Joined on September 13, 2010
Last Post on March 11, 2014
@ February 12, 2011 10:57 AM in Antique cast iron boilersFirst, you should start a new thread. It is hard to find where the current place is in a posting as old as this is.
If you bought a new tridicator gauge for this boiler, one needle would show the system temperature. The other pointer would show two things. The system pressure and the altitude of the water above the gauge on the boiler. There are two scales. One above the other that will be corresponding. Multiply the pressure times 2.31 and it will give you the height above the gauge that the water is. When it gets into the tank, it will overflow when the tank is filled. Then you shut off the fill valve. It is considered an "open" system. If the Altitude gauge doesn't show the correct height, the gauge may have frozen and may not read correctly. Usually, the black pointer is moved to the point where water overflows from the tank on the gauge. Then, when the red pointer gets up to the black one, the system is filled. If you check the boiler and see the level is low, you add water. If you forget to shut it off, it will overflow.
@ February 12, 2011 10:41 AM in Radiant CeilingFor what it is worth, I have an account that is like what you are describing. It is an old 19th Century home that is like a museum. In the late 50's, early 60's, this was an option. The house was a gut re-hab. They nailed Gypsum "Rock Lath" to the strapping, stapled up 1/2" OD copper tube and plastered it over with Structo-Lite as a brown coat and used a lime plaster as a hard finish. It works very well. They insulated above the panels. At some point in the past when I wasn't involved, something happened to some of the ceilings and they had to be repaired. The panels were cut down. They cut along the antique crown moulding and butted the rock lathe to the cornice moulding. They replaced it all with some type of PEX tubing. They then just plastered over the PEX coils. All has been well and good. Even to the fact that the person who did the heat prior to me (they are plumbing customers, now I do both) the heater person replaced the Smith-Mills Series 2000 6 section hot water boiler with a Weil-McLain WGO-6 which is in no way, large enough to heat the building in the winter. But the heat is left at 50 in the winter and no one lives there but the heat is on and the water is drained. It had 7 zones of tempered radiant water that went through a SPARCO thermostatic mixer with a mechanical outside sensor to adjust the hot water radiant temperature. If the return water went over 150 degrees, all seven circulators would stop and let the system radiate. There were three high temperature zones and a tankless heater in the boiler with a 75 gallon copper hot water tank. (I knew the house in the past as I worked for the previous owners.) The high temperature water return water entered the boiler through a separate connection. All supplies and returns now are connected together. The mixer was removed and an indirect was installed. All heat that goes into the system is as hot as whatever is needed. 180 degree water is not beyond the realm. The previous "heater" had a problem with the second floor over heating. The solution was to clip the wires on the old MH832 relay so the circulator wouldn't run. He also filled the system with antifreeze that now tests to about +20 degrees. I have never added water to the system. The water looks like coffee. It has bothered me a lot. But I don't want to start something that has no solution. While relating this, I suddenly realized where all the rusty stuff is coming from. The new PEX isn't an oxygen barrier tubing and is letting oxygen into the system.
What a mess.
So to answer your question, you could install radiant in the ceiling of an old antique house and leave the mouldings. There are actually a series of photographs taken and mounted on a board in the house that show where all the lights are and any important landmarks. If you are truly interested, and the customer really wants to go this way, I could try to photograph the radiant PEX repair/install. You don't need plates to reflect the heat. If the above ceiling space is heavily insulated, it will work fine without them. There is only that old insulation in the dark brown bag in the ceilings. I doubt that it is 3". More like 2.5". And you can run a radiant ceiling a lot hotter than a floor.
@ February 11, 2011 9:57 PM in mono flow problem?And I think that if at sometime in the past, someone replaced the circulator for the monoflow zone with a bihher corculator and tried to "push" the water harder, it may make the down fed radiators less efficient.
Or so I understand. Hot water doesn't like to go down.
@ February 11, 2011 9:42 PM in Flow Check BangingI saw the knob has to be up and on the top if that valve is what you are using. Ther disk is weighted and falls down by gravity. I think when they talk about vertical applications, it means that the vertical pipe goes in the bottom and turns through the valve. If it is horizontal, the water flows in one end and out the other. You plug the unused hole.
What were they thinking?
No wonder they can't be found.
@ February 10, 2011 9:43 PM in Gravity hot water heat.If you can find someone clever, they can take a portable air compressor and charge up the heat system and the domestic water system and find any leaks or breakages. I do this all the time. In the Spring when I start turning on water, I will charge up the whole house to be sure that everything is OK. I'd rather wipe up a air leak than a water leak. If there are any split pipes in a wall, you can hear the air leaking. With the heat system, you can charge the whole system and find any bad radiators or anything else. You do not need to have the water turned on. Just power for the air compressor. I have done this for real estate agents and inspectors when it was too cold to turn on the water. If I have a house that freezes up and has broken pipes, this is how I locate them.
@ February 9, 2011 11:32 PM in Fixing self inflicted heat imbalance after insulating atticI don't consider that a good idea because the air will be absorbed by the water over time and will keep the boiler water saturated with oxygen for a long period of time and causing come level of corrosion.
@ February 9, 2011 7:07 PM in contractorI'm not too sure either how well this will work.
But, from what you describe with a Propane heater in the ceiling, I've dealt with this problem before. What often happens with these high ceiling buildings with heaters in the rafters is that all the heat collects in the ceiling. The more it heats, the hotter the ceiling gets. You may need to connect some form of return that will and up on the floor to get cold air off the floor to be heated by the ceiling heater. It may be fine for cooling but not for heating. Hot air rises. You can put ceiling fans to push it down but a return to the floor will do a better job.
Myself, personally, I would look at something like this passive solution before I went out on a limb with an unproven design like you suggest.
A number of years ago, the town that I work in built a big maintenance building with a herd of doors to bring trucks in. At one of the building, they put a giant warm air horizontal furnace in. They ran duct work to the other end of the building and cut round holes in the bottom of the duct work and blowing down. The bay spaces were always cold. I was doing some work there and someone was grousing about how cold it was in the building and they were going to need to replace it with a bigger unit. I suggested that they build a plywood box that went from the ground and got a piece of sheet metal to connect to the heater. That it would suck up the cold air from the floor and increase circulation. They tried it and didn't need to replace the heater. There was plenty of heat. It just wasn't 100 degrees at the roof peak any more.
Look at it, it might work for you.
Don't underestimate the effect of a lack of circulation and the fact that how hot air doesn't want to go down. Think of it as what happens with a monoflow hot water system with cellar radiators below the main. Hot water/air doesn't want to go down.
@ February 8, 2011 9:38 PM in Q:Inadequate Flow to prevent heat exchanger from tripping limit switch. How fix?From what you describe, I think that your system has a serious case of emphysema. A serious shortness of breath. Your return ducts are inadequate. You said that when you open the return of the furnace and bypass the ducted return, the temperatures are OK. The return air is what cools the heat exchanger. Post some pictures of this furnace and especially the return. What are the sizes of the return grills.
@ February 8, 2011 9:28 PM in Lack of heatYup, You're right. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the pumps. Or the settings of the boiler thermostat. No one EVER wired the second circulator direct so that it didn't start the burner because it wasn't wired through the ZC/ZR terminal and wouldn't start the burner on a heat call and kick it up to the high limit control. And there is absolutely no possibility that some one individual may have decided to turn down the operating temperature to 140 degrees, just above the condensing exhaust temperature and the boiler water isn't hot enough to add enough BTU's into the DHW coil. It just never happens.
Funny though, I see it all the time. If it gets hot at the beginning of a shower, then gets cool and then slowly comes back, in my world, that's the operating control set too low.
Oh yeah, and a third world test? Turn up the thermostat that starts the burner up 10 minutes before you want to get in the shower. Then, the system is running on high limit. If the water stays hot, the setting is too low.
@ February 8, 2011 8:47 PM in Radiator problemIs your system Forced Hot Water or Steam?
If it worked before you removed the radiator and doesn't work after you put it back, you must have moved the radiator and changed something. Otherwise, it would be working. What did you do when you changed it?
@ February 8, 2011 2:03 PM in Slant-Fin fin-tube ratings.In my world, as I understand it, this is how I see it.
Not discussing price, just numbers.
Using the Slant/Fin #15 charts, If I have a room that computes to 10,000 BTU heat loss, it would take 18.1' or 19' (rounded off) of baseboard to heat the room at design at 550 BTU's per foot.. If I designed for 130 degrees as per the chart, it takes 41.6' or 42' of #15 Slant Fin at 240 degrees per foot. If you had 6 rooms at 10,000 BTU's, it would take 114' of baseboard to heat it at 180 degree water. If you used 130 degree water, you need 252' of baseboard. Unless I misunderstand the principal.
If #15 Slant/Fin sells for $10.00 per foot, it would cost $1140.00 for 19' and $2520.00 for 42'. $1380.00 more for baseboard. In the world I live in, a price at $200.00 higher than the next will loose you the job. It would also buy you 383 gallons of oil at $3.60, the current inflated price by the Wall Street Banksters and Sludge Fund speculators. Derivatives.
@ February 8, 2011 1:23 PM in Lack of heatYou may have a few problems.
What are the "Hi" settings and "Low Limit" settings on the boiler control on the front of the boiler? The "Low Limit" should be at 160 degrees with the "Hi" at least 20 degrees higher than the "Low".
The other thing is that you have two circulators. One will be wired through the boiler control and a thermostat wire will be connected to the "TT" terminals on the control. The other circulator can be a problem. it MUST be wired through the "ZC/ZR" terminals on the boiler control. Even if it is wired through a zone controller like a Taco ZC 50*. If not, the heat circulators will run when you need to make hot water.
If it comes back like you describe, the coil can't be all that bad. There's a thermostatic mix valve on the boiler tankless. It may be bad.
A bunch here will tell you to put in an indirect. I don't do that.
@ February 8, 2011 8:41 AM in Slant-Fin fin-tube ratings.I believe that those are for low temperature water ratings to be used with caution when using baseboard with low temperature water. That the ratings aren't really engineered for accuracy and to use with caution.
And if you want to convert an existing high temp. system to low, you can use these ratings as a starting point to add to existing radiation.
Notice how much additional radiation you need to add to a low temperature system. Calculate how much more it will cost you in pipe, fittings and radiation and how much it adds to the cost of the system. Cost that out over a time period. How does it pay back for you?
Just a point to ponder.
While I sit in a foggy airport waiting for a plane.
@ February 8, 2011 6:56 AM in Puff of Smoke from top of BoilerGood point Bill2,
I always replace the OEM gaskets on the flue collector after the first time I clean them because the gaskets don't hold you. They get hard and usually half stick to the boiler and flue collector. I use some Lynn rope which I glue to the top of the boiler with High Temp RTV and then slather the bottom of the flue collector with Never-Seize. So it comes off the next time. I clean a lot of WGO's. I've never had a problem with them once I do this fix.
You need to be very careful when putting them back. Put Never-Seize on all the bolts for ease of removal.
I cleaned a V-3 yesterday that was full of Kibble and Bits from being a cold start and 3" of K&B's piled up in the chamber. No Never Seize on the collector. Not good.
And it was cleaned by "someone else" since the install when the house was built before 2001. And serviced 11/09.
No one will ever convince me that a cold start boiler filled with Kibbles and Bits is more efficient than a warm start that has run for 2+ years and has only a brown ash/dust.
@ February 8, 2011 6:36 AM in Repair or ReplaceReplace it.
The red rubber gasket is as hard as the tar road. Bolts are rusted in and many will need to be drilled out. The cast iron surface will be all deteriorated and will not be flat. The reason the boiler doesn't "seem" to leak is because the hot boiler causes evaporation. When the boiler is cold, it leaks. I see it all the time on cold start boilers. There is one brand of boilers that use steel push nipples and the expansion and contraction of the boiler allow debris to fall between the sections and the heating and cooling expansion allows them to not contract and it makes the nipples leak between the sections. You can see the moisture coming out between the sections after a while.
Get a new boiler that is properly sized for the house and a new modern burner. It will pay for itself.
@ February 8, 2011 6:27 AM in failed diaphram expansion tankFirst, how old is the tank? There's a date code on it.
Second, in MY experience, Amtrol's last the longest. Far longer than some out there. I've seen some that went in two years. Just after the warranty ran out. I just replaced one that was offered by my supplier when Amtrol had some problem a few years back and it was sold in NE but was made in China when you looked. There are others that as soon as I see them, I know that they are gone. If you have a tire gauge, it's easy to check. If the boiler pressure gauge says 8# and a tire gauge says 8# and you drop the system pressure to 0#, the tank is gone.
How old is the heating system? The tank is as old as the system.
If it has a Cast Iron PRV/fill valve like a Watts 1156F, it was probably clogged up in the strainer or the valve was stuck so it didn't matter what was happening in the system. When you drained it or added water, it wouldn't fill. Once you operated the fast fill lever, you removed the obstruction. Then, the pressure was too high in the system for expansion.
It's a trough call on what's to do. I would probably wish this person health, happiness and long distance. Sounds like a predatory customer. You are they prey.
Because they are so easy to change, I always change them on the fly, maybe change the tank with the cheapest POS you can find, and tell them to get someone else next time.
Shame on me if I get into the same problem with the same customer the second time.
@ February 7, 2011 5:45 PM in Heat LossNo, that doesn't sound high to me. In fact, it sounds high. If you did an accurate heat loss, and you covered your bases, I think you will be OK. Some others may not agree but I have never had a problem with those kind of numbers. But I haven't seen the house.
If you are comfortable with your numbers, run it back and leave out the insulation. You will be surprised at how much more radiation you need and a larger boiler.
@ February 6, 2011 8:43 PM in Am I killing the mixing valve?The link to the valve on honeywell's web site shows the 8" drop for a heat trap.
I always use the Honeywell AMX 101 Direct Connect. I connect them direectly to the top of the water heater. I use them as "hot water extenders" with smaller electric water heaters where they may run out of hot water when set for 120 degrees. I set the tank temperatures higher and let the mixer control the outlet temperature.
The valve comes with one nylon check valve on the cold side only.
@ February 6, 2011 2:43 PM in Exhaust CO in Heatmaker:Tim,
IMHO, there is no such thing as too much make-up air.
This place is a 6 block crawl space with a lot of foundation vents. Make up air isn't a problem here.
I will have to snorkel the vent on the new Vitodens. Veissman says to not use more than 5 fittings, coming and going on the vent not counting the first two. So, I guess I will have to use the inside air for the intake. And the salt environment is a bummer. Veismann doesn't recommend taking outside combustion air in such an environment. I've seen and heard of a lot of Munchkins that looked like they spent their life outside at the beach.
@ February 6, 2011 2:25 PM in expansion tank loggingThose are the ones I'm talking about. See that little brass plug in the bottom of the valve? Unless you get it really sealed, it will leak the air out of the tank. I wrap the plug with a few wraps of Teflon tape and Rectorseal #5 and screw it in. Not excessively tight. I promise you that the maintenance personnel do not do this. It leaks. You are being blamed for something that isn't your fault.
If you want to prove it, if you have a portable air compressor, make up a rig like I have so you can connect a "rig" that you can connect to your air compressor and connect to the tank with a double hose connection/washing machine hose. That tank must have a boiler drain on the other end of the tank to put a hose on. Unless you remove the plug, you will not drain the tank. But, if you put a hose on the tank and let whatever water comes out, then hook the compressor to it and blow some air into the tank. Then hook up the hose and drain. Do this for a couple of cycles and then leave the tank precharged with 30# or more of pressure. Check that plug with some gas leak detector and see if it makes bubbles.
I have a gauge on my rig. I leave the empty tank with a 10# precharge.
It works for me.
@ February 6, 2011 1:55 PM in Installing fin tube baseboard in bay windowI cut out the baseboard if it works for me. Sometimes in a really old house, where the baseboard is high and unusual, I put the heaters on the baseboards. From what you are describing on the second floor, I usually try to connect two rooms through a wall. That way, I only have two drops, one supply and one return. I loop over the baseboard elements to get back. With finesse, you can do the whole second floor with a couple of sets risers. To go through a wall, use a long 1/4" feeler bit and drill the carefully marked holes through the wall. Then, use a hole saw with the long feeler bit in place of the regular one on the hole say. I usually drill at least a 1 1/2" hole. The first hole will guide you through the the holes with the big bit. Don't cut out the baseboards. Drill them out doing the above. Cut out the end cap so it fits over the pipes. It makes a clean install.