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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on July 30, 2014

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Hydro Vs. Bladder tanks:

@ July 25, 2014 7:25 PM in handling power outages on a well

Before the development of "Bladder Tanks" on water well systems, they were rated on the amount of water that was removed from the tank, with the air pre-charge that occurred from the first filling of the drained tank. If you had a "Airy" well, the pump outlet was always above the drain by a few inches. The air went to the top. If there was too much air, you needed some type of air elimination device. If the tank would get water logged because it lost all its air, you needed a device to add air. Usually something that added air from when the pump started and picked up air between the nozzle and venturi as pump started. There are calculatable amounts of water that will leave the tank depending on that range of pressure switch you used. If you used a 20#/40# pressure switch, and it was a 40 gallon well tank, there was a listed amount of water that would come out of the tank after the pump shut off at 40# and came back on at 20#. If you went to a 80 gallon tank, more water came out during the range because of the bigger tank. The cut in-cut out pressures are part of the equation too. But water would still continue to leave the tank until the air pressure in the tank  went to zero, or a level that wasn't high enough to push it up and out of a faucet.
So when you try to rate a Hydro-pneumatic tank with a "bladder" tank, it is the amount of water that will leave the tank under pressure until it hits the pre-charge point when the water stops flowing out of the bladder tank. Ceiling mounted old style steel expansion tanks on heating systems are rated the same way. Its how much water can flow in and out of the tank during the expansion range of the tank . The bladder tank has NO reserve once the pre-charge setting is reached.
If you understand what I have tried to explain, I would add a large (80 gallon) hydro-pneumatic tank into the loop and leave the bladder type tank as the main source of expansion device.
You sound like a gnarly dude, able to change your oil in the driveway, change a tire, and maybe do many of those homeowner tasks that hiring someone else may be unsatisfactory. And you might even have a portable air compressor around with a air nail gun or two around the shop. If so, put a fitting inline to the hydro-pneumatic tank so that you always have a good "Squish" of air in the hydro tank. If you get clever, you can pre-charge the pressure air in the hydro tank. When the power goes out, if you have 20 gallons of available water in the bladder tank, and the pressure goes to the pre-charge, the water stops. But it will continue to flow out of the Hydro tank until the water/air pressure in the tank is too low to support the column of water.
Hydro tanks aren't cheap. Now, the bladder tanks might be cheaper. But when you get into the larger sizes, the value starts to flip.
I wasn't trying to be  WA with my first response. I don't always see solutions like some others. They might not understand my solutions. Your solution to your problem will work OK. Did you come up with it or did someone else come up with that. I'm not wanting to second guess someone else. Maybe they know something I don't know. And maybe they don't know how Hydro-Pneumatic tanks work in relation to bladder tanks. What you asked about would work fine. There is a way that might be cheaper and gives you better results.
There are other positive and negative issues if you are interested. I don't want to get windier than I usually am. Unfortunately, I tend to not be brief.

Tank Removal:

@ July 25, 2014 6:17 PM in Cut oil tank in half, now what?

I guess you are from New Hampshire. I don't know what the regs are in NH. I was from Massachusetts. The tank is supposed to be removed with a permit and disposed of at a licensed tank disposal facility. There's supposed to be a permit # painted on the tank. There are EPA rules that are supposed to be followed. If you cut up the tank with a sawzall, and there was oil sludge still in the tank, you were fortunate that there wasn't an unintended energy release.
There are tank removal and disposal companies that do that removal. They have the proper insurance to do it. I could cut up and dispose of a tank. The time it took me to do it, it was cheaper to hire the disposal companies. You need a few bags of Speedy Dri and a bale of oil diapers to clean it. They aren't supposed to tale it in a transfer facility unless it is squeaky clean.  
You really need Tyvek suits, cloves and breathing apparatus. Old and used oil has a lot of nasty chemicals that can really mess up your day or life.


@ July 25, 2014 6:05 PM in New Boiler Install

I'm the heretic here.
P568's have an indefinite life. Especially if they don't have a tank less and they are run as "cold Starts". I define "indefinite" as failing the day after the install under warranty, to outliving the homeowner. It can fail at any time.
It ran for 18 years with minor repairs. 
Get prices with a basic boiler replacement and additional alternates with additional pricing so YOU can decide what you want to pay for. It might be nice to put in new circulators but if your exposed heating pipes are un-insulated, you will get far more money for your dollar than just replacing the circulators.

The more options people are given, the happier they are. They feel that they have some control in their big expenditure. I always gave multiple prices and options. People never chose the cheapest, basic, and not the most expensive. But somewhere in the middle.  

Your ideas:

@ July 25, 2014 1:22 PM in handling power outages on a well

If this is YOUR idea and not someone else's, I'll point out a thing or two from my experience. If someone else came up with that idea, they might be right and I'm not.
Regardless of they type and size of your well bladder tank, whatever the pre-charge setting is inside the tank, when the house/pump pressure reaches that, the water stops. You said that it runs at 50/70#. It shouldn't. It should run no higher than 40#/60#. If you want to run 50# cut in, the pre-charge on the bladder tank should be over 50# (55#). Or, the pre-charge tank should be less than 50#. Depending on who you ask. The water in the system will "Pause" while the pump turns on. Because there is no more spring for the tank to push against.
When I/we did off grid houses with gasoline powered well pumps, you used standard hydro-pneumatic storage tanks. NOT bladder tanks. The compressed air at the top of the tank will give up pressure all the way to below 5# pressure. The bladder tank will completely stop when the system pressure and the tank pre-charge are equal.
IMO, if you need to run a generator for your water pump, just add the old standard Hydro-pneumatic tank in series with the bladder tank.
If you have a generator that rums just the well pump, you can 1/2 automate it. Get a pressure switch that "makes on rise" or, when the pressure is as high as you want it, the pressure makes the pressure switch close. Run a wire from the line and load side and connected to some grounded common ground t\and the other end to the spark plug on the generator. When the system comes up to pressure, the switch will close and ground out the plug stopping the engine. If the tank is on the same plane as the first floor, you'll still have adequate pressure at 15 or 20#. But the water will run slower and slower until it reaches zerk.  

Fusion Welds:

@ July 25, 2014 10:38 AM in How Long

It doesn't look like any fusion weld I've ever seen. But I haven't seen everything.

Take some PVC CLEAR cleaner and see if it softens the pipe. See if it softens the Ell that looks like a Sch. 40 PVC ell. Is there any of the orange pipe inside? Try the PVC Cleaner inside on that.
The Phone Company uses some orange conduit to run their fiber-optic cable. But I always thought it was Polyethylene (PE) pipe. Try taking a really sharp edge knife and scraping it on the pipe and the fitting. PE pipe usually scrapes off in sheets. PVC doesn't. Its possible that the OD of the orange pipe fit tightly inside the ell socket and someone glued it in. If it is Poly pipe, and the fitting is glued, tug and twist the ell and see if it comes loose. As far as I know, there are no socket welded PE pipe and fitting assemblies.
Are there no marks on anything?

It's also possible that the orange tube is "CTS" (Copper Tube Size) so the piece or orange pipe, see if it fits a standard CTS fitting. Like a 1" copper fitting. If that is the case, you can use standard CTS compression fittings on the Plly Pipe.

That way?

@ July 25, 2014 10:24 AM in handling power outages on a well

Did someone tell you to do it the way you describe? Or, is that your own idea?


@ July 24, 2014 1:42 PM in Time for a new oil boiler?

Is there water running out of the boiler or is it just the mucky black stuff that got you and the soot sucker into a dither?
Unless there is water pooling in the boiler and running out the front, or you can float toy boats in the chamber, that black mucky stuff is from normal condensation in the fire side of the boiler and the cold boiler and the warmer warm, moist air hitting the dew point and condensing inside. The carbon soot is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture) and is sucking the moisture out of the air because of the draft through the chimney. 100% normal for cold start boilers. Most veteran soot suckers know that if you fire off the boiler and get it warm/hot, all the soot stuck to the sides and passage falls loose and you brush and suck it out. Maybe they never figured that out and only have experience cleaning cold start boilers. Or maybe they did both and never wondered why it was always so much easier to clean a warm start boiler that hadn't been cleaned in 5 years as opposed to a cold start boiler, cleaned every year.
How do I know it is a cold start? I am assuming that the other photo's with a burner firing on to something is the burner, Those black clinker things are Kibble & Bits, formed from wet soot that gets dried out from hot exhaust. They plug up passageways in cold start boilers.
If you aren't going to run the boiler for the summer, at least figure out a way to keep the boiler only above the dew point temperature. There are easy ways to do it.
If you want to change what appears to be a perfectly good back-up oil boiler, knock thyne  self out. My Northern England DNA says to leave well enough alone and save the money. You (and I) won't live long enough to re-coup the cost of changing it.
My neck and ears are hot thinking about how I will pipe a new boiler into the nice job you did without it looking like someone replaced a boiler.
If I understand the question. 


@ July 24, 2014 12:23 AM in thread sealant

My preference for any threaded connection is quality Teflon pipe tape and a quality pipe joint compound like Rectorseal #100, Rectorseal #5 or MegLock.. But quality tale like Blue Monster first, always.

Location, Location, Location:

@ July 23, 2014 11:01 AM in What's your favorite jacketed electric water for use as a storage tank?

Don't install the tank in a location (like behind a boiler) where it becomes a PITA to remove the tank.

Diagonal Measurements.

@ July 23, 2014 10:58 AM in Just wondering about oil tanks

You always have to take the diagonal measurement into consideration.

Found in a bucket:

@ July 23, 2014 10:52 AM in this tool, why didn't I

There isn't a one in that photo that would have made it into my bucket. Mine is an extension of a 50' quality rubber air hose or a direct connect to the compressor. A 6' or a 9' washing machine hose connects to most anything I ran into. If longer, the 50' hose.
Ever been by yourself looking for a water leak and have to use a Schrader valve to add the air while looking for the air hiss?
You'd be loving my type. I had a shelf full of similar ones in the picture. They had their "seldom used" moments.
Ever dragged a handy pump into a cellar to pump out a boiler or water heater? Once you blow the water out with air through a hose on the low point, you will NEVER cart a electric water pump into a cellar again in your life. Unless you are a sucker for punishment. Why I might even (sometimes) leave the air compressor plugged in on the first floor and throw the hoses (air and water) hoses down the stairs so I didn't have to cart the compressor down the stairs. Especially in those cribs with no electrical outlets in the cellar. Or they had a receptacle on the side of the boiler that had the power killed when you turned off the boiler.
Sparky, Why would you?

Mass Save Oiled-Up:

@ July 23, 2014 8:55 AM in warm air 86% and ECM

You might be looking long and hard.
Mass/Save is really a consortium between the Gas Utility's and the Commonwealth to help drive out oil as a home heating fuel. They have driven out most of the small oil distributors so they don't have the clout of the Wall Street Crime Syndicate.
If you are in the sticks with no Nat Gas available, go LPG. You get the rebates.

Tools to have:

@ July 23, 2014 8:47 AM in this tool, why didn't I

If you want a really cool tool, and don't have one of these, you will wonder how you went to so long without one.
When you run across a severely eroded piece of copper tubing that sand cloth can't get down to the pits, the female side of this will shine it to like new condition. A lot of supply houses carry them. More useful that the store bought test rig.

third world (cheap) universal test rig:

@ July 23, 2014 8:37 AM in this tool, why didn't I

I can't show you the ones I used for many years, and I made many a variation on the theme.
A few 1/2" X 2"+ nipples, a I/2" BL Coupling, 1/2" X 1/4" BM Coupling, 1/2" X 14" BM tee, a 1/2" Boiler drain, and the proper air fitting that matches the air hose that connects to your portable air compressor. A 6' washing machine hose and whatever gauge you need (0-5# for gas, 0-100 for anything else). A 1/2" IPS ball valve gas cock finishes it up.  Fits in a 5 gallon bucket like it grew there, and there isn't anything that you can't test of connect to blow out. If you can't figure out a way to connect to anything in the way you want, you're not really trying.
I had to buy one of those things because I forgot to bring one down. I bought one of those things displayed. I still had to adapt it for ease. I could have built one from scratch with nipples and fittings. In Florida, they don't carry Black malleable fittings and Nipples. If they don't carry it at Lowes or Home Depot, you don't need it.


@ July 22, 2014 4:17 PM in What's your favorite jacketed electric water for use as a storage tank?

There are only a few water heater tank manufacturers. They are very competitively priced. I personally think that a 50 gallon tank is the best bang for the money spent.
If you are going to use it as a "side-arm" heater/storage tank, you do not need to remove any elements. However, if you insist, remove the bottom element and send the hot into there. There is no advantage to removing both elements. I've never removed ANY elements in years of using tanks.

80 Gallon Electric:

@ July 22, 2014 4:12 PM in Replacing electric water heater

First of all, your 80 gallon electric water heater is way too big. Thirty  year old 80 Gallon electric has little insulation.
On 1/1/15, new energy rules go into effect for electrics. If the tank is over 65 gallons, it has to meet higher energy standards. They put a heat pump on it.
As far as your adding all kinds of additional insulation to slow down stand by losses, water heaters made for the last 10 years have foamed in insulation.
There are far to many answers to your broad questions.
IMO, you could replace the 30 YO 80 gallon heater with a 50 gallon modern and heavily insulated tank, with a thermostatic mixer, you would notice an immediate savings.

A Bushel of BEE's.

@ July 22, 2014 1:38 PM in Electric Baseboard Vs Hydronic Electric Baseboards

My Yankee thrift figured out a long time ago that what you bought with your Bucks was BEE's, BTU's that is. By the Bushel. No mater what fuel you use, it is BEE's that do the heating or cooling. The only way you can figure out what it costs is to have a Constant. Like a bushel full of BTU's. How much does that Bushel of BEE's cost. It doesn't matter if you take an oak lob and burn it, or connect a piece of metal and connect it to two wires to make it hot, someone, somewhere, generated electricity to heat the metal rod. Whatever they used, whether it was coal, oil, gas or wood. There is a created amount of heat and it has a cost. To compare it, you have to put it into something to make it equal. In a Bushel basket.
As far as electricity, it doesn't matter if you heat a rod with fins on it or heat a rod, in an oil bath that convects heat and heats the air. They still use the same amount of heat energy.
If you pay $50.00 for a 4,000 watt convector heater or a 4,000 watt oil filled heater, it still uses 4,000 watts per hour and cost the same to run it. If the electricity comes from a coal fired plant, it's the cost of the coal delivered to the electricity generating plant, delivered to your house. Its still 4,000 watts. If you think it "feels better", its in your head.


@ July 22, 2014 12:14 PM in Height vs SubCooling vs Freon Charge

I should have known that someone here was a sub person. You guys are the smartest guys in the Navy. Especially the fully qualified sub guys.
Back many moons ago, I picked up a tidbit from The Wall where someone had done a radiant floor job in a new factory building for a wood working shop. People were getting shocks from the wire mesh and the HW conduit A few Sub Guys chimed in with the unbalanced 3 phase service being only a single phase temporary service and the other phases were trying to balance out. That on subs, everything is 3 phase and if you don't keep all the phases in balance, you can burn a hole through the boat. I used to re-tell that pearl of wisdom to the Power Company when I got complaints from customers getting shocked on their outside showers. And that a piece of rubber hose on the handles wasn't a suitable solution. They needed to balance their 3 phase loads. You never know who says what and who will remember something on The Wall.
Did you ever read "Blind Man's Bluff: about Subs in the cold war by Sherry Sontag & Christopher Drew? That's the book that let everyone know about that you could never tell your wife and family about. There's a story about the book. A retired Chief from subs read it and handed it to his wife to read. She read it. She looked at him with tears in her eyes and asked "Is this what you did"? He just looked at her and never said a word.
Where I lived and worked, there was one of those SOSUS stations. The part with the two 50 ton AC units and the fence with barbed wire always had a lot of submariners stationed there. It was considered "Shore Duty". People don't think The Bay of Pigs wasn't a big deal? Why did they have armed guards with rifles and dogs walking the perimeter? When the Thresher and the Scorpion went down, there was a lot of anguish. The Thresher went down offshore and they probably heard the whole thing. They might have heard the Scorpion but that is still denied.
If you like to read, check this one out. That boat was a swimming garbage truck. It had refrigeration leaks that were so bad, they had to carry extra Freon tanks just to keep up with it. There are other books out there that are all for the conspiracy buffs. IMO, they are BS. Once you read what a POS the boat was, you KNOW why it went down. This guy doesn't buy any of it and is a reporter who spent a lot of his life just researching it.

Low Flow-High Gain:

@ July 22, 2014 11:49 AM in Not Cool: Techman & Meplumber:

I understand about the time and the work. Some don't care what time you leave for work in the morning (as long as you don't wake them up) and insist that we be home by 6:00 PM for dinner (and don't be late) and don't work weekends. Where do the extra goodies come from?
As far as restricted/low flow ducting, I understand how restricted flow would show on gauges because its the same as having a too small radiator on your car and pulling a heavy load. A compressor and a car engine are just heat engines. The radiator is just the means of removing wanted or unwanted heat energy, heating or cooling. Like steam (AC is just a steam boiler in reverse), whatever the pressure is, determines the temperature of the water before it flashes into steam. (Square Root of the water pressure X 14 +198 equals the boiling point of water).
You take the high side pressure, and then you know what the temperature of the liquid turning to vapor like the steam. The return vapor is also under pressure but it is colder and under less pressure. The temperature pressure differential is the amount of heat energy used to remove/transfer heat energy from one side of the coil to the other (inside). I still think that my #1 issue is excessive heat gain through the ceilings. That I also gain humidity through the ceiling because of a lack of a vapor barrier in the vinyl ceiling paint. The structure always maintains 50% or less humidity, no matter how long or less it runs. Yesterday, I found that I have many places where people have gone where there is less than 2" of attic insulation and other places where it is bare.
This all started because my energy bills went UP after the install. I dealt with it until the unit stopped working. It has some kind of electronic expansion and evaporative control system. Something went wrong with that. All run by a FM Board. Its supposed to create magic tricks. To me, it looks like a potential PITA board. It has a gas temperature sensor (GT) which I guess is the liquid temperature and a Evaporative Temperature Sensor (ET) that appears to come out AFTER the distribution fitting. That control runs an electric motor that controls the rate of liquid flow. I don't think it ever worked properly from the beginning. Its a Normally Open motorized valve, and the FM board tells it how much to be open or closed. If either of the two sensors (GT & ET) migrate to do Magic Tricks, the pooch is screwed. One of those two sensors told the FM board to shut down the EEV stepper motor. Disconnected, the valve is open, and the vapor line is cold like it has never been before.
I think that the design of the high tech AH leaves something to be desired. Designed by the same people that designed the camel when they were trying to improve the horse. You can't push the same amount of air through a 16" x 16" opening that you can through a 16" X 20" opening without increasing the fan speed, And make it noisier.
Its like my wife says. "You can have anything you want. Just not everything you want". Same with knowledge. If its important, we'd know about it. Like a 3 ton AH with a 16"X16" outlet. Replacing a AH that has been replaced before, so you have a X2 hacked supply plenum that need to be replaced. You should be able to use the same size as the new AH. And if you called them with questions about problems, they are like little kids that ate the Blueberry Pie. "NOOOO, Not US mommy". With blueberry pie all over their faces.

The other thing my wife says: "When I need help, I call me".

Loopy rads:

@ July 22, 2014 9:43 AM in How to loop 2 cast iron rads

If you "Series Loop" two radiators together, the first radiator has to fill with hot water before the second radiator fills. Experience shows that the second radiator never works properly.

Here's one for you:

@ July 21, 2014 4:29 PM in Height vs SubCooling vs Freon Charge

Here's one for you that occurred to me yesterday. Along similar lines.
It has to do with Submarines. Which are just great big floating air pumps with an engine to push it along. Submarines store thousands of cubic feet of highly compressed air. Under enough pressure to blow water under pressure out of the ballast tanks at the deepest depth they can go to. As they dive deeper, the water in the ballast tanks is compressed by the outside water, causing the ballast water to take up a smaller space. Loosing buoyancy.  So they need to move high pressure air to maintain trim and buoyancy. If they start to rise to the surface, the compressed air in the buoyancy tanks starts to expand and the buoyancy increases. So, what do they do? Quietly suck the compressed air out of the tanks and save the compressed air? Floating bubbles on the surface could be hazardous to the health of the boat and crew.

High Altitude Cooling:

@ July 21, 2014 4:12 PM in Height vs SubCooling vs Freon Charge

Because of the loss of the heat from compression?
As in, if I take my air tank and blow it up to 100# and let the tank cool to room temperature, and release the air and measure the temperature and measure the coldest temperature, then refill the tank to 50# and repeat the exercise, is the air colder leaving at 100# than it is at 50#? Yes. It is colder. More heat from compression at 100#. Like that?
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