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Jamie Hall

Jamie Hall

Joined on September 16, 2002

Last Post on July 31, 2014

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Which is why

@ July 31, 2014 9:44 PM in Drop Header???

I suggested that welded steel just might be the way to go.  In places where you need to be able to disconnect piping, or need to allow a little give in the assembly -- like hooking up to the existing steam mains -- I'd use flanges welded onto the pipes.

Assuming your EDR numbers are correct

@ July 31, 2014 9:42 PM in Oil to Gas Conversion

and, as vaporvac notes, you are not planning to add radiation in the future, the IN5 is the one to go with.  One of the things you want to avoid with steam is getting the boiler oversized.  It doesn't help any in getting more heat, and will cost you money not only in the boiler itself, but it won't run as efficiently.

Match your boiler to your radiation.

At least the man

@ July 31, 2014 4:30 PM in Drop Header???

used both tappings on the boiler... give him credit for that, perhaps.

A drop header will give you much dryer steam.  It may also be a little easier to pipe in, all things considered.  Yes, I would use 5 inch for the connection from the drop header to the existing system, and I would use 5 inch for the header itself.  The risers and the pipes coming over and back down to the header can be whatever size Weil McClain recommends for that boiler (yes, I could look it up, but...).  You would connect the two risers to the header, near each other -- say 10 inches apart to 20 , then 10 to 20  inches further along connect a line going and over to the system connection (you might put a king valve in that; there is something to be said for being able to shut off the system and confine the steam to the boiler and near boiler piping from time to time -- but 5 inch valves were not cheap, last I looked).  Then, finally, make your connection down as the equalizer.

Do it in threaded black iron, or welded steel, please.  Not copper!

Well now...

@ July 27, 2014 2:05 PM in Builing an addition

forced air is not more efficient than hot water.  In fact, a properly installed and controlled hot water system is the most efficient way to heat your home.  Furthermore, it's a lot more comfortable than forced air.

So -- I would recommend that you replace the old boiler with one properly sized to fit your home, including the new radiation (consider baseboards or even radiant floors in parts of the new second floor), with proper controls (including outdoor reset) and zoning.

For cooling you probably should replace the old central air; you could use another unit, or mini-splits, in the new upstairs.

didn't know that, Joe

@ July 26, 2014 9:18 PM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

I thought they were a little better than that.  Charles tells me that Cedric, my nice Carlin fired oil burning Weil-McClain, manages about 85 after he's finished playing with it, so I figured a gas unit would do as well...

A properly tuned

@ July 26, 2014 7:28 PM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

gas boiler, whether powered or not, should be able to achieve 85% efficiency.  So that is not a consideration.

What is far more important is that the boiler be sized to match the radiation, which your contractors appear to have done.  An oversized boiler will be nothing but trouble.  Don't do it.

ice is right

@ July 25, 2014 3:35 PM in handling power outages on a well

as usual...

A few other comments, though.

The main one is that your available volume in a power failure will be the effective volume in the pressure tank -- that is to say the air volume between the high and low switch pressures.  In your storage tank, that would be exactly zero since you have no air in there!  That is if you are depending on air pressure.  However, you could have an elevated vented tank, and depend on gravity instead.  If you did that you would have the total volume of the tank available.  Can you place the tank in your attic?  That would give you enough pressure for most fixtures.  You would need to isolate the tank under normal conditions as the attic placement would only give you about 10 psi.

Buried returns

@ July 24, 2014 4:29 PM in Steam boiler loses water when off.

are surely one place to look.  Could also be a leak between sections or even a rusted out place so yes, inside the boiler is a possibility!

Venting valve?

@ July 20, 2014 7:58 PM in Use two-pipe radiator in one-pipe system?

I presume you mean a valve on the outlet?  Or a trap?

Yes, you can plug the outlet.  You will, however, have to put a regular one pipe radiator steam vent on the thing -- usually about two thirds of the way up on the end opposite the inlet.  There may be a boss cast into the radiator already for it which you can drill out and tap.

Thunder Bay?

@ July 14, 2014 5:08 PM in boiler or forced air - need advice

and a Beaver pilot?  Glad to meet you!

A word to Tony: he isn't just kidding: Thunder Bay can get a bit chilly.  40 to 50 below (Fahrenheit or Celsius, take your pick) is by no means unheard of.  And the last time I was there, it was a bit breezy, as well...

I wouldn't go with a heat pump as my primary heat source in that climate, unless it was a geothermal type with a really good, deep water supply (frost can get to two metres plus).

Snowmelt's approach sounds pretty decent to me...

I don't remember a subforum

@ July 13, 2014 11:35 AM in am i hallucinating or did there used to be a subforum for forced-air furnaces

for scorched air, but I could well have missed it...

On your particular question -- raising your fan speed should increase the flow velocity and cfm.  Should.  Squirrel cage blowers can be, well, a bit squirrely.  But it shouldn't hurt anything, and is worth a try.  It will also increase the load on the motor, though, so if you try it you will want to check the running amps on the motor to make sure you're not overloading it.

Whether it will solve the cold air distribution problems or not...

If that nice guy

@ July 8, 2014 8:31 PM in Can I add hydronic furnace to steam system with IWH?

from Western Mass is who I think he might be, a) he is one of the very best in the business and b) I wouldn't worry about the two hour drive.  Again, if it's who I think it is, he and I have a very workable solution to that particular problem: he does all my normal service, yearly -- but I also have a service contract with my oil dealer, and if things go wrong in the middle of the night in a blizzard at 20 below, I call them.  Then I can call him at his and my convenience to fix the fix the oil dealer service guys fixed...

There are several

@ July 8, 2014 3:05 PM in Can I add hydronic furnace to steam system with IWH?

really good folks who service your area -- use "Find a Contractor" and search by state.  Don't be put off by distance -- the ones I know will pretty well cover the whole state, including your area.

As to what to do and who does what -- any of the good steam guys you find above can do the whole show for you.  No need to split the work up.

True enough, Hot Rod

@ July 5, 2014 9:03 PM in True RMS

and thank you.  I was mired in the sine waves of the twentieth century!

It makes a certain amount of sense but...

@ July 5, 2014 8:57 PM in Mixing valve and check valves

it could also be the mixing valve trying to backflow.  It's happened.

On whether it's required.  I don't know what code you are working with, but the code which I used to work with and enforce, when I did such things, required a reduced pressure zone backflow preventer between any domestic supply and an irrigation system.  Further, if the doggy wash does not have an air gap from the fill, or if there is a hose and spray attachement, it would require an RPZ on both the hot and cold lines.

Even if it isn't code where you are, in my humble opinion it's a very very good idea.  A check valve does NOT qualify as adequate protection.

Much as I dislike regulation...

@ July 4, 2014 7:43 PM in stupidity

OSHA has some regs. on working in hot conditions.  Mostly it's common sense (which seems to be anything but, as your tale shows) -- plenty of water.  Maybe electrolytes, but I go easy on those.  And most of all limited time in hot environments; OSHA has tables for that, and the amount of rest required between.  The .pdf from this link is useful:

You did the right things!  Your boss?  Not so much so.

True RMS

@ July 3, 2014 2:20 PM in True RMS

should be a measure of the average voltage or current, over time (usually a very short time -- one cycle!), being measured -- as opposed to peak voltage, which would be the highest voltage.  It's really only of concern with alternating current or rectified alternating current without capacitors, filters, chokes and sundry other bits used to smooth out the voltage or current.  In alternating current, for example, the true average voltage or current is zero -- since half the time it's positive and half negative.  Not a very useful result...

Do you need it to troubleshoot HVAC equipment?  I doubt it, so long as you meter has some way to measure AC at all (and I've yet to see a multimeter which didn't).

It's actually not all that simple to build a circuit which will measure true RMS.


@ July 1, 2014 5:44 PM in Moving a radiator to put floor down

that you are planning to disconnect them, your best bet is a heavy duty furniture dolly.  They have casters on all four corners, and you would raise the radiator up, balance on the dolly -- they're pretty good size, so that's not hard, wheel it out of the way, then bring it back.

Rinse and repeat.

That said... that floating floor is going to raise the radiators.  Be sure and check to see that they can, in fact, be reconnected without too much trouble, and that the pipe pitches will still be OK.

The proposed solution

@ June 30, 2014 9:30 PM in Two pipe: concerned about one radiator

may -- or may not -- work.

In fact, the whole radiator may not work as well as it should -- I would expect the trap to close way too soon.

However, leaving that be, if you are getting hammer on it -- even rather mild hammer -- I would check the size and pitch of the runout from the main to that radiator.  If it is sized and pitched as though it were one pipe steam, rather than two pipe, then condensate will have a chance to get back down that feed to the main, and thence back to the boiler.  Not the ideal solution, but it should work.

MTBF figures

@ June 29, 2014 12:23 PM in need electrical help

would be interesting.  I've never seen any...

My preference for 120 volt safeties isn't based on that, though, but on a desire to kill the mains power feed to the unit if a safety trips -- as distinguished from a true control, such as a thermostat.

As to the durability of the switches.  As someone further up the thread noted, it is more difficult to make a reliable low voltage dry contact than it is to make a high voltage one, simply because for a given contact resistance the low voltage circuit if more affected.  Which is not to say it can't be done -- there are millivolt switches which can withstand a million cycles.  They will cost a little more, however (until you get up to even higher voltages -- 660 and up -- where you need auxiliary contacts and arc suppressors and things begin to get actually interesting).

Bottom line on that -- if you can't find a mercury switched thermostat, vapourstat or whatever, you're stuck with the dry contacts and you're pretty much at the mercy of the bean counters at the manufacturers!

Leave all the factory wired

@ June 29, 2014 11:33 AM in need electrical help

24 volt stuff alone.  As has been noted, warranty issues.  However, that doesn't prevent you from putting anything you want into the 120 volt feed to the unit from the switch box!  So... you have your regular cutoff switch somewhere, then in series to your new second LWCO, then in series to the second pressuretrol, power the automatic water feeder off all that if you like, then -- finally! -- to the power input to the boiler.

I'm paranoid

@ June 27, 2014 10:03 PM in need electrical help

and I don't want any chance of something turning a system on which a safety has turned off.  I want power removed from that puppy until I find out what's wrong.
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