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What did you think would never make it?

DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,977
What product, tool, service, or system did you think would never make it, but did?

I was just thinking about when barcodes arrived and many businesses said they wouldn't use them because their business had too many products. Barcodes would be impossible.
Retired and loving it.

Comments

  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 191
    mod/con boilers. way more expensive to purchase and install. didnt think the customer would go for it
    Zman
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,977
    I didn’t think water-lubricator circulators would stick around. Too many were sticking back then. Boy, was I wrong. 
    Retired and loving it.
    Robert O'Brien
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 172
    Dunno if you're looking for just hvac probably, but this one jumped to my mind..

    Back when "the internet" was starting, I remember debating many evenings with the owner of a large BBS (dialup modem file hosting basically), he was convinced this internet thing would fizzle and people would prefer to dial in to his shareware collection.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    GGrossPC7060
  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 114
    I never thought that what young people really wanted was a pocket radio-teletype.
    In_New_England
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,977
    I was thinking more about our industry. On one of my first trips to ISH, a German told me that mod/cons would last 10 years. I told him no one would buy them if that was the case.
    Retired and loving it.
    Roohollah
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 106
    I sincerely thought mini splits would forever be a "homeowner special" installation. And here we are in one of the coldest climates in the US selling them as a primary heat source.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,283
    Computers. In computer lab, 1983, using dot matrix printers and word perfect in college, I remember saying "this will never make it. Too clunky. Look how wrong I was. And we use them in our industry too!
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,881
    Amazon!
    Larry Weingarten
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 191
    omg. to think they opened as an online book store.
  • Shane_2
    Shane_2 Member Posts: 176
    PEX, never thought I would ever use it.

    I must have like 10 different crimp tools, 3 or 4 cinch tools, and a set of expansion tools or two. Still like copper for some things, but PEX sure comes in handy for others.
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 172
    Sharkbites ? I still fear the one I have on a dhw line, but it's held for 4 years so far.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    ratioflat_twin
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,759
    "Pay attention....one word....just one word...........plastics...".

    We knew then that plastic was coming into our lives....but did we ever stop to think how much it has infiltrated all aspects of the world?

    Plastic boiler parts and exhaust systems.....even guns.

    How much of vehicles have become plastic?

    I'm waiting for conductive plastic wire....
    ZmanPC7060Roohollah
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,190
    edited May 19
    JUGHNE said:

    "Pay attention....one word....just one word...........plastics...".

    We knew then that plastic was coming into our lives....but did we ever stop to think how much it has infiltrated all aspects of the world?

    Plastic boiler parts and exhaust systems.....even guns.

    How much of vehicles have become plastic?

    I'm waiting for conductive plastic wire.... LOL FUNNY. BUT IT"S COMING



    What about plastic combustion chambers? I think they may be a long way off!

    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,992
    This is the opposite to the question.

    Back in the 90s when the heat recovery equipment came out, I thought they would take over the exhaust fan market for commercial and industrial buildings. I was wrong.

    All these commercial and industrial building with their roofs covered with mushroom exhaust fans exhausting the buildings hot air and dumping it outside. And then the buildings run gas fired make up air units or steam or HW coils to preheat the 0-degree intake air in the winter.

    A HRV that can recover 50%-80% of that heat I thought would be a win win.


    I quoted one job that was a small chemical storage depot the engineer was calling for exhaust fans and an outdoor ahu for make-up air with glycol in the coil and a boiler to heat the air. They needed this because of the fumes involved.

    I told the customer they would save a lot of fuel with a pipe type HX (no crossover between the exhaust and inlet air) that was 50% efficient and would cut their fuel bill in half.

    How Much they wanted to know?

    So I quoted the job both ways. It was like 80K with exhaust fans and 100K with heat recovery. to cut the fuel bill in half.

    They wouldn't do it because the pay back was more than two years and it seems like HRVs have not caught on and I don't know why.

    Maybe the "engineer" didn't want someone messing with his design
    CLambreggi
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 547
    PVC vent pipe on boilers. Still debated to this day if it's ok or not, code approved or not, etc. We only use PVC for venting on boiler replacement jobs when we have no choice.

    Cordless drills for large projects. Back in the 1980's you could drill holes in about four or five wood studs and the batteries would die. Today, they make cordless drills that would drill fifty holes through studs before needing a charge. Not to mention the rest of the cordless tools that we did not even dream of back then.

    Digital cameras. I received my first digital camera around 2001, I was into film cameras and assumed it would never catch on. Instead my film camera was soon retired and collecting dust in the bottom of a closet to this day.

    Spirovent type air eliminators. I remember when I first saw them at a trade show and thought it was just a gimmick. Sign said "eliminates micro-bubbles," what the heck are micro bubbles?

    Electric stack dampers on residential gas fired cast iron boilers (atmospheric). I assumed it was just another government mandate that would be phased out when they started making these boilers more efficient. If memory serves they caught on around 1992, we still see them today on every residential gas cast iron boiler (atmospheric). I guess they have not figured out how to make them any more efficient (I suspect they never will).







    In_New_England
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,545
    Hi, I thought the IR camera would always stay in the realm of "nice toy for the rich", but that's changed and it is such a useful way of seeing the world!

    Yours, Larry
    In_New_EnglandSolid_Fuel_Manreggi
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,756
    Mod con boilers but not only because of the expense. Water quality, piping, and flow issues caused a mountain of early failures. I read here not long ago that reading the manual is less important than listening to the pros. Many pros are still going it a certain way because they’ve always done it that way. Why not do both and then make an informed decision of your own. Mine was to wait it out until they (manufacturers, contractors, techs) figured it out. 

    I was raised on Arkla furnaces and I didn’t think they’d last. They didn’t. 

    One that I knew wouldn’t last was condensing cast iron boilers. See Ray boilers. I’m pretty sure they’re gone and my apologies if they’re thriving. 

    Franchised heating companies. I crashed and burned there. 

    Bubble foil insulation. I think it’s used for everything now. 


    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 191
    think the ray might still be around. i believe its part of the mestek brand of garbage companies. i felt the same way too with that boiler. who would want to take a chance on condensing cast iron. plus it was still 6 millions pounds to move. ugh
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 682
    edited May 23
    @Steve Minnich

    ATH (Mestek) makes the KN boiler which is a cast iron condensing boiler. It is a commercial boiler. The KN2/4 might be the same as the Ray Boiler, also made by Mestek.

    But the KN6/10/16/20/30 are by far one of the easiest, low maintenance, and trouble free condensing boilers to work on / install in the commercial world. It also has a 25 year heat exchanger warranty and in 15 years of installing / servicing them I have not seen a single heat exchanger failure.
    Never stop learning.
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,756
    @Mike_Sheppard - I didn’t know that. I’ll have to take a look. It’ll be interesting to see how the acidic condensate isn’t eating up the cast iron. 
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,924
    Cast iron is amazing stuff. If it's going to be killed it's oxygen that will do it -- not acids.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,756
    All due respect Jamie, I’ve seen it eat up a patch of concrete floor and the top of the cast iron drain more than a few times. In each case, the condensate was puddling on the floor around the drain so maybe the prolonged contact did it. 
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
    lkstdl
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 713
    All due respect Jamie, I’ve seen it eat up a patch of concrete floor and the top of the cast iron drain more than a few times. In each case, the condensate was puddling on the floor around the drain so maybe the prolonged contact did it. 
    Yeah, but unless you were wearing a SCBA, I'm pretty sure there was oxygen present at the corroded floor and drain, no?
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,756
    Canucker said:
    All due respect Jamie, I’ve seen it eat up a patch of concrete floor and the top of the cast iron drain more than a few times. In each case, the condensate was puddling on the floor around the drain so maybe the prolonged contact did it. 
    Yeah, but unless you were wearing a SCBA, I'm pretty sure there was oxygen present at the corroded floor and drain, no?
    Every cast iron drain, pvc drain, has oxygen present as far as I know. 
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,756
    Why would we go to great lengths to keep return water temps above 135-140 degrees to avoid flue gas condensation. It’s because acid will eat ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Condensing CI boilers must be using a secondary stainless HX, siliconized castings, or insanely thick sections. I may be wrong, but I’ve seen Ray’s eaten alive. 
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,759
    An item that seemed doomed were the first HSI's.

    The early ones could crack by just bouncing the furnace down the stairs.
    Rheem/Ruud dealers would send out free replacements by just calling them.

    They also tried to use the early HSI's as flame sensors, dealer would send a free "fix it kit" that included an add on solid rod FS to install within a year.

    30 years later the HSI's seem more reliable with longer life.

    However, it still seems that spark igniters have more longevity.

    Steve Minnich
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,756
    edited May 23
    The “Thanks” is for reeling the thread back in. 😎
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
    JUGHNE
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,992
    The KN is supposed to be a good boiler it originally was/is under the Hydrotherm brand. A former classmate of mine that has/had worked for Smith/Mestek for almost 50 years was heavily involved with that boiler
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 713


    Canucker said:



    All due respect Jamie, I’ve seen it eat up a patch of concrete floor and the top of the cast iron drain more than a few times. In each case, the condensate was puddling on the floor around the drain so maybe the prolonged contact did it. 

    Yeah, but unless you were wearing a SCBA, I'm pretty sure there was oxygen present at the corroded floor and drain, no?

    Every cast iron drain, pvc drain, has oxygen present as far as I know. 

    Sorry if I wasn't more clear, @Steve Minnich I've always looked at the reasons for rusting components similar to fire. I'm sure we're all aware of the fire triangle, rust (oxidation) of a component has a similar triangle that @Jamie Hall alluded to i.e.; oxygen, water and some form of carbon metal. If you take away one of the 3, it can slow the reaction down immensely or stop it. If we could take the oxygen away from your drain scenario, you wouldn't have found much damage. Likewise, running the exhaust up over 135 F drives off most of the moisture, minimizing the acid damage from the vapour.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 709
    JUGHNE said:
    An item that seemed doomed were the first HSI's. The early ones could crack by just bouncing the furnace down the stairs. Rheem/Ruud dealers would send out free replacements by just calling them. They also tried to use the early HSI's as flame sensors, dealer would send a free "fix it kit" that included an add on solid rod FS to install within a year. 30 years later the HSI's seem more reliable with longer life. However, it still seems that spark igniters have more longevity.
    What’s a HSI?  :confused:
    CLamb
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,511
    hot surface ignition
    JUGHNEPC7060
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 129
    ProPress
  • Steve Thompson (Taco)
    Steve Thompson (Taco) Member Posts: 200
    Fax machines that were almost as big as a desk!
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,917
    edited June 15
    I thought for sure Home Depot with their free advice and tool rental would put us all out of business 25 years ago. Plumbers groups and Contractors' Associations were having meetings about it. Turns out the free advice is worth about half the price paid for it and the people renting tools were never going to call us anyway. No effect.

    That said, when the gas utility started offering maintenance and contracting services we had to change our service area from Staten Island, a borough of NY City inhabited by many civil servants and tradespeople, to Manhattan where no one touches anything or owns any tools.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
    Robert O'BrienCLamb
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,451
    Press copper fittings
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,562
    Sliced bread. Am I dating myself?