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Larry Weingarten

Larry Weingarten

Joined on August 26, 2003

Last Post on August 27, 2014

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I'll guess...

@ August 27, 2014 2:46 AM in Antique something??

... that it's a heat exchanger for hooking up to a 30 gallon tank for domestic hot water.  It would go in the fire box.  In cook stoves, they were called water fronts or water backs.  Maybe someone else will have a better informed guess!

Yours,  Larry


@ August 27, 2014 2:41 AM in Gas-fired water heater pilot keeps going out.

Look for the drips and sizzles first.  If they don't happen because the tank is mostly up to temperature, the thermocouple is the first thing to check.  Make sure it is being heated to a dull red by the pilot and check to see the connection to the control is reasonably tight.  If those things don't work, replace the thermocouple.  If that still doesn't work, you're facing a new (expensive) control.... but controls rarely fail.  Also, if you can make it work, consider a new anode and relief valve for the tank to keep it working safely. 

Yours,  Larry

I'll add...

@ August 25, 2014 3:05 AM in quick odor in sinks/showers

... that you might want to check all hot taps in the house for odor.  If they don't all have it, it isn't a hot water source problem.  It's unlikely anyway with a tankless heater.  From the description, it sounds like odor from the drain.  Try pouring bleach or hydrogen peroxide down the drain and see if it helps.  Before doing this, stoop and sniff the drain.  Don't inhale too deeply, as it might be rather disgusting!  If you smell bad stuff there before running any water, you know it's a bunch of smelly bacteria in the drain causing the odor. 

Yours,  Larry

In the book...

@ July 16, 2014 12:06 AM in Ruud 40gl Water Heater Power Vent Error Code?

.... for this heater that Ice posted, look to page 37 for error codes.   It looks like you might have a problem with the pressure switch. I just worked on one that had a slightly leaky tube attached and that caused it to malfunction.   Make SURE to check the anode!

Yours,  Larry

These devices...

@ July 15, 2014 11:51 PM in Ecodrain gets US building code approval

... can save roughly 60% of the heat that goes down the drain.  Savings can be in energy, but they can also be in using smaller equipment.  A twenty gallon heater can deliver the same shower as a forty gallon unit with this counter-flow exchanger.  There is basically little to fail and no moving parts. 

The nifty thing about a horizontal unit is that it can be fit into so many places a vertical unit cannot go.

Mine was less than half the price years ago, but energy costs more now.  They are certainly easier to install in new construction, but durable and reliable energy savings are not a bad thing.

Yours,  Larry

structured plumbing

@ May 31, 2014 1:30 PM in Recirculating loop

Hello:  Here's a  link  to an article written by Gary Klein on how to build a really efficient distribution system that will deliver hot water to any tap in seconds (1-2 cups of water).

Yours,  Larry

access denied

@ May 9, 2014 12:53 PM in Mark vs Martin

Hello:  I did talk with Martin about this a while back and he told me they were having some software problems.  Might be they still are, but I doubt the intent is to silence any debate.  I did just visit the blog and it has 123 responses, which I could get to this time. 

Yours,  Larry

Mark vs Martin

@ April 25, 2014 2:53 PM in Mark vs Martin

Hello All:  Thought you should know there is an interesting conversation going on at Green Building Advisor between our own Mark Eatherton, Robert Bean, Martin Holladay and others. It's here:   Perhaps some more wetheads need to chime in.

Yours,  Larry 

Here are some links...

@ March 2, 2014 7:41 PM in Rinnai RH180 or 100 Gallon Atmospheric?

... to different makers of shower heat exchangers.  Done right, it's a way to need about half the hot water generating capacity.   I'm not sure GFX is still up and running, but it was the first one. 

Yours,  Larry

Is there any chance...

@ February 28, 2014 3:19 AM in Rinnai RH180 or 100 Gallon Atmospheric?

... your client would consider one or multiple shower heat exchangers to make life easier on the heat maker?

Yours,  Larry

Harvey, I've installed...

@ February 26, 2014 1:11 AM in Underground Insulated Pex

... long lengths of insulated PEX by using PVC conduit and pulling the insulated tube through the conduit.  I don't know how it compares price-wise, but it works.  Just make sure the conduit ID is enough bigger than the OD of the insulation so there is good working room and low friction.

Yours,  Larry

That's a pretty...

@ February 26, 2014 12:57 AM in Original Equipment

... water heater.  I'm not so sure the plumber's tape will do much, but as the heater is probably around 80 years old and hasn't fallen over yet in earthquake country, it might not be a big deal.  Suppose that even though it's cast iron, it's a low mass heater.  I know... it's held up by the gas line!

Yours,  Larry

Might be useful...

@ February 16, 2014 10:58 PM in Wood heat transfer

... to find someone with a Duct Blaster.  This is a diagnostic tool that will measure duct leakage.  The AVERAGE leakage is 30%!   Once you have snug ducts, all heating will work better.  I like the idea of using fan only to mix up air in the house.  Putting a return air grill high up in the room that has the stove might help pick up some of that heat to distribute.

Yours,  Larry

I can only answer...

@ February 6, 2014 1:54 AM in On-Demand Hot Water Not Working as Expected

... part of the question.  No hot water at the kitchen might be a plumbing problem rather than an equipment problem.  Try this test for cross connection:  Shut off water supply to the hot side of things.  Then open a hot tap.  It should run for a second or four and then slow and stop.  If it keeps running, cold water is making it's way into the hot side.  Your job is to find the leak and fix it.  It is most likely in fixtures that have a single handle.

Yours,  Larry


@ February 5, 2014 12:19 AM in Debris in our radiant heat system

Hello:  What is the heat source for the system?  Is it a boiler, or a water heater?

Yours,  Larry

Reading between the lines...

@ February 1, 2014 3:45 PM in Heating solutions for naughty children?

... Are your kids putting something in the heating duct that shouldn't go there?  Something smelly?  If that's the concern, can you move the register up on the wall or into the ceiling? 

I might have the system checked for duct leakage as the average is a loss of 30%!

Yours,  Larry

You're right!

@ February 1, 2014 1:21 PM in A new show

It's dry.  In Monterey, where I am, we got about 4.5" last year.  Normal is around 15".  Snow-pack is at 12% of normal and reservoirs are around 10-30% of normal.  

Coming up next week is a show on water and creative ways of using less ... finding more.  The talk of earth closets should be fun!  :~)

Yours,  Larry

A new show

@ January 31, 2014 10:25 PM in A new show

Hello:  Here's a little FYI;  I'm involved in a new radio show where we talk about self sufficiency and getting some independence from the many grids.  Here's all the contact info if you wish to listen or call in. 

Every Saturday at 1:00 PM (Pacific) - 1460 AM and 101.1

or, listen to us on the Internet at

by clicking on: "Listen to KION 1460 am & 101.1
fm Live" at top of page

Email us at:

Call in number:  (831) 633-1460.
Hope you can find time to come by and weigh in.  Thanks!
Yours,  Larry

Dan's birthday...

@ January 28, 2014 12:16 AM in Happy Birthday Dan Holohan

... even makes Rex smile!  We want many more!

Yours,  Larry

Just to be certain...

@ January 28, 2014 12:01 AM in How long in the shower?

... measure flow from the showerhead.  Run it till it just begins to cool.  Calculate the gallons.  It should be about 70-75% of the volume of the tank.  If not, check the dip tube.  With colder groundwater this time of year, there just will be less hot water unless you turn up the temperature.

Also, it's not hard to find decent 1.5 gpm showerheads.  At 30 gallons and a 60/40 (hot/cold) mix, that would be about 33 minutes of shower. (if my math works) :~p

Yours,  Larry

I'm having a hard time...

@ January 13, 2014 5:33 PM in New Hot Water Heater

... following this statement "...there won't be any flame in your empty tank after flushing, you run the risk of the thing not igniting".  You can turn the gas to pilot rather than off when you replace the anode.  Even if the gas is turned off, you relight it.  No big deal.

Yours,   Larry

Muddy waters

@ January 13, 2014 5:12 PM in 80 gallon elect on night meter..? power vent gas ?

Just to muddy the waters a bit, depending on price of gas and electricity, a heat pump unit with a COP of about two might cost you roughly the same as gas to operate.  There might be incentives for it as well.  Check out for info.

Yours,  Larry
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