Joined on September 16, 2002
Last Post on March 11, 2014
@ February 23, 2014 11:32 AM in Pressuretrolsand would save a lot of hassle. Not that they couldn't be wired up easily enough, by someone who knew what they were doing, but one does wonder why they aren't standard (well, millivolt systems would be sort of a bear, but anything else...).
There are many times when I am very thankful for my wonderful old mercury switch vapourstat!
There are reasons for microswitches, however -- they are cheap, they are pretty reliable, and perhaps most important they can be used without modification on anything from millivolts to 120 vac. Not that one can't make an all solid state switch which would do the same thing, but by the time you got done making it idiot and surge proof it would cost a good deal more than a microswitch.
@ February 22, 2014 10:12 PM in Thermostat calling for heat; boiler does not come onohmeter, turn the power off, disconnect the wires to the pressuretrol, and measure the resistance between the terminals. If the contacts are good in the switch, and the switch is closed, you should read 0.0 ohms. Maybe 0.1. Anything more than that, bad contacts in the switch.
@ February 21, 2014 7:23 PM in Uneven distribution of heatyou might do better in terms of replies on the "strictly steam" thread.
However, that said...
Since you mention air vents, I am going to assume for the moment that this is steam, and one pipe steam at that.
In order for one pipe steam to work properly and evenly, it is essential that two major things happen (there are a bunch of others as well, but for the moment bear with me): you need to get steam throughout all the mains at about the same time, as fast as possible. And, when you are dealing with a multi-story building, the risers need to get filled with steam in the same way. This is done with main venting. Therefore, if there are not main vents on the steam mains and -- since this is multi-story, at the tops of the risers, you need to have them installed. What this will accomplish is to get the steam evenly distributed to the radiators.
Then the amount of heat given off by the radiator is determined by the radiator venting. If you want less heat, use a slower vent. More heat, faster vent. You cannot control one pipe steam with the valve at the inlet -- as you have found, unfortunate things happen when you try.
That's sort of a basic starting point...
@ February 21, 2014 1:54 PM in Soundproofing a boiler roomIf you do manage to really soundproof that space, you should have a remote status panel installed, a remote CO detector, and a remote fire alarm (overheat and smoke).
Otherwise, you will have no way of knowing that something is going amiss until it has really gone west. The status panel should have indications for boiler demand vs. boiler running, all zone valve demand vs. zone valve open, all circulator demand vs. circulator run, as well as temperature in the space -- as well as the fire and CO alarms.
All remoted to somewhere where they can be and will be monitored regularly.
@ February 20, 2014 10:21 PM in taco zone relay constant hum soundyou are right -- in the extreme, a transformer (or relay) with a ferrite closed circuit core designed for no magnetostriction and ribbon wound to prevent any movement of the coils won't hum. Quite true.
My stereo amp does not have such a transformer, sadly, and if I lean down over it -- three inches away -- and everything else is quiet I can hear the hum.
But I don't have the money to pay for a better one...
@ February 20, 2014 10:16 PM in Soundproofing a boiler roomis a real bear, and a fine art. I'm not a bit surprised that the consultant you talked to was pricey -- never mind whatever he or she had in mind as solutions.
What you are trying to do, though, is fairly simple: stop the transmission of sound from the source to the rest of the building.
In practice, what this means is that first there can be no air passages from that room to the rest of the building. None. Not even the tiniest gap where a pipe or a wire goes through a partition or floor. For that, you will need one of the flexible acoustic caulks; there are different makes. This also means that if there is an access door to the space from the rest of the building, it has to have seals on it which are absolutely air tight when it is closed. it would be better if there were no access from the rest of the building, if that can be arranged.
Any pipes which penetrate the partition/ceiling must have flexible (really flexible; I don't mean PEX, I mean something like braided hydraulic hose) on both sides of the wall and through the wall. Same for electrical conduit (which must also be caulked inside).
Second, any partition -- wall, floor -- has to be built so that there is no rigid connection between the two faces and, if possible, there is a sound absorbing blanket -- such as the mass loaded vinyl in one of your links -- between the two faces. A typical arrangement is a wall with two sets of studs (or a ceiling with two sets of joists). The interior wall covering -- in your case, fire rated plaster board -- is attached to one set of studs. The other set of studs is offset an inch, and the other wall covering attached to it, with the flexible sound absorbing sheet between the two walls (for a ceiling, the treatment is the same -- you're talking ceiling and flooring here). Doors are a real headache, although in most cases a really good fire door -- two hour rating -- is also pretty soundproof if the seals are good.
The resilient clips in one of your links may work; I have no experience with them. The principle is the same: no rigid path from one side of the wall (or ceiling) to the other.
You probably don't have to worry about sound transmission through the basement slab, although it wouldn't hurt to have the slab in the mechanical room isolated from the rest of the basement with flexible expansion joints under the soundproof walls.
You may still have to contend with airborne noise from the air intake and exhaust for the burner. Acoustical liners on the air intake ducting, as well as making sure that there are offsets in the ducting, may help.
In closing this, I make absolutely no guarantee that any of the above measures will reduce the noise to a level which is satisfactory to you; no conscientious person would.
@ February 20, 2014 9:52 PM in water in tankCondensation, mostly, when the tank is partly empty. It's the nature of the beast.
If you suspect you have enough water to cause a problem, there are several products which can be used in you can get a dipstick into the tank; they change colour if they hit water. But -- most tanks you can't get a dipstick into.
And if you have enough water in there to shut the burner down, and it does happen (you're getting good flow and pressure when you try to prime, but if you check you're getting water out of the line, not oil) about the only thing you can do is to go back to the tank and drain the water out. If you haven't added oil lately (or shaken the tank!) the water will be on the bottom, and you should be able to drain it into a bucket -- drain at the filter until you get clean oil. If it is an underground tank, you may be able to use the suction line in some manner to do the same thing.
THAT WATER IS A HAZARDOUS WASTE. Be sure you dispose of it properly.
@ February 20, 2014 9:45 PM in Oil furnace won't light!!Seriously. If you suspect that a burner has been treated that way (anything more than two or three pushes), you may have accumulated enough oil in there to have some really serious consequences if you get the burner to fire.
At the very least, open the firebox up and see what you have. I would mop up any visible oil. If there is a fibreglas mat in there -- there often is -- remove and replace it with a new one if it seems to be oily.
Check and make sure that your breaching is tight -- all the screws in where they should be, etc.. I might also close and hold closed with a tool the baro damper if there is one.
Then maybe give it a try... but stand back. Things can get very very exciting.
To the OP: this is not a homeowner problem. I'd get the original company back; it should be a free call. But get a pro; don't even try to fix it yourself.
@ February 20, 2014 9:37 PM in BEST WAY TO PIPE A 2 PIPE STEAM CONVERSION TO A 3 ZONE HOT WATERthis evening, I completely agree with what moneypitfeeder has said.
You have gotten yourself into a very bad position on this job -- certainly one which I would want no part of whatsoever.
And I honestly and truly do wish you luck in digging yourself out of it, and hope it doesn't come back to bite you.
@ February 20, 2014 9:31 PM in A little advice on a new steam system pleasethe best thing to do for the near boiler piping will be to get hold of the manual for that boiler -- if you don't have it, give us the make and model number and we may be able to find a link for it -- and get the boiler piped correctly. You need an equalizer -- I don't see one -- and the header is probably at least a size too small, and too low. Getting that fixed will help matters a lot. If there are cold returns at all, you also need a Hartford Loop.
Get the pressure down -- 2 psi is ample. 1.5 psi cutout is better, if your pressuretrol will go that low. 1 psi differential.
You do need vents on the ends of the main, but as a millwright you shouldn't have much trouble drilling and tapping (NPT) for them. They go on top of the main, about a foot before the end, and the nipple they go on should raise them about a foot above the main, if you have the headroom.
@ February 20, 2014 5:58 PM in taco zone relay constant hum soundall transformers hum. So do all other devices with windings (for the musically inclined, it's a B natural in the USA and Canada). Some are more audible than others -- even with supposedly identical devices.
Anti-vibration mounts as icesailor suggests can help. Other than that, if you are very sensitive to the hum the only solution is to keep changing out units until you find the quietest one. Which is NOT something I would do under warranty, as it is not a fault.
@ February 20, 2014 3:36 PM in Cost to heat different temps?from a building, assuming constant indoor and outdoor temperatures, is directly proportional (or very closely so) to the difference in temperature between the inside and outside.
Therefore, if you raise the interior temperature with the same exterior temperature, the building will lose more heat and the boiler will have to run harder or longer or both to make up for it. There's no free lunch.
Now setbacks throw a nice set of variables into that equation, and make it -- to say the least -- messy. If you were to search the Wall here for comments on setbacks, you would find a lot of variations in opinion. Bottom line is that the savings are not sufficiently dramatic to come up with a solid "do it". On the other hand, it does not appear that they use enough extra fuel to say "don't do it". Whether you save fuel over what you would have used at a constant temperature equal to the weighted average of the upper and lower temperatures (e.g. if you run 12 hours at 64 and 12 hours at 70, the average would be 67) appears unlikely at best. So it becomes a matter of comfort.
But, if you turn the thermostat down you are going to save energy.
@ February 20, 2014 12:24 PM in No apparent main ventsas they will make the efficiency much better -- and won't mess up anything.
You may also need to replace the radiator vents. If you have really been running at 5.5 psi, some or all of them may have died.
@ February 20, 2014 12:22 PM in BEST WAY TO PIPE A 2 PIPE STEAM CONVERSION TO A 3 ZONE HOT WATERSounds to me as though your client might be a good candidate for buying this bridge I have for sale in New York -- cash only, of course.
By the time parasitic losses in hydronic systems are taken into account, he will save almost nothing in terms of efficiency; if he were really "green" he'd stick with steam. Which can be zoned very happily -- or as NBC suggested, use three small boilers, which would work even better.
However, it sounds as though you have gotten yourself into a nice hole, and what is needed is a way to dig yourself out of it at with a minimum of damage to you and your company. Which I can understand; I've had some very odd clients in my day as well.
In terms of prep work. First, pressure test all your radiators. Sell the ones that fail to a good steam man who needs them; fixing the leaks isn't going to be worth it. Then drill and tap the survivors for air release bleeders and install them. Find new or used matching radiators to replace the leakers.
Replace all the valves with hot water valves; see if you can sell the steam valves to someone who needs them (particularly if they are any of the several vapour system valves!). You can keep the trap bodies, but as you say, remove the guts.
I'd plan on scrapping all the old piping, even if it doesn't leak. The odds of it being arranged to work three separate zones separated by floor are slim to none, and you might just as well do the whole thing while you're at it.
Now. I'm not a hydronics guy, so take my comments on this aspect with a large dose of salt. I would pipe it reverse return, primary/secondary, with individual circulators for each zone. Why? I think it would be much easier to balance the heat within the zones that way using your nice new hot water valves.
I'd also write a cost plus contract on this one; there are just too many booby traps in there.
@ February 20, 2014 11:59 AM in How to vent oilbut really, you would think that someone would have noticed this before it got looking like that? Really?
@ February 19, 2014 12:17 PM in Help figuring out EDRLook by State and Town. There are at least a dozen who serve Queens...
@ February 19, 2014 12:14 PM in BEST WAY TO PIPE A 2 PIPE STEAM CONVERSION TO A 3 ZONE HOT WATERthat you mention taking the innards out of the traps. It is quite likely that you will have to change out all the valves as well, as they may have orifices or throttling elements which are fine for steam but can't be present for hot water.
Assuming, of course, that the radiators can take the pressure...
@ February 19, 2014 12:12 PM in BEST WAY TO PIPE A 2 PIPE STEAM CONVERSION TO A 3 ZONE HOT WATERrestoring a two pipe steam system to its original operating condition is going to cost a good bit less than any possible conversion, and that a two pipe steam system with thermostatic valves will do everything that a hydronic system will...
And will do it, if you spring for a modern boiler, at an efficiency which is only slightly less than a mod-con with all the computer bells and whistles correctly applied and maintained....
Why are you doing this? It's going to cost you money which you will never get back. It's going to take more maintenance. Why?
@ February 19, 2014 12:04 PM in How serious an issue is water quality?and one which has been an issue with process and power boilers for a long long time -- there is a whole industry devoted to it, and an array of chemicals (some of which are pretty powerful and nasty stuff!) which are devoted to keeping scaling and corrosion and foaming at bay, in particular, but also controlling pH.
If one is planning to treat one's boiler water, however, it is absolutely necessary to know what the chemical characteristics of the water are to begin with. There is no one size fits all treatment.
I cannot recommend either deionized or distilled water for a boiler. Both are, in fact, corrosive until they establish an equilibrium with the boiler (and in the case of heating, piping) metals (a potential source of problems in wet returns in steam systems, though not a very serious one). On the other hand, high hardness water can cause real problems with scaling, and measures taken to control pH and reduce hardness can be helpful. High TDS water can cause problems with foaming and may also be corrosive, but the corrosion problems are related to exactly what ionic species are present and in what concentrations.
There are, of course, additives which can go a long way to eliminating corrosion -- one uses them in automotive antifreeze all the time, after all! -- as well as additives which can help with scaling.
@ February 18, 2014 7:32 PM in steam radiator not heating up, spurts of cool air coming through...from a section of pipe which isn't pitched properly. Usually that would hammer, but not always -- but the pooled water will happily condense almost all if not all of the steam that reaches it. Check all the pitches leading to that radiator.
@ February 18, 2014 4:59 PM in Air Eliminator Trapit only takes one to cause the problem your seeing. Just one...
@ February 18, 2014 12:17 PM in Help figuring out EDRbut.... most steam boilers (if not all) are sized not only in BTU but in EDR. It is much easier to match sizes using the EDR rating -- which takes into account such things as pickup factors -- than to play around with converting EDR to BTU and then worrying about pickups and all that.