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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on July 23, 2014

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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.

Heating the twenty or so gallons of water in the pipes

@ March 9, 2013 11:26 PM in Two Pipe Reverse Return Question

is not a problem for a mod/con running ODR -- in fact, it's a good thing.

under that mosaic floor

@ March 9, 2013 11:22 PM in Adding baseboard steam rads: How?

Great idea -- what's it look like from underneath?

better off doing

@ March 9, 2013 10:34 PM in Sunboard Radiant Heat Panels

Whatever produces the most radiant energy at the lowest cost and the least disruption of the living space.  Radiant ceilings, radiant walls, and panel radiators should probably be on your short list.

I'm a big fan of Triangle Tube

@ March 9, 2013 4:44 PM in Combi in small house

But you should also consider a Lochinvar WHN-055, which is based on the original TT heat exchanger and downfires to 11k.

Just be sure that 30 gallon indirect will meet your needs.  The SMART 40 costs about 10% more than the SMART 30 but has 27% more capacity.  Even that may be too small for a big soaker tub.

heating system

@ March 9, 2013 3:21 PM in weil mclain oil boiler help please

Work system just installed last year -- still working on controls.  1919 home recently purchased has a 10 year old direct vent gas stove and a non-functional 1950s-era floor furnace.   Previous house had a 1947 oil-fired Lennox furnace from which I learned much.

Will 13 work?

@ March 9, 2013 2:12 PM in weil mclain oil boiler help please

90k miles, all is well.

solar cost

@ March 9, 2013 1:11 PM in Oil-fired boiler options and sizing

reliably pencils out for DHW here.  Space heat during shoulder seasons sometimes.  Meeting 100% of design load using active solar is just for rich guys.  The smart ones supplement with LPG, wood, or both in mid-winter.

My suggestion was a summer alternative to oil.  I have seen this work quite well in places with higher summer occupancy.

area under the curve

@ March 9, 2013 1:02 PM in We Put the Fish

directly affects the ROI.  If there are not enough BTUs being lost, or enough degree-days in which to lose them, the payback will simply not make sense.

10 years of life left on an 83% CI boiler would not justify a replacement here on NG, but for a customer on LPG it might well pencil out.

A new, highly efficient, properly oriented passive solar design here requires so little added heat in a typical season that it's hard to justify almost any piece of equipment.  Some get by with a wood stove, some with a small direct vent heater.  We setup a 6 kW Thermolec on one last fall that's added only $10-15 per month to the electric bill this winter.


@ March 9, 2013 12:51 PM in Looking for feedback

are far more effective when they are performance-based.  I'd like to see a program based around BTUs per square foot per degree-day.


@ March 9, 2013 12:44 PM in Combi in small house

is four times larger than your design day heating load.  Its minimum firing rate is roughly equal to your design day load.  It will short-cycle constantly.  Size your heating boiler as close to your design day load as possible.  No mod/con is currently available that small.  The closest I have seen so far is the CDN040 which should work relatively well.  You would also need either a large indirect or a separate DHW heater.  The payback on a mod/con may be quite long with a load so small.

How much sunshine does this house receive?  Does it have any passive solar gain?


@ March 8, 2013 10:46 PM in Garage Slab Thermal Break was quite helpful.

lifecycle cost

@ March 8, 2013 7:32 PM in We Put the Fish

is indeed the real bottom line, but it's tougher to quantify.  Making comparisons gets even harder with differing fuels and huge location-based differences in pricing on each type of fuel.  Our NG here costs less than half what it does in NY, and my friends who live close to the Bonneville dam pay about a third what we do for electricity.

I'm finishing up a hotel project which is on track to have total energy costs 75% lower than industry averages.  Stay tuned.

Great column, BTW.

Smallest I have seen here

@ March 8, 2013 6:54 PM in boiler sizing

is the 37k Cadet

got a link

@ March 8, 2013 6:48 PM in We Put the Fish

to that column?

Strongly agree on the systems approach.  BTUs per square foot per degree-day is a wonderful metric, and I'd really love to see rebate programs based on it.

got a link to that strip?

@ March 8, 2013 6:16 PM in Garage Slab Thermal Break

I could really use something like that for slabs under walk-in freezers.


When was it built?

@ March 8, 2013 6:08 PM in Sunboard Radiant Heat Panels

will tell us if further exploration is necessary.

house on slab

@ March 8, 2013 5:05 PM in Sunboard Radiant Heat Panels

Is the slab insulated underneath?  If not, you should be looking at RauPanel, Roth, or something else which does not conduct much heat downward.

certainly not

@ March 8, 2013 4:55 PM in Sunboard Radiant Heat Panels

Radiant heat requires surface area, and baseboards just don't have much of that.  They work almost entirely by convection, which requires hotter water and is generally less comfortable.

Run the numbers for the ground floor and see what your design temp needs to be.  Then look at options for the second floor.  Radiant ceilings should be a perfect match when properly designed.  Plate radiators can use 10-20F hotter water when sized for that.  The difference between those two curves will be far less noticeable than the 60-80F difference baseboard will require.

Don't overlook the limitations that radiators and baseboard both impose on furniture layout.  Decorators and wives are generally happier without them.

radiant floors with baseboard

@ March 8, 2013 4:39 PM in Sunboard Radiant Heat Panels

Will require two different ODR curves and may not perform the way you expect.  High-output baseboard will improve things, but panel radiators or even better, radiant ceilings would be my choice.

No experience with Sunboard - they look similar to Warm Brothers, which has an aluminum surface but no metal in the grooves.  If so, it will need 5-10F hotter water than WarmBoard or RauPanel will.

complex piping

@ March 8, 2013 3:37 PM in flat plate/domestic tank

So the OWB is providing heat for DHW.  I assume the OWB is an open system?

A drawing or some photos would really help.
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