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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on July 31, 2014

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Rusty Baseboards:

@ February 14, 2012 9:47 PM in Replacing baseboard radiator

If the rusty baseboard is next to the toilet, it is rusty because urine is getting on the covers.
I once found a sign over a toilet in a house that a woman had put up over the toilet. "If you sprinkle, when you tinkle, please be neat, and wipe the seat". That also applies to baseboard heaters next to heaters. I personally try to nver install a heater next to a baseboard heater because of this phenomem.
If you replace it with Runtal, you will have the same problem.
Slant Fin makes a baseboard especially made for bathrooms. It is painted differently and made of s different material. But last I asked, my wholesaler told me that ALL their baseboard is this formulation.
If the baseboard is Slant Fin, Yiu could do what I often do. It is possible to carefully replace the baseboard cabinet without removing the fin tube element.
Most of the Runtal I ever tried to replace Slant-Fin with, required a lot more length in heater than the slant fin used.

Taco Gaskets:

@ February 14, 2012 9:30 PM in taco bumblebee pump

I stopped using the Taco Circulators because my Wholesaler never had the black OEM gaskets when I needed them. Only the red rubber ones that are worthless. And they only stock gaskets for 1 1/2" flanges. There is a mental block with the proper gaskets. When we had this house built in 2000, the contractor had a reputable plumber do the plumbing and heating. They did a good job and I could not have done it while working my regular work. I used a Weil-McLain WTGO-3 boiler. The tank-less comes from Everhot and comes with a red rubber gasket. The blank plate comes with the square cut o-ring. They used both.The red rubber gasket is hard and split. I have been trying for over three years (off and on) to get a new square O-ring to repair the leak. They have been unable to get me a simple gasket that is the same freaking gasket as the ones between the sections.
The Wilo gasket is about 3/4" wide from the edge to the hole. There is no way that you can use any other gasket on it. Especially a red rubber one.

Timkin Rotary's

@ February 11, 2012 6:48 PM in old timken burners

Amazing things aren't they.


@ February 11, 2012 1:47 PM in Burnham ES2 vs. Burnham Series 2

There may be 28 flavors but they are all ice cream. If the child is allergic to berries or bananas, that will limit the choices. If the child doesn't like chocolate, less choices.
When you buy a vehicle, the salesperson should be able to help you with the difference in the cars you are interested in.
Its like Olympic scoring. You throw out the high, the low, and average the rest. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. I find that to force something on someone that they really don't want, will make an unhappy customer.

LP Conversions:

@ February 11, 2012 1:36 PM in Failed Furnace installer blames propane supply

Those are very complicated conversion instructions. I can see that if any step was skipped or anything done that didn't follow the instructions could lead to a real problem.
I don't see any short cuts to happiness there.
And it sounds like they had different sets of orifi for different ratings of the burner/appliance. That is no 10 minute conversion job. It sounds like the missing low gas pressure switch is there for LP and must be installed by the converter. Does this company do a lot of LP or is it mostly Nat. Gas?


@ February 11, 2012 10:27 AM in Beckett Burner the end of my rope!!!

Well, Earl,
This is an older thread but if there was a Garber type Spin On filter at the burner with a restriction gauge, you would know IMMEDIATELY that the line was restricted or the filter is bad. Which leads to nozzle strainer clogging and low pressure through the nozzle orifice.
That filter at the tank is like using a wool sock as a condom.


@ February 11, 2012 10:19 AM in Burnham ES2 vs. Burnham Series 2

Why are you dealing with a contractor that doesn't want to give you what you want?
You sound perfectly reasonable and I can see no reason for you to be forced into abandoning a decent chimney that meets code. When figuring the added cost of more efficient equipment, I always contend that you may not live long enough to pay back the additional cost of installation with operating savings.
I always give customers multiple choices, prices and the different values they offer. I let the customer decide. Price may be an issue that they don't want to talk about and become annoyed when someone "pushes" for something the installer personally likes but the customer doesn't want to pay for. I've had customers pick the lowest and the highest. Its their choice.
If someone calls me on the phone, they want to spend money. My job (in business) is to figure out what they want and how much they are willing to pay. Then, go from there.


@ February 11, 2012 10:08 AM in Failed Furnace installer blames propane supply

It has always been my understanding that the paper that comes with the conversion kit, is (in a way) a legao document and you are supposed to sign whatever information that is required. It is also to be left with the appliance. If someone took theparts and information, it could be construed as tampering with evidence. It doesn't much matter though, that company North of Boston, couldn't come up with the information or evidence that could have absolved them of responsibility in the accident so they are screwed.
Veissmann Vitodens 100's come through set up as Nat. Gas. You MUST convert them. You also MUST fill out an information form and FAX it to them at the earliest convenience so they can keep track of where and who the conversion took place at.
CYA my friend, CYA. I suggest that you write down everything you remember about what happened here. You are the good guy. Some at fault will try to make you the bad guy. You can not ever do enough to CYA. Ask ME and Tim McIlw.
JMO, who has seen a lot of this stuff happen by those who are always in a rush.
There's never enough time to do it right. But always time for someone else to do it over.

Bumblebee Pumps:

@ February 11, 2012 9:52 AM in taco bumblebee pump

They sound nice.
I won't use them until they change the flange gaskets to a wider one like a Wilo. I switched completely from Taco pumps because of this. I got tired of replacing leaking red rubber flange gaskets that don't belong on circulators with square cut O-rings.  My supply house doesn't stock the proper O-ring gaskets and they save the ones that guys leave behind when they are using red rubber ones and give them to me.
Go Figure,
Its a personal thing.

White Metal Nuts

@ February 10, 2012 10:13 PM in 1000th Post

Get a can of Kroil ( and spray it on the nuts. Let sit for a while, and it will come off with a good basin wrench or one of those basin multi-socket tools. As long as they aren't Wolverine Brass nuts.
I use Kroil on everything. The next step is the heat wrench. I cool the object with Kroil. If after all that, it doesn't come off, it was never coming off anyway. There has been little that didn't come apart.
If you took every kind of rest loosen-er and combined them, it wouldn't equal Kroil.


@ February 10, 2012 7:58 PM in Failed Furnace installer blames propane supply

Soot is the result of unburned carbon. Usually caused by an air/fuel that is too rich in carbon based fuel and not enough air. If you do oil burners, crank the air shutter to cut back on the air. The CO2 goes up and smoke appears.
These modern gas burners don't really have a way to control the air fuel ratios. There isn't an air shutter for adjustments. It is my conclusion that these appliances are designed for Nat. Gas and LP is an afterthought. All you need to do is change a set of orifi and you are good to go. Interestingly enough, if you look at the ratings though, a converted LP appliance is usually rated slightly lower than Nat Gas. Because the burner mixing tube is designed for a Nat. Gas mixture. So, they have to play with orifi in an LP application.
Tim McIlwaine may say I'm wrong, and I may be. It's my observation and decided supposition.
Get a good digital camera with a big card. Document whatever you see that is bad. Make it a habit. When someone tries to BS someone and blame you, whip out your camera. They make good phone cameras. I don't have one. I have a Canon Power Shot SX120IS. Cheap insurance policy.


@ February 10, 2012 7:42 PM in Failed Furnace installer blames propane supply

That installer reminds me of the guy who only made one mistake in his life. The time he thought he was wrong, come to find out he was right. His record is intact. In spite of proof to the contrary.
If you live in an area that is heavily LP or exclusively LP, start demanding from your wholesaler, to stock equipment that is listed and rated for LP. If the manufacturers don't want to send it out as LP, threaten to buy equipment that is, and back it up by doing it. That will get their attention, quickly.
I may be as qualified as the next guy to convert a gas appliance. I don't remotely consider that to be true. And if I had a problem like above, a good Tort lawyer would rip me to shreds on a witness stand and leave me with a gaping rectal orifice.
Charlotte Pipe & Foundry does not approve of their Sch 40 PVC 1140 pipe for ANYTHING but draining, wasting and venting of water products ONLY. Even Sch. 80 isn't approved. There is no mention of exhausting any heating appliance. Just because the appliance manufacturer says its OK, doesn't mean the manufacturer of the pipe does. And they are the final arbiter.
That burned pipe is visual proof why. If that install was in Massachusetts, and it had the required CO detectors installed, the horns would have been honking like a gaggle of geese.


@ February 10, 2012 7:21 PM in flow valve passing

And you know for a fact that the pressure reading on the gauge is accurate? That if it reads 15" on the gauge, and you put another pressure gauge on the boiler or system, it would read 15#? Or will it read something lower?
You know for a fact that there is air in the tank and the air is under 15# pressure?
If not, very strange things can happen.

Electric Conversions:

@ February 10, 2012 9:10 AM in Help please

That's a good idea. There's nothing dirtier than a coal fired house, Every time you clean the ashes out, the house will fill up with ash. No matter how careful you are.
An easier solution is this, what I always did on electric heat conversions.
Only on the first floor, remove the electric heat heaters. Replace them with hydronic baseboard. This way, you don't need to cut back the wood baseboards. The HW baseboards are usually more then the output of the electric baseboard. Install a gas or oil hot water boiler with an indirect. Don't worry about the second floor. The hot air from the first, rises. The little electric you use is very small. And you only need it for a small portion of the year.
You don't need to cut big holes in the floor, and you get the best of all worlds.
But if you are one who squeaks when you walk, and you think you will save a lot of money by burning coal, knock yourself out. If you go away, you will need to use the electric heat that you will need to leave installed. You will most likely, be doing all stove maintenance on your own. If I asked my wife to help with this chore, we would be discussing a division of the house. I would get the outside and she would get the inside. I would be paying for a gas conversion and she would be enjoying the inside. While I would be enjoying the comforts of an alternate living experience.  
If you ever try to sell this house, it will be severely limited in popularity. Most anyone even remotely interested in buying it, will want you to pay for a gas conversion. You pay, either way.

30# Cylinders:

@ February 10, 2012 8:03 AM in Failed Furnace installer blames propane supply

Like I said in an earlier post, it most likely wasn't converted. I've seen it before on more than three occasions. The symptoms are exactly the same. Overheating and sooting up. Once sooted up, the incoming air is insulated from the HX and the HX over heats. And it can't be cleaned. It has to be replaced.
Just because it ran on a 30# cylinder, doesn't mean it was running properly. Had it been combustion tested, it would have been found out. And if they don't have the printouts, they have no proof it was set up properly. And does the installer even own one or do they just have access to one. Big difference.
If YOU owned a Digital Analyser like my Fyrite Insight, you could have stuck the probe in either exhaust and intake and got a reading on the combustion. I'll bet the CO was out of sight.
If you want to generate work, get a DA. You will find more challenging service work than you will ever know about.

Failed Furnace:

@ February 10, 2012 7:51 AM in Failed Furnace installer blames propane supply

Bet you a beer.
Look on the rating plate. If it says "Natural Gas", it wasn't converted to propane. They run too hot with the hotter fuel and higher pressures.
If it is, it's toast. It can't be fixed.
It also, may have been mis-marked at the factory and have a Nat. Gas orifice in it.
It is the responsibility of someone to convert it. If it can be converted.
I consider it my responsibility to be sure that it gets converted by SOMEONE. Our local LP supplier doesn't like to do it.
It should have been combustion tested. Another good reason to go out and get one. The cost of a DA is cheaper than replacing a ruined furnace due to negligence. And any heating appliance installed today should and must be combustion tested. Ask that company north of Boston that didn't pull permits and didn't test. His canoe is down the creek without a paddle after two died, and more were injured.
And had someone been carrying something like a UEI CO71A CO detector, they wouldn't have gone in the house with the smoke haze. It would have been showing red and buzzing. That means "Get the Puck out, NOW".

IBR and calculations:

@ February 10, 2012 7:32 AM in Does anyone know of any piping method

" "Be a little cautious though. The software uses the IBR infiltration method. This might be OK for houses built in the 50's but the new houses are a lot tighter. I don't think it does good on radiant either." "
What is the problem with IBR calculations? I've always found them to be far more accurate for hydronic situations than any program based on ACCA Manual "J" or a lot easier to use than ASHRA.
I've owned over six ACCA Manual "J" and ASHRA based programs in my time. I found that the IBR program booklet that taught me was the easiest to understand and use. They point out that building orientation doesn't matter in heating because the sun doesn't shine at night. There is no solar gain at night. ACCA says to put more outlets (for cooling) in south facing rooms. Great idea. On a cloudy, cold day, the back of the house will be cold and the front will be hot. With the prevailing winds blowing from the North. With the thermostat in a south facing room, the infiltration on the north side will be driving the heat to the south. Fine for AC. Horrible for FHA or FHW.
All those programs are moot when it comes to a FHA/AC that has a 12"x18" return duct over the furnace below and flex duct run to all the other rooms. With all returns going back through the house to the one return. A serious case of COPD.

Don't Do This:

@ February 10, 2012 7:06 AM in newbie

""Currently I have an opportunity to do a 600 sq/ft in floor heating job for a client who would also like to run there domestic hot water off the same system.""

Don't do that unless you don't care about the safety of your customers.


@ February 9, 2012 9:32 PM in air for combustion

The oil burner guy knows not of what he speaks.

Caring(Giving A Rats Red Rectum)

@ February 9, 2012 9:26 PM in sooted up gas boiler

You sound like you give a $&^%. If you are self employed, buy a digital combustion analysis. It will help out a lot. What you found takes an astute observer. Most would be in and out in a flash. You can't take for granted that someone behind you will do what they should do and fix something. Many are absolutely clueless about codes, requirements and how modern (let alone the old stuff) equipment works.
I know what you are trying to do. I have worked for years trying to figure out a reasonable and effective way to check for proper make-up air. I haven't found it yet. So, if there isn't an easy way to figure it out, the ones who have had the responsibility passed to, will say they can't find anything wrong.
It is my understanding that Digital Combustion Analysis print-outs are almost legal documents showing that something is or isn't working properly when you did the test and left. That's a big reason I bought mine. An oil company I work with requires that every employee do a CA on every piece of equipment they touch. Their insurance company requires saved results. No test, soot up, no coverage.
I download my results to my Laptop.

Air Vents:

@ February 9, 2012 8:55 PM in flow valve passing

You may have air vents on the first floor. If you have auto air vents on the second floor, it is far more likely that the air is coming in through the second floor vents. The pressure in the system probably isn't high enough. If you have a thermal expansion tank and it needs to be recharged with air, that will cause problems. If you have an Extrol type tank, it may not be working properly.  You need to know that the system pressure is high enough. Don't trust the gauge on the boiler.
Carefully trace the newer added on pipe to the monoflow loop. You might have a connection in the wrong place. That's why i always use zone valves. They are motorized flow checks. They CAN'T leak by. Circulators with Internal Flow Checks $uck. They always suffer from Ghost Flow when you don't want or expect it.

Pumping Heads:

@ February 9, 2012 8:36 PM in why are pumps calulated in Heads?

What didn't he explain that you didn't understand?
I can give you a low knowledge comprehensive explanation but I need to know what you don't know or understand.