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Joined on October 13, 2005

Last Post on August 22, 2008

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@ August 22, 2008 1:42 PM in Radiant tube installation on top of slab......have questions

I would use something like Crete-Heat.

Economics and Energy Savings

@ August 20, 2008 5:46 PM in Great REX in Schaumberg Ill... (ME)

I agree with your viewpoint Rob. The savings in a properly designed residential system under 4,000 sf or so is relatively small. I spent quite a bit of time talking with Steve Thompson at Wetstock, and I think the stratos and eco are great products. I would love to see them installed them on every job. I'm just not sure how much economic sense they make at this point. However, I can definitely see the advantage of the Stratos in commercial or large residential applications. It really depends on whether the customer wants to spend extra money to save energy. However, more often the question boils down to a balance of efficiency and capital cost, and a 15-58 w/ dP are the answer right now.

Energy Problems

@ August 13, 2008 1:00 PM in Are we pitching the wrong fuel?

Transmission losses in power lines can be horrendous. Where does the hydrogen come from? Nuclear-powered electrolysis? What do we do with the nuclear waste? None of us wants it in his backyard. Solving our energy deficit requires us to conserve. This does not just mean more efficient equipment, it means we have to change our lifestyles to use less energy. I look at energy on a hierarchical scale of usefulness. To raise a form of energy to the next level, some energy is consumed (wasted). Electricity is at the top of the heirarchy. It can be used for anything. Unfortunately, it cannot be easily stored and must be created from lower forms of energy. Next would be gases, which are less useful than electricity. I have yet to see a natural gas television. Gases can be stored, though they are still difficult to store in large quantities. Next would be liquid fuels. They are easier to store, but not quite as easy to use or clean burning as gases. Last would be solid fuels. These are easy to acquire and store, but they are dirty and more difficult to use than the other three types. I would argue that we should never use natural gas to generate electricity. Natural gas's best use is as a heating fuel. We are wasting it when we use it to generate electricity. What about biofuels? How much water, petroleum, and other energy types does it take to generate them? One thing is for sure, the net benefit is much smaller than the energy content of the fuel. When choosing a heating fuel, we should be choosing the fuel that is lowest on the heirarchy yet still practical for the application. Oil and gas are currently those fuels. Coal should be used for industrial processes and to generate electricity where the combustion can be closely monitored. Nuclear energy can be part of the mix, but we have to decide what part of the country we are going to make uninhabitable for disposing of the waste. I have noticed that with all the concern about energy prices, very few talk about real energy conservation. We spend our time on the futile search for a miracle energy source. When it comes down to it, the only energy source we have ever had is the sun. To really make a difference, install solar panels to provide the solar fraction you can afford and let the traditional boiler take up the slack. Super-insulate your home. Sure, the payback is decades-long, but it's the only way to truly come to a solution to our energy probelms. They need to lift the cap on the residential solar tax credit. Unfortunately, Congress cannot even agree whether to extend it at all.

Multi-family strategy

@ August 11, 2008 5:45 PM in Navien heating boxes

You might take a look at the Triangle Tube Prestige and the Mini Smart instantaneous HX before going with the heating box and an instantaneous water heater. The price is probably a bit higher, but I would personally prefer to service the Triangle Tube setup over an instantaneous water heater and Heating Box.


@ August 11, 2008 5:26 PM in Children of the 50s and 60s unite!

Each generation has their effect on society. The society that existed during the 50's and 60's was created by those children's parents and grandparents. The society that exists now was created by the children of the 50's and 60's. This election cycle is the first where we have what I consider to be a post-baby-boomer presidential candidate, though some count the baby boom as going through 1964 or beyond. I am hopeful that my generation (the children of the 70's and 80's) can unite to begin fixing the damage caused by the egocentrism and hedonism of the children of the 50's and 60's. That is why "change" is the word of the day. It's not just a change from the current administration or the war in Iraq. It's the shift to a new generation. That said, there have been times that I have thought that the 50's and 60's would have been a great time to grow up. From what I know of it, I think the early to mid 20th century was an amazing time to be alive. Today we invent a new internet search engine or a slightly more efficient car. Back then they invented the television, movies, and the Model T. I fail to see how the new search engine can be as exciting.


@ August 1, 2008 4:04 PM in thermostatic heads vs. central thermostat

You can run the GB142 continuous circulation on outdoor reset and let the thermostatic heads do what they are designed to do. Be sure to set the heating curve so that the tenants cannot turn the heat up to 90 and open the windows to cool things off when needed. There are thermostatic heads on every radiator? The only drawback is that heating the upper level better will probably cause the utility bill to increase.

Big Sky Country

@ July 28, 2008 5:53 PM in How's your staycation?

Tim, you just missed Evel Knievel Days here in Butte. He was far from a hero or role model, but somehow fitting as someone Butte celebrates.


@ July 22, 2008 1:06 PM in evacuated tubes Vs. Flat plates again url comparsion

The only advantages to evac tubes that I see are ease of installation for small roof-mounted systems and freight savings on smaller systems. Otherwise I agree that flat-plates are the way to go in most situations, particularly when one considers the much higher cost of evac tubes.

Warm Water

@ July 18, 2008 10:52 AM in Steam Heating System for New House

The efficiency advantage a hot water system has over a steam system may be somewhat marginal, but as fuel prices are increasing those margins add up. My personal preference is hot water with steel panel radiators controlled by thermostatic radiator valves everywhere except for radiant floors in the kitchen and bathrooms using extruded aluminum heat transfer plates. In my opinion, this system is the best balance of efficiency, comfort, and capital cost. Solar collectors can also be added to a hot water system, not so with a steam system. That's just my take on the issue. I think steam systems have some very cool features and characteristics, but warm water is the way to go now that we have electricity readily available to run low watt circulators.

Heat Loss

@ July 16, 2008 1:53 PM in What more can I do??????????

Any way to reduce your heat loss? You already have an excellent heating system. Possibly you could fine tune the reset curve on the Tekmar, but any gains will probably be very minor.


@ July 14, 2008 6:15 PM in This BUDS pour vous !!

Unfortunately, the website I found only mentioned the top three.

Googled it...

@ July 14, 2008 4:51 PM in This BUDS pour vous !!

The New Largest Top Three American Breweries are: 1. Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams) - Boston, MA 2. D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. - Pottsville, PA 3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA Not the big three one would have expected a few years ago.

Sell outs...

@ July 14, 2008 12:57 PM in This BUDS pour vous !!

When I first heard about Inbev's offer and Anheuser Busch's refusal, I thought possibly there was an American company that cared about something more than money. I was wrong. They just wanted more money. On a positive note, Highlander Beer is again available from a revived Missoula Brewing Company. Grain Belt is back too. Can Butte Special be far behind? ;-)

Saving Fuel

@ July 10, 2008 12:13 PM in Outdoor reset with tankless coil

I agree with Gary and Rob. You will save far more fuel (assuming that is the goal) by installing an indirect water heater than you would with a reset control. When you are installing the indirect, you can plan for a future reset control, such as a Tekmar 260.


@ June 30, 2008 12:21 PM in Heat Exchanger Question - For the engineering folks

I was confused about which temperatures geoboy was talking about. There is still no violation of hot to cold, but depending on the parameters of the system, either of the two exiting temperatures could be warmer. I am posting a sketch because describing this in words is confusing.


@ June 12, 2008 1:28 PM in Converting Propane Steam Heat

I believe she is under this rate schedule in her area. MDU General Electric Space Heating Rate How about electric radiant ceilings?

Radiant Floor Methods

@ June 12, 2008 10:57 AM in Radiant tubing above or below subfloor?

It depends on your criteria. Above floor methods require more labor and materials to install. If you want performance and cost is less of a concern, above-floor Thermofin-U is a good option. Warmboard is a good product also, although it sounds like your project may be beyond the point where Warmboard is still an option. Below floor methods with extruded plates performs nearly as well as above floor methods. The installation goes more quickly and it does not affect your finished floor elevation. This leaves a bare subfloor for installation of your finished flooring. I would encourage the hardwood installers to use fasteners that do not penetrate the subfloor to avoid the possibility of hitting a tube. In general, my preference is below floor Thinfin-C as the best balance of cost and performance.

Free Heat

@ June 11, 2008 5:38 PM in Snow Melt in Iceland

One of the benefits of living on a volcano. ;-)


@ June 11, 2008 11:37 AM in Opinions please

Sorry about that. There are dangers either way. The choice seems to come down to which safeties you trust more.


@ June 11, 2008 11:27 AM in Opinions please

Is this an open system? I assume that if the system has no leaks and an appropriately sized expansion tank it will run for years without problems. The only way this could be a problem is if the system develops a leak, and then there are other problems like water damage, particularly if the makeup water is left on.

Galvanic Corrosion

@ June 11, 2008 11:24 AM in Dialectric or not

I haven't seen any issues with iron to copper, but if you are particularly concerned you could use a dielectric nipple instead of a union. The unions tend to leak. Actually, they almost never fail to fail.


@ June 11, 2008 11:07 AM in Opinions please

Why wouldn't this be ok? I prefer that makeup water is shut off on all systems after the initial purge anyway. If the water pressure is dropping, there is a leak that must be repaired.
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