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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 17, 2014

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Old System

@ May 18, 2011 9:55 PM in Old System

I have a customer I took on last Spring (2010) with an old house that was gut rehabbed between 1910 1nd 1920. The house was built 1790 to 1810. A coal fired gravity system was installed with one zone and radiators on two floors. At some time, the coal was dropped and the boiler was converted to oil. Sometime in the early 2000's, there was a flood in the cellar and the boiler was replaced with a Peerless JOT. A Vaughan Top Performer is used as an indirect. The supply and return to the original boiler is 4" screw pipe. All the radiator connections are 1 1/2"  screw pipe. There's a lot of water in the system. All the radiators on the second floor have been disconnected in the cellar. One second floor circuit that had two radiators on it was supposed to be broken and leaking. I air tested it today and it doesn't leak.
What I would like to do is use a mixer controlled by outdoor reset to control the radiator water temperature and run the boiler above condensate. I just need the valve and controls. I plan on making the disconnected second floor, another zone.
Who makes such valve and what are thoughts?

Filling three tanks:

@ May 18, 2011 8:17 PM in Eliminating blow back when filling tanks

Perhaps this arrangement is why it is illegal to connect more than two 275 gallon oil tanks together. 660 gallons is the most you can store in two tanks and three 275 tanks hold 825 gallons of oil.
I don't see how the middle or end tank could ever fill properly. It would take a 1/2" feed on the bottom to be the equalizer pipe.
Just because three tanks are tied together, doesn't make it right and maybe that's why. It is too difficult to fill them all at once.

Circulating storage tanks:

@ May 16, 2011 8:35 AM in Finally Installed GE Hybrid Heat Pump Need Advice

There is an inherent problem with instantaneous gas DHW heaters. Short draws will not start them. Or, they start and stop all the time. The remedy is to install an 8 gallon electric hot water heater as a storage tank. You don't use the electric elements. The idea is to put in a circulator to pump the cold water out of the tank and through the tankless heater. The flow will trip the gas valve open when the circulator starts. When the storage tank is hot or satisfied, the pump stops and the gas valve closes. If you get short draws, the hot water in the tank takes care of the short or low demand. You are trying to do the same thing. Pipe the hot water to the fixtures from the hot on the tank. Come off the bottom of the tank with the circulator and pipe it to the cold inlet of the water heater or if an instantaneous heater, the cold inlet. The hot discharge from the heater goes into the cold of the storage tank. You use the bottom thermostat as a thermostatic switch to start and stop the circulator when hot water is called for.
With this piping arrangement, you can increase the control of hot water available and the amount of water stored. I have been using variations of this piping arrangement for more years than I care to remember. In my opinion, if you have solar hot water, I would use some variation of this piping arrangement and multiple tanks to store hot water and also control the temperature of DH Water.
You can spend a lot of money on complicated arrangements to make something work but I always go back to the fact that the ancestors of the Inca's in Peru, diverted a river to irrigate their crops from one side of a valley to another. They had no transit as we know it. But, they did. They took a large gourd, filled it with water, placed a floating object in the water with two equal sticks on it, and sighted across the valley to get a level line.
When I had my last house built, the builder tried to tell me that the foundation wasn't high enough when I told him it was too low. I told him the foundation was supposed to be 5' above the bench mark. That  it was 7' He told me it wasn't. I said it was. He wanted to know how I knew and where was my transit? I told him I stuck my 6' level in that pile of sand and used a story pole and I measured it. That if he left it like that, I would need a ramp to get in my garage. Get the surveyor. He told me that night that the surveyor said I was wrong and they had poured the footings.
I have a huge ramp to get into my garage. I had to have  rock walls so I could get out of the house and pay for a lot of dirt that they took away saying I didn't need it.
Keep it simple but don't be stupid.


@ May 15, 2011 12:18 PM in Finally Installed GE Hybrid Heat Pump Need Advice

That's what you get when you do it like I do. The thermostat controls the circulator.


@ May 15, 2011 12:14 PM in leaking steam radiator

My old High School Auto-Shop teacher used to say "You Can't Buy A Mechanic In A Can".
You can try automotive stop leak or preparations for hydronic systems. I've never seen them work. Replace what is leaking for a permanent fix if it isn't a packing nut or a threaded connection.

Acid neutralizers:

@ May 15, 2011 10:19 AM in solution for the chlorides leaching out of the venting systems

They sell an acid neutralizer that connects to the condensate drain as it comes out of the boiler. It neutralizes that acids, raises the PH, and you then drain it into the condensate pump. You can then pump it where you wish ( providing that codes allow it of course) but the waste water is neutralized.  Trust me, if you dump it into your garden, and you have acid loving plants, they will be happy. For all others, it is death. Unless you heavily spread lime to neutralize the PH or the contaminated soil. In fact, that isn't a bad idea. With that non-existent acid rain and the3 non existent global warming, the plants will love you for it.

Storage Tanks:

@ May 15, 2011 10:02 AM in Finally Installed GE Hybrid Heat Pump Need Advice

No, pipe it so that you can isolate the storage tank. And run the circulator by controlling the storage tank. That way, you can run the DHW tank at a higher temperature and the storage tank controlls the temperature to the fixtures. It takea a tribe of valves but it works well. Your way is too complicated. It is making my head hurt.

WH Piping:

@ May 15, 2011 9:16 AM in Finally Installed GE Hybrid Heat Pump Need Advice

That may work for you.
In my 40+ years, I have piped storage tanks about every way there is, One stands out head and shoulders above the rest.
You don't show the direction of flow to the tanks but the cold MUST go into the water heater first. Being the active heater, you defeat the TPR valve by not having the cold water going into the WH. It needs cold water to work if needed. I pipe the circulator pump piping to the cold water inlet of the water heater, so it goes down the dip tube. I also now install mixers on the hot outlet to conserve hot water in the tank. If you get very hot water in the heat tank, you can control the outlet by using a storage tank.

Water Heater Piping:

@ May 12, 2011 6:58 PM in Water Heater Piping

If you are running out of hot water,and you decide to add another water heater, you will be doubling the recovery rate of the DHW system because you will have two elements running as needed where with one heater, only one element ever runs at a time.
If you pipe the two together, I always pipe them in parallel. I make the connections exactly equally spaced between the two tanks to keep them in balance. If you pipe them is series, the cold water comes in the first tank and you draw off the second tank. The first tank comes on after a while but the second tank doesn't come on until the first tank is depleted. When piped as a balanced parallel piping, both elements should come on at about the same time. I've done it for more years than I can remember and never had a problem. It does not work as well with a tank of differing sizes.
Before I went to the level you plan though, I would install a Honeywell AMX101 water heater mixing valve. Run the tank at 140 degrees and let the tempering valve mix it to 120 degrees. Raising the water temperature is equal to having a larger tank. The valve I use is a direct connect to the top of a water heater and comes with a check in the cold water port. I've been using these valves since they came on the market.

Water Heater Piping:

@ May 11, 2011 4:27 PM in Water Heater Piping

What kind of water heater do you already have installed and how do you heat the water?

Oversize Software

@ May 8, 2011 8:28 PM in heat loss software

This may not count for much, but, in my opinion, as long as one program, compared to another, covers the losses in some relatively equal way, it doesn't matter all that much. Because with everyone wanting to use low temperatures in hedating systems which means additional radiation, more radiation means lower water temperatures. With experience with your programs, you can fudge or adjust your results.

Heat Loss Software:

@ May 8, 2011 10:10 AM in heat loss software

I've used the Slant-Fin software and the IBR calculation manuals that Slant-Fin came from. I've never ever had a problem.
Some experience is required when using these programs. Knowledge of what you are dealing with is very important. Where you really get in trouble with these programs is infiltration. An  insulated building requires a lower factor and an uninsulated building requires a much higher infiltration factor. High enough the throw a room number right out the window with all the heat you were planning.
When I do a calculation, I do the room calculations and measure the radiation installed in the room. I know that the radiators in the room worked, and that the radiator kept the room warm. If the BTU calculated loss is way below what is installed in the room and your calculation don't come somewhere near. someone didn't use the right numbers.
I bought the IBR course, many years ago and figured it out for myself. Because one supply house was so much higher in their calculations than another. When computer programs first came out, I tried a few. It was easier to do it myself because I could nuance the problem areas.
If you really want to be a heating pro, do your own calculations. You will get a whole new understanding of what you are trying to do. And when you get called on a problem job installed by others, you will know just what is happening and you will look at it with true knowledge.


@ May 8, 2011 9:36 AM in Switching to Viessmann

They perform. Make sure you read the install manual from cover to cover AND the venting manual. Read it more than once. If you follow their instructions, you will be very happy. If you take a flyer, you may be sorry.
Use their hydrauclic seperator. Forget the closely spaced tees.
Pipe the boiler circulator like they show.
Happy piping.

Um: Expansion devices

@ May 4, 2011 10:24 PM in Weil Mclain Ultra constant problems

It may not be in the perfect place for some, but as far as I am concerned, as long as one is connected to the system, and it is or the proper size, and a #30 seems to fit most, I don't see what difference it makes where it is, as long as it is giving thermal hydronic expansion a place to go.
A far greater clue that needs an answer is the sound of rushing water in the pump.
If a heat generating source needs a certain flow rate and the system needs a certain flow rate, and the two aren't equal, strange things will happen. Hydraulic separation, which is the cousin to primary,secondary piping may be the answer. I've read about far too many problems with Ultra boilers. Perhaps a hydraulic separator, piped appropriately, would be a good solution.
Some of these boiler piping diagrams show the indirect as part of the boiler piping and the boiler pump runs through the indirect.

Cold Pipe

@ May 4, 2011 7:37 PM in Removing asbestos and a cold snap

You probably won't get any steam hammering, but you will surely have a warm and toasty cellar or under-floor crawl space.
Crank the heat. Be warm and comfortable.

Ultral Constant Problems:

@ May 4, 2011 7:33 PM in Weil Mclain Ultra constant problems

My take on this (which isn't worth much).
I think that this is why Veissmann is so solidly insisting on hydraulic seperators on these applications.  In spite of the fact that the SSU 45 SuperStor is piped 1", the coil and connections are 3/4".  Restriction #1. Then, a high volume/head circulation to overcome the restriction. The "rushing water and pinging" is cavitation. A very bad thing. When you use hydraulic seperation, you may eliminate these problems.
You may not be able to do what I would try but if cavitation is a problem, turn up the system pressure. If it is 15# pressure on the gauge when it is cavitating, raise the system pressure with the by-pass lever until it gets to 25#. If the noise gets quieter or goes away, you stopped the cavitation. which is just water boiling around the impellors. Submarine props will cavitate and make noise. SONAR can hear it. The sub slows the prop down and dives deeper. It stops the noise. And the cavitation. The stronger the impellor design the greater chance of cavitation.


@ May 3, 2011 8:57 PM in computing air-volume : is "boiler room" big enough?

Your answer wasn't correct and I'm not getting into it with you.


@ May 3, 2011 8:46 PM in Thread and Pitch

If you buy a John Wood hot water storage tank (like the plumber who plumbed the last house I built where I live), it is just a stock 50 gallon electric hot water heater with 1" plugs screwed into the tank. There is some small amount of taper to the female threads in the tank. The gasket you speak of is really for the shoulder/flange of a water heater element. When I use electric water heaters for hot water storage tanks, I just leave the electric elements in place. I've probably installed at least 75 of them and I've never had one leak through the element. When they go, they go like any other water heater.
I didn't plumb or heat this house I built in 2001 because the contractor hired all the subs and the plumber/heater was a good guy. I was busy working for my regular customers, where I work.
Three wraps of Teflon Tape, especially the new "Blue Monster" stuff and Hercules Meg-Loc Blue or Rectorseal #100 Virgin Teflon Paste is all I ever use. I've never ever had a leak. I also use Rectorseal #5 with Teflon Tape with it.


@ May 3, 2011 7:01 AM in computing air-volume : is "boiler room" big enough?

You're a lot smarter than anyone here. Explain it to us using words that some of us here can understand.


@ May 3, 2011 6:56 AM in Thread and Pitch

water heater elements are standard 1" IPS threads. A 1" screw plug will fit in.
Why do you ask?
If you are trying to use the taps for a side-arm heater arrangement to feed a floor panel or something like that, you can do it but it is very hard on the tank.


@ May 2, 2011 7:52 PM in computing air-volume : is "boiler room" big enough?

Your circular logic is stunning.
And potentially deadly.

Boiler Rooms:

@ April 30, 2011 11:31 PM in computing air-volume : is "boiler room" big enough?

Are you asking  me?
I was asking the question.