Things to Consider
Consider the smaller circulator. Same story here. Bigger isn’t better when it comes to circulators. Bigger usually means velocity noise because in North America we have yet to fully recognize the beauty of differential-pressure regulators. We also zone like mad and then convince ourselves that there will be a day when the customer will need every zone, and all the domestic hot water, and all at the same time. You ever see that happen in real life?
Consider the other guy’s self-interest. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. So stop focusing on what you need when you’re talking with your customers and suppliers. Think only of them, and focus on benefits rather than features when you speak to them about your products and services. Tell people what you bring to the table, and tell it in such a way that they come to understand and appreciate your value to them. If you don’t continually let them know what it is you do for them, and all in their self-interest, they will soon begin to wonder why they need you at all.
Consider the other person’s point of view. Learn to listen. This is a tough one because most people would much rather talk. I had a contractor on the phone the other day. He called to tell me about a problem he was having with an old steam system. He described the problem and asked me what could be the cause. I stated to tell him, but he cut me off and described the problem again. I heard him out, and then I tried again to give him the probable cause. He cut me off and went right back into the same speech. I finally gave up and just listened as he convinced himself that this problem had no solution. The guy just liked to hear himself talk. Don’t be like that.
Consider the steam pressure. When given a choice, always crank down the pressure on a steam heating system. We have pressuretrols and screwdrivers, and the urge to crank up the pressure is irresistible in most heating professionals born after 1950. Crank it down instead. When they do, the chances are great that the system will suddenly do what it’s supposed to do. And you’ll look brilliant.
Consider the pH of the steam boiler water. The Dead Men used to pour vinegar into steam boilers to lessen the effects of foaming. Foaming is what happens when the pH of the boiler water gets too high. You see foaming happen in hot tubs. That white foam on the surface is there because the management keeps the pH of the hot tub high by adding chemicals to the water. They do this because many folks like to relieve themselves while soaking in the hot tub. Nice thought isn’t it? Contractors add chemicals to steam boilers to nudge the water’s pH higher to prevent corrosion, but when the pH reaches 11, the water will foam. That will cause the water in the boiler to carry-over with the steam, and that’s not good. So have them check the pH.
Consider the difference between an air problem and a balancing problem. If you bleed a radiator and you don’t get any air, it ain’t an air problem. Stop bleeding because if you persists, you will make the radiator hot, and that will convince you that it was indeed an air problem. Hydronics is funny that way. And nowadays, with all these wonderful microbubble-reabsorber air separators, you just might start believing that even though you can’t see the air in the water, it’s actually there – but totally invisible. Make sense? Not to me either. Trust me, this is usually a balancing problem. The water’s not flowing where it should. Until you start bleeding, that is. Then you're draining the system through the radiator. That’s why it gets hot. But unless you're prepared to move into the house and bleed that radiator for the rest of your life, you should install some balancing valves.
Consider the old stuff as well as the new. I love the New Hydronics as much as the next person, but we live in a country where there’s a lot of vintage heating equipment. And it’s going to be there for a long time, so you might as well learn about it. There’s a tremendous opportunity for heating professionals who understand the old stuff as well as the new. Not every homeowner can afford to rip out that old system and install new stuff. A lot of contractors take that position, though. They tell the homeowner that that old steam- or hot-water system can’t possibly work. You know why these contractors do this? Because they don’t want to take the time to learn about the old stuff. They’re not thinking in terms of the customer’s self-interest. A true heating professional understands the old as well as the new.
Consider that you probably don’t know it all. Who does? One of the marks of maturity is when you’re willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers. That’s when you start asking the right questions. And that’s when your education begins to blossom. Visit the Wall here on this site. I learn something new there every day.
Consider sharing your knowledge with someone else. I think you’re far more important than I am. The reader is always more important than the writer. I already know what I know, but if I don’t pass on what I know, it dies with me. We’re here to share knowledge. Please consider that too.