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Question for JD

I`ve seen your postings, and enjoyed reading them. You seem knowledgeable and not shy to ask questions(a great quality),,, but I`m curious,,, are you "in the trade" so to speak?, or a guy who considers himself "handy" and has a mod-con of his own but Googles up things to try and solve  whoas. (I`m not intending to be "cocky",, just curious)



  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    are you "in the trade"

    No, I am not in the trade. I just care a lot about the systems in my house and how they work. When I think any thing I post might be thought to have more authority than I think it deserves, I try to point out that I am not a professional.

    So when I wanted to replace my 55 or so year old GE oil boiler, I wanted to know as much about the alternatives as possible. My first step was to look at Consumer Reports, but while they reported on furnaces, they were silent on boilers.

    My next step was Google, and I found a lot of stuff, but most of it was rumors and bitching. I was fortunate to stumble on HeatingHelp.com and some brief items by John Siegenthaler. So I looked J.S. up on the internet and found he wrote Modern Hydronic Heating .... 2ND Edition, so I bought and read that. I also surveyed some heating contractors in my area, one did the heating system for my Quaker Meeting and did very well compared to our previous contractors, and one was my own. My own was ruled out because, in  spite of rendering good service at fair prices, did not do much with gas and nothing with mod|con boilers. The other one had installed many Weil McLain boilers, including their Ultra-2 and Ultra-3 boilers.

    So I got the installation manual for the Ultra-3 and read all 108 pages of it. I also read as much as I could find on this site, which has been extremely helpful.

    So I consider myself handy, but I try very hard to recognize my limitations. I know what I could have gotten the parts for on the Internet. My contractor charged me a little over double that for the job. This did not offend me. I watched what the various employees did. It took them about 1 1/2 days to install my system, including removing the old boiler, old electric hot water heater, and 1000 gallon oil tank and two imitation radiators that were just 3 foot pieces of fin-tube in a fancy case. Installing the new boiler and indirect fired hot water heater, two 14 foot pieces of Slant/Fin, making two zones ++ the DHW. They also installed a gas line. Having watched them, I estimate it would have taken me several weeks, I probably would not have passed all my inspections on the very first try, and it would have looked fairly sloppy.

    I designed a possible installation and asked their Install Manager what he thought of it. I did not insist they do it my way. He said that they would not have done it that way, but that my way should work, and would probably be a little more efficient than his way. Our only possible disagreement was that they did not do as thorough a heat-loss calculation as I did, so they suggested a 105K btu/hr boiler and I said 80K would do it. Actually, a 50K would do it, but W-M do not make one in the Ultra--3 line.

    After the fact, the only thing I do not like about their job is that I cannot reasonably check the pressure relief valve on the boiler because the drain pipe goes down to the floor between the boiler and the wall, and I cannot see what is happening.

    I also learned how railroad steam locomotives work, how railroad signal systems (including cab signals) work, how their brakes work, and lots of other stuff that is of no practical use to me, just because I am interested in things like that.

    I am very impressed by your honesty,,, if you stay around here you`ll learn much more!My "hats-off to you",,, not many care about such things,,, but should!If I can ever be of help,, I`m usually here.
  • KevinCorr
    KevinCorr Member Posts: 106
    Good for you

    I really enjoy a customer who wants to learn all about their system and the options. Some heating guys want to just be taken on faith but I enjoy batting the theories around.
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