Joined on December 12, 2009
Last Post on December 8, 2012
@ December 8, 2012 12:06 PM in Reoccuring Sludge problemsI recently received a question from someone at our local OESP chapter meeting and I thought I'd post it hear to see if anyone had any thoughts:
"We (the servicemen) are starting to see that rubbery black sludge clogging up lines and whistle vents again.
I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas or solvents to add to minimize this. Also, specifically why this is happening.
I had a customer with 2 tanks and a clogged line twice in 10 months today.
This is frustrating for the customer as you know and doesn't help the oil industry with maintaining customers."
I certainly have thoughts on how I would address this, but I'm posting the question here to get some new ideas. Looking forward to your thoughts.
Inside Oil Consulting
@ October 1, 2012 11:06 PM in PRV's and new boilersAgreed. There are customers out there seeking to blame others and we need to protect ourselves. There other ways of protecting ourselves like making it an add-on option for the customer.
But I don't like replacing something just to cover my butt.
I prefer it if there is a technical reason for a strong likelihood of failure if I don't replace it. I was wondering if there is such a reason behind the practice of changing the PRV. If I have confidence in the part, not changing it is an opportunity to beat the competition. If we do exactly what everyone else does, how do we stand out? I don't like to compete on price unless I have a cost advantage. Not changing the PRV could give the cost advantage - assuming it's not a risky proposition.
@ October 1, 2012 11:00 PM in PRV's and new boilersHi Bob, Directionally, I agree, with performing a complete installation and minimizing the chance of failure of an system part by proactively replacing it. That not only protects the installer's reputation but also the comfort and convenience of the customer by reducing the probability of an unscheduled break down.
However, I'm interested in what is the right balance between a proactive replacement of a part, such as a PRV, and wasteful replacement of a part, which likely would have years of life left?
Specifically, with regard to the PRV, aside from common practice, is there any reason that increases the likelihood of near term failure of a PRV once the water has been shut off and the boiler has been disconnected during a boiler replacement that makes reusing the PRV a riskier proposition than if the boiler had never been changed. I kind of remember some technical reason behind the practice but I don't remember what it was.
Separately, if the PRV was shiny and looks like it was only two years old, should it be replaced? Are we really doing a service to the customer by replacing it? Would we replace it in our own homes?
@ October 1, 2012 10:48 PM in PRV's and new boilersBob, the R stands for Reducing as in Pressure Reducing Valve. This component reduces the pressure of incoming water pressure (typically at or above 60psi) to heating system pressure (typically 12 - 18 psi) depending on height of the building.
@ October 1, 2012 3:57 PM in PRV's and new boilersI recall reading once upon a time that it was prudent to change the PRV any time you change a boiler. I don't recall why and was wondering if anyone had a good justification.
In a competitive industry where price matters highly to most customers, I recommend not to sell something if it is not necessary. Aside from keeping my costs down, I believe it's the right thing to do. In the course of establishing standard boiler changing procedures for one of my clients, we were looking at the PRV and wondering if it was a good way to keep the price down or if by not changing it we were setting ourselves up for problems down the road.
Looking forward to you thoughts,
Dave @ Inside Oil Consulting
@ January 19, 2010 12:29 PM in Innovative or stupid? You tell meI did not know parts were available for these traps. I've called around to several local supply houses in Westchester, NY and no one was familiar with these traps but maybe I'm just not calling the right places. I'll try these sources and see if they have anything that will fit.
If anyone knows a good source in Westchester or Bronx NY please let me know.
Good idea to close the valves. Unfortunately the rad's and convectors are piped directly with no valves.
@ January 15, 2010 4:07 PM in Innovative or stupid? You tell meA customer has really poor access to the steam traps. It's the typical story of a carpenter and a tile man not respecting what he is covering up. In the bathroom radiator, the steam trap has been boxed in so that there is no enough access to remove the trap with out doing some "surgery" on the customer's finish work. The customer is reluctant to allow that. The steam trap appears to be stuck open. What if I were to remove the element and shoved a rag in the trap? Then it would effectively be stuck closed, which would be better because it would keep steam out of the return pipes and thus not interfere with proper steam function of other radiators. Probably some air and condensate would make its way past the rag, which might allow some heat from the radiator. That could be good.
If that radiator is not an important one and the heat won't be missed, isn't this a good trade off to keep steam out of the return piping? Is there a downside to doing this?
@ January 15, 2010 3:49 PM in drop-in replacement for a Trane B1 trap?Try heating the casing of the steam trap. The casing should expand faster than the cover and thus loosen up. Be careful not to heat anyone point to much. Ideally use a heat gun, if not an even touch with a torch may do it.
@ January 15, 2010 2:22 PM in seeking steam trap sourcesI've been changing some steam traps at a house originally equipped with traps made by Trane and stamped: Lacrosse, Wisconsin. These are 1/2" angle traps that seem to be bigger than most available on the market today. The vertical pipe is fairly rigid and won't be pulled up and the convector has no give to come down. I've looked for other brands and models to replace them with and found Hoffman, Armstrong, Sarco, Mepco, and Barnes & Jones but they are all just a little bit short both vertically and horizontally. Where else can I find alternate traps that might fit? The only other solution is to open up the hole around the vertical nipple for some horizontal flex and also to change the vertical nipple to something longer. That may be quite a project because access is extremely tight. Any suggestions?
@ December 12, 2009 11:20 PM in B-dimensionI'm currently troubleshooting a gravity return 2 pipe steam job. I've been reviewing the Lost Art of Steam book regarding the B dimension and the explanation is a little different than with the A dimension. I understand that the two have different reference points - the A is based on the end of the steam supply and the B is based on the lowest trap. However the A dimension is also based on pressure DIFFERENTIAL between the boiler and the end of the supply main and the B dimension seems to be based on boiler operating pressure - not pressure differential. If the B dimension is based on boiler operating pressure, than does that assume there is a 100% pressure drop across the steam supply side? (Reference - Lost Art, Chapter 9, "The Gravity-Return "B" Dimension section - page 127)