Security Seal Facebook Twitter GooglePlus Pinterest Newsletter Sign-up
The Wall
Jamie Hall

Jamie Hall

Joined on September 16, 2002

Last Post on July 24, 2014

Contact User

Recent Posts

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 148 »

90 amps?

@ May 4, 2014 4:42 PM in Wiring size controversy

My friend,, you are no longer playing with marbles.

First, double check the nameplate amperage draw.  Then check to see if there are, in fact, any built in breakers on the unit.  Assuming that it all adds up to 90 amps...

Now.  You will need a separate, fused or breakered disconnect on you main switchboard to handle this thing.  It will have three poles on the breaker, or three fuses.  If it has fuses, it will also have a disconnect switch (three poles).  You  may be able to find a 90 amp disconnect, but I'm going to bet you're going to find a 100 amp unit.  That will work -- if there is a breaker in the unit itself.  If not, and it says 90 amps, it means 90 amps, and you'll have to find that.

The wires from the unit to the disconnect will be No. 2 copper.

If there is a separate neutral terminal on the unit -- there may well be -- it will need a separate No. 2 wire in addition to the three phase wires.  This will go to the disconnect, but does NOT, repeat NOT, have a switch, fuse, or breaker on it of any kind.

Did the water

@ May 3, 2014 7:33 PM in Pilot lit but burners not igniting

get high enough to get into any of the electrics -- including any valves?  If so, you need to have a competent tech. come and replace -- not dry out, replace -- anything and everything in the valves and controls that got damp -- just damp even, not even under water.  No options.

At least that's my take...

Can you manage

@ May 2, 2014 7:40 PM in Plugging steam radiator air vent - apartment way too hot

to rotate the vent half a turn so that it points down instead of up?  That will usually shut the thing off...

Course you don't want to break it...

me too

@ May 1, 2014 9:44 PM in W-M SGO-3 to gas conversion

I want one...

To get back

@ April 30, 2014 4:54 PM in Replacing Oversized Rad with smaller - piping question

to the original question -- the only thing you have to worry about at all with regard to the piping is to make sure that the pipe is big enough and that it slopes enough.  A bigger pipe doesn't have to slope quite so steeply, so there might be something to be said with staying with a bigger pipe -- but there are a lot of possibilities there.  Anyway, there's no problem with a bigger pipe than is needed (well, within reason!).  Just make sure of the pitch...


@ April 29, 2014 8:33 PM in changing chimney vent to thru wall vent

removing a chimney has never been something which I would recommend.  Being a rather solid and substantial piece of the house.  However...

There may be a way to configure the EG series for power wall venting.  It is not, however, found in the EG series installation manual, so it is likely something which Weil-McClain would be at the very least unhappy with.

To which I might add that the water heater needs to vent someplace, too...

Huffing and puffing

@ April 29, 2014 4:49 PM in new radiator vents are puffing

and the big bad wolf... and sloshing... and banging... to me points to water being trapped in a main somewhere, most likely on the way to these two radiators (but not necessarily; steam can be strange that way!).

Check the pitch on every single more or less horizontal piece of pipe -- not just end to end, but all along the pipe.  Sags are bad news... but usually fixable without too much hassle.  Just plain bad pitch may be a bit more of a hassle, but also is usually fixable.

It would be very wise

@ April 29, 2014 8:56 AM in Vaporstat meltdown

to find the root cause of this problem.  A vapourstat -- or pressuretrol -- is very very simply a microswitch with two wires attached to it.  There is no way that the vapourstat itself can "short" the electrical system of anything else.  It can fail closed (always on) or fail open (never on).

There's a wiring problem here.  If by shorting the electrical system of a gas gun or LWCO you mean that they somehow got zapped with 120 when they should have been seeing 24, for example, that's not the microswitch -- that's in the wiring.

The wiring could also short to ground somewhere -- but that really shouldn't damage anything else.  Blow a fuse, maybe...


@ April 27, 2014 9:41 PM in Boiler flow

throttling is certainly one way of increasing your delta T.  Not the best way, perhaps -- a different pump might be better -- but it will work.


Don't use a gate valve for throttling!  They are meant to be either open or closed, and operating partly closed doesn't do them any favours.  You could use a globe valve instead -- although the head loss might be too high -- or a plug or ball valve.


@ April 27, 2014 2:48 PM in Sizing ancient boilers

that should give you the gross input of the boilers -- only I'd let them run for five or ten minutes, rather than one, to reduce the error in clocking the meter.  But that's just me.

You may be able to get an approximation as to their efficiency by the usual measuring the stack gas approach (and might as well check the adjustment while you're at it!), which will help getting at least in the ballpark on net output.


@ April 25, 2014 7:38 PM in Need advice/ help for new heating system

is actually Frank Wilsey, and he runs a company called "All Steamed Up", in Baltimore.  For some reason or other he isn't in the Find a Contractor section.  However, you can contact him through the Wall's e-mail forwarding service.  The easiest way to do that is to look for a thread in the "strictly steam" section which has a post by him (the thread "is my steam boiler way oversized" has at least one post by him) and click on his name which will bring up a handy dandy "contact user" button.

I love the story!

@ April 24, 2014 9:01 AM in mold and dizziness

These folks with their free inspections drive me nuts -- or I drive them nuts.  Every once in a while I tell one who seems to be a particular sucker to come by the ark of a place I care for and tell me how to upgrade it... it's always good for a laugh.

Plants, however, can surely be a problem -- they put a lot of moisture in the air, and can themselves harbour an interesting array of molds and fungi and what not.  Not to mention that there are some of them with rather powerful perfumes (stinks?) some of which I dislike intensely...

Mold can causer

@ April 24, 2014 7:46 AM in mold and dizziness

a lot of problems, for sure -- take a look at

for a list.  Dizziness, however, is not usually regarded as one of them -- although in the case of a severe sinus involvement, it could be (but you'd know about the sinus involvement for sure!).

However, I'm no doctor and don't even pretend to be -- your friend would be well advised to consult on the dizziness issue with an ear/nose/throat specialist or neurologist.  It could be harmless.  It could also be anything but...

Hoffman loop?

@ April 23, 2014 3:45 PM in Hoffman Loop Incorrect?

I honestly don't see a Hoffman [Differential] loop in the pictures... I do see a Hartford loop which is slightly idiosyncratic, but not in itself that bad...  although the horizontal bit of header could be a good bit higher without hurting anything.

There's no free lunch...

@ April 19, 2014 10:18 AM in Can Air Source Heat Pump Sit under the house?

Your basement stays at 55 or thereabouts mostly because that is the mean annual temperature; granted, the chimney base helps.

Now... if you install an air source heat pump in the basement, keep in mind that what a heat pump does is pump heat from one place to another (hence the name...).  In this case from your basement to the rest of the house.  This means that while you are heating the rest of the house, the basement will get colder.

I'm not saying that it's not feasible -- but I am suggesting that you might find that pretty early in the winter you got the basement down to freezing, which might not be all that desirable.

You'd be better thinking about a ground source heat pump, if you have the land and the proper soil conditions.


@ April 18, 2014 9:16 PM in Steam check valve hammering

Got to admit I'd have to call someone considerably brighter than I am on this one... sorry!  Where in New England are you?  Maybe one of the guys under Find a Contractor in your state?

And yes,

@ April 18, 2014 5:42 PM in Three flashes, then okay again.

if the problem causing the error code is intermittent, and clears, then you may be able to reset and run without the code.  Until the problem reoccurs...

You really do want to find out why it occurred and get that fixed. 


@ April 18, 2014 5:36 PM in Steam check valve hammering

After some thought...

I guess my first question would be -- why is there a condensate receiver and pump at all?  In most cases with a residential system, the returns should be fast enough to manage by gravity without needing a reservoir or the extra headroom which such a setup provides.  Have you looked into that?  It occurs to me that it may have been a kludged response to some other problem with the system -- such as excessive pressure or bad traps.

If it turns out that the thing really is necessary for some reason, then the next question is to really be sure that it is the check valve which is rattling, and not a genuine water hammer at the Hartford loop.  That can be a little tricky to figure out.  If it is the check valve, though, you might try substituting a spring type valve; they sometimes close more reliably than a swing check.


@ April 18, 2014 3:58 PM in Steam Radiators???

I have seen those -- in an old mill building in a nearby town.  Work like a charm, except that the expansion roller supports are frozen on some of them so they have some rather impressive expansion noises.

Hear output charts?  Haven't a clue -- but they are pretty doggone simple, so I would think you could awfully close -- within a few percent, by simply measuring them up and calculating the actual surface area.  It's a bit tedious, but not that hard.  Then take your total square feet and multiply by our old familiar 240 and there you are in BTUh.

Not a bit surprised

@ April 17, 2014 11:18 AM in Need advice/ help for new heating system

that there may be some very odd plumbing indeed in your house as a result  of the zone split.  I have no desire to criticise the plumber who did your work -- he is doubtless a very good plumber indeed -- but heating systems are a little different from plumbing, unfortunately.

All is not lost, however.  "Steamhead" is located in Baltimore, and you could contact him directly; his specialty is steam, but he's very good at hydronic systems as well. 

What I would try to do for starters, though, is to see if you can get your master plumber to restore the system so that all the radiators heat.  Since he did the work to split the system, and it doesn't work that way, he really should be willing to put it back the way it was so it works.

Then the next thing to do is to trace out the piping for the various radiators, and see what connects to what and where -- and make a nice sketch of the system as it really is.  This may take some detective work on your part, but is really kind of fun once you get into it.

With the sketch in hand, you may be able to see how to split the system so it does work the way you want it to (you could scan the sketch and upload it here, so we could all take a look at it).  There should be a way to do it -- it just might not be obvious.

There is another solution, however: once you get your plumber to put the system back together so it all works, you can control individual radiators with what are called "thermostatically controlled radiator valves".  They aren't all that cheap (but a lot cheaper than a whole new system!), but they do give you the ability to control each room individually.  I'd seriously consider doing that, particularly if the plumbing is a bit odd.

More later...


@ April 16, 2014 9:56 PM in Should the water supply flowing into a steam boiler be cold water or hot water?

it's not as though you were feeding a whole lot of water -- or at least I hope you're not.  If you are really fanatical about blowing down a float type LWCO, you might -- might -- use as much as half a gallon a week... for that.  And normal operation should use much less (my decent size system has finally managed to get up to 7 gallons; took almost four years to use that much).

I paint

@ April 16, 2014 9:52 PM in Painting Cast Iron Baseboard Radiator – Baseray/Governale

my steam radiators with Benjamin Moore flat acrylic enamels -- same stuff I use on the walls (in fact, right out of the same can...).

Unlike Eric's experience, most of them were done in the time frame of 8 to 10 years ago, and I have not experienced any rusting, peeling, flaking, blistering or other problems.

But that is a very high quality acrylic...
« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 148 »