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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on September 1, 2014

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Selling & installing mod/con boilers

@ July 4, 2014 11:41 AM in Getting into mod/con business

you are about to embark on a relationship with a manufacturer that will last a decade or more.  Even if you decide to change horses in six months, you will still own the boilers you installed before you changed your mind.  You are smart to be asking about this before you jump into something.

Like several others here, I have had great experiences with both Triangle Tube and Viessmann.  Quality products, quality training, and they will be there for you when/if the going gets tough.  Rinnai sells a good product and has comprehensive training, but the price makes them a tough sell, at least in our market.  Lochinvar has very flexible onboard controls but has become somewhat of a commodity around here.

Modern modulating/condensing boilers only perform as advertised when they are properly applied, sized, installed, and commissioned.  They do not tolerate fools. In a sane world, these products would only be sold to qualified installers.  The unfortunate reality of our distribution system here in the US will quickly give any manufacturer who tries that the kiss of death.  The better manufacturers provide incentives to their trained installers (sometimes in the form of extended warranties) to try and give them an edge over the trunk slammers who buy their products out of distribution.

Window is on the top of the heat exchanger

@ July 3, 2014 7:27 PM in TT Smart 80 & Prestige Solo 110 Summer Gas Usage

You need to remove top jacket access panel (the rear half of the top cover) or find a moderately long dental mirror in order to see it.

Series Summation Method

@ July 3, 2014 1:19 PM in Bouncing Gas Pressure

Anyone know of software that supports this?

RMS is important

@ July 3, 2014 1:12 PM in RMS

When you measure any waveform that deviates from sinusoidal.  That would mean any time an inverter, a VFD, or a switchmode power supply is involved. 

Two is better than one by far

@ July 2, 2014 11:56 AM in Slab Sandwich

but I'd use a minimum of 2" insulation underneath - may even be a code requirement, but perhaps not in your climate zone.

The biggest thing is to make sure the tubing is tied to the top of the rebar, with the rebar on chairs -- keeping it in the upper half of the pour.

Sultana Tragedy

@ July 1, 2014 10:53 PM in Dans Reading List

An update aired tonight

The whole show is interesting.  The final 15 minutes helped me to frame American political corruption in perspective.


@ July 1, 2014 7:49 PM in New gas boiler sizing

YOUR local supply house is not in question here.

Referring a homeowner to THEIR local supply house is a complete crapshoot.  Qualified hydronics installers have unfortunately become somewhat rare in America.  The RPA is actively working to fix that, and a small handful of manufacturers are leading the way.

No disrespect here, but

@ July 1, 2014 5:38 PM in New gas boiler sizing

"your local supply house" may not have a clue about proper training and installation practices of their customers.  A few do, but the majority in my experience do not.  A "local boiler guy" won't cut it either.

RPA members generally have a clue -- I'd start there.  The ones they have actually trained know their stuff for sure.

The rep firms are better, especially for certain brands.  Viessmann and Triangle Tube come to mind as having well-rounded installer training programs.  Lochinvar makes a great product, but I have no direct experience with their training programs.

Sensor locations

@ July 1, 2014 9:43 AM in TT Smart 80 & Prestige Solo 110 Summer Gas Usage

are significant, as you have just witnessed firsthand.  Now that it's picking up an earlier signal, you might try increasing the differential a bit.


@ June 30, 2014 6:36 PM in Converting Oil to Gas

Somehow thought you had a steam system -- apologies.  For hot water heating, a new boiler will indeed be much more efficient.

A properly sized, installed, and commissioned modulating condensing boiler will save more fuel than the AFUE numbers would indicate.  If you convert your historical oil usage into Therms, you should save at least 30% in fuel BTUs with a new boiler.

Conversion burners

@ June 30, 2014 5:51 PM in Converting Oil to Gas

} She explained that I won't get the improved efficiency of a gas boiler vs. an oil boiler

Quite the opposite, with a properly sized and installed conversion burner.

Not sure if Charlie travels that far, but perhaps Tim knows a tech nearby who can handle the work.

Cause and effect

@ June 30, 2014 10:45 AM in TT Smart 80 & Prestige Solo 110 Summer Gas Usage

are inexorably intertwined here, and not really the point.

Let's assume for your particular location, weather, and fuel that condensation begins at one very specific temperature -- say 130ºF.  The efficiency difference between return temps of 129ºF (we'll call that condensing mode) and 131ºF (we'll call that non-condensing mode) would be almost immeasurable.  The curve is smooth and has a low slope.

ecocirc e3 Vario

@ June 29, 2014 6:33 PM in ECM circulators

Has a knob on the side -- just turn it to the speed you want (we dial in the ∆T we want) and leave it there.

Condensing mode

@ June 29, 2014 6:28 PM in TT Smart 80 & Prestige Solo 110 Summer Gas Usage

is actually a misnomer.  As the boiler water return temp drops, efficiency goes up.  As efficiency goes up, condensation increases.  Cold DHW lowers boiler return water temps significantly.


@ June 29, 2014 1:29 PM in ECM circulators

is clearly in the ecocirc e3 realm.  They're no less expensive than an Alpha or a Stratos, but they draw tiny amounts of power.  Much better to run a pump in the sweet spot of its curve than to bounce of the bottom.

Curious about the plate radiator

@ June 29, 2014 1:17 PM in recent job

looks like a Myson -- mounted under the other radiator.  Is that fed with steam, or catching condensate on the way down?

Indirect calls

@ June 29, 2014 12:54 PM in Water Tank Temperature After Shower

on all the mod/cons I have used force the boiler to a preset water temp, then shut off once the DHW hits the preset temp.  The smarter ones use a thermistor in the tank to increase response to a droop and reduce overshoot.  With external controls we can take them to the next level -- firing the boiler to the lowest temp which will achieve the needed recovery.  Combine that with some intelligent setpoint management and we see far fewer ignitions.

Sensible and latent loads

@ June 28, 2014 10:48 AM in Cooling load, heating load, sizing equipment

are calculated separately.  I'm not sure where the "80% to 90%" numbers came from, but maybe that works in Chicago.  There is more than one way to remove humidity.  I'm sure Rich's guy is familiar with all this.

The complete lack of cluefulness demonstrated on your heating load makes me question the whole deal.

SMART indirect temperature sensors

@ June 28, 2014 10:33 AM in Water Tank Temperature After Shower

Are located roughly in the middle of the tank, or at least the bottom of the sensor well is.

It sounds as though your contractor did replace the tank aquastat with the 12k thermistor (that's how the boiler sees the tank temp you presumably read from the boiler display.)

Floor zone

@ June 26, 2014 10:06 AM in need electrical help

is this by any chance a radiant floor?  Why did you select the BWF?

Did anyone do a heat loss calc for this job?

We call it an apron

@ June 25, 2014 2:04 PM in Thermal break at overhead doors

and you just described nicely what I was trying to convey.  Separate the part of the slab that is under (and just outside) the door from the main interior portion.  Heat it or not -- your choice -- but keep it isolated at least a bit.

Personally, I'd run it at least 18" past the door and set it up for a separate snowmelt zone as ice described in his original reply.  It's really, really nice not to have to chip away at the door closure after a cold night.

Can you tie the apron to the main slab

@ June 25, 2014 12:18 PM in Thermal break at overhead doors

with a bunch of #7 bar that bridges the thermal break?  Heat transfer is all about area, and that might do the trick.
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