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Thread: Ping Hearthman
12-21-2006, 12:27 AM #1
Getting battered by winds again in the Pacific Northwest.
Curious as to what windspeed are fireplaces with direct vent wall terminations subjected to to pass the standard.Trust me, I know what I'm doing.
12-21-2006, 12:57 AM #2
Section 2.30 Wind Tests
Has to do with the pilot being able to be ignited with winds of 5 & 10 mph from sides, obliquely, and head on and in similar vertical axes. A blower is aimed to generate a 0.01 and 0.04 wci static vent pressure to simulate winds.
Then, the pilot and main burner cannot be extinguished at 2.5, 5,10, 20, and 40 mph winds in the same angles as above. No delayed ignition. The Testing Agency then determines the most critical test condition and runs it for at least 10 min. The burner is shut off then re-opened after 30 seconds with no delayed ignition allowed.
Having said that, the mfrs generally test at much higher winds. Those results are proprietary and vary with each unit. They will also vary with different terminations on different units. The winds you guys get out in the Pac. NW prompted HHT to develop and list several special terminations for high winds, rain, and high rise buildings. They have their own wind tunnel along with freezers, rain spray booths, etc.
I can tell you vent terminations are the single toughest component to engineer of the entire fireplace. It has to withstand wind, driving rain, ice, physical impact damage (150lb), punctures, corrosion and more all the while breathing reliably for proper operation and look acceptable to homeowners. It cannot melt siding or soot up the wall or melt soffits.It has to seal water out of the wall as a flashing, too, which I'm sure you've seen many problems with out there Collin. That's a tall order.
I hope you guys come out ok from all this miserable weather you're having. You've reminded me, I need to check in on my buddy Zigi with W.E.T.T. in B.C.
Hope this helps,
12-21-2006, 01:57 AM #3
I knew testing would have been tough, I have a customer with some wind issues though that just emailed me tonight.(not one of your products) Winds were maybe 50-60 mph, the flame was dancing around and she said the glass was blowing open!(similar to an Escape or VC Chateau) I told her to shut it off till we can check it out tomorrow. Thanks for the input.
Small world, I took my WETT training from Zigi back in 1989.
Trust me, I know what I'm doing.
12-21-2006, 07:47 AM #4
I don't know of ANY hearth product that can operate properly in those winds. Heck, even gas 90% furnaces power venting through PVC can get enough wind pressure to kick out the safeties. In those winds, unfortunately, right when you need the heat, the best answer may be to shut down everything--furnace, water heater, Fp, the works.
FYI, I am not employed by any Mfr. anymore. I'm a solo act out there with ya'll fightin' sin and saving lives.
Take care and hang on to your hat!
12-22-2006, 06:20 AM #5Unregistered Guest
Hearthman, it's interesting to hear that you left the ranks of manufacturer's tech reps for a life as an honest and independent repairman. I'd say your customers are very lucky to get your services.
May I ask why you left your job with a manufacturer, and what you thought of that job? What was your general impression of the adequacy of the training and experience of the repair people you encountered on that job?
What were the most common problems you found with installers and repair people as far as competency and ability?
12-22-2006, 11:46 AM #6Unregistered Guest
Crazy Furnace Problems
<<I don't know of ANY hearth product that can operate properly in those winds. Heck, even gas 90% furnaces power venting through PVC can get enough wind pressure to kick out the safeties. In those winds, unfortunately, right when you need the heat, the best answer may be to shut down everything--furnace, water heater, Fp, the works.
My all time favorite example of how environment affects equipment operation was on a 90% efficient gas furnace vented vertically through the roof of a house with temperatures in the 'teens, which is very cold around here.
The customer's complaint was that the furnace wasn't heating the house in this very cold weather. And indeed it would not. The burner would shut off after a few minutes.
I found that the pressure switch was shutting off the burner for no particular reason that was readily apparent. After a good deal of careful analysis I discovered that the cooled combustion gasses were condensing in the PVC pipe, and when there were enough droplets and they got big enough, it would restrict the venting enough to cause the pressure switch to turn off the burner. If the combustion air motor shut off, the droplets would then be free to run down into the furnace, which would then be able to recycle and allow the burner to turn on again. It was the velocity of the air through the PVC pipe that allowed the droplets to be suspended vertically and cause the problem.
I thought that was kind of keen to be able to catch as a problem.
I don't recall if the PVC pipe was undersized or whether this was a weakness is the manufacturer's installation standards.
12-22-2006, 10:36 PM #7
I learned a ton in a short period of time because I sought it out. Nobody led me to it. I asked to spend one week pilgrimages at the factories to meet with the key people and get inside their heads. We developed trust and respect, which was of immeasureable help in the field. In later years, I got some of the key field people to take tours of the plants, see the processes, meet some people, see R&D, Technical Services, etc. They always remarked that was the most useful part of their experience. I wish they could open the doors so anyone could come in but with industrial espionage, they tend to get nervous with strangers snooping around.
I travelled across the country delivering canned technical training. It was my immense distain for the current programs that ultimately lead to my leaving. Simply put, most technical training in the hearth industry is a joke. All the mfrs. teach the same garbage about gas properties and how a thermocouple works. However, if you ask them for time to show how to test a TC using an interrupter block, they'll slam the door in your face. Wanna know some actual practical skills to take home? Tough noogies! You want to know where the snap discs are and how to get to them? How to remove an auger motor? What are the normal combustion readings from a gas direct vent? How do you clock a meter? How do I inspect a fireplace that's been implemented in Black Particulate Matter damage?
Most of the people attending cannot even spell DMM much less use one. They are sales persons, the warehouse guy or some shiney new tech who doesn't know which end of a fireplace to light. Then you get those wonderful veterans like yourself who've been around and teach me stuff but fall asleep because the whole day is spent on fluff. When they go home, they still don't know how to open the damn stove to get at the parts, much less what the normal resistance values are for each component. It's a joke. These people want to learn but the bosses think they're being generous sending them for one day of training per yr.! Utter fools... They have no clue and never will. So, the techs get pissed and leave the industry because of the moron upper managers.
If you want to shake up the training in this industry, have pre-requisite self study courses such as the HPBA's FireWright tm program. The mfrs. should concentrate on unit specifics: what's different about this unit, how do I get to everything and special features.
I want to slam the mfrs. for making these units non- service friendly, using non-std. parts and in general making them as aggravating as they can for service techs. Notice, you won't see all the fuel conversion data on the rating plate, if you can find the plate and read it. Good luck finding the manual for that model Fp revision or, God forbid, parts.
Speaking across all brands I will say we are no where near where we need to be with reliability, quality and value. The corporate whores will continue to cut corners on testing, reliability, quality, instructions, training and technical support just to make the numbers for next week's Board meeting. The only thing forcing them to maintain their current pitiful committment to quality is how much they are getting their asses sued or product recalls.
Back to the techs and people taking the training, understand, I am very hard. I come from a paramedic background where the most advanced hearth course I would equate to a Red Cross one day first aid course. I would love to start a school where techs are trained for weeks but no one would pay for it.
As for currently available training, let me say you still should attend the mfrs. training just so you can say you did attend their training. The NFI courses teach you about the appliance fuel category in gen't but it does NOT teach your how to fix fireplaces. Dave Pomeroy's traveling road show is pretty good but is an adjunct to other training. Regardless of your role in the hearth industry, if you are involved in the field or are a manager, I cannot recommend highly enough Dale Feb's Certfied Fireplace Inspector course. Best $2K you'll ever spend. It's 6 days of intensive hands-on inspection, codes, legal, report writing, burning stuff and his incredible museum of fp relics. Check him out at www.f-i-r-e-service.com
For combustion training, its either Bacharach, NCI or Timmie McElwain. Check out Timmie's online courses on HVAC-TV. He will teach you how to actually test components in common terms and he's a great guy.
I am working on an article for Hearth & Home magazine on some of these topics so stay tuned. I'm not bitter, just very observant and that makes me a threat to all mfrs. now that I'm doing consulting and investigating work.
S/P, did that answer your question?
12-26-2010, 08:56 PM #8New Guest
- Join Date
- Dec 2010
Gas Fireplace leaking heat
Hi. I have a 10 year old house with a Gas fireplace. The gas has been turned off (by PECO) because of a gas leak, and we haven't looked at getting it fixed. However, the main issue right now is that there is a lot of heat leaking out of the house -- cold draft coming in from the fireplace, especially from the bottom of the fireplace. Any suggestions on what needs to be done and who can insullate this better?
Hearthman -- I see you have posted quite a lot on this board, I am in Newtown Bucks County, are you nearby?
12-27-2010, 06:55 PM #9
12-27-2010, 07:02 PM #10New Guest
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- Dec 2010
Not sure how to do that, but I have temporarily added my email address to my profile. Thanks.