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nicholas bonham-carter

nicholas bonham-carter

Joined on November 24, 2007

Last Post on September 14, 2014

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Recent Posts

burner pricing

@ March 24, 2009 7:56 PM in Power Burner for Steam Boiler

could you e-mail this to some of the mfgs, and get an early reply; or if you have bought such a burner in the last few years, can "guessti-update the old price?--nbc

over-fired boiler

@ March 24, 2009 4:20 PM in Oversized Boiler / Vaporstat Question

i think it would now be the time to determine how over-fired the boiler is by adding up the values for all the rads and comparing that to the rating of the boiler. there seems to be a difference of opinion as to how worthwhile the 2-stage burner is amongst the pros here. maybe an accurate assessment of how much boiler capacity you are trying to under-fire will aid in the final decision. in theory, the hi-lo fire burning should result in lower fuel consumption, even in a correctly sized boiler. there can be problems resulting from the burner tube removal you describe, over the long term, as a result of uneven heating, and its effect on the sections of the boiler. i am a firm believer in LOW pressures, and very GENEROUS main line air venting, which can only be done, in my opinion, with a vaporstat [assisted by a good low pressure gauge-0-15 oz.] even though you have a short-cycling situation now, the system will work better when it is at its design pressure of a few ounces. removing the air quickly will also improve the short-cycling, even though it is not a cure for over-firing.--nbc

plug removal

@ March 22, 2009 11:50 PM in Boiler sludge removal ?

my installer pointed out that he had put nipples with caps in my new boiler, saying, "you can always get a nipple out, but not a plug". i am glad he did that, but i wonder how the plug could be removed, if you really had to get it out. there must be a way.--nbc

oversized boiler

@ March 22, 2009 7:57 PM in Oversized Boiler / Vaporstat Question

1st, how do you know that the boiler is oversized? have you calculated the sum of the sizes of all the radiators? i think the boiler would be suffering from under-venting, if it cycles on and off too much during a "burn". this is because it is squeeeeezing the air out through inadequate main line air vents. when your system is generously vented, and running on low vaporstat pressures, you will notice an improvement in comfort, and response. i don't know what your present pressure is, but i am sure it could be lowered to under 16 ounces, with great benefit. unless you know that the radiator vents are non-functional, focus on the mains, and increase their capacity with some gorton #2's.--nbc

babbling brook

@ March 22, 2009 11:10 AM in Water systems

what sort of system are you talking about? otherwise the U. S. Army corps of engineers may have to be called in. as far as the best deal on gauges--always choose ones which work,as they will not be thrown away in a few months [].--nbc


@ March 22, 2009 10:02 AM in How to clean out domestic piping ?

almost that time of the year to have jellied consomme with sour cream, freshly-squeezed lemon, topped off with caviar --very yum-yum!--nbc

cool computers

@ March 20, 2009 8:59 AM in Chicago HVAC

we put in a room a bit smaller than that for the tennants servers, and were able to exhaust the hot air out into an attic space, and therefore did not need any extra cooling. i think we used a 10 in. kitchen exhaust fan.--nbc

leads on boiler repair?

@ March 18, 2009 10:16 AM in how is the work load in your neck of the woods?

in these final cold days of winter, can you see any leaking boilers by looking for steam coming from the chimneys? maybe some of the guys should take note of the address, so you can mail a follow-up letter describing your services.--nbc


@ March 18, 2009 7:33 AM in Chicago 3-flat, Steam boiler - replacement or alternatives?

why not get a quotation for either a boiler section[s] replacement, or a complete replacement? just make sure the connected radiation is totaled and matched to the replacement boiler [or the present one]. maybe there are some ways of making the job easier for the installer [and cheaper for you]: delivering the new sections to the basement, or removing the old remains.--nbc

valve packing

@ March 18, 2009 7:25 AM in rebuilding old radiator valve(s)

if these are regular steam valves, the only part you need is a length of graphite string to wind around the stem after removing the packing nut. if they are more special, then post a picture, and someone will have the answer here. even if the old packing has failed, the merest wiff of steam is all that should come out, unless the pressure is too high, or the rad blocked.--nbc

oil smell

@ March 17, 2009 12:03 PM in oil smell

if you can smell the oil fumes in the basement, then there could be a pipe chase through which the fumes can rise to the upper floor. when you find it plug it with insulation.-nbc

slow steam

@ March 14, 2009 11:41 AM in Fast Venting

check the pitch of the pipes along their length for sags which could trap the air, and steam. get a non-contact thermometer and after measuring the "time to boil" temperature on the steam header, then find out how soon steam arrives at the dry return. it the boiler is steaming up quickly, then steam is somehow being interupted on its way to the end. if the boiler is slow to steam, is it undersized [or worse]?--nbc

condo association & maintainance

@ March 14, 2009 11:33 AM in ugly, but works well...ever try these?

in any building that is condominiumised, which has steam heat, specific mention should be made in the condo bye-laws to the fact that the heating system is a common element, like the roof. it therefore needs to be maintained as a single element, so you wouldn't have some rads closed off, sucking water out of the system. there must be that provision for paying the gas bill, so why not the maintainance? even a carefully located visionpro stat with some averaging indoor sensors, could start to solve these problems. i am going to assume that the thermostat is set for 70 deg, so how is it that some units are 20 deg. above others? if it were my bldg, i would re-check the pressure, with a good gauge, and the waterline. if a boiler has an eratic waterline, constantly tripping the LWCO it can play havoc with maintaining an even temp. and i would increase the venting to get the steam throughout those undoubtably long horizontals, as quickly as possible! i would also double check the boilersizing, maybe it was oversized when replaced.there could be a quick 10-15 % reduction in fuel use in this for them, but they will have to pull together.--nbc

TRV alternative

@ March 13, 2009 11:23 PM in ugly, but works well...ever try these?

i still think that TRV's should only be used as a last resort; after maximising main line venting, and keeping the pressure below 16 oz.[timco i am sure that you have covered these bases!] the dead men were pretty good at selecting the right rad for each room and its exposure, so all we need to do for balancing the heat is to recreate the original system conditions. so often i see that the building owner is hoping that these TRV's are going to compensate for a lack of maintainance, but not so!! --nbc

boiler cleaning

@ March 13, 2009 1:30 PM in Using Cascade dishwashing liquid to clean boiler before draining

why not contact the mfg of your boiler, and ask them for recommendations. as i said above, peerless specifies using arm & hammer.--nbc

resolution of piping problems

@ March 13, 2009 7:35 AM in RUMBLING PEERLESS 63-03 STEAM BOILER

if i were you i would show your regular plumber the piping layout from the peerless manual,and see if he can redo it according to factory specs: in particular, layout and diameter of main piping steam header, using black iron pipe, followed by peerless's method of cleaning the boiler. i am sure he would like to keep your present business relationship intact! as it may require several skimmings to thoroughly remove the oil from the boiler, perhaps you can learn how to do this simple, essential, but time-consuming step in the process of boiler replacement. then you're set for another 35 years! i would also install a 0-16 ounce vaporstat to keep the pressure low like the old utica you had before. you may need some additional main air vents as well. you will find that the new boiler, WHEN PROPERLY INSTALLED, can meet the performance, comfort, and economy of its predecessor.--nbc

cleanliness next to godliness

@ March 13, 2009 12:13 AM in Using Cascade dishwashing liquid to clean boiler before draining

peerless boiler co. specify arm & hammer washing soda for the first cleanning followed by a long skimming. the cold water entering the boiler slowly will push the hot soda + oil out through the skimming port. when the water runs cold all the old water has been drained off the top. obviously the washing soda is not going to get into the steam mains, and rads; unless someone has a heavy hand on the burner switch.--nbc

not the boiler

@ March 12, 2009 3:23 PM in RUMBLING PEERLESS 63-03 STEAM BOILER

i have a peerless 211A, and i was impressed with their documentation [including a booklet specifically for steam heating aps], and their tech support was good on the phone as well. i place the blame on the installer in this case. the nipple buletin may be for the hot water ap for this boiler. the best thing for peerless to do would be to make sure the H O has an opportunity to look at the documentation, before the installer takes a wrong turn.--nbc

rolls royce slogan

@ March 12, 2009 12:25 PM in RUMBLING PEERLESS 63-03 STEAM BOILER

your "cheapened price is soon forgotten after the bitterness of poor quality." is just like mr. royce used to say,"the quality is remembered long after the price has been forgotten" once again if a good sample contract were available, with a work description preventing this sort of unhappy outcome, this unfortunate gentleman would not be in the boat he is. the usual 1 year "tail-light" guarantee often given has probably expired, and now he will esentially have to reinstall the boiler piping. the boiler guarantee is of course dependent on installation following the mfg's instructions, so that's a gonner. of course the contract would also have to be fair to the competent contractor too. how would all here handle this problem? is there any use in even calling the original installer?--nbc

the best trvs for apts.

@ March 11, 2009 11:27 PM in Thermostatic radiator valves

only use trvs if you have perfect mainline venting, and low pressure [under 16 ounces] in your system. there is a limit to how much control these trvs have over "hot spots" in your system. for 1 trv you can get almost 4 gorton #2's-i know where i have put my money in just such a case! also pay attention to thermostat placement, and anticipation. maybe a h/w visionpro with remote indoor sensor, and control panel located in a lockable area is in your future. that's what i did.--nbc

\"i'd like to see them make\"

@ March 11, 2009 12:52 PM in Defective Gorton #2

i'd like to see gorton make a mega-vent, maybe less tall, also with visible means of showing temperature, and whether open or closed. it could have the capacity of 4 # 2's but would be adjustable, down. even though it would undoubtably be more expensive, it would save time, by allowing us boilermen to see when steam had arrived at multiple locations, and adjust the vent speed accordingly. now when you want to balance the mains it's a matter of guesswork and sometimes multiple shipments from the vent supplier. also would make it easier to keep a spare on hand for emergency use later. i am suprised that you had 2 bad ones-maybe they did take a fall.--nbc

defective vents

@ March 11, 2009 12:05 AM in Defective Gorton #2

before sending back, i would try them in place just to make certain of non-function. even though you have already given them a colonoscopical examination.--nbc