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Spreadsheets, Calculators

rlaggren
rlaggren Member Posts: 160
edited August 2016 in THE MAIN WALL
There are things a simple spreadsheet can really speed up - especially if somebody has already done some/most of the same work that you're doing.. Or going directly to a table of data that has what you want. The "directly" is important: Google is wonderful but finding directly relevant info can take hours and usually does; putting together a good functional spreadsheet that actually _does_ something also takes time.

So I'm putting here a link to a spreadsheet I needed to create in case it can help others. It's not a work of art, it's not complete or extensive. But if you're adding up EDR it might speed your life somewhat. And some other usual suspects which look good are also posted.

HEAT LOSS and BOILER SIZING AIDS

RLAGGREN (EDR calc): https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0TME-0IADGYMTF2UnlhaElEam8

CROWN (EDR calc, beautiful radiator ID page): http://www.velocityboilerworks.com/documents/Boiler_Sizing_Chart.xls

CROWN (HEAT LOSS calc): http://www.velocityboilerworks.com/documents/Heat_Loss_Calculator.xls


Resources like these are often mentioned but almost as often not linked or the links are gone dead. Perhaps it would be useful to maintain a short easily-found thread which can put people onto likely tools quickly. Maybe even a meta-spreadsheet w/a simple list of links which can be updated by somebody (!) and downloaded from the Resources section here.

Anybody with good useful stuff, please add on.


Cheers

Rufus
disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
Steve Minnich

Comments

  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    I like this idea! Are you on board @Erin Holohan Haskell?

    This could be a good resource, just thinking about how to deal with multiples. If a HO or professional alike wants a good heat loss calculator we don't want them wading through 15 different sheets that all produce the same (or maybe different) outcomes. Though some people may like the layout of one sheet, while other people may prefer the layout of another. Maybe a system where if there are two sheets or resources that are similar enough that there is not benefit to having both we could flag them and vote on which we think is better? (we would all have to agree no hard feelings :) )
    Steve Minnich
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    Here is my room by room heat loss sheet I made a few years ago, formulas from Siggy's MHH 3.
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    And here is a basic pipe volume calculator, I have an expansion tank sizer too on my other computer at home, I'll upload toinght
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,674
    Dave Yates has a really good one that he shared in a HeatSpring video on mod cons and getting the most out of them in high temp applications, a real time saver.

    I'm trying to pry it loose from him but no such luck yet.

    It's basically an EDR sheet with outputs at different SWT's and all the math being done, of course.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,674
    Something like this.

    I wish I was further along in my Excel skills but there's only so many hours in a day.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    Figured there had to be good workable tools lying around. That little pipe volume finder hits the spot for me today. The pic of the btu's table looks like it gives the big picture in a real easy to grasp natural layout. As a suggestion @Stephen: If you put the big talking points and totals at the top, then you can fill in any number of details lines below w/out having the summary move around. But that layout grabbed my eye right off, just the way it is.

    I used to design reports and gui's couple lives ago. It's an art. Seeing stuff spread out in the open, orderly, can really help people think, avoid simple oversights, let you churn your grey matter on the stuff that really _needs_ some thought... But there's really no simply "right".way cuz we're all different and our minds work each a little differently. Having different ways to skin the cat really helps.

    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
    Steve MinnichCanuckerdelta T
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    More usual suspects: (I have not necessarily run/tested every link I post. Just made sure they are live.)

    Taco Heat-Loss
    http://www.taco-hvac.com/en/embargo_form.html?soft=TacoLoadInstall4.0.exe

    Slant-Fin Heat-Loss (their site does not appear to offer this anymore)
    http://www.pvsullivan.com/Downloads/SlantFin/he2setup.exe

    Outdoor-Design Temps
    https://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/bldrs_lenders_raters/downloads/County Level Design Temperature Reference Guide - 2015-09-25.pdf

    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    I think the slant fin is only on mobile now
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 703
    I'm with @delta T , I've only seen it in the Google play store these days
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    So we all know that slant fin pads the numbers a bit, as does every other free calculator out there and that even the best spreadsheet in the world, is only as good as the data going in.

    I see a fair number of HOs on here who are either asking for or are doing their own heat losses in order to check their contractors (the fact that this is necessary is another discussion). I feel like all the real pros do their own heat loss calcs, and that this site reaches a powerful number of people.

    I also know that there is no substitute in the world for a sharp, experienced designer.

    I also know that I charge to do a heat loss, irrespective of whether I get the job or not. Not sure what others do, but a proper heat loss takes time and therefor money. I have found that the local competition usually doesn't and so I look good if I say it is necessary and explain why, and it is rare that I don't get the job. When I don't I move on comfortable that I did the best I could.
    Other markets may be different...

    The catch is of course that bidding a boiler replacement requires a heat loss and an evaluation of the system be done to know what boiler, what pump/s, etc...

    I am torn between saying we should give everyone the resorces to do this, and thus effectively making it free for our customers (not to mention the liability inherent in doing so) and the alternative.

    Thoughts? Would you trust your customer's heat loss? Would you still do your own? (I would, and would still charge for it).

    I think that mostly I am looking for a discussion on how to hold the industry accountable, as right now we all know there are a more companies that throw boilers in like they are candy doing no real math, than there are competent professionals who take the time to do it right.

    Educated consumers can change an industry, poorly educated consumers can ruin one. It is up to us. What should we do?
    SWEI
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    Sorry if I am highjacking the post a bit, just got to thinking on the drive home.....
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited August 2016
    I think a dedicated catagorey titled something like engineering tools, and information.

    Anyone could contribute useful charts, links, diagrams etc. to the categorey.

    Maybe even broken down into sub categories.
    Heatloss
    Emitter output ratings
    Design day charts
    Etc, etc.
    delta T
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    delta T said:

    I think the slant fin is only on mobile now

    There is an iPad app.
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,674
    I would rarely trust a customer's load calc but I have one that is actually a rocket scientist.

    For real.

    I trust damn near anything he tells me.
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
    delta T
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    I also want to here from consumers too!

    @Gordy I agree, I think it would be good for both sides, if customers undetstand the level of work and attention to detail that goes into doing the job right, they might be more likely to leave it up to the pros, and our margins (with which we support our own families) will remain intact. At the same time they will be able to tell whether someone is bs ing them, simply by knowing the process involved.

    I sincerely hope to hear from some consumers too!
    Gordy
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    @Stephen Minnich I work in a very educated town and the odd rocket scientist is not that uncommen. One of my customers actually has a law in astrophysics named after him! And he has an original in floor radiant system from the early 50s that he maintains himself....he is 86. Only thing I have done was a combustion analysis that confirmed 80% and a replacement feeder and relief valve! Love those customers, so much good conversation!

    I still do my own math though....liability is a b***h ;)
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 703
    @delta T Don't be torn, educate your consumer. It'll raise the ceiling where you are and quite frankly, you'll stand out, probably more than you already do. I can only speak as a customer but you want the educated ones as they're going to hold anyone that shows up to a higher level that you can meet, your competitors might not. If I'm comfortable with what you're doing because I know what you're talking about and you have my best interests in mind, I will give you all my business and tell everyone within earshot how good you are. And in the future I won't waste time with quotes because I'm calling you and you alone.
    On the flip side, if the customer doesn't care how you do your job, they're probably only looking at the price. Not the ones you want, unless you absolutely have to. Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
    SWEIrick in Alaska
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Free software is a wonderful thing, but GIGO still applies: In the hands of someone lacking the required knowledge and experience, the results can not be trusted. Years of heat loss calcs give you an understanding of local climate and building construction that allows you to know when the software is wrong.

    We probably see one owner-performed heat loss calc here each month that comes in at 35+ BTUs per square foot. Fortunately, we can usually talk them out of it, but what about the software users who don't show up here with questions?
    Gordy
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    @delta T - The bill for prelim work quandary exists in every retail trade. I don't see any one-size-fits-all answer.

    When I ran service plumbing out of my truck I got very fast with any "bid" under $1000.
    1) Talk (30-60 secs. not to be impolite);
    2) Get as many facts as possible (2 min because of cross examination; NEVER trust ANYBODY's word, IMHO - it's my ****, my claim to smarts, in short my responsibility);
    3) Inspect job (2-5 min, up to 15 if it's "different");
    4) Write up bid (AKA flat rate, AKA mini-bid; 5 min, two subtotals, a) work and common mtl, b) large "choose" options, eg. type of garbage disposal, which water heater)
    5) Explain options (2-5 min)

    Usually less than 10 minutes, almost always less than 15 minutes. This approach developed after spending way too much time "talking" and after learning the facts of life about insurance and warrantee work (also after finding to my chagrin that less information really is "more" for many customers). I like educating people who take an interest and are able to follow ideas; but at this level of work (net profit per customer) "speculative" time spent on each customer _has_ to be kept to the absolute minimum.

    Bids over $3000 received about 30 minutes and over $5000 somewhat more. I'm a small time guy. This was all rote list making and assembly on a spreadsheet; the customer got a short bid that included "features" and totals. I tried not to get any more specific than I had to because I don't like the idea of doing free work for low-ballers. However, much of the work that I did could not have been duplicated by others for many and various reasons, so that was not as big a problem as it could have been.. After some kind of commitment on larger jobs, I was happy to spend considerable additional time planning and clarifying.

    But I never resolved the Q of billing for bidding. Some plumbers are now doing that, anywhere from $60 to $125 last I checked. In most circumstances I personally am not willing to pay $60+ to meet somebody I don't know from a hole in the ground.

    BOTH the customer and the tradesman are investing time here, it's not one way. When I hire a contractor for a trade I don't have any previous contacts in, I talk with 8 to 10 or more people usually over a period of 3 to 6 months. I keep notes and make a lot of phone calls. That is Work, hours of it. I know many would look at me weird but I have always found the additional info to be valuable. I developed the rule of halves: 1/2 the people I talk to probably won't actually hurt me; 1/2 of them will do an adequate job; 1/2 of those will do a good job; 1/2 of those will do a very good job and 1/2 of those will excel. It's only the last two that are interesting and it takes time and experimentation to find them. A couple other rules of thumb: The way it starts out is the way it's going to continue with any particular person. And the "gold rule": When you have responsibilities and lots of different things ongoing need doing (IOW, you have a full life) a tradesman that does What he says he will When he says he will at near the Price he says - he's gold, worth almost anything he charges.

    Well, that ran on. I have other thoughts but got the call and need to run for now.

    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
    Canucker
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    > estimate procedures [more]

    I just arranged to have a tree taken out and others trimmed. I talked w/5 (6?) companies. All were personable enough, all looked like they could probably do it OK. Pretty good selection, speaks well of the local market and competition.

    Prices were all "in the ball park" more or less except one who was almost double. One gave no written bid. One did not return my initial call (after I spoke w/his service) until a week later. 1 1/2 down (I was still willing to think about the high guy). Now it gets interesting. Of the remaining, one was a newer company that was willing to bargain - OK, but not necessary in this context. Still. His real problem was that he did not talk much, just basically said "yes, ok" to what I said. I had very little to go on vv. his _judgement_ about the cuts to make and his awareness of the site and the trees. For this work I wanted, as well as technical ability to chop, drop and chip, an understanding of the big picture, the ability to notice and mention future problems or possibilities. He gave me almost nothing to go on. The high priced guy did point out a couple other issues on the property and mentioned tree types and behaviors. The guy I finally went with was part a long time family business in the area and although he wasn't garrulous, he did talk a little about the various trees and which needed and didn't seem to need attention and why. I would have liked him give more indication that his boys had some kind of aesthetic judgement to apply when trimming trees - a tree trim is like a hair cut, anybody removes material but a little art can make it look much better - but there was clearly skill and experience here and a certain willingness to say when work did not need doing. Also I visited his "shop" and it looked well managed by competent people.

    So what does that all mean?

    First, of course, step over the low bar and communicate timely and professionally. I would think that now email delivery of quotes, bids, proposals, estimates, whatever, is just about mandatory.

    Second, although a tradesman cannot know what a new customer is particularly looking for (many customers don't know either!) they need to case the joint and say things about what they see relevant to the job. A little proactive communication is good; if a job infringes on the big picture, say something about it. A few moments of talk will show what the other person seems to pick up on.

    Three, if there are options, mention them (one guy did not mention "stumping" at all, only one guy mentioned that the fence was too close to take the whole stump w/out serious risk of taking the fence also).

    Talk in plain english. It can be done. I for years have told people that if a prospective tradesman can't explain his plans so the person can understand it well, then probably the tradesman doesn't understand either. I stick by that. I practice what I preach when there is interest.

    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    > charging for heat loss calc
    I think it might help clarify the question if you consider what it would take for you to use somebody _else's_ heat loss calcs. Cuz that's something like what it would take for another contractor to use the HL calc _you_ left w/the HO. Bit of stretch? So, really, the HO doesn't get anything actually usable (unless he happens to have an academic interest in what you think of his insulation); the report you give him won't help him w/another contractor who should also charge him for an HLC. There are various possible ways to make this look better, but they're not extant at the moment. Your HLC doesn't do him any good unless he goes w/you anyway. That sounds problematic.

    That leaves the possibility of making the HLC fast enough and accurately enough so that you could produce a bid with automatic options tied to a final, complete and detailed, HLC which would be done when you started the job. IOW, you do a quick/dirty HLC (15 min?) which allows you to spec., say, two boiler options. The bid agreement enforces one of those two options, TBD. Something like that. We're talking up to maybe 6-10 units here. Above that it becomes more customary to pay for "studies" and "designs", etc.

    Messy. Not precise. But maybe good enough so you don't have to sell throw-away money before each bid.

    Or again. Bid a "not to exceed" number, actual $$ due to be reduced under certain circumstances. The circumstances being results of your detail HLC.

    ???? I don't think there's one answer to this one.

    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    My sole reasoning was a single go to category that everyone could share relevant information. Most have it, or know where to find it however....
    Canuckerdelta T
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 860
    I think it would be great. Most of us have it already, as Gordy says, but I am sure that if we all share we will find useful things that each of doesn't have already. If a HO comes on and we all say you need a heat loss etc, I think it would be a great boon to have it all here in one spot. Should be easy enough for us that want to to contribute files, I have a bunch of PDFs that I have saved over the years. One of the ones that is not too useful to most, but some people might really want it is the complete set of all pump curves for all variations of the taco 1600 3 piece circulators.

    I feel kind of bad that my comment distracted from the purpose of this thread.

    Is there a way for us as users to add content to what is already there? Maybe a new category that we could add content too without having to search threads?

    @Erin Holohan Haskell is this something you would be amenable to? Not sure what logistics are involved....
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160

    Simple square feet list calculator

    Helps add up doors and windows. Shows 3 subtotals (eg. floors); enter data as inches. Use as-is or copy/paste into other sheets. When accessed from a brower, download button is in the upper right.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0TME-0IADGYZFI4bWI1b1gtRWc/view?usp=sharing
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
    Boon
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    @delta T
    Thanks for direction back on track. Got a few buttons w/no high-limit controls...

    Cheers

    Rufus
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.
    delta T
  • rlaggren
    rlaggren Member Posts: 160
    edited October 2016
    Heating load calculator spreadsheet derived from the Pikes Peak Building Dpt. worksheet. Basic residential whole house calculation; maximum two stories, four levels. Includes sloped roof calcs. User can set R values, heat source efficiency, altitude correction, temperature differential.

    I revised the original because I found the usage confusing; hopefully I didn't make it worse. Also added some input filtering, comments and formatting changes.

    Modify, use and publish this spreadsheet any way you please provided you retain attribution to the Pike's Peak building department.

    Edit-1: Found a formula error. Re-loaded spreadsheet.
    disclaimer - I'm a plumber, not a heating pro.