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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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On the job,

@ October 26, 2013 10:16 PM in Caleffi Troubleshooting

all the Caleffi Z-One zone valve coils gave a reading of 22-23 ohms, so they were all good.

I found the short when I disconnected a neutral wire from the transformer to the "C" terminal on the 4 thermostats.  This additional wire (other than wires to RH and W) provides power to the thermostat so you don't need batteries. I did a continuity test between C and RH to see if the short was in the thermostats, but they all checked out OK.  I surmised that the short was somewhere in the wiring to one of the thermostats.

Thanks for all your help.


Boiler start

@ October 26, 2013 3:23 PM in Triangle Tube Prestige 110 will not start

The boiler won't fire if it's warmer than 68F outside (Warm Weather Shutdown).  It could also be bad wire from the t-stat to the boiler.


@ October 26, 2013 3:19 PM in Caleffi Troubleshooting

Thanks, Hot Rod.  I believe they are the Z-Ones, but what I need is a rating of the coil resistance.  When I test a water solenoid valve on a shower steam generator, a reading of 560 ohms tells me it's a good valve.  If it's a lot lower than that, it's a short.  I just want to know that resistance figure for a good Caleffi valve coil.

I'm just leaving for the job now; more when I return.

Thermostat Wiring

@ October 26, 2013 2:01 PM in Thermostat Wiring

For heating, we always connect wires to RH and W to call for heat.  Until now, I never realized that if you connect a neutral wire from the transformer to terminal C on the thermostat, it will power the thermostat and you don't need to change the batteries.

Most of you will say "Duh", but I just never knew that. 


@ October 26, 2013 1:45 PM in Caleffi Troubleshooting

I'm going over there this morning and I'll ohm out all the coils.  They should all be close except the one that's shorted.

Thanks for the tips.



@ October 26, 2013 1:07 PM in a question on EDR

Wow! That's a good question and I don't have an answer. 

Theoretically, the radiator filled with steam at 215F will put out more heat than a radiator filled with 215F water,  What is the difference in BTU's?

And if you look at the EDR table, the output is linear; there is no big jump at 215F where steam gives up it's latent heat.

Even cheaper

@ October 26, 2013 12:28 AM in Caleffi Troubleshooting

is a transformer with a circuit least for testing purposes.  

Caleffi Troubleshooting

@ October 25, 2013 7:11 PM in Caleffi Troubleshooting

I've got a short in a 4-zone system; keeps burning out the transformer.  I don't know if it's in the thermostats or the Caleffi zone valves (not telestats).  Does anyone know the resistance reading on a good Caleffi motor?



@ October 24, 2013 3:27 PM in Sheetrock wall now or wait for new install

................or at least, that's the way we do it.

But you might want to wait until you have an installer come in and look at it before you sheetrock.  They might see it differently.

I'd have to go along

@ October 17, 2013 5:33 PM in I'm finishing up the seminar part of our business.

with Ron to say that your knowledge lit a fire in me and it's still burning.

And along with Larry that we'd like to see you out West, business or pleasure.



@ October 16, 2013 12:00 AM in Webster Sylphon steam trap

but at this point, I don't want to upset the balance, if any.  Most of the radiators heat properly and I'm afraid that if I start messing with the traps it will cause more problems.

All of the radiators are behind custom, non-removable enclosures with custom molding.  If I want to get in there with my tools to work on the traps, the general contractor will have to tent around each radiator, remove the custom enclosure and then replace it.  Obviously, the original builder thought that these traps and radiators would last forever.

The replacement elements require that the seats be removed and I don't know what it's like to remove a steam seat that's been there for 80 years.

What's it

@ October 14, 2013 11:41 PM in Webster Sylphon steam trap

supposed to look like? (Gordo, Steamhead)

Can someone post an infrared image of what a steam trap is supposed to look like?



@ October 14, 2013 11:17 AM in New setup mockup

1) install a bypass around your fill valve for power purging.

2) I see that you want to install purge valves at the end of your returns.  An easier way is to install a purge assembly.  The piping is: boiler-hose bibb-ball valve-air eliminator with fill valve assembly-pump.  You connect a hose to the hose bibb, close the ball valve, open the bypass around your fill valve and open one zone at a time.  It purges everything; pumps, radiators, indirect, boiler........

You might try

@ October 13, 2013 1:39 PM in Munchkin HX leak---what are my options?

epoxy to fix the leak until you come up with a solution.  I see for sale in hardware stores specifically for fixing water leaks and from what I've seen from weekend warriors (homeowners), it works.

See page 6

@ October 9, 2013 8:04 PM in Thermostat Question

of these instructions:

I believe that you want to connect your two wires to "R" and "W/Aux".

There are no

@ October 9, 2013 1:39 AM in Webster Sylphon steam trap

under the floor returns.  All except a few are in the ceiling or disappear into the land of Oz.

Can I safely say........

@ October 8, 2013 6:50 PM in Webster Sylphon steam trap

that these traps are blown?

All the photos were taken soon after the boiler started steaming.  The trap in the first picture was painted white, so I believe the readings are accurate.  The traps in the two that follow are not painted and I believe the emissivity of the chrome finish is distorting the temperature readings.  However, the outlet pipe below the trap is reading the same temperature as the inlet.

This house had 20 radiators and they all tested the same, i.e. trap outlet temperatures the same as trap inlet temperatures.

If all these traps are bad, how is the system able to operate?  Most of the radiators work fine.

Thanks, Gorgo

@ October 6, 2013 6:21 PM in Webster Sylphon steam trap

So you recommend replacing the seat as well?  Kinda' makes sense.

Do you find that your infrared camera works well to test these traps?  Do they clearly show a temperature differential between the trap inlet and outlet?

Webster Sylphon steam trap

@ October 5, 2013 1:37 PM in Webster Sylphon steam trap

One of my customers was having problems with their 2-pipe steam radiators and I took apart one of the Webster traps.  The element is attached to the cap and I'm wondering if they can be separated??? Also, who makes a replacement?


Remove the head.

@ October 4, 2013 1:14 PM in draining/filling when radiators have TRV

If you remove the thermostatic head off the valve, it will allow the stem to extend out, opening the valve.

There is usually an allan setscrew that secures the head. Others are removed by just pulling them off.

The easiest way

@ October 4, 2013 1:46 AM in primary/secondary

is to wire it off the boiler if it has a pump relay.

If not, create you're own pump relay off the end switches as you say.

I agree

@ October 3, 2013 4:01 PM in Great Article

Another reason for heat loss calculations on all your jobs and not add anything to that number for an indirect.

I see Alpine boilers come up quite often on The Wall, but have no experience with them.  Are they good?

I subscribed to the US Boiler Report here:

Thanks, Chris!
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