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Tim McElwain

Tim McElwain

Joined on August 17, 2009

Last Post on August 27, 2014

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I Hope to

@ August 27, 2014 7:54 PM in Two Day Modulating/Condensing technology class

see some of you sign up now.

Two Day Modulating/Condensing technology class

@ August 23, 2014 9:02 PM in Two Day Modulating/Condensing technology class

Come to RI and be educated on the finer points of Modulating/Condensing Technology.

It is September 8 and 9, 2014 8 AM to 4:30 PM at 338 Metacom Ave., Warren RI 02885.

The cost is $600 for the two days.

Timmie M. McElwain at 401-437-0557 or e-mail at

This system is

@ August 10, 2014 3:59 PM in Bouncing Gas Pressure

connected to a low pressure gas system less than 14" W.C. pressure available. There is no regulator involved.

Propane Show

@ August 4, 2014 1:55 PM in Propane Show

in Boxborough, Ma at Holiday Inn 242 Adams Place. Off 495 at exit 28. Hope to see some of you there. I will have my table set up in the main Hallway. Stop by and see me. The show is Wednesday and Thursday August 6 and 7. It is FREE!


In 1954 before I went into the Navy

@ July 24, 2014 8:45 PM in What did it cost in 1960?

a boiler install was around $700 to $800 and a furnace for $600 to $700. Those were prices in South Western PA and those were installed in homes for people that had money. Everyone pretty much burned coal or gas. I do not remember any oil systems that I saw.

A good parlor stove that burned coal was $49.95 and a real pain to empty the ashes and bank the fire everyday. I used to say someday I am going to have one of those things on the wall that runs the heat (Of course that was a thermostat).

In the 60's in RI the prices were $1,000 to $1,500 as I remember.

Send me a picture

@ July 21, 2014 7:24 PM in need help- gas valve to cooker??


An accurate heat loss is a must

@ July 16, 2014 2:07 PM in Gas Conversion

then look at a Mod/Con boiler which can match up to your heat loss and also consider domestic hot water needs.

How old is the existing boiler?

Assuming the 1 1/4" is

@ July 16, 2014 2:03 PM in Gas Piping

sized correctly and corrosion protected and the meter is sized correctly I would go with 1 1/4" all the way.

I can't believe

@ July 14, 2014 1:35 AM in Bouncing Gas Pressure

some of the things I hear on Heatinghelp.

I have heard stories first hand that when a large gas line has leaks they fill it with water, leave it open to rust and blow out the water. If that happened here, maybe they didnt blow it all out?! Time will tell.

This is a new one on me I would love to know who it is that does this stuff they must be nuts!

Rich, which version of the Gastite manual

@ July 10, 2014 7:28 PM in Bouncing Gas Pressure

my manual I have does not cover this.

Better also contact the

@ July 6, 2014 5:50 PM in Rinnai r94ls Tankless and Propane?

propane company to insure the tanks supplying propane are sized for the new perhaps additional load.

This is not rocket science

@ July 4, 2014 1:38 PM in Bouncing Gas Pressure

just pipe sizing and pressure as they relate to each other. Keep it simple I do not care what system you use bottom line the equipment has to operate with NO PRESSURE DROP PERIOD WITH ALL THE EQUIPMENT RUNNING.

Jimmy C what is your location?

@ July 2, 2014 7:17 PM in need help wiring

I run a training center in RI and offer a five day seminar series that will give you everything you need to know about wiring boilers and furnaces in five days. You can contact me at or call 401-437-0557 for more info.

That boiler

@ July 2, 2014 7:09 PM in Utica boiler clicking

probably has an old White-Rodgers Cycle Pilot System. Many of those have been replaced by the boiler manufacturer with a retrofit kit. Weil-McLain had theirs changed over to a hot surface igniter.

I would have the professional you hire check with Utica or he can give me a call at 401-437-0557 and I can recommend a retrofit as soon as we know what you have for a system.

It would help if you took a picture of the boiler controls and gas valve and give us some numbers so we can help you and your contractor.

Let me try and answer some of

@ July 2, 2014 7:02 PM in Converting Oil to Gas

your concerns:
Converting Oil to Gas
Working on a house in Methuen, MA.  Plan is to sell my home in RI and move there.  It is the house I grew up in. GIVE ME AN EXACT LOCATION IN METHUEN AND I MAY HAVE SOMEONE NEARBY WHO CAN DO A CONVERSION. I AM WELL VERSED ON CONVERSIONS AS I HAVE DONE OVER 3,000.

House has Weil - McLain WGTO-4 Series 3 oil boiler.  WTGO tells you the hot water also runs off this system (so I am told).  Boiler is about 9 years old. Forced hot water base board heat. SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD BOILER FOR CONVERSION DEPENDING ON ITS CONDITION AND IF IT HAS BEEN WELL SERVICED BY THE OIL COMPANY.

I spoke with a rep at Weil-McLain, she advised a conversion burner from either Wayne or Carlin will be compatible with my boiler. I AM SURPRISED YOU GOT A CLEAR DIRECTION FROM WEIL-MCLAIN LIKE THAT.  She explained that I won't get the improved efficiency of a gas boiler vs. an oil boiler, however I will save in the cost of the fuel to run the thing.  A CARLIN EZ PRO BURNER INSTALLED IN THAT BOILER SHOULD GIVE YOU A COMBUSTION EFFICIENCY OVER 80%. actually AN OIL DESIGN BOILER VERSUS AN DESIGN ATMOSPHERIC GAS BOILER THE OIL WILL ALWAYS BE MORE EFFICIENT.

There is no gas line on the street, I have 2 other neighbors who want to convert.  Have been working with the gas company.  If we can get 4 or more they will extend the gas main at no cost to us, the new consumers.  Well, we verbally now have 4; the Gas Co has mailed out letters today to the 8 houses involved.  THAT IS A BIG PLUS IF THEY WILL RUN A LINE AT NO COST TO ANYONE.

So, I am trying to put all the pieces together.  The gas line goes in, then they run the piping from the street across my property to my house.  From there I am responsible for inside my house.MAKE SURE THE CONTRACTOR DOES A HEAT LOSS ON THE HOUSE TO INSURE THE EXISTING OIL SYSTEM IS NOT OVER-SIZED.  I have spoken with 2 local plumbers, one has set a time to meet me at the house this week, but he already told me he does not do conversion burners only full new boilers.  The second one is checking his schedule and I will have an appt with him this week also. IT IS HARD TO FIND PLUMBING AND HEATING CONTRACTORS WHO WILL INSTALL CONVERSION BURNERS. THEN THE PROBLEM IS SOME WHO DO HAVE VERY LITTLE IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

I already spoke to a company to remove the oil tank from the cellar, got him to commit to a removal price, and he said if I have the oil level below half a tank I will get a discount. Since I turn the boiler on when I am up there, in order to have hot water, I think I can get below the half tank mark.  I've called my current oil company to stop automatic deliveries.  So I think I am all set on that end.

I do not understand the paperwork the gas company sent to me.  I have to mark where the gas line will come IN on my property, to my house.  I have to be 3 feet away from dryer vents, electrical outlets, and anything that makes a spark. MOST GAS COMPANIES TODAY PUT THE METER OUTSIDE SO LOCATIONS ARE NOT AS CRITICAL AS THEY ARE INSIDE THE HOUSE.   I am hoping the plumbers who come out can help with this? THE PLUMBER WILL WANT THE GAS SERVICE AS CLOSE TO THE BOILER AS HE CAN GET IT SO CONSIDER THAT WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING AT WHAT LOCATION YOU WANT. My Dad was an electrician, and he put in outlets every few feet outside for Christmas lights when I was a little girl.  Which was fun then, making me crazy on this project though.

What else do I need to know, ask, check, verify?  If I sound like I know what I am talking about, I DON'T!  This has been a steep learning curve, in the past 2.5 weeks!   Figuring out how to set up a project with the Gas Co, getting neighbors on board (that was easy after the winter we just had!), and learning how the heating system works in that house.

And once all that is done, what do I need for the 18 inch trench the Gas Co digs in my lawn? THE GAS COMPANIES TODAY USE A DEVICE CALLED A "MOLE" THEY MAKE A HOLE IN THE STREET AT THE GAS MAIN MAYBE ONE MORE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YARD AND ONE AT THE HOUSE. IF IT IS AN OUTSIDE METER THEY WILL LEAVE A BRACKET AND YOUR PLUMBER WILL THEN RUN THE OUTLET TO THE BOILER. THEY WILL HAVE CUT THE SODS IN THE YARD AND WILL PUT THEM BACK AND YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THEY WERE THERE.  Just seed?  What condition do they leave it?  How do they get in to my cellar, the house has a 12 inch concrete apron, do they go under that, dig up 18 inches of it?  The foundation is cement blocks (not poured concrete).  Where does the meter go?  I just put up new siding last year (Yep I am doing most of the jobs in the wrong order).YOUR CONTACTOR WILL DRILL A HOLE IN THE SILL JUST ABOVE THE FOUNDATION AND THE GAS LINE WILL GO THROUGH THAT HOLE. IS THE BASEMENT FINISHED OR IS IT WIDE OPEN? A FINISHED BASEMENT CAN SOMETIMES PRESENT PROBLEMS RUNNING THE PIPING INSIDE THE HOUSE. 

I just tried the 'find a contractor' link, but everyone who comes up is way down near Boston, which is not helpful.  Their price would be high just to cover their auto fuel to get to me! I WOULD GIVE THEM A TRY ANYWAY AS THEY MAY KNOW SOMEONE IN YOUR AREA THEY CAN REFER YOU TO.


A 2 inch gas

@ July 2, 2014 6:33 PM in Bouncing Gas Pressure

line with an allowable .3" W.C. pressure drop 30' long will handle 1,680,000 BTU's
a 40' long will handle 1,440,000 BTU's. That information is taken from Table 6.2
(a) Schedule 40 Metallic Pipe  from ANSI z223.1/NFPA 54 National Fuel Gas
As I told you on the phone you need to get a supervisor from the engineering
department at the gas company to look at this problem. The original installer
 should also be involved. I would not be surprised to find that when the main
was taped the wafer was left in the main as the fluctuation shows on the gauge
it is vibrating causing  your problem. The sensitivity of negative pressure gas
valves will often cause nuisance lockout when gas pressure is not stable.

As Ray mentioned in his posting and as I told you on the phone about the boiler job I commissioned for a church we had to run a 3" welded line 50 feet to insure stable gas availability when the boiler fired. The gas company would only guarantee us 5" W.C. gas pressure coming out of the Rotary meter. This should have been handled by the local utility and the original installer of the boilers.

What devastating news

@ June 29, 2014 7:31 PM in One of the greatest heating tech' has passed away

I am so sorry to hear this. He will be greatly missed, I had some wonderful times with him both in the classroom, on the job and socially. My deepest condolences to the Milne folks and all the family and friends of Chris.

Just shut

@ June 16, 2014 8:05 PM in Old gas boiler using a lot of gas. How to adjust temps?

the switch off. Leave the pilot on as it keeps the equipment dry and actually prolongs the life of the equipment.

It looks like a swivel for a

@ June 14, 2014 6:34 PM in Really old gas valve?

gas meter in the second picture to the right of the gas shut off. It could have been for just about anything such as a cooking stove, dryer, etc.

CK Smith Superior

@ June 12, 2014 6:49 PM in Recommendation for Boiler Tech in Southern Rhode Island

Santoro Oil all same company good oil folks.

Help yourself

@ June 2, 2014 8:46 PM in Should I stock a spare igniter and flame sensor for my Knight Boiler?

the spark igniter and sensor are not really something that goes that often. Taking them out once a year and cleaning is all that is usually required.

You could contact Lochinvar and finds out if they have a pats kit available with parts that typically fail. A lot of companies make these available to service techs for truck stock. I am not sure if they would sell you one however.

Just Google what you are looking for.

@ June 1, 2014 7:36 PM in Master list of equipment

Get ready the last time I searched for Modulating/Condensing Gas Equipment it was 400 pages long. It listed all of them since the 1990's. For oil the list was two pages.
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