, you can't make it. You have to use a die stock that you can fudge up the centering feature. You can make crooked threads with geared threader's if you can slip a washer under a centering bolt. I've done it way back when. I look at your fantastic piping jobs in envy. I loved threading screw pipe. Unfortunately, where I worked, threading pipe was something that few did. Too complicated and who they learned from, didn't know how or had a power drive. Besides, why screw pipe when you could use 2" Type M Copper. Every boiler I ever did was in screw pipe.
If you want to know how to make back yard nipple holders so you can make your own nipples for that one nipple you don't have and don't want to make a trip back to the shop or the supply house, ask.
It is said: You can't keep it unless you give it away.

Vent Assistance:

@ August 18, 2014 11:11 PM in a.o smith promax direct vent

These can help with that problem.

Veissmann Classes:

@ August 18, 2014 5:03 PM in Long Island/NYC trip to Viessmann

The two day courses are more than worth it. Just to see the facility is worth the course.

Reason to comply:

@ August 18, 2014 8:58 AM in Gas Piping - teflon tape

I'm sure that they have their bogus and prejudiced reasons.
Like thicker tape on gas. The tape just fills the microscopic annular spaces in the threads. Like candle or lamp wicking. Which usually peeled out when I made up well pipe.
Those that can (like you) should be left alone and for the "Those That Can't" should stop hassling those of us that can with stupid, petty rules that make them feel impotent.
You've cut, threaded and screwed together more pipe than I would have ever seen in my life. But if I EVER had to connect to something existing, that I didn't personally install, there is no way I would ever connect it without tape. Because if or when it leaked, I would be taping it to fix it. I've recently watched some real experts apply tape down here. They stick their finger inside the spool and quickly wrap 3 or 5 wraps in the male end of a fitting. With probably a 1/8" of tape past the end of the fitting hanging off the end of the threads. That's where the strings come from.

I also remember fitting CI pressure fittings on boilers and feeling that sick feeling when the fitting suddenly becomes easier to turn and doesn't change. And you have to take it out and throw it away. At your expense. Or the one that cracked and no one noticed it until the system was turned on. Then, it was one heck of a project to replace it. They are never where it is easy.


@ August 18, 2014 8:34 AM in Gas Piping - teflon tape

With tape, that is never an issue. If it is a connection that calls for a 1/2" make-in, and you have it close to 1/2" as you get to the point, stop. It won't ever leak. If you go around again with a 2' wrench, you will stretch the fitting and it might leak.
When you tighten Malleable gas fittings, without tape, it will be loose as you get to that point of stopping. You think you have to make another turn. 1/4 of the way around, it starts to tighten up, then it gets really tight and you have 90 degrees to go. Suddenly, it gets easier and never gets hard again. You might as well take the fitting out and throw it away because you just stretched and ruined it. Even worse with black cast iron fittings. Only, when they get easier to turn, they have cracked.

Power vented gas water heaters:

@ August 18, 2014 8:15 AM in a.o smith promax direct vent

Power vent assisted gas water heaters are pretty well wrung out and haven't had many problems. As long as you keep the vent termination above the snow line (where applicable), they haven't had any problems. They are like a fine wine. They have improved with age.

Softener Backwash Drain:

@ August 18, 2014 8:05 AM in open loop geotherm question

Look at the water softener back wash drain. The drain usually is a 1/2" hose that you can remove with a screwdriver and pull it out. There will be a rubber orifice inside that controls the backwash rate. Too high and it will blow all the Cation out of the tank. Look inside the fittings that contact the backwash water. If there is a large amount of brown plaque or any plaque, you probably shouldn't run raw water through the HX. At some point, one hotter fluid comes in contact through a HX and TDS will separate out of the raw water. forming an insulating plaque. Just like what happens to indirect coils in indirect water heaters. Boiler tank-less coils.

Well water chemistry:

@ August 18, 2014 7:56 AM in open loop geotherm question

It is my long experience that if you don't understand well water chemistry, and you try to fix it, the laws of unintended consequences really come in to play. That no good deed will remain unpunished. If you have a problem with one thing and you fix it, it will cause something else to become a bigger problem which will require an expensive fix.
PH isn't the only problem to be aware of. TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) and what form is a bigger concern. If you are using a water softener to get rid of TDS, and iron is present, it is a form of hardness which water softeners will remove "reasonable" amount of. But if the PH is low, like below 6.7. the water softener doesn't work as well so you need to correct the PH by adding hardness to the water so the softener can take it out. There are other ways of getting iron out of water. All difficult and expensive. And if you run the raw water through the HX and it starts to settle on the coils, it can foul the HX to the point of it being useless. Put a pan of unfiltered cold water on a stove and boil the water away. If there's a lot of white crud, start thinking about the unintended consequences.

Has Beens:

@ August 17, 2014 3:03 PM in Gas Piping - teflon tape

I'm sure that they do and I'm sure that someone had it declared illegal.Done by a bunch of old has-beens that that don't want anything to change. If it were up to them, we'd still be using cast iron drainage pipe with lead and oakum joints. They almost dies when Gasketed soil pipe was approved. Then, No Hob clamps came along. The #1 argument was that some child could take a 5/16" nut driver and dismantle the sewer system. There was nothing better than lead water services. Properly code sized sanitary waste lines are too big for low flush toilets. There isn't enough water to flush a line. So if a gas leak develops after inspection and put into service, that would have never leaked if tape had been used, and the leak causes a fire or explosion, it will never be blamed on not using tape. You can use a #430 Channel Lock pliers in 1/2" gas pipe and never have a leak of over tighten it. I've taken 1/2" and 3/4" gas pipe that I swore was tightened with a 24" pipe wrench. Sometimes, that's what it took to get it apart.

Its probably a union thing. Its easier and quicker. Anything that saves time is a No-No.

Temperature Limits:

@ August 17, 2014 2:14 PM in Wrong aquastat?

Leave the High Limit at whatever you have it until it gets so cold that it doesn't heat the house. Then raise it 5 or 10 degrees. You may find that it doesn't be changed.

The "Sweet Spot" is on that coldest day, the burner runs continuously and the temperature is at the high limit setting. If the burner stops but the circulator runs continuously and the system temperature doesn't drop, and the thermostat is just "Almost" satisfied, you have hit perfection. If the house starts to cool, raise the temperature. You probably don't need 180 degrees.

Some People:

@ August 17, 2014 8:22 AM in Gas Piping - teflon tape

Some people paste both male and female sides of the connection rather than use tape. I've seen Rectorseal #5 run all over the inside of the valve. Excessive use of paste is just bad practice.
Manufacturers use any excuse to deny a claim. A bad coil on a solenoid valve has nothing to do with the use of tape. But they will stick you with the valve if they find tape. Properly applied, there won't be any.


@ August 17, 2014 8:02 AM in Oil additive/bonding/gasket friendly/"O" ring friendly/

You're agreeing with what my old High School Auto Shop teacher Mr. Wilson always said: "You can't buy a mechanic in a can"?

Cold Start:

@ August 16, 2014 5:13 PM in "serviced every year"- We were speechless.........

Those look like Buderus Triple Pass Boilers run as cold start. That's what they end up looking like when they have very long runs while condensing with low return water. Or ODR. With boiler protection and above 140 boiler temperatures, they will look like almost new.

Improperly applied tape connections:

@ August 16, 2014 5:03 PM in Gas Piping - teflon tape

If you find strings of tape inside valves and fittings, the tape was improperly applied. If you find strings inside, the tape was started beyond the first thread. It needs to be started in the second thread back. If you are piping 1/2" to 2" pipe, it only has a 1/2" make-in. If you go to the end of the thread cut, you are wasting tape.

Pipe lubes:

@ August 16, 2014 4:47 PM in Gas Piping - teflon tape

Thread sealing compounds are just like lube oil in an engine. It is to fill the microscopic spaces between one metal surface and another. Theoretically, you don't need ANY compound. But in the process of tightening up a fitting and "galling" occurs, you will have a leak.
As far as the color, some AHJ board lobbied to make people use colored tape. What's the difference between the old standard white, the blue that Crest Good sold and the new Blue Monster stuff they sell today? What's with the Pink stuff that they sell at HD and Lowe's? Where are you supposed to use that?
Teflon tape alone is equal of better than any pipe dope used alone. Used together, it has no equal for thread sealing. "Pipe dope" is for union faces on ground joint connections.

Old dinosaurs lobby Code Writing Authorities to outlaw their pet peeve latest improvement. Onward, backward and downward in reverse.
I've used Teflon Tape for over 40 years exclusively. If it didn't work, I wouldn't use it. Teflon tape on gas? I was once doing a boiler when a gas fitter was piping the building. He had a leak when testing near where I was working. After two attempts at fixing it, I told him to use some tape. "Junk, absolute garbage. I would never use it. It doesn't do anything but make leaks". After two more tries to stop the leak, (this is over a 5 day period), I got PO'ed and fixed it myself, with tape. The next day, he bragged to me how he didn't need no stinking tape. Little did he know.

Tape on oil? Rectorseal #5, Gasoila, Blue Mol is so nasty that if you get it on your clothes, its there forever. Get it in your hands, hand cleaner won't remove it. OK for oil pumps, but not tape? Another air cause.

Larger Service Size:

@ August 16, 2014 11:50 AM in Gas drip leg/reservoir

Remember that the larger pipe size has less restriction than the smaller one. And the larger size will be acting as an accumulator and protecting you (as best it can" from initial pressure drops at start up or if something else comes on line and uses a large initial start load.
If you look, often with PE pipe, the difference between the smaller pipe and the larger pipe is stupid money.
Something to think about.
3/4" Poly pipe is closer to 1/2" ID, and 1 1/4" is closer to 1" ID. Bigger is always better.

Cold Start:

@ August 16, 2014 11:42 AM in Wrong aquastat?

I tried to explain to you that the way you have it is the most economical way that you can set it up. It reads 140 degrees because that is what the operating control setting (LO) is running it at. If you make it a cold start, the very little money you MIGHT save will be well be used up in additional repairs, cleaning and early boiler failure you will suffer if you do it. If you turn on the smallest zone and let it run until the boiler stops, the temperature gauge should read what the High Limit "HI" setting is. You don't need to be cutting any wires. I have no idea what wire someone is talking about. If you insist on wrecking your boiler, turn the "LO" down as low as it will go. When you need hot water, the boiler will be cold and will be condensing water into the boiler until the overall temperature of the boiler and piping reaches 140 degrees.
Some here will suggest that there is no problem running it as a cold start oil boiler. They don't thoroughly clean boilers as part of their living. If they did, they would never recommend turning ANY hot water oil boiler into a "Cold Start" boiler.
"Cold Start" boilers need to be thoroughly cleaned EVERY year. Warm start boilers can go three years. A dirty cold start boiler will cost you money to run.
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