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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 16, 2014

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Blue Water Stains:

@ April 11, 2011 6:17 PM in New Indirect

That may be true about electrical grounds. I've never seen one do it. I've seen a lot of other strange things from bad grounds or neutrals.
But electrical is the root of the problem though. See, when all those critters and gizmos get out of convergence, all kinds of strange things happen. I've seen pin holes develop in a piece of copper tube. In fact, more than one hole but in different sections of tube. Upon closer inspection, all the holes were in tubing that came from the same length of tube.
My fiberglass showers get green/blue in the bottom when the media gets too low. It stops when I refresh it. My grounding seems to be fine.

Date Codes on Taco Handles:

@ April 11, 2011 6:07 PM in Taco zone valves

What's the story on the date codes on the lever/handles of the 57* power heads. I thought I had replaced a b ad one in my home and I had another that looked new but the date codes didn't make sense. I asked at my supply house (Plumbers' Supply) and no one knew or could figure it out. Every replacement head in the bin had a different date code that made no sense.
Is it a proprietary secret?

Aluminum Invoice Boxes:

@ April 11, 2011 6:01 PM in Looking for quality plumber's aluminium W.O. binder

As I take the boat home in the fog (the planes aren't flying), I have an aluminum invoice box from NEBS sitting next to me that is 35+ years old and still going strong.
Is that durable enough for you? I saw some in Staples the other day and had no desire to make a change to a new box.

Vacation submergence:

@ April 11, 2011 5:46 PM in Can a gas valve fail if submerged?

Tell me more about the freeze up.


@ April 11, 2011 5:44 PM in Can a gas valve fail if submerged?

Why do you think the gas valve went under water? If it did, it must be replaced. But you said that you have a standing pilot and it didn't go out. The gas valves are usually higher than the pilot so if the gas valve went under water, the pilot should have gone out. And you wouldn't be able to light it either.
What kind of gas in a vacation area do you have that allows a standing pilot in 2009?
You said that something froze in your vacation home. What froze? Are you looking to blame the freeze up on something to do with the boiler?
Give us more information than you have given. 

Indirect Blues:

@ April 10, 2011 9:17 PM in New Indirect

You have acidic water, low Ph and it is from the copper pipes. If anyone uses hair coloring  with bleach, you will have blue tinted hair.
You have always had this problem. It isn't caused by the SuperStor. You need a water test. I doubt seriously that you have bad water. By that I mean, bacterial contamination. You may have high copper levels that will go away when you run the water for a long time before you do the testing. You will have the low PH problem. I find it easiest to fix with a AMF Cuno APUN 200 acid neutralizing filter. It contains no moving parts and does not need to backwash. You just add some calcite Medium (ground limestone) when the level gets below a set level.
You probably have blue staining in the sinks and the water tastes metallic in the AM when you get up. The morning coffee probably tastes bad too.
Hope this helps.
(I have this unit in my own home and recommend it to my customers who have this problem.)

Service Switch:

@ April 9, 2011 8:38 PM in How to 'water' fill Weill Mclain oil boiler

It's nice to see the service switch within arms reach so that you can turn off the burner while looking at it through the flame inspection port. That switch and plate came mounted on the 4" square box above the burner with the blank plate on it. I bring that up because my arms aren't long enough to reach it on the wall.


@ April 9, 2011 8:23 PM in Obsolete oil burners-Carlin 175FR-1

That "175" stands for the motor speed 1725 RPM, the "FR" is for "Flame Retention" and the "-1" stands for the first modification.
I live on Cape Cod but I don't work there. I work SE of you. It's MY experience that if the oil is 3 years old in the tank, it will run like crud. The oil is all screwed up.
I've done my share of nursing things along with hopes of doing the work when the house is sold and the new owners take over. My experience though is that they hire some hot shot college graduate of the school of construction management and they have already found a poodle to sit at their lap and tell them what they want to hear. His poodle will have vast experience in nothing related to what needs to be done. So, what I remember is this. "They are smart. I'm not."
I have no idea how many hours of uncompensated time I have spent on trying to find some antique part to keep it going.
The recipient of your good will sells the property for mucho dinero, shares none with you, the new owner has Joe college construction supervisor do a gut re-hab on the property, and the boiler and burner go into the dumpster, never to be seen again until it hits the landfill.


@ April 8, 2011 5:04 PM in Obsolete oil burners-Carlin 175FR-1

It must be older than 1975. I was using 100 CRD's before 1970. The "D" standing for "Double-Speed", 3450 motors. And I guess they still make 100 CRD's but most of us who use Carlins, use the EZ-1 or the EZ-66.
Either way, don't "enable" these people. You do yourself and them no favors by helping them maintain this junk. If I remember, they used a 1725 "J" pump. Try replacing that on the cheap.
I was contemplating something today and this tidbit flew across my aged brain. If I charge $100.00 per hour, it works out to $1.66 per minute. How much time do you spend on uncompensated time to keep some customers in the cheap. I have some old parts saved that I may use somewhere but I don't make a project out of something when I can be somewhere else being constructive and profitable.
Don't misunderstand me. I do my fair share of helping out. But I pick my battles. I've found that with some of these old burners, who have gone way past their prime, they have become possessed by some gremlin that has it in for me. No matter how hard I try, I can never get it to run well, and I'm always going back because I now own the thing.


@ April 7, 2011 7:35 PM in Vent supports for PVC venting

So, could you put the two pipe part of a concentric vent system into the chimney flue and then switch to single pipe?
On another note though, in my experience of years of looking at brick work and poorly constructed flue ways, I wonder how the make-up air will end up. If you use a Veissmann Vitodens and use a concentric vent kit, they insist that you check the air intake port at the top of the boiler for CO levels to show if there is any contamination from improperly connected exhaust piping.

PVC Exhaust Venting:

@ April 7, 2011 7:21 AM in Vent supports for PVC venting

Aren't the PVC pipe manufacturers starting to dis-approve of PVC exhaust venting?
And some boiler manufacturers like Veissmann do not allow the use of PVC in their exhaust venting and it is illegal in Canada. Only the UL and ULC listed and approved CPVC. And will PVC exhaust venting turn into Ultra Vent or Plex Vent?

CO disasters I have found:

@ April 5, 2011 7:39 AM in Trianco Heatmaker II

Here's one from the mind files of CM's experience.
I was asked to fix a leak on a SuperStore in a building. I was shown the tank and was surprised to find this big private car garage. On the second floor was an apartment that covered the whole second floor. At the top of the stairs was a big landing. The ceiling was the sloping roof. In the slope was a closet, as wide AS THE LANDING. maybe 10'+. It had swing open louvre type doors. In the closet was a safe pan with a Burnham draft hood open gas flame boiler with a standing pilot ignition. Beside it was the leaking SuperStor. I went about my business of fixing the leak. I realized that there was a strong odor of leaking gas. The control needed to be replaced. I called the LP provider to have them replace the valve. Then, I noticed that there were loose wires on top of the boiler. It was the spillover switch. I thought that odd. Then, I noticed that there was a big exhaust fan in the roof to get rid of excess heat run off a thermostat. More careful inspection revealed that the flame roll out switch had been disabled. There was a big wood louvre in the back wall so that they could get make up combustion air to the room. The front doors were fake louvres. After I fixed the leak, I looked around some more. The building was at least 100' long. I looked into the knee wall access to see where the make up air would come from. There were no louvres in either end of the building. There was no air for the roof fan nor for combustion. When the roof fan came on to cool the room, the only air that could get in to satisfy the needs of the fan was down the gas boiler flue. If the boiler was running, it would come out the bottom of the draft hood and trip the spill over switch. So, it was disabled. The same with the flame roll out switch on the burner that was disabled.
I then called the gas company and told them to fix it. That I was notifying them of a problem. They did something when they replaced the control. The property was sold a year or so later. If someone had died, who would have been held responsible. I was the only one who recognized a problem that had been there for over 5 years and had been inspected, approved and in service.
I worry about this kind of $hit.

CO case:

@ April 5, 2011 7:17 AM in Trianco Heatmaker II

I followed it from the beginning. What you read in a court case is not always the truth, the whole truth, and/or nothing but the truth.
First off, no where in any court documents does it say that the homeowner was an expert in heating or venting. He hired professionals to do his work. He hired a professional to install the snow melt in his drive way. The professional probably vented the boiler through the roof of the shed. The gas company connected the gas. I think it was LP. Someone was responsible for the install of the boiler, the venting and the gas connections. It wasn't the homeowner. When there was a problem, the record shows that the homeowner hadn't a clue what was wrong. He called his "professionals" to correct the problem. They couldn't correct the problem that was so simple to correct, no one with any understanding of draft and physics would be ashamed of themselves to have not corrected it. Their lack of knowledge or superior CMA skill's, put it on the owner.
If you personally, didn't see the real cause of this problem, I suggest that you do some studying of draft and how it works with positive and negative pressures. The clues are all there.
Here's how it worked.
A wood stove requires a large volume of combustion air. The house was modern and extremely tight. The fact that they realized that to make the wood stove work well, they had to open the door to the cellar slightly to give it more air. Air infiltration from outside. This worked very well on the many days that they had no snow and need to run the ice/snow melt boiler. Only when the wood stove, with the cellar door open would there be a problem. The "professionals" recognized that there was a problem. They didn't recognize where and how it was coming from. They claimed that there was a problem with the flue of the boiler. Was it a boiler that had a self closing damper that is illegal with LP? There's a problem with an illegal install. Then, there's how did the CO get into the house. With no other source of combustion air, it was all being pulled down the flue of the gas boiler. It was coming out of the draft hood. No mention is made if there was a spillover or roll out switch. That should have stopped the boiler from running with a reverse exhaust flow. Any competent technician should have known this. And easily fixed it.
What isn't in the court record that you read of the appellate hearing or ruling is that the guy was first told that it was fixed. The owner told them to fix it. The story changes as the case went along. Why would you expect the "professionals" to take credit for this outcome.
The simplest solution would have been to provide make up air in the boiler area AND that a door be installed between the garage and boiler room. No mention  is made if the boiler was 18" off the floor because of the garage and the ability to park a car in the garage.
For myself, and I consider myself a professional plumber and heater, I would have recognized this problem INSTANTLY and known what to do about it. I also would have made sure the owner understood the problem and how it was occurring. It was an easy fix. There was and is no excuse for a professional that does heating to not have understood this problem. Though I give credit where it is due. Not as much was known about CO and positive and negative pressures at the time. Though I did.
Look in this area for strings I have made about chimneys with dual flues where the used flue has an upward draft and the other unused flue is flowing down providing air to the house. Equalizing the inside and outside pressure.
Like I have always said, the guy got screwed by an overzealous prosecutor who cherry picked his evidence to get a conviction on a person who seemed to be a bit of a jerk. Last I knew, there was no law against that.

Indirect or not:

@ April 5, 2011 6:27 AM in Quick Informal Survey - Indirect DHW or Not

I call it a "Tankless" (indirect) hot water heater. Whether the HX is in the boiler water or you pump the boiler water through the HX, it's a "Tankless Heater".
A properly piped storage tank will solve any inherent problems with the operations. Piped the way "I" do them.

Indirect or not:

@ April 5, 2011 6:26 AM in Quick Informal Survey - Indirect DHW or Not

I call it a "Tankless" (indirect) hot water heater. Whether the HX is in the boiler water or you pump the boiler water through the HX, it's a "Tankless Heater".
A properly piped storage tank will solve any inherent problems with the operations. Piped the way "I" do them.

Nozzle size:

@ April 5, 2011 5:35 AM in Opinion on Nozzle Sizes and Type for Oversized WM

According to the combustion analysis, it's already fired at .75 GPH. The CO2 would be higher higher if it was a .85 but it would take some adjusting.
A Carlin EZ-1 or Riello would probably save some oil but that's what you have.
I doubt seriously if the boiler has ever been properly cleaned. You MUST open the front to really clean it.

CO Deaths in Vermont Part 2

@ April 4, 2011 9:17 PM in Trianco Heatmaker II

Sorry for the interruption. They called my flight to go home and I had to stop.
I found an appellate court ruling of the case. I'll post a link at the end.
What I remember of the case is reflected in the court case. The problem which was what so upset me at the time and still does is that at the time, 1986, CO and where it could come from and how wasn't as understood as it is today. I actually wrote to an attorney in Vermont telling them how it happened but I never heard anything. I only saw where the guy was found guilty and sent to jail.
In my remembrances, the guy called his plumber to look at the problem. At the time, and this was born out in the order that I followed the story, the plumber had no idea what was causing the problem. Because it only would happen if the garage door was closed, the wood stove was burning, the gas boiler was running  and the cellar door was open. The plumber called the gas company and they couldn't figure it out but said it was a problem. He told them to fix it. After some work, it was deemed repaired. No one said what was done.  As I remember, there were two episodes of CO contamination. As far as I know, the owner was under the impression that the problem was fixed. My reading of the circumstances was that it wasn't because the "professionals" didn't understand the cause. The wood stove chimney draft overpowering the draft of the gas burner in the garage. That when the gas burner wasn't running, the gas boiler flue was acting as an open window and the flue gasses were sucked back into the building.
The guy sold the house. The sticking point was did the owner have an obligation to tell the new owner of a potential problem with the boiler. I always felt that the owner, not being the professional, was under the assumption that the problem was fixed. No where in any testimony is there mention of the wood stove draft and the gas boiler draft were interconnected.
The new owner had his daughter and son-in-law and two small children move in. They left the gas boiler on and they all died. The old owner was charged with manslaughter and convicted. The plumber and gas company said that there was a problem and told him to get it fixed. What the ****? They were there to fix it. They didn't understand what or how it was happening. The fix was so easy that a fool would be able to solve it. But no one was going to admit any ignorance in this sorry tale. And a zealous prosecutor wants to get some blood. He got it.
The plumber and gas company could have just as easily been charged with a crime. The guy was made to be a bit of a jerk. He may have been. But he wasn't a killer. No one was a killer. But, the owner wasn't the professional. But the professionals covered their asses and guess what? They didn't go to jail. The customer did.
If you read the story from the below link, remember, the jury is never wrong. Once they find someone guilty, it is very, very difficult to get something over turned. Because the jury, given all the evidence at time of trial, is never wrong. And in the case of prosecutors, most have only made one mistake in their lives. The time they thought they were wrong. Then, come to find out they were right.

CO deaths in Vermont:

@ April 4, 2011 5:53 PM in Trianco Heatmaker II

It was back in the mid '90's. I first read about it in a trade magazine like Contractor.
There was a guy who built houses to live in and sell. I don't remember where it was but he bought a lot and built a house. It was on a hill so he built it into the hill. He had a long uphill driveway to get to the house and he had a garage under part of it so he could park his car. The driveway would turn to ice when it snowed. Someone suggested snow melt in his driveway and the hot water would melt the snow. He hired some local plumber to do the job and I'm not sure how everyone fitted into the scheme. He heated the house with wood. He had no other source of heat other than a wood stove in the first floor. He had a girl friend who lived with him.
They built an addition behind the garage and installed a gas, draft hood boiler that just exhausted straight up through the roof over the boiler. To do the snow melt, you just flipped a switch and the burner came on. The only thing that would stop it was high limit or turning off the switch.  Because the house was so tight, they would leave the door to the cellar open slightly for fresh combustion air. There was a wall between the garage part and the rest of the cellar.
Life was good. When it snowed, the guy would flip on the boiler and when it was melted, he would turn it off.
One day, the girl friend called him up and said that the house was cold, the wood stove wasn't putting out a lot  of heat.

Trianco Heatmaker ll Help:

@ April 3, 2011 9:07 PM in Trianco Heatmaker II

I go out of my way to help anyone who needs help. There are circumstances where I have experience that says that I should say what needs to be said. You don't see the disasters I have seen. I'm sure that you have seen your fair share.
F250 said that he wasn't all that great on electrical. I have a hard enough time doing electrical and I pretty much know what I am doing. I could have told him to check the pressure switch. They will screw up a Heatmaker up badly if they don't work as advertised. I know. I've been there. I've fixed them. So now, he's pulled out the board and found something that he soldered. Maybe that's OK but I worry about malfunctions and injuries or death. The unit stopped functioning because some safety control decided that there was a problem. Soldering a connection on a circuit board is an unauthorized modification of the UL approved listing. I would NEVER suggest that. Nor, would I attempt it. F250 did. That's his choice. I didn't suggest it.
I've never forgotten nor have I ever gotten over the guy in Vermont who went to jail for manslaughter over the death of a family of four by CO poisoning. The circumstances weren't his fault. There was a problem when he owned the house. No one could figure out what the problem was or how to fix it. He told them to fix it. They said it was fixed. He sold the house. People died. He was tried, convicted and sent to jail.  For something he had no control over.
The ignitor on a heatmaker is part of the flame sensing control circuit. I don't do safety on the cheap.
I'm watching Holmes On Homes on HGTV right now. I have seen everything that is wrong on this house personally. Over and over and over.  I know when I am in over my head and I'm not afraid to ask for help. I also know when someone is in over their head. His "expert" is at his cabin some where up North. I'm not his "Expert".

Oil line sizing

@ April 3, 2011 11:08 AM in Oil Line Sizing

Disbelieve this if you wish. A spin-on at the tank will eliminate this problem.
I've had lines that were sludging up regularly. I would disconnect them and put one end in a bucket and blow the other end with compressed air. So I know what came out. When I started using spin-ons at the tank, I've blown them again just to see. There was no appreciable amount of anything. When I look down the side of the second spin on, it is barely dirty. If the second filter is getting dirty because the first is inferior, what the "*"?
They use multiple Raycor 2 microns on diesel generators. If you are going to use those "other" filters, you might as well put a roll of toilet paper in a coffee can, connect the oil lines to the can and use that. The Pleistocene era ended millions of years ago.

True or April Fool?

@ April 3, 2011 10:51 AM in True or April Fool?

I meant to post this with my last post.
I don't personally think that hands free faucets are a big problem. It is the low temperature hot water in DHW system that is a bigger problems. And also, that it is another example of the laws of unintended consequences. That no good deed goes unpunished.

Trianco Heatmaker ll

@ April 3, 2011 10:39 AM in Trianco Heatmaker II

Good on you for planning on keeping that POS running until you can find a house to buy it and your parents can sell the property. You obviously have some skills. Why don't you use them to replace that POS with something safe and modern.
When you move out and your parents want to sell it, if I was asked to do an inspection, the first thing I would do for a prospective buyer would be to suggest that the Heatmaker be replaced before sale or a large amount of money be held back for replacement. That could hold back, reduce the value of the sale or kill it outright. Real forward thinking. Does it still have the illegal Ultra-Vent like the one I just replaced? Is it piped to an air handler through the system pump so that whenever the boiler runs, the hot water is using the air handler as a heat sink?
Replacing that POS could be the best part of the property. Some potential buyers will absolutely walk over something like this. If you want to sell, and you NEED to sell, you may be in for a long wait.
Me personally, I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole. Unless you gave me a minimum of a $10,000 credit for replacement. I would do the replacement and give you back maybe $1000.00 for my toots and whistle replacement system. If you don't like it, find another buyer. That's before I beat you down on the price for the property in the first place.
In 1999, I was looking to move and buy another house in another area. We found a really neat house, on a large wooded lot with a swimming pool, generator, two car garage with workshop and a full cellar. Full AC and hydronic heat. The price was really right. Way below the other houses in the area. It abutted a large conservation area. The house was owned by a person who owned a large plumbing & heating wholesale company. He built this soup to nuts house with every imaginable convenience. He had a quality contractor who owed him a lot of money, do the house. I walked into the kitchen and noticed a big ceiling repair that barely showed but I always look up. It was all radiant floors.  I went into the cellar and there to my surprised eye was the largest amount or orange spaghetti running every which way with multiple leaks on the spring clamps holding the orange heatway Entran ll tubing with the date code of the stuff that had all the problems. If they gave me the house, I wouldn't have taken it. I think the house finally was sold after the in-floor was abandoned and scorched air/AC was installed.
Be careful what you plan for. It may not happen.