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Close to perfect?

DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,181
I always enjoy looking at photos of work that Wallies post, and then listening to the critique about how it's great, but could be better if. . .

That's how we learn.

So here's a question for the contractors. Can you name a manufacturer that you think is close to perfect in all that they do? And if so, what makes them that way? What might they do better?

(No need to blow your own horn here if you work for a manufacturer. It's always better if your customer does that.)



Retired and loving it.
reggiCLamb

Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,788
    Hi Dan, It would take a book to explain in detail, but as I play with water heaters, I can talk about what I like to see and what I don't. First, there is no one manufacturer that has the right tank for all situations. Rheem has made tanks that I've liked a lot, but still need some help. My goal is to do what's best in the long term for the client. Part of that is to have a very long-lived heater that can be maintained easily. My understanding is that about 85% of the tanks sold are as replacements, so the manufacturers may nor be all in about getting fifty years from a tank as I try to do. Rheem usually provides enough ports on top of the tank to add a second anode, which I like, but the resistor anode they supply often doesn't work in clean, not too conductive water, so I have to change it out. On their recent heat pump tank, getting to the anode is particularly difficult, which I really don't like seeing with an expensive heater. AO Smith is okay, but they often ship tanks with aluminum anodes, which I always replace with magnesium as I worry about the potential health risk. They also make it hard to add a second anode, but sometimes moving the T&P to the side of the tank frees up a port on top, for placing a second anode rod. I only have a little experience with Bradford White, which generally seems to be more contractor friendly.

    Yours, Larry
    PC7060GGrossSolid_Fuel_ManHVACNUT
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,396
    I would have to go with a Riello oil burner.If I am looking to put a burner on that I feel I won't have to go back to, that is the one. I have replaced very few parts on one that is defective, with the most common one being their motor. For some reason the sealed bearing on the pump side disintegrates, which seems odd for sealed bearings. Other than that, they are almost bulletproof.
    Rick
    GGrossSolid_Fuel_ManHVACNUT
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,181
    Thanks, guys. And know that they are reading your words. 
    Retired and loving it.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,999
    edited January 11
    For the limited residential stuff that I used in my career, I gravitated to Taco, except for the 571-2 zone valves. And that is only because I am an instant gratification kind of guy. That wax filled heat motor can take too long to open if it is in a really cold crawlspace. Also the 3 wire thing… Helping other plumbers with that smoking transformer thing was always a challenge.
    Pumps, controls, flo-check, etc., etc., etc. ,,,they make a quality product at a reasonable price.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,073
    Dan Thats a great question and I will follow this thread as customer service was slow prior to covid and now its pretty much gone
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,181
    I’m liking this thread a lot. Thanks, guys. They’re reading. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • vhauk
    vhauk Member Posts: 84
    Can I be can I be a heretic and mention Rinnai tankless water heaters?  They are super efficient condensing heaters, that I have seen run perfectly for years. Expensive yes. I use one now, have on our last 3 houses, and will again on any other house we end up with. 
    rick in AlaskaSolid_Fuel_Man
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,181
    Why would this make you a heretic? 
    Retired and loving it.
  • vhauk
    vhauk Member Posts: 84
    i don’t know. Maybe because I haven’t seen anyone else on here using tankless water heaters. But at the same time, I’m learning so much about steam heating. Which is good as we have a one pipe system that we want to keep. Are keeping. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    We're fine with using tankless water heaters for heating DHW. It is when someone tries to make them do domestic space heating that issues arise.

    I am not a pro, but everything I have used from Caleffi has solved problems I didn't even know I had.
  • vhauk
    vhauk Member Posts: 84
    I saw a Rinnai on a radiant heat system in an automotive garage concrete floor. I have no clue how well it worked because the owner never turned it on. Not that he didn’t have the money. It would have been interesting 
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,181
    Is that it? No other companies are almost perfect? :)
    Retired and loving it.
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 412
    Caleffi has never done me wrong, and the local rep is excellent
    mattmia2
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,181
    Thanks. Could they do anything better?
    Retired and loving it.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,999
    mattmia2 said:

    We're fine with using tankless water heaters for heating DHW. It is when someone tries to make them do domestic space heating that issues arise.

    I am not a pro, but everything I have used from Caleffi has solved problems I didn't even know I had.

    Bob Rohr is good at that. He is kind of a HAROLD HILL of the hydronic industry, I even believe he wants to start a Boys Band in River City. But that is a topic for another discussion.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Wellness
    Wellness Member Posts: 129
    I don't know that there is a company that dots all the "I's" and crosses the "t's". But Caleffi comes close. Their hydronic products are always solid and their zone valve controllers, in particular, are masterfully laid out for clean wiring and use good, solid transformers; I also like ControlByWeb, while not strictly an HVAC company, their temperature control products are outstanding and the company's product support is unrivaled.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,573
    I've had great experiences with Caleffi, Danfoss (when Robert Bean was repping) and of course, Viessmann. They all have been consistent with superior products, good service and expert advice and training. West coast service from Viessmann is not the same as New England but if you're willing to make numerous calls, problems can be solved. The distribution and availibility of products has changed since covid. It calls for adapting to supply chain shortages and changing markets.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,542
    I've always had excellent results with Caleffi products, wish their fiber washers sealed better. An EPDM or Silicome material would be better. 

    Also Taco has never let me down. I dont care for their 00e series due to the plastic rotor housing, a Stainless housing like the old 00 series would be better. Groundfos uses a SS housing. 

    Grundfos makes quality stuff, although I wish they had a better option for feild wiring on the Alpha curculators, the glomey box stuck on the side with the pigtail in it is lame, I always take it off, remove the pigtail and use trey cable into their plug. 

    Bradford White has always been reliable, well priced and FW Webb has stood behind them. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    STEVEusaPA
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,170
    Never liked the Viessmann/Riello stuff. What I worked on was mostly commercial. Always a long, long wait for parts and the distributors do not seem to know their product that well. I have waited 3 months for a metric blower motor and blower wheel to be shipped over from Italy and another time it was metric flex oil lines that took forever to get. Another time we waited months for a Suntec oil pump for a Weishaupt burner that had to be shipped over from France

    I have no doubt that the equipment is top shelf and can run really well and is quality made and seems to stay in tune for long periods of time...................but

    But when a part fails and the equipment goes down in the winter and there is no work around to get it going.


    So, unfortunately for me If I owned a building I would stick with American equipment
    Long Beach Ed
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,542
    Nothing beats redundancy 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,419
    This one is a plumbing product.

    This company stopped the old joke/prank when flushing the toilet while your big bossy sister is taking a shower and she gets a burst of a cold water shock.
    Remember that?
    Back in 1939, The Symmons Valve Company invented a product called the Pressure Balancing Shower Valve.
    This product has been making showering a safer experience for decades now and has changed plumbing codes worldwide.
    Not only has the safety for showering improved by this invention, but when it needs repair, the repair is as good as new.
    I have probably installed and or repaired a thousand of these shower valves with great success.
    They are pretty damned close to perfect. Installing with confidence for almost forty years.
    The Symmons Temp-Trol shower valve and its related products are worth a look.
    Look them up. You won't be disappointed.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,915
    Forty years ago I worked with house builders who used multiple HVAC contractors.

    Don't know if this still applies. Lennox was the jobber as well as the manufacturer. So contractors were supported by knowledgeable employees. Installations were done properly. Others' equipment may have been as good or even better but I saw those contractors make mistakes.

    From what I could tell KeepRite was best for guys who knew what they were doing.
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,498
    This is a tough one Dan. Most mfrs have had their winners and losers. Very few have had a consistent winning streak over 10 yrs plus. I can think of no boiler mfr or pump mfr who have had >75% winning streak and kept the products the same over a decade. I know innovation always changes things but their is something to say for consistency. I like Caleffi a fair amount but don’t use a whole lot of their line. I would probably say Uponor/Wirsbo has been a very solid performer over the last 25 yrs. Of course not as much to go wrong with piping control products vs boiler mfrs.
    Just my take on it
    Tim
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    I can think of a few manufacturers that have made perfect and consistent products.


    Charlotte pipe for example. :D



    There are quite a few in the industrial world that make fantastic products and their support is phenomenal but I don't think they apply to this thread unfortunately.  They're on a different level across the board.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Intplm.
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 644
    Caleffi has been nearly perfect for us. From residential zone valves, to hydro separators, to air vents. We've had zero failures on anything mechanical. Installed many Legiomix dhw mixing valves with only o ne problem that was resolved. Customer support and rep are outstanding.

    Turbomax indirect water heaters have been perfect to date. About two dozen installed (mostly commercial) not one failure. Rep is outstanding.

    Rinnai tankless water heaters have been perfect to date. Installed thirty on one very large job. Factory support and local rep are excellent. Hopefully, we can find a few more locations that these units would be a good fin in the near future. Only issue was shipping (during pandemic), but that worked out.

    Weil McLain cast iron boilers have been near perfect. Hard to get lately, but one of the few products in the heating business that we can count on for years to come. We almost never call for support (roughly once every five years) but when we do call support is almost non-existent. I always feel that tech support can only handle the simple fixes, not the complicated design or tech questions.

    Rheem water heaters used to be almost perfect, however over the last two years or so things have certainly changed. For thirty years the gas residential water heaters were almost always trouble free. Then the prices doubled (in the pandemic) and the gas valves failed on almost every single unit we installed. Mind you, we are still awaiting credit for every warranty job we did over the last two years or so.

    Grundfos pumps have been nearly perfect. Simple, reliable, excellent reps in our area. Helpful with design and troubleshooting when required. Very few failures on tiny residential circulators to large commercial variable speed units.

    Viega pro press and mega press fittings and tools have been almost perfect. Very reliable product, only one failure in approximately ten or twenty thousand fittings. Only complaint is "rebate" program requires more work than our small company can handle.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,108
    Gorton Heating Corp. While these days they only make steam air vents, they make them perfectly. They answer their phone, employ Americans to make their product here and correct any problem instantly. And these things last -- forever. Thank you Groton, for a product my customers can trust and I can bank on!
    vhauk
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,942
    edited January 18
    For me...Burnham Boilers, Taco pumps, Apollo ball valves, Wolverine brass products all of them. Such high quality made in USA, Gerber Tub wastes, Charlotte Pioe and Fittings,  Husky Clamps, Rinnai Water heaters, Bradford White water heaters, Webstone Valves and flanges.   Ward Fittings, Taramet Sterling Solder, Harris Silver brazing rod, Silvabrite solder.Gorton and Hoffman vents.   Mad 🐕 Dog
    vhauk
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,873
    I like that the title says "Close to perfect", because there's always room for improvement. I agree with @STEVEusaPA about EK. Specifically the Frontier Oil. The design is like nothing else out there for non condensing boilers. 
    Extremely easy to service, and the support when needed is always there.
    Multiple piping arrangement drawings are provided. You don't want zone valves? No problem. They have piping and wiring diagrams for all circulators. Radiant zones? No problem. Check out this drawing. Hydro coils and proper control of the air handler? They got a setup for that too.
    The first models were rear access and very low to the ground. The Energy Manager has evolved. Other improvements and revisions were made over the years and now they're close.
    If they came in tie dye, then maybe it would be perfect. 




    szwedj
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,911
    Mad Dog_2 said:

    For me...Burnham Boilers, Taco pumps, Apollo ball valves, Wolverine brass products all of them. Such high quality made in USA, Gerber Tub wastes, Charlotte Pioe and Fittings,  Husky Clamps, Rinnai Water heaters, Bradford White water heaters, Webstone Valves and flanges.   Ward Fittings, Taramet Sterling Solder, Harris Silver brazing rod, Silvabrite solder.Gorton and Hoffman vents.   Mad 🐕 Dog




    Most Apollo vales are not made in the USA.
    Husky? The Home Depot brand?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment