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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on July 24, 2014

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Recent Posts

new steamer

@ July 19, 2009 8:56 AM in New steamer

nice drop header on that one. will there be enough venting capacity with that hoffman [?] 75 on the return? i see the dreaded standard honeywell pressuretrol mounted on the boiler-can you set the pressure on it low enough for this system? my experience was that when set as low as it would go, it allowed the pressure to go up to the 10 psi cut-out on the secondary pressuretrol! that was very soon replaced by a vaporstat, set for 2-8 oz. i also agree on being careful with close-by starage, not only of paint, but also water-softener salt etc. which may allow chlorides into the boiler, and rot it out, as happened to mine i think.--nbc

low headroom

@ July 15, 2009 11:59 PM in header off of bsteam boilers

why not show the foreman the mfg.'s instruction manual for the installation. has someone forgotten there was a ceiling in this location? probably larger pipe sizes in the header will be needed, and all the headroom you have. low pressure could compensate for the low header. is this for 1-pipe or 2?--nbc

elaboration on pricing methods

@ July 15, 2009 11:51 PM in Who are you?

i would be interested to hear the rest of the story about your previous employer, and his pricing methods. was it a case of his figuring out "what the traffic would bear", or some other method? and i am not in this profession, just very interested in keeping my 1885x 55 rad 1-pipe system in good shape; and with the many projects i have done--sometimes with my steam pro--sometimes alone, i feel a kinship with all the dedicated steam men here! i could never have done as much as i have without the WALL!! thank you all, and dan.--nbc '

solar efficiency

@ July 12, 2009 8:19 AM in solar efficiency

maybe some of you will be able to see this without driving too far: http://americansolarchallenge.org/event/asc2008/schedule.html http://americansolarchallenge.org/event/asc2008/teams/ there are even some EU challengers. http://www.hochschule-bochum.de/solarcar.html also of interest are the KM/Liter consumption figures for this: http://www.shell.us/home/content/usa/responsible_energy/ecomarathon_americas/eco_marathon_americas.html http://www.shell.com/home/content/eco-marathon-en/europe/2009/results/app_results_2009.html --nbc

tape or dope?

@ July 5, 2009 1:17 PM in Tape or Pipe Dope

i think the difference between tape and dope is the ease of separating the joint later. basically the thread sealant is misnamed--it should be called thread lubricant. i use teflon tape with a drop of dishwashing liquid [on the female thread] over brushed clean threads, and have never had a problem undoing the joint later. it's a different story for 6" steam main. on that you probably need both dope and tape. remember, if your system is working as originally designed and installed, you should only be hold only a few ounces of pressure inside the system.--nbc

competition for HP?

@ July 5, 2009 8:33 AM in I'm done with Hewlett-Packard

this line of equipment looks very robust! http://www.slipperybrick.com/tag/steampunk/ is it now time to release the fuel consumption figures on some of those major refits and replacements from last year? nbc

wolf river apples

@ July 3, 2009 9:04 AM in saving a heritage apple (OT)

what size pie would that be? you might not want your graft to support water melon-sized apples for a couple of seasons yet to come! please don't forget to save some seeds for the rest of us gardeners on the wall here [or are they seedless water melon-sized?]!--nbc

lwco steaming

@ July 3, 2009 8:56 AM in steam coming from low water blow out

sounds like you and the customer would benefit from a copy of dan's book, "the lost art of steam heating". many mysteries of steam heating systems are made clear and simple in it. did the burner cut out when you drained the lwco? is your steam pressure as low as these systems love-8-12 ounces? if you have dirty water, inside the boiler, you could have violent surging which could leave the upper port of the lwco exposed to steam--see "skimming" [do a search using the upper orange banner button]--nbc

spitting vents

@ July 2, 2009 2:32 PM in steam radiator spitting water

ed is right--cleanliness is next to godliness, especially with steam boilers! don't waste time with sqick or other additives; use only plain water. is the pressure on the new boiler as low as these systems like best: 8-12 oz? if not, get a 0-16 oz. vaporstat, and crank it down. is the new boiler piped exactly according to the mfg's instructions [especially pipe sizes, height of steam main above the waterline]? some pictures of the boiler piping would help pinpoint problem areas to look at.--nbc

height adjustment

@ July 1, 2009 8:59 AM in Cut legs?

this goes to show that in the case of steam valves..if at all possible repair-do not replace. they should never be used anyway, so what about an elbow instead?--nbc

in these troubled times...

@ June 27, 2009 10:16 AM in in these troubled times...

never has it been more important to have good insurance for your company cars. if your company finds some flimsy excuse not to pay a legitimate claim, then guess who does pay--you! one of our cars was wiped out by a driver running a red light. "don't worry i have insurance" says he. i am amazed how easily they are avoiding settling this claim, forcing us to claim on our own policy, which no doubt will raise our own rates through no fault on our part. a google search of this insurance company shows them to be big in fleet insurance. so be careful, if you have UNITRIN...ALPHA...KEMPER INSURANCE!! it seems that steam heating has no monopoly on knuckleheads, or bad actors!--nbc

old valve repair

@ June 24, 2009 11:46 PM in Rad valve Q. 1/2\" and 1\" on same valve

it seems as if you should try to keep what you have in the way of valves, and traps because of the pipe size on inlet and outlet. i have seen worse looking valve packing nuts, and yours should have no problem remaining leak-free, especially at the low pressure your system likes best [ounces]-nbc

cooking with steam!

@ June 20, 2009 1:27 AM in Wetheat Chefs (OT)

artichokes in the pressure cooker take 15 min from steam up-to top off. a good vinagrette with plenty of dijon mustard goes well with them- so simple, and yet so delicious!--nbc

trapr repair

@ June 19, 2009 12:32 AM in Trap Questions

i see a union on that trap. would taking off the trap make it easier? it looks like there is enough clearance to spin the body, once the union has been broken.--nbc

steam improvements

@ June 16, 2009 11:58 AM in Getting a Grip On Our Steam System

if i were in your position, i would get the approval [or not even if i had to do it secretly myself] of the condo board to have a good annual service of the boiler done by someone well versed in steam, instead of the old crew. this would include the cleaning of the burner, checking controls, measuring/replacing/increasing main air vents, and putting a good low pressure gauge [0-2 PSI gaugestore.com] on the same pigtail as the pressuretrol. i think you will find the pressuretrol to be inoperative, and therefore needing to be replaced with a vaporstat. when you have the pressure set down to the ideal 8 OUNCES, any other steam distribution problems will become more noticeable, and can be corrected at that time. likely you will see the removed rads going back in, the comfort level going up, and the fuel use going down. until you decide which boiler control to use, you could always install a honeywell visionpro with remote sensor in the coldest area of the bldg. and the "head" in a closet accessible only to the person in charge. i would guess that this service would cost less than your present gas bill. it would be important not to announce that you will be reducing the pressure, as many people will think they are being deprived, when as we know they are being over stresed. in the unlikely instance you have to replace the boiler [instead of reparing it] i would advise a lo-hi-lo fire burner, or a dual boiler setup. both boilers on until "steam has arrived", then firing 1 to keep it on the boil. when all the deferred maintainance issues are sorted out, you won't believe how you ever put up with the previous noise and discomfort.--nbc

a new profession?

@ June 16, 2009 1:23 AM in a new profession?

when the hydronics [and some customers] have got you down, you could always retrain for this!--nbc http://www.flixxy.com/helicopter-cable-inspector.htm

vapor system

@ June 6, 2009 12:50 PM in Two-Pipe Vapor - Dunham Home Heating System

while you are at it, check your pressure, which if too high, may have caused the demise of the traps. a vaporstat and a good low pressure gauge[gaugestore.com 0-15 oz.] will tell you if you are down in the 3-8 oz. range.--nbc

radiator replacement

@ June 3, 2009 5:13 PM in best replacement for steam radiators and staying with steam

do a search using the search button at the top. use radiator replacement as the search string, and all the old postings here with suggestions as to sources of old steam radiators should come up. where is your location? while you are doing this,solve the problems you were having and fix those. steam heat is basically quiet, even, economical and comfortable; just dependent on proper maintainance.--nbc

2 boilers or 1?

@ June 2, 2009 1:09 AM in 1 boiler zoned or two

is this system 1-pipe or 2? i agree that the single boiler supplying steam will have to be sized for the complete collection of all radiators, even though the zone valve may cut off one zone, or the other. why not have 1 boiler with no zone valves, but so perfectly installed, with low pressure, and ample venting, so that the gas bills will be smaller than they are now? i presume that the boilers are next to one another now for ease of installation--nbc

value-added services

@ May 31, 2009 12:13 AM in Considering closing er-up.

would it be time to diversify, and use those spare hours to do heat surveys for the locals? an I R camera, and your experience, would enable you to cut heat-loss, find faulty wiring, and many other things. it may be easier to say than to make work, but i like to hear dan say "just because they are holding a recession doesn't mean we have to attend!"--nbc

vent placement

@ May 30, 2009 11:45 AM in One-pipe steam, advice on main vent size & placement

i would always try to vent the whole main [at the end of the dry return] so you can see if one main is filling with steam more slowly than the others [more venting needed]. if the air is still in the dry return, i feel it is a wildcard in the system, perhaps able to interfere with the condensate return. also to consider is the clearance between ceiling height and pipe height should be greater at the point of drop to the wet return, than at the end of main.--nbc

system venting

@ May 30, 2009 8:55 AM in One-pipe steam, advice on main vent size & placement

i think you need at least 1 gorton #2 for each dry return, if not several. i have 3 on each of 6 dry returns [on manifolds where they drop down to become wet returns]. maybe that is overkill however it will keep the escaping air velocity down to the point where debris is unlikely to be blown into the vent, and if 1 vent becomes plugged, the other 2 can still do the job. my system is 56 rads, 1,050,000 btu with longer runs, but still takes less time for the steam to "arrive" at each rad. in fact my air is out before the pressure hits 3 oz, which leads me to believe that low pressure + ample venting + new boiler has dropped my gas use in cu. ft. 25%! like you i have three floors. the third floor has the higher capacity rad-vents, and all the others are the same original hoffman bullets. i want my horizontal mains to be full of steam, before the steam starts to fill the risers, so that all rads have steam at the same time [or close to it]. low backpressure with multiple main vents helps these mains fill quickly, and i am not paying the gas co. to get the air out through constipated little rad-vents as i once was. when you are timing the arrival of steam, use the temperature of the rad instead of the room, to start with. when you make up a list of parts you need, don't forget to find a good low pressure gauge [0-15 oz. gaugestore.com on the same pigtail as your vaporstat] mine is set at 2-8 oz. you will not know what is happening without this gauge. if there is any water hammer in the system, then that also is wasted energy.--nbc