Dave Yates (PAH)
Joined on June 20, 2002
Last Post on January 7, 2007
@ January 7, 2007 11:16 AM in Job Photos (s milne )Drooling all over the keyboard ain't zactly conducive for long computer life! Very, very nice pal.
@ January 7, 2007 8:43 AM in Tjernland ProbsWhy is it that problem-jobs are always the fartherest from the shop? Got called to check a problem radiant installation & it had an oil-fired boiler in an attached shed (used to have the boiler in the basement) because the radiant add was SOG & the installer didn't know how to power up a somewhat remote slab. Told the HO's the boiler had to be movred to accomodate the radiant! It too had a Tjerland exhauster & man was I shocked upon entering that mechanical shed. Soot everywhere! The oil tank was about 2" away from the side of the boiler (what NFPA regs?) and the exhaust traveled over the length of the oil tank to the Tj that was installed just inside the wall. The HO was having to climb over the oil tank to reset the Tj! Outside, the exhaust was in a corner with vinyl siding melted on the shed and the bricks on the new add a deep black from soot! The HO told us no one could "catch it in the act" of locking out. Back inside the shed, we noticed the only combustion air was a 4" dryer vent with flapper removed! So, we closed the shed door & fired that puppy up. Didn't take long until the fire was suffering and turning to sooty conditions. Tossed the Tj, installed a SS b-vent up past the roof-line and added a louver for combustion air. A mason built a dividing wall for the oil tank to comply with NFPA. Given that the Tj will draw more air than just what's required to safely exhaust the combustion gases, you might want to give that a look-see if you haven't already.
@ January 6, 2007 11:56 AM in On getting a utility to admit an error! (GrandPAH)past-due reminders and now the reduced billing with a reminder that it's past-due. It would be folly for the utility to file anything & would surely set loose a chain of events that would give the utility a very large black eye. The owner is a well-known retired businessman whose stature in the community is very high. He's pretty ticked off at this point and has held back while I try getting results. If I hadn't met with that first meter reader, no one except the water co would know what really happened. Not too sure they'd have fessed up otherwise, but you never know.
@ January 3, 2007 9:38 PM in New Hampshire, Live Free and Dieit might be die & live free? Same stupidity goes on round here too. Those who flaunt authority and diss the system get a free ride. Tain't fair, but that's life - or, perhaps, death.
@ January 3, 2007 9:32 PM in Backflow preventionchanges everything! New rules, as Dennis Miller would say. We install & peform certified tests for hundreds of BFP's and we're one of just two (that I'm aware of in our area) firms certified for confined space entry with the proper tools and test instruments. That article gets me in more hot water(G)! I look forward to the day when we can affect a change in our nation's plumbing codes.
@ January 3, 2007 9:07 PM in Backflow preventionArlene, That's not a certified backflow prevention device & certainly not compliant with ASSE 1012. ASSE 1012 requires the backflow device be a dual-check with atmospheric relief vent & there are specific requirements for the vent piping termination too. Interestingly enough, the ASSE 1012 DCA does not need to be a testable device & requires no annual testing. Round here, you'd be flagging 99% of the boiler installations we see!(G)
@ January 1, 2007 11:24 AM in Steam to Force hot waterIf they want to switch to FHW, a heat loss calc is the only way to get an accurate assessment for sizing and to know how much heat emitter you (they'll) need per each room. Steam systems are often oversized by a wide margin and the home may have seen some energy upgrades (like insulation or windows) that will lower its heat loss characteristics. A good hydronics contractor will know to look for these types of changes and will ask lots of questions.
@ December 30, 2006 10:09 AM in Hey Johnny White (GrandPAH)Johnny, Tried downloading the pics from the 1-gig mini-drive camera card to my Wolverine mass storage unit & managed to get all but a few before it too locked up. Now, before I get crucified for having circs on the return side, it might help to know that only the returns are separated by three. The main supply evidently splits off after its lone flow-check somewhere out beyond the mechanical space - hence the three swing-checks immediately after each of the Perfectos in addition to the flow-checks at the supply split between the basement and upper floor zones. Options we considered: reverse the flow (not unlike how I've successfully treated old Edwards boilers where a lone supply came back in multiple returns); a single circ on the supply with zone valves on the return - an idea I personally liked; or, given the shortage of time and need for heating to be restored prior to a long holiday weekend, simply let the system run as it has for so long (with no issues) and install IFC circs while keeping the B&G flow checks on the supply lines.
@ December 30, 2006 9:36 AM in What would you do??? (GrandPAH)Mornin Joel, Looking back, I can't recall ever being hit with a false restocking charge - ever. We've seen the types of problems you describe - too often. Like you, we shift our business to the suppliers who give us good service and fess up when they screw up - just as we do when we screw up on our end when dealing with our customers. 'Never, ever lie to a customer & always be the first to admit you made a mistake' has always been our policy. We too once did a large volume with these jokers & like you, we moved our business to others long ago. Seldom do we call them for anything, but Luxaire is one of those supplier-specific products & they carry the line. The fact that they sought a $300 charge to get us a HX within a reasonable time-frame (if four days in cold weather is reasonable) while a second supply house could get one within 24-hours at no charge, raises a whole new level of suspicion regarding their ethics. Joe@Buderus - We did exactly that & thought the issue was resolved. As you might imagine, the subsequent billing was a surprise. lee - Our company policy for special orders has remained constant for decades. Onle a few may actually place the order and the supplier must provide a quote with terms. We then inform the customer about any restocking issues and get a firm committment from them prior to placing the order. Larry - That may well be my next move. However, I may tally up our time spent dealing with this issue and file charges against the supplier to recover our costs. I'd rather they get smart & purge the charge so we can all move on to more productive things. If, on the other hand, our credit is adversely affected, there will be hell to pay & that's when the lawyer gets activated. Jeff - As they say on TV - No Deal Bob - We do as little as possible with this particular supply house. Prior to another supplier picking up Luxaire, we had no choice & that led to complacent service on their end. The owner has always struck me as a great guy, but he's not minding the store and has several employees who are less than ethical. My experience with them is not unique according to discussions with a number of other mechanical contractors. Brad - The acct is not closed from my end and it will be credited the $300. There's a lesson to be learned here about ethical treatment of customers and how that taints a business relationship. On a wider scale, it's also an interesting look at how business is conducted where ordering materials is concerned. Trust is a mighty strong glue that binds us in our day-to-day relationships and hard to restore once broken. At this point, I wouldn't order a bib-screw from them without a faxed quote! Keith - Those are the same guys who will one day wonder why Lowes and Home Depot put them out of business. I still have a special-order Kohler 3-hole cast iron kit sink I ordered the first month I was on my own in 79. That's what the customer said they wanted "no extra hole to show". Too bad the job got canceled. Too bad for me, that is. Tough lesson learned about special orders. It's way in the back of the warehouse - still collecting dust.
@ December 29, 2006 7:17 PM in Hey Johnny White (GrandPAH)on for size. No dice at the recycle center today & I could kick myself for not preserving that HX. Sorry about that. Two pics attached. Tried the "sharpen" feature on the second one. These are full-size images. I did find the old photos from 2002 & I'll include that one too, but it was a low-rez shot. I had, had being the operative word, some shots from today, but I think I fried my 1-gig camera card by trying to edit a photo on the card instead of transferring it to a file first - D'OH! I'll get back on Tues to shoot the finished install. Bums me out because I performed a faucet-en-dectomy on a 1916 pedistal sink today and preserved the antique spout with its ceramic overflow (it had twin water connections on the underside of the sink bowl) and adapted a set of Delta widespread faucets that have the ceramic "old" look. The owners were overjoyed at saving the old gal & I shot a sequential series of pics showing the progression from demo to new. All gone :(
@ December 28, 2006 10:16 PM in Hey Johnny White (GrandPAH)His for the taking! How bout a Madagascar hissing cochroach to go with?!? Big bugger resides just a few feet away in a plexi container! Don't know if they got saved. The junk run was completed before I returned & I didn't get a chance to revisit the site. Between the Civil War home and several radiant bids, my day was slamming. One of those bids was for a pre-civil war era stone home just outside of Gettysburg that I surveyed last week. Their existing home has a connon ball burried in its side wall. Their "new" home is much older and a real hydronic challenge.
@ December 28, 2006 9:12 PM in Hey Johnny White (GrandPAH)What a day! Started with pics attached & then it was off to visit a Civil War era home where the timbers inside bore scorch marks from a fire. Turned out they were timbers salvaged from the timber-framed bridge that spanned the Susquehanna River that was set ablaze to halt the Reb Army's forward march. Here's the 'Perfecto' job. Interestingly enough, there are two Perfecto sizes here & the smaller one is ribbed. Note the Taco auto feed vlv and relay panel as well as the Taco HX.
@ December 20, 2006 9:05 PM in David Broome on vacation!Hey, if the First Lady went under the knife, and she did, for skin cancer - remember to slather on the sunscreen. Meanwhile, we'll be covered up and protected(G)! Ever since we completed our solar installation, I've been acutely aware of the sun's activities. Not a single ray goes by without a howdy, a smile in passing, and a thanks! Enjoy: you've earned the break.
@ December 17, 2006 9:32 AM in Free agentwill be getting you on board, but I'll wager they'd best move quickly! As an observer at the AHR ASHRAE committee meeting, you left an indellible impression on me as one of the most astute and intelligent people in this industry. Give me a holler if I can help in any way.
@ December 15, 2006 6:02 PM in I told the Feds to take a hike today... (ME)Actually, the whole fam damily can be on the job site & be exempt. As for those larger slices of pie? First big DB Act job we bid saw the bid awarding/opening in our State Capitol's official chambers. We had the highest bid, but that's OK too as it was a project with six York Triathlon heat pumps. (I had added a bunch of warranty time, which, in hindsight, was spot-on. The Triathlon was yanked a year later as a failed product. The two we had installed elsewhere were so troublesome that York paid for replacement equipment - including labor - to be installed.) As one of just six firms trained and certified on that particular product, we had been invited to join the fray. Our bid was in the low 7-digits & included all of the PHVAC. The low bidder submitted a number substantially below our bare-bones cost. Their estimator was seated behind me & I've known him most of my life. He leaned forward and whispered to me: "See me after this in the hallway. You obviously don't know how this system can be beat." So, I had to ask him how it was possible for him to bid below the job costs. He's been an estimator for decades, so unless he screwed up - majorly - there had to be a reason. "We're not doing the work. Everything will be subbed out to sole propriator shops, which are exempt from the DB Act! We routinely win PW jobs this way and have a list of individual PHVAC shops who will do the work for us. We'll take a cut off the top." And that was my intro to this rather large loop-hole. Since then, we've bid a few, won a few and lost more than a few to small shops willing to work cheap. The last time, it was to a single-horse shop who was charging just $34.00 an hour for his time. I saw the work later because of a site pressure problem (not created by him) and his work was very nice. He just doesn't know what the term overhead means.
@ December 10, 2006 9:26 PM in If you're not listed......... (GrandPAH)Get listed, get work - it's just that simple. E-mail from nice folks in Stafford (zip code 77477) who need help. This time it's plumbing. Not a single contractor listed within 100-miles.
@ December 9, 2006 2:24 PM in Legionaires Disease Confirmed... (ME)The great folks at Area51HVAC.com were responsible for my enlightenment. Had they not asked me to host one of their Thursday night sessions, I might never have tripped over the bacterial amplification issues. I chose to host a debate entitled "boilers vs. water heaters", which was a good choice at the time for a very lively debate(G). While researching info on the subject, the bacterial stuff popped up - repeatedly. However, I did not bring that up that night. Like a lot of folks, I didn't want to believe it was a real issue, much less something serious. After all, I'd been installing potable hot water systems for decades and I couldn't recall any customers dropping dead. I was in the 'show me the bodies' frame of mind. A natural born skeptic, but also with an inquisitive and restless mind, I pursued the subject intently for months on end. The more research I did, the more undeniable the issues became. So, I switched gears and tried to find evidenct to the contrary. I came up dry as far as credible scientific evidence was concerned. Lots of anecdotal stuff from purveyors of open systems, however, with more than a few screw-ball claims about super-efficiency and magically free energy. No matter how hard I tried to shake off the problems, the more concrete the mounting body of evidence became. Then came research into scalding issues because that mushroomed into view once I contemplated the need to raise storage temps. The folks at Watts were watching and reading the columns too and came knocking on my door to ask if we'd do the 'Scalding - Danger Lurks' video. I asked for complete control over the script with absolutely no interferrence from anyone & to my surprise, they agreed. Now, let's move forward together & kick this beast up a notch! Time to turn up the heat.
@ December 9, 2006 8:25 AM in Contractor of the Year 06Congrats John, your passion for the industry is showing(G).
@ December 9, 2006 8:18 AM in Legionaires Disease Confirmed... (ME)1 - I haven't seen the home, its tank, or the shower riser & can't say with any degree of certainty that any conditions exist as described. From what I've read over the course of several years, copper tubing yields a better bacterial shielding than does plastic. However, I've also read that anything shielding the bacteria from direct physical contact renders copper inert. 2 - I'm not sure what schematic you're referencing, but in my mind, there's a stark contrast between a single return loop for potable hot water that's going to be "on" 24/7/365 at pasteurization or inhibiting temps and an open radiant system with hundreds of feet of horizontal plastic. Realistically, an open direct radiant system will not be on 24/7/365, especially during the air-conditioning season. Aside from the stagnation factor where long horizontal beds of food (biofilms and sediment) await the bugs, the temps are seldom, if ever, in the pasteurization range throughout the entire loops' length. At some point along that Btu highway, enough heat has slipped the surly bonds of the tubing, while doing what it was designed to do - heat the floors, to drop the temps right down into the ideal ranges for amplification. Can't be stopped or kept from happening. Exercising the system is a sad joke. Actually, nothing funny about that at all. When a mechanical failure occurs, when do you think the owners will become aware of a problem? Could be a months-long stagnation and bacterial soup just waiting for an injection and direct injection pass through the tank if hot water is in use. There's not one single argument for open systems that makes sense when considering the potential risks. 3 - I can't eradicate Legionella or LD. Nothing can - outside of the physical areana we control. However, we can, as a group, exert pressure on code bodies to drop this nonsense regarding costs and get back to the original task they tackled at their inception - protecting the health of the nation. Back then, it was typhoid, dysentary, and cholera that would sweep through communities - often killing thousands within weeks in any given town USA. Water-borne diseases were the single largest threat to human health. The codes, along with improved plumbing practices, improved our standards of living with a much better prospect for living a longer life. We've become so accustomed to sanitary plumbing, that no one even gives it a second thought today. We're several generations removed from the horrors our pre-deceased ancestors faced in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The codes have lost their way, IMHO, and now represent little more than a revenue-generating stream for municipalities. Step back and take a hard look at the process and the fact that few inspectors are adequately trained to perform their duties. Many of them were simply appointed with absolutely no experience or training, yet the consumer is led to believe the PI is looking out for their best interest. While many are and do, in fact, a very good job, the PI process, as a whole, needs to be overhauled. It's a mess that was condoned by the code books as they permitted municipalities to simply appoint PI's. Estimates vary widely regarding deaths from LD, but 10,000 deaths per year for community acquired LD in the US appears to be a conservative guess. Given that only a small percentage who contract LD actually die (for CAP, unlike nosocomial - hoaspital acquired - where the percentages are much higher because the folks there are already sick with weakened immune systems) and that the medical community does not routinely culture samples from pneumonia deaths, this has not captured the media's attention as have SARS, West Nile and the Avian Flue. However, it has captured the interest of law schools who, if my e-mails from their students are any indication, are teaching law students how to prosecute everyone along the chain of distribution - including we contractors. LD leaves footprints, much like DNA, if the site is tested shortly following a diagnosis. As a result, if you contract LD from my home's water heater and a sample is drawn, that particular strain can be ubdeniably linked to your culture sample. So long as costs dictate, or are given overblown consideration - via the largest lobbying force where code changes are concerned - the builders asociation - they will not change until sufficient numbers of documented deaths have occured. Until that occurs, we'll continue to bury the dead from LD and scalding while many of those who survive will suffer lifelong disabilities. What's a life worth? How much cost do we asssign to a child who has suffered third-degree burns who will de disfigured and suffer the remainder of their lives? The reality is that most of those problems can be eliminated from being associated with potable hot water systems if our national code bodies were to adopt these common-sense solutions. When you stop to consider the costs in comparison to the total costs for a new home, they are not even a drop in a drop of a drop in the bucket.
@ December 7, 2006 6:35 PM in The Perfect CirculatorCuff em & stuff em Dano (sorry, couldn't resist a little 5-0) Manufacture a soft cuff that would snugly fit over the cartridge type circs and let it hold a small volume of water. Tap into the cuff's chamber with small-diameter flexible tubing and connect that to either side of the circ body in pre-drilled taps. That way, all the wasted heat generated by those windings could be captured and rejected to the flow passing on to whatever zone the circ serves. Think of it as a prophylactic Btu pregnancy preventer!
@ December 7, 2006 6:11 PM in Inspector De-CertificationRobert, Not sure I could play well with politicians(G). Just found out today that our little Skeeterville lost its fifth PI in two years - another quitter. The same guy who had told me, when I met him, that he'd be calling me because he had a lot to learn. And, a fire inspector quit today too. Told me that after 25-years, he can't stomach the BS any longer. York is in dire straights financially and the codes admin depts are in total disarray. It's the worst I've seen in 38 years and there's no prospects for it to improve!
@ December 7, 2006 6:00 PM in Contractors working togethersame thoughts here! Did you have any issues with setting up the solar array prior to adding supply/return piping or was that a temp set up to orient the tubes/array? (I see they are turning their backs to the sun!) The lit indicates best install times are cloudy days or at night. Mine went in under a cloudy sky, but we still gained about 6K Btu's during the install as the circ was on a manual "on" setting. Very, very nice work.