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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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Honeywell

@ December 22, 2009 12:45 AM in Vaporstat model

L408J1009 Vaporstat (non-mercury) 0-16 oz. (4-16oz. subtractive differential).  They seem to be the only ones available now that mercury is verboten.

Here is a thread on them:
http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/128249/why-do-Honeywell-vaporstats-suck-so-badly

Combustion chamber

@ December 22, 2009 12:38 AM in Munchkin 140M firing: spark electrode angle?

and the heat exchanger coils actually look OK for that many years; just clean them up.

It's your burner that looks bad.  Ouch - something is not right there.

I believe if you clear up the issues with recycling of exhaust gases and dial in your CO levels on your gas valve that you will be OK.  Of course, it looks as though you need to replace your burner and refractory.

Clarification

@ December 21, 2009 11:41 AM in Munchkin 140M firing: spark electrode angle?

The bolts that I was talking about in my posting are not the bolts that you see on the outside of the boiler.  Once you remove the round access cover/air channel/blower assembly, you will see the burner bolted on the other side of the cover.  These are the bolts that need to be checked and cleaned periodically for proper grounding.

And it sounds like you and Mr. Eatherton have found something that may be causing the problems.

Never guaranteed

@ December 20, 2009 4:44 PM in Noisy one pipe steam system in Pittsburgh

that what you do will cure the problem, especially steam work.  You have to slowly fix the issues with the piping, controls, venting, insulation and eventually, if you persevere you will find the problem.

That's a good price for insulation, especially if it's fiberglass; use none other.

Munchkin F09

@ December 20, 2009 3:55 PM in Munchkin 140M firing: spark electrode angle?

I wouldn't do anything to change the angle of the electrode other that to make sure it has a ¼" gap.

Things that come to mind:

Check your flame sensor; make sure it's clean.

Check your combustion settings; your gas mixture may not be right.  See "Item G: Test Mode" on page 32.
[url=http://www.htproducts.com/literature/lp-147.pdf]http://www.htproducts.com/literature/lp-147.pdf

Check your burner; the bolts that hold the burner to the round cover provide proper grounding for ignition.  Remove and clean if tarnished or dirty.  Your technician will have to turn off and disconnect the gas from the gas valve, remove the wiring from the electrode, pilot and rectifier probe, gas valve and the two molex plugs that attach to the blower; remove the circle of bolts that holds on the burner cover and remove the assembly.  You now have the burner, cover, blower and gas valve in your hand.  I remove the burner, wash it in the sink and dry it out really well.  I also wire brush the bolts and use sandcloth around the bolts holes on the burner and cover.  While you've got your burner removed, check the combustion chamber and heat exchanger for debris and remove with a vacuum cleaner.  Reassemble.

Wet steam

@ December 18, 2009 4:11 PM in Noisy one pipe steam system in Pittsburgh

The only obvious things is the bell reducer coming out the top of the boiler.  I would have stayed three inch until the take-off and equalizer; it slows down the steam and lets it shed water.  That may not be the source of your troubles though.

Other than the pipe size and the use of malleable fittings (they should have been cast iron, but I'm being picky), the piping looks fine.

Cold Radiator

@ December 18, 2009 10:36 AM in hot water system, cold radiator in basement

How many other radiators on that zone?

Where is the boiler located?  In the basement as well?

There could be air in the piping leading to the radiator, especially if the pipes are above the basement radiator.

Peter has done his homework

@ December 18, 2009 10:01 AM in Homeowner - Blowing off steam

I find many inquisitive homeowners and my favorite thing to do is to send them a copy of "We Got Steam Heat".  The last time was a week ago when I picked up a new customer;  a young Chinese woman that had just inherited her uncle's 15-unit apartment building.  She had so many questions and was overjoyed when I sent her the book.

I Want One

@ December 18, 2009 9:44 AM in The coolest tool I've ever purchased see's....

Very nice, Mark.  That is a great diagnostic tool.

Combustion Analysis

@ December 18, 2009 12:31 AM in Old Cast Iron residential Boiler Help

Hi JL:

The combstion analysis tells you a lot; it's like a smog test on your car.  High carbon monoxide (CO) levels would indicate improper combustion, perhaps caused by a clogged heat exchanger that needs a good wire brushing between the sections.

Would you like to be the mechanic that tells his customer that he needs a new car when all it needs is a tune up?

Get a combustion analyzer and take a reading of the flue gases; then clean the sections and take another reading; odds are that the CO levels have come down.

I had a customer once that had a Hydrotherm steam boiler; his mechanic told him that his boiler was a sectional boiler, that it had no flue passages to clean. As you know, it's just like your Peerless boiler and it has sections that need to be cleaned.

All the best,

Alan

Pressure

@ December 17, 2009 11:53 PM in Noisy one pipe steam system in Pittsburgh

Like NBC said, I'd lower the pressure even more, like down to 1 or 1½ psi.

Other things to look at:
- Check to see for main vents, i.e. do you have them?
- Near-boiler piping, i.e. has it been piped correctly to allow for dry steam

This might be a job for......................a steam PRO.  There must be plenty in Pittsburgh.

BTW, there is another forum called "Strictly Steam"; you might get additional responses there.

I see your reasoning,

@ December 12, 2009 7:12 PM in European style panel radiators and cast iron on same zone?

but you should cast around for other options.  Sorry, I just don't like fan convectors, mostly because none of my customers who have them like them.  I'd even consider installing a panel radiator on the ceiling; call it an art object.

And then there's the kitchen

@ December 12, 2009 12:49 PM in European style panel radiators and cast iron on same zone?

Have you ever had a kickspace heater?  Yes, sometimes it's the only option and then you've got to live with the noise and lack of (in my experience) adequate heat.  If you have any wall space available or even the bare end of a cabinet, install a radiator or better yet, a towel warmer.

Just today

@ December 10, 2009 11:04 PM in Teledyne Laars jvt 125 noise problem

I serviced a Lochinvar RBN09; looks, smells and feels just like a Laars Mini-Therm.  The owners were complaining about harmonics and knocking.  Luckily, the installer had piped a by-pass with a gate vale and when I started to open it, the sound went away.  Too bad it's not a ball valve

My take is that these boilers with copper heat exchangers will tolerate low flow until they get older and then they start complaining.  It's like the human body;  when we're young, we can withstand all sorts of extreme conditions, but when we get older we start to complain.  And we have by-pass options as well.

P-trap, trap primer

@ December 10, 2009 10:31 AM in wall hung non condensing boilers

and maybe a vent.  Yes, it's a pain in the butt and more often than not, the trap primer fails.

But installing a proper drain will free up your selection of boilers and you can choose a small mod-con with temperature responsive controls that will lower the customer's fuel bills and keep them cozy comfortable.

And I don't know of a small, wall-hung, non-condensing boiler that's reliable.

Those white buildings

@ December 9, 2009 9:05 PM in Doesn't usually snow here

in front of the bridge are San Quentin prison in Marin County, across the bridge from Richmond.

By-Pass

@ December 9, 2009 8:14 PM in trouble with taco thermatic bye pass

Yes, I think I know what you mean.  We installed a few Burnham wall-hung boilers when they first came out; perfectly sized for many of the small jobs we had.  But that by-pass was a real troublemaker.  We did something, but I don't remember if it was disabling the pump or removing the guts of the by-pass.

It could be a bad

@ December 9, 2009 8:01 PM in Burnham: Flame Sensor problem or something else?

ignition control module (ICM); the pilot will often rectify properly, but one of the relays in the ICM may not close the circuit to power open the burner.  Usually a Honeywell S 8610U 1003 universal replacement; there are also others.

Mt. Tamalpais

@ December 9, 2009 3:39 PM in Doesn't usually snow here

looking east..

Is that Bill Clinton?

It just goes to show

@ December 9, 2009 10:55 AM in Doesn't usually snow here

that it can always be worse.........or better for that matter.

Timco: I'm in Berkeley and I didn't know there were any Bay Area Wallies out there.  Our temperatures are about 10° warmer than yours right now.

Doesn't usually snow here

@ December 8, 2009 11:04 PM in Doesn't usually snow here

but the temperatures have been dipping into the 20's with some dustings in the hills.

Needles to say, I've been busy with "no heat" calls.  It's good because the Summer was slow.

First

@ December 6, 2009 2:54 PM in Odd radiator pipes setup

Before you start cutting holes, I would check the pressure on your system.  If I'm understanding your set-up correctly, your boiler is in the basement and the piping for the top floor radiators is in the ceiling of the upper floor.  That means water has to be lifted about 30'.  The water pressure gauge at your boiler should read at least 20 psi.

If your pressure is good, check for air bleeders on the roof or back in the boiler room.  Many installers were very crafty and they would pipe a ¼" copper line from the highest point in the system back down to the boiler room and then put a valve on the end for easy purging.
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