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Joined on September 24, 2009

Last Post on April 11, 2014

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boiler sizing

@ May 28, 2013 3:41 PM in New installation thinking

When sizing steam boilers we measure the edr of the radiators (heat output) and not the heat loss of the building. Also 33% IS industry standard for pickup factor on steam boilers but that could vary depending on insulation, length and size of steam mains etc.

propress fittings in NYC

@ May 6, 2013 2:12 PM in propress fittings in NYC

Good afternoon. Are propress fittings allowed in commercial buildings in NYC? I am under the impression that they are but I am not 100% sure.

propress fittings in NYC

@ May 6, 2013 2:09 PM in propress fittings in NYC

Good afternoon. Are propress fittings allowed in commercial buildings in NYC? I am under the impression that they are but not 100% sure. Thanks


@ April 3, 2013 12:39 PM in Sandy Boiler Replacements and the Sooting Phenomenon???

I wonder if the post Sandy jobs are different. I suspect that there is a lot of hidden moisture hiding in these flooded homes . The moisture when combined with the drywall dust will greatly accelerate the sooting effect. Just a thought.


@ March 19, 2013 10:28 PM in clanging, gurgling from recessed convector radiator

First thing I would do is to check the boiler water.Look to see if there is a lot of movement in the water glass while the boiler is firing. Most of the banging problems that I have come across are related to dirty/contaminated boiler water. In theory there should be banging in more then one of the radiators if there is a central problem (all the radiators get there steam from the same boiler). However I have found that the excess water will very often find its way to a vulnerable radiator and bang there. Where is this radiator in relation to the boiler? The radiators at the far ends of the house tend to have the most problems. The radiator valve is the last thing that I would touch due to the difficulty involved in accessing these things.

one pipe

@ March 19, 2013 7:50 PM in one pipe job

The vaporstat may not be the problem(as mentioned). There are many things that can cause excess pressure with will lead the stat to do its job(i.e. shut the burner when the pressure is too high). Bullhead T's can cause increases in pressure. Undersized near boiler piping can cause too much pressure. An oversized boiler can cause too much pressure. Inadequate venting can lead to higher pressure. A 0-3 pound gauge would be a great idea. On a different topic vari-vents are ill advised. The high venting rates can lead to some radiators hogging steam from other rads.In addition they preform poorly in holding back water in wet steam situations(eventhough an air vents job is not to hold back water anyway).

water from vents

@ March 14, 2013 8:33 PM in air valves spitting water not fixed, and more..

Water from vents will almost always be a result of too much water in the system or radiator. Air vents are not really designed to shutoff against water. They are designed to let air out and close when the steam reaches the air vent. When there are very mild levels of excess water then the better quality air vents(i.e. Gorton) will do a better job closing off, As NBC mentioned there are two things you can do on your end. First is too make sure that the radiator shutoff valves are fully open. Second is to make sure that the radiator is pitched toward the shutoff valve. There may be issues in the basement that are are causing excess water but there is not much you can do about if the super is not on board. Your only option might be to let the water continue to spit until there is aleak downstairs. Sad that this might be your only solution. Is there any banging noiase? If yes you know for sure that there is a water issue. Good luck

non issue

@ March 13, 2013 8:27 PM in pex on condensate loop

General contractor didn't like my price so he will give the job to someone cheaper. Dripping the runout would have been an option but access was an issue. Radiator is about 30 or 40 feet from the main and on the second floor. The radiator is certainly not too big. The room in question has estimated heat loss of 8-10 thousand btu(just did rough guess) and radiator has aprox 3500 btu!! Not kidding. Whatever!


@ March 13, 2013 10:30 AM in pex on condensate loop

How important is the type of pex if anyway the boiler is open to endless oxygen? Again this is a steam boiler. I am aware that pex is being used for endless heating systems. My only concern is with particular application because the slightest bit of air in the system will cause the water to drop out of the loop and flood the boiler. Thanks again for the insights

pex on condensate loop

@ March 13, 2013 12:39 AM in pex on condensate loop

I went on job today. General contractor had steam "guru" move around steam radiators on remodel job and he couldn't figure out why one rad would stay ice cold. Turns out that the guru ran about 40 feet of 1" black horizontal pipe to the rad. To me this WAY too long for a runoff using 1" pipe. I am convinced that the steam is dying in the pipe due to its mixing with the condensate. There plain and simply isn't enough room in the pipe for the steam and condensate. That's the background. The rad is on the second floor.I told GC that he can run a hot water loop directly off the boiler for that rad.I have done this before following Dan,s instructions in "How come". I told him that he could use pex as long as he blends the the supply water and return water to insure that the water that hits the pex is never more then 200 degrees.However after thinking about some more I am having second thoughts. I am not confident that the pex joints would do an absolute job keeping air out of the loop(critical for any condensate loop above the water level). Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated. Are the pex joints tight enough? That is the question. The difference in price between using pex and copper is fairly large. Thanks again


@ March 7, 2013 11:00 PM in Steam Boiler Nozzle Size and Spitting Vents

Dont think that the boiler has a header. The "header" that is there seems to function only to equalize the steam pressure on the return but not to drain the condensate or more importantly the water carried over from the boiler.

wet steam testing

@ February 26, 2013 5:44 PM in How to tell if you have wet steam?

Got this idea from Lost Art. Close bottom glass gauge valve. Remove that little plug. Install a 1/4" brass nipple, a closed 1/4" ball valve and another 1/4" nipple. Let the boiler run for a while. Open the ball valve and see what comes out. If steam comes out then you know that there is steam in the top part of your boiler. If water comes out then you know that you have water in top part of boiler and hence wet steam.

Agreed MTC

@ February 20, 2013 10:43 PM in automatic water feed issue

I tell my customers that if they really want auto feeders for that reason they should leave them off and turn them on when they go on vacation.

auto feed

@ February 20, 2013 9:49 PM in automatic water feed issue

Auto feeds are not a very good thing to have on your steam boiler.
1. You will never know if you have leaks.
2. If you have leaks and the auto feed keeps refilling the boiler then you boiler lifespan will be shortened due to oxidation from the oxygen in the fresh water.
3. The auto feed typically maintains a safe operating water level and not an efficient water level.
4.Auto feeds have a bad habit(not common but it happens) of opening and not closing with will fill the boiler, then the radiators and then your house with water.
If you don't have any leaks in the then you should not have to fill you system more the once a month MAX!

backwords flue

@ February 20, 2013 9:40 PM in Hi Again from San Francisco!- Question on Venting

Not sure if I am seeing it correctly but is the flue pipe backwards(meaning male/ridged part of flue pipe toward boiler)? If yes then you have yourself a rather dangerous situation on your hands. Again pic is a bit blurry so I might not be seeing it right.

Auto feed

@ February 19, 2013 3:31 PM in LWCO to auto feeder connection

Why do you want to add an auto feed? Auto feeds are bad. With an auto feed you will never know if you have a leak and the excess makeup water will shorten the lifespan of you boiler. They also typically reduce efficiency by keeping the boiler water level at a less then efficient level. Without leaks in the system you should not have to add water more then once every few weeks at most. If you do have leaks please do yourself a favor and fix them. Auto feeders do open sometimes and not close with will result in a flooded system and house


@ February 18, 2013 11:44 PM in Steam system knocking

Is the hot water loop above or below the water line of the boiler

Near boiler piping

@ February 18, 2013 6:32 PM in Near boiler piping

Sorry to be so blunt but that near boiler piping is really really bad. Forget about the gal pipe(BAD!), the copper pipe(BAD!) and the pipe size for a moment. The way the pipes are currently oriented there will be a buildup of water in that first horizontal pipe. The water will mix with the steam resulting in banging and higher operating costs. Think about it for a moment. When the steam leaves the boiler it carries water with it. The water needs a way to drain back to the boiler(one of the main functions of the header is to be a drain pipe). How is water in that first horizontal pipe supposed to drain back to the boiler? Is it pitched toward the boiler? If yes the which way is second horizontal pipe pitched? You almost certainly have a puddle of water in one or both of those horizontal pipes. Also the chimney is not sealed. CO is nasty. Don't take it lightly.


Lost Art

@ February 18, 2013 11:00 AM in Steam System--The Skimming Process

Dan has an entire chapter devoted to boiler skimming. I don't have the book in front of me but I believe its the last chapter in the book. Dan discusses various methods and in the end gives the method that he believes works the best

Dont tell Mom

@ February 17, 2013 7:28 PM in Plugged Steam Riser

What I would do in your scenario is to remove the supply valve and check to see if it is fully open. If yes then put your mouth on the supply pipe and try to blow. If there is no obstruction then you should be able to blow through. If you feel like you are blowing into a brick wall then there is probably some sort of obstruction. If there is an obstruction then the fun begins. What is the obstruction?? It could be a build up inside the pipe(not that likely considering that there should be no standing water in steam supply pipes and hence not much rust/mineral buildup). It is also possible that there is a sag somewhere that is causing a water seal that is preventing steam from entering. It is also possible that the pipes are disconnected(that is how some of the knuckleheads solve banging radiator problems). Good luck!!


@ February 17, 2013 7:16 PM in basement heat

You should consider running a hot water loop for the basement. It will probably be cheaper to install and will not really add to operating costs. Besides for the potential problems mentioned above you do need to ensure that that radiator is secured properly. Cast iron radiators are VERY heavy and you really don't want to come falling down from the ceiling!!


@ February 15, 2013 1:40 PM in Better without main vent???

Funny thing is that the system seemed to be running fairly smoothly
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