Quick Trip

My sister told us that her son in law took a couple of extra flights and returned immediately to keep his flight status for another year. That made me realize that I also had just a few miles to reach the next level of membership in Delta’s Skymiles program.
I reseached flights that would not take long but would earn enough miles to qualify. In the meantime my cousin’s husband had a question about his new boiler thermostat. His boiler needed a switch instead of a typical 24 volt signal to turn on. I had never heard of this so I downloaded his installation instructions and did some research. He talked to the vendor and they told him a model of thermostat and 24 volt converter he could purchase but the combination was quite expensive and he wanted a WiFi thermostat so he could monitor the system while they were in Florida in winter months.
My cousin off handedly suggested I come and help and I said seriously I would love to! So I made a reservation for a first class seat to boost my miles and flew to Chicago just days after returning from California. They picked me up at the airport and we stopped at a favorite Polish restaurant that serves huge portions of dumplings and ethnic dishes. We took enough home for two more meals. Yum.
I had ordered a basic Nest thermostat at a pre-Christmas price and brought it out as a Christmas present. We enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table and setting up the thermostat to communicate with their WiFi. No small task because the technician who set it up changed the name of the modem to the old system keeping the old password which of course nobody had written down. The tag on the modem was incorrect. I thought it meant completely resetting the modem and the 20 items on the network. But they called their provider and they had the password. So we were saved. The old password was affixed to a label on the modem so it would not happen again.
Once we had the thermostat on the network we figured out which wires would act as just a switch. The instructions were not clear about this but we knew that humidifiers and other accessory equipment did not take a 24 volt signal.
Then we headed downstairs for the install. When the house was built about 15 years ago my cousin’s smart husband had the basement floor laid with pex for an eventual hot water system. He also laid pipe in the garage and had already installed a hot water system there making it comfortable to work in the garage in the winter. He snagged a great deal on a Rinnai M series 060S. He also found the piping for the close spaced tees as a unit for $100. And he had several zones on a couple of beautiful distribution manifolds.

System with manifolds, primary loop, and mechanical thermostats
System with manifolds, primary loop, and mechanical thermostat

I researched the difference between dry contacts and a typical boiler signal. And how the nest might be configured to work with the system.

Typical HVAC thermostat install
Typical HVAC thermostat install
Nest control for plain switch-dry contacts.
Nest control for plain switch-dry contacts.

Luckily the Nest had wiring for the dry contacts. It needed an inexpensive transformer to provide stepped down power to the thermostat. It was easy to find one because there are so many now that need a “C” or power wire to operate and older houses are not typical wired with power. I had to rewire all our thermostats when we did the remodel.

Nest installed and working. Removing old thermometer.
Nest installed and working. Removing old thermometer.

This old thermometer from the 50’s was inaccurate because the glass bulb had slipped down below the indicating marks. So it will get fixed. My cousins keep everything and reuse older things. It’s really nostalgic to visit their home.
I was only there two nights and the second night we were able to have a Christmas toast and dessert with my brother in his new downsized home in a 55+ community. It was such a fun short visit!

Group selfie at my brother’s new house
Group selfie at my brother’s new house
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