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  1. John in herndon

    Kitchen GFCI Problem

    There are valid reasons to use 2 GFCI outlets with one downstream from the other, BUT you need to daisy chain the second one from the LINE side so that each outlet is protected by its own GFCI and tripping the firs does not disable the second. I had a situation where there were 3 outlets in a...
  2. John in herndon

    Reliability of T-5 fluorescent tubes using electronic ballests

    I have a 3 lamp fixture which used T-5 (the thin ones) tubes in a ceiling fixture. It has been very unreliable. I had the first on for 6 months and the lamps started to fail. Sometimes it would light 1 tube, or 2 and sometimes all 3 would light and 1 or 2 would go out after 30 minutes or an...
  3. John in herndon

    Trying to rig a variac switch to slowing raise the voltage on an old tube amp

    Using a Variac® to gradually raise the voltage in a tube amp I used to be in the audio repair business and used this technique all the time on both tube and solid state amps. It prevents doing a lot of damage if you didn't find all the blown components. That said, you have to use a...
  4. John in herndon

    Video Baluns for CAT 5 or 6 Cable

    The work BALUN is an acronym for BAlanced-UNbalanced. it is a transformer that matches an unbalanced line (COAX) to a balanced line (Twisted pair.) You will probably need a second BALUN at the other end to revert to COAX. The wire gauge is not a big deal, capacitance is a big deal because it...
  5. John in herndon

    bathroom clog - sink refilling w/ water. AC is connected

    If the AC Condensate is filling the lav from above, it stands to season that the clog is below the tee from the stack to the lav. Possibly you can snake down from the top, where the AC is going in to reach it. John
  6. John in herndon

    Question about sink drain

    I know that plumbers putty is normally used to set the drain basket in place. My question is why is RTV (Silicone) not used in this application? Thanks
  7. John in herndon

    New GE Heat pump based HWH, something for nothing?

    That was the whole point of my post -- heat pumps Transfer heat from one place to another and in this case they are taking heat generated by the home heating system. Frankly, a tankless coil on the furnace would probably be more efficient because, in any case, in winter, you are heating the...
  8. John in herndon

    New GE Heat pump based HWH, something for nothing?

    As I am sure everyone is aware, GE has announced a new HWH based on a heat pump design claiming 2 or 3X the efficiency of a resistance based heater. So far so good, EXCEPT for the fact that the unit is sucking the heat out of the ambient air. While this might be fine if the heater is in a...
  9. John in herndon

    Heat pump cold weather operation

    Hello all, Heavy snow has come to the Washington area and my heat pump is icing up heavily. My question; should I set the system to use the Aux electric heat exclusively for the duration of the storm or can I allow the compressor to continue running even though the coils are heavily iced up...
  10. John in herndon

    Indirect domestic HW from heating boiler

    My cousin is installing a new boiler (high efficiency) in his house and will need to change out his old HW tank heater at the same time. The fuel is natural gas. I suggested that he use an indirect heater (such an an Amtrol) for the domestic HW. Any downside to this approach? The boiler...
  11. John in herndon

    Furnace sizing and duct work

    Get a HVAC engineer ASAP Unfortunately such disasters are common. You really need a HVAC consulting engineer who can run the numbers. Some years ago I built a multi level house with the lower bedroom level on slab. The heating contractor (by his own admission a "tin knocker") installed 2...
  12. John in herndon

    short cycling

    Heating short cycling To expand Jimbo's reply to heating, the same principle applies. If the heater is oversized it will overshoot the thermostat because the blower turnoff is normally controlled by the plenum sensor. In a normal installation you account for this by the anticipator setting...
  13. John in herndon

    Propane piping

    Since there is no gas piping forum, I hope this one is OK. I know that natural gas is normally piped with Black Iron pipe (not sure why). Is it permissible to use soft copper tube to pipe Propane for a gas cooktop? Thanks
  14. John in herndon

    Outlet replacement in Old Work

    I have a situation in an old house where some ungrounded outlets have worn out and need to be replaced. Running a ground or new feed wire is not an option. What is the protocol here? Are old style 2 blade outlets still available for replacement purposes. I suspect that installing a 3 prong...
  15. John in herndon

    Friction loss - how important is it? Please help!

    You do not have a trivial problem here. I once built a house which required a complex hot air heating system. The general hired a self discribed "tin knocker" to spec and install the system and it was a disaster. After spending countless hours attempting to patch and balance the system I called...
  16. John in herndon

    Standing pilot to electronic ignition

    Electronic ignition for boiler I know that this is a controversial reply, but consider that many gas boilers with millivolt controls will operate in the absence of utility power. That means that it can maintain boiler temperature in the event of a power failure. Manually opening the zone valves...
  17. John in herndon

    Very odd toilet identification question

    Antoher look Thanks to all who weighed in. Looking at the thing again, (it dates to ca 1903) it looks like the oval in back is indeed an air vent (could be useful for some visitors to my house!). That supply pipe looks pretty hefty, what if that "beer can holder" housed some type of early...
  18. John in herndon

    Very odd toilet identification question

    I was recently in a museum in Toronto Canada (a mansion, actually) and ran across the toilet shown in the picture. My question is, can anyone ID it? Look at the various odd fittings, what are the functions? Thanks, John Freitag
  19. John in herndon

    Self-vented electric dryer

    I have actually seen one of these (not in the USA,I might add). It uses a refirgeration system (like a dehumidifier) to remove water from the air. It puts a TREMENDOUS amount of heat into the room, as you might imagine. It also takes forever to dry a load and you must empty a collection tank...
  20. John in herndon

    When submersible pump runs my house is noisy

    Noisy pump Man years ago I had a submersible pump located about 100 feet from the house. It was really noisy, to the point that it nearly drowned out conversation when it started. I tried everything I could think of: 1. Mounted the tank on a rubber mat --- no help 2. Installed a fancy...
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