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Alan (California Radiant) Forbes

Alan (California Radiant) Forbes

Joined on August 14, 2009

Last Post on April 21, 2014

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The tenants

@ February 28, 2014 12:57 AM in Plumbing question

want a pullout spray faucet and almost everything is getting clogged; the check valves in the spray head and the what-seems-to-be quarter in hose from the mixing valve to the spray head.

Maybe I should buy a good, old fashioned Chicago faucet.

The HW heater

@ February 27, 2014 7:15 PM in Original Equipment

is still in use, otherwise I would have snagged it.

That one is the larger size and I'll bet it weighs 600 lbs.

Plumbing question

@ February 27, 2014 7:01 PM in Plumbing question

I've got a customer with old, galvanized pipes. It's a rental house and the money is not there for a re-pipe, but the mineral debris from the pipes keep clogging the kitchen faucet. Other than a wye strainer, does anyone know of something like a small in-line filter like a fuel filter that would work here?


@ February 27, 2014 5:37 PM in Original Equipment

I asked the owner if she uses the central vacuum system and she responded that she didn't know she had one. She said her housekeepers bring their own vacuum cleaners.

I'll check it out again my next time out.

Original Equipment

@ February 25, 2014 10:11 PM in Original Equipment

This is from a visit to a Berkeley house earlier today. The boiler for the radiators is an ARCO (American Radiator Company), still plenty of them around since there are no moving parts, no electronics, no outdoor reset, no low water cutoff, no spill switch, no flame rollout switch, no NOTHING.

The water heater is probably one of the first "on-demand" units; made by Ruud. Maybe not as many of these still around, still see them from time to time; absolutely beautiful.

But I've never seen an ARCO Wand vacuum cleaner. It's a first for me.

B & G

@ February 17, 2014 1:25 AM in Bell and Gossett 100 mystery sounds

The motor mounts may be shot, but they wouldn't be the cause of this new sound so soon. Sometimes a day or two of run time will clear up a dry bearing assembly. Failing that, I'd:

1) check to make sure the coupling assembly was installed properly
2) de-pressurize the system and check the impeller for debris.


@ February 15, 2014 11:15 AM in Ken Secor's contact info?????

These are old notes I have for Ken:

"Ken Secor;; Go to He hangs out over there."


Ken Secor, CEO
Palmer Heating, LLC
1044 Elm Terrace
Rahway, NJ 07065

(732) 388-1794=phone
(732) 388-4632=fax

Sorry, nothing for Rick.


@ February 14, 2014 1:26 AM in coupling questions

Wow! I guess you're not a plumber. These are basic questions. Not trying to make you feel bad, but...........

You really shouldn't need any couplings if it's a new installation, but they are always good to have on hand in case of a boo-boo. Normal couplings are a dime-a-dozen; the ones without stops are more expensive because they are used less often and considered a speciality. At our (West Coast) supply houses, they are called, no-stop couplings or repair couplings and they are also good to have on hand in case of a boo-boo where you can't move either side of the pipe.

Your items #1, #2 and #3 are all a description of the same item and you can use any of them for your project. Item #4, I'm clueless.

Just a suggestion, you may want to pick up a couple of C x C sweat unions; whatever sizes you are using. They are not cheap, but it will become evident to you when you need them and how valuable they are as a time saver and a way to avoid frustration.

Looks like

@ February 10, 2014 6:53 PM in zone circulators or zone valves?

you have a 2-pipe, direct return system and yes, changing it to a 2-pipe, reverse return system is a good idea.

Zoning with pumps or zone valves is a personal preference. I like zone valves, preferably Caleffi or Danfoss. They seem to last longer than others. And the controller for pumps is going to be different than for zone valves. The excellent Taco brand offer "ZVC" models for zone valves and "SR" models for pumps.

Design Temperature

@ February 3, 2014 10:10 PM in Rule of thumb for btus

Design temperature is NOT "the friggin' coldest it's expected to get in your area". It's the coldest average temperature for your area. The key word is "average" which means that when you're doing your heatloss calculations to design square feet of radiator sizing and water temperatures, there may be some historically cold days where the owners need to throw on a sweater.

But to Mike's defense, who wants uncomfortable customers. I usually over design my systems with hotter water temperatures or larger radiators. Our design temperature here in the East Bay is 36F (yeah, read it and weep), but I design for 32F. It means more gas usage, but fewer nagging customers.

Only after you calculate heat losses for your jobs over time and in your area will you get a feel for rule-of-thumb numbers.

Just my 2 cents.


@ January 31, 2014 8:49 PM in Can anyone identify this Radiator?

Between Frank and Gerry, it was a no-brainer. Very impressive.

Make sure

@ January 29, 2014 5:30 PM in smaller rads not heating

the valve at the radiator is fully open to allow the condensate to drain back to the boiler.


@ January 28, 2014 10:50 AM in "Ruster buster"


Thanks, everyone!

@ January 27, 2014 9:25 PM in What's the best way

Great suggestions.  Mr. Lane's suggestion of the Liberty transfer pump caught my attention - I like fast - and I ordered one.  I also like the idea of emptying a water heater in 10 minutes.

What's the best way

@ January 27, 2014 11:57 AM in What's the best way

of adding a corrosion inhibitor or glycol to a hydronic system?I used to have a long, brass hand pump that was expensive and worked OK, but it's disappeared. 

Please do.

@ January 24, 2014 7:42 PM in Superstor contender piping ?

I'm on pins and needles for an answer to the disappearing BTU's.

Forget Google

@ January 23, 2014 8:14 PM in Nest thermostats

and build your own Nest thermostat:

Closing the

@ January 23, 2014 2:58 PM in Superstor contender piping ?

water valve at the water heater will turn off the hot water to your faucets, just to make sure there is no hot water being used.

Where are all those BTU's going?

@ January 23, 2014 1:24 PM in Superstor contender piping ?

I really don't think things would change if you changed the piping to 1" and switched supply/return piping.  And that check valve is not effecting anything either.

I'd be interested in finding out if you get the same thing happening with the cold water valve to the water heater turned off just to make sure the domestic side is static, i.e. no hot water was being used even though you may think all the fixtures are turned off.

Do you have

@ January 23, 2014 11:04 AM in Superstor contender piping ?

a hot water circulating system connected to your Contender? If you have a long, uninsulated pipe coursing through your freezing basement, that would draw off enough heat to cause symptoms that you have, no?


@ January 21, 2014 11:34 PM in Hate these things

Flair zone valves are power open, power closed so maybe that third terminal is needed for the alternate operation.


@ January 21, 2014 10:57 AM in Hate these things

I can't tell if it's a W-R or not, but I have a copy of the installation instructions and wiring diagram of the Type 1311 zone valve.  If you want a copy, send me your email address.

Edit: It turns out to be available online here:
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