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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on July 30, 2014

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Mysterious sensor fault

@ July 30, 2014 6:33 AM in Slant-Fin Monitron 2 problem

Sounds like everything electronic inside the boiler has been replaced, so could it be a wiring problem between the boiler and the panel. These mod cons seem to be very sensitive to electrical noise, and grounding problems (especially when used with cheap generators).
If that is the case, then the electronics should be programmed to analyze the incoming power to show a power supply problem.--NBC

Bad piping

@ July 29, 2014 6:41 AM in Burnham IN4 steam boiler piping

The risers coming off the boiler may also have been reduced in diameter to a size too small. With the present arrangement, the steam and water exiting the boiler are being unsuccessfully forced to go in opposite directions, which they will not do.
Contact your local Burnham rep, and see if they will honor the warranty with the boiler piped in this way. What sort of warranty was offered by the installer on his contract?
You probably will have an unstable waterline, which puts abnormal thermal stress on the sections of the boiler. Was the boiler ever cleaned (skimmed), following the install? Draining and refilling 20 times does not count.--NBC

Pictures necessary

@ July 28, 2014 11:27 PM in Near boiler piping issue?

Besides the possibility of an improper piping issue, there is always the chemistry contractor. Would he ever say that it is not fine? The best additive to our heating boilers is H2O, unless there is some clear water problem which needs a Ph adjustment.
Drain off some of the boiler water in to a pan, and place it on the stove. It may behave like a pot with potatoes, covered and boiling too fast. The resulting overflow, will swiftly empty the pot of water, and dry out the potatoes, just as it can empty the boiler.
What is the steam being used for-process, or heating purposes?--NBC

Old chapel

@ July 24, 2014 5:49 AM in Cemetery chapel improvements

The existing system is a Dunham vapor, with a leaking, mis-piped Bryant (Dunkirk?) boiler. I may even do a little vacuumizing with it.
Interesting that you mention Cleveland, because there is the beautiful Wade chapel there. Someone from Cleveland was telling me how beautiful it was, and then when he saw our chapel; said ours is more beautiful!
As this is a part time project, we have been first stopping all the leaks into the basement and crypt, and completing other deferred maintenance, before replacing the boiler.
A City-Multi Mitsubishi could handle the cooling.
Like any historic project, you make a list at the beginning, and as you cross off some jobs at the top, you discover more jobs popping up on the bottom!--NBC

This publicity should help

@ July 23, 2014 2:19 PM in Cemetery chapel improvements

The steam rejuvenation is still on hold, but hopefully will get to a couple of ounces this winter.
My son was married there this weekend-NBC

no steam-no oil

@ July 20, 2014 4:47 PM in Advice needed on heating system install

why is it you are rejecting steam? when steam systems were being regularly installed, they were sometimes regarded as superior to gravity hot water, because of their efficiency. those old systems were quiet, even, and economical.--NBC

Buried in a 10 year old thread.

@ July 15, 2014 7:23 AM in Steam heat and Programmable Thermostats, good idea?

Why not start a new thread for your question in the steam section, stating the type of system you have, what you wish to do, and any symptoms you encounter.
We really don't know if you have resistance heat, or steam, and is it a barn or an old hotel?--NBC

Unknown pipe length

@ July 15, 2014 7:19 AM in How Long

Can you put a funnel on one side, and then fill the pipe with a 5 gallon bucket, to find its volume?
Then it should be a simple matter to determine its length.
Figuring out its depth underground before it enters the lake, would prevent freeze ups in winter as well.--NBC

what a good idea

@ July 12, 2014 12:20 AM in Suggestions for new forum

Maybe they will go over to those unreadable, distorted letters and numbers!!!!--NBC

May not work

@ July 9, 2014 10:58 AM in What do you think of this new product?

Unlike English toilets, our domestic varieties have a separate passage (I believe) up to the ball-cock in the tank, which allows the trap to fill after a flush.
I am sure this will prevent any pressure from being applied to the blockage. Most of the time it is the suction stroke which pulls the debris up enough to loosen it.
This device follows the arrangement of a well-known English practical joke, wherein some clear plastic sandwich wrap is stretched across the porcelain bowl. The next user is in for an unpleasant surprise.--NBC

Choosing a replacement boiler

@ July 9, 2014 7:56 AM in Old Vaillant boiler info needed

Remember to follow the proper procedures for sizing the replacement water/steam boiler, and not merely go off the old specifications!--NBC

Repair or replace

@ July 5, 2014 5:44 AM in Can this boiler leak be fixed? (homeowner w/ pictures)

Replacement is the lowest hanging fruit you will find in this. The new boiler, whether it be cast iron, or mod con must be chosen for its ability to keep up with the heat loss of the building, so use the SlantFin software to calculate that.
Use the find a contractor button here to find an expert in your state, and compare his heat loss calculation with your own. Check his references for such installations.
Do a search here for gravity systems, and read the various post on the adaption of new boilers to old systems. Many manufacturers will provide recommended piping diagrams for gravity system installation.
We do not discuss pricing here as the costs vary state by state.--NBC

Boiler replacement

@ July 3, 2014 10:16 AM in Replace the header or supply it.

It would be wise to do a survey of the radiators to check on the sizing of the new boiler, since the old one may have been incorrect.
The manufacturer's piping instructions should be followed at a minimum. A drop header will solve many problems of installing and running, especially with a large header, and both risers being used.
If there are 2 mains, then pipe a separate takeoff from the header for each.
Pictures of the current setup would be very helpful.--NBC
I think I now understand your exact question, so let's definitely see some pictures.

Dan's newsletter

@ July 3, 2014 5:23 AM in Dan's newsletter

This article seems to have some logical black holes

It seems to recognize the benefits of radiant heating, but uses the less efficient (and green) form of electric radiant, compensating for that by trying to direct the radiant towards the occupants.
I think it a fallacy to blame energy waste on heating momentarily unoccupied spaces, when the real culprit is heating badly insulated spaces.--NBC

Atmospheric boiler

@ July 2, 2014 11:21 AM in New gas boiler sizing

Have a look at the Lochinvar Solution, which has an outdoor reset option (may not be useful with your amount of baseboards).
It is a lightweight copper heat exchanger, 2-stage gas valve atmospheric, which will not break the bank, or your back carrying it downstairs.--NBC

Switching to gas

@ July 1, 2014 9:28 AM in New gas boiler sizing

What about putting a new gas burner in the present boiler. That would surely cost less than a new mod con, and you would be warm. When the boiler dies, then a new boiler could use the replacement gas burner.
Any piping problems should be corrected at this time.--NBC

Venting location

@ July 1, 2014 9:20 AM in One Pipe Steam - What Is This?

I would be afraid of making any penetrations in the roof to vent the trap exit, because the exit might become blocked with ice in the winter, and the hole might leak. Could you drop a pipe down the same pipe chase? Pex could be used here.
Alternatively, the venting could be increased on the dry returns so as to have capacity for the riser as well. Just keep the amount of venting on each dry return the same so each has the same resistance to the escaping air (as low as possible). Otherwise, you may have one return getting steam more quickly than its neighbors, leading to unbalanced heat. A 0-3 psi gauge will show you how close to the open pipe equivalent you are. With that size riser, you may need some big traps. Look in the venting guide available in the shop here for their capacities.
Remember, " air is the enemy-to be chased out like the raccoon from the garbage can".--NBC

Using steam traps on one pipe as main vents

@ June 30, 2014 1:58 PM in One Pipe Steam - What Is This?

I tried to search for the thread showing that modification, but haven't found it yet.
I think Dave QCA, and others have done this, saving space, and gaining capacity, using a Monash trap.--NBC

Here it is:

Over pressure

@ June 30, 2014 10:52 AM in One Pipe Steam - What Is This?

Probably the maintenance crew have been raising the pressure to compensate for inadequate main venting.
The existing vents could be replaced with some traps as others have done. Perhaps a trap at the top of the main riser would speed things up.--NBC

Combining zones

@ June 26, 2014 4:10 AM in Combine two heating zones into one, any savings?

Did you ever notice, when the thermostats were set differently, that the boiler short-cycled when heating just one zone? These boilers work best when they fire for longer instead of shorter periods of time. If your boiler was correctly sized, then it will run on low fire for extended periods of time, just keeping up with the heat-loss on a milder winter day.
If it was oversized, then it will short-cycle, when heating only one zone, which is less efficient.--NBC

Preventing cold air from coming into the boiler during the off periods

@ June 25, 2014 7:30 PM in boiler venting

Give some thought to protecting the boiler from freezing, while there is no call for heat.--NBC

1931 vapor system?

@ June 24, 2014 4:09 PM in New Geo System vs. Old Steam System System

from the radiator pictures in the other thread, it appears you may have a vapor/vacuum system [what name is on the traps-Dunham?]. these were very high quality systems for their day, and still run well, sometimes at 2 ounce down to subatmospheric pressures.
as far as age of pipes verses leaking, my pipes are from 1885 [not the oldest here], and I have had very few leaks.
I suspect that Jamie is right about failed traps, and high pressure, causing your high fuel use, which are easily put right. I suspect the boiler may have a 2 stage gas valve which would also reduce the cost of running if functioning.
post some pictures of the boiler, controls, and piping, and lets see what other suggestions we may have, to reduce your consumption by 50%..--NBC
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