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Joined on February 27, 2010

Last Post on July 29, 2014

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@ January 3, 2013 6:46 AM in Forced Air Furnace Issue - Troubleshooting and Identification

That system looks highly nelected. That odd burner pattern could be a cracked heat exchanger. Have it looked at by somebody with an inspection camera, or who knows how to properly diagnose failed heat exchangers.


@ January 2, 2013 7:48 PM in Cost savings with gas

All of my customers have saved from 40-60% so far.


@ January 2, 2013 2:41 PM in Gas regulations... Help!

Where are you located?

Some companies, myself included, would offer a third party inspection.


@ January 2, 2013 2:39 PM in Point of no pressure change - help me understand

I feel a lot of pressure in this thread!

The only way to understand this concept is to test it. Or just listen to Mark.

Steady Water-Level Contest

@ January 2, 2013 12:12 PM in Steady Water-Level Contest

I propose an informal contest for the remainder of the winter. Who can get the steadiest sight glass level on a steam boiler on a new install. Here's my first entry. Sorry for the sideways video.

SMITH 8S3 with Carlin power burner firing at 120,000 input.
Double 2" risers. 3" drop header. One 2" main.


@ January 1, 2013 10:04 PM in Heat coming from discharge side of Radiator

The supply pipe that is sagging may be holding water and preventing steam from entering the radiator. The vents on the returns are also not needed. If this is a true two-pipe air-vent system, then the only vents should be on the steam mains and radiators. Whatappearsto be happening, is that thesteam is being blocked by a water seal, and the other radiators are allowing the steam to move backwards into the cold radiator's return.


@ January 1, 2013 9:10 PM in Heat coming from discharge side of Radiator

Yes, if you can take pictures of where the returns join together.


@ January 1, 2013 8:45 PM in Point of no pressure change - help me understand

Not quite.

Water can never be pushed or pulled from the tank. That's why its pressure never changes. If you imagine the water moving in and out of the tank, where is it going to, or coming from? In a closed system completely filled with water, you cannot create a vacuum, or send water where water already exists.


@ January 1, 2013 8:36 PM in Heat coming from discharge side of Radiator

Are you able to post a few pictures of the radiator and the piping that leads to it? The return pipes, too?


@ January 1, 2013 8:14 PM in Heat coming from discharge side of Radiator

Because it's in the nursery!

Are all of the radiator returns piped into a low wet return?


@ January 1, 2013 7:45 PM in Point of no pressure change - help me understand

The expansion tank is just a facade. The real reason is the compressed air inside of the tank. When a system is a closed loop, the water can neither expand nor contract unless heated or added manually. And something has to define what the pressure is. With just a loop of water, once the fill valve is closed, the pressure drops to 0 or whatever water weight there may be. With an expansion tank, once the fill valve is closed, the comprssed air still puts pressure on the water. Nothing in the system can affect that pressure in the tank (unless heated or added manually).


@ January 1, 2013 6:22 PM in A post Steamhead responded to a couple years ago

It's relative. 195 is warm compared to 215. As long as they never go above that, there should be no problem.

Pipe sizes

@ December 31, 2012 9:26 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

The supply is larger beause steam has a greater volume than condensate/water. Pressure difference moves the steam, no matter what the size is.


@ December 31, 2012 6:56 PM in Probe type LWCO failure

Most electricians are terrible with HVAC controls. Find a boiler tech.

You can always add a second LWCO for extra peace of mind.


@ December 31, 2012 6:21 PM in Probe type LWCO failure

You may be on the right track. I would just verify it by doing a few more electrical tests. I see some very dirty LWCO's that still work.


@ December 31, 2012 5:51 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

It's not your fault. And, you've come to know just how rare good steam work is. At least you want to improve the situation. That's the biggest first step that most contractors don't take.

We don't talk prices here. If you email me, we can discuss it privately.

However, this is really the landlord's problem, not yours.


@ December 31, 2012 5:39 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

I just imagined the contractor doing the work.

"Man, this system drained really fast! That's weird. Oh well, let's throw in this new heater and get some lunch..."


@ December 31, 2012 5:26 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

Steam problems are always CAUSED and never just HAPPEN. This radiator is an indication of years of improper work and a lack of steam knowledge.


@ December 31, 2012 5:15 PM in HELP, F09...BOILER WONT STAY ON

Proceed with caution.

Could be bad ignition, bad ground, bad gas or air supply.


@ December 31, 2012 5:13 PM in Oversized Boiler, now what?

The Gorton 2 should be plenty, but more is always better. It's probably not worth going to any more than two of them.

So, one of the radiators is two pipe? Is that the one that doesn't work?


@ December 31, 2012 5:09 PM in Knocking Radiator in 120 yr. Old House

Well, my first step would be to disconnect the radiator and see how and where the valve settles. That could lead you in the right direction.


@ December 31, 2012 5:05 PM in $50 if you can figure this out...

The traps are probably under the floor or in the basement. Unless, the returns all go to their own wet return connection. Judging by the copper piping, I suspect much knuckleheading.
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