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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on July 29, 2014

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Bent into shape:

@ July 29, 2014 12:25 PM in Copper fitting friction loss

When doing a replacement, just what do you do with all those short left over pieces of 3/8 OD copper tube back at the shop that are going to be sold for scrap. That you already charged for?  Is it worth more per pound as scrap or more by the foot in an install?
The guy who replaced my system didn't do Shade Tree bends, but did a really neat job with brazed Refer 90's. Not having any of those old favorite tools, I would have loved to eliminate all those potential leak sources with nice lever bent 90's. Teach him how. Those bending springs are for DIY'ers or Pro's that use the Orange box as a supply house.
If you ever have to run protected tube, oil (orange/red) or Gas (Yellow) in 3/8" OD, they bend perfectly in a 1/2" OD Ridgid lever bender.

What is it:

@ July 29, 2014 10:31 AM in Looking for a replacement for these....

What is it supposed to be?

Friction Loss:

@ July 29, 2014 10:18 AM in Copper fitting friction loss

I think that the reason is that those size ells aren't sold in short pattern 90's but in short or long patterned radius ells. Or you use a bender. They are refrigeration sizes and used for refrigeration. That the restriction from a radius'd bend is insignificant.
Only Techno-Weenies like you and I would even dream up the question without an answer. Do they list resistance for copper tube made with lever bent copper tubing with the radius's made? Nothing looks more professional that lever bent copper tube. And its quicker and cheaper than using and brazing fittings. Except for the couplings of course.

Mor/Less baseboard:

@ July 29, 2014 10:00 AM in Oversizing hot water baseboard for efficiency?

Its a really good idea. But you don't have to go all that nuts with under sizing it. Because the needed output of any heat emitter changes with the outside temperature. For example, if your design target is Zero  degrees OAT and 70* inside, and you need 10' of baseboard to keep the room at 70*, and the OAT rises to 35*, you only need 5' of baseboard. If you chose water at 180*f, to make the room 70 degrees when it is zero outside, you might only need 140 degree water when the temperature rises to 35* outside. I'm not looking up the exact number.
You can do what you want with beer cooler wall hung condensing boilers, They will change the temperature automatically. You can also use "standard" types of boilers that need to be protected from condensation. You can use 4-way mixers that will keep the boiler above condensation but allow the system to be running below the condensation level. What is more important than anything else (IMO) is that the heat loss be calculated for balance and equal. That EVERY room and space in the building be as close to equal to each other as you can get it. That said, it is often very hard to get equal and balanced heat emitters like baseboard to balance. You may find that the room that you can get the least available wall space determines what all the other rooms will need to be in balance.

'Nuff Said:

@ July 27, 2014 11:12 PM in HVAC options for 400 square foot addition

"Nuff Said.

Big Box as opposed to:

@ July 27, 2014 6:16 PM in How Long

Big Box stores as opposed to your well stocked Plumbing and heating wholesale company with many stores. Standard items in most FW Webb, Plumber's Supply Stores. Then, there's Sumner & Dunbar. Bought out by I don't know who.
That will be (in the end) a tedious rig. I'd want to have the most positively secure connection available. The one I showed you would never have come apart if the bolt had been tightened. It stayed together for ten or more years. I didn't install it. I only fixed it.
As far as the orange pipe. if you can find a mechanical fitting that fits that orange pipe, and make a good solid connection, it doesn't matter if you tie the rest of it up with duct tape, As long as it is tight.


@ July 27, 2014 6:06 PM in New Boiler Install

Did you spray them with Kroil for a few days to see if they would loosen up? I've always been able to get things moving and set them right again.

Patience is a virtue.

Raising the Roof:

@ July 27, 2014 6:01 PM in Builing an addition

I may be contradictory again.
If you are going to add a second story to your ranch, how wide and what pitch will the roof be? If the building is wide enough and the roof pitch is steep enough, put an air handler in the attic, fed from the boiler in the cellar. You can have AC as part of the air handler. Cold air falls. The second floor cooling ends up on the first floor. The baseboard heat from the first floor ends up on the second floor. Progress not perfection. As far as DHW, a oil boiler with a internal DHW coil can be a wonderful thing, connected to a storage tank. Some will say that it doesn't work. However, as an unintended consequence (by others) it seems to work very well.
If the second floor is new though, some of us are of the opinion that our drills can go anywhere. That we can fish PEX tubing with the best electrician. It just depends on who you ask.  


@ July 27, 2014 1:10 PM in How Long

If you have a fitting like this, and someone forgets to tighten the stainless steel bolt, like this:

And the pipe is like this with a stainless steel compression sleeve inside like this:

It can look like this:

When it should have looked like this:
And it looked like this when it was found. The darker colored concrete blocks show the high tide mark. So always be sure to tighten the bolt AFTER you tighten the clamp.

Fusion Welds:

@ July 27, 2014 12:22 PM in How Long

Even if you got that orange tube out of the PVC ell, I haven't seen a fusion welder that would fit between the wall and the weld. It might be nice to have it fusion welded. MILLIONS of compression fittings are in the ground all over the world. As long as you use the internal SS compression sleeve and tighten the outside SS bolt, it won't ever come off. Even if you hook on to it with a back hoe.

The Madam Judge:

@ July 27, 2014 11:57 AM in Burner Conversion Question - Weil-McLain P-SG0-3

Judge Judy (Shindlin) wrote her first book and she called it "Don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining".
Someone peed on your leg.
(unless they explained that a PSOG-3 is a little short on the combustion chamber area to get a good efficient gas flame.)
How old is the house and how old is the oil tank?  

Pig Roasts:

@ July 27, 2014 11:36 AM in Cut oil tank in half, now what?

Depending on how you cut the tank in half, once you clean it out, you can make some grates and grill top and turn it into a fantastic barbecue grill for pig roasts and neighbor hood parties.
A little New Hampshire Yankee engineering. I always wanted to make something like that. Especially to cook or smoke fish. My wife hates fish. She has said repeatedly said that if any part of a fish came close to a grill than she might eat something off of, she would never eat off it again.
55 gallon steel drums make excellent eel smokers. I could go for some nice smoked eels right now.
Hey, an idea. They have all these invasive snakes in the Everglades and all over Florida. Maybe what they need are some used Yankee oil tanks converted into snake smokers. Smoked constrictor snakes. I'll bet that would be the #1 seller at The Road Kill Café. They taste better than chicken and you don't have to pluck them.

Opiniions &Understandings:

@ July 27, 2014 11:19 AM in Another Steam Boiler Sizing Concern

Its my opinion or understanding (take your pick) that with atmospheric gas burners (open tray type burners) are limited to the amount of air you can get into the burner process. Only the room atmospheric pressure can push air into the combustion process. With "power gas burners", you can jam more air into the mix of gas to get higher efficiencies. Like adding a supercharger to a car engine. Or a diesel. The more air fuel you can inject into the combustion process, the more power you can develop. Think of it in a way, like a turbocharged diesel. Once the initial compressed air charge is introduced to the cylinder, and the intake valve closes, the heat of compression explodes the fuel and the injector continues to feed fuel through out the combustion/power stroke process. The gas and oil power burner process is this in reverse. The fuel is forced in under pressure, and the air is blown under pressure. In both cases, air pressure control determines efficiency. You can futz with fuel pressure but with gas, you are limited to the fuel pressure provided by a regulator or the supplier. In both cases, the fuel is introduced into a confined space.
Oil was always set at 100# pump pressure until someone figured out that you could get better fuel atomization with higher pump pressures. The droplets of fuel became smaller and more of the fuel droplet was exposed to air.
The big difference with both fuels is that oil will smoke, soot and create CO. Gas just creates large amounts of CO. If it smokes, you REALLY went off the rails.
I'd be carefully measuring those radiators to determine EDR. I've measured a few cast iron radiators in my time. My ears are getting hot thinking about remembering the EDR ratings of sections for all the different types of radiation. I found that I always had to count the sections on each and every radiator and total the sections for the EDR. But I'm mathematically challenged. Some have better number recall that I do. I can't just look at a radiator and know for certain how many EDR it puts out.
You don't need a Master's or Doctorate in Physics to figure out the EDR of the radiators. If it is in the ball park and the boiler is big enough but not way too big, you are confirmed. If it is way off, you can ask questions. None of us are perfect. Especially when quoting prices to price shoppers.

Trap Size:

@ July 26, 2014 4:04 PM in Cleaning 1-1/2" tub drain line

That was because of some old hateful dead engineer that didn't want people running snakes through their traps. And back then, all they usually used were flat tape snakes. Try getting one of those through a trap.

Air testing:

@ July 26, 2014 3:46 PM in How Long

FWIW, is why I suggested trying to test it with air before you did any long term planning. I've never played with HDPE before but that orange stuff was used by fiber optic users for underground. conduit. You could fish/pull fiber optic cable in it by sucking a proper sized ball of cotton with a piece of poly string tied on and suck it through. It was stupid cheap and there were a lot of 5 finger discounts given. If you have access to a supplier that deals in supplying water service fittings to municipal water companies. take a piece the orange pipe and see if they have a line of fittings that fit the OUTSIDE diameter of the pipe. You just need a compression sleeve for the inside. If you can find a mechanical fitting to fit it, it will be far more convenient than trying to line up someone to come and do a fusion weld.
That's just my opinion on the subject.

Thinking alike:

@ July 26, 2014 3:28 PM in HVAC options for 400 square foot addition

Snowmelt said it first. If you're pondering cost, you'll be going with HW baseboard and using a Mini-Split for cooling in the summer.
I personally would never install an insect door into the side of my house. Especially if there is a light in the room and you have a window AC. You get Black Flies where you are? They might get in. The "Noseeums " will really be in.

Kinda, sorta covered:

@ July 26, 2014 10:42 AM in Cut oil tank in half, now what?

According to this, its kinda, sort a covered. But the rules change.
If I was an AHJ, I would interpret it that a transfer facility (dump) isn't supposed to take cut up tanks unless they have a number and are whistle clean. Because of the date (2014) of the reg's, I'd be calling up NH DES and finding out their latest rules. If you have removed the tank and cut it in half, it might cost you more in materials to get it squeaky clean than to call some environmental tank disposal company and find out how much it would be to come take your dirty tank away. I mean, unless they are seriously trying to bend you over, they just have to come and throw it in a truck and take responsibility. When I sold my house in Brewster, MA, the town had instituted a knee jerk regulation proposed by some earthy crunchy person that all single wall tanks had to replaced when they were over 10 years old. With a double wall the tank. I've seen 50 YO inside tanks that weren't leaking and mine was an inside tank in a heated cellar on a concrete floor. They don't let go like the splats. No matter, it had to come out. It was out a 8' double door at grade. It was cheaper to have someone come and get it. It had to be tracked. My time has a value. I could do two service calls and pay to remove the tank and have it gone. An empty tank with some minor sludge in the bottom.
Its almost like stepping over ten dollar bills to pick up dimes.
But you know what your time is worth. Did you factor that tank removal cost into your gas conversion? Fear not. Because once the Wall Street Crime Syndicate gets the crude oil export law changed (from 1973) as much as possible, crude oil (and the LPG that goes with it) will be sent offshore so they can hook into the European demand for Russian gas and petroleum products. They'll be compressing to liquid all the new found Natural Gas to be sent to Europe to get the gas prices up where the stockholders think it belongs.

They'll be eliminating all the export fees so they can stick us for the cost and passing it off to the Banksters. Its the American way. American Exceptionalism.

Line Composition:

@ July 26, 2014 10:06 AM in Cleaning 1-1/2" tub drain line

If the drain line is old and made out of galvanized steel, it needs to be replaced because even if you get a "snake" through the trap, it is probably reduced in size by more than just soap scum. If it is copper or PVC, you can clean out the soap scum with high powered drain cleaner (Drain-O isn't high powered). If the drain isn't one with a lever piece in the Tub Shoe that operated the pop-up, and can be completely removed, you can use a 1 1/2"/1 1/4" blow up test plug in one side of the shoe and use a drain king type water expansion plug  in the other end. Adapted and connected to a portable air compressor. The swirling air will loosen it up. Once loosened up, you can switch to water.
I've used a pot of almost boiling water with dishwasher detergent (Cascade) mixed with the water. It sometimes helps. SOME wholesalers sell dangerous drain cleaners that can be a real problem if they don't work. They can quickly destroy the finish of a porcelain tub. Not all wholesalers want to carry and sell serious drain cleaners because of liability. Some "safe" drain cleaners are no more exciting than kissing your mother in law or grandmother. Drain cleaning is sort of an acquired skill from trial and error and experience. Like priming shallow well water pumps. No one way works best. Other than adding water as needed. If the drain pipe is galvanized steel pipe and is accessible, cut it off two inches before it goes into the stack (or wherever) and connect it with No-Hub Couplings and PVC. You can use Fernco Couplings if you aren't in it for the long haul. They rot out in time. No Hub type couplings have the stainless steel shell around the gasket and don't rot out.
Not for the faint of heart.

Under Pressure:

@ July 25, 2014 10:41 PM in New Boiler Install

If the fill valve is working and maintaining 10# to 12#, it will always show 10/12# on the gauge. If the pressure drops below 10#, the fill valve adds water.  Bad Extrols can kill a boiler. If the PRV blew and stayed open, the system pressure hit 30# Sometimes, they don't blow until over 40#.
Take the cap off the Schrader valve and push it down with a nail or screw driver. If yiu have air, it might be OK. If you get water, its shot. Drop the pressure in the system by draining some water out of the boiler. If the pressure goes to zero almost right away, the tank is shot. When it gets to zero, if you still gat air. Measure the pressure with a tire gauge If it isn't 12#, you might be able to add air to get it up. If it doesn't have any air at all, the tank is shot. If it is a #30 Extrol or equal, with all the additional water in the system with the wood heater or whatever you have, a #30 or equal is too small. You need at least  #60. It makes a difference.
If it is the original tank from the original install, it surely worn out.

A trip:

@ July 25, 2014 8:19 PM in New Boiler Install

It sounds to me like you have had a failed Bladder tank for some time. That the internal pressures have been going wild. If the relief valve was popping open, the system was over pressurizing. Above 30#. As a rule, in hydraulics, the difference in water under pressure due to temperature rise, it is in-compressable and the difference between 1# and 1,000# is a drop. When you shut off the boiler for the vacation, the water is displaced by its thermal properties. When it cools, it constricts. It will go negative and atmospheric pressure will push in through the weakest link, the gaskets. If the room temperature rises any amount, or the radiation or piping. It will cause water expansion. The relief valve will pop because of the expanding pressure.
I've not seen the issues that you describe with *68 series boilers. If you weren't careful cleaning them, you could knock the sealant between the sections. The biggest source of leaks was at the tank-less coil gasket The red rubber gets as hard as a tar road and leaks.
Failed Extrol type bladder tanks kill a lot of heating boilers.


@ July 25, 2014 7:42 PM in Time for a new oil boiler?

If the boiler is physically connected in a way that gravity flow won't occur to or from the boiler and the system, if you can install a "Makes on rise" aguastat directly in to the boiler, you can connect it LOW VOLTAGE to the TT terminals on the burner control and it will maintain a warm setting in the boiler and stop the condensation.
I don't understand why they keep telling you that you need to change the boiler. What is supposed to be wrong with it? You didn't answer that question.
A 10 year old boiler needs to be replaced? I'm 70 years old. My wife of 51 years hasn't suggesting that I be replaced by a newer model, yet.

Hydro Vs. Bladder tanks:

@ July 25, 2014 7:25 PM in handling power outages on a well

Before the development of "Bladder Tanks" on water well systems, they were rated on the amount of water that was removed from the tank, with the air pre-charge that occurred from the first filling of the drained tank. If you had a "Airy" well, the pump outlet was always above the drain by a few inches. The air went to the top. If there was too much air, you needed some type of air elimination device. If the tank would get water logged because it lost all its air, you needed a device to add air. Usually something that added air from when the pump started and picked up air between the nozzle and venturi as pump started. There are calculatable amounts of water that will leave the tank depending on that range of pressure switch you used. If you used a 20#/40# pressure switch, and it was a 40 gallon well tank, there was a listed amount of water that would come out of the tank after the pump shut off at 40# and came back on at 20#. If you went to a 80 gallon tank, more water came out during the range because of the bigger tank. The cut in-cut out pressures are part of the equation too. But water would still continue to leave the tank until the air pressure in the tank  went to zero, or a level that wasn't high enough to push it up and out of a faucet.
So when you try to rate a Hydro-pneumatic tank with a "bladder" tank, it is the amount of water that will leave the tank under pressure until it hits the pre-charge point when the water stops flowing out of the bladder tank. Ceiling mounted old style steel expansion tanks on heating systems are rated the same way. Its how much water can flow in and out of the tank during the expansion range of the tank . The bladder tank has NO reserve once the pre-charge setting is reached.
If you understand what I have tried to explain, I would add a large (80 gallon) hydro-pneumatic tank into the loop and leave the bladder type tank as the main source of expansion device.
You sound like a gnarly dude, able to change your oil in the driveway, change a tire, and maybe do many of those homeowner tasks that hiring someone else may be unsatisfactory. And you might even have a portable air compressor around with a air nail gun or two around the shop. If so, put a fitting inline to the hydro-pneumatic tank so that you always have a good "Squish" of air in the hydro tank. If you get clever, you can pre-charge the pressure air in the hydro tank. When the power goes out, if you have 20 gallons of available water in the bladder tank, and the pressure goes to the pre-charge, the water stops. But it will continue to flow out of the Hydro tank until the water/air pressure in the tank is too low to support the column of water.
Hydro tanks aren't cheap. Now, the bladder tanks might be cheaper. But when you get into the larger sizes, the value starts to flip.
I wasn't trying to be  WA with my first response. I don't always see solutions like some others. They might not understand my solutions. Your solution to your problem will work OK. Did you come up with it or did someone else come up with that. I'm not wanting to second guess someone else. Maybe they know something I don't know. And maybe they don't know how Hydro-Pneumatic tanks work in relation to bladder tanks. What you asked about would work fine. There is a way that might be cheaper and gives you better results.
There are other positive and negative issues if you are interested. I don't want to get windier than I usually am. Unfortunately, I tend to not be brief.
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