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Looking for feedback on Blue Fin radiant heat manifolds. Anyone?

JohnNY
JohnNY Member Posts: 2,659
Thanks in advance. I have a client who is asking for them specifically but I have no history with the product or company.
Best to all,
John
Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber
in New York
in New Jersey
for Consulting Work
or take his class.

Comments

  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,326
    Lower end, have used them a couple times. No issues
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    JohnNY
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,175
    Does he want them for a specific reason or because they're cheap? I have used quite a few of them in the past and continue to use their twin brothers, Rifeng, also with no issues. The flowmeters are a little cheesy, but they work well all in all.
  • stoke
    stoke Member Posts: 10
    I thought I'd give Rifeng a try (based on price and internet comments). My basement slab was first so.... #60 lbs. air test for four weeks. Can't beat the price. Ended up using Rifeng for the rest . Skeptical of the rubbers , well see.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,786
    The problem can be in 5-10 years actuators and repair parts are impossible to fine on some of the off brand/ bargain stuff.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Rich_49IronmanDan Foley
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,367
    We've hooked them up for customers who bought them online. I think everyone of them leaked.

    Now, we refuse to use them for that reason. We'll supply quality manifolds for the job or we won't do it.

    Inevitably, when you let a customer furnish a cheap component, it comes back to bite you. It's either your fault for not stopping them from using it, or they expect you to cover the labor of replacing it - or both!
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Sam81
    Sam81 Member Posts: 36
    Used them a lot no issues, only problem I had with them is the drains on the manifold are not gh threads otherwise it’s vary good
  • RomanP
    RomanP Member Posts: 102
    edited August 2018
    Hey, guys. Uponor stainless steel manifold are insignificantly more expensive than these sad Chinese knock offs. Made in Italy, great product never an issue. Therefore, my choice for all of my radiant projects from now on.
    JohnNY
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,175
    Hmmm... Between Rifeng and Bluefin I've probably installed ~100 sets in the last few years. Maybe 6 or 7 had leaks, and each instance was a pinched o-ring or loose jamb nut. Every single one had MHT drains, and they are exactly half the price of the SS Uponor- which one of our project managers used to always buy, and at least 1 port per manifold leaked from the factory and needed to be welded in because the threads were stripped. The brass ones never had an issue, but you couldn't give me an Uponor SS for free after that gong show. Watts had a similar record at my shop before I found Rifeng, And I honestly will not use anything else unless I need actuators, because they've been flawless for me so far.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,786
    Seems odd that a manifold leaves the factory with leaks?

    The Caleffi brass manifolds hand assemble and test to 150 psi, max. working pressure, before leaving Milwaukee.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • RomanP
    RomanP Member Posts: 102
    Installed about 15 uponor ss manifolds in under a year. Not a tiny drop ANYWHERE!
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,257
    edited August 2018
    This is what I've done for a "price point install" all tubing of same length. I guess I see no point of using a manifold unless there needs to be balancing done or actuators. And with multiple loops in a zone, use pex T's and zone valves. What value do manifolds really have other than a potential leak point?

    I really have an aversion to China made stuff.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,175

    This is what I've done for a "price point install" all tubing of same length. I guess I see no point of using a manifold unless there needs to be balancing done or actuators. And with multiple loops in a zone, use pex T's and zone valves. What value do manifolds really have other than a potential leak point?



    I really have an aversion to China made stuff.

    There is something to be said about the ability to purge air or isolate individual loops even in same-length scenarios, but I do agree to a point. I did a lot of the copper log crimp style manifolds from the big box in my earlier days, as I find the compression style manifolds to be nothing more than a pain in the behind, but it often boils down to aesthetics. The majority of my installs are rural, single zone sheds/shops which I design and lay out the loops for, so I could typically keep it basic as well. I see no benefit in dumping 4 figures on a fancy pair of 8 loop manifolds when the same outcome can be accomplished for 80% less while still maintaining a pleasing appearance and full functionality. You won't catch me taking the pex tee approach, but you have a very valid point
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,257
    I've never had issue bleeding any radiant system with fewer than 10 loops all at once by power purging with a garden hose. The pex T system is definatly not the best looking. This particular one is behind an electric water heater.

    Ive had great luck with watts manifolds. But I generally solder copper on nicer installs with copper supply and returns. The one pictured is just a remote manifold.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,786

    I've never had issue bleeding any radiant system with fewer than 10 loops all at once by power purging with a garden hose. The pex T system is definatly not the best looking. This particular one is behind an electric water heater.



    Ive had great luck with watts manifolds. But I generally solder copper on nicer installs with copper supply and returns. The one pictured is just a remote manifold.

    You need about 4 gpm in a 1/2 tube to get flow velocity around 5 fps. It takes a good flow rate like that to entrain and flush all the air & micro bubbles.
    As long as you have enough power (gpm) to flush all the loops at once a simple manifold can work.

    Of course you can find 1/2 pex ball valves online for 4-5 bucks, probably less $$ than one call back would cost you :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • RomanP
    RomanP Member Posts: 102
    Pex ball valves on return manifold, problem solved
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • EYoder
    EYoder Member Posts: 60
    One the small infloor jobs we do down here I've always done pex tees and pex ball valves. Works fine to purge individually.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Simply Rad
    Simply Rad Member Posts: 165
    I have been installing Caleffi Twist flow and Uponor SS manifolds for years. Personally, I would not install a hydronic system without them. First, they provide for a very professional and clean install. The mounting bracket make for a simple and clean install. I always install them above the RFH system they service, this way any air can be eliminated at the manifold. The manifolds have built in zone control with the actuators. They provide the ultimate service tool....whole zone and individual loop isolation and drain ports. They provide extensive information and performance validation with temperature gauges and flow meters. The zones and loops are labeled and documented for future service. Finally, i can have one heating zone with separate loops(rooms) that I can tweak each individual loop and provide micro adjustments through flow using only 1 thermostat. With a simple twist of the flow meter I can control the system without electronics....KISS. I install them in closets with accesses. I have been comparing the manifolds to electrical breaker boxes. You may not need them regularly, but when you do you can find them for the required service.
    Jeffrey Campbell
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,652
    Uponor, Rehau, Caleffi, or Watts. If the loops are near identical lengths, valved copper manifolds.
    Author - Hard Knocks: My Life Inside Boiler Rooms
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design
    Solid_Fuel_Man
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