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Joined on March 15, 2005

Last Post on August 23, 2014

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You have no Gauges?

@ August 23, 2014 8:14 AM in Buderus failure at HW output

Every boiler needs a temperature and pressure gauge, and a pressure relief valve. The first indicator of a leaking Indirect coil is rising pressure in the boiler, and leaking from the relief valve.


@ August 17, 2014 10:06 AM in Altitude and Deration

You can cover your butt by following EXACTLY the manufacturer's instructions....but until recent times, some of them had no real experience with the altitude thing, and they just copy rules of thumb from somebody else's playbook. And the learning is still going on.
Many furnaces and boilers were built for sea level, uncrated at 8000 feet, fired up and walked away from. The CO levels in the chimney may be 900 or 1200 ppm; and it could take years, but it will fill with soot and go south from there.   

Well, I'm no Guru BUT....

@ August 17, 2014 9:55 AM in Altitude and Deration

 You need to know the Caloric content of the gas being supplied, as I believe that some Western slope gas is full value, and Denver area gas from Excel is running around 880 or so. Colo. nat. Gas comes from the same supply chain as Excel gas. This gas is formulated to work well at Denver altitudes or thereabouts, so that ranges, dryers, water heaters, etc will burn more or less correctly even though they were designed and manufactured for sea level. But to complicate the issue, some gas appliances are "high altitude" models, and are sold in places like Denver and Salt Lake City.
 So you can take your input rating and reduce it 4% per thousand ft. altitude, then divide by the actual caloric content which will raise the input back up some to compensate for the "weak" gas. By the way, I feel 4% per thousand is too steep for figuring atmospheric density losses at altitude, because the weight of a column of air is not linear because it compresses.
 From experience, conversation with Colorado Nat. Gas, and Excel, and the use of a combustion analyser, I have arrived at a figure of 20% input reduction for 8-9 thousand feet altitude using their gas (for old-school atmospheric draft appliances). Then you can adjust primary air and/or manifold pressure slightly.  


@ July 23, 2014 9:59 PM in What did it cost in 1960?

I can remember doing whole-house 4 zone baseboard cast-iron boiler heat systems for $3700. Sorry, I wasn't doing it in the sixties, but I bet it was half of $3700 or less in 1960. 

sounded like...

@ June 4, 2014 9:47 PM in Old Radiators Repipe

he wants to put the pipes on the Outside of the building. Much as I hate glycol, I would not attempt this feat except in warm climates where no heat is needed.

I have to answer Yes to your question

@ May 31, 2014 9:50 AM in Honey well zone valves and oxygen

I came across an 'open' system that had been converted to 'closed', all the tubing being PB. Had about 8 of those zone valves, two of them had the shaft rust thru, allowing the ball to break free and become stuck fast into the outlet side of the valve. All the others had a rust gumball blocking the stem from turning. The only other steel or iron on the system was the expansion tank, as far as I know.    

Limescale Removal

@ May 19, 2014 7:53 PM in Limescale Removal

Any of you guys got recommendations for dissolving heavy limescale deposits around the bottom of a gas tank type water heater? It seems that "Un-Lime" is NLA. My gut tells me vinegar is going to be too slow. I like to see smoke.  

It can be maddening!

@ March 20, 2014 11:36 AM in Manifold Actuators

Honeywell still sells those motorized telestats, but the screw-on collars don't match up with the old Wirsbo manifolds. I tried to swap the collars but I can;t get them off without ruining the little locking ring and stuff. The Uponor 301A (I think) with the correct adaptors will work, but I wish they would produce those motorized ones with the right collars again. I don't like waiting for that slow-motion button to rise! The time required to go through a job with 30 or 40 of those wax eggs and check the end switches is ridiculous!

Correct me if I'm wrong

@ March 13, 2014 10:15 PM in Propane and condensate

but I always thought cold air was MORE dense than warm air.

Which is faster?

@ February 25, 2014 7:23 AM in Triangle Tube Indirect vs HTP SSU Indirect

Last summer I replaced two indirects in nearly identical circumstances. Both were tied to Crown Induced draft boilers of 150,000 btu input Both were pumped with 1 inch supply (180 degrees) and return. The new Smart 60 took 31 minutes to get from 55 degrees to 125 degrees. The new SSU 60 did it in 17 minutes. Not pure science, mind you. Just sayin'

Expansion tank weirdness

@ February 6, 2014 7:16 AM in Pressure Relief Valves on Expansion Tanks

I have seen expansion tanks homebuilt of cell core PVC, with a shrader valve and an aqaupex sight glass. This was done numerous times by one of the local yokel Mensa Heat Contractors. Makes ya wonder what would happen if it got pressurized with steam. Maybe just swell up like a balloon or maybe worse.


@ December 28, 2013 10:33 AM in NTI ER6 code in cold weather

You have 11 inches WC  gas pressure and not 11 lbs as your post says 

That's a different problem

@ December 28, 2013 10:29 AM in NTI ER6 code in cold weather

I think the stack "sensor" is just an overtemp safety switch. You have to find out the actual temp in the exhaust before condemning the switch. But they CAN go bad, and replacement is easy. The temp in the exhaust should not be much higher than the displayed supply water temp, if it is very high, then you have another problem.  

Sounds like Air Switch problems

@ December 27, 2013 7:32 AM in NTI ER6 code in cold weather

I had one that displayed similar symptoms (only when very cold outside). Close inspection revealed droplets of water forming in the air tubing between the intake elbow and the air switch itself. Replaced the switch, but the trouble came back the next cold snap. Figured the frigid air being drawn in (directly to the fan intake) was condensing, and the water droplets were fouling the air switch. So I cut in a tee in the intake pipe so it could draw a mix of cold outside air and warm mechanical room air, and the problem has not resurfaced. Bear in mind that this defeats the "sealed combustion" intent of the design, and may not be suitable for your application. The ASO and ASC are "Air Switch Open" and "Air Switch Closed". The control determines if these signals are out of normal sequence, and throws the error code. The air switch is very sensitive, and rough lite-off can also trigger the problem. 

For what it's worth...

@ October 24, 2013 8:37 PM in Strange residue in Giannoni heat exchanger

I find the mouse turd/coffee grounds more abundant in boilers that condense regularly; like those with outdoor temp compensation and connected to radiant systems. The grounds are laying on the top of the burner, and piled up in the bottom of the exchanger. Boilers set to 180 degrees don't pile up near as much. But they get stubborn scale buildup. 

Answer to my own question!

@ October 24, 2013 8:30 PM in Troubles with the Burnham ES2

Apparently there was a string of defective spark/sense probes by Honeywell, and replacing them with off-the-shelf Honeywell probes cured it. Administrator: You can delete this post.

Troubles with the Burnham ES2

@ October 16, 2013 10:31 PM in Troubles with the Burnham ES2

 Any contractors figured out the cure for the low flame sense value? The last three ES2 I installed all had the same darn symptom; where the flame strength value decreases as the boiler warms up, until the control drops out the main burner, repeating several times and then locking out. The wholesaler sends out replacement pilot assemblies which sometimes cures it, and sometimes not. All these are Nat. Gas models and operate at "high" altitude of about 8000 ft. above sea level. I'm not the only guy experiencing this.
[email protected] 

Well yes I did!

@ July 6, 2013 8:52 AM in Professional?

There was a certification spectacular at Red Rocks, where four or five Reps conducted simultaneous but separate classes. There was an introduction by one of the State Inspectors, we had the Pizza and Soda, then we learned all about the need and requirement for those ultra-expensive nail guards and bend supports and termination parts. At the end, a quick exam was administered in each area, and a Certification handed over (except one brand, they were going to mail it but never did). I still have the cards, but only used one of them one time. I think three of those companies have disappeared or changed names or merged.
The theme was promotion of labor cost savings. A quick calculation showed me the materials costs negated any labor savings, and in view of the flimsy appearance of the tube and connectors, I decided to not use it. I fix it sometimes, though. Had one last summer where some type of electrical ground fault sizzled a hole in the CSST. Scared hell out of the occupants when their basement filled up with LP gas. 

I guess things change over time...

@ July 5, 2013 8:50 AM in Professional?

When I went for certification about ten-fifteen years ago, one of the product reps ASSURED us that these products would NEVER be sold retail at the big box stores. I thought it sounded like a lie at the time, so I noted it in my mental file. I don't use it myself, but the company I work for uses it all the time. The younger guys won't thread pipe unless somebody insists on it. It cuts into extended break time to much.

The correct answer is "Wrong"

@ May 18, 2013 8:17 AM in is it a problem connecting a larger gas pipe to a smaller gas pipe?

A gas distribution system must supply adequate pressure (hence volume) for each appliance connected. Therefore it starts out larger and reduces as it branches off. Get a copy of the Gas Pipe Sizing charts from the Code Body authority in your area. Don't get caught installing gas pipe without a permit.

Never Mind...

@ May 3, 2013 8:15 PM in WarmRite Ipex Control Board

It was a 356 of sorts. I put in a new one and all is well. There will be a special place reserved in the low-rent section of @ell for those guys at Kitec. Would it be too much expense to give maybe 3-4 inches of slack in the wire lengths so an old guy doesn't have to spend two hours on his hands and knees in a filthy crawlspace trying to stretch those dinky wires? Good ridance. Gimme back the money I spent on Special Tools, too.

a heads up....

@ May 1, 2013 4:02 PM in Expansion tank replacement with a what is that?

Indeed, it is a fill valve and pressure reducing valve. The tank will have a straight thread with a shoulder and seal; but a new tank will have 1/2' (tapered) pipe thread, and may not work. They are sold as a unit most of the time. I usually junk it if it doesn't allow flow, and replace it with a fill valve/backflow combination, using valves before and after to allow easier service. Not for DIY unless you study up on it first! 
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