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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on April 18, 2014

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it depends

@ January 21, 2013 3:07 PM in Primary/Secondary or Primary Only

On the flow requirements (load size) and the boiler HX design.  Low restriction fire-tube heat exchangers can be direct piped much of the time.

"We hired Home Depot

@ January 21, 2013 2:59 PM in 160 combo-heaters removed from housing project

because they can do the work faster."

... by subbing out to every unbooked contractor in the region?

there's so little steam around here

@ January 20, 2013 11:10 PM in Gifford Loop

I doubt they'd even notice the couple of inch difference.



Burns clean and has fantastic lubricity, but there are caveats:

It doesn't like cold (cloud point and cold filter plug point are both possible much of the winter.)

Its solvent action does a number on NBR O-rings and washers.  A fluorpolymer like Viton will work.

The residual methanol attracts water, making it hard to keep dry (several times more water than you get in dino-diesel.)

...and PLEASE DON'T SHOUT when you write.

Why not a Smith 19HE?

@ January 19, 2013 9:04 PM in Megasteam Gas conversion?

still curious...

0013 curve

@ January 19, 2013 8:56 PM in 0013 taco circulator

read the PDF

@ January 19, 2013 8:45 PM in Boiler Plumbing Problem

that Chris posted above.  Also available at

oversized is good

@ January 19, 2013 12:47 PM in Large heating bills - where to go from here

as it will let you run cooler water temps, allowing a mod/con boiler to really shine.  Room-by-room heat loss will tell you what temp at design conditions - be sure to size any additional radiators using the new supply water temp.

In-floor tubing will work better than dangling radiators, but needs its own reset curve.  You can do this with onboard controls on better mod/cons, but if both zones are calling for heat at the same time, it's better to use a motorized mixing valve on the RFH zone.


@ January 19, 2013 12:35 PM in Vacuum air vents on one-pipe systems

Plenty of DDC manufacturers make suitable controllers, and Mark S here has been rolling his own

line voltage thermostats

@ January 19, 2013 12:30 PM in need help upgrading old MEARS thermostats...

Honeywell and Aube both make suitable stats.

If the Unico cooling is adequate

@ January 19, 2013 10:48 AM in Large heating bills - where to go from here

but the heating is insufficient, more radiant sounds like the right answer.  As you seal and insulate the house, you will probably find the Unico useful for Make-Up Air.  I'd leave the first floor outlets until I was absolutely certain they weren't necessary to the final design.

Where are you located?


@ January 19, 2013 10:34 AM in 0013 taco circulator

Is a pretty big pump for a residential system.  Does the pump serve just this one coil?  How big is the load?

white PP tape

@ January 19, 2013 9:55 AM in Question on Tape for Pipe Insulation

3M makes it - very common in 3" width which is it's used for "bubble wrap" inside metal buildings.  I had to order a case to get the 1-1/2" we use.

they do exist

@ January 19, 2013 9:46 AM in Vacuum air vents on one-pipe systems

Powerflame X4M and Midco Low NOx have been discussed here, but they don't come in typical residential sizes and there are no off-the-shelf controls available.


@ January 19, 2013 12:28 AM in Vacuum air vents on one-pipe systems

Wouldn't a modulating gas burner be an even better solution?

veering off track a bit

@ January 19, 2013 12:01 AM in Kitchen exhaust hood time!

APT Holman was a nice box.  Still have a Fisher 500 and a Mac MC275 out back.  Embarrassed to say I haven't fired them up in about 15 years.

complex system

@ January 18, 2013 11:53 PM in Large heating bills - where to go from here

With that many zones, the mix of radiant and forced air, and the inter-floor convection currents, this system really needs to be properly engineered before you buy or change anything.  Changes to coil flows or reconfiguration of supply lines may be necessary to properly balance the system.   Especially if you plan on doing the bulk of the work yourself, you really need a set of detailed drawings you can work from.  Have you considered hiring a designer?


@ January 18, 2013 10:57 PM in Kitchen exhaust hood time!

A great sounding tank.

19 year old Bryston audio power amplifier

@ January 18, 2013 10:50 PM in Kitchen exhaust hood time!

A 4B?


@ January 18, 2013 4:59 PM in Upgrade of brand new heating system in Long Island, NY

Given that the house is tight and the existing boiler is paid for, I'd probably look at adding a solar thermal system before I replaced the boiler.  Pipe the existing conventional boiler into the storage tank with appropriate controls and you shouldn't see too many hours on it, plus it will run nice long cycles when it does fire.  This assumes you have winter sunshine.

same jobsite

@ January 17, 2013 11:32 PM in Crazy Idea

or any jobsite, really.

How many photos do we have of Dead Men Working?

may be frost protection

@ January 17, 2013 5:49 PM in electric duct heater

set to come on when OAT drops below the level that the main coil can handle.
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