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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on July 28, 2014

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more info

@ March 13, 2013 11:21 AM in Advice on repl DWH + bb WH, in Illinois

about how many kWH do you burn in a year for heating, and what does that cost you per year?

Do you have a heat loss calculation for the building?  This is critical in order size the boiler correctly.

What kind of shower heads are in use?  How many at one time?  75k 75 gallon is quite large for a residence.  I'm guessing its performance has dropped a bit over the years.

Backup boiler piping for solar drainback system

@ March 13, 2013 10:31 AM in Backup boiler piping for solar drainback system

Posting here because it's more of a boiler question than a solar question.  Existing drainback solar system with 800 gallon nonpressurized tank.  Tank has two copper HX coils, one for DHW and one for space heat.  Space heat is currently direct piped out of HX to floors with no ODR.  Barrier tubing embedded in concrete on ground level, suspended below (not touching subfloor) of 2nd level.  Backup heat comes from a W-M CGi on LP using manual changeover valves to redirect the boiler output from the floors to the tank.  Needless to say, it's been giving the owner fits for the entire 13 years since it was built.

We are tearing off the ground floor ceilings and installing Watts FlexPlates on the existing PEX (8" on centers.)  I plan to install separate motorized ODR-controlled mixing valves for each floor.  Still looking at control options but the question at hand is the best method of piping in the boiler.  We want long boiler run times, storing whatever is not needed for the floors in the tank.

Since the tank is an open system we have to work with the existing HX coils (no way to add a third since the tank is located on the other side of the house from the boiler room.)  I'm thinking about injecting the boiler water between the HX output and the hot side of the mixing valves, then allowing any excess to go back into the HX and heat up the tank, but not quite clear on the best way to do this.  I could add motorized three-way valves on either side of the HX coil but I suspect there's probably a simpler way.

Any suggestions?


NG pricing

@ March 13, 2013 10:01 AM in Oil to gas conversion

Henry Hub and City Gate prices matter to traders, but are best vaguely related to what you will actually end up paying, thanks mostly to hedging and long-term contract prices negotiated months or even years before you use the gas.  The utility will have historical rate information on file which is slightly more interesting, but still of limited usefulness for predicting your future costs.

As a consumer all you really need to know is what the bottom line will be.  Find a neighbor or three with similar-sized houses and ask to see a couple months worth of bills.  Just look at the total cost in dollars and divide by the number of therms used that month.  I try for an average of at least three winter months when making projections, then add a ramp to that in anticipation of future price increases.

3,000 square feet

@ March 13, 2013 9:53 AM in propane wall mount boiler

Ti 150 puts out 136k - what is your building heat loss?  I'm pretty certain it's not 45 BTUs/sq ft.  The best boiler is the one that is properly sized and installed for your application.  The installer is actually the most important component of your system.  Unless there is something fundamentally un-fixable about that boiler, I'd be looking to make it work properly long before I replaced it.

FYI, as a matter of policy we don't discuss price here.

PEX joints

@ March 13, 2013 12:44 AM in pex on condensate loop

if properly done will hold 100 PSI for a week.  Don't worry about them.  A thermostatic mixing valve might be in order - set as low as needed to heat the zone.  I'd probably use copper from the hot port back to the boiler.

that's the right approach

@ March 12, 2013 11:42 PM in unusual use for a cast iron radiator

Optimal tank sizing varies a bit with species, moisture content, and combustion technology, but is definitely worth the time to get right.

tank valve

@ March 12, 2013 5:18 PM in Replacing expansion tank

Could just be a bad Schrader valve.  Try replacing the stem.

minimum and maximum flow

@ March 12, 2013 1:06 PM in Flow Meter Recommendations-

Can't you set this using ∆T with the boiler on high fire?

just divide

@ March 12, 2013 12:48 PM in Oil to gas conversion

The bottom line on the bill by the number of therms and you'll get a net cost per therm.  It's best to look at 2-3 months and average them.

math, and predicions

@ March 12, 2013 12:42 AM in Oil to gas conversion

Math here

Predictions being worth less than you pay for them, I would have to guess that liquid fuel prices are not likely to drop much anytime soon.  NG?  Who the blank knows, but even a steady uptrend would take years to become a major economic issue for most of us.

Is this it?

@ March 11, 2013 6:12 PM in Looking for plumbing tool that is no longer made


@ March 10, 2013 10:23 PM in HBCD

I should have known there would be something like this.

BTW, I have a question about the "closed cell" label.  I've been told that EPS and XPS are 100% closed cell, while polyiso is 90% or 95% closed.  Anyone have more info?

I've had my hands (and nose) on 25 year waterlogged walk-in panels and I've seen 40+ year old XPS dock floats that are still floating.

Think I'll stick with damp-spray cellulose above ground.


@ March 10, 2013 5:58 PM in Garage Slab Thermal Break

in XPS are about as minimal as you can get for a polymer.  I'd worry more about polyurethane or polyiso.


@ March 10, 2013 5:46 PM in Confused about converting to Gas

just responding to the listed candidates, all of which were massively oversized.

Lochinvar WHN 055 offers higher turndown than the PTS 60.

Contender doesn't include ODR as I recall.  I believe the Cadet does, though I've yet to actually see one.  I'm going to call them in the morning and see what I can learn.


@ March 10, 2013 5:34 PM in Sunboard Radiant Heat Panels

If you decide on floor heat, isolate or you'll spend about a third of your fuel heating dirt.


@ March 10, 2013 4:13 PM in do u know what this is?

Thanks.  I was actually curious about performance of the different ceiling systems/plates.

42k heat loss

@ March 10, 2013 4:11 PM in Confused about converting to Gas

Would lead me towards a TT PTS 60 or a GA124/17.  A larger indirect might be in order.

Robert Bean

@ March 10, 2013 4:06 PM in Garage Slab Thermal Break

March issue had the second part of something called "Together Forever" -- was that it?


bathroom fan

@ March 10, 2013 12:15 PM in Garage Slab Thermal Break

vacancy sensor might work there.

Have you seen the new Broan Ultra?

single pipe series loop

@ March 10, 2013 12:09 PM in Noob

remember to account for the drop in water temp -- baseboard will need to get longer and longer as you move down the line.

how different systems perform

@ March 10, 2013 11:58 AM in do u know what this is?

any insights to share there?



@ March 9, 2013 11:30 PM in Garage Slab Thermal Break is worth a read.
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