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A quick search turned up this. Not sure how accurate it is across all boilers. It mentioned it doesn't heat the glycol as much in warmer weather compared to when it is really cold out. Also mentions the 65F cutoff where it goes into sleep mode which I remember the heating guy mentioning. They mainly talk about radiator heating but this could apply to in floor heat. The temps are different though. For instance the floors get 120F for a target temp. Where when I get the lines up and running out to a water to air heat exchanger, they will be at 160F.

Outside Air Reset For Boilers
Thanks. Seems obvious once it's explained!
 

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Discussion Starter #222
The contractor was out wrapping up some loose ends. We now have enough of a railing to pass inspection. He is going to come back out and add a top rail. The railing is removable so that we can easily use the FEL to move large heavy items into the mud and laundry room.



I will be calling tomorrow to schedule the final electrical inspection. He will then schedule the building inspector.

Still have work to do in the spring but nothing we need to leave the permit open for.
 

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Yep, mine looks exactly like that one in the picture. Mine is installed on a north wall about 6 ft from ground level.

My initial thought was, why do I need to install this thing, I want the garage to be XX degrees, so go ahead boiler, make it XX degrees, who cares what the temperature is outside, we are only dealing with the air inside this garage. I'm not bringing in outside air to heat up then blow that heated air around inside the house with a fan (and also for combustion), I'm just using some heated glycol in sealed loops heated up by some gas flame from external air then exhausted, none of that air (combustion or otherwise) will come into the garage. The thermostat says XX degrees based on the air temperature inside the garage, so just make it XX degrees inside the garage.

Turns out I didn't know better than the engineers who design very expensive boilers and boiler systems. Not too sure how/why exactly, but once I installed it, it performed way better. Outside temps must make a difference in how much/what temp, to heat the glycol. The engineers, and the boiler itself, are smarter than me. More even/consistent heat and way better recovery times (both when opening the overhead door or man doors, and also when there were weather/temperature changes outside, go figure!).

So obviously the slab, and the building itself, are affected by outdoor temps. Maybe if, IF, the slab and building were 100% insulated and not affected by outdoor temp swings, then only the air temp inside the garage would matter, :unknown:, but I'll leave that to the experts!
I don't know exactly how it works, but I suspect its a similar method to the way the auto temp control works on a car, (At least on a Ford) Ford uses a "sun load" sensor for the air conditioning portion. So if it is a bright sunny day and it knows it is 90 degrees outside. It probably schedules the cold air differently (via blend door)than it would if it were 90 degrees and the sun was setting. Like wise for your boiler system. if it is -10 outside it knows it is going to have to heat the fluid to a higher temp and possibly even circulate the fluid faster to maintain whatever temp you have set versus maintaining the same interior temp if it is 35 outside.

just my $.18

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #224
Well I have been a bit busy the last few days so I didn't update the thread.

Thursday the state electrical inspector came out and.....

I Failed Inspection.... :banghead:

Not a big deal, it was a small thing that I hadn't thought of. His inspection went well until we got tot he panel. I was resetting the GFI breakers as he was going around testing each one. He seemed impressed with how I had things set up and overall liked the work. So why did I fail? A small technicality.

He asked how the panel in the garage is hooked up. I said it is the primary (first) panel and connected directly to the meter. He then asks where the feeds are to the house? I said at the meter there is a splitter and one line goes to this panel in the garage and the other to the panel in the basement of the house. He then asks if there is a disconnect on the side of the house? No, it is a direct feed from the meter, it is in 2" conduit and runs outside of the house and I point out where it comes into the building and up into the panel to make sure it is less than 6' from the point of entry. I said the one going to the house is similar but we didn't touch that. He then told me that I need to add a sign to the outside of my panel in the garage and the panel in the house. The signs need to read 1 of 2 and 2 of 2. He said it doesn't matter which one is 1 and which one is 2. I have to do that because if the fire department or someone doing work were to come in, flip off what they assume is the main breaker in the first panel because they see it is bonded, they could get electrocuted as they would assume the entire house is dead but I have another first panel feeding power to parts of the house. That makes sense. I asked if there were any special requirements that the signage needs to meet and where should I get it? Can I just write on the panel, can I use a label maker? He said he would like to see a 2x3 or so plaque stuck to the outside of the door. Something in contrasting colors but there really isn't a requirement that detailed. It just needs to be marked. I mentioned that I have a buddy that makes plates for trophies and such and he said that would be perfect. Just have a contrasting color of some sort. Don't engrave it on brass or copper where it might be hard to read.

He said he will send over the inspection report and I just have to sign it and send it back once the concern is resolved.

Easy enough.

Friday the building inspector was supposed to stop out. He never showed up. Grr, sat around all day and a no show. I tried calling him but it is his office so no answer. I called the general contractor since he is the one that scheduled it. Ht tried calling and got the same thing. I wasn't sure if maybe he had a different number as he does quite a bit of work in this area but he had the same number that I had. I guess we will have him do it this week. Not sure I can be around for it though.

Not much done this weekend with anything as I was camping with my son and his Boy Scout Troop all weekend.
 

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He let you off easy cause could have required you to group your main disconnects because it is one structure. Not sure how he missed that one? You can have up to 6 disconnects to turn off the power to the home but they have to be grouped in one location.

The Code;

More than one disconnect
While 230.70(A) requires a service disconnecting means, the term “disconnecting means” is defined in Article 100 and addresses not only a single means, but also multiple means that serve together in a group arrangement as the building service disconnect. The long-standing NEC requirement places a limit on the quantity of disconnects permitted to serve as the required service disconnecting means; Section 230.71(A) clarifies that this quantity is not more than six switches or circuit breakers or any combination not exceeding six. The idea is not to have more than six motions of the hand or actions to remove all power from the building or structure being served. The service disconnecting means arrangement can be a single switch or circuit breaker. It can be up to six switches or circuit breakers in a single enclosure or up to six switches or circuit breakers in separate enclosures. Again, each of the service disconnects must be marked to identify it as such.
Grouping service disconnects
This is a gray area in the Code, but the objectives should be easy to achieve by applying common sense and a practical approach to the requirement. The Code falls short of specifying a distance in the grouping requirement because of the differences in physical characteristics between large and small service equipment. Ideally, each building should have a main or single means of disconnect. One action or hand motion should remove all the power in the building. Section 230.72(A) of the Code addresses the grouping requirements quite specifically and simply. The general rules are that the two to six service disconnects permitted in 230.71 must be grouped in the same location, either in a single enclosure or in separate enclosures located adjacent to each other. Obviously, the larger the service, the wider the grouping distance can become. This is where the service disconnect marking comes into play and is why it is so important. Where the service disconnecting means is provided in a multiple-occupancy building, generally, each of the building occupants must have access to their respective service disconnect.
Another important provision in the Code is to mark the service equipment to indicate if there is emergency power source, legally required standby power source, or optional standby power source and the location of such sources. This alerts occupants and responders that, while normal power is disconnected, the backup power system is functioning. See sections 700.8(A), 701.7(A) and 702.7(A)
Each building or structure must be provided with a service disconnecting means. It can be a single switch or circuit breaker or up to six in a single enclosure or in separate enclosures grouped in the same location. The service disconnect(s) must be marked as a service disconnect.

Your electrician should have known this common code. They should pick up the tab on the signage he wants and have it engraved on plactic to look right and glue or screw them to the panels . They could have grouped both the disconnects in the beginning and just ran some more pipe.
 

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Discussion Starter #227 (Edited)
Actually if they did what I wanted in the first place, this wouldn't have been an issue. I wanted a combination meter box and panel on the side of the house.

Then the first panel and breakers would be outside with the meter. Then the panel in the house and the one in the garage would have been subpanels. I blame that on a breakdown of communication between when a general contractor insists on playing middle man between the customer and electrician. I have a feeling he just remembered that we were upgrading the service to 400A and I needed a new meter for this. So the electrician ordered the meter box. In the end I kind of wish I would have stopped them and made them put in what I wanted. The issue was that I have an account with the largest electrical supply company in the area and I was going to get a panel there but they didn't have any. It isn't something that is used very often. I also had the utility company scheduled for the disconnect and reconnect. To reschedule that would have cost 6 weeks min provided there were no storms. Then trying to get the electrician lined up again. Had I known we would have been without power to the back half of the property from April-Oct, I would have rescheduled. I guess the other reason I didn't was because I am still considering a standby generator over by the meter. I really was close to doing that then I would have done the meter upgrade, run that into the automatic transfer switch. I am pretty sure that counts as my first breaker and disconnect then and everything else is sub panels. I may still do that.

He never said anything about a disconnect. Just asked if there was one there and once I said no he only said I need the signage. There is a lever inside the meter box. I don't know if that is a disconnect or a bypass. Maybe they just go up clip the tag and do something there. Or we have above ground power so it is easy enough to cut power out on the pole. I don't see where a disconnect on the side of the house next to the meter would add anything in terms of conduit. Maybe a couple inches to go from the meter to the disconnect. Everything is buried in conduit anyhow. I don't think that would change.

As for signage. I am really not worried about the cost aspect of it. I am kind of shocked that the master electrician didn't know I needed the signage. The guy that is making the sign for me is a buddy. I am upgrading his computers to Win 10 and that is way more work than he will be doing for me to make two signs. I guess technically I passed my inspection. The inspection that failed would have been the one pulled by the electrician. He had two permits. One for the meter box and service upgrade. Then a second one for the panel install in the garage and feeder lines to the pole barn/shop and small detached garage. My permit was just internal electrical. Basically all the outlets and lights.

I did get the inspection report last night and this is what it said.

NEC 225.32, The disconnecting means shall be installed either inside or outside of the building
or structure served or where the conductors pass through the building or structure. The
disconnecting means shall be at a readily accessible location nearest the point of entrance of
the conductors.
This is within 6' of point of entry as they ran the connection from the meter box through conduit buried outside the house. It doesn't say anything about co-locating them. Just nearest point of entrance of the conductors.

NEC 225.37, Where a building has a combination of services, supplying it, a permanent plaque
shall be installed at each location.
This is the requirement for adding 1 of 2 and 2 of 2.

Garage addition (final)
(add 200 amp service with 16-circuits and re-feed 2 existing services to out-buildings)
Correct the noted deficiencies. Return a signed copy of the Inspection Report to the inspector
when the corrections are complete but no later than 14 days from the date of issuance unless
otherwise instructed by the inspector.
 

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Sounds like you have a 380 amp Meter Socket with manual bypass to save the meter contacts pulling it hot and reducing the amps flowing thru the meter socket. 1/2 the amps will flow thru the bypass but they double the meter KW Hours. Even pulling the meter you still have power till the manual bypass is also opened. I have the same Meter Base for my 400 amp service. A 400 amp rain tight disconnect would coat as much as your whole service did with all the parts plus! Looks like they are saying they want a main disconnect in or for the panel in the basement panel. If you have a panel that has 6 breakers to turn off the power you will need to add a Main Breaker cause the panel in the Garage counts as 1 of the 6 means to turn off all power. I would make them pick up the costs since you paid for a professional who should know those thing and never have done the job that way in the first place. Might bite you in the butt one day if you sell the place and it is inspected and they find this problem cause it is still a code violation even tho the guy is letting you slide the next one might not?
 

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Discussion Starter #229
Here is the old meter socket before the upgrade.



And the new one post upgrade.



It is something smaller like you said. 380A or whatever they do for 400A service I thought it was 320A? You can make out the red lever in there. Maybe it is a bypass I don't mess in that box because it is sealed anyhow.

What I wanted was a Siemens MC0816B1400RLTM

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Siemens-400-Amp-8-Space-16-Circuit-Combination-Meter-Socket-Load-Center-MC0816B1400RLTM/202276340

My cost on that is about $600. So, not that bad considering the Milbank Meter Socket that they installed had a my cost of about $320. While I would have had a few more breakers, it wasn't that big of a price difference.

Where the costs went through the roof was when I considered an automatic transfer switch. I am still considering this. A 400A ATS was a couple grand. The benefit with what I have now is that technically it passed inspection as long as I add the signs. It makes it easier for me to add a transfer switch later to do a standby generator the legal way. If I add that I would be scrapping that $600 Meter Load Center. This way I can keep the meter socket that they installed and add a disconnect if that is what they really want in the end and the transfer switch. That is still on the table in the next few years. We also have our NG meter right around the corner from the electrical meter so a stand by generator would work well in that same area. The bedrooms are also on the other end of the house so noise isn't an issue.
 

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Your right 320 amp been a while working off 25 years plus ago memory. I love that Home Depot 400 Amp Transfer Switch, Service Meter and panel all in one. Wish they had that when I did my service.


You could solve all the problems adding a 100 amp and 200 amp non fused disconnect (cheaper)on that Meter socket one on each side. You have the room and looks like the wires to the panels would make it to the 2 Disconnects with out splicing and just need to add the wires from the top lugs to the meter socket lugs with out any splicing. Make the 100 amp(looks like 100a to me?) feeding the house panel a Transfer switch for your generator and put a small Gentran one out of the Garage panel to pick up the circuits you also need powered up. This would cost a less then $600.00 and make your home up to code. In fact I would tell the contractor I want both my home panel disconnects on the Meter socket to meet code and the cost of the 2 disconnects I will pick up and you can pick up the cost of wiring them into the meter socket cause it will require splices to get the feed wires in to the disconnects and other hardware and labor. This would be fair I know if I had done that job and missed that I would pick up the extra cost as it was my screw up not yours!


PS: I always cut and re/connected the Service Drop from the pole and let the power company re/connect the wire again when the inspection was done. That way nobody went with out power in the process. It was a gray area to do this but I did it anyway for 13 years and never was called on it. Did short out a set of lines off a power pole once and boy did it make black smoke, noise and scare the crap out of the people in a pool next door watching me on the roof shaking the service drop to come apart. It was like a big ARC Welder going off with the hot wire touching the bare one. Never blew the fuse on the pole either? I cut the last wire and it sprung back and hit the neutral while I had the weight of the wires in my gloved hand. From then on I tied off the line and taped off the wire as I cut them holding each one till I did it. Living to learn or is that learning to live?
 

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Discussion Starter #231
Service to the house is 150A but you were close.

Only problem with that is if I could get away with just a standby generator for the house or would I want to also cover the garage? That is why I am thinking 400A transfer switch and a generator to support it.

For that though... :gizmo:

I get the argument on just doing the house. It isn't like I will be sitting around bored because the power is out and say hey I really wish I could fire up the welder. So do I need that much power in the garage which feeds the shop? Probably not. That said what if I have an electric vehicle or two. Well now the conversation changes a bit. I could in theory have an outlet added out in the garage that could charge an EV and solve that issue. The other issue is our lift pump for the septic is fed from the small garage which is fed from the new garage.

Standby generators are really there to run key things to get you by until service is restored. You can live without your computers and game systems. Some might even say one can live without TV or intenet. :dunno:

For us we have two freezers, two fridges, furnace would make the cut in the winter, though I can live without AC. Then there is the well and septic (lift pump). Of course lights are nice. Maybe an EV. I don't need Level 2 charging but Level 1 could be done (110V 15A). The problem is that some of these things are off the house panel and some are off the garage. So now I am in a situation where a 400A (well 300A or so) is needed for a transfer switch because I assume it would need to be able to take normal loads. Do you know if this would be considered a disconnect? There are breakers in there. I want to say a 400 would have two 200A breakers. Then there is the second feed for power supply. This would be the input from the generator. I don't think I would need to size the generator to be able to actually provide 400A. So I might be able to save a bit there. I still think that a transfer switch with nothing on the generator input for the time being would be a better option than messing with disconnects. End state is the same. A single point to cut all power.
 

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Discussion Starter #232
Kind of interesting timing on all this. I got a phone call from the power company a few minutes ago. So, I had a chance to have a discussion about a lot of this.

If you go way back to the beginning of the thread there is more discussion on this but I got into a interesting discussion with an engineer at the power company. He was a complete idiot and wouldn't listen to reason that his maps were wrong and that maybe he should come out on the ground and look up to see that the power lines don't run where he thinks they do...

Maybe he retired or something and a new engineer is taking all his old calls as I stopped talking to the original guy and told him to come out. The new guy was very pleasant to talk with and we discussed a lot of things. Now, I get it that utility power gets away with a lot of stuff that we can't inside the house. So I am taking some of this with a gain of salt.

We started with the ticket that we had open. He, went over us wanting to add a garage, in floor heat, heat pump and capacity to charge an EV. I said we should probably go over current state because it is going to cover some of the items we are talking about as things have changed.

Wanting to add a garage should be changed to, the garage is done. Had final inspection and the in floor heating has been fully operational for a month or so. So, the future tense on that is no longer the case. The heat pump and EV charging is still future state and wouldn't be added until later down the road. Say 3-4 year plan. Maybe sooner, maybe later or maybe never.

We then started going over the power for the house from the transformer and he said there isn't enough capacity on the transformer and we will need a new transformer. However with the new information I just provided that is really not the case. What we have today should be fine. I agreed that what we have today is likely fine we haven't added much to the use. A bunch of outlets that don't have anything plugged into them. Some lighting and a 15A circuit for the in-floor is probably the biggest change but not that much of a draw in terms of electricity because it is NG fired.

I mentioned that the meter socket has been upgraded but they put the 200A meter back in there which I knew was fine for now. He said he will schedule a meter tech to come out and swap it with a 400A meter (or is it 320A). I did say we just had final on Thursday again and that we needed a seal anyhow. He agreed and said we will be out.

Then he started talking about the transformer upgrade a bit more. He said that they can come out and swap it but it would be 100% at my cost because what I have is mainly a future need. However, once we have an EV and some of these other actual needs they will actually cover the cost of the upgraded transformer. Maybe not 100% of it but a big chunk of it and I should call back when we have the demand for it. That is fair, if I am not pulling that much power why would they replace it?

Then I questioned his analysis. I explained that I am not convinced that we need a transformer. He said we don't today. I said, I agree not now but also maybe not in the future. I told him how analysis was done on the load two summers ago and we didn't need one. Nothing has changed in the power use between my house and my neighbor. I then went on to explain that it wasn't an "issue" with the load on the current transformer until this summer and I spoke with a different engineer. He was basing everything off the maps and what it shows is hooked up where. I told him his maps were wrong and explaining how things are really connected. He insisted that his maps were right. This new guy admitted that their maps are often wrong and we went over what I know about who is hooked up to what. He agreed that something isn't right in their map system and he will come out to look at it. Based on what I was saying, which made sense to him, we are on a 25 (KVA maybe he didn't say what the unit of measure was) and not the 10 that he though we were on based on their information. If we are on the 25, which would make sense, then I am right and that we don't need to replace it even if we do add something big like an EV.

We also talked a bit about the disconnects. I did say I get that they operate under different rules but from an emergency situation like a fire or something would they actually disconnect by throwing the main breaker? He said no way. If there is an emergency they would walk up break the seal and pull the meter. There is only one meter to your entire property so everything is now dead. They are not going to walk all over a house in the basement looking for a panel and risk a life. Maybe if they are clearing a space but as I pointed out they would have to walk the entire length of the house to get to the panel. He also said they would pull the fuse from the transformer before they would do that since it is above ground next to the house. Again I know this is from their point of view and they don't follow all the rules we should.

In the end the biggest thing that was determined is that I finally got a new guy to listen to what I am explaining. He agreed that their maps are messed up. He scheduled a new meter to be installed and the seal to be replaced on the meter box. Got some good information that they will cover the costs of a transformer if there is a verified need. More great news.
 

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Discussion Starter #233
Another update from yesterday. I didn't take a photo but they put a cap on the railing for the steps. He finally picked up his scaffolding so I think he has all his stuff out of there.

More importantly the Building Inspector stopped out. We walked around for 10-15 min chatting. About half the time was about my X585 as it was in the garage and the Z950R which was out in another building. He asked about the openers and how I like them. I basically said the 2 that work are great, I think the garage doors guys don't have a lot of common sense and can't "figure out" the third one. I am about to say the heck with these guys and fix it myself. I keep telling them what they need to do but I am the "dumb customer" that doesn't have any mechanical common sense. I am thinking they have the roles reversed on that one...

Anyhow the inspector was impressed with the work. He gave the rail a tug and the hand hold a tug to show that he actually inspected something. Looked at the heating system then asked if he looked at it before. I said he had and the only think that has changed since he was last out is that it is actually powered up and running now. He did ask how much it costs to heat but I explained I didn't know yet as we haven't gotten the first bill since turning it on. I went on to explain that this first bill should be a worst case situation because we didn't have seals on the garage doors and they were open an lot with quite a bit of work going on. Not to mention we were keeping it in the 60s for the mud and later paint to dry. So the boiler was working overtime. I mentioned how back then the floor was actually hot to work on. If I was out there for a few hours, my feet would be sweating. Now that it is sealed up the floor doesn't feel as hot.

In the end he said good to go and signed off. So we are complete as far as the city is concerned. We still have the apron work. I asked if he needs to come back out for that and he said no. We will see him in the spring for some sign offs on siding with the company doing the hail damage work.

As we were walking out I noticed an Xcel Energy truck in the driveway. They upgraded my meter to the one that does 400A (320A or whatever). I walked around. Interesting to see a meter with 1 KWH on the clock.

 

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Our Electric Bill is $480.00+ in the winter and around $285.00 a month in the summer. The Big Shop of my Daughters uses a heat pump for the 3,000 sq ft fed by a 30 amp and 2 - 20 amp circuits for a couple small ones. Our home is wood heat but our big load is Stock tank heaters and 12+ freezers, 2 water heaters and a well pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #235
Where we are at we get a combined gas and electric bill as it is both from the same utility company. When we first moved in we were seeing utility bills in the winter of $800-1000. We have done a lot of work with better insulating things and changing out the tank water heater to tankless and reducing the heat out in the pole barn.

Our last few bills looked like this. Again this is combined.

Sept 2018 $282 Sept 2019 $231
Oct 2018 $245 Oct 2019 $213
Nov 2018 $319 Nov 2019 $280

I was digging around on the website to see how much gas I used in Nov and maybe this won't be so bad. I think we turned on the boiler late Oct so it ran all of Nov.

I think this graph showed therms used last year (line with dots) compared to this year (bars).

721024


They love showing me this one all the time that I think is kind of amusing. I didn't know I had so many neighbors that were Amish.

721025
 

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Discussion Starter #236
Oh one other thing I left out. Since Electric and Gas are on the same bill one area that will offset the cost of the garage heat is that when we demoed the porch (now mud room and laundry) we took out two electric baseboard heaters. That was how that space was heated so the electric use from that is now gone. We also got rid of a ton of windows that were very drafty as that room is now sandwiched between the house and new garage. We also replaced the remaining window and patio door. For now we don't have any active heat out there. We just leave the door open from the garage and it stays warm out there.
 
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