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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on July 28, 2014

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Good news

@ April 23, 2012 11:54 PM in New American Steam Heating Assoc. looking for your support!

and there are quite a few manufacturers who should be very supportive.

genset efficiency

@ April 23, 2012 7:20 PM in Generator Gas Pipe Sizing

A properly operating reciprocating engine will convert 30-35% of the BTUs in the fuel to electricity.  A large lean burn can get close to 40% thermal efficiency.

A big box special with some cheesy air cooled engine and a cheapo alternator might be as bad as 12% - I've never instrumented one to find out.

trapping with check valves

@ April 23, 2012 3:29 PM in Trapping a mixing valve?

Is a safety thing, (hopefully) preventing a nasty scald risk.  You could say the lawyers made them do it.

On commercial installs, I put a temp sensor in the mixed discharge line and alarm at 5-7F over the mixer setpoint.  Saves piping and a bit of friction loss, plus makes the tank easier to remove when the time comes for a replacement.

look here

@ April 23, 2012 1:56 PM in Net I=B=R steam ratings


@ April 23, 2012 1:07 PM in Triangle Tube Solo 110 E-05

Is an electrical interference fault.  Is this a modified sinewave inverter?  If so, you're going to need a power conditioner (that's not a surge strip, it's a big transformer-based filter) between the inverter and the boiler.  Either that or get a little pure sine inverter (Exeltech XP or similar) and dedicate it to the sensitive electronics, including the boiler.

Check your AC line neutral-ground voltage & look for AC voltage on your sensor inputs as well.

Hydronic Wall of Shame

@ April 21, 2012 11:44 AM in Radiant Tubing Installation

candidate for sure.  They must have been terribly concerned about the flooring guys nailing the tubing, so they decided to place it safely out of harm's way.

I look forward to seeing what comes of the IAPMO efforts.  Knowing that ME is involved lowers my blood pressure a bit (whenever I hear the phrase "new code" I tend to cringe a bit.)

We'll be tearing the Venetian plaster ceilings out of a very nice house this summer in order to post-install plates.  The original installers used 3/8" plywood standoffs to keep the tubing from touching the subfloor, then installed foil-faced polyiso 2" below the tubing.  Atmospheric boiler cranks away all day at 140-150F (no mixing valve) and short cycles on the slab below while freezing the second floor.

operating costs

@ April 21, 2012 11:27 AM in Grundfos pump

How many hours a year does this thing operate?  Wilo makes a dual volute Stratos that could save a mountain of OpEx.

PEX size

@ April 20, 2012 1:40 AM in Effect of 1/2" PEX Section on Baseboard Loop

Inside versus outside diameters.  Either one will work, just have to be clear what you are measuring.

pressure or flow?

@ April 18, 2012 12:42 AM in Residential Booster Pump

Or both?  If they can only get 4 GPM through the pipe, you're going to need a big tank.


@ April 16, 2012 6:59 PM in Buried copper piping leaks

Given the choice, I'd specify 63mm SDR11 Climatherm.  Far less thermal expansion than PEX plus uber-reliable fusion-welded joints.

Assuming it can't reasonably be dug up, does anyone make a 2" burster head?  You could pull in some HDPE or PEX, then do small floor cuts at the tee locations.

not sure what the backend is here

@ April 14, 2012 1:52 AM in Uploading photos from my iPhone

but there ought to be a way to tie something like ImageMagick into the upload script.

ALC makes good stuff

@ April 10, 2012 12:31 PM in Direct Digital Controls

Particularly the newer generation BACnet product.  Their OWS and toolset are supposed to be among the best.  In the hands of a competent integrator, they can be made to do pretty much anything you can dream up.

You're in luck

@ April 9, 2012 1:11 AM in piping indoor wood boiler and gas boiler

idronics 10 just hit the streets with a focus on wood-fired hydronics

boiler protection

@ April 8, 2012 11:37 AM in Gravity conversion protecting boiler

Ignoring the fact that a low head mod/con with ODR is really the best conversion option here...

Check out the new Caleffi ThermoMix and ThermoBloc - see pp. 108-109 of

government subsidies

@ April 8, 2012 11:18 AM in Thinking about a new vehicle for your business

I'm fine getting rid of the subsidies for solar and other emerging technologies - once we remove the subsidies for the petroleum complex and create a tax system which properly accounts for the real costs of energy.

Now back to the real world...

Lochinvar Crest

@ April 7, 2012 11:07 AM in Happening elsewhere?

Saw the announcement but hadn't looked closely at them until now - impressive stuff!  Is this a completely new HX design?

large boilers

@ April 6, 2012 8:41 PM in Happening elsewhere?

Sounds like there's still room in the market for large mod/cons.

Ganged 399's can easily handle the "smaller end of large" and provide fantastic net turndown ratios plus redundancy.

Anyone ever seen a Multistack chiller?  If someone built mod/cons that worked like that, it could change the industry.

boiler pumps

@ April 6, 2012 5:46 PM in Happening elsewhere?

The TT firetube HX really changed the game, and of course it's now available from several other sources.  A 399 plus a short primary loop mates well with a Series 100 or a Taco 0010.

Let's face it

@ April 6, 2012 10:50 AM in Happening elsewhere?

There were some bad experiences early in the mod/con evolution and some of those were caused by inferior products.  Toss in a helping of clueless installers, crank up the rumor mill, and voila!  We have pushback.

At this point, a clueful installer can choose from among several well-proven designs, sell a properly sized and installed mod/con boiler, and have no problems sleeping at night.


@ April 5, 2012 1:51 PM in Happening elsewhere?

I know there are fudge factors built in to a lot of the calculations already.  I think some of the issue is related to thermal mass, which is simply not a part of most load calculations.  Modern building energy modeling systems can do this, but I rarely see it used.

DHW demand

@ April 4, 2012 9:19 AM in Happening elsewhere?

Challenging indeed, and another area where "we've always done it this way" is difficult to overcome.

I'm guardedly optimistic that our UV (and soon ozone) experiments might represent a more energy-efficient approach.

RVs, tunnels, and ferries

@ April 3, 2012 11:07 PM in Thinking about a new vehicle for your business

One of the reasons I installed a DC compressor-driven sailboat fridge in my camper.  400AH of batteries but no LPG tank!