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SWEI

SWEI

Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on April 14, 2014

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Energy costs

@ March 28, 2014 11:22 AM in Radiant Roof snow melt ??

Your NG might actually be $0.844 per therm?  If so, the difference is more like $31.08 per million BTU on electric versus $10.55 for 80% NG or $8.88 for a 95% mod/con.

http://www.eia.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls is your friend.  Don't forget to net out the fuel costs from the bottom of the bill -- those surcharges and taxes can easily add 15-20% for smaller users.

Zoning

@ March 28, 2014 10:30 AM in Ideas for 1860's unheated farmhouse

I'd probably be looking at TRVs on those panel rads.

TT Prestige Solo and plate exchanger

@ March 27, 2014 10:20 AM in Mod con and plate exchanger

Not sure if this works on the TriMax control or not, but it did on the MCBA:  If you install a 3-way that has a 120V motor, you can tell the control it's installed in an Excellence and it will manage your external diverter valve automagically.

Hehehehehe.....

@ March 27, 2014 10:16 AM in Do you ever get sick of looking

Always entertaining when Beavis goes out to rummage through the trunk of the '83 Corolla looking for a tool -- or when they show up with a new water heater tied to the roof (using two different kinds of rope.)

Technically, you could

@ March 27, 2014 12:28 AM in Coming From the"High"Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

but I suspect a high altitude fan would be required -- something akin to shoehorning a 399 fan into a 100-150k boiler.  The result would be significant positive pressure in the manifold, which might impact other aspects of the design.  JMO.

Old drains

@ March 26, 2014 2:13 PM in Tub strainer removal

Some designs just don't lend themselves to retrofits.  Had to change 50+ in an old hotel that had flip-up plugs.  The shoes were labeled Chicago Brass and threaded at 16 TPI, but the diameter did not match anything we could find.  Tried every adapter Watco sent us and stumped their designers. Got samples from several different vintage tub specialty places -- you name it.  Could not replace the shoes because they were ~3/8" shallower than anything made today, and located directly over a piece of rebar that we could not afford to remove (dangling slab edge, no supporting beam underneath.)  The solution was to have stainless adapter rings CNC machined, which allowed us to install a standard Watco drain trim and finally all is well.  I really like their push/pull closure, BTW.

Good points

@ March 26, 2014 1:49 PM in Tub strainer removal

I'm used to heating from the bottom, hitting only brass and perhaps a bit of spill to the cast iron.  High heat on the porcelain -- not good.

There is a stouter tool

@ March 26, 2014 11:39 AM in Tub strainer removal

http://plumbest.com/images/00862-01%20Extract_a_Drain%20J40018.pdf

But before you resort to that, try heating with a torch before you turn.

Listen carefully

@ March 25, 2014 10:57 PM in Natural Gas to LP gas conversion .. orifices

Richard is telling you things you (or your attorney) need to understand before you release the installer of any liability.

Nail plates and wall heat

@ March 25, 2014 1:04 PM in Radiant Wall - Ceiling -Floor Assistance

We had a bit of a tussle a couple years back with an inspector over those.   Finally got a letter out of Watts Radiant stating that the transfer plates had to be in contact with the sheet goods in order for the system to work properly and he relented.

Eight foot plates are less work than four footers for horizontal tubing runs.  Radiant Engineering up in Bozeman sells them in both light and heavy gauge and can help with the math as well.  Give them a ring.

LPG prices

@ March 25, 2014 12:44 PM in Advice on Oil Boiler Replacement

Have long cycles (year over year) and short cycles (seasonal.)  If you can buy and store enough for the winter season during the spring and summer months when prices are lower, you will pocket some nice savings.

A mod/con boiler running on LPG can easily be converted to NG for a fraction of the cost of the burner replacement required when changing from oil to gas.  It will probably consume 20% less fuel than a conventional boiler with a single stage gas gun. I'd be looking that way if I had more than one LPG vendor to choose from and the space for a decent sized tank (which you want to own, in order to have a choice of vendors from whom to purchase.)

How much of that 525 feet is on your property?  If more than half, I'd want to investigate the possibility of meeting the utility somewhere nearer their existing line.

Powder coating

@ March 25, 2014 12:32 AM in i got to get rid of this steam heat system, i got questions

should last at least one lifetime as long as the surface prep is good.  Maintenance will involve a damp cloth every so often to remove dust.

Measure first

@ March 24, 2014 1:34 PM in Best way to increase output from 8-fin cast iron steam radiator converted to hot water

Buy a few clip-on pipe thermometers.  Install them next to each other on the same pipe to verify that they read consistently.  If not, take note of which is off by how much so you can make reasonable measurements with them.  Now move them so you can see the water temps at the inlets and outlets of both radiators.

Re-piping the two radiators in parallel rather than series will help a lot.  How much will be determined by the measurements above and the size of the pipes feeding them.

I've installed a lot of sediment filters over the years

@ March 24, 2014 11:10 AM in main line water filter

and I continue to recommend them as long as the owners are willing to perform regular cartridge changes or pay us to do so.  There is far more rust and sand in most municipal water systems that most people realize.  HOWEVER -- if the owners are too cheap and/or lazy to change cartridges, it is a very bad idea.  Filter media grow very nice bacterial and fungal cultures over time.  Clear housings help a lot -- out of sight, out of mind.

Try constant pressure mode

@ March 23, 2014 8:24 PM in My first ALPHA pump

if you have zone valves, it usually works quite well.  Adjust the pressure with both zones calling until the ∆T looks good.

The G115

@ March 23, 2014 8:19 PM in Advice on Oil Boiler Replacement

tolerates lower return water temps than most boilers.  Combining that with outdoor reset should increase both comfort and seasonal efficiency. 

Indeed, not an exact science

@ March 23, 2014 4:56 PM in Want to move from oil to gas boiler. Best way forward?

yet still better than no science.  Sounds like your old boiler was indeed massively oversized, but that hardly makes oversizing the new one a good idea.  The old boiler was a high mass design, both in iron and in water.  The new boiler is a low mass design, with very little water content.

The second sentence in your initial post demonstrated an apparent lack of understanding of the proper selection and application of heating appliances.  I made an effort to remedy that by providing you with correct information.  You have chosen not to discuss the merits of your proposed plan, but instead to question my intentions and my integrity.

I do not perform energy audits, though I do employ many of the same tools and techniques which energy auditors use.  I am located more than 2,000 miles away from PA and do not perform work there.  I have nothing to gain or lose from this other than my time.  Good luck with your project.  Please consider employing the services of a qualified designer or installer before you decide where and how to spend your money.

DId your installer

@ March 23, 2014 2:14 PM in New boiler supply/return question

wire up the outdoor temperature sensor and configure ODR on the boiler?

Sufficiency

@ March 21, 2014 6:26 PM in Buy used electric boiler

would be determined by a heat loss calculation on the house.

Integration with a wood boiler is not all that difficult.  Properly installing and controlling the wood boiler is far more complex.  Have you read http://www.caleffi.com/sites/default/files/coll_attach_file/idronics_10.pdf by chance?

How many hours do you expect this backup boiler to operate during a season?  You might want to spend a bit of time with http://www.eia.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls before you get too far down the road on this plan.

Warmboard

@ March 21, 2014 2:25 PM in Warmboard on slab versus PEX in slab

costs as much or more than pouring a typical 4" slab does.  Adding it to a new slab really makes no sense.  The required water temps for an insulated slab are quite low, and with proper design, they can easily be made to match those of the Warmboard floor above.

Both will work well with geothermal, solar or other low temperature heat sources.

Water quality

@ March 21, 2014 1:46 PM in Munchkin replacement

Fire-tube heat exchangers are generally more tolerant of calcium and magnesium than the older high restriction designs like the one in your Munchkin.  If the system uses any appreciable quantity of makeup water, these will accumulate over time which can really make things bad.  How hard is your water?

Softening exchanges calcium and magnesium ions for sodium (or potassium) ions in the water.  It also increases the chloride content of the water as a side effect.  Many stainless alloys will not tolerate high chloride levels.

Where water quality is less than perfect, I typically recommend chemical treatments which can prevent most of the problems from affecting the various metals in the system.  Where water quality is truly bad, we fill partially (or sometimes completely) with RO water and then add treatment to prevent corrosion or leaching.

Brand new

@ March 21, 2014 12:13 AM in Buy used electric boiler

they do not cost all that much.  I'd check that out before I even bothered to evaluate the condition on a used one.
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