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Questions on a Viessmann Boiler

Dave_4
Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
It's not about the gross.

It's what you get to keep. The margins these two companies derive from their unique methods is not from making a superior product, it is the vertical manner in which they market. They attempt to control the markets, not openly compete. Fact is, they have nothing to compete with!

It is an old system of marketing, (deemed to be illegal by the Supreme Court in the case of NCR, Standard Oil, et al before I was born... that requires a band of "core" subjects to tout a product thru exclusivity, not superior engineering. The vocal cadre of posters here that are so shrill, being the primary factor preventing us from making choices based on facts - instead of self-serving drones of these companies, who provide tons of anectdotal evidence to support the claim of superiority, without any factual data to support the anectdotes, e.g., the guy who shows up every time EK is mentioned, telling us how his fuel bill went from some huge dollar amount, to one fifth of that when his EK was installed - only to find out the boiler is inherently INNEFFICIENT -because it cannot condense!

But you knew all that before, didn't you?

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  • John_108
    John_108 Member Posts: 21


    I have a customer that had a house built and the first mechanical contractor got in way over his head with the system. They called in another contractor who made it worse. We are currently fixing all of the problems in the house. I have been in contact with Viessmann and they gave me access to download all of the manuals for the system. I was told that it is the only one in the county and unfortunately this is the first Viessmann I have worked on. I was able to get the boiler operational Friday so there is heat in the house, my issues are with how to control the system.


    The customer has a Viessmann Vitola 200 VB2-40 oil fired boiler, a Virticell HG 350, Virotronic 200 KW2 controller, DHW pump module and 3-way mixing valve with valve actuator accessory kit. The house has radiant heat in the basement with 3 zones and baseboard heat on the top two floors, zoned for each floor. The radiant loops are set up with Viega manifolds and an AR-5 controller with power heads. Each zone (radiant - 1 pump, baseboard - 2 pumps and DHW - 1 pump) has its own pump.

    I currently have the two upper floor pumps hooked up to two pump relays that just bring on the pumps. The boiler is maintaining temp based off of the outdoor sensor. I do not have the radiant working yet or the DHW tank installed.

    My questions:
    1. How do I control the three zones of radiant? The pump and mixing valve actuator are connected to the pump module; the temperature sensor is located at the supply manifold. I did not see any means of connecting the dry contacts of the AR-5 control to the pump module. Can this be done or do they just get to have one zone.
    2. How would I control the baseboard zones other than the way I have it above?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    John


  • The ONLY ONE??

    I seriously doubt it... in fact I want to know who at Viessmann you talked to.

    Where are you located?? Do you have a drawing of the existing piping or are you looking for that also?
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,782
    Hmm...

    Welcome to the Vitola and the Vitotronic... interesting times lay ahead!

    The installation manual gives you a pretty good idea of where to start. Since upstairs is on baseboard while the basement is RFH, you could consider a couple of different approaches.

    IMO, your best bet is to use the mixing valve to control the water temperature going into the RFH circuit. Pipe the remaining baseboard circuits right off the boiler. The Vitotronic has the brains to control the mixing valve, all you have to do is to set the curve and the offset. There is no need to interface your zone heads/ controllers with the boiler, they can happily remain separate.

    For a good diagram, see the top installation example on p. 26 in the manual (at least in my manual). It shows a high temp circuit, a low temp circuit, the mixing valve, and the IDHW and how they should be connected to the boiler.

    As for how to control the basement, I would look into the 367 series of controllers by Tekmar. They can turn on zone heads and a system pump. Thus, if you dedicate a pump to the basement circuit (as I assume you will), then the Tekmar controller can modulate the heads for you based on demand. Plus, whenever one zone starts calling for heat, the pump will come on also.

    Lastly, the Vitoronic is a very powerful computer, though the user interface (like most 4 button interfaces) could be more user friendly. You will want to set a couple of basic settings, accessible by going to coding 1. For more in-depth settings, you can go to coding 2 and really get into the details.

    At minimum (using coding 1), set your system type to 06 (coding address 00) and the supply temperature limit for the mixing circuit (coding address C6) to something like 40. Depending on the insulation schedule of the home, I would set the slope of the mixed circuit to as little as 0.5, though 0.8 is probably a good starting point. Then use the other controls to set DHW water temperature, etc.

    Anyway, I think this boiler is a joy to work on. Once you get past the cryptic stage with the user interface, it's quite logical to work with - just don't forget the user manual! Lastly, one thing you could consider doing, especially if you get into changing lots of coding 2 addresses, is putting all the settings in a word file to print and post by the boiler. That way, reprogramming the boiler (if necessary) becomes a lot quicker in the future.
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    I love it!

    You call the manufacturer for help, then you come here to solve the problems of a boiler they sold your predecessor?

    The Viessmann notion of customer/contractor support reflects my experience to a 'T' It is all about sales. Nothing about support.

    The boiler is over-rated, over-priced and the poster boy for the Secor caveat:

    "Great marketing will overcome mediocre engineering every time; typically in a ratio of 2:1"

    Am I the only one who realizes the "greatest boiler on earth" is in reality, just another boiler - with hyper marketing about the only true differentiating element?

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  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Yup...

    you're outstanding in the field... ALONE.

    It is a far superior product SUPPORTED by an excellent marketing program. Well worth the price of admission...

    But, then again, we agree to disagree, no?

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    Well,

    If it's so well supported, why does this thread exist?

    Read the opening post by John.

    "Customer Support "allowed" him to read the installation manual on-line.

    If that's "customer support," I'd hate to see the definition of "non-existent support."

    Perhaps the Viessmann salesman never jhad John on their fishing boat? Therefore fail to "know" who John is?

    Seems rather clear to me (as well as my own first hand experience with the folks at Viessmann) that they care less about the product, than who buys them.

    It is a good boiler Mark. But the marketing aspect is their true forte. They even have you convinced! That, takes some doing.

    It is a shame they do not support anyone but their little club of "approved" and "sanctioned" devotees.

    The similarities between Lennox, EK and Trane marketing "members only" format gets old and guys like John, who originated the post - are classic examples of why these forms of "members only" marketing schemes are lame.

    The appeal of "exclusivity" falls flat when the customer needs service and has a cold home. My first concern is my client; not how exclusive the manufacturer can artificially "control" distribution.

    As has happenned before, perhaps this thread will have Viessmann falling all over John and his desire to fix something he inhereted - without him having to jump through all the Viessmann hoops to get the system running well they always seem to demand before helping out?

    I'm not holding my breath.

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  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,782
    Whoa, Ken...

    ... many installers here have railed many times against companies that allow DIY'ers, hacks, etc. ready access to all their data and products.

    The Viessmann approach of keeping manuals in a secure area to limit access could be a response to that wish, no? Plus, if his predecessor had left the manuals that came with the boiler, perhaps John wouldn't have needed the access in the first place... Other OEMs (beyond your list) also limit consumer access to technical data. It's a way for them to limit hack installs that could then snowball into support nightmares.

    As I see it, John was able to get the data he needed. A training course or two could familiarize him further with their equipment, just as with any other OEM's equipment. Having taken a few Viessmann courses, I think they are very worthwhile. Perhaps your stance would soften a bit if you took the time to go down to Warwick with an open mind, took a couple of their training classes, and then decided whether some of their boilers and other wares are the right choice for your customers.

    In the meantime, I also have to agree to disagree with you re: most topics Viessmann. And that's OK... all the best to you, Constantin
  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931
    Ken World

    Guys he just likes to get you all riled up! I'm sure Ken takes his Ford to the Honda store to get it serviced. Ditto when his Dell needs help he turns to the Apple store. After all it's not like any other industries have "clubs" of retailers. Gotta go my wife wants a new LLBean jacket so I'm going to the Landsend store.....

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  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    Connie,

    Your defense of Viessmann is to be expected, the logic of the comment, without merit.

    John came here looking for what the manufacturer would not provide. My first-hand experience with them is identical. Product support comes only to those who also desire to be poster boys. My allegiance is to my customer, not the manufacturer of over-priced equipment.

    And the best to you as well Constantin.



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  • heatboy_2
    heatboy_2 Member Posts: 48
    I have not.....

    ....bought one Viessmann boiler, in all of the years I've offered them, directly from Viessmann. They come through the wholsale chain just like almost every other boiler on the market. The same way any contractor would. So much for exclusivity. Ken, if you can help this fellow, do so. Otherwise, keep your myopic thoughts to yourself.

    John, feel free to E-mail me with any questions. I'm pretty sure I can get you through this.

    Regards,

    Orange Kool Aid

  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,385
    If

    Viessmann and EK marketing is so great why is their combined market share so miniscule?It's funny you should compare their marketing,they're polar opposites.Viessmann is very laid back,no grandiose claims,very little advertising.EK is much more aggressive and out front banging their drum,I don't blame them,if they don't,who will? Two totally different approaches,and neither is in the top 10 of boiler sales,why? Because neither is the cheapest although both are in the top 5 in efficiency

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  • Al Corelli_2
    Al Corelli_2 Member Posts: 395
    The only one?

    My Mom and my business partner each have Vitolas in their homes. Never any trouble.

    My Mom's has all the funky options too.

    Nice to play with all that programming, except it is done so infrequently, I have to re-learn it each time.

    But, alas, the Vitola in Mom's basement is coming out, to be replaced with two G215 Buderus boilers. One for gas, and one for oil. (My Dad is the king of overkill, shhhhh!)

    Film at eleven.

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  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,427
    Secure Documentation

    The Viessmann manuals are NOT in the secure area of their website. They're available to all.


    (http://www.viessmann-us.com/web/canada/ca_publish.nsf/Content/Documentation_Public)


    I've not experienced problems getting technical help from Viessmann. I've installed several hundred of their appliances. That's not to say I've experienced no problems. Any problems we've had, they've solved. Period. I've never dealt with any other boiler manufacturer in all of my 38 years in the pipe trades that had anywhere near Viessmann's technical competence, or their ability and competence in customer support.

    It goes to say that someone unfamiliar with their equipment, piping or control strategies will need help. This is not equipment for untrained contractors. Viessmann does a superior job of training and support. It's patently unfair to badmouth them.

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  • John_108
    John_108 Member Posts: 21


    Constantin, thank you for your input. It is very helpful. I will look into the Tekmar controls. Currently the Radiant loop pump is being controlled by the DHW pump control. If I am taking what you are saying correctly, to use the zone valves, use the Tekmar control and wire in the pump to the Tekmar control instead of the DHW pump control?

    For what it’s worth, I have been working with the supplier who sold the boiler and they have been great to deal with. Viessmann at first was a little hesitant to talk to me until I explained what was going on and that I am not some hack trying to make a repair. Even though I have not been through their training they gave me information I needed and also gave me their name and extension number if I had any questions.

    The reason I posted my questions here is that I have been reading the wall since Dan started it. I like getting input from people who have been there and done that. On the wall are some of the best minds out there. I had some ideas on what I wanted to do but since I am not very familiar with this system I figured I would tap the minds of the wall. Thanks to all who have tried to help. My customer and I appreciate it very much. These poor people have been trying to finish this house since 2000.

    A little example of some of the problems that we have fixed: the pump for the radiant floor loop was installed in front of the mixing valve pumping into it, the backflow preventer and PRV were installed backwards, the flue was installed incorrectly, the power venter was wired to run constantly, they blew out the DHW pump control by trying to power the upper floor pump relays off the DHW recirc. terminals and wired L1 to the ground terminal, no make up air in the mechanical room, and my favorite is they had two 4 ton air handlers with free drawing returns in the room. This is just a small part of the two page list.

    Again, thanks for the help.

    John
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,290
    Wow!

    Your statement that the first contractor was in over his head is not correct.

    It should probably be more like............The first contractor didn't know how to read anything past first grade level.

    Or, The first contractor shouldn't be allowed to play with tools.

    DHW circuit controlling the radiant floor? No that's one I haven't heard before! Had to make for some interesting control issues.

    Keep coming back until you get it all sorted out. It would be interesting to see how this turns out. If there's any possible way to post some pictures of the piping here, please do. If it's anything like the rest of the system as you describe it, it has to be pretty bizarre.

    I have a Vitola in my own home and it has performed flawlessly since installation and setup. It is undoubtedly my favorite non condensing boiler and will probably outlive me by a long way.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,427
    VB2 controls

    John, the Vitotronic 200 is much better suited to the VB-2 boiler, especially if the Viessmann chassis oil burner is installed. The Tekmar is not set up for "plug and play" into each of the control circuits, nor the parameters of the VB-2 boiler. Especially the burner.
    The V200 control will run 1 mixing valve and motor actuator, one high temp circuit and the indirect DHW Tank.
    It's extremely easy to wire up, and is made for the equipment.

    Nothing against Tekmar. I use their products often. However, this boiler is made to use either the Vitotronic 200 or 300 control.



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  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    Quick Solution

    Ken is a genius. Efficiency is efficiency, btus are btus. Put the Viessmann out at the curb and install an American made boiler that is easy to service, install and get parts. Fight the real enemy, foreign made products are destroying our country. Marketing overcomes engineering every time! Viessmann is another cult with a great press department!
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    Ken's no genius,

    but he makes great observations that strike me as on point far more than off. His "Secor Caveat" being so true it scares me.

    Your tongue-in-cheek comment aside, I suspect the first contractor who installed the screw-ups galore WAS Viessmann trained.

    Think about that possibility for a minute.
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    Heatboy...

    I too have never bought a boiler from a manufacturer.

    Nor do I have to be on a "special list" to get referals from the manufacturer either. My referals are from customers not the manufacturer's list of "mindless supporters" who buy into the baseless marketing hype.

    They make a good boiler. Let's leave it at that. Their marketing scheme is the problem, the mindless poster boys who rally round - a twisted attempt to convince through noise, not the wonderful engineering script we are being spoon fed.

    Like I said, "They make a good boiler."

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  • John_108
    John_108 Member Posts: 21
    VB2 Control & Pictures

    Paul,
    I currently have the boiler wired the way you mentioned. Because the radiant was originally set up as three zones I have had to power all of the heads open all of the time because when the stats satisified the pump would dead head. I now have the space working off of the remote sensor controller without any zoning. When the sensor is satisfied the mixing valve modulates to maintain around a 72 deg. supply temp and the pump keeps running.

    The problem with the high temp loops are that there are two that need to be controlled seperatly. One loop is the second floor living area and the third floor is the bedroom area. I currently have the base board loops running off of pump relays and have the boiler maintaining temp.

    After cleaning the boiler and setting it up, it is running great. We still need to work out some problems but for the first time in seven years the homeowner has a house that is maintaining 70 degrees.

    Attached are some pics of the before work. The owner even had a letter from the installing contractor that said the system was complete and operational. You will notice in the one picture with the Verticell that there is one air handler behind and one in front. You can also see the grills on the return box, eight tons of air trying to draw through the mechanical room with the boiler running. The original contractor said there was a problem getting the boiler operate properly. Go figure. Also notice the space between the Verticell and the boiler. It was around ten inches. Behind the boiler is a Rinnai tankless water heater, steam generator for the shower, one air handler and the injector pit for the bathroom. We have since removed the air handlerds are installing them in their own mechanical room. No LWCO installed, the outdoor sensor was installed in the crawl space, oil leaks at the filter, etc., etc. ,etc.

    I added the last two pics to show what I am up against around here. Found this one last spring. Disabled it and eventually ran a proper B-Vent flue out. The best part is that the flex duct goes behind the furnace all the way to the ceiling and then back up to the three inch PVC which reduces down to two inch then runs down hill 18' out the wall.

    Thnaks for the help everyone.

    John
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,302
    that's a stupid comment

    it is impossible for an imbecile that installs two air handlers sucking 800 cfm out of a mechanical room to be trained by anyone. The better question might be why the home owner hired this hacker in the first place. I fear they wanted to save a buck. I would also like to see the company who sold the equipment to the hacker be held accountable.

    Gary


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  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,302
    sweet braze job on the last pic

    I feel bad for the home owner.

    please show us the "after" pics when you're done.


    Gary

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  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931
    john and ken

    John They lived with that for 7 years?? Wow that is scary all the return air from the boiler room? Yikes!! We would just put a zone valve in front of each manifold to get those 3 zones of radiant ditto the two high temp zones. If your using pumps for the other zones just use a relay pack Taco 504 or something.


    Hey Ken how well do you think one of your fav 'merican boilers would do installed like that?

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  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,427
    Wow, John

    Professor Hackerbush at work...!! I'd be taking it all out and repiping. Serious piping errors galore. This is sort of a textbook case of limited training. The good news is it can be fixed!! Looks like someone stepped on the boiler jacket and bent it. Make sure you find (or order) the sound shroud for the burner.

    Since the VB2 has 2 sets of tappings off the rear, we like to hook the DHWTank to one set and the heating circuits to the other. That way either component can be turned off and isolated for service without having to turn off the other side.



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  • Ross_7
    Ross_7 Member Posts: 577


    I'm getting a headache just looking at it! What kind of a window lickin' meatball puts in a system like that, walks away from it, and thinks that they did a good job?!
    What a friggin' mess!!
  • Ross_7
    Ross_7 Member Posts: 577


  • jim_94
    jim_94 Member Posts: 37


    There is no way the original contractor was Viessmann trained, as the possibilty was mentioned above. I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I can't on this install. However had they contacted Viessmann or followed their piping diagrams, they should have been able to figure it out. I have found Viessmann and their product reps to be very helpful all the time.
    If we were to work on this all the near boiler piping would have to be removed and repiped properly. For that matter also neatly. Unfortunately you see this all of the time and the usual reason is they were so much cheaper than you. Now you know why, because it doesn't work right.
    To me this is another reason that we need licensing for heating. I'm not talking about a gas, oil or water permit but true mechanical permits where they are inspected for proper piping practices, etc., not just another permit for the town's to get more money.
  • Tony_23
    Tony_23 Member Posts: 1,033
    Amazing

    Simply amazing.

    There's not a boiler on the market, domestic or otherwise, that would work like that. Not even an American pin style :)

    Now for the burning question John, are you flat rate ?
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    I have no idea Joel,

    But I know any American boiler manufacturer would have jumped at the chance to provide the current contractor with all the help he needed!

    American boiler makers do not hide information from contractors.

    Ask Noel Murdough (Slant Fin - now Laars)or Glenn Stanton (Burnham) how many people they helped, that were NOT the original installer. Ask Noel or Glenn how many drawings, pdf files, wiring diragrams, schematics, pipe schematics, etc. as well as hours on the phone helping out anyone who called with the answers Viessmann refused (initially; and probably before we started to question their inadequate response - and THEN they jumped in to pretend they care - doing a classic KYA response for the "heat" some of us generate on The Wall!

    The Wall saves the day yet again! You don't really think "V" would have finallt responded to the plea - had we not made a stink - do you?

    Want that Kool-Aid with or without a glass?

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  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
    As all of us know,

    Just because you attend a training seminar does not mean you paid attention, learned a damn thing, or stayed awake except for lunch.

    Unless, of course, the instructor was Mr. Dan Holohan. In which case, even those who sleep - learn.

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  • leo g_13
    leo g_13 Member Posts: 435
    Jim

    we have the ispections here. They look at your loop layout before cover, then inspect the boiler room. Unfortunately (and there always seems to be one), a lot of the chaps designing these systems are wholesaler people who have never had a wrench in their hand. They take a course and become certified! LOL! And most of the inspectors, though coming from the trades, never installed the equipment we get to play with nowadays when they were on the tools.

    So what occurs? Some inspectors will only accept the "approved" boiler room drawings from our guidelines. Yes that is right, they will not accept the manufactures concept, but one from some kid who sat on a committee!

    Not only that, but it is quite obvious that they do not really look to close, as I have come across DWV copper pipe being used, piping layouts way off for what brand of boiler, etc.

    So basically, it is in my opinion becoming a specialty, and maybe if there are inspections, then it should be done by a QUALIFIED inspector!

    Leo G
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,290
    It ALWAYS boils down to the installer

    More than once, I've walked into a mechanical room to see the "green sticker" indicating a passed inspection. But! the system doesn't work, or it sucks fuel like a bandit, or a couple zones don't work, or the boiler is sooted beyond recognition, or the whole house won't heat, or, or, or, and, and, and.........

    The codes mainly deal with issues related to safety, and the only controls covered have to do with gas train and ignition sequence and testing. AFA where this and that tee goes, what size circ to use, where to place the circ, how long to make your loops, what size pex...........fagedaboudit. It's not there. You won't see the words Tekmar or Heat Timer or Honeywell, nor will you see any mention of Weil MaClain, Viessmann, Buderus, Crown, Bernham, Slantfin, Triangle Tube etc etc.

    It's ALL about the competence of the installer, be that person a licensed professional or a first time homeowner.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,427
    C'mon Ken!!!

    Having met you personally, I'm amazed at what you write sometimes. You're espousing opinion only.

    Viessmann is a privately held corporation, financials are not public. It's a presumption that you know what Viessmann's profit margins are, or what profits and "vertical marketing" have to do with being able to get customer assistance that works to correct the mistakes of others.

    If the system was a Buderus boiler, would you be ranting? Shall we go back to Euro Bashing?

    Shall we bash Uponor while we're at it? They seem to have "vertical marketing" strategies as well. They're publicly traded so if you're curious, you can dissect their stockholder's report.

    Back to boilers. I've installed most kinds. I judge a company's customer support and tech services to be the 2nd most important item on my business agenda. The reliability, design, ease of maintainence and overall efficiencies are the reasons going into how I choose the appliance in the first place. I made piping errors when I first started working with 3 and 4way valves. I asked the questions and they got answered. Hopefully, John will have his questions answered and the system will be re-piped and zoned properly.

    I'd urge you to take a Viessmann course. You'd love the Commercial Boiler seminar. They'll even treat you nice, and buy you a beer. (and dinner) Call Rick Corcoran in their Rhode Island HQ. I'm quite sure he'd love to entertain you. Even you would be impressed.



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  • Ross_7
    Ross_7 Member Posts: 577
    yeah

    Go Ahead & Look this one up in your flat price book & give a quick answer, when your customer calls!
  • jim_94
    jim_94 Member Posts: 37


    I guess I should have stated qualified inspector. I understand that safety is what they are there for but they should have the ability to make an installer correct mistakes on the install (such as shown above, no matter what type of boiler). I don't think that falls under their jurisdiction here in Mass., at least residentially but I could be wrong.
    It's definitely up to the installer to be able to install what he/she is providing so that it works properly.
  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931
    ken

    I like my Kool aid shaken not stirred. Glenn stanton has done more for the reputation for B than probably anyone else through what has been a PR nightmare for them i have great respect for him.

    Viessmann is concerned about these screwed up systems I know cause i've made house calls on some.

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  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931
    that's easy

    How much would i get for this boiler install job?? then subtract price of boiler = answer.

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