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  • schreib
    Hello Ground-up . I see you commented on a post about hydronic heating and glycol protection. I live here in MN also and have a slab on grade home with attached garage, also hydronic. Presently have 50% PG in the system but have yet to run the garage loops due to lack of insulation in gar. attic until just recently. Is there any reason I should not dilute my PG down to 36%(optimum BURST protection level)? Is it UN-reasonable to put a separate pump for those loops and pump continuously in winter with only minimal heat(40°F) at T'stat. . . ?? Is there a better way to handle this to minimize cost to heat garage yet still retain burst protection? Can't get a contractor to respond to this job! crazy.
    February 27
    • GroundUp
      Hi, what part of the state are you in? What type of boiler is in place here and how is the garage currently piped/zoned? Diluting it down to 36% versus 50% will definitely increase heat transfer and decrease stress on the pump(s), but it's also likely to introduce an airlock to the system unless you have the means to purge the system with a transfer pump or flush cart. It's very uncommon and quite unnecessary to run a pump continuously in the garage, if you have a 36% solution you can simply switch the pump (or zone valve, depending how it's piped) on and off with the thermostat at 40 degrees or whatever. If you're not too far away I could certainly assist you in the matter on site, or possibly be able to give some advice remotely if I could see some photos of the piping and boiler arrangement
    • schreib
      thanks for your offer to help!
      live in Elk River,Mn-- NW MPLS about 25 miles.
      Lochinvar Knight WHN55 (
      2,700 sq ft slab on grade home, NO bsmt, 8 zones w/ 4 loops in the garage, one system pump supplies all loops. Primary boiler loop fed with single speed Grundfos UPS; secondary loop is system pump WILO Eco type with auto dP control set @ 16 ft head.

      I really don't want to dilute the system myself, want a pro to do it since I have not done it before. I WILL do it though if unsuccessful finding someone. I am mech. Engineer and have pumps I can use to force a purge, just not sure best place to remove but assume feed is from the inlet line after my water filter. . . figure the SpiroVent on top of the Amtrol will vent air etc??. I can send some pics your way if you like. Have full drawing of system also in pdf form. I have a Dropbox account and a folder set aside with all the docs that describe this. Go here:

      Basically, I had contractor pipe the system up per Loch. manual on page 45(?), in addition to the system pump and boiler(primary loop) pump there is a DHW pump feeding the Side-arm boiler tank-- boiler heats DHW; stores it there. Using Pro-one T'stats programmed to use and display temp of slab(ie Not space air) for controlling 8 zones. 3 pairs of small loops go to one Taco control(ZVX406) the other 5 run to a second one. No BMS control, No cascade, No mixing valves. I programmed the Stats, the boiler, and tuned the dT across Supply and Return manifolds to be about 20°F.

      thanks for any assistance you have time for!

      Brian Schreiber
    • GroundUp
      Thanks Brian, I called and left you a voicemail. I'm about an hour from ER but travel through there regularly so it wouldn't be a big thing to stop and look this over with you.
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    February 21
  • Jamie Hall
    simply ignorant, or is a cheat and a thief. Not that ignorance is an excuse; it isn't, and if one does things which one doesn't know how to do it is also very wrong.

    I'm not one for legal action. It really doesn't solve anything. And vengeance is specifically forbidden. Nor am I one for going about deliberately talking someone down. However, particularly in a small community such as yours (any community for that matter), an honest answer if people ask is always correct. You don't have to pile on, but if someone should ask or the topic comes up, you have an obligation to be honest: "Is this guy any good?" "No". You don't have to amplify -- you don't have to say the guy is a crook or does in old folks -- but you equally don't have to pull your punch on his work if asked.

    Best I can say at the moment. I will consider on this and if I come up with some better thoughts, I will send them.

    Your friend in Christ, Brother Jamie (Hall), Order of Saint Benedict.
    February 17
    • GroundUp
      I'm unsure if it's ignorance or cheating, perhaps a combination of the two. If I were a betting man, I'd say it starts as ignorance and laziness until the job is done and payment is made- at which point the cheating and denial comes out. I know for a fact that this guy and another HVAC guy around town have talked some real trash about me as I've heard it from multiple customers, and that's okay because they feel threatened by me, but my method when asked about them is always the truth. I don't trash talk them, but offer a real truthful opinion. "Sure he's cheap and does a fine job with sheetmetal, but when it comes to radiant he is quite uninformed and will tell you what you want to hear. I will be honest and do the job as I've been professionally trained to do, albeit at a slightly higher cost, but I will be there to stand up for you after the job is done" is the gist of my typical spiel and sometimes it works but sometimes it doesn't. That's okay, but I wish people actually knew the quality per dollar they were getting. This is a pretty low income area, maybe $40-50k household average, so $8k for a shoddy boiler install is a lot better deal than $10k for a proper one for a lot of people. Also I've only been in business a couple years while they've been around forever, so you know how that goes. 40 years of guesswork doesn't equal 40 years of experience.
  • Jamie Hall
    Oh dear. You do have a problem with that "plumber" and your "elderly" parents..

    And my comments will come from my quite specific point of view -- which is why I'm writing directly, and not on the Wall.

    With regard to your grandparents' particular problems (is catastrophe too strong a word?) I think your first thing to do is simple going to be to make it right -- if you can. You need, I think, to be straight with them -- tell them what the problems are and what you are going to need to do (and spend) to fix it, both in terms of materials and your labour. Don't ask them for assistance in that; if they are good people (dare I say Christian?) they will help you as they are able. You have to be honest with them about it -- but do not ask. Just tell them.

    With regard to the contractors -- both the "plumber" and the GC -- they are very much in the wrong. There is a real question, though, particularly with the "plumber" as whether he (she? unlikely) is simply (to be continued)
    February 17
    • GroundUp
      Thanks Jamie. I wouldn't go so far as to say catastrophe, so much as dilemma, but yes I do agree it's a problem. I sat down with them last week and discussed the issue in great detail. I opened the Navien manual and showed them the way it was supposed to be piped versus the way it is piped, they agree it is screwed up. At that point in time, I suggested they call the GC one more time and demand he make it right immediately or I would repair it and send him the bill. My grandfather is all for it, as he's tired of walking out there every day to reset the boiler and tired of being ignored by both the GC and plumber. Grandma on the other hand, is about the closest you can get to Mother Teresa- front pew in church every morning, never would say a bad word about anybody no matter the regard. It's not about the money for either of us- they would happily pay me for the repair but given the circumstances, I would sooner eat the cost myself than accept money from my grandparents for an issue that should not exist.


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