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Old 10-09-2019, 06:47 AM   #1
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Default The High Tech Furnace

New home being constructed down the street.
Going to be on the Parade of Homes 2019.

Went down to view the heating system. To keep abreast of what goes in to new homes today.

It's propane. Hot air. High Efficiency.

Quite fancy looking with about a half dozen external sensors/modules/dials/gauges. Lots of small wires and tube going every which way.

What I did notice as that the installer - a well known highly regarded contractor - has been at new home/construction - about a dozen times. I see the truck. About half the visits were after the house was completed.

Will the owners have any issues when winter time comes?
How are those ultra modern high efficiency heating systems panning out?
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:58 AM   #2
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Default Hawley

Is it a boiler with hydro air units? Or is it a warm air furnace? Who is the manufacturer of the unit?
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:38 AM   #3
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I've had a few friends of mine that have been talked into installing the new suitcase style boilers that hang on the wall. They are very efficient but they have a higher rate of problems and it seems these companies installing them don't have the proper equipment or training to diagnose problems. When they work they work great.
I built a new home about 13 years ago and installed a regular gas boiler and have had no issues. I built another in the lakes region with a 90% efficient hot air furness that I owned for 10 years without ever having an issue.
My friends installed their newer style wall hung boilers within the past 8 years the they all have had multiple issues with them. One of them had to be replaced under warrantee after 4 years because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Just sayin, buyer beware!
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggd View Post
I've had a few friends of mine that have been talked into installing the new suitcase style boilers that hang on the wall. They are very efficient but they have a higher rate of problems and it seems these companies installing them don't have the proper equipment or training to diagnose problems. When they work they work great.
I built a new home about 13 years ago and installed a regular gas boiler and have had no issues. I built another in the lakes region with a 90% efficient hot air furness that I owned for 10 years without ever having an issue.
My friends installed their newer style wall hung boilers within the past 8 years the they all have had multiple issues with them. One of them had to be replaced under warrantee after 4 years because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Just sayin, buyer beware!
I have the Rinnai for 3 years and have had no issues at all.


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Old 10-09-2019, 08:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Biggd View Post
I've had a few friends of mine that have been talked into installing the new suitcase style boilers that hang on the wall. They are very efficient but they have a higher rate of problems and it seems these companies installing them don't have the proper equipment or training to diagnose problems. When they work they work great.
I built a new home about 13 years ago and installed a regular gas boiler and have had no issues. I built another in the lakes region with a 90% efficient hot air furness that I owned for 10 years without ever having an issue.
My friends installed their newer style wall hung boilers within the past 8 years the they all have had multiple issues with them. One of them had to be replaced under warrantee after 4 years because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Just sayin, buyer beware!
Can't agree with you more. I installed one of those suitcase boiler 3 years ago. I had a factory recommended installer do the work. The installer told me the problem with the installs are the external components needed, not the boiler itself! Such as the valve and zone controllers, the HVAC circulators etc. They are not made of the same quality as the boilers/furnace themselves. The installer recommended a specific brand and so far I have been happy. Some of my neighbors who had efficiency HVAC installed with cheap components are not happy. Normally parts only come with a year warrantee. My guy gave me a 5 year warrantee on parts and labor!
I had an emergency last winter. Unfortunately the installer was not available so I called Rowell. They came to look at it and they don't know what the heck is wrong with it! They recommend a new furnace and sock me $350!
I called Rinnai and they were extremely helpful! They told me to pull the plug on the burner (electrical plug), not the switch, big difference! The furnace went through a self check and determined the unit need deairreation. pardon the spelling, did this automatically and in 15 minutes I was back in business! Can't say enough about Rinnai. Rowell had the nerves to claim they fix all makes!
Highly recommend the new high efficiency furnace/boilers if installed and maintained correctly. Call the factory for their recommendations not rely on an HVAC/plumber's words.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:54 AM   #6
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Have to agree that any heating system is only as good as the installer and service tech.

My home in Gilford utilizes oil / Hydro air system and very few techs know how to service it correctly. I actually have to request the technician I want over for simple servicing...

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Old 10-09-2019, 09:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Biggd View Post
I've had a few friends of mine that have been talked into installing the new suitcase style boilers that hang on the wall. They are very efficient but they have a higher rate of problems and it seems these companies installing them don't have the proper equipment or training to diagnose problems. When they work they work great.
I built a new home about 13 years ago and installed a regular gas boiler and have had no issues. I built another in the lakes region with a 90% efficient hot air furness that I owned for 10 years without ever having an issue.
My friends installed their newer style wall hung boilers within the past 8 years the they all have had multiple issues with them. One of them had to be replaced under warrantee after 4 years because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Just sayin, buyer beware!
I worked on these for years... all I can say is buyer beware. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is! Parts are not carried by wholesalers and may take up to a week to get and the manufacturer use proprietary parts! These systems are designed for low temp applications and basically burn them selves up after a few years trying to maintain 180* required to provide the needed BTUs on a retrofit FHW system. They are designed for either radiant or cast iron systems.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:20 AM   #8
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I'm of the keep it simple ilk. There's a lot of high tech in this stuff now and it can be a problem when things go wrong.

Not a furnace, but I had a new central AC installed a few years ago, the guy asked me how efficient a unit I wanted, I told him the most efficient unit you have where the repair guys have parts on their trucks. He told me I was smart and I ended up with like a 16 seer with no variable controls on it that need to be special ordered. I feel the same way about heating units.

Keep it simple.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:39 AM   #9
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The thing about these heating systems is they always break down when it's below zero and you need it the most. If it takes weeks or even days to get the parts then you're in trouble. And then if they misdiagnose the problem, which never happens , you're in worse trouble.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:44 PM   #10
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Its funny here I am a guy that makes his living in the high tech industry. Yet I like to keep my life as low tech as possible. Why? Because using technology for technologies sake is nothing but problematic.

I see home heating alternatives the same why, and believe in the replace like for like philosophy.... Take in case my heat pump... I have a neighbor in my condo complex, that went the route of the latest and greatest. While I hired the guy that came in and replaced what was there, with today's equivalent... The latest and greatest cost my neighbor about 6K more, for options that they don't use. And at the end of the day, they haven't seen any energy savings.... why because the one option they do use, variable speed compressor, and air handler, run even at slow speed all the damn time, it never shuts off... Yet their climate in their unit is no better then mine.

Further more when I look at the guts, of our two units they are the same.... the just have variable speed motors, in both the air handler and compressor...

So what is my point.... don't get fooled by all the bells and whistles, and like others of pointed out, you can get a high quality boiler, but if the hardware it is installed with isn't of the same quality, guess what.... problems will happen...

Can't explain why this post made me rant like I just did, but it happened.... oh well....I guess I could be becoming FLL in the rambling respect.....
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Old 10-10-2019, 06:17 AM   #11
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Almost 30 years ago, I installed a heating/cooling system that was heat pump based. It was amazing, when it worked. It was heat and a/c but also hot water and in the summer, heated the pool as well. It worked down to about 10 degrees, which 30 years ago was pretty good. It was all electric and was VERY cheap to run.

The problem was the switching and complexity. It turned out the various demands of the system were not easy to balance. For example, hot water required high temps and resultant higher pressure. There were heat exchange coils required for the pool and hot water tank. Every now and then, a value would "hang up" and the system would not switch properly from one function to the other. Then the heat exchanger at the pool burst and water got into the system. The compressor had to be replaced. The system was freon based and water in it caused rust. Then the valves were much worse. Only one guy, the original installer knew how to work on it and he became "hard to get a hold of". After fighting it for 3 years I had it junked and a traditional system installed.

Now I will only deal with well established systems supported by broad ranges of installers.

I too worked in high tech. What I know is that a good chunk of what is promised or "understood" just ain't so. It not that the people are being deceptive. It's that their enthuthiasm gets running too far ahead of them. PROVEN capability in the REAL WORLD is the key. If ten thousand people are using a system and there aren't too many negative reviews, then it's probably OK. And as said by others, a reliable support system is critical.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:57 AM   #12
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Thumbs up ..... put on a wool sweater!

Doesn't a standard oil burner gun with a boiler or furnace burn at 85% efficiency, and a high tech oil burner at 95%.

Seems like going with the 85% efficiency and going with the pre-pay lower price oil deal and having the oil burner cleaned and tuned up; a service guy shows up in July and scrubs the insides all clean of filthy soot using these very long wire cleaning brushes and the heat/combustion areas gets cleaned along with a new nozzle, new filter, tested, adjusted, serviced and sold by a local oil service company is always a good plan.

Oil burners bring together oil pumped at 150-psi pressure that squeezes this very fluid, red oil, high viscosity through a teenie tiny hole in the spray noozle and creating a continuous spay pattern of reddish heating oil, that gets constantly ignited by a multiple continuous electric spark, and fed with a needed adjusted air flow intake .... all at the same time ..... so it definitely needs to get a service tune up and cleaning every July or August to be ready for the heating season.

If it's cold inside your house, then put on a wool sweater ...... and make yourself a cup of hot chocolate!

No shortage of good oil service companies in the lakes region.

And besides, except for the dead two weeks of winter, from about January 22 to February 5, it never seems to get all that cold in the NH winter, no more.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:27 AM   #13
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Default Viesmann

We are running a Viesmann, FHW by propane for 2 years now. Our old oil burner shook the entire house, this one I have to look at the display to see if it is running. My only complaint, if it can be considered one, is that the new system does not throw off any waste heat in the basement where my office is. We are adding a zone there which was planned for during install.

Steve Buy installed it, and will service it as needed. He is local to us and very knowledgeable.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:37 AM   #14
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We are running a Viesmann, FHW by propane for 2 years now. Our old oil burner shook the entire house, this one I have to look at the display to see if it is running. My only complaint, if it can be considered one, is that the new system does not throw off any waste heat in the basement where my office is. We are adding a zone there which was planned for during install.

Steve Buy installed it, and will service it as needed. He is local to us and very knowledgeable.
Yes, one of draw backs of oil heat is that the burners are noisy.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:47 AM   #15
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The best heat systems ever are one pipe steam by oil with large cast iron radiators ...... vintage 1947 ..... with steam valves that hiss when the steam pressure is too high. You can really hear and feel the heat!
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:56 PM   #16
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The best heat systems ever are one pipe steam by oil with large cast iron radiators ...... vintage 1947 ..... with steam valves that hiss when the steam pressure is too high. You can really hear and feel the heat!
Dude, I know stream heat. Trust me by 1947 they were installing forced hot water or hot air systems, try 1927. . One pipe residential steam systems have vents that let air out of the radiator to allow steam in. Fast vent, quick steam arrival and more heat. Slow vent less steam into the radiator and less heat. Residential systems will heat on 2 psi or less of steam pressure BTW. End of today’s lesson, sorry for the thread drift.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:23 PM   #17
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To reply to the OP: There’s been a big movement in the last 10-15 years in the HVAC industry to add more technology to the equipment. I suspect that’s in response to consumer demand as well as an effort on the part of manufacturers to have more proprietary parts content in their products. (They get the repair parts market).

Technology has indeed improved average system efficiency but at the same time equipment expected life cycles are now much shorter than what used to be considered acceptable. The current crop of high efficiency mini splits or wall mounted boiler mentioned in the OP are great while they’re running well but can be very expensive to repair when they’re not.

The problem with the high level of technology is that in many cases the service base to support them isn’t there. For example, there’s another thread on the site today about getting competent service for mini split heat pumps. To pick on mini splits or high efficiency boilers (etc.) some more, try pricing up one of the proprietary electronic boards that make them run when outside of warranty.

Personally, I’m not up for spending tens of thousands of dollars every 10 to 12 years on HVAC equipment. Count me in the KISS crowd and I can do my own installation and repairs!
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:15 PM   #18
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The best heat systems ever are one pipe steam by oil with large cast iron radiators ...... vintage 1947 ..... with steam valves that hiss when the steam pressure is too high. You can really hear and feel the heat!
The problems with one pipe systems is the water hammer, which I'm sure you are as well aware of as I. Lived with it for many years, thanks for the useless comments.
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:47 AM   #19
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Talking .... whub-whub-whub-whub!

With one pipe steam, some heat systems have the water hammer noise and some don't. With one pipe, the steam flows upward from the steam boiler in the basement within the upper half of the pipe, and the cooler hot water returns down to the boiler in the lower half of the SAME pipe ...... as water, and not as steam. The hammer sound happens when there is not enough room in the pipe for both steam and water to be flowing comfortably in opposite directions. 1 1/4" diameter, black iron pipe is usually what is used so there's enough room for both steam and water without the hammer sound otherwise the opposite flows collide or get squeezed together causing the hammer, like with 3/4" or 1" diameter black iron pipe, or with 3/4"copper that's too tight for the opposite steam/water energy flows. Water turns into steam at 212-degrees at low pressure and has a lot of heating power ..... those big cast iron radiators will heat up fast .... and steam doesn't need an in-line pump (ie water circulator) to move it along ..... it gets moved by its' own pressure.

Wasn't there a Three Stooge's episode from maybe 1947 where they was plumbers sent to fix the water hammer for a tall, blonde, lady, home owner who was upset by all that hammer'n sound. Curley, Moe, and Larry to fix that water hammer ....... whub-whub-whub-whub! .... we'll fix it for you, lady ........ no problem! ..... this will be all fixed in no time ...... just watch us fix it! ....

For the Three Stooges to be work'n on today's 2019 high tech heat'n systems they would need to return to heat'n school and get trained as high tech, heat'n technicians .... and be goin' beep-beep-beep ...... instead of whub-whub-whub. ...
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Old 10-13-2019, 11:01 AM   #20
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With one pipe steam, some heat systems have the water hammer noise and some don't. With one pipe, the steam flows upward from the steam boiler in the basement within the upper half of the pipe, and the cooler hot water returns down to the boiler in the lower half of the SAME pipe ...... as water, and not as steam. The hammer sound happens when there is not enough room in the pipe for both steam and water to be flowing comfortably in opposite directions. 1 1/4" diameter, black iron pipe is usually what is used so there's enough room for both steam and water without the hammer sound otherwise the opposite flows collide or get squeezed together causing the hammer, like with 3/4" or 1" diameter black iron pipe, or with 3/4"copper that's too tight for the opposite steam/water energy flows. Water turns into steam at 212-degrees at low pressure and has a lot of heating power ..... those big cast iron radiators will heat up fast .... and steam doesn't need an in-line pump (ie water circulator) to move it along ..... it gets moved by its' own pressure.

Wasn't there a Three Stooge's episode from maybe 1947 where they was plumbers sent to fix the water hammer for a tall, blonde, lady, home owner who was upset by all that hammer'n sound. Curley, Moe, and Larry to fix that water hammer ....... whub-whub-whub-whub! .... we'll fix it for you, lady ........ no problem! ..... this will be all fixed in no time ...... just watch us fix it! ....

For the Three Stooges to be work'n on today's 2019 high tech heat'n systems they would need to return to heat'n school and get trained as high tech, heat'n technicians .... and be goin' beep-beep-beep ...... instead of whub-whub-whub. ...
I'm sure the rest of us that care, already know how they work....Thank you
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Old 10-13-2019, 11:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
With one pipe steam, some heat systems have the water hammer noise and some don't. With one pipe, the steam flows upward from the steam boiler in the basement within the upper half of the pipe, and the cooler hot water returns down to the boiler in the lower half of the SAME pipe ...... as water, and not as steam. The hammer sound happens when there is not enough room in the pipe for both steam and water to be flowing comfortably in opposite directions. 1 1/4" diameter, black iron pipe is usually what is used so there's enough room for both steam and water without the hammer sound otherwise the opposite flows collide or get squeezed together causing the hammer, like with 3/4" or 1" diameter black iron pipe, or with 3/4"copper that's too tight for the opposite steam/water energy flows. Water turns into steam at 212-degrees at low pressure and has a lot of heating power ..... those big cast iron radiators will heat up fast .... and steam doesn't need an in-line pump (ie water circulator) to move it along ..... it gets moved by its' own pressure.

Wasn't there a Three Stooge's episode from maybe 1947 where they was plumbers sent to fix the water hammer for a tall, blonde, lady, home owner who was upset by all that hammer'n sound. Curley, Moe, and Larry to fix that water hammer ....... whub-whub-whub-whub! .... we'll fix it for you, lady ........ no problem! ..... this will be all fixed in no time ...... just watch us fix it! ....

For the Three Stooges to be work'n on today's 2019 high tech heat'n systems they would need to return to heat'n school and get trained as high tech, heat'n technicians .... and be goin' beep-beep-beep ...... instead of whub-whub-whub. ...

It's reassuring to know you educate your self with Three Stooges episodes.
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