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Joined on January 19, 2012

Last Post on August 21, 2014

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@ August 21, 2014 7:30 PM in New Boiler Radiant & Baseboard Taco Controls Question HELP!

The attached document should answer your question on the spacing.
The elevation of the circulators is irrelevant. Put them at a nice serviceable height and call it good.
Yes you will need a zone controller for the high temp valve and another for the low temp valves. Letting the boiler control the system circ is a good idea.

Boiler Protection

@ August 21, 2014 6:27 PM in New Boiler Radiant & Baseboard Taco Controls Question HELP!

You need boiler protection. A Taco I valve will do what you need and provide outdoor reset as well.

Not only will the condensation from low return temps destroy the boiler, The cold slab will draw down the temp of the system on startup and starve the baseboards.

Thank You

@ August 21, 2014 12:13 AM in Altitude and Deration

Mark thank you for the input. Truly appreciated.
I think I will have to leave propane for another post. Not a very regulated product which has left me scratching my head more than once.


Internet reviews

@ August 20, 2014 11:44 PM in Please Recommend a good gas to radiator boiler system

Why do you think you are going to find a review on the internet that will tell you which boiler to buy? All you will get is folks that have an issue with a misinstalled boiler or marketer pimping there product
Cast Iron boilers have been around forever and by design they are very dependable if installed correctly.
Nearly every manufacture in the country makes a solid dependable cast iron boiler. debating which one is better is like deciding between a Ford and a Chevy.
The real  question is whether you can find an installer who knows what they are doing?
A knucklehead installer can screw up a boiler just like a bad mechanic will screw up you car.
Find a good contractor who will do a heat loss calculation and install the correctly sized boiler per the manufacture instructions then have them install the boiler they are most comfortable with.
When it comes to cast iron,It's not about the boiler. It's all about the installer.


@ August 17, 2014 10:19 AM in Altitude and Deration


Thank you for your reply.
My experience with triangle tube boilers in particular is that the 2% per thousand works perfectly,even with the weaker gas. If you calculate how long it should take to heat a specific capacity indirect tank at full fire, the math works perfectly.

I have also noticed that the triangle tube needs very little combustion adjustment at altitude when burning propane. When the same boiler burning natural gas is setup with an analyzer, it always needs a richer mix. My theory is that no fuel deration is required at all because you are giving the boiler the fuel content it needs by adjusting the mix.

This is one of those things that everyone has a different idea about, yet no one has a great explanation.

One good test would be to clock the gas meter while simultaneously verifying a known heat load.

Thank you for your post,


Fire Tube

@ August 16, 2014 6:41 PM in gas condensing boiler recommendation

The stainless firetube heat exchanger is a plus.Triangle Tube first designed it and has improved on it.

All Mod con boilers interface easily with indirects so that would not be a consideration for me.

What negatives have you heard about the WM?

How well supported are they in your area?


@ August 16, 2014 1:40 PM in System's Architect

Asking NREL is a good idea.
What you are calculating is such a variable target that at some point you are going to have to make a (hopefully highly) educated guess.
Obviously, storing the water at lower temps (higher volume) with more insulation is advantageous.
I find you work very interesting, keep us posted.



@ August 16, 2014 9:22 AM in System's Architect

It is curious that these guys are putting the insulation on the inside of the concrete tank. They are loosing out on the additional BTU storage potential of the concrete itself.
Have you considered a precast concrete tank with a closed cell spray foam polyurethane applied to the outside? You can get almost R7 per inch at around 80 cents per board foot.
As far as the insects go , as much as they will vary by location, A dense closed cell foam will help. I have heard of additives that can be put in the foam to resist insects although I have not used them.
Very interesting dialog. I have learned much.



@ August 15, 2014 9:54 PM in Altitude and Deration

I am fairly confident I understand this correctly.
Non of the Guru's of high altitude want to chime in?

Cold water

@ August 15, 2014 12:48 PM in TT Smart 80 & Prestige Solo 110 Summer Gas Usage

You are correct that the heat you are loosing is through the uninsulated pipes in the house.

As far as your concern about cold water entering the system. Water is essentially incompressible right? You can only fit a finite volume of water any piping system. Unless someone opens a water valve somewhere in the house, it would defy the laws of physics for the cold water to enter the system. It would have to displace the the water that is already there and it cannot.

There are formulas that will estimate the heat loss through insulated and uninsulated pipe. What you are witnessing is consistent with uninsulated pipe.

An difficult but important concept to get your head around.



@ August 14, 2014 8:40 AM in Wrong aquastat?

That controller is designed to be able to run at a higher temp when you have a call for heat and a lower temp to keep the DHW coil hot the rest of the time. With an indirect it can be reconfigured to eliminate the "always on" feature.
You want to be sure that you are not consistently returning water colder than 130 degrees to the boiler. Your present settings sound like you are, although if the tankless feature has been disabled, the boiler may be ignoring the 120 setting.
Does your boiler maintain a temperature when there is no call?

I think you have 2 choices;
Keep the aquastat you have and set it so it turns on around 150 and off around 160 and forget it. Make sure the tankless feature is disabled.

Buy a controller like a tekmar 256 that will give you some outdoor reset and boiler protection features.I would leave the existing aquastat (just set it high so it only serves as a safety) and wire the tekmar in series.



@ August 12, 2014 11:29 PM in Boiler with mini split for heating

Check out the attached spreadsheet. After you plug in the local energy costs you need to figure out what the COP  of your mini split is at different outdoor temps.
There be a point when the outdoor temp makes the COP of the mini split low enough so that the Mod/Con becomes more efficient


@ August 12, 2014 10:01 PM in Indirect heating system

I think you need to take what you do know and work the math a few different ways.
The surface area of the radiator would be extremely helpful.
The duct size and the pipe size are also important.
Have you done a heat loss on the home?
What size nozzle does the existing burner have?
What is the oil consumption?

You are getting some great advise. You need to provide more info.



@ August 12, 2014 7:37 AM in Homeowner replacing gas with electric, seek input

You had a heat source that met the load. What size was it? The heat loss you did sounds pretty close. Unless you are trying to program big setbacks,(not recommended with high mass radiant).you don't need to overpower this thing. This is why outdoor reset is such a good idea. Think of it as a big freight train, if you get it going to fast (hot) it is really hard to slow (cool) it down. People like to put lots of gauges on these things. As much as it is useful to know you supply and return temp to make sure you have proper circulation, in a properly designed system, watching the gauges is a little like watching paint dry.


@ August 11, 2014 6:17 PM in In series Heat pump WH 50g and two electic 80 gallons

I think you first need to get a grip on your hot water needs. You can do this by either (or both) counting the fixtures and there flow rates or determining what you have now, that is working, and duplicate it. If you post the make and model of your existing indirect tank and the BTU rating of your boiler(furnaces heat air) that would help.
You then need to consider the local fuel availability and costs in your area and make9 a long term plan. I would be surprised if electric is much cheaper than oil. Do you have nat. Gas?

Tanks in series are ugly from a design point of view.


@ August 10, 2014 12:55 PM in Homeowner replacing gas with electric, seek input

I agree with swei on the outdoor reset. You system will be more efficient and comfortable with it.
You really don't need primary/secondary on a system like yours. Hydroshark is just specking it as a cya. If they will tell you the head loss and minimum gpm through the boiler you can easily do this with one circ.
The 10 kW model sounds a bit large. What was the output of your previous heater? Have you done a heat loss?
I would suggest a single mag/dirt separator rather than the Y strainers.
Why all the gauges? Do the math and forget it.


@ August 9, 2014 1:36 PM in trench drain

Check out these guys.
Very nice product


@ August 6, 2014 6:59 PM in Help...I bought a foreclosure

Unless you think the house will be worth more with the high efficiency stuff, it sounds like you should replace it with the same. You should be able to make the rads longer by doubling back under the fins.

Orifice size

@ August 6, 2014 6:52 PM in Altitude and Deration

Thanks for the response. I think the BTU content of the gas definitely effects the size orifice needed  to get proper combustion. If the gas high content gas was delivered to an appliance installed at 10,000 feet you would need a smaller orifice than you would with the lower content gas.

My question pertains to the output of the appliance after it has been properly set up and it is running at it's designed combustion numbers.


How long?

@ August 6, 2014 8:13 AM in Help...I bought a foreclosure

How long do you plan to stay in the house?
The cheapest way in the short term is to replace it with what was removed. It looks like that was an atmospheric boiler and a gas water heater.

If you you are planning on staying a while, a high efficiency unit is a  great idea. If you go with a high efficiency unit, I would suggest installing panel radiators designed for lower water temps. A high efficiency boiler is not highly efficient unless you can run it at low watertemps.

You heat loss looks about right. I would say the original installer did not put in enough baseboard.

Yes you can run all your zones with one circulator and zone valves.


Get what you pay for..

@ August 6, 2014 7:57 AM in Navien CH180ASME

If you are thinking long term, spend more money and buy a Triangle tube prestige excellence or a Viessmann combo unit.
People like Navien because they cost less. There is a reason for this.

Altitude and Deration

@ August 4, 2014 9:04 PM in Altitude and Deration

When derating gas appliances for altitude (6,000 to 11,000 feet) I have been under the understanding that all you need to do is follow the manufactures recommendations. Usually atmospheric appliances are are 4% per 1,000 feet and appliances with forced combustion are 2% per 1,000 feet.I have observed the amount of time needed to raise the temp of a known quantity of water a certain amount and concluded that this deration method works quite well.

In Colorado the Natural gas supplied has a lower BTU content. Normally gas has somewhere around 100,000 BTU/CCF . Ours is claimed to be somewhere in the 750,000 to 800,000 range. The reason given for this is that it is makes appliances run more efficiently with minimal altitude adjustments. I have been under the impression that this lower BTU content does not have a negative impact on the appliances output (more than the altitude alone) as you just need a slightly richer fuel mixture to get the same amount of gas to the flame.

Recently I have heard some people claim that you just derate for the lower BTU content and not for the altitude. This makes zero sense to me as we still have the issue of lower atmospheric pressure thus less air to burn.
I have also heard folks say you should derate for both altitude and the gas.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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