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The Wall
joe lambert

joe lambert

Joined on April 22, 2007

Last Post on June 21, 2010

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Check Valve

@ June 21, 2010 4:12 PM in condensate tank noises

I have seen this a lot.  Flowing back through the check valve once the pump shuts off, then the boiler water flashing in the condensate tank causing hammer.

I recommend a high quality SOFT SEATED check with a spring.  I have even put two in series sometimes.  Look at the DFT SCV series for a start. (I am not affiliated with DFT).

I found my contractor here

@ February 17, 2010 7:56 AM in Are things getting worse? OT

Just my 2 cents, I found my contractor here for a new boiler in Brooklyn.  Got two quotes only and did not nickel and dime them.  Actually picked the one that was able to remove my old oil tank (converted to gas) at a higher price due to the convenience factor.

I did want a mod-con but it turns out would have had to replace my flu for ALOT of $$ that killed the job, and just got a standard HW boiler!!


@ December 2, 2009 7:24 AM in Confused About Pressure

Thanks Big Ed, but sorry for the confusion.
The PRV I was talking about is the one going into the boiler, there is no PRV for the domestic water supply to the house, that pressure is fine.
Your answer is what I thought, so I try to set the pressure at about 25psi, it is just a bit close to the 30 psig relief!

Confused About Pressure

@ December 2, 2009 6:40 AM in Confused About Pressure

I am a homeowner with a question about the pressure of the circulating hot water system in my home.  The building from basement to top radiator is around 50 ft. tall.  I know that the small circulation pump does not have to provide much pressure because the water is going up and then down, with no net gain or loss in head. 
My question is the set pressure for the system (and the city water PRV valve).  Should this be a bit over the pressure required to fill my highest radiator, or about 22 psi?

Small is Correct

@ September 30, 2009 2:06 PM in Type and Size Steam trap

I like using Float & Thermostatic traps these days, they are good at removing air that you will have on start-up.  You could use a 3/4" or 1" F&T-125 trap.  Make sure you get the orifice for 125 psi steam.

I have seen some large traps on the main headers for boiler, these are there in case there is carry-over of boiler water into the steam line.  I don't usually recommend them but prefer to prevent carry-over at all costs.

I Checked the Wall

@ September 17, 2009 2:12 PM in Had lunch today with some plumbing contractor

I am a steam guy but in the commercial building business.  I am now going to get a new boiler for my home.  I surely checked the wall to look at who posted and picked a couple of contractors from here to do the work.  
The reason I post is half for fun and the other half to try to drum up some business by proving my amazing knowledge and ability

I got a pump

@ March 10, 2009 9:20 AM in National Grid

There is a nice armstrong circulator. Although I have no outdoor reset or even a vent damper.

I have hot water

@ March 10, 2009 8:49 AM in National Grid

Very old cast iron boiler. I left the original even during a complete renovation 15 years ago. I think it dates to the 60's. I have those really big ornate cast iron radiators. This is an old brownstone that used to be heated room by room with (I think) old coal heaters that were inserted in the fireplace - because the fireplace is way too shallow to burn anything. Then they put in central heat, and I think it was originally hot water cause these radiators are way too big for steam. I know it was retrofit because of the holes in the floors and ceilings for the pipes.

National Grid

@ March 10, 2009 7:37 AM in National Grid

Am a homeowner in Brooklyn and got a mailing from the gas company about buying a new boiler from them. Since I am considering making the change from oil to gas it caught my interest (usually just throw these things out). What do you local professionals feel about this? Do they use subcontractors to install or do it themselves? Are the same rebates available if I use and independent contractor? Just wondering and thanks.


@ December 24, 2008 8:14 AM in Pressure Reducing Valve Replacement (Gordo & Steamhead)

They use the pots on the E5 because it, too, has a non-metallic diaphragm. FYI: here in NYC for Con Ed steam we sometimes use (for budget concious customers) a solenoid in line with the pilot that is activated by a manual reset pressure switch used as a safety shut-off. With a two stage PRV, this passes muster with Con-Ed and saves lots. Still not quite as safe as a separate safety shut-off valve,though. However, even using the E5 before the PRV's, we still use a steam solenoid and pressure switch to shut it off. For added safety, we often use the pressure limiting pilot on the primary PRV, too.

D-5 Pilot

@ December 23, 2008 11:13 AM in Pressure Reducing Valve Replacement (Gordo & Steamhead)

The low range pilot works fine, it is the E valve that has trouble with very low pressures. If possible, use the E2, which has a rubber diaphragm instead of metal and is meant for INLET pressures less than 15 psig. However, you can fool the system a little by using the condensate pots between the pilot and diaphragm to collect some condensate, cool it, and not melt the thing. There are these pots on this church job.

@ November 7, 2008 9:09 AM in Modulating electric boilers?

Why use a boiler instead just electric baseboards, or maybe even electric radiant using self limiting tracing product?

Looks like my house

@ October 30, 2008 7:40 AM in Need some help with the best and the worst (Dan H.)

How did you get into my basement??

I have seen before

@ October 8, 2008 8:05 AM in noisy check valves in steam condensate line

It could be water slipping back from the boiler through the check valve when the pump is off. Try a soft seated check (of good quality)and it may help. Although there are lots of causes for water hammer and it is hard to troubleshoot without a lot of other information....

Great Crust

@ September 30, 2008 7:59 AM in Why Can't I Boil Water in an Oven?

You do need humidity to create a great bread crust. There was an excellent recipe in the NYT on how to do this at home. Mark Bittman wrote it called "no knead bread". Made it literally hundreds of times and it is amazing. You use a covered pot at high heat and the crust is amazing. Here is a link:


@ September 12, 2008 9:14 AM in Does anyone make a mod con natural gas steam boiler?

Theoretically, what about a vacuum return system using lots of vacuum, now the steam temp can be lower and maybe you can get some condensing.


@ May 16, 2008 8:37 PM in Hybrid car + EMF

I would have guessed a hilly terrain would improve mileage; recharging batteries on the downhill side of the slopes. Pete


@ May 8, 2008 7:23 PM in Tekmar Controls

I am using a Tekmar 260 on my Biasi boiler. I'm able to run with full ODR reset (P/S on the heating loops with a TV valve on the return.) I'm also using the optional indoor sensor to allow the 260 to control the system. My oil bills are showing my K factor has increased from the high 6s to over 10; that represents a substantial savings over my old system.

Howie Car?

@ April 13, 2008 9:28 AM in Ever listen to \"just\" radio?

Where's the Boston area AM listeners? No Howie Car fans? WTIC dropped Bruce Williams a few years back, miss his show.

@ March 31, 2008 11:34 PM in ODR: this is driving me nuts...

I gotta stop drinking too much caffine... Brad, you out there :)

This is driving me nuts. ODR question

@ March 31, 2008 8:37 PM in ODR: this is driving me nuts...¤t=PS-diagram.jpg Is the above system capable of running full ODR? Or, will it have problems with the supply temperature going to the system from the CSTs? The controller is a Tekmar 260, with the indoor sensor. I am going crazy trying to analyze this in my head. The TV is 140 degrees, fully open at 165 degrees. The system is real, and seems to work, but the question is if the temperature rise at the supply to the radiation might be too rapid causing the Tekmar to short cycle the burner. The Tekmar also seems to setting the differential to a very low spread; the typical target temps in winter are under 130 degrees, 120 or less typical.. Pete

gas vs oil

@ March 27, 2008 8:08 PM in Gas or oil - I can't decide!

A domestic gas hot water tank is significantly cheaper to purchase than one that is oil fired for your domestic. You could go tankless or indirect but those options are expensive and the actual savings in fuel you might save is minimal. With my 40 gal gas hot water heater I spend less than $25 a month for gas from April through September with three people living in the house and I like to take 20 minute showers sometimes. historically gas prices have been more stable without huge sudden price spikes. Oil prices historically are more volatile and the price per a barrel of oil is expected to go as high as $135 per a barrel by the end of the year according to the news. An atmospheric boiler requires less maintenance than an oil fired boiler and they are more reliable because there is no motor operated burner to break down on you. If your boiler is relatively small (D.O.E capacity of less than 100k) than the difference between 82% and 85% in AFUE ratings is only a few dollars a month. Use this calculator to help you figure out the differences in AFUE ratings and see for yourself.
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