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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on July 24, 2014

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Thermostat Problems:

@ February 8, 2012 12:17 PM in Munchkin 199 Circulation problem

Most ALL of the W-McL. indirects like that I have had, had thermostat issues. Just like you described. No hot water when set at whatever, say "medium", turn it one degree more, and it clicks on and the water is 160 degrees or higher. Turn it back ever so slightly and there is no hot water after the thermostat "clicks" off.
You still need to address the fault codes. If the drain is restricted, you could have a high tide line inside the burner chamber and it will wreck the refractory. It will be an expensive maintenence. If it hasn't been serviced since the install, it needs to be done now.

Wireless Wi-Fi Honeywell Thermostats:

@ February 8, 2012 12:02 PM in $250 for a Thermostat?

But Honeywell does have a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat system. I have a friend who has one and there were three on the store managers desk that had been ordered for someone. They are out there and available.

Air for Combustion:

@ February 8, 2012 7:00 AM in air for combustion

I haven't found a positive way to do that other than knowing that from my Massachusetts Continuing Education for my licenses, there is almost never enough to meet code. So, from there, assume that there isn't enough and go from there.
I have found that if the appliance is in a closet with no ventilation, I can put my Fyrite Insight into the exhaust with the door open, and check the CO while running with the door open. If I close the door and the CO goes up, it needs more make-up air. My EUI CO71 remembers the highest number so if I leave that in a room with the door closed for a while, and I get a reading, I know that there is an issue.
You touch it, you may own it.

Soot Mess:

@ February 8, 2012 6:51 AM in sooted up gas boiler

Good for you to be astute enough to recognize a lack of combustion make-up air.
A pox on the hackaroos that don't have the inquiring mind to figure out why the first boiler sooted up in the first place. Those companies are some of the ones that we who have invested time in education and money in equipment to do a proper diagnosis, don't get the work.
Say what you may about Massachusetts. But any and all licensed plumbers, gas fitters and LP installers are taught from the beginning, and reminded in our annual CE classes, make up air is important. And so is a chimney inspection when installing new equipment.
Every time a consumer gets worked over by a Hackaroo, it reflects on all of us and costs us too. In new and foolish regulations that never bother the Hackaroos, but just us.
Also, in Massachusetts, if you do a new Install of ANY gas equipment, you must to have a CO detector installed for compliance. No CO, no pass inspection. Had there been a CO detector where that equipment is, the chirping of nasty birds would have been overwhelming.
Do you carry a personal CO detector with you? You should. If you are smart enough to recognize that there was a make-up issue, you should know that there is almost always CO around bad running equipment. You could pass out and die before you realize you are in trouble. If you do service, and you run into direct vented equipment, and you hear it running, stick the instrument into the exhaust. It will give you a very quick way to judge how it is running, Twice, I have had the instrument lock up at over 1200 PPM. Then, you will want a digital combustion analyzer.

Domestic Water Heaters & Coils:

@ February 8, 2012 6:27 AM in Hydronic Coil Air Haindler

First, the circulator is probably broken. I've found quite a few broken impellers in circulators when piped into the bad idea you have for a cheap way to heat your house, and an expensive medical condition if the moon and stars align in the right house.
That "Armstrong" circulator looks like a re-branded Grundfoss pump. It must be a bronze or Stainless Steel pump. They are not cheap. Do not use a cast iron pump because it is cheaper. It won't last more than 6 months, probably less.
When the water heater starts leaking, replace it with a Mod-Con boiler and an indirect water heater. Protect the health and safety of you and any family you have living in the house.
There is not one thing about that set-up that is safe or efficient. The only ones that gained were the hackaroos that installed it.
They really are bad.

Thermostat values:

@ February 8, 2012 6:15 AM in $250 for a Thermostat?

With the Honeywell, you get a lot of equipment and it does a lot of stuff. I'm guessing that the other thermostat is a "Nest". It only does one thing. Control the heat or cooling or whatever. To compare a "Nest" to the Honeywell listed is like comparing avacados to bananas. Both grow in the tropics.

199 Problems:

@ February 8, 2012 6:09 AM in Munchkin 199 Circulation problem

The piping flow issues are one thing. The fault codes are another more important issue.
The boiler needs to be serviced SOON. The drain may not be working as well as it is supposed to. Condensate water can be backing up into the chamber. There could be "coffee grounds" blocking the spaces between the tubes. F-11 is seeing a flame when there isn't supposed to be one. Never a good sign. F-09 is flame going out or not being established. Both show a need for service. Do it soon or it could get more expensive.

Early Crane:

@ February 6, 2012 8:02 PM in Crane LIne pump-motor shaft coupling

And it would really save money with a new burner. A burner with a 3450 RPM motor. Not a 1725 RPM.

Under Baseboards:

@ February 6, 2012 7:56 PM in Carpet placement with radiant baseboards?

It must be raised a minimum of 3/4". Have a pine strip made that 5" longer than the given length of the baseboard. if it is a 8" (96") baseboard, add 5" to the strip, now 105". That's 2.75" each for the end caps. Set the back panel in the strip. The end caps will fit to the end of the strip. Cut the baseboards back carefully and when done, you will have a neat fit. The carpet installer will run the carpet up to the front of the baseboard against the strip. It will be a very neat and professional looking installation.
That's how I do it.
I never just set 3/4" blocks to set the height of the baseboard heaters. Like ME said, stand back and you will see under the heater. It looks SO unprofessional.

That's a bad one:

@ February 6, 2012 7:45 PM in Replacing Open Hydronic System

Some of us think that that is one of the worst ideas to ever come along.
Others may disagree with me.
I personally would install a Mod Con boiler, boiler only. Connect the heat zones through a Low Loss Header/Hydraulic seperator, and install a brazed flat plate heat exchanger and turn one water heater into a storage tank, fed with the FPX. That will be the most cost effective thing you can do. If you want to spend more, use an indirect. But you already have the water heaters.
Many are excited about Combi units. I've already seen expansion control devices fail under warranty and the potable water sides fail. Maybe with more time in the field.
I have an account with a Potable instantaneous water heater that goes through a flat plate to heat an air handler. It doesn't work well that way. If it was a Mod-Con boiler, heating the building and heating the potable water with an indirect, it would be fine.

Hysterical Districts:

@ February 6, 2012 7:24 PM in Mod Con common venting question...historical police!

I work in the town that was the first in the country to develop a Hysterical District. All others are based on ours. It has been painful to watch. There is usually absolutely no consistencies to decisions. The rules change with a change in commission membership. Decisions are based on arbitrary and capricious thoughts. One place that can and will trip them up. Public Safety. And they can not overrule a fire department. In most jurisdictions I have seen, as long as the appropriate codes are followed as far as vent locations are concerned, that is usually left alone. They can't make you do the impossible. They can make you paint a plastic intake and exhaust pipe but you can't paint a SS pipe. Flat black is an exception.
The issue of venting heating appliances has not been a problem where I work. They recognize that we have limited choices for vent locations. There are many towns that are trying to keep the historical character of their towns. You need to research what other towns are doing about this venting problem and be prepared when you have to deal with them. They can usually be negotiated with. If not, most towns are not willing to go to court because it is expensive and the issue of being arbitrary and capricious is a big hurdle to overcome. And the big boys downtown usually have a final say over spending the money to defend them. I'm not suggesting a legal battle. But find out what they want and be reasonable. It's always worked for me.
What town are you trying to deal with and what is the issue? 

Old Burner:

@ February 6, 2012 4:20 PM in Crane LIne pump-motor shaft coupling

That must be one of those old Torrid Heat 1725 RPM things, though maybe not.
I'd replace that burner with  Carlin EZ-1 or a Beckett AFG (I prefer the Carlin).
By the time you futz around finding a part that is unavailable, you will be ahead of the game. That shouldn't be a time consuming project. And It is an absolute guarantee that it will pay for itself.
Consider my long lineage of ancestry from the Northern British Isles and you will understand where I am coming from. That boiler looks like it has been well taken care of. If the chamber is intact, and the flame isn't bouncing off the back wall, that should be a nice set-up for your aunt or relative. New would be nice, but, I'm not one to change a boiler when the customer is unwilling to spend. But to change the burner is a very cost effective upgrade and people are far more willing to make an improvement that doesn't break the bank.
Consider that.
If any of us professionals here had done the run around time that you have done, and had to charge for it, it would have covered the cost of the new burner. Seriously consider the up grade. I promise you that it will pay for itself.  


@ February 6, 2012 9:34 AM in CO Incident:

That's what i tried to do. Have them be discrete. Especially if they didn't know how to find what they are looking for, and didn't find anything. Like in Tim's story. A false alarm will make a non-believer out of them.
I've had that UEI CO71A for a few years. Ive had it tell me that there was CO where I didn't think there was any, and tell me that there wasn't where I thought there was. More than once, where I was somewhere on another mission, I thought the gas equipment wasn't right. I put it in the outside exhaust to see what it is reading. Twice, it locked out at over 1600 PPM and I had to pull the batteries to reset it. I've compared it to my Fyrite Insight and they read about the same. So I trust it. And it is easier than dragging my Fyrite out of the truck. The best $200.00 I ever spent.


@ February 5, 2012 9:05 PM in CO Incident:

That was my quandary. I didn't want ten fire trucks pulling up and a bunch of jacketed fire persons traipsing around the lobby while evacuating the building. Whatever was wrong, wasn't huge. But the management would come to attention when they went looking for the problem. Tim McIlwaine has had experience with another Inn in the close area. The AHJ seemed to be genuinely interested in the problem. Maybe I'll see.

Fire Department:

@ February 5, 2012 6:04 PM in CO Incident:

I did that. But read the postings from Tim McIlwaine.
Don't count on anyone finding the cross connections we find.

Sludge in Supply:

@ February 5, 2012 5:44 PM in Clogged nozzle

Where are you located?
Did you say that you were in SE Massachusetts? Or was that someone else. If you are, is the oil line in a blue plastic NMT conduit or is it a copper tube covered in red, orange of yellow plastic? If you live in Massachusetts, and your oil line doesn't meet the criteria of what I just wrote, you are not in compliance and the oil service techs would know that. If so, double, no, triple LAZY, LAZY, LAZY. It is no biggie to change the oil line. Some are harder than others but if it goes under a concrete floor, your insurance company may demand that you replace the line.
Where are you located?
In Massachusetts, we have to fill out a form stating that the oil system is in compliance. One form if it is from the install and another when we have to bring it into compliance. With our license numbers on it and legal responsibility. Where I work, the oil companies will NOT deliver unless they have their own copy on file for their insurance records.
Not to be trifled with.
You can grouse about Massachusetts all you want. We don't want a lot of crud in our groundwater. We have to drink it. 
OBTW, if you have a problem, your insurance company may tell you that you are on your own. And you don't have enough money to do a proper oil spill remediation. A new oil line is still cheaper than replacing the whole thing with gas. IMO


@ February 5, 2012 5:20 PM in CO Incident:

With your encouragement, I found an e-mail for the Rocky Mount Fire Dept. I sent them an E-mail. Then I found the number of the On-Duty Battalion Chief. So, I called him and explained it to him. He was very receptive. When I got off, I checked my E-mail again and there was a reply from someone else in the FD wanting to know which Inn it was at. I told him
It does not have a fireplace in the lobby. But I'm sure that the situation is similar. When I saw the pool through the door, I knew that there was a gas heater somewhere. And in the AM, before we left, they were bringing lots of prepared food for their giant Continental Breakfast.
I think that the one I stayed at is the one next to it. You have to go around to another street. It abuts the Outback Steakhouse.  
I threw my CO71A in my computer bag at the last moment. I'll never travel without it again.
Here's one for you, piston powered aircraft (twin engine) have a gasoline heater similar to a master kerosene heater. It uses some very small amount of gasoline to work. It is fired in a HX and exhausted out the bottom of the aircraft. When on the ground, there is a fan to keep the HX cool and heat the aircraft. I always wondered what was happening and how would they know if it was leaking exhaust into the cabin. One February day, I had to go to where i work and flew over. I got in the plane and was sitting in the Co-Pilots seat. I had set the CO71A and the pilot slowly taxied out to the runway and waited for clearance. I watched as the CO climbed and climbed until it finally was over 65 before we took off. The airflow through the unit made it go back down to zero in a short amount of time.
I worry about things like that. I told the pilot who was wondering what I was doing. I never heard anything more about it. I carry it everywhere. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that carries one.


@ February 5, 2012 4:50 PM in Copper ceiling radiant

I hope you get the job.
All the radiant ceiling jobs that were done where I work used an Allen-Bradley analog controller that would control the radiant temperature with ODR and then used a 6006A Honeywell to stop the circulators if the radiant temperature went over 150 degrees.
They used little gas petcocks that had a bulb end that you could stick a rubber hose on. Then, a float vent on the end of the manifold that led to points in the cellar where it could overflow and another with a petcock so you could drain it without going upstairs.
If you are looking to install a 4-way valve, check out Taco's "I" series 4-way. It has either ODR or boiler control. It comes with the sensors. After using one on an old gravity system, I can imagine how you could use one in your application and it would really be nice. I could see how I could use one in MY system but the guy before me, connected the high temperature and blended water together when he removed the Sarco blender and replaced the boiler. The old boiler would heat the house easily. The new one never will. No one lives in it in the winter but the heat is on, set at 50 degrees so no one knows but me and the owner doesn't have to know. She would be outraged if she knew. 
When I get back home to Massachusetts, I'll take some photos if you are interested and can figure out how to post them.

CO Incident:

@ February 5, 2012 12:31 PM in CO Incident:

I drove to Florida last Wednesday, 2/1/12. We stopped in Rock Mount, NC which is about half way. We went to a well known sleep place at the end of the off ramp that allows pets (a cat). As I walked in the door and through the lobby, I smelled an odd odor. As I carted our stuff up to the room, I realized it was an odor of Nat. Gas. I had happened to have thrown my UEI CO detector in my bag. I went down and outside (still smelling the smell in the lobby) and let it calibrate. I went back in, and walked around. It went to 2 PPM, then 4PPM. I went to the room and it went to zero after a few. I went back downstairs and walked around. It went back to 4PPM, then 6. I found a door with a big draft coming through it. It went to 8 PPM. I found the PHA at the desk and asked them about the smell. She said she had noticed it for a long time and thought it was normal. I showed her my instrument and told her it wasn't normal. I "suggested" to her that she might call someone. She said she would notify someone in the morning. She didn't.
In the AM, at 6:00 AM, she ignored me like I didn't exist. It was still 4 PPM  with folks going in and out of the building.
I had left the instrument on all night in case it started to go up, it didn't.
We and the cat, left and continued our trip.
What to do in a quandary.
The average fire person is mostly clueless about CO and where it can come from.
What to do.


@ February 5, 2012 12:13 PM in intermittent lockouts

When in doubt, replace the transformer.
Use an electronic ignitor.

Carbon Crud:

@ February 5, 2012 12:06 PM in intermittent lockouts

That's the stuff I'm talking about. But did you put your finger on the outside, the side facing the combustion chamber? That's where I find the crud. And when I find one like yours that stops going off for a period, and starts again. it is the crud.I also find that with that burner, you MUST use the nozzle brand, spray pattern and angle that the boiler manufacturer suggests. It is almost always a Delavan. It is almost always an 80 degree spray angle and a "B" (Solid) or "H" (Hollow) spray. Most of the ones I find that are problems have some odd nozzle in them. The problem goes away when I go back to what is recommended. I have always considered a "B" or a "H" to be a Delavan.Billtwocase may suggest otherwise. He sees far more of these old clunkers than I do. What I say has worked for me. 

What nozzle brand, type and spray are you using?


@ February 5, 2012 11:42 AM in Clogged nozzle

Lazy, lazy, lazy.
Would it have been too much exertion to blow out the oil line to get rid of the crud?
My old High School auto shop teacher used to say "You can't buy a mechanic in a can." Any time I have ever walked away from a dirty oil line, I was back to blow it out or replace it.
ALSO, You said that you live in Southern Massachusetts. This should be a new oil line due to the new oil line law. If the line hasn't been replaced, the oil company isn't supposed to deliver oil, and if it doesn't meet code, the tech(s) that serviced the burner, should have brought the line to compliance. You should NOT have a dirty, sludged oil line.
How many times and how many ways do I have to say it. A "clogged" nozzle IS NOT clogged in the orifice, it is clogged in the strainer. You can set the pump pressure to 200# and have 200# at the strainer. If the strainer will only allow 50# of pressure through the strainer, the orifice will ONLY see 50# pressure.
Prove it????  Take the strainer off the "bad" nozzle and screw on a new strainer from a new nozzle. If it runs fine, then the old nozzle was clogged. NOT the orifice.
Hackaroo Techs are ruining all of the heating industries. If you don't know what you are doing, take classes and learn. Or get the heck out of the industry and let those of us that do, do our jobs.