Thermostatic Mixing Valve, or a coupla' check valves and a ball valve?

We have a oil-fired boiler that generates both the hot water and the heat for the house. My wife is opening a daycare, and per state regulations, we need to have the hot water at the tap be 120 degrees or less. While I'm sure it's possible to regulate the temp of the entire system, I can see problems with simply turning the whole thing down. (e.g. 20 below zero nights)
So, I'm thinking there must be some kind of valve that does this sorta thing automagically. Turns out, I'm right - I did a little research, and lo and behold, I found "Thermostatic Mixing Valves". The perfect thing for my application!
Then, I saw the price - they're pretty dear! The cheapest I could find was right around $100, which seems exorbitant for what it is. Which got me to thinking - why can't I simply throw in a couple of check valves, and a ball valve that controls how much cold gets mixed with the hot? The sum total of the parts would be about 20 bucks. What am I missing here?
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wrote:

The reaction of your insurance company when your makeshift fails, a kid gets scalded and you get your collective asses sued?
--
Life. Nature\'s way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who

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With a $20 valve, me just might.
With a higher quality valve there just should no be a problem. They tend to be "fail safe."

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You're missing several things. The boiler temp is going to fluctuate. If you set it low, people will complain about not enough hot water. If you set it high enough, there's a chance of a little kid getting burnt, and you getting sued. For a licensed day care, they probably have to be inspected, and that should be one of the things they check. Don't try to be cheap. There's a reason for those industrial type tempering valves.

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The price is not bad for quality and constant temp, if water temp is much higher temp now you will save alot in oil. I dont even heat water to 120 , only 105 or so.
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Dang! And here I was hoping to get away cheap... Thanks for the advice!
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Yeah, don't worry. It is only little kids. Their skin will grow back in a few years.
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I am sure that the parents of the children that they are leaving in your care would love to know this.
One day, somewhere, some kids gonna get scalded due to some cheap assholes failure to do what was right to maintain a business (if you can call a daycare out of ones home a legitimate business) and this old post of yours will be drug up for an example of why those of us with half a mind wont use a home based daycare.
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Yeah, because home is nowhere near safe enough for children...
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Very true...but at the same time, it makes one wonder, if hes not willing to take the proper precautions now....
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I am taking the proper precautions. I did not understand all of the issues at hand. Which is why I posted here - I asked a question to a group that knows more than I do, and got the information I needed. And a hearty helping of abuse and commentary, which is always helpful.
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I think they'd love to know that I'm actually taking precautions so that their kids don't get hurt.

I asked, I got advice, and will be installing a thermostatic valve. The price struck me as high, but I didn't understand why. Now I do. How, pray tell, does this make me a cheap asshole? How does asking for advice from people who know better, and then taking it, make me a cheap asshole? Explain that to me?

How is that not a "legitimate business"? We pay taxes on the income, are regulated by the state, pay an accountant to do the books, we've got a website, business cards and paperwork, we've even got a fucking sign out front. Because we didn't pay a sign shop for the sign and a printer for the business cards, we're illegitimate? Because some large corporation doesn't dole out our paychecks? Because we actually care about doing it right, and aren't just in this for the money? Bill Gates started out of his garage, peckerhead. We've all gotta start somewhere.

Did you even read my post? I'm taking the advice. I said I was _HOPING_ to get away cheap. Turns out I can't. Reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, apparently.

Right... Because a concientious individual couldn't possibly take better care of your kids than a business that pays their employees sweatshop labor rates and has higher turnover rate than the fast food industry. And because they live in the space that they work in, it's almost certainly going to be filthy and dangerous, right? And because we'll be feeding somebody elses kids along with our own, we're only going to feed them the cheapest, nastiest grade ZZZ crap we can find, instead of healthy food.
You sir, are a thoughtless asshole that knows not of what he speaks. You might know something about HVAC stuff, but childcare, on the other hand...
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Wife here... less angry than the husband with your ahole reply.
Yes I think they would love to know that we are frugal with our expenses and are not planning on going out of business any time soon. And that he took adequate care to find out what people who know would say. We live in a rural community. Plenty of people around here appreciate what can be done with ingenuity. You see tractors repaired with zip ties and duct tape all the time. Certainly we are not going to do anything unsafe.

Unlikely since we have no plan to put any children at risk of scalding. Many people chose not to use home based daycare for concerns similar to yours. Of course, they don't choose to live in rural towns and plan on having their children attend the local school, since there is no daycare center here. There are certainly home based daycares I would never send my children to. And then there are terrific ones. I support your right to choose whatever daycare makes you feel most comfortable that your children are safely cared for in an engaging, loving environment.
There are some benefits to either choice. The primary benefit to a home daycare is continuity of care with the same provider. In a center, children are cared for by ever changing people, whether due to staff turn over or moving from one age group to the next. Usually the caregives stay with the age group or "room" and the children move on. In a home, the provider remains the same as the children grow, providing the opportunity to really get to know each other and feel safe and comfortable.
Anyway I felt like giving my point of view. Ciao.
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How about one of these?
http://www.kingsolar.com/catalog/mfg/watts/4a818.html (1/2 inch) http://www.kingsolar.com/catalog/mfg/watts/70a.html (3/4 inch)
Further googling for "tempering valve" will probably get you even better prices.
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I think a "tempering valve" may be inadequate for the task, although I don't know the terminology very well. The specifications sheet of the Watts 70a (the second option above) says:
WATTS HOT WATER EXTENDER TEMPERING VALVES CANNOT BE USED FOR TEMPERING WATER TEMPERATURE AT FIXTURES. SEVERE BODILY INJURY (i.e., SCALDING OR CHILLING) AND/OR DEATH MAY RESULT DEPENDING UPON SYSTEM WATER PRESSURE CHANGES AND/OR SUPPLY WATER TEMPERATURE CHANGES. A.S.S.E. STANDARD 1016 LISTED DEVICES SUCH AS WATTS MODELS L111 OR MMV SHOULD BE USED AT FIXTURES TO PREVENT POSSIBLE INJURY. The WATTS hot water tempering valves are designed to be installed at or near the boiler or hot water heater. They are not designed to compensate for system pressure and/or temperature fluctuations and should not be used where devices tested to A.S.S.E. standard 1016 are required. These WATTS valves should never be used to provide "anti-scald" or "anti-chill" service.
Cheers, Wayne
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I think tempering valve is the correct term, but he should be looking at something made for institutional use, which have a much quicker reaction time than the Watts 70 series.
wrote:

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Remember all the times you have been taking a shower and someone turned on the water in the kitchen sink or flushed the toilet?
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In our area a thermostatic mixing valve is REQUIRED for nursing home and child care facilities. Nothing else will do. Having installed and serviced such valves for larger facilities, $100.00 does seem CHEAP. You should see what a 2" valve costs! Thou$ands of dollars! And they have to be tested regularly too!
Stretch
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Any idea what kind of lifespan these things have?
On the other hand, would I be better off simply turning down the boiler? Can this even be done? Or would I be better off simply installing a water heater?
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there is a 24 volt thermostat operated 75 gallon gas hot water tank with no pilot light in the new johnstone supply flyer this month.
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