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Joined on June 23, 2002

Last Post on January 17, 2014

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Manifold fittings

@ January 17, 2014 1:50 PM in Fostapex with SVC fittings

I was able to get the tube to work on a r20 fitting with the normal prep tool.  I threaded the nut onto the manifold, while pressing the tube to take up the slack as the nut tightened onto the manifold.    Not sure if it will work with what you are using, but it worked for me.


Coupler restriction

@ December 1, 2013 4:53 PM in Your thoughts about splicing 3/8" pex?

I would just use a regular 3/8 coupler.  The resistance of the coupler is equivalent to 3 feet of 3/8" tubing, which is not that much in my opinion.


Outdoor reset

@ February 29, 2012 12:24 PM in Two thermostats running one boiler

Actually, the boiler has a very old outdoor reset type device that basically limits boiler on-time according to outdoor temps.  However, I've not been using it the last few years, as I only run about 160 degree boiler water temp most of the time.  Running any cooler keeps the air handlers on too long.  Don't forget that this is a 3rd story building, with all the air handlers in the basement, so there is some temp loss in the ductwork, even though its all insulated.

Believe it or not, I am still running the original Weil Mclain cast iron boiler from 1965.  I was planning on replacing it any year now, but am going to hold off a little, as gas prices are so low, and I want to see where we go as far as technology.   Hard to believe that  I was looking at heating with electrical just two years ago, as it looked like gas prices were going to stay high, and it seemed like a cheap way to convert to individually heated units that would still be somewhat competitive to gas. So, once I finish converting the last few apartments to individual AC condensers, I'll be able to re-claim the space now occupied by the central AC system in the boiler room, and will be able to run any combination of boilers I like. 



@ February 26, 2012 2:18 PM in Two thermostats running one boiler

Well guys,
There is only one circ for the whole building.  It circulates through every air handler (10 of them), and is on 24/7.  Its a B+G PD 37.  I would love to upgrade it, but it also does chilled water in the summer, so my choices are limited.  I leave it on 24/7 for reliability issues, but am re-thinking this part. 

Now, I suppose there is some convective air flow in the ductwork even if the blower isn't on, but it is pretty minimal from my observations.

Bottom line is, I could put zone valves or circs for each air handler, but it would make it unnecessarily complex with regard to maintenance issues.  Its a 45 min drive for me, so travel costs will quickly eat into small savings over time.




@ February 25, 2012 8:47 AM in Two thermostats running one boiler

Yes John,
Each apartment does have its own stat, which controls its air handler.  There is a temp sensor on the supply pipe to be sure the water is hot in the loop before allowing any air handler to turn on.

So far, its working real nice with the two stats.  The final piece is to put a temp limiting cut-off in the apartments to prevent over heating.  I found a product called Temp-Limiter by Jackson.  Basically is a box like a remote temp sensor that you mount next to the thermostat and wire in series,  It will open if temp gets above either 70 or 73 depending on the model. 



RIBU1C Solution

@ February 21, 2012 9:43 PM in Two thermostats running one boiler

Thanks Wesman,  That will do the trick, and is fairly simple and reliable.  An elegant solution.

I have since hooked the two vision thermostats in parallel, and they are working fine.  Whether one calls for heat, or both, either one, it worked correctly. 

So now the question is, will the added relay add reliability, or reduce it.  Seems like a tough call.


@ February 20, 2012 8:41 PM in Two thermostats running one boiler

There really is no need to zone with dampers, as I can control the heat in each apartment, since they each have their own blower and ductwork.

Its just a matter of making sure there is hot water available when the coldest apartment needs it.  The boiler has a circulator that runs continuously and pumps through each of the apartment coils.  (one large loop)  I could run the aquastat on a minimum water temp that would still provide some heat, but that would be wasteful.

So I have a remote thermostat in the coldest apartment that operates the boiler.  When it calls for heat, it turns the whole building boiler on.  When the water temp reaches  130, a switch kicks in that then lets the blowers that are calling for heat turn on.  But if there is an apartment colder than the one I have the remote sensor in, it will never get the heat it needs, because the boiler will not turn on until the remote sensor apartment gets cold enough.  So that is my dilemma.  If I can have the boiler come on from two apartments, I should have my bases covered.  So, that is my question...can I operate a boiler from two thermostats? 



Other info

@ February 20, 2012 4:18 PM in Two thermostats running one boiler

This is a hydro coil system.  Basically, one boiler, with an air handler for each apartment.

The building is very well insulated, and tight.  The issue is the apartments have different exposures to wind and sun.  Its not too big of a deal under normal winter temps, but becomes more problematic when we get 35 or higher, as the less cycles on the boiler magnify differences among apartments.  You guys that do primarily single family, would be surprised how much wind makes a difference on heat loss...even on a tight well insulated building.  I did not believe it myself at first, but temp readings have proven it to be the case.  With a building shaped like a cross, with apartments on each spoke, you can now see why the temps can be so different.

My idea was to run a thermostat in two of the cooler running apartments, with different exposures.  These would operate the boiler.  Each apartment has its own thermostat that operates the blower.  I could then put a limit stat in each duct or apartment to limit the temp to max of 73 or so.  That way I would be covered on the low end, and high end as well.  So, back to the original question.....can I wire two thermostats onto one boiler?



Two thermostats running one boiler

@ February 20, 2012 9:26 AM in Two thermostats running one boiler

I've got a unique situation where I am heating an apartment building with apartments having different wind exposure.  With a steady wind, one apartment can be 75, and another 68.  Averaging temps will not solve this problem.  Other than going to an internet based thermostat, and manually switching it as needed, I thought I could run two thermostats.  That way, I would be assured of keeping a minimum temperature in different parts of the building.

Is there any issues this might present?  If one thermostat is calling for heat, would the control voltage on the back side of the other thermostat present any problems?

Basically, I envision two Honeywell visions, each with one external temp sensor to be installed in an apartment, and then both hooked up to the boiler.



Tekmar shortcoming

@ January 18, 2011 3:15 PM in Best Thermostat for Steam Heat Systems

I just want to point out that the Tekmar steam controller only uses the indoor temp sensor  as a secondary check on whether to provide a heat call.  The heat call is solely determined by the re-set curve.  It then checks room temp to be sure it is below setpoint before turning boiler on.  So, if you have a very windy day, and the unit is cooler than the reset curve is programmed for, the boiler will not go on!  Because of this shortcoming, I am not a fan of the tekmar on anything less than a very well insulated building.  Unfortunately, most steam heated buildings do not fall in this category.


@ December 27, 2010 8:08 PM in Vitodens 200 new vs. old

Thanks Paul,  I looked over all the documentation, and searched the Wall, but was unable to get the finer details.


Vitodens 200 new vs. old

@ December 27, 2010 7:25 PM in Vitodens 200 new vs. old

I am considering installing a Vitodens 200 WB2A 8-32.  Can anyone tell me the difference between it, and the newer B version, other than the Lamda Pro?


@ December 15, 2010 6:33 PM in Balance issues

Pipe sizing is correct.  Just the layout of it that I am suspect of.


@ December 15, 2010 3:11 PM in Balance issues

Yes, its very hard to get good pictures of it all, as the view is obstructed.  On the first picture, the supply takeoff pipe comes from the left of the picture.  There is a T halfway along that goes up into the header in the 2nd picture.  If you go beyond the T in the first picture is the equalizer back to the boiler. 
I included a farther out picture, that is a little hard to follow with.  The four vertical pipes in the foreground are the returns from the end of the mains.
If you look beyond the four vertical pipes, you can see the complete supply with takeoffs.

Picture clarification

@ December 15, 2010 2:45 PM in Balance issues

Just to make it clearer,  the 2nd picture is the header, with the tee (serves the back half of building that runs cooler) on the very left, and on the very right is the elbow that goes to the front half of building.

Balance issues

@ December 15, 2010 2:41 PM in Balance issues

This is a Weil Mclain steamer (lgb9 I believe), that I am having balance problems.  I am guessing this problem existed for many years, and is only apparent now, because I now have temp sensors in different parts of the building.  My problem is the fron half of the building is substantially warmer than the back half. 
Note that there are two take-offs from the header.  The first one is a tee, and the second one comes out with an elbow.  The front that runs hotter is the branch coming off the elbow.  So, am thinking the steam goes up through the branch with the elbow mostly, until it develops enough back pressure to start steam going up in to the elbow.  Does this seem correct, and if so, should I try to resolve this with a piping change.  My guess is this piping probably served well in the coal burning days, but its lopsidedness is accentuated with an on/off modern boiler.



Pex fitting

@ January 14, 2010 9:32 AM in panel rads and 1/2 pex al pex

More than likely, the threaded part of the fitting is for a larger size pex.  I just had this same problem the other day.  Upon closer inspection, the threaded nut/collar was labeled 1/2, while the nipple with o-ring was labelled 3/8.  Apparently, the factory mispackaged the assembly, as it was in its original sealed bag.  Result was same thing, the nut would not compress the ferrule.


How about hydro-air

@ December 7, 2009 6:39 PM in Convert apt. bldg to HW?

Is there any a/c in the building currently?  As much as I love panel rads, I'd consider a hydronic air handler and ductwork in each unit over panel rads if you have no central air currently. This would give you the ability to add central A/C ahd share the ductwork.
I own a number of vintage steam heat apartment buildings.  I would love to have the control that a hydronic zoned system would offer, but I don't think this is the time to do it.  The technology is changing so quickly now, and we still haven't sorted out what will be the paradigm for heating and what energy source.  My buildings are late 20's era, three row brick walls, no insulation.  The air currents that flow in the walls and spaces is insane.  Is it economical to retrofit these with insulation (would require major work), or do we tear down and build new?  So, my answer is to keep the steam systems operating as efficiently as I can make them right now, and wait until the picture gets a little clearer.


@ August 3, 2009 4:11 PM in Plumbers - do you do drain cleaning?

I would definitely disagree on renting. First off, they're not that expensive, and you want the machine available at a moments notice. Finally, make sure you get an auto-feed machine. Definitely makes the job a lot easier. Also, sectionals are easier to carry since they are more modular, but they are definitely messier in enclosed spaces. ChrisL

Fed tax credit is $150 not $1500

@ June 12, 2009 6:13 PM in Tax credit for Boilers

Apartment Heat

@ March 31, 2009 8:31 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversions

I am in a similar predicament with two older centrally heated steam heat buildings. Its a very complicated decision, and switching to individual units has its downside with much more maintenance and repair. But then you see a window open, or a complaint that its not warm enough only to measure a nice 72 inside and you reconsider. I think the best approach is to install furnaces with AC right away. While hot water or steam heat is definitely more comfortable, you can't beat cost efficiency of getting ac done as well. ChrisL

Munchkin F9

@ December 28, 2008 4:20 PM in Munchkin F9

I have a Munchkin 140M locking out on F9. Its been working fine for 1 1/2 yrs, and now it locks out on F9. On reset, it sometimes works. Otherwise it lights, and then turns off after 3 seconds or so. I cleaned flame sensor and get 2.7-3.6 mvolt from vision display. Thanks, ChrisL
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