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Alan (California Radiant) Forbes

Alan (California Radiant) Forbes

Joined on August 14, 2009

Last Post on July 6, 2014

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@ January 7, 2010 11:13 AM in vaporstat

Honeywell L408J1009 Vaporstat (non-mercury) 0-16 oz. (4-16oz. subtractive differential).  I set mine at 16 oz. with an 8 oz. differential.

The old mercury Vaporstats are no longer made although you might find some still on someone's shelf.

And here is a discussion about some problems with the non-mercury Vaporstats:


@ January 7, 2010 12:25 AM in pressure relief valve?

Yes, I've seen them fail in the closed position, at least in hot water systems where the pressure on the gauge exceeds the opening pressure stated on the relief valve. 

I don't see any reason not to install redundant relief valves.


@ January 5, 2010 11:59 AM in Condensation Causing Leaks?

Is there any way you can get a look at it?

It sounds like

@ January 5, 2010 11:13 AM in Condensation Causing Leaks?

a vent gone bad.  It's supposed to vent the air out of the main steam pipe.  When steam reaches the vent, it should close and it sounds like yours isn't closing.  You will somehow have to gain access and replace it.  Put an access panel there for future inspections.

Do you still have a home warranty plan on the house?  If so, make sure the contractor knows what he's doing.

Mark Eatherton

@ January 4, 2010 1:57 PM in Trapped Air Pocket in Hot Water Heating System

once passed on a trick to remove some pesky air from a job I was having trouble with.  Add some liquid dishwashing soap to your system.  Mine was a 2-pipe radiator system and the soap made it too slippery for the air to hold on any more.  I think I had to increase the pressure to 25 psi to make the bubbles smaller, but they finally gave up the ghost.

Outdoor Reset

@ January 3, 2010 8:02 PM in Using TVR's

I believe Devan is talking about a system that instead of an indoor thermostat, an outdoor sensor will turn on the heating system when the temperature drops below 68 degrees.  This same system will modulate the water temperature as a function of outdoor temperature; the colder it is outside, the hotter the water being delivered to the emitters.  Ideally, if the radiators have been sized properly and the controller programmed correctly (reset ratio and parallel shift), the output of the radiators will match the heatloss of the individual rooms.  In case the radiators are too large, the TRV's will prevent overheating.


@ December 31, 2009 3:36 PM in The end of heating systems?

they will find a way to heat people without heating the entire building.  Everyone will have a PHD (Personal Heating Device).


@ December 31, 2009 10:46 AM in Relay problem or something else?

Measure the voltage at the Totaline relay under both scenarios.


@ December 31, 2009 10:14 AM in MZ parts anyone?

Call them at (800)524-1102.  You may have to wait 'til Monday.

How do you know

@ December 30, 2009 9:53 PM in pressuretrol settings

it's shutting down too quickly?  Is there a reliable pressure gauge on your boiler?


@ December 30, 2009 12:11 PM in Combo Boiler

That's the heat load?  Big house.

Open System

@ December 30, 2009 12:08 PM in Heating with hot water for potable use !!!!!!

I don't like open systems; not because they are dangerous since I've never heard of a case of Legionnaire's from this and as long as the piping is approved for potable use, I don't believe there's anything in the code to disallow it.  I don't like it because it's usually the low bid.


@ December 29, 2009 7:45 PM in sizing a water heater for radiant heat

I think we understand each other. 

If a customer comes to me and wants to heat a space, I'm tempted to use a combined water heater with almost anything under 1,000 square feet, especially if there's more than 1 zone.  If it's over that or if the heat loss is high, I switch to a boiler.

Have not we all

@ December 29, 2009 11:11 AM in sizing a water heater for radiant heat

used a water heater for a small radiant job?  Personally, I love the idea of one heat source for both DHW and heating.  And there's no reason to add the two loads together when sizing the water heater.  Just set back the thermostat during peak DHW usage.

And use some common sense.

Radiator System

@ December 24, 2009 4:02 PM in Heat loss calc discussion, radiator placement

Hi Gene:

That's a nice house; panel radiators with TRV's are a good choice and will provide a comfortable environment. 

As far as the skylights: yes, treat them like windows.  Downgrading the insulation is playing it conservatively. it makes the radiators larger and there's nothing wrong with that.  You can reduce your water temperature and your mod/con boiler will become more efficient.  In Germany, the government  dictates a maximum water temperature of 160° to increase efficiency.

As far as the greatroom, just make sure the total square footage of windows and doors is represented in the calculation as well as ceiling height, i.e. total volume of the room.

Check with the local jurisdiction as far as putting the boiler under the stairs; some of them are very sensitive about installing a gas fired appliance under an egress.

I've only installed a radiator once in a closet, but it was a huge closet.  More like a dressing room.  It's your call, but I'd leave it unless your clients want it.  Labor + materials + radiator works out to a lot of money.

The kitchen is small and it's always hard to find a place to hang the radiator.  If there is some space, I'm a big advocate of towel warmers.  I'd put it right there under the bar to keep my legs warm.  People worry about burning their knees; it doesn't happen.

And yes, I'd put a radiator on the wall under the winding staircase.  That's an outside wall and it will be cold.  The owners can adjust the TRV down a notch at that location, enough to take the chill off.

All the best,


Heat Transfer Products

@ December 22, 2009 10:09 AM in Munchkin 140M firing: spark electrode angle?

It would have been nice to have someone from HTP join in this thread.  I know they make an appearance sometimes, but with all the problems that we've seen with Munchkins, you'd think they would scan this board regularly.  We used to see Chuck Shaw, but unfortunately he is no longer with them.

Thanks for the information, Wayne.  That's good stuff to know.


@ 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:

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.


@ 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.

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.
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