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Tim McElwain

Tim McElwain

Joined on August 17, 2009

Last Post on April 17, 2014

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Here in the north east

@ March 18, 2014 3:25 PM in ? for Tim .Condensate in gas line/or sabotage

most utilities are under a plan that requires they relay at least 5 miles of replacement mains per year. Plastic has been the choice for this for a number of reasons but probably the major one being corrosion issues disappear with plastic.

By the way the number one cause of damage to gas lines is due to construction. Contractors hitting or tearing up gas lines or not properly backfilling trenches.

Methanol is not

@ March 18, 2014 11:22 AM in ? for Tim .Condensate in gas line/or sabotage

being used as anti-freeze in the true sense its purpose is to absorb moisture. I have done this many times especially on commercial roof top applications.
Really. ICESAILOR
And the Nat. Gas companies weren't injecting air and LPG into their lines to keep the pressures and BTU's up and it had nothing to do with the huge rise in Propane prices last winter. Not a darn thing to do with it. All "market forces". WHERE DO YOU GET ALL THIS STUFF. MOST UTILITES HAVE NOT MIXED AIR AND PROPANE IN 20 YEARS. WITH LNG AVAIALBLE THEY DO NOT HAVE TO. PRESSURE PROBLEMS ARE NOT DUE TO LACK OF SUPPLY BUT OLD PIPING WHICH IS NOW UNDERSIZED FOR ALL THE OIL OVER TO GAS CHANGEOVERS WHICH HAVE OVER TAXED THE LINE. SO A NEW MAIN AT SOMETIME WILL TAKE CARE OF THAT.

With the increased

@ March 17, 2014 7:32 PM in Chimney repair/liner

capability of the lined chimney your draft should be fine if not somewhat improved. Natural draft is created by temperature difference in the flue and the height of the flue, so improving both should make it much better.

Once you get all the condensate

@ March 17, 2014 7:28 PM in ? for Tim .Condensate in gas line/or sabotage

out I would hook up a drip leg and put some "methanol" in the drip leg to absorb any moisture that is left over.

If possible send some pictures

@ March 17, 2014 12:22 PM in Looking for some info.

I may then be able to advise you as to the next step to take.

Many times when a gas line

@ March 17, 2014 12:19 PM in ? for Tim .Condensate in gas line/or sabotage

comes from underground then into a warm building and then back out again it will form condensate. Sometimes it has even been known to freeze right at the point were it reaches the top of the roof. We used to put a 18" long drip leg on some of these and pour "methanol" into the 18" pipe this would dry out the gas as it left the building. With the extreme cold temperatures we have been having I am not surprised at what you found.

Tom, the

@ March 16, 2014 4:35 PM in Thermo couples

Utica boiler has a tendency to burn up thermocouples especially when it is cold and the boiler is running a lot. There is a thermocouple from Johnson (now Baso Gas Controls LLC) it is the K16LRA nickel plated corrosion resistant and hi-temp thermocouple. It is a little more expensive but it will out last most T'couples 3 to 1.

GTD do you have

@ March 16, 2014 1:44 PM in Thermo couples

a multi-meter that will measure millivolts? If so then go up and click resources, then library and look for Tims closet there is a procedure for checking thermocouples there.

Your system is

@ March 16, 2014 1:40 PM in Only half the burners are lit

low pressure gas, typically you are getting about 6 to 10 inches water column pressure (slightly less than 1/2 a pound of pressure. These systems can have problems with pressure in the street. Such things as do you live at the end of a dead end street or a cul-de-sac can all affect the gas pressure. Once again the gas utility should b e able to assist you with that end of problem. I am sure if you hook up with Charlie he can help you with anything else that may be wrong.

Is your natural gas service

@ March 15, 2014 7:40 PM in Only half the burners are lit

low pressure or high pressure ( HP has a regulator at the meter) low pressure has no regulator?

Depending on low or high pressure it could possibly be undersized house piping, it could be the service or main if low pressure. In the case of high pressure it could be the regulator. I would get hold of your local utility and have them look at it. 

By the looks of the flames you have a

@ March 15, 2014 7:14 PM in Only half the burners are lit

pressure problem. The flames should be much higher on the three burners lit with low flames, that would also cause the other burners to not light some times which is dangerous. You need to have gas pressures checked with a "U' Tube manometer or digital manometer which ever the tech you call has. Is this natural gas or LP?

For Dryers

@ March 15, 2014 7:10 PM in convert Nat gas to prop

with no access door to the burner the instructions for some dryers tell you to remove the back, remove the drum and install the new burner orifice. I have found on several dryers it is easier to turn the dryer over and take the bottom of usually 6 to 8 screws and you have direct access to the orifice in the burner.

The reason the door was done away with was due to children opening the burner access door which did not shut off the drum and little fingers getting cut-off. That was the same reason many years ago a mechanical switch was placed on the access door to the drum.

It could also be because of the

@ March 15, 2014 3:10 PM in Heatmaker detonating on start up

LP with very low out door temperatures LP can sometimes delay on ignition.
.

Is it on natural gas or

@ March 15, 2014 2:59 PM in Heatmaker detonating on start up

LP? I would still take it apart and clean it just to be sure and do a combustion test.

to clarify

@ March 15, 2014 2:57 PM in convert Nat gas to prop

Converting gas appliances:
Tim can tell me I'm full of it but:
No one ever told me this. It is my personal observation of what he said and why it can't be done.
I have converted a lot of gas appliances from NG to LPG because most all of the consumer driven gas appliances are designed and sold as Nat. Gas appliances. YOU CAN ORDER APPLIANCES SET UP FOR LP THAT DO NOT NEED CONVERTED.

 And where O worked, there will never be Nat. Gas available. YOU NEVER KNOW YOU COULD GET LNG OR CNG SOMEDAY.


 The majority of gas appliances like stoves and dryers are installed as Nat. Gas. LPG is a much smaller part of the industry. So, the burners and accessories are designed for NG. THAT IS NOT CORRECT I HAVE VISITED MANY OF THE BURNER MANUFACTURERS WHO MAKE BURNERS AND HAVE BEEN ADJUSTING GAS BURNERS FOR MANY YEARS. MOST OF THE BURNERS TODAY FOR EXAMPLE MAY NOT COME WITH AN AIR SHUTTER. THAT IS A BURNER WHICH IS COMPATIBLE WITH BOTH LP AND NAT GAS BY DESIGN.

 LPG is just another afterthought. They now use some form of "Shot-Gun" type burner with little if any adjustment for air-fuel mixtures. THERE ARE WAYS TO ADJUST THOSE BURNERS WHICH WE TEACH IN OUR CLASSES.

 Whatever orifice is used on say a 5,000 BTU cook top MOST COOK-TOPS ARE 10,000 TO 12,000 BTUS' AND USE COAXIAL ORIFICES ALSO CALLED UNIVERSAL ORIFICES WHICH CAN BE SCREWED ALL THE WAY DOWN ON THE SPUD FOR LP AND ALL THE WAY OUT FOR NATURAL. THERE IS ALSO USUALLY A CONVERTIBLE REGULATOR WHICH CAN BE USED FOR BOTH LP AND NATURAL GAS. THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO THE COAXIAL SPUDS ARE WAIST HIGH BROILERS AND THOSE HAVE AN ORIFICE SHIPPED WITH THE STOVE UNDER THE COOK TOP IN A SPECIAL SPOT. THE OVEN SPUDS ARE ALSO COAXIAL., uses an appropriate spud/orifice to supply the proper amount of undiluted gas through the venture/mixing space and into the burner that is designed for a set amount of air/fuel to burn. At the NG pressure range expected. Which can be wide. THE CONVERTIBLE REGULATORS GIVE 6" W.C. ON NATURAL GAS AND 10 : W.C. ON LP AND THOSE PRESSURES ARE FIXED.
With LPG, it takes a much smaller orifice because the pressure is higher and the gas has more BTU's. To try to get an equal amount of properly mixed gas to give you a air/fuel ratio without copious amounts of CO coming off the burners with LPG is a seriously difficult task. NOT THAT DIFFICULT WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
THE MOST LIKELY APPLIANCE TO BE SET UP FOR A PARTICULAR GAS AND LABELED NOT CONVERTIBLE IS ON WATER HEATERS AND THAT IS DUE TO THE DESIGN OF THE WATER HEATERS AND THERE SUSCEPTIBILITY TO MAKING HIGH LEVELS OF CO.

If you get a stove that needs to be converted, notice that the NG BTU rating will always be higher than with LPG. Because they can't mix it properly so they find a sweet spot" to give them the best and safest output.
A year or so ago, I installed two LPG fireplace logs that are approved for open flue fireplaces with the dampers removed. They can NOT be converted. You order them for Nat. Gas or LPG. These are the models that don't smoke and use a Bunsen flame between the fake logs. Two years prior to that, I did the kitchen over. I converted and installed a brand new well recognized brand of stove. Gas cook-tops and electric bottoms. To properly size the gas piping, I needed to know the output of the 5 burners on the top if all were running at the same time. Our inspector might want to see the figures. There were no ratings for LPG, only Nat. Gas. What I went through. Tech support was clueless as to what I was talking about. THAT IS BECAUSE THE INPUTS FOR NATURAL AND LP ARE THE SAME A BTU IS A BTU. IF YOU USE AN ACCURATE CALCULATOR TO SIZE ORIFICES THERE WILL BE NO PROBLEM MATCHING UP BTU TO BTU. THEN TUNING THE BURNERS USING A COMBUSTION ANALYZER WILL SOLVE ANY CO ISSUES. They told me that I didn't need to use the supplied spuds.  The manufacturer supplied the spuds. That wasn't the issue. The stove was convertible, the logs were not. When I was done with the installation of the logs and I fired them off, I stuck my Insight analyzer in the exhaust stream. After 20 minutes of steady running, the CO level never went above 10 PPM. I tried the stove. The worst burner was 95 PPM. The normal was 75+ PPM, CO. And this is an approved stove. THAT SHOULD NEVER BE SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY WRONG EITHER YOU NEED TRAINING OR SOMETHING IS DEFECTIVE.
Massachusetts requires hard wired CO detectors on each floor. This job was compliant.

It could be depending on how

@ March 15, 2014 2:31 PM in Heatmaker detonating on start up

it is vented. Some of them got there air for combustion from within the room others used a separate venting process for products of combustion and air for combustion, then still others used a concentric venting process which would be susceptible to cross contamination. Remove the connection and using a combustion analyzer the CO2 for air coming back into the unit should not read above 1% if it does the vent integrity has let go.

Has the unit been serviced? If not the chamber needs taken apart and cleaned, make sure the burner is inspected to make sure it is not damaged. Then do a combustion analysis on the unit.

Is this a silicon carbide or

@ March 15, 2014 2:24 PM in Gas ignitor only lasts one heating system

silicon nitride ignter?

The Norton 201 and 271 silicon carbide igniters have now been replaced by a nitride igniter which is much more durable. The resistance of those igniters at room temperature should be for the 201 45 to 400 ohms, for the 271 40 - 75 Ohms. They should be operating between 4.25 to 4.75 amps when powered.

Make sure the flame is properly adjusted and that the burners light smoothly a heavy ignition  can cause the igniters to crack.

Was a combustion test run on this unit with an electronic analyzer?

You do not use the

@ March 15, 2014 12:38 PM in Gas ignitor only lasts one heating system

igniter when you are using the AC so it has no effect. When they change the igniter what do they say is wrong with it? Is it broken as they are very fragile? They should give some explanation as to what the problem with the igniters could be such as cracks, bright spots, high resistance etc. What do they get when they test the amperage with the igniter?

Let metry this again

@ March 15, 2014 11:06 AM in Natural Gas to LP gas conversion .. orifices

·                                 Natural Gas to LP gas conversion .. orifices
Hello,
My 95% efficient furnace was installed by a licensed contractor in November 2012.  This furnace is a 90,000 BTU with 6 in-line burners.  Upon the furnace installation ..the installer converted this furnace from NG to LP.  But, he installed size 54 orifices even though the owners manual specified size 1.15 orifices. 

 
A 90,000 BTU furnace with 6 burners is 15,000 BTU per burner. The correct orifice size for LP at 10” W.C. is a # 57 drill. A lot of poorly trained folks have been told that you can always be safe with LP using a 54 drill and for natural gas a 42. Well that is not always the case you have to calculate each installation. Your furnace with a #54 drill size was firing at 25,000 per burner which is 150,000 BTU’s way over gassed. If he had ordered a conversion kit from the furnace manufacturer he would have received the correct orifices.
 


The furnace failed in December 2013 due to the secondary HX completely plugged with soot. The furnace has had a new HX put in.  When the new HX was put in and the furnace turned back on, it started short-cycling immediately ..approximately 6 minutes burners on then approximately 2 minutes burners off ..all the while the blower motor was on.  Note: It had been short-cycling like this since I can remember.  I originally assumed it was the new 2-stage blower kicking in.  (I am not an expert in furnace operation!)
 

Because it was overfired it was cycling off on high limit. This also can damage the heat exchanger due to thermal stress.



Eventually I asked for the improper gas orifices to be replaced with the correct size orifices, and the furnace seems to be working properly.
The original installer told me that the old HX might not be covered by warranty, and that he would not accept responsibility for the cost.  He said that improper size gas orifices will never cause soot. 
 
The oversized orifices will definitely cause soot (Carbon Monoxide), you are fortunate no one was killed.



It seems to me after a bit of internet research that he may be wrong.  It seems an improper (oversized) gas orifice will cause incomplete combustion, and that the 2 products of incomplete combustion are soot and CO.
(Also, as a side note, ..during the time this furnace had operated on the oversize gas orifices, my propane usage increased by nearly 30% even though last winter was relatively milder than most in my area.)
 
You will definitely use a lot more fuel when you oversize as drastically as this was done.



I would like to ask the furnace installer to assume the cost for fixing the furnace, but again, he says his improper size gas orifices would never cause soot. 
 
Again he is definitely wrong as too much fuel into a combustion chamber will always cause soot.
 


He says it might have been my outside regulators at the tank and at the house are probably faulty. 
 


If that were the case why didn’t he have the LP provider look into that?
 

 If I could get the manufacturer to honor the warranty on the HX, then I would only have the costs for labor to fix the furnace.  Unfortunately, hHe also says it is not his responsibility to pay for labor to fix the furnace even if it were possible that the wrong gas orifices were part of the problem (which he insists was not the cause).
Is my furnace installer correct that the oversize gas orifices will not cause any soot and that he has no responsibility at all?  Also, is there any possibility that the oversize gas orifices might have resulted in increased propane usage.
 


I think it is time for the lawyers to get involved as you have definitely been wronged if all that you are posting here is a fact. I would also contact the manufacturer of the equipment.

I do not know what keeps happening

@ March 14, 2014 10:16 PM in Natural Gas to LP gas conversion .. orifices

I had a nice long posting to answer your questions but the site kept dumping me off. You can e-mail me at gastc@cox.net or call me at 401-437-0557 and I will answer all your questions.

No it is not the

@ March 14, 2014 9:49 PM in Please help aquastat

L8148A is a 120 volt burner circuit. The L8148J is a universal replacement relay for 24 volts of millivolts(Powerpile Self Generating). You have to replace an "A" with an "A".

Yuo are correct if the bottom of the boiler is

@ March 14, 2014 9:44 PM in excessive draft and stack temps

open and gets its air for combustion from the room (atmospheric boiler) then a full pad must be placed under the boiler extending 2 1/2" out on all sides. Putting such a boiler up on blocks will drastically increase excess air and can cause high levels of Carbon Monoxide along with a high stack temperature and excessive draft due to the larger package of air and products of combustion that needs to be removed.

It is amazing how many of these I see in the field.
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