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this install look OK? Contractor gave me this photo

Tony_23 Member Posts: 1,033
The guy's a clown who's got more BS than true knowledge. Anybody can show you "piping in a box" pics. I'd want to hear from and see HIS work.

As far as condensate under the floor, you could open your own mini Howe Caverns :) I've seen it happen. Eighteen inches deep and two feet in diameter. Unless of course it's clay, then nothing drains.

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  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,849
    questions about contractor

    I met with contractor re: installing a munchkin boiler. wanted wallies opinions on the attached photo and:

    1-says he will drill a hole some inches deep into foundation floor and put tube from condensate drain into this hole for drainage. Is that usual?

    2-Is a V-1000 vent kit necessary? We are looking at either the wall-mounted T80M or floor mounted 80M. (The 80M has a 3-inch exhaust.) Is this a cosmetic consideration?

    3-Manual says exhaust and intake should be 8" apart minimum.
    contractor says 2" is OK.

    4-Says putting a mixing valve on superstor (for antiscald) will throttle flow. I have heard that before. Says superstor will have its own aquastat.

    5-is specking a 30gal SSU-LB for HW. Adequate for one person that sometimes has a few people staying over for company? I know the 80M with Vision controls can boost to 110K btu upon call for DHW. (This is for 2100 sqft split level, monoflo, tentatively 50Kbtu load and 100kbtu gain. (not fully clear on that yet.) I know that chart says 169 gallons 140deg first hour assuming boiler water is 180. But if condensing, boiler temp would be lower, maybe 140, yes? so output might take a little longer. One low flow shower 20 minutes would use 50 gallons total of mixed water, but maybe only 40 gallons of the tank's 140 deg water?

    6-Usually with jobs I ask the contractor to have his insurance agent fax me a certificate showing existence of liability and workman's comp policies. (I don't usually push it to ask to be named insured.) But this plumber says it's not legal for him to show me the comp policy. Never heard this before. Says he couldn't get the required permit if he didn't have adequate insurance.

    7-Recommends against vision 1 outdoor reset; says the default indoor reset is adequate given the 'way the house is set up.' what way would that have to be to not benefit from outdoor reset?

    8-Chooses not to use primary-secondary piping on this boiler. Will use one circ with three zone valves for two heating zones and HWH. I always thought HWH had to have its own circ.

    Well, the good side is, I'm learning more every day.


  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    i disagree with some statements..

    but as always get multiple bids..don't shop price..shop skill..have you tryed the find a pro section of this site? its hard to evaluate what someone says without seeing the job..but on the surface, just with your side of the story, i'd disagree with some of that..

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  • Cosmo_3
    Cosmo_3 Member Posts: 845
    I think you know the answer

    I also disagree w/ some things

    Are you sure he is experienced with the munchkin?

    I have never hesitated showing proof of insurance, but he is right most of the time when you pick up the permit they ask there. Well... most of the time

    Munchkins must be Primary secondary... read the book. You can look up the instructions yourself to answer these questions, just look up HTP's site. I am sure it is in the virtual trade show.

    As far as your pic, it looks like a good start to an installation. Is this a picture of one of your contractor's jobs? I see a domestic tempering valve, primary secondary piping, etc.

    Cosmo Valavanis
  • Mitch_6
    Mitch_6 Member Posts: 549
    Some of your questions

    I will try to answer, I am in Massachusetts and your code may vary and I am only going by my experience don't take it as an absolute the local inspector and manufacturer have the final (all the)say. Also in full disclosure the condensing boiler I have the most experience with are Weil Mclain Ultra and Trianco but the principles are basically the same.

    1)Condensate should always be drained or pumped to a proper receptor, some areas require treatment also.


    3) Intake and outlet should be kept apart to keep co2 and other products of combustion from being sucked back in effecting combustion and possibly creating excess co.

    4)Supper store has its own control but the anti scald is a good add on for protection of people from high temp and allows you to keep the heater above 140 to cut down on items like legionnaires disease and allows you more output. Both must be installed to mfg spec.

    5)Most boilers of this type have a boost for domestic hot water overriding the out door reset. Total btu capability of the boilers plus your water pressure have alot to do with adequacy of the tank. The tempering valve will also help.

    6)My state requires a check off box on the permit application stating we have or do not have liability insurance but we are not required to submit a certificate to the town. If we do not the home owner must sign the waver box on the permit. Most general contractors and large organizations we work for ask for a certificate and tax id number for several reasons we always comply.

    7)I personally like outdoor reset it allows you to let the boilers run at lower temperature for heat only calls this lets them condensate which is what they want to do and helps efficiency.

    8) Primary secondary or similar modified piping arrangements are usually used in multiple boiler or condensing boiler installs. Boilers like the Ultra use a manifold that is a mix of primary secondary principals without incorporating the full loop. To get good a good flow rate we usually dedicate a pump for DHW but if the zone valve flow rate matches the manufacture specification and you are on some sort of priority it should work.

    To the rest of this question I am a little confused from your description what he is proposing.

    Good Luck

    Mitch S.

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  • Josh_10
    Josh_10 Member Posts: 787

    Cosmo I think he is referring to Primary Secondary for the heating zones. I prefer one circ and the use of zone valves as well to cut back on energy consumption using circs for zone control. However if the zone can match the efficiency curve of a circ than by all means I would zone with the circ.
  • Cosmo_3
    Cosmo_3 Member Posts: 845
    I agree Josh

    You know, Pri/sec has become a buzzword, and unfortunately without showing a diagram I think it is always hard to explain w/ words. I also agree with not using a circ for every zone, and as a recovering circaholic I have been buying a whole lotta zone valves.

    I have been lucky that in my area the people I work with for the most part trust my judgement. I don't know if I would want to show a piping diagram with an estimate, that would open the doors to use my design to go price shopping.

    So, we are back to this, does he have referrals? I can see how tough it is for a HO to make a decision on a contractor......

    Cosmo Valavanis
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,849

    Contractor does say he's very experienced with munchkins. I can certainly understand that every contractor has their own experiences and may differ with the manufacturer on occasion. And often as we see on the wall sometimes the installers' ideas can be incorporated to correct the installation manual. Thanks Cosmo, yes the manual does hold alot of info, precisely why I got a little concerned with some of the plans.

    I have had multiple bids, wallies amongst them, though this particular one is not a wallie. The photo is supposed to be an example of his work...

    It does seem that disposal of condensate waste is an important issue I didn't foresee. Didn't see anything in the manual about that at least in a cursory look.

    Thanks Mitch for your detailed answers--good tip about why keeping the indirect's water temp above 140 is important. I see from other posts on the wall --especially mike T's great Eurocave thread--that outdoor reset is not universally felt to be developed enough yet and not everyone recommends it.

    We hope to make a decision soon; it's also about staying with oil or converting to gas, so there are some issues.


  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,849
    fyi munchkin manual schematics

    if this is of any use......
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    David, also look at

    the cost per BTU of oil vs. gas in your area. You may find that the Munchkin's increased efficiency won't offset the higher cost of gas.

    When costing out gas, be sure to include all the taxes and fees that the gas company doesn't want you to consider. They're usually in very small print on your bill.

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  • Josh_10
    Josh_10 Member Posts: 787

    That's true. It is really hard to be vague when you are a couple bucks higher than the next guy though. Price shopping is a real problem in our industry.
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,849
    three ways to shop?

    Seems like one could shop for
    a) price--that alone would be foolish, though I'm sure many do. It's certainly a consideration.

    b)Skill/Installer: You are referred by trusted and knowledgeable sources.

    c) Based on trusted and knowledgeable sources you pick a specific boiler or boiler/type and then locate a good contractor.

    In my experience, that old expression 'that ain't rocket science' doesn't apply to home heating. I think most people know far more about even cars than home heating. So most homeowners would have to go seriously out of their way to learn how to distinguish one heat design from another. And I think that's why so many of the non-wall contractors can get by with the "LI heat calcs" as dan calls them. I hope that as energy prices continue to rise that with the help of sites like the Wall, hos will become more knowledgeable about heat loss, home envelope sealing, mod/con boilers, etc. That the wall has garnered the google and other search engine ratings it has indicates to me that change is underway.
  • Guy_6
    Guy_6 Member Posts: 450

    Watch that venting, as that was , and still is , a major source of troubles. The manual says a certain distance of separation, and that means NO LESS. Recirculation of flue gasses will deteriorate the circuitry in the blower motor, main control, or both, causing failures. If the proposed venting is NOT in the manual it would be in your best interest to get an OK from HTP for whatever you are proposing.
    A V1000 vent kit (or V500 for the T model) is only necessary for asthetics. If the pipes are not highly visible, the two pipe method will allow more flexibility.
  • Mark_46
    Mark_46 Member Posts: 312


    If nothing else I can say this. I am currently having a Munchkin installed and the attachment you provided is neat as a pin compared to what I got. I am not pleased with this installer. He is here as a sub through my HVAC contractor.
  • singh
    singh Member Posts: 866

    Nice picture up above, except that looks lik a peerless pinnacle system and indirect, not munchkin. not that it matters . Why not get a refernce from contractor from a recent munchkin install. See if owners are happy, ask to take a look at workmanship. You already have input from the wallies to steer you right.

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  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,849
    good eyes Mr. Singh

    yes contractor had told me those were peerless....of course if he's done alot of munchkins, then munchkin install photos is what I would expect. Too bad you're so far upstate, probably could use your services at some point. (This thread's about my mom's house; I'll soon be replacing my boiler, and I have found several good wallies in the westchester ny area.)

    One thing I haven't had answered yet is where one directs the condensate runoff? It corrodes pipes so sewer system seems unlikely.......


  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    Condensate Run-Off


    That struck me to in your orignal post, the notion of drilling a hole under the slab and dripping it there...

    Even without knowledge of the local geology, one does not know if you have clay beneath the house, good drainage, is the drip point atop an older cast iron line? All those things...

    I prefer to take my condensate via a neutralizer (4-inch PVC pipe assembly with screw caps at each end and tees at each end also, one in, one out). Device is filled with marble chips (limestone). Waste is drained indirectly to a laundry sink or a plastic standpipe with an air gap. Pump if you need to.

    I would not drip it to metallic pipe and not drain it below grade because there is so much one does not know....
  • John F
    John F Member Posts: 29

    The photo is actually showing the Pinnapak from Precision Hydronic Products (www.phpinc.us). These are pre-manufactured boilerpaks that include primary/secondary piping configuration with all the components to connect the boiler and zones. All components are included except the boiler and a backflow preventer.

    Secondary zoning may be either with pumps or zone valves. When zone valves are used, the system comes with an additional secondary pump and a pressure differential bypass valve.

    Note that the Pinnapak uses the same components as the Munchpak, only the boiler is different.

    For those of you who are installing condensing boilers, PHP makes several boilerpaks; Munchpak/Pinnapak, Ultrapak, Trinapak, Prestopak. If you want any additional information, please email me or call 503-209-7830.
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,849
    exactly brad

    that's just what I asked him. Can any homeowner or even pro know what's under the foundation slab? debris, clay, etc? Plus you'd be adding possibly toxic materials to the soil. And that would pass inspection? And how would an average homeowner know that this wasn't the way to go if a licensed plumber says it is?

    And this is a prime example of where you get a lower price but at what ultimate cost? I could see the condensate setup you outlined costing an extra $500-$1000 to make it right. And it absolutely should be done. Thanks for de-mystifying the process.

  • I wouldn't hire him...

    Too many red flags jumped right out at me. In the order you presented them,

    1. Not only is it not code compliant, it is down right dangerous. If it's lime stone, you could be setting up a fizzy bomb, or worse, a fuzzy melt down...and a CAVERN the size of New Jersey. Not a good idear.

    2. It depends. But in no case shall it be less than the manufacturer calls for.

    3. NO fudging allowed. THis part can, does and could kill you if it's not done right. Doing anything other than what the manufacturer calls for voids the warranty. ANYTHING.

    4 thru 8...This guys jacking you around. Avoid him.

    Gotta go watch the news.


  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,849
    any problems with concentric direct venting?

    thanks mark for your frank reply.

    Most of the mod/cons seem to have an option for concentric venting. On one hand the wall's advice is to keep air intake and exhaust well separated--when side by side--but does the concentric option somehow work due to the engineering? I can't figure out how you wouldn't end up getting exhaust sucked back into intake........

    The part I like about concentric dv is that the outgoing exhaust warms the incoming cold air which I would guess is a real benefit. For fresh air intakes on natural draft there have been devices like fan in a can etc which had ways of mixing room air with the intake to warm it up--not so I believe with sealed combustion. Is not very cold air intake a problem for proper boiler function and maybe even condensation somewhere along the path?


  • mike c_5
    mike c_5 Member Posts: 4

    Dave, would recommend you read the manual on the Munchkin boiler. Do not listen to the contractor, evidentally he knows nothing about high efficiency boilers. Make sure your venting is no closer than 8 inches apart and no more than 36 inches apart, this is the requirement for Munchkin.You should have atleast 15 feet of 2inch pvc equalizer on both intake and exhaust. Also you asked about the Peerless pinnacle. Heat Tranfer Products makes this for Peerless along with Munchkin..
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