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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 17, 2014

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What size?

@ April 4, 2014 5:06 PM in Add-on fans for old convectors

What kind of sizes are you looking for?

If you're looking for this kind of stuff, it's really quality stuff. Especially that floor heater. It is no garbage. I used 4 of the floor blower units, I have never been a fan of them. The coil box is just a box that you stick a toe kick coil and fan in. This one is designed as a floor unit with a super heavy duty floor grate. They come with low temperature thermostats for low temp. systems. There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about them. Including the price. They weren't a give away, but the quality and engineering made it worth every penny.
The owner was a fuss pot artist who almost went with flat panel aluminum baseboard, but chocked on the price and the fact that there wasn't enough wall space to get the required baseboard on the wall. I showed her these and she loved them. Still does.

Warm Houses:

@ April 4, 2014 2:13 PM in Taco I Series Mixing Valve not working?

The first one I installed was on an old two story house with a single gravity system on two floors. It was a pumped system. The radiators closest to the boiler were scalding hot. The farther away, the colder they got.
I installed the valve. The system ran at 125+ degrees in the whole house when it was 15 degrees outside and 68 degrees inside. It balanced perfectly.
If I had an old system with a cast iron boiler, I'd install it instantly. The more water in the system, the better it works.

Head Bangers:

@ April 4, 2014 2:03 PM in BANGING BOILER

What's the anti-freeze solution? It shouldn't be more than 1/3 glycol, 2/3 water. It gets too thick and the pump(s) can't push it fast enough.
What's the boiler system pressure? If it has sediment in the boiler, it needs to be flushed out. Sediment gathered in low spots in the HX can cause your problem but I think it is more complicated that what some may think.
Have you ever had your potable water tested? What are the results? What else can you tell us about the system?


@ April 4, 2014 8:20 AM in Taco I Series Mixing Valve not working?

This has been rolling around in my aged brain. I'll never be installing it but it is a question.
First of all, I think that the " Series 4-way is the greatest thing to come along for boiler protection and ODR in old systems with lots of water and a big old boiler. Especially on old converted gravity systems with lots of radiators. Pump 130 degree water long enough and all radiators in the system get to 130 degrees.
So, if you connected the 4-way, properly and as designed, and you have two circulators, one for the primary and the other for the secondary, the valve acts as a form of hydraulic separator. When the valve is powered off, the valve closes to the secondary system. When the valve gets a call, both pumps start for operation and protection. If you installed two closely spaced tees on the primary side with a circulator connected to the secondary side (say to an indirect) and it was wired so that only the primary pump and the zone pump came on and NOT the secondary pump on the discharge of the 4-way, and the 4-way head gets no call, does it work? It seems to me that when the 4way has no call, only the primary side will get flow. That as long as any other zone that could call, only starts the primary pump, it just works like any other P/S system. The wiring scheme has to address that. You don't need boiler protection with an indirect because it has so little water in the loop and the boiler heats up so quickly.
Just wondering what you think..

You noticed:

@ April 4, 2014 7:53 AM in Bad hydronic panel install...

" ""panel is a little close though..."" "
You noticed that too.
I mentioned that and was afraid that some would think I didn't know what the cluck I was talking about. That's in the NEC. I guess that RI inspectors enforce the same regs as Massachusetts.

Homeowner Install:

@ April 4, 2014 7:49 AM in Bad hydronic panel install...

That may appear to be a fine example of a homeowner install.
The galvanized pipe will probably  destroy the system. Why on earth would they ever use that? They spent huge sums of money on the latest high tech system with all PEX, brass and stainless steel equipment just to stick some iron in it? If they had the knowledge to do that installation, they should have had the knowledge to not put the Galvanized in.
At first I thought that it must be installed by an electrician. If it was, I hope that he didn't use galvanized HW conduit. Because you can't use electrical conduit on water piping. The skelp isn't made to be pressure water tight and will leak after time. Sometimes, right away. But then, it appears that the exhaust piping and the water heater  is inside the radius of the electrical panel. An electrician would know that it is too close for the electrical code. If someone gets "Hooked Up" in the panel, they're supposed to be able to fall away without hitting any obstructions while they are pulling away or falling away. Electricians and inspectors where I worked were really touchy about anything being in the way of their panels.

Primary Side:

@ April 3, 2014 5:38 PM in Taco I Series Mixing Valve not working?

Geez, I don't completely understand what you/he did, but the boiler sensor is supposed to stage the boiler. If you have the DIP switch set to the higher boiler protection, and the return water on the secondary is to cold to mix, the return sensor closes the valve and diverts more return water back into the secondary system. As the primary boiler side catches up, more water is diverted back to the boiler. I don't understand how or why you would want it to be constant with a pump that also has temperature control. Then, it seems to me that the closely spaced tee side should be able to also start the primary pump because if the 4-way valve is off and not calling, the paddle in the valve blocks water from going into the secondary side but passes through the boiler. The idea is to have a high flow. If you used this on a beer cooler Mod Con, you might have mis-applied the valve in what you are trying to do.
As far as the clattering of the valve, I found that I usually had to listen carefully to hear the valve " click" when it was modulating. And whatever position it was in, it just "clicked" a degree or two. I never saw a valve wide open.

100# water pressure:

@ April 3, 2014 5:23 PM in what is the maximuin water flow through 1 inch copper at 50 psi

First of all, most all well tanks, old and new, are rated for a maximum working pressure of 75# and have 75# pressure relief valves on them. You are NOT supposed to run a well system at 100#. You can have a submersible pump deep in the ground that will develop far more than 100# to push the water up high enough to give the desired pressure, but that's not what the working pressure will be. You can't be using 100# in a water well system unless the system is designed for it. Most codes require a Pressure reducing Valve if the working pressure is over 75#. Or so I have been tested.
Fire systems:
Where I worked, in outlying areas where there was no municipal water and all water was well supplied, and someone came along that wanted to build a structure that needed fire sprinklers, the system had to be designed by a Mechanical Engineer or a Professional Engineer. And when it was done, the only way they got around it with wells was to have fire pumps and stored water. Along with an emergency stand by generator. Usually a number of concrete septic tanks used as storage tanks. At least 10,000 gallons worth for storage and if the electrical system goes down.

There was a large old hotel, built in the 1900's, way out of town that had its own village water system. It was sold and a large renovation was done. It triggered fire system upgrades. There was no grandfathering. They had to install a large number of concrete tanks for emergency water storage use in the fire system.

Maybe where you are from, you can get away from it. I'd be checking with the insurance and building departments to see what current codes require. A lot of these projects will trip MCD requirements.
I've seen it for years. Enraged neighbors come out of the wood work to stop these improvements. Just reality.

Ii wasn't suggesting:

@ April 3, 2014 4:44 PM in Taco I Series Mixing Valve not working?

I wasn't suggesting that YOU did anything wrong.
Did you look on the TACO Website for the I=series wiring choices like this one (that probably doesn't cover what you have). They didn't have all these diagrams when I installed them. In fact, I think they were going to dump them. They must have gained in popularity.
Here's a link to ALL the wiring diagrams for I series valves. If you haven't seen them. Look at all the diagrams for 4-way valves, only.


@ April 3, 2014 4:32 PM in Weil McLain indirect hot water heater, short cycling?..

I've had numerous problems with the thermostats on those indirects. They make a ton of water but you turn the knob down just a tad and it won't come on. The thermostat is at the end of a long wire. You may have a bad one and it will drive you nuts.
I don't completely understand your hot water problem but look into that thermostat. I never installed that heater, but every one I worked on had some kind of a problem with the thermostat.

Green Water:

@ April 3, 2014 4:25 PM in Dormant commercial water heating system

That funky green water could be of a concern. Was the system Anti-freeze' d when it was turned off? That green water looks like ethylene glycol but it should mix easily with the water. Does it have a smell? Polypropylene Glycol is usually red and Ethylene is often yellow greenish color. Do you have a refractometer that you can test that green stuff with? It will react to both types of anti-freeze. If you could gather enough of it, you could use an el cheapo floating ball type but maybe not. If its ethylene glycol, I'd be doing some serious water/air flushing to get that stuff out. If you get any foaming in faucet aerators, you haven't got it all out.

Not working:

@ April 3, 2014 3:30 PM in Taco I Series Mixing Valve not working?

Everything is in the head.
I can't imagine how you have wired it. It sounds like you have made it incredibly complicated. I don't understand why you used a Bumblebee on the supply side of the 4-way. The valve modulates the water. You have two competing devices trying to operate the valve.
Whatever you have done as far as wiring, disconnect all of whatever you have done and just wire it as basically as you can make it. The circulator for the boiler side and the system side must come on together. Make it run that way.
Are you sure that it is piped it correctly? I find the valve extremely easy to connect it backwards. Especially if the boiler is to the left and the valve flow imposing is away from you. Even if you mark the flows and inlet and outlet, it is still easy to reverse it. If you have a problem unplugging a tool cord from an extension cord, and throwing down the extension cord so you can plug the new tool into the old tool, and not the extension cord that is now on the floor, I'd double check the piping. Without power, the valve powers cold. If it is backwards, when it should get hot, it gets cold. You can't change it.
Is the return sensor clamped on the return and well insulated against the pipe?
Bumblebees are going to overly complicate something that is as simple as opening your fly first.


Ice Sailing & Architects:

@ April 2, 2014 5:51 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

"Never sail alone. There's always thin ice somewhere". Much if what I saw comes from experience. We pick our battles. I've fought most all of them. If you wish to indulge in this, God Bless You. I also post what I say so that someone might relate to what I have said. I often got into these exercises in futility. Once after a particularly difficult problem, where I was having my mind twisted by a designer and a contractor that I had done a lot of work for. I came to find out that they had found someone else and they were running me to get the other person to drop their price even more. I was complaining to a store manager. He asked me, "Is this worth it?" That enraged me. I sat down and added up all the work I had done for these two in the last ten years, I called the manager back and told him how much money they had spent with me and I didn't want to lose the account. Have someone else get in where I was. To which the manager stopped me short. I almost fell over. "Are you making any money? Just because you're handling a lot of money, doesn't mean your making any".
 I had been. But as the jobs and designs became more and more complicated, they wanted jobs for the same price as when I could make money.
We take our own sticks to our own a$$;s. We lie in the beds we choose. I pick my beds and the species of fleas I sleep with.
I also check for bed bugs. People laughed at that. A couple of them caught them. I haven't

High on Chlorides:

@ April 2, 2014 3:48 PM in Superstor sidearm problem?

High Chlorides aren't as much of a problem as Low PH, High chlorides and high TDS. Add hot water and you have a disaster. Iron is a form of hardness.
You'd be amazed t how well a Cuno APUN 200 can raise PH and remove iron as a byproduct. Just don't ever use "N" Neutralizing compound in one. Only Calcite.

"" "Congratulations on your escape, and I'm sure you are enjoying your retirement "" "
Escape? It feels like a death sentence. For over 50 years, I never got up not looking forward to what the day would bring, not ever. And I never went to bed dreading the next day.

Cost Analysis:

@ April 2, 2014 3:09 PM in Hot Water Tanks and Sizes

If it's cost that is your concern, and you have a oil boiler with a tank less, buy a 30 to 50 gallon electric water heater connect it to the tank-less coil with a circulator and store the hot water in the tank. You do NOT connect the water heater electrical elements. They have no function in the tank except to plug the holes in the tank. Far cheaper than installing an indirect. If you are going to change from a oil to gas boiler, install an indirect of whatever you want. If you want cost for less or more for less, install a storage tank.


@ April 2, 2014 3:01 PM in Hot Water Tanks and Sizes

Yup, and if the dishes are really nasty, and you set it on a Sani setting, the heater heats the water to 150 degrees before it washes. And the dishes are cleaner.
Dishwashers still need a 15 amp circuit.
I use cold water detergent in my clothes washer. It works fine. Warm water works better,


@ April 2, 2014 2:49 PM in Need used or cheap commercial steam boiler

They're crying poverty and they want to spend a ton on money on a complete re-hab of the heating system of the structure or do it on the cheap with a used steam boiler? That some cheapskate Architect that thinks that's a good idea? Another reason why contractors hate working with building committees. Especially ones with "experts" on them. 
Keep track of your uncompensated "run around" time for them so they can get someone else outside of your work sphere (unless you do HVAC/AC). Or, they put it out to bid and you can't allow your uncompensated overhead.
The job sounds like it is large enough to require the services of a Mechanical Engineer.. Let them pay a ME to run around and decide what's best for them and pay for their design services. Let them do the design work and make the mistakes. YOU might get to fix them.
If the boiler is as bad as you say it is, the "Board" probably suffers from congenital alligator arms. Their hands won't reach far enough to get to their pockets.
I'll bet that someone knows someone who knows a guy that works for cheap labor and will install it. He's never done anything as complicated as that, but he'll try. By Dog, he'll try.


@ April 2, 2014 11:06 AM in Natural Gas to LP gas conversion .. orifices

you can't afford to NOT hire an attorney. You've been Jose'd once, why go for twice?
Attorney's are smarter than you think and have resources to ask other experienced "brothers".
I hate Attorneys too. But I don't go to a Proctologist if I have a toothache. If the pain became unbearable where I sit, I'd be making an appointment with a Proctologist.


@ April 2, 2014 10:45 AM in Radiator cracking

Were the radiators (the old and the used one) actually cracked or just weeping?
The replacement old radiator has no history of how well it was taken care of in the old system, the handling or the removal and storage, or how well it was handled during the installation. But if the last one was new and cracked, that shouldn't have happened.
Are they all actually "cracked"?


@ April 2, 2014 10:39 AM in Hot Water Tanks and Sizes

Your expectations of having enough hot water to do what you are asking is totally unreasonable. First of all, that 30 gallon bathtub doesn't use 30 gallons of straight hot water to fill it, and if the shower was using hot water, set at the code legal limit of 120 degrees, you would be seriously injured from scalding. The human body can't tolerate hot water sprayed on the body at 106 degrees for long. The dishwasher requires hot water settings of at least 130 degrees for the detergent to work properly. In spite of what is said about low temperature detergents. If you filled the bathtub with 120 degree water and got in it and stayed there, it will kill you. You will become hyperthermic, go into convulsions and die. if your body temperature goes over 106.
If anyone that you received proposals tried to tell you what I just said, that's the one you should hire unless it is the one that told you that a 150 gallon Super Stor is your answer. Unless they also told you that for you to have that kind of available hit water, you need to re-pipe the whole house.
Any others that didn't say the above, might not have an understanding of making domestic hot water.
In my opinion.


@ April 1, 2014 6:37 PM in Superstor sidearm problem?

That would work.
Do you sell them a water softener afterwards?

Stable Attitudes:

@ April 1, 2014 11:33 AM in Coming From the"High"Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

I only brought this up out of interest and curiosity. I know far more about this subject today than when I brought it up. I'll never see one. But I like my aged and failing brain to be exercised.
Long into this discussion, I considered that issue of flame stabilization. Because although you provide positive pressure air through the blower, it loses the pressure to expansion in the combustion chamber. The higher the incoming positive pressure, the harder it becomes to stop flame pull off because the air around the flame is expanding after being compressed. Maybe back-pressure helps? My over 40 son is still racing dirt bikes and still wins Championships, He's nuts. His old Honda 250 CC 2-stroke dirt bikes all had this expansion chamber right after the exhaust port to provide backpressure to the engine. Without the expansion chamber, the engine ran terribly and would probably blow up. I remember now you talking about the high altitude hotel and the Lochinvar engineers. I just like to think scenarios out and understand them. If high altitude flame pull off is an issue with higher air pressures, does it happen on high fire  or does it start with modulating down to lower fires? Where chamber air expansion becomes an issue at lower firing levels. That's (I believe) the issue with the 2-stroke engine and accumulator/expansion chamber. It helped with back pressure. Perhaps it needs variable backpressure, to give back pressure in the chamber but allow the normal atmospheric expansion after the flame production. I always thought that the problems with fire in early Munchkins was caused by a lack of backpressure in low fires. That if a M-80 was vented with 3", on low fire, the exhaust was too big. If they were vented directly outside from the boiler. 2" always worked better and a 3" X 2" PVC bushing stuck in a 3" exhaust termination always helped for me. But where I lived, osculating wind speed and direction was the same as the aircraft going up and down. I had problems with make up air that I tried to prove. I tried all kinds of things. Nothing available was accurate enough. A good Barometer wouldn't do it. I thought of an aircraft Altimeter. There are no used aircraft Altimeters because they get repaired. If they are in a crash, they are no good. You should be able to set an aircraft altimeter, outside, to what ever Barometric pressure you chose, and go inside. If the pressure is higher or lower inside, the needle should act.
Cheaper than a one time $500.00+ instrument. Just curious.
I'm sure that those outside the box thinkers have thought of anything I could come up with. I'm only interested in how it works and why.
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