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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 17, 2014

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WH Storage:

@ October 15, 2011 11:03 AM in Indirect Storage for HW

If you are using a water heater for the storage tank, like an electric water heater, pipe the hot and cold to the water heater full sized like you were going to connect it as an electric water heater. That usually means 3/4" in and out. Between the cold water inlet valve and the cold water inlet to the tank, install a 1/2" connection. Remove the drain from the bottom of the tank and replace it with a 6" brass nipple, a 3/4" brass tee, a 3" brass nipple and ell and whatever brass nipples you want to use. Buy a Taco 006BT bronze threaded circulator. The extra nipple and ell is to offset the circulator away from the bottom cover and make it easier to access the wiring. They now offer a stainless steel one but be sure it is threaded. Install the circulator with the arrow pointing up. Pipe this to the "cold" side of the tankless. Pipe the "hot" side to the top of the water heater where you left the 1/2" connection. I install valves and unions and a 1/2" check valve above the circulator but it is an option for you but not for me..
There are many ways to do this. I'll give you the third world way. You can modify it with knowledge.
Remove the lower cover. Remove both wires from the lower thermostat. It is going to be a "switch". Use a "Cord Whip" or for a really third world connection, if you have a dead extension cord, and the male end is OK, cut it off. Connect the white wire to the appropriate neutral in the circulator, the black wire through the water heater thermostat and the other end back to the "hot" wires on the circulator. Make sure you connect the green ground wire to the provided green screw on the circulator. Set the thermostat on the water heater to whatever you want. 130 degrees seems nice.  Change the boiler controls. Set the "Low Limit/Circulator" to 140 degrees. Set the "High Limit to 160 or 170 degrees.
You are good to go.
If the water in the tank needs to be hotter, turn up the temp, on the tank. If the house doesn't heat up as fast or enough, turn up the high limit. That will only be a problem in the coldest months.
You will notice that the water will be hotter in the winter when the heat is cycling. In the summer it will be cooler because the boiler will be on the operating control and the boiler only will start when the water heater circulator calls.
You do not need any other controls to make this work. You can go nuts and try to re-design the world but this has worked for me and my customer for a lot of years.
As far as specific hot water storage tanks, when I built the house I live in now, I had to have it plumbed by others. Who did a fine job. I told them to use an electric hot water heater for a storage tank. They lost their mind. I shoe=wed up one day and found a "John Wood" hot water storage tank installed. Piped as per their instructions. Which I find, don't work as well as the way I have written. I changed it to the way I have described. I just replaced the tank after 10 years. I bought an AO Smith regular 50 gallon electric hot water storage tank. It is the same as the John Wood tank without the 1" plugs in the element holes. In 40 years of doing this, I have never had a leak through the elements.
Electric water heaters are the cheapest insulated water heater tank you can buy.
You can get all nuts and fancy and use the internal tank wiring but you must understand how the wiring and controls work. The easy way is the one I describe. The thermostat is a switch to control the circulator. The boiler control reacts to the drop in temperature. There is no physical, electrical connection between the two. It is already set up to do so.

Do The Math.

@ October 15, 2011 10:27 AM in sizing a boiler

Look at the rating plate on the boiler. See what the gross output, the net IBR output and see how many gallons per hour the boiler is rated for. Look for an old nozzle around the boiler and see what it is. Multiply that rating by 139,000 BTU's, subtract 75% or 80% from that and it gives you a third world estimate of the house or what is going into the boiler.
In my retarded opinion, you need to upgrade your insulation before you do anything as drastic as changing to gas. The gas provider (I assume nat.gas) should be giving you a big wet kiss of gratitude for switching to them because you will be spinning that coin meter on the side of your house. And I don't care how good a deal you are getting from them.
It's nice of them to include the indirect. I hope it is big enough to fill that 120 gallon tub you have. As a licensed Master Plumber, I see far too many undersized boilers and indirect water tanks for the real and actual load.
What you really needed for your hot water usage in the summer was a storage tank. It also works in the winter and saves lots of money.
I'll prove my point. If you have multiple zones (and they are wired correctly to kick the boiler to high limit), start the smallest heating zone. If there's an isolation valve on the zone, close it. Let the boiler run to "High Limit". Go fill the tub. You will fill it fine as you do in the winter. The boiler is operating in the summer on the operating control which is lower.
Do what you want. Enjoy your gas. It makes me ill to see intelligent people buy into what some unemployed person who takes a two day course given by the gas companies, walk into homes and condemn perfectly good equipment that needs some upgrades for cheap money. Totally disregarding heating professionals with years of experience.
If you think that the gas suppliers are giving you such a great deal, and it is going to be so cheap for you, why is it that no matter how wrong THEY are in a bill, they will spend any sum of money to deny you resolution in your favor?
The only thing you will be getting from the gas providers  is a new pair of jeans with a hole in the back. The Vaseline is extra and can only be purchased from them at an inflated price. The Wal-Mart brand isn't approved for that use.

Removing Push Nipples:

@ October 14, 2011 7:13 AM in How I removed a stubborn push nipple

That may work for you. I've never tried it.
I have always put a 2' wrench on the nipple and jumped up and down on the end of the wrench. It usually spins right out. On the occasions where it hasn't, I have carefully cut three grooves in the inside of the nipple, being extremely careful to not cut through the nipple, One cut at the top and two at the bottom, close together. A junk screwdriver knocks the piece of nipple out which relieves the compression of the nipple and it pulls right out. I'd work that all that banging and stress might stress crack that old brittle cast iron.
But that worked for you.


@ October 14, 2011 7:06 AM in Wet Steam Vs Dry Steam:

That is hard to do. And I'd prefer to not plaster photos all over the world for all to see. My goal if it is attainable is to quietly resolve regulatory issues. The system seems to be working OK for what it is being used for.
I did work like this back when I worked for my (late) old boss. Right or wrong. We always did it right, as we understood it. When I look at something like this, and although I haven't dealt with a personal install like this, I could have or would have. But I wasn't asked. I get asked to fix things. A much more interesting challenge.
When I see things on something that I KNOW are wrong and other things that I'm quite sure that are wrong, I start wondering what else is wrong. I remember reading that boilers over a certain size can't be vented with 24 gauge galvanized smoke pipe. That it is supposed to be thicker and welded. The gas for the pilot is piped upstream of the main shut off so if you shut off the gas supply, it is still live to the pilot. I'm quite sure that in MA, you can not use a compression fitting on a gas line, feeding the appliance, even if the manufacturer supplies it. It must be flare. The compression fitting was leaking gas.
There's no separate by-pass water feed. All make up water goes through the M-M LWC, with a 9-11 feeding the whole mess. It isn't a hot water boiler, it is a steam boiler. The cold water feed enters in this "equalizer" pipe that may or may not connect into the system side of the boiler. I'd have to look. As I think on the whole thing, I get more questions. I just want to quietly, if possible, resolve issues.
I'd compare the application to a ten wheel tractor that has the power to tow a triple rig trailer set up down the interstate. Only, it is towing my single axle, 1200# rated boat trailer, towing my iceboat that weighs 50#.
I'm just looking for answers.

Wet Steam Vs Dry Steam:

@ October 13, 2011 10:11 PM in Wet Steam Vs Dry Steam:

I'm not a Steamer and there isn't much steam where I work. I was asked to get a large combo oil and gas burner going that had stopped running. I got it running and when looking around, the boiler appears to have a lot of "issues". Like the water feeder/LWCO is fed with a 1/2" Watts 9-11 combo back-flow and boiler PRV. The boiler kept going off on low water because the steam pressure was higher than the setting on the 1156 PRV, The problems are too numerous to list here. I'm there because I have a MA pipe-fitters license and the boiler is over 400,000 BTU's.
From what I have learned here about the requirement to follow the manufacturers piping diagrams. At first glance, it isn't even close.  The piping off the top of the boiler rises straight up into a large header. No 90 degree offset. An equalizer pipe rises off the top of the header and drops down into a pipe that runs from the ends of the boiler and into a connection in the middle of the equalizer and boiler. The connection of the return I never really got into my memory. But rather than the steam going into the system in a vertical position, runs out of the end. So that this becomes an extension of the steam collector that runs into another room and the take off's to the equipment comes off the top. There is a return on the bottom of the large header that drains into a condensate pump/tank.

Does something like this make for wet steam or dry? Or am I looking at something that isn't there? This system was supposedly designed by a Professional Engineer/Steam Expert and installed by a steam expert.
The owners claim the system has never run better since I worked on it. I don't want to start problems for anyone. These guys have worked their butts off in this business. But someone has a mess on their hands.
I got the oil part running like a champ. The gas side has never run. I figured out that the burner was ordered wrong (not by the owner) and ordered and set up for natural gas. It is run on LP and there will NEVER be natural gas. The size of the output and the LP tank area make me believe that the liquid will never boil into gas in cold weather due to not enough surface area. I ordered the conversion kit, I will install it but I'm not going to fire it. Someone else can do that.


@ October 13, 2011 8:56 PM in oil heating dilema

Did you push the re-set button on the oil burner? Does the burner start?

Weil-McLain BIRG-5 Boiler:

@ October 13, 2011 8:48 PM in weil mcclain blrg5 boiler?

A review of what is available at the Weil-McLain website does not show any appliance by that designation. So, I must ask, where that boiler designation "BIRG-5" come from? Did you come up with it and where did you get it from? Did the contractor come up with that designation/model? It's my experience that a normal, residential Weil-Mclain boiler can be delivered on the day it is ordered.
It sounds like your contractor doesn't want to do the job for you. For some reason.
"If someone calls you on the phone, they want to spend money". If you called me on the phone, and we could come to favorable terms, I would start tomorrow or at least on Monday.
Is there more to this story that you haven't stated? 
I've been installing Weil-McLain boilers for over 40 years and I have never heard of a "BIRG-5" Boiler"

Heat Loss & Baseboard:

@ October 12, 2011 10:45 PM in New Boiler + Indirect Water Heater Question

I would find it highly unlikely that the amount of baseboard to the heat loss for the building would be correct. It is my experience, that most designers over radiate the heck out of a system. Most all systems are over radiated. Most designers round off up, not down. If the loss equals 7.5' of baseboard, you would install 8'. Etc.
You need to have a very accurate heat loss done on your building. By someone who does residential heat loss. Commercial heat loss is another animal. You will probably find that the radiation on your building is more than adequate for your usage. That a Mod-Con will work fine for you.

New Boiler:

@ October 12, 2011 4:06 PM in New Boiler + Indirect Water Heater Question

Weil-McLain makes better boilers than a CGA. If you are going to spend money in 2011, why would you pick a boiler with 1990's technology. I know that you didn't pick it (the boiler) but if you asked me, I would say your contractor is slightly behind the times or he is afraid to up-sell you for fear of loosing a sale and install.
I don't know you and perhaps you are a little squeaky, but don't get tight on something that will give you excellent service for years to come and will increase the value of your home.
If "I" were the one, I would try to sell you a Mod-Con boiler piped with a low loss header to run the 5 old zones, and run the indirect as a separate zone for the indirect. You have the makings of a nice system. Don't cut corners to cut corners.

Unless that is your goal in life.

Oil Line Under Floors:


Insurance Companies are happy if the oil lines under the floor are sleeved or protected. They are happier if they are all above the floor and exposed.
Let me put it another way. Like I did once to someone who had a problem.
You and the rest of us here are all 99%'ers. If you are a 1%'er, you wouldn't be here and you wouldn't be trying to do this yourself. If you develop an oil leak under your floor, and it contaminates the ground, you do not have enough money to remediate the problem.
I would install a Tigerloop and run a new line overhead with two spin-on filters.

Ghost Flow:

@ October 11, 2011 8:09 PM in taco007 ifc help

I had Ghost Flow with Wilo Circ's, Primary/Secondary with a Giannoni exchanger and a low loss header. The pressure in the LLH/Primary Circulator would push water through the circulator not being called for.
I'm not a great fan of IFC's because I drain a lot of houses. IFC's are not on the Radar. You can't drain them and be sure you were successful unless you blow out the zones with compressed air. You can have some serious damage if you don't attend to the IFC's. If the motor covers are missing, how will you know they are there?  

Nasty Trolls:

@ October 11, 2011 4:19 PM in How to stop a nasty person from bothering you.

Thanks for the Heads-Up Dan.
I found one from The Troll this AM. I thgought it sounded odd. He also needs to have his Site Administrator notofied. That's usually a violation of TOS.

New Nips:

@ October 11, 2011 4:06 PM in push nipple replacements

My old (Late) boss used to give lashings to anyone who even had a thought of using a nipple over.
If I had a new one to use, I would use it. I may never have the opportunity to use the spares in my lifetime.


@ October 11, 2011 4:01 PM in Weil McLain Steam Boiler Failure

Good of you to notice Steaner, and a WGO-5 doesn't have a tapping on the back. Only the SGO has one on the bottom back. How in the heck did they pipe that? I would really like to see pictures of thet.

Taco 007 IFC:

@ October 11, 2011 3:53 PM in taco007 ifc help

Is there any posibility you are getting "ghost flow"? Where flow is induced by another circulator running and the spring on the IFC isn't strong enough to stop the flow?
We ols farts grew up on big heavy flow checks that took some pressure to raise the disk off the seat. Not so much on those puny plastic thingey's.

Just a thought.

Two Pipe Oil Under Floor:


If you live in Massachusetts, the oil lines under the concrete floor must be addressed. If your insurance company knows they are under the floor, they may want them out.
I am an experienced oil burner technician. You are playing at the edge of my knowledge and I know what I am doing. You do not. I strongly suggest that you hire a professional. Your issues are above your knowledge and experience. The problem may be above the knowledge and experience of some professionals.

If you were dealing with gas, I doubt that you would be trying to do what you are doing. Oil is just as dangerous. Leaking gas, tends to blow you up. Leaking oil tends to smell and cause massively expensive clean-up problems.

Honeywell 8124C:

@ October 10, 2011 6:52 PM in honeywell 8124c

Why would you want to do this? That control is used on oil boilers. If your goal to convert it to "Cold Start", many of us feel that to make an oil boiler a "Cold Start" is counter-productive. In my years of experience with oil equipment, the only plus to a cold start is it takes longer to clean them and you can't get them clean. The large accumulation of Kibbles and Bits in the flue ways stop effective heat transfer.
If you have an oil boiler, and the front hasn't been off since installation, there could be as much as 4" of kibbles and bits in the bottom of the chamber. I have seen the debris up to the bottom of the burner.
If you have to ask the question, you probably have no business messing with the wiring.
And if you knew what you were doing, you would know that turning down the operating (low limit) control to as low as it will go is the same as eliminating it.

Fuel Pumps


Fuel Pumps are so cheap, it isn't cost effective to try to repair them. Buy a new pump. I would NEVER try to repair one. And I know what I am doing.
There are some things a homeopwner should avoid. Main electric breaker switches in panels and oil burner fuel pumps come to mind.

Oil or Gas:

@ October 9, 2011 12:41 PM in Same ole question, Oil or Gas Boiler

I'm wondering why you have to worry about the thing going off at night? Mine never does and my customers don't go off at night. If it is a Weil, it must be a 68 Series. What kind of burner does it have? Is it set up with digital combustion testing equipment by someone who knows what they are doing? If not, don't change just because the thing isn't serviced properly. Gas is only going to be as cheap as it is until the gas companies get a large amount of oil customers to switch. Once they have you, the price will go up and be equal. You are paying for BTU's.

If the Wall Street Banksters have their way, all Natural Gas will be de-regulated and allowed to float on the free market gambling casino. The Banksters have run the price of petroleum up to where it is unaffordable. Now it is dropping. Natural Gas is next.



If the burner/pump are 23 years old, it's time for a new pump. The cut-off will not last forever.
Installing a oil solenoid cut-off doesn't fix the pump, just puts a band-aid on a scab.
My "Kwik-Chek Pump Tester" would probably show that the pump is shot.

Taco Zone Valve Failure:

@ October 8, 2011 8:52 AM in Taco zone valve failure

If it is a 570 series valve with three wires, #1 on the top, #2 in the middle and #3 on the bottom, and all terminals have a wire on them, #1 and #2 go to the thermostat and will open the valve. #2 is common to both and #2 and #3 close and start whatever is being controlled. If the valve, when opened, did not start whatever is being controlled, and you changed the valve with a power-head of known correct operation, it is highly unlikely that the power-head is bad. It is probably the control being controlled by the switch.
It is also possible that the plunger in the valve is not going down far enough and the piston in the power head isn't going down far enough.
Try this. Remove the #1 wire on the power head for a minimum of 3 minutes before twisting the power head off. This is imperative.DO NOT REMOVE THE HEAD WITHOUT FIRST DOING THIS AND DO NOT EVER TWIST THE HEAD OFF WITH POWER TO THE HEAD. SERIOUS INJURY COULD OCCUR TO YOU OR SOMEONE AROUND YOU!!!!
Take a large pair of water pump pliers after you have removed the head. Adjust them so one jaw is on the underside of the valve body and the other jaw is on the plunger top. Have the pliers adjusted so you can squeeze the plunger down.  Squeeze the plunger down. You should feel equal resistance, all the way down. If there is rust stains and debris on the black steel plate where the plunger  goes through, spray it with Kroil and squeeze it up or down. When free, re-install the head and operate the valve. If it operates and the device being controlled, works, you will need to replace the plunger and power head. If there is rust on the steel plate or in the plunger hole, you will need to replace the same above. The bellows is leaking. I buy a new valve and use the bellows assembly and power-head for replacement. The two parts as repair parts are more expensive than the whole valve. The body goes in the scrap barrel.
If the #2  and #3 wires still do not operate the control, you have a control issue. Not a valve issue.
If the above is occurring, you need to change the power-head with the valve assembly because the wax motor has probably been overloaded and stressed.

Steamin' Stills:

@ October 5, 2011 9:04 PM in Stupid Steam Question?

Wine and Beer are fermented. The reaction between sugar and years convert the sugar to alcohol. A "Still" distills the products by heating and boiling off the alcohol. Alcohol boils off at around 160 degrees or so. From what I have been told, you don't need as much heat at the beginning and end of the process, it is in the middle of the process that you need the extra heat.
When you make gasoline or other petroleum products from crude oil, you heat up the crude. The different products in the crude boil off at different temperatures. LP Gas is a product that comes off from the higher temperature in the distillation process.