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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on August 25, 2014

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That's the stuff

@ July 26, 2014 4:39 PM in Radiant Heat Matrix Other Than Concrete.

Looks like most of it comes premixed, but there are a couple of options for field-mixed additives. discusses several options. 

Sure looks like HDPE from here

@ July 26, 2014 3:12 PM in How Long

That cut and the color (if accurate) is all wrong for CPVC fire sprinkler pipe.

Orange is the standard color code for fiber and comms and they make a LOT of it.  Nothing fundamentally wrong with using it for nonpotable water -- it's the same resin extruded on the same machines using the same dies, just using different colored pellets.

Once you verify (as explained above) that it's HDPE, I'd probably look for a local geothermal guy to terminate it properly.  Barring that, you could have pretty much any underground utility contractor fuse transition fittings on it and handle the rest yourself.

I'm guessing that

@ July 26, 2014 3:05 PM in Suggestions wanted

the 1" PEX is already buried?  Just wanted to makes sure that wasn't still an option.  I'm not a big fan of big pumps whenever I can find a way to make use of a small one.

More info

@ July 26, 2014 2:45 PM in Help with poor install

What is your calculated heat loss for a design day?

How many zones, how many feet of what kind of baseboard, and what pumps on the zones?

Is the outdoor temp sensor hooked up and is the boiler programmed to use it?

If not concrete

@ July 26, 2014 2:36 PM in Radiant Heat Matrix Other Than Concrete.

then I would bed the tubing in densely compacted sand, possibly with an oil or other additive to increase both density and conduction.  Can't remember the name of the stuff, but we used something like this on a fiber job some years ago.  Darker and finer than regular sand, came out of the truck slightly wet -- and stayed that way.  Compacted really tight, but you could dig it out if needed.

Do we have a chart or a table

@ July 23, 2014 12:51 AM in Rinnai E50C

showing thermal effeicency of the Navien at various firing rates and RWTs?  I'm still curious about this, and it bears directly on the system at hand.

275 and 330

@ July 22, 2014 6:54 PM in Just wondering about oil tanks

are both divisible by 55.  Think barrels.  Note these are also the standard sizes of IBCs.

Thrrmal mass helps

@ July 22, 2014 6:33 PM in Radiant Heat Matrix Other Than Concrete.

Dark blue or black barrels along the south wall and perhaps the north wall depending on layout.  Fill with water.  Let the sun do its thing.

Fuel options?

@ July 22, 2014 6:21 PM in Replacing electric water heater

I'm assuming there's no natural gas in the area, but just in case...

LPG prices vis-a-vis electricity vary widely. will help you make a reasonable comparison.

If you are serious about solar, you should actually be using a tankless on the output of the solar system.  Tankless electric water heaters work fabulously when fed with 80ºF solar water on a winter day.  Not so good with 40ºF groundwater.  I'd push for the solar now rather than trying to graft it onto a tank style heater.  Parasitic losses from a two tank system can add up.

A treasure trove

@ July 19, 2014 8:37 PM in Lovely Lane Methodist Church- A Steam Heating Museum

of vintage building technologies!  The bathroom ventilator was a new one for me, and I've never seen indirect heating on that kind of scale.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Axiom is not that far from you

@ July 17, 2014 8:22 PM in Looking to make condensate neutralizer

IMO they make some of the best designed condensate neutralizers (and they also sell media)

Where you at?

@ July 17, 2014 7:59 PM in Looking to make condensate neutralizer

ISTR it might be someplace in Canada?

Fuel source?

@ July 16, 2014 11:38 AM in need help and ideas with tiny home floor

What do you have available and what does it cost?  How much DHW is needed?

Not quite clear

@ July 14, 2014 4:36 PM in Second guessing

Are you planning to heat the basement and let the first floor (which sounds like it could be 4 feet above ground level) live with the leftovers?

Suggest finding at least one more contractor

@ July 13, 2014 8:38 PM in Gas Conversion

Most of us here would say that any contractor who did not perform a heat loss calc has in effect disqualified themselves.

Unless the house is quite old and drafty, your heat loss calc of 38 BTUs per square foot may be a bit high.  We also don't know exactly what species of baseboard inhabits your home.  Caveats understood, 200 linear feet of Fine/Line 30 would only need ~155ºF water to heat your home on a design day.  Translation:  A modulating/condensing boiler would perform very efficiently there.

The NCB240 is at least 2.5 times larger than you need, and would be short cycling for much of the heating season.  After checking the heat loss, a reputable contractor would quite likely recommend a mod/con boiler firing at less than 100,000 BTU/hr.

The PDFs were posted

@ July 13, 2014 2:52 AM in Getting into mod/con business

in response to a post referencing a dwelling with existing high temp baseboard.  The intent was to show that even an inferior emitter system (high temp baseboard) can benefit from a mod/con boiler.

The initial introduction of modulating condensing boilers into the American market was a bit bumpy.  Most of us who have been at this long enough have seen our share of bad installs.  The products and the installers have both come a long way in the past two decades.  I have no qualms about selling and warrantying them, nor should any competent and conscientious tradesman or contractor.

Brass bed

@ July 12, 2014 4:06 PM in Jury Rules That CSST is a Defective Product

Bummer.  Have to admit that that possibility never occurred to me.  I'm thinking large ground strap...

Bonding and grounding

@ July 12, 2014 3:55 PM in Bonding CSST:

are frequently confused and conflated -- even by electricians and licensed engineers.  Grounding is mostly about lightning.

One of Mike Holt's more popular products is a $200+ series of DVDs and books on the subject. does a pretty good job from a code perspective if you have the time to read.

Analyze first

@ July 11, 2014 6:08 PM in Mod/con poll. Installers only.

#3 with explanation:

Have you done a room by room heat loss and radiation survey?  Don't forget to add some window coverings to the U-values (most of us close our blinds or drapes at night.)

What water temp will be required on a design day?  Are the rooms relatively well balanced with the existing radiation?  If just one or two rooms are under-radiated, consider increasing radiation or upgrading the envelope in those rooms (sometimes all it takes is some better window coverings) to better balance the system and lower the overall system water temp.

Is there any "low hanging fruit" in the existing envelope?  What would that do to the temp requirements? and are worth a few minutes of your time.

PVC well casings

@ July 11, 2014 5:49 PM in Bonding CSST:

Wonderful things for cost and no corrosion worries.  BUT - the wires to the pump are inside it and include a ground conductor.  This forms a direct metallic connection to the pump body and the water table.  This often becomes the lowest impedance ground in the area.  Boom!

Google Nexus 7

@ July 10, 2014 3:42 PM in Tablets in the field - what do you use?

Price is right and it's about the largest thing I can hold in one hand.

Making a bang/bang boiler behave well

@ July 10, 2014 11:48 AM in Getting into mod/con business

is entirely do-able, as is heating a house with a tankless water heater.  My experience is that the added cost of doing so exceeds the cost differential of a mod/con boiler.  We still do a fair bit of this -- fixing bad installs, but I have yet to find a case where it pencils out on a new install unless there is solar or biomass or some other uncontrolled heat source in the system.
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