Security Seal Facebook Twitter GooglePlus Pinterest Newsletter Sign-up
The Wall
Tim McElwain

Tim McElwain

Joined on August 17, 2009

Last Post on April 23, 2014

Contact User

Recent Posts

1 2 3 4 5 ... 133 »

Mass Code any one

@ April 23, 2014 7:04 PM in Mass Code any one

know if Mass has updated their NFPA acceptance, last I knew was NFPA 54 was 2002 and NFPA 58 was also 2002?

I would shut off the affected

@ April 21, 2014 6:46 PM in Contractor kicked out of house for doing CO test

equipment, disconnect the fuel source cap it off and send the customer a registered letter confirming my actions. I may have just saved some ones life.

Would prefer to discuss this

@ April 19, 2014 1:46 PM in Roll out switch issue

by phone give me a call 401-437-0557.

If it is spark ignition

@ April 17, 2014 7:33 PM in pilot light going out


I assume this is a Slant Fin

@ April 17, 2014 7:27 PM in pilot light going out

Galaxy Boiler? Does it have a standing pilot or is it spark ignited? What Model is it a GG or a GXH?

The nice thing is that

@ April 15, 2014 6:55 PM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

on Power Flame it is simply a matter of throwing a switch to change from one fuel to the other.

Make sure you get a good steam tech

@ April 11, 2014 9:07 PM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

to do all the piping and combustion set up along with a combustion analysis.

On low pressure main systems you will never see high pressure. High pressure systems range from 25 pounds to 100 pounds pressure then reduced to less than 1/2 a pound at the internal regulator before the meter.

Go to

@ April 11, 2014 7:42 PM in Mass Oil Burner Exam and ask the question there. That is George Lanthiers website.

Some detectors are

@ April 11, 2014 7:36 PM in Residual Gas Detection

too sensitive as I am sure you read in the Honeywell paper you referenced. I have even seen them register on fresh pipe dope.

Try this mix some soap and water and take a small brush and put some soap at the orifice and see if it bubbles if not then you are safe.

The tech who keeps changing gas valves should do a pressure test with a manometer ("U" gauge) or a digital manometer. This is fool proof and if he or she is trained on gas systems it is a no brainer.

I have commisioned well

@ April 11, 2014 7:30 PM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

over 100 boilers all of which are in the inner city with gas pressures in the mains of less than 1/2 a pound pressure. Most of the mains run 8 to 10" W.C. pressure all the time. In extreme low temperatures the pressure my drop down to 5" W.C. but piping is sized from the meter to the boiler to compensate for that. Your installer of the gas line should take that into consideration when sizing the pipe from the meter to the boiler.

The last few jobs

@ April 10, 2014 4:04 PM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

we did with low pressure available from the gas supplier was to install a large line running from the meter to the boiler. In one case it was about 45 feet of 3" welded pipe. That unit and the others are running fine with no problems this winter. All of those boilers were HB Smith two of which were in churches with 1,250,000 on one and the other 950,000 BTU's. All these are steam using Power Flame combination oil/gas burners with low fire high fire adaptation. All you need is money!

All of these jobs have seen over the last three years 25 to 30% reduction in cost to operate and the 1,250,000 has seen almost 50% as it was originally only set up on oil to run on low fire, that gets expensive. The church actually paid for the entire installation with the savings on fuel costs the first year.

Maybe Steamhead

@ April 10, 2014 11:10 AM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

would make a journey over into nearby West Virginia if the price is right.

Oversized for sure

@ April 10, 2014 11:08 AM in Is my steam boiler way oversized?

My e-mail answer is below to SWEI who contacted me about this posting I also got the message over in the gas section, I do not know anyone in the W Va. area but will look into it.

Not off hand I will look into it. I am getting ready for a class so it may take a while (it is getting warm hopefully). With Burnham getting info when the word conversion is mentioned is tough. I have in the past with commercial boilers knocked them down a couple of sections (a lot of bull work). Cost begins to be a big factor Dave Brunnell had a good idea for a temporary fix so the customer can budget things out.

Daves answer:

Probably a little more sane approach.....
would be to first convert to natural gas and simply fire the boiler at the proper rate.  Most gas fired boilers seem to work fine with a 50 to 60% down fire, in fact Burnham probably has this as a factory approved high/low set up for the boiler.    Properly tuned, you'll probably see a 3 to 4% increase in firing efficiency when running at these low fire rates.  In this case, you want to keep the boiler oversized to gain heat exchange efficiency, but cut the firing rate.
Over your current set with oil, you'll probably see at least  60 to 70% drop in fuel costs just making this change due to much cheaper natural gas, and much more efficient boiler and system operation.
Also, now that you have a huge boiler with a small fire, the need for correct piping above the boiler drops dramatically because the water and steam will separate much better inside the boiler and there will be much less reliance on the external piping.
This will buy you some time before rebuilding the header

Yes there are

@ April 4, 2014 10:17 PM in oil to gas conversion kit

power gas burners available for residential oil boilers. Are you familiar with ANSI Z21.8 (2002) Procedures for the Installation of Domestic Gas Conversion Burners?

Carlin, Riello and Midco all make residential power gas conversion burners.

I recommend getting some training before attempting to install one of these.

Please keep Glenn Stanton

@ April 3, 2014 8:08 PM in Please keep Glenn Stanton

from Burnham in your prayers. I am not at liberty to discuss all he is going through just know it is physical and requires surgery and needs our prayers for good news and a quick recovery.

He has been a great friend to many of us and certainly one of the best factory reps around.

Before you buy a detector

@ March 31, 2014 7:57 PM in electronic NGleak detector

are you familiar with the proper protocol for its use? Do you know the upper and lower explosive limits of natural gas and propane? What is your purpose for purchasing a detector?

I am in RI just too old

@ March 31, 2014 7:55 PM in To convert or not

to do installs anymore, however if you give me a call I can connect you with someone who can help you. By the way Heatpro who also answered you here is in the RI area. My number is 401-437-0557 or e-mail I would definitely have a professional look at what you have and recommend what is best and most efficient and economical to meet your situation.

What is your location in RI?

Most of the time

@ March 31, 2014 12:15 PM in how to replace a thermo couple on a

you can remove the front burner cover and disconnect the thermocouple at the gas valve and then get down and reach in an loosen the nut that holds the thermocouple in place and unscrew it and then pull it out and replace it.

The question is why are you changing it, has it been tested by taking millivolt readings? See RESOURCES ABOVE THEN LIBRARY THEN TIM'S CLOSET FOR HOW TO DO THAT.

As for replacement it depends on the pilot but a Honeywell Q 340 will usually cover most applications, they run as far as durability and performance right next to a Johnson (now Baso Gas Controls LLC) Husky. If you are having issues with frequent changes a Baso K16LRA corrosion resistant, high temperature thermocouple will take care of that.

No I have nopt heard from them

@ March 31, 2014 12:10 PM in Gas piping

as of today. I will be busy with classes starting tomorrow so will not be able to pursue this.

As for why gas valves and other hookups to appliances are a certain size say 1/2" or 3/4 " it has to do with several things one of which is related to ANSI Standards testing. All gas valves have charts giving you the allowable pressure loss through the gas valve at various sizes ex a gas valve 1/2" x 1/2" has a different loss than a valve 3/4"m x 3/4". Most of us in the gas industry allow for a 1" pressure drop through the gas valve when sizing. That is in most cases much more than is needed in fact a Honeywell VR 8300 A 3/4" x 3/4"  24 volt, standing pilot valve does not reach a 1" drop until it is fired at 200,00 BTU's or more and then the drop increases as you go up in BTU. So the 1/2" x 1/2" size assumes (manufacturer assumes) the installer will know enough to supply adequate pipe size to that 1/2" valve to make sure the burner fires at full input all the time.

Think about this most meter bars are 3/4" so does that mean we run 3/4" pipe to all the appliances. I hope not and in fact you may see that increased right at the point of delivery to 1 1/4" or 1 1/2" pipe.

If the unit is using a power venter

@ March 29, 2014 10:46 AM in draft

and it is on the outside of the building like a Field SWG then they show a barometric being used before the venter.

If it is fan assisted 80% no draft hood I would use a flue restrictor or better yet contact the equipment manufacturer for their suggested solution. Some furnace manufacturers include a CPVC restrictor in their vent kit.

Now I know why I stay in business

@ March 28, 2014 9:26 PM in Gas piping

There are a few different types of gas valves..BUT THEY ALL MUST COME UNDER THE SAME ANSI STANDARD.

.Lets use the propane analogy. The reason the orifice on propane equipment is smaller is because it is of a higher pressure. IT IS ALSO BECAUSE IT HAS A DIFFERENT SPECIFIC GRAVITY AND A DIFFERENT BTU CONTENT.

 I would offer that even though with natural gas we are talking about very small differences in pressure the orifice will still pass slightly more when given more than required.  THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN IF THE REGULATOR IS SET TO THE REQUIRED GAS PRESSURE AS NOTED ON THE EQUIPMENT.

A good example is a Mapp gas torch. It was one size orifice but can deliver different ratings of heat by adjusting the pressure going through it via the regulator. IT IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT ANIMAL THE KEY WORD IS ADJUSTING THE PRESSURE. GAS VALVES HAVE A SET OUTLET PRESSURE AND IT IS NOT ADJUSTED BUT SET TO WORK WITH THE ORIFICES IN PLACE AT THE BURNERS TO GIVE THE CORRECT INPUT.

Combustion analysis testing is great! it allows us to connect to existing gas and adjust the pressure and or air mixture to a very exact rate. I have installed a few systems where we ran all the gas new and sized it accordingly and had little to no adjustment necessary. On the flip side I have connected to some larger existing pipe THAT SHOULD NOT MATTER AS THE VALVE WILL ONLY LET THROUGH THE AMOUNT OF GAS THE ORIFICES AND OUTLET PRESSURE WILL ALLOW. and always find myself turning the gas "down" HOW DO YOU TURN THE GAS DOWN?.

Lets not forget clothes dryers, water heaters and cooking ranges...I would not think that to be safe we would run 1" or even larger just to be sure. YOU SIZE TO WHAT THE PARTICULAR APPLIANCE NEEDS FOR INPUT THE 1' PIPE WAS TO THE HEATING EQUIPMENT ONLY. I SIZE ALL OTHER PIPING AS IT IS NEEDED 1/2", 3/4" ETC 

Of course I am saying this based on my local gas company and I do not have the issues you have with yours. I AM GLAD TO HEAR THAT YOUR GAS COMPANY NEVER HAS PRESSURE PROBLEMS. AS SOMEONE WHO WORKED FOR A GAS COMPANY FOR 28 YEARS THAT IS VERY SURPRISING TO ME.

I do want to bring up one more point. If when sizing a house to deliver say 6" of water column roughly to all appliances I had a combined total of say 20 cubic feet of gas in the piping system which is after the meter and paid for by the customer. Why would I want to have larger sizes with say 30 cubic feet of gas sitting in the lines that the customer has paid for? TO MAKE SURE WHEN ALL THE EQUIPMENT CALLS AT THE SAME TIME SAY IN THE DEAD OF WINTER ON A SATURDAY WHEN EVERYONE IS HOME AND ALL THE EQUIPMENT IS RUNNING, COOKING STOVE FOR BREAKFAST, SHOWERS, DRYER ETC YOU NEED THAT 30 CUBIC FEET THEN.

I attached a copy of the drawing sent to me some time ago from Robershaw...It denotes a typical gas valve for a furnace. I was instructed that gas valves do have a regulator of sorts included in them he was clear that they are not regulators as such. THEN WHAT ARE THEY?  THAT DRAWING YOU ATTACHED DOES NOT SHOW THE COMPLETE STORY. I HAVE FACTORY SPECIFIED CUTAWAYS OF ROBERTSHAW, HONEYWELL AND WHITE RODGERS THAT ARE MUCH MORE DETAILED AND ALL HAVE SERVO PRESSURE REGULATORS.

The gas enters the main chamber that is activated by a call for heat. It then passes across a regulator that will open with roughly 5" WC it needs a minimum and will be forced closed if the pressure exceeded {in this case 10"WC}. The second chamber opens when a flame sensor signal is proved AND A MODULE SENSES PROPER MICRO-AMPS IN THE CASE YOU ARE SIGHTING THEN THE MODULE POWERS THE MAIN VALVE WHICH IS AFTER THE PILOT VALVE WHICH HAD TO BE ENERGIZED FIRST IN ORDER FOR THE PILOT TO LIGHT AS THE GAS FOR THAT PILOT ONLY FLOWS WHEN THE PILOT VALVE IS ENERGIZED THAT IS WHAT OPENS THAT FIRST VALVE NOT GAS PRESSURE. and allows the gas to move out of the gas valve. He was pretty clear that this is a basic working of most {not all} gas valves and yes some are able to accept 14" for LP gas.

We could go on and on with this but to tell the truth you have some knowledge but you need some good gas training and I do not mean to offend with that statement it is my observation based on these postings. The reason I continue to go back and forth with you is the fact that people who know less than you and I are reading what is posted and I do not want them mis informed.

Not sure what you are measuring for draft.

@ March 28, 2014 6:02 PM in draft

Normal draft on an atmospheric gas system boiler or furnace should be a -.01, -.02 to -.03 is standard and it is measured at the breach before the draft hood. I however check draft on both sides of the draft hood because of possible excessive draft after the draft hood called "curtain effect". Curtain effect can be corrected by removing the draft hood or in the case of a built in draft hood blocking it off and replacing it with a double swing barometric.

As far as 90 plus units those typically have positive draft and and it can be affected by the length of the vent. It should in most cases however be pretty stable as the design of the equipment determines the combustion air blower RPM due to lets say ODR. The temperatures should be somewhat low as these units have very little flue loss so most of the time flue gas temps are at or below 200 degrees F.

There have been some problems with Category I Fan Assisted boilers and furnaces and it is usually when they are flued to together with a natural draft appliance such as a water heater. Separating the two appliances before they enter the flue or connecting them with a "wye" will sometimes solve the problem.
1 2 3 4 5 ... 133 »