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The Wall


Joined on February 27, 2010

Last Post on July 16, 2014

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@ April 3, 2014 10:51 AM in Value of converting oil/steam to modcon gas?

I messaged you privately about this. My BIGGEST pet peeve is a lack of communication and response. I'm guilty of it myself sometimes, but there's no excuse for completely breaking communication like that.


@ April 3, 2014 6:07 AM in Value of converting oil/steam to modcon gas?

It's hard to reply to every thread here during the winter, as Steamhead has said. Sometimes, we can go weeks without spending much time here. Since I was in the original thread, I'm assuming that the comment was made about me.

Feel free to call or email me any time. I'm available 24 hours a day for emergencies, and generally open to a phone call at any time of day.

If you really want to rip the steam out, let me come by and take the radiators. They don't belong in a junkyard. We'll donate them to a proper steam system.


@ April 3, 2014 5:55 AM in Value of converting oil/steam to modcon gas?

I wonder what they would say if they were talking to somebody else; somebody who didn't install the system. If they've enjoyed your service over the years, they may not want to say anything negative about the work. A lack of complaints is not the same as an approval. Then again, they may be telling the truth. Maybe steam isn't the best system for everyone. It's just that when I hear the same opinion from every single one of my customers, it becomes easier to believe that it is. Especially the ones who want to switch BACK to steam after it was ripped out.


@ April 3, 2014 5:42 AM in steam boiler maintenance

I recommend once a week at first. If the water is clean, go every two weeks, or 3 weeks, or 4. But, never less than once per month. The water should be tea-colored or slightly less than clear but never thick or gritty. You should drain the boiler as often as needed to keep it clean without having to add excessive fresh water.


@ April 2, 2014 8:49 AM in Value of converting oil/steam to modcon gas?

Don't ask us contractors. We have our favorite systems, and our own agendas. Ask the homeowners who have converted from steam to something else. They'll tell you the real story. Higher fuel bills and less comfort. It would be foolish to remove the steam system.


@ March 31, 2014 8:29 PM in McDaniel #16 Steam trap

Ummmm PICTURES PLEASE! We'd all love to see the setup, if it's all original.


@ March 29, 2014 7:48 PM in Help! I have no main vents! + problem radiator

Thanks for participating on The Wall!

Agreed that those vent locations look good. I would use a Gorton 2 for every 20 feet of 2" main. Try to get the steam main full in about 5 minutes. You could also add on a Vaporstat in conjuction with the new venting to run at super low pressures. Low pressure = low fuel usage.


@ March 28, 2014 1:55 PM in Greening Steam is now a Kindle book.

Now THAT'S green!


@ March 26, 2014 7:14 PM in Northeastern Pa

I travel anywhere for steam. Get in touch and maybe we can offer our services.


@ March 24, 2014 7:48 AM in Adding cast iron baseboard to one-pipe steam system

I would use an 1-1/4" angled valve with a reducer on the spud. This will allow the water to drain freely from the BB and give you the benefit of a bigger sized valve to allow steam and condensate to live happily together.


@ March 23, 2014 5:27 PM in adding Walls around Boiler

50ft3 for every 1,000 BTUH if the room is going to be sealed. And please leave 24-36" or more around the entire boiler. Make a door that is big enough to remove the boiler in the future.


@ March 23, 2014 5:26 PM in i got to get rid of this steam heat system, i got questions

You might as well drive the dagger right into our hearts.

Why don't you like the steam system?


@ March 23, 2014 8:36 AM in 2 Pipe system - water hammer on one radiator

I'm going to guess that the bathroom was remodeled at some point. That's usually when bad things happen to good steam systems. Sounds like there is some improper piping in the floor.


@ March 22, 2014 10:48 PM in Adding cast iron baseboard to one-pipe steam system

I guess it would only work if the air vent was in the dead center of the BB.


@ March 22, 2014 8:26 PM in Adding cast iron baseboard to one-pipe steam system

I've always wondered what would happen if you piped it like a two-pipe BB but had the return tie back into the supply riser. Never tried it. Seems like, at the very least, you would create two supplies to handle the condensate that just one 3/4" supply might not tolerate.


@ March 22, 2014 8:22 PM in Main Vents

I used to work with a plumber who would install vents on the near boiler piping because it made the water line more stable. What he didn't say publicly was that his waterlines were incredibly unstable because of his horrible piping practices.

I'll bet that once the vent is plugged, you'll see a disappearing waterline or some other quirk. The vent is not a good answer to the problem, but a very good mask.


@ March 21, 2014 11:00 AM in Weil-McLain & Caleffi Installation

If somebody took the insulation off, would the solder joints still look perfect as always?


@ March 17, 2014 8:03 PM in WANTED: Asbestos Removal Co. in NJ

Thanks, Victor.

Ice, I'm looking for direct referrals. We do work for an energy audit company and would like to recommend a company that somebody has used before with positive feedback.

WANTED: Asbestos Removal Co. in NJ

@ March 17, 2014 5:30 PM in WANTED: Asbestos Removal Co. in NJ

Any reccomendations?


@ March 9, 2014 10:06 AM in Beating a dead horse.

I don't trust the 82% rating either.

All I know is from what I see in the field. Atmospheric boilers need just as many adjustments as a power burner. I've almost never fired up an atmospheric boiler and walked away without making adjustments. The excess air and O2% are always way high, and combustion efficiency is way low. And should we even get started on the horrible engineering behind draft hoods? I've seen draft hoods allow massive backdraft without shutting down on safety. Never seen that with a draft control and safety switch.

I do agree that the most important factor with any boiler is the installation and set-up. We install both wet-based and atmospheric boilers. We all see some horrible work being done by other "experts". Incompetency and ignorance in this field will never go away. All I can do is offer the best solution possible, and not worry about catering to "the next guy". I also completely inform my customers about the future possibilities of needing service from a company other than my own. 90% of them don't see it as an issue. It may be naive, but I have to operate my business as if I will be around forever. I should be the only company servicing my installs for their entire life.


@ March 9, 2014 9:34 AM in Beating a dead horse.

So how do you convince a homeowner to remove an 85%+ boiler with a power burner, and install an 82% atmospheric boiler?

Atmospheric boilers are set up on the whim of the factory assembler. Who do you trust more, your own technician with an analyzer, or a production-line worker with a pneumatic drill?

If Harper actually works for Burnham, then all he is convincing me to do is to never buy Burnham. This is a very distrubingly sneaky tactic, to come on here and peddle their products. Maybe a phone call to US BOILER will confirm his affiliation?


@ March 8, 2014 8:36 AM in For all you steam heads out there

"You can't fix stupid". But, you sure can record it.
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