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The Wall
Mark N

Mark N

Joined on January 3, 2009

Last Post on April 16, 2014

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@ April 16, 2014 10:20 PM in Painting Cast Iron Baseboard Radiator – Baseray/Governale

I painted them 3 years ago and have been satisfied with the results.

Baseboard Paint

@ April 16, 2014 6:47 PM in Painting Cast Iron Baseboard Radiator – Baseray/Governale

I painted my Burnham baseboards with Benjamin Moore Impervo, it is an alkyd enamel paint. I used a brush to apply the paint.

Tankless Coil

@ April 6, 2014 6:53 PM in how should I prepare the system for summer?

A tankless coil is the least efficient way to make hot water. By raising the water level you put the entire coil under water increasing the heat transfer surface in the summer. An indirect or a separate hot water heater would be more efficient.

Spitting Vents

@ April 6, 2014 5:37 PM in Bad new gorton valves?

Is your boiler oversized? If so by how much. An oversized boiler will cause vents to hiss and spit.

Tankless Coil

@ April 6, 2014 5:34 PM in how should I prepare the system for summer?

You should have no issues raising the water level in the boiler to cover the tankless coil during the summer. The aquastat will turn off the boiler at whatever you have it set to. You will most likely have better hot water during the summer having the coil underwater. Remember to lower the water before the heating season next fall.


@ March 22, 2014 9:55 AM in are asbestos risks overblown?

I grew up in the town of Manville NJ. I've gone to way too many funerals of people who worked at Johns-Manville and died from their exposure to asbestos. Granted many of hose people were exposed to it over many years. I would stay away and have it handled professionally.


@ March 15, 2014 10:27 AM in Sight glass "empties" when boiler is firing

Charlie, I assumed you learned your trade from your father. Your reputation gets you work. Maybe installers should carry pictures of previous work and letters of recommendation from previous customers.

It is absolutely insane that people are paying lots of their hard earned money on shoddy installations. Then they have to fight with their installers to make it right. I blows my mind that the people putting in these boilers don't even open the installation manual. I've seen picture of installs by homeowners that blow away the installs of "professionals" that do this for a living. The lack of pride of workmanship is criminal. If you can't or don't want to do it right, be honest with the homeowner and walk away.

Its time for the manufactures of boilers to put a sticker right on boiler jacket showing the proper piping diagram.

Gauge Glass

@ March 14, 2014 2:56 PM in Burnham Independence Boiler sight glass is full

Make sure the gauge cocks are open. Should be turned fully counterclockwise. There is a fitting at the bottom of the gauge that can be opened to drain out the water. If the boiler over filled into the piping you would have water coming out of the main vents or the rad vents.

Gauge Glass

@ March 14, 2014 2:28 PM in Burnham Independence Boiler sight glass is full

When was the last time the gauge glass was blown down? It is probably clogged.
Get a pro in asap. You need to know how much water is in the boiler. Did you have any
Water coming out of your vents?

Boiler Install

@ March 14, 2014 2:24 PM in Sight glass "empties" when boiler is firing

I've seen many poorly piped boilers on the wall over the last few years. These question should be asked of prospective installers.
1. Do you own a copy of The Lost Art of Steam Heat?
2. Have you read it?
3. Have you attended a Dan Holohan steam seminar?

If the answer to the above is no, I would show them the door.

Also since the installer of this boiler was a knucklehead, I would not doubt the boiler was not properly sized and it should be checked. The boiler has be sized by the EDR of the installed radiators.

Empty Boiler

@ March 14, 2014 11:13 AM in Sight glass "empties" when boiler is firing

Post some picture of the near boiler piping. Sounds like the water is leaving the boiler with the steam. If you have the install manual compare the boiler piping to what is recommended on the manual. If you don't have it, it is available on line.

Bad smell

@ March 9, 2014 5:48 PM in how to get rid of boiler solder smell?

Have you tried draining and flushing out the boiler?

Reason for Cycling on Pressure

@ March 5, 2014 7:50 PM in Short cycling

Clank why are you cycling on pressure before satisfying the thermostat? Are you recovering from set back? Is the boiler oversized?

Cut In Pressure

@ March 5, 2014 7:27 PM in Why not a cut in of zero?

No it actually states twice the system pressure drop. Do you have a copy of TLAOSH. If you do read chapter 2. If not I would suggest you buy the book and read it. In chapter 2 it is explained how system pressure drop is determined.

Hammer time

@ March 2, 2014 6:34 PM in Knocking and hammering

JWhite since you do this for a living it would be a wise investment to buy "The Lost Art Of Steam Heat" and "A Pocketful of Steam Problems". This small investment will pay itself back many times.

Dead Boilers

@ March 2, 2014 8:27 AM in Beating a dead horse.

The only problem I've seen here on the Wall with IN series boilers is rotting out from excessive feed water and bad piping. Any boiler will rot our from excessive feed water or water with excessive chlorides or low PH. No brand of boiler is exempt. The boiler can't be blamed for water quality or system problems. I don't know why Burnham won't offer their Megasteam with a gas option. How many other companies have certified their oil boilers to be used with gas? Only 2 I've heard of are Slant-Fin and Smith.

Market Share

@ March 1, 2014 1:28 PM in Beating a dead horse.

All companies are in business to make a profit. Burnham already offers a gas steam boiler, their Independence Boiler. What is Burnham's market share with their Independence boiler?
Maybe by offering the Megasteam with a gas gun option the market share they would gain would be at the expense of their Independence boiler and possibly their profit margin is higher with the Independence then the Megasteam.

Steam Study

@ March 1, 2014 11:16 AM in Pickup factor. Help me understand

That study was a very interesting read. With the boiler a 130 degrees it took 5 minutes to make steam and then on average an additional 12 to 17 minutes to get steam to all the radiators at all 3 firing rates. Very slow steam distribution by modern standards. The main venting most likely needed to be increased. What would be interesting to see would be some data on the effects on a steam system that has a hot water loop sized near pickup factor. Start the boiler at 130 degrees and run only the steam zone. Time how long to start steaming and how long till steam is at all the radiators. Next start the boiler at 130 degrees but run the steam zone and the hot water zone and time everything again. Run the test a few times and take an average. Would be nice to run the test at night with about a 30 degree outside temp. With the hot water loop removing the built in pickup factor the steam would be operating at the net rating or close to it.

Pick Up Factor

@ February 28, 2014 7:58 PM in Pickup factor. Help me understand

Chris the actual pickup will vary depending upon the temp of water in the boiler and the temp of the piping. The hotter everything is the less pick up needed, the colder more. But whatever the actual pick up is it must be met every cycle. The boiler and pipes must be brought up to steam temp before any steam gets to the rads. For example lets say it took 10 minutes to get steam to the rads and the boiler ran a total of 20 minutes. In that example the pickup was 50%. In actual btu's it would be whatever the output of your boiler is for 10 minutes. The boiler rating on the boiler are based upon 1 hours time. Rarely does your boiler run for 1 hours time.

No Pressure Reading

@ February 27, 2014 7:15 PM in Low pressure steam, but long burner cycle

Is the system keeping your house at 70 without any banging, hissing, spitting vents, short cycling or other steam problems then there is no problem other than maybe your boiler is slightly undersized.

Gas Bill

@ February 26, 2014 10:01 AM in High heating bills - looking for some ideas!

What other appliances in your home use gas?  Did you factor them out?  What temp was the thermostat set to?  Where are you located it has been very cold in the Midwest and the Northeast.  Was size is the boiler and what is the EDR of the attached radiators?  Order the books that are available here and get the knowledge.

Uninsulated pipe

@ February 23, 2014 11:22 AM in loud banging after oil->gas conversion can't sleep

The steam mains running through your garage are uninsulated and running through an unheated space since the radiator is disconnected. Uninsulated pipe condenses a lot of steam and could be a cause of your water hammer. The main vents are most likely located behind the sheetrock in the finished part of your basement. Hopefully there is an access panel where they are located. Where are you located? Maybe there is a steam pro nearby that can rectify your issues.
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