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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on September 14, 2014

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Ball Drains rock

@ August 9, 2014 1:29 AM in Condensate Return Line Cleanout System: looking for recommendations

One of our favorite fittings.  Buy them by the box.

Short version

@ August 6, 2014 11:01 PM in Survey

Don't itemize for initial estimates.  Varying levels of detail on bids depending on customer, market, and overall size of job.

Always perform detailed heat loss calc before installation.  Like Steve, I can get "close enough to bid" a residential job by looking at the location, construction, and size of the building.  We discuss rough numbers with the customer up front, but don't generally provide detailed data unless it is explicitly called out in the scope of work.

Very rough estimates sometimes discussed at the initial meeting.  99% of the time the estimate comes later via email and/or phone call -- often several, with increasing levels of specificity and detail.

Always provide options, usually three.

Type of car in the driveway mostly influences the questions we ask during the first meeting.  Those drive the proposal.

Estimates are based on what the customer wants, interpreted by what we believe will best deliver that result.  Learning to ask the right questions helps immensely. If the customer insists on a product we do not know well enough to service and support, or that that we believe is unlikely to deliver what the customer wants/needs, we wish them luck and move on.

Around here, a 3,000 sq ft two zone home is fairly high end.  We'd typically be called in by the owner or the architect as part of a major remodel or a new build.  The "basic replacement" business is typically well below our radar unless something goes wrong with the job.

Whoever is telling you that

@ August 5, 2014 11:38 AM in Gas Conversion

probably believes that hot water heating systems need constant make-up water.  They're wrong.

Fill the system wil clean water

@ August 5, 2014 11:16 AM in Gas Conversion

from a barrel if you have to.  Once it is plumbed tight and purged of air, it should hold pressure for a year or more -- no need for a permanent connection to the domestic water supply.

Which we still do today

@ August 5, 2014 11:13 AM in Oversizing hot water baseboard for efficiency?

mostly to handle solar gains, woodstoves, and crowds of people.  Worst case, someone opens a window.  Things still work, nobody's cold.

Right, and for older units

@ August 4, 2014 12:28 AM in Electric Boiler and short cycling

you can use a line voltage PWM stat (which has its ownTRIAC) to trigger a zero-crossing solid state relay for larger loads.  You can also phase chop (dim) them with 0-10V control signals for full modulation (at the cost of some increase in line noise.)  Works well with ODR controls.

Efficiency and comfort

@ August 3, 2014 5:05 PM in Electric Boiler and short cycling

What kind of controls are on the system?  If it's a bang/bang thermostat, you will get greater temperature swings than you would with PWM -- even for a single element.  How big is the boiler?  For smaller sizes, you can use a line voltage thermostat directly, but adding a contactor for larger elements (up to a point) is not very expensive.

Maybe I'm missing something here

@ August 3, 2014 1:28 PM in Micro-load Dilemma: Add Storage or Nuclear Option

but what are the other loads served by this boiler?  Is this a mod/con boiler?

Is there a separate thermostat in each main level and each lower level?  If so, do the lower level zones call for heat when none of the upper level zones are?  I'm thinking TRVs on the lower level rads might make sense.

Is this a modulating boiler?

@ August 2, 2014 11:09 AM in Utica

If so, what's the turndown?


@ July 30, 2014 10:45 PM in Pool heating

As Carl suggested above

Try this

@ July 30, 2014 6:26 PM in Copper fitting friction loss

For pipe sizes
And for OD tubing

Balance matters

@ July 29, 2014 8:37 PM in Oversizing hot water baseboard for efficiency?

I can't re-emphasize enough what was just posted above.  When we get it right, we can tune the ODR curve to the point where there is almost no need for an indoor thermostat.  Relatively common in Europe, but nobody here believes it it possible.  Proving them wrong has to be one of the better moments in this business.

Cases and thats

@ July 28, 2014 11:49 PM in HVAC options for 400 square foot addition

How much did he actually end up saving?

Can you post some photos

@ July 28, 2014 11:00 PM in Near boiler piping issue?

of the boilers and associated piping?  The "steam survey" you mentioned would also be helpful.

Series loops

@ July 28, 2014 10:57 PM in Help with poor install

demand careful attention to sizing in each room or they suck.  Don't take this personally -- at least 90% of the ones we encounter suffer from improperly sized/balanced radiation.

One of the tricks we sometimes use is to split a loop into two shorter parallel loops, reducing both friction loss and underheating of the end emitters.

As long as you are OK with white enamel

@ July 28, 2014 1:28 AM in Bathroom heating options

the Myson COS85/86 are not all that pricey.

You got it

@ July 28, 2014 12:12 AM in Boiler Room Layout Mock-up – reasonable, flawed or both?

TRVs provide nonelectric proportional control of flow based on room temperature.  Whether that flow is to a single radiator or a dozen rooms is just a matter of piping.

Outdoor Reset and Zoning

@ July 27, 2014 8:47 PM in Boiler Room Layout Mock-up – reasonable, flawed or both?

are not in themselves incompatible per se.  The problem comes from the pairing of on/off zone valves (or conventional pumps) with tight ODR parameters.  As the ODR is tuned to maximum efficiency, the temperature differential between the heating fluid and the surrounding air is reduced.  This increases the lag time between a call for heat and its satisfaction.  The result is long sinusoidal cycles in room temp with wider swings than the thermostat deadband.  The solution is proportional control, such as that provided by TRVs.  Remote bulb TRVs can easily control a floor or group of rooms and (with proper placement) can provide near-perfect comfort.

Not perfect, but not all that bad

@ July 27, 2014 4:54 PM in Help with poor install

Did not realize that your 55 foot number was only for the first floor.

Can you post the numbers for the 2nd floor?

Fuel options

@ July 27, 2014 1:57 PM in Builing an addition

Reading between the lines, it appears you do not have natural gas available?  How do LPG prices compare with oil prices there? is worth a few minutes of your time before you get too far into this.

Compression and compression

@ July 27, 2014 1:51 PM in How Long

Just to recap, the compression fittings being discussed here (and shown in the photos above) used by the waterworks and geothermal trades.  They are quite different than the stuff you find on the shelf at the big box stores.

Check and other flow control valves

@ July 27, 2014 1:46 PM in New Boiler Install

depend in large part on the specifics of the system.  Is this by any chance a converted gravity system?
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