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VictoriaEnergy

VictoriaEnergy

Joined on January 20, 2011

Last Post on February 2, 2014

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Smoke & Insurrance issues

@ February 2, 2014 4:37 PM in Home improvement heating system options

Whether or not a wood stove or wood furnace will have issues with smoking back into the house has a lot to do with the chimney installation and the air dynamics of the house.
Generally; if a chimney is installed inside the house as opposed to an exterior chimney will make a big difference to the draft, especially when you first light the furnace.  The other issue that sometimes comes up is when the lower part of the house has had extensive draft proofing measures done but the upper floors have not.  This will result in the area of the furnace being under a slight negative air pressure.  So the installation needs a source of combustion air AND make up  air to compensate for air leaking out elsewhere.

Insurance.  Typically if you have a wood stove or furnace as the sole source of heat in your house you will have to pay higher premiums for insurance.  If you have a functioning alternate heat source and can claim the wood is a supplemental heat source, there will be little or no difference in premiums.  This is due to the difference in risk the insurance companies see due to people operating a stove installations they shouldn't be, but have no alternative during cold weather.  I'm a heating guy, so you need ask your insurance broker to see if the above info applies to you.   

Have a look at an add-on wood furnace

@ January 31, 2014 1:17 AM in Home improvement heating system options

Sounds like cost is a big factor since you might want to build new in the future.

Maybe have a look at a good furnace like the Blaze King Apex installed as an Add-on.  This unit has a catalytic system so it can burn clean, low and long.  Add-on means it is installed in line with your current furnace so you can still run the propane on that day you have the stomach flu...  You'd still have the same limitations you now have with the distribution.

You could install some Rinnai wall furnaces for the areas unheated by the central furnace.

Not near as good as a boiler and panel rads throughout the house, but waaay less cost.

How....?..?

@ January 28, 2014 12:38 AM in replacing condensing gas heat exchanger

Zepfan:
How do you fasten the primary/seccondary transfer box at the back of the furnace with out removing the whole assembly from the furnace?

I agree...

@ January 27, 2014 3:47 PM in Gas Wall Heater Turning On and Off

I agree with unclejohn.  Don't use it until it is serviced.
Sooting is an indication the burner could be starved for air, this means the exhaust will have very high levels of carbon monoxide in it.

A new Oil canning noise,  (expansion noises from the heat exchanger buckling); could indicate the heat exchanger is cracked, blocked or falling apart.

So it is possible you have a dangerous situation with exhaust entering the house..

It would be helpful to know the make and model of the heater too. 

Reallly Google,...Really?

@ January 27, 2014 2:39 AM in Nest thermostats

The Nest has all the gadgety coolness of an iPhone. 

But after that it's overpriced and under- performer in terms of reliability.  It has nothing to make it an exclusive or patent protected "game changer" in our industry.

I think Google made a mistake.   (I suspect it was the only thermostat anyone remembers seeing at the CES show...so of course they had to buy it.)

Oil in the cold

@ January 27, 2014 2:18 AM in Oil lines frozen help

The amount of paraffin present in oil varies throughout the year.  Oil refineries allow higher amounts in fuel produced in the spring and summer. 

The problem arises sometimes with outdoor tanks where the tank is filled early in the fall.  During cold weather some of the paraffin can precipitate out of solution at very low temps and basically form a cloud or fog of wax in the tank that builds up at fittings or filter.  lots of hot water poured slowly on the fittings will get it flowing.  Don't use a torch (kinda obvious?).   Add kerosene (aka no1 oil, or stove oil) to keep paraffin in solution and hence prevent further clouding from happening.

When all is done go back and double check to confirm you have no slow leaks at the tank and fittings.

Don't guess

@ January 27, 2014 1:54 AM in rinnai hot water help

In general terms, it's best not to just guess and start throwing parts at a problem.

Have a close look at the vent from the outside and look for a visible build up of ice inside it.  If it has a long run of vent from the heater to the termination, especially if it passes through an unheated area (like through a carport or under a deck).

If there is ice building up, it is usually right at the terminal.  Do not try to break off the ice, you may break the plastic terminal.  Un plug the power to the heater (so it can't try to fire up while you're thawing it) and melt the ice with a hair dryer.  The last time I had to do it I had better luck when I partially covered the back air inlet of the hair dryer to get less but hotter air out the front.

Boiler Plate

@ January 27, 2014 1:15 AM in does this system look right?

The term "Boiler Plate" is used by lawyers to describe standardized terms and conditions in binding contracts that have been repeatedly argued over and upheld in court. 

 As if the contract can't be torn up because it was written on plate steel instead of paper.

Chimney Venting

@ November 28, 2013 1:19 AM in Carbon Monoxide Issues - HELP!

 If you are going to switch to a masonry or metal chimney with this boiler, my advice would be to only do it if you can install the chimney inside the heated envelope of the house.  If you install an exposed chimney on this boiler you will run into more problems with condensation and corrosion in the chimney.

One alternative you could look at would be a Tjernlund power vent system.  These have been around for quite a few years.  They work.  They are a bit noisy.

Look at the rear clearance

@ November 28, 2013 12:36 AM in Woodstove in front of BBHW

Woodstoves typically require the hearth to extend 6" to the rear.  Compare this with the stove's rear wall clearance. Suppose If the instructions call for  10" rear clearance then you would have 4" space for the baseboard.  If the stove was allowed to be 6" from the wall it would be more sensible for the hearth to cover the baseboard.

Most stoves convection stoves (welded steel stove with an outer shell) radiate very little heat down, hence the hearth protection is often for ember protection only (if it spits out a spark when the door is open). 

2 thins I'd look for....

@ March 5, 2013 10:30 PM in American Standard condensing propane furnace lockout issues

On a 5 year old old install I'd look for:

1) scaling up on the front side of the in-shot burners, this delays or stops the flame from travelling successfully from burner to burner between the HSI and the flame rod within the control's allowable time limit.

2) On a system with no pilot flame loads; put a manometer on the furnace and look for either very high lock-up pressures, or the opposite, where the the pressure slumps way down to very low pressures before the sticking service reg opens up.  Most often this only does it only after the system has been off for a long time.

ouch

@ March 5, 2013 10:10 PM in Need to vent

Steve:
You are a good tech.  Those of us who have read your posts know this.

You can't win this guy over.  You've taken the high road by giving his money back on the expensive board.

I suggest :
1) You apologise for letting him down, despite your best efforts;
2) you remind him you did the honorable thing by rfunding him the board.  Few others are willing do this, and;
3) suggest he get his trusted friend to fix it for him.

You can't win with a critic following in your footsteps.  So cut your losses and move on.

If you are reading this and you play the critic role in situations like this.  You are an a$$#ole!!

nat vs lpg pressures

@ February 27, 2013 10:55 PM in gas pressures

7" WC is approx 1/4 PSI, I think they make the valves so they can tolerate a lock-up pressure from an upstream regulator of twice the normal working pressure.

I think higher lpg pressures in combination with smaller burner orifices were originally intended to help the venturi effect for an acceptable air/fuel mix on start-up of atmospheric burners.

Not sure what problem you are referring to...

Problem details

@ February 20, 2013 12:26 AM in Intermitted gas furnance problem

What exactly is the problem?  Does the control board blink an error code?  Does the roll out switch you replaced have a manual reset on it?  And, why did you suspect it?  Is there a manual reset on the spill switch?

Avoid guessing and replacing parts on speculation they're the source of an intermittent problem, especially expensive ones like the control board.

Inspect the draft inducer, externally and then disassemble it to look at it's condition: look for severely corroded blades, spin the wheel and see it rotates at least a full rotation after you spin it.  Look for excessive scale build up. 

Inspect the port where the tube to the pressure switch attaches near the inducer, there is often a pin sized metering port at the housing, make sure this isn't covered up with scale/rust.

On in-shot burners, look for scaling at the ends of the burner, especially where the little cross over flame runs and clean that up.

Problem details

@ February 20, 2013 12:26 AM in Intermitted gas furnance problem

What exactly is the problem?  Does the control board blink an error code?  Does the roll out switch you replaced have a manual reset on it?  And, why did you suspect it?  Is there a manual reset on the spill switch?

Avoid guessing and replacing parts on speculation they're the source of an intermittent problem, especially expensive ones like the control board.

Inspect the draft inducer, externally and then disassemble it to look at it's condition: look for severely corroded blades, spin the wheel and see it rotates at least a full rotation after you spin it.  Look for excessive scale build up. 

Inspect the port where the tube to the pressure switch attaches near the inducer, there is often a pin sized metering port at the housing, make sure this isn't covered up with scale/rust.

On in-shot burners, look for scaling at the ends of the burner, especially where the little cross over flame runs and clean that up.

Pressure drop

@ February 10, 2013 3:23 PM in Why does this set up "work"?

The capacity in the sizing tables is based on a 1/2" drop in pressure, so if you have a 35' length of pipe with 7" pressure going in you will have 6 1/2" pressure when 50 MBTUs are flowing through it.  If you allow greater flow of gas, the pressure drop will be greater too.  So when under 150 MBTUs load the pressure drop might be 2" or 2 1/2" so the appliance is getting 5~5 1/2"  Since most appliances use a manifold pressure of 3 1/2", the little reg that's built into the gas valve will likely be running wide open.

I think you made the right call by adding the baro, the spill switch and clocking it.  The only additional thing I may have checked was the manifold pressure (as stated on the appliance rating plate) and confirm the spuds are seeing the correct pressure and are original size.  It the manifold pressure is low, then the installer would have had to drill them out to get full BTUs (a game misconduct). 

I can imagine all kinds of ongoing reliability issues with the undersized gas line, so the owner should definitely upgrade it, but I don't see it as an unsafe operating condition.  So I don't see a problem leaving it running assuming the manifold pressure is within spec.

..

@ February 3, 2013 3:09 AM in Carlin EZ gas...

.

Could be HX

@ February 2, 2013 1:13 PM in Furnace stops with front cover off

When heat exchangers crack open & fail, they do it gradually.  Could also be a clogged condensate trap etc, but a dying heat exchanger will do the same thing sometimes.  So for safety sake treat it as a serious issue.

The 1st signs are often a very marginal lack of flow from the inducer, so the flame does not seem to be sucked into the heat exchanger as vigorously as it has in the past.  This might present in odd ways like runs only when you push the inducer to one side, or in your case the flame sensor instead of being completely immersed in the flame is lifting off and cutting out, and a little more so when the door is on.

Do not operate the furnace until someone knowledgeable checks it out as it could be dangerous.

retro-fit venters can work great

@ February 1, 2013 12:05 AM in Sidewall venting

The Tjerlund power venters I have installed are basically a mechanical 'B' vent. They are certified to connect to any appliance rated as a cat 1 or B-vent appliance. When correctly selected and installed; the appliance is interlocked so it can only fire once a vent proving switch is closed.

The simplest wiring arrangement has the venter interrupting the thermostat circuit so when the t-stat calls for heat; the venter powers up, after the vent switch closes a pre-purge timer counts down and then a relay closes and the call for heat is passed on to the appliance that then fires. At the end of the call for heat the venter has a post purge that runs before it shuts off.

Apart from issues surrounding initial noise, and increased noise/vibration as the unit ages, they work great. My own view is they are a better B-vent. A standard B-vent can spill if venting conditions aren't perfect, these units shut the appliance off before that happens. They are a great alternative to trying to make a long, cold, exterior chimney work.

Make sure you check the instructions for the specific unit you are installing, but generally if the appliance it is attached to has a draft hood, then the draft hood stays and no baro is needed. if it is an induced draft appliance with no draft hood, then a barometric damper has to be added as per instructions. You will need to get a permit, and ask your inspector to have a look at the instructions before you start.

The key here is the unit has to be carefully selected (they have dozens of different versions for different applications) and you must, must, must follow the instructions exactly.

return temps

@ January 29, 2013 11:17 PM in Rinnai tankless running hydro air unit?

To get the boiler to operate at higher efficiency, you need to get lower return water temps into it, so I don't see pumping more GPM (netting lower delta T) through the same coil helping.

A coil with more heat transfer surface would be beneficial

It would have been simpler and more energy efficient to have just installed a forced air gas furnace in the first place.  Replacing it with a gas furnace will probably be your best bet in the end. 

Gone to air

@ January 27, 2013 11:21 PM in Whole house reno - Going from old hot water to Gas Air.

Typically a single furnace could service a house of that size unless there were duct layout issues that excessively compromised that option.  I don't like ducting in attics due to issues with insufficient air sealing and insulation.  It's just hard to do thoroughly

95% efficient with two stage operation as a minimum, but consider springing for the extra of a modulating unit with Variable speed ECM Fan motor (not all ECMs are variable speed).  All furnaces should be sized correctly, but this applies doubly for modulating units so look for a contractor who will measure up and do a heat-loss calc before starting the job.

... just fix it

@ January 27, 2013 10:52 PM in Code requirements for double pipe side wall terminations

"Nor do I want to get the installer into any trouble at this time ,(edit: emphasis added)as I hope to work out an amicable solution."

In my view this is a relatively minor mistake.  5 yards and repeat the 2nd down. No need to call your lawyer or the head of the inspection dept.  Just get it fixed.  Lots of installations meet code and the manufacturer's certified instructions and still don't work. 

All that's needed is to increase the separation of the inlet and exhaust vent to reduce the amount of exhaust getting dragged into the fresh air vent.  My first choice would be to extend the exhaust straight out 12" so the vent extends out from the edge of the deck.  Insulate the extended vent with Armaflex closed cell insulation to keep it from icing. 

The manufacturers don't want too much separation between the vents for more stable and constant flow through the vent system, they do expect a small amount of exhaust recirculation, and it won't harm the furnace.

Make sure the vent is not terminating directly above a sidewalk or driveway as these vents do drip condensate and that can freeze & make a nasty slip hazard.  
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