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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 24, 2014

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@ April 10, 2014 10:36 AM in New Lead Free ball valves

Part of aging is that you don't notice things like you did when younger. If you can't pick out chords on a guitar or a piano, no matter how much you try, and you couldn't pass Typing 1 in Junior & High School, you probably often hit the "0" when you mean to hit the "9".
Along with quirky eyesight due to diabetes and bifocal lenses.
And care in proofreading.
But I can still see if the fitting isn't hot enough to be properly heated and soldered.
Wiping with a rag is another form of proofreading.

Bypass Plugs:

@ April 10, 2014 10:28 AM in Top of tank oil filter

The TL uses a 2 pipe pumping array. You need to install the by-pass plug like you would any other two pipe oil system.

Out there:

@ April 10, 2014 9:58 AM in Heartbleed bug

Although these threats may be out there, and I don't discount vulnerabilities, I always get nervous when I can go to some Web Site, they I would never be going to is able to get information from me through my connections. I've has so many web sites warn me by my anti-virus software, what I just don't act like the reat of the sheep in the flock.
I'm sure that Dan and his administrators are on the leading edge of Spamster evil.

Third World Fire Extinguishers:

@ April 9, 2014 10:41 AM in New Lead Free ball valves

A water spray bottle works really well to cool a soldered joint so it doesn't move. Its also handy for soldering in close places where you might burn the wood. Spray/soak it before you solder, It has to heat the water to vapor, and heat the wood to burn temperatures.

Pro-Press & Van Hanger's

@ April 9, 2014 10:38 AM in New Lead Free ball valves

I always used a lot of Van Hangers. The clamp won't fit on the fitting without hitting the finish wall.
They sure are nice when you need to install a valve in a leaking line.

No-Lead valves:

@ April 9, 2014 10:35 AM in New Lead Free ball valves

Many of us were seeing no-lead valves for the last few years. Try this.
Take a piece of yellow brass tube. Like for a sink drain. Without cleaning or sanding it, slather some paste on it. Then, heat it up and see if the solder will flow. All the paste I ever used worked on it. The solder should flow easily when you have the tube hot enough and run where the heat if.
As far as soldering, I haven't seen a lot of people really properly solder fittings so as to not have a potential of a leak. You have to heat from the back of the fitting, not the face. When done, you need to wipe off the paste and solder. If, when you remove the torch, and you can't wipe the solder around the face of the fitting, it wasn't hot enough. If you solder a ball valve, and solder it from the face, and switch to the other end, and do the same, if you can't wile the solder from both ends of the valve, the middle isn't soldered. If you try to get the middle hot enough by soldering the face, you will overheat the middle because the excess heat from the ends. Which will destroy the plastic or Teflon ball seats and the valve will leak. Make sure that the ball valve is in the open position. Or the water in the valve from manufacturing will blow the seat apart from excessive steam pressure. You don't need a 3000 degree flame thrower to heat copper fittings and valves.
How many times have you pulled something apart and much od the back side was black with paste but not soldered? Next time you take some 1' copper fittings out, cut the back 1/4 with a saw. Look at the solder voids. They didn't leak, but it wasn't hot enough. Especially ball valves. Because there is so much mass in the middle.
You're overheating the fitting.
Pasting the inside of the fitting and the tube is good practice.
Every paste I ever used, you could paste up a dirty, un-sanded piece of copper, heat it up, the paste would clean it and you could run solder on it. If you overheat the tube, the paste burns and the solder won't stick.
Try soldering two pieces of lead sheet together. If you overheat the lead, it will melt. You shouldn't be soldering way above the melting point of the solder. Unless you like leaks.
In 1067, when I took my Journeymen's exam. t e practical part was to silver braze a piece of 3/4copper to a 3/4" CXF adapter. If the inspector saw you hold the flame on the face of the adapter and not start from the back, they would take the piece, cool it off and cut it off at the base. If there was a void, you failed. I passed.


@ April 9, 2014 9:47 AM in Top of tank oil filter

Is there some reason you won't use a Tigerloop at the burner and a filter there too? Then, you only have one line to suck off from the tank?
Like they do all over Europe? In fact, in some European countries, they are required, no matter what you do.
I can imagine myself if confronted with a oil filter mounted on the top of the tank. I get out the catch panand balance it on top of the tank. About the time I get the canister off and the oil is in the catch pan, it falls off the top of the tank, spills down the side of the tank and drips on the floor. I have to get out more Speedy-Dry and clean up the mess. A filter at the burner/Tigerloop, allows me to put the catch pan on the floor and catch all the oil. Only requiring a quick wipe with a rag.


@ April 9, 2014 9:37 AM in Recirc Line

Let me understand this. You replaced your old (probably oil) boiler with a Lochinvar 199,000 BTU boiler that had some sort of a Taco 006BT 10 year old circulator. How many BTU's was the old boiler? Was a proper heat loss done for the building? Unless you have one large hacienda, it sounds like it is way oversized. An oversized boiler which you mentioned will not have the same turn down ratio that a properly sized boiler will give you.
But, they reconnected the old recirc line. And you are trying to save a slight amount of money by replacing the old circulator with another which will give you little if any savings.
Those of us still living in the past, always put a Honeywell 4006A thermostat that would break on rise so when the return got hot, it stopped the circulator because the hot water was already back and there was no reason to run the recirculation circulator. If there is a clock timer that lets it run when no one is using water and just pumps water through the tank and back, THAT is un-efficient. The control scheme should be such that the boiler is on high fire when the circulator is on. You can heat an awful lot of potable water with 199,000 BTU's. In fact, 199,000 is a code limit for potable water heaters.
You'll be stepping over $100.00 bills to pick up a possible hand full of dimes.

CO Testing:

@ April 9, 2014 6:20 AM in Contractor kicked out of house for doing CO test

Where I worked, there is an oil company. As a company policy, no matter what they do, even if it is just changing a filter, they test. They do a complete combustion analysis on everything. They have the printer, leave one copy, stapled to a company card. They take another back to the office. Because their liability insurance REQUIRED that there be a record of how it was running when the tech left the premises. If they had no proven record of how it was running, the insurance company wouldn't cover them for liability. They have 5 up to date Wohlers, at least one is freshly re-calibrated.

If it is a company to ALWAYS combustion analyze a system, and keep the records, you will have all the proof you need to show that the client chose to not believe you.
My Bacharach Insight could be downloaded to my computer and kept in a file with any other information I wanted to keep on an Excel spreadsheet.
If it is a company practice, and you stick to it with all employees, you will be able to prove what you did. If you just do it wishy-washy, and you have a problem, you might have a real problem. Test everything. Own an analyzer and know how to use it.


@ April 8, 2014 6:31 AM in Benefits of 2-pipe vs single

Thinking of playing in the Earth Band with a 5" Banjo, Earth Guitar, or electric percussion is making my head ache, sympathetic ringing in my ears and the back of my neck sweat.
I'd have installed a Tigerloop, like they do all over Europe.
I'm starting to think that local/professional resistance to Tigerloops is more of that American Exceptionalism I hear about. What works well everywhere else, won't work here.
A Tigerlooped single line primes like a 2-pipe. With absolutely no venting of the bleed screw.
Like beer cooler boilers with Gianonni HX's and wall hung heaters from Europe. They only work over there. America is different.

Bonded Envelopes:

@ April 7, 2014 6:52 PM in Mysterious infrared image caused by steam heating system

The "Envelope" is usually considered that which is inside the outside shell of the structure. Its where the outside air meets the building.

As far as a "Running Bond", it is the terminology of the pattern of the bricks when laid. When bricks are laid flat, the long way, they are called a "Stretcher Course". When a bricks are laid side by side as Stretchers, they make a 8" thick wall. To make the wall strong and to tie in the two sides, bricks may be laid crosswise. Crosswise bricks are called Headers. If a wall is high, or has many header courses, to give it strength. Every few courses of stretcher courses, a header course will be laid. Look at the outside photos. You will see some header courses that tie in the wall. If you have a wood framed building, it would only have a single 4" brick veneer. And a 2X4 wall. It takes a lot of cut/half bricks to make a fake header. Labor intensive.
Ii only brought it up because there is probably very little space between the inside face of the brick wall and the room. There probably isn't much room for insulation. One infra red photo looks like the pipe goes under the floor away from the outside wall.
Measure the wall thickness at the front door. If it's around 10" wide, it a 8" brick wall.
Brick Patterns:

Old Churches:

@ April 7, 2014 11:53 AM in Add-on fans for old convectors

In my minority opinion, if you do a careful commercial heat loss on the building, and measure the existing heat output of the emitters, you will be between 20% and 50% over radiated. You need to move the hot air off the ceiling and get it down to the floor with ductwork. I've worked around quite a few old antique churches. If they were heated year around, they were over radiated. Yours might be the exception. But I doubt it.
Have you done a accurate heat loss calculation on it or are you just winging it.


@ April 7, 2014 6:16 AM in Pressure Enthalpy

If you can count money, you're using the metric system.
Everything is in groups of ten. Ten Fingers, ten toes.
I Millimeter (a little bitty mark). 10 little bitty marks = Centimeter. 100 Centimeters = Meter. 1,000 Meters = kilometer.
Same with liquid measures. Same tens. How much is 2 liters? As big as a big bottle of diet coke. One liter is a smaller big bottle of diet coke, Most bottled water is a 1/2 Liter or 500 Milligrams. Drink four small bottled water and you drank equivalent of  a big bottle of diet coke,
You've been using it for years. Many things you deal with on a regular basis are already metric.  Buy an inch/metric rule. Don't try to convert. Just use one or the other. If you want accurate measures, or you need complicated math, you'll see how much easier it is to count fingers and does compared to the length of some long dead king's foot.
In your head, divide 48.8 mm. in half. Divide 19 3/16 in half accurately. Same measurement. One's 3 digits, the other is 5 digits.

Taco Technology:

@ April 5, 2014 12:42 PM in Taco I Series Mixing Valve not working?

Taco has been in the forefront of some of this technology. They just don't always brag. I'll bet that a chat with them might solve some of that. You can maybe fool it with resisters. I don't know, I'm not an electrical engineer. My engineering is like the Shade Tree Mechanics we talked about when I was younger. I got MY engineering experience in a class with mice and spiders. In a damp, dusty crawl space or a nasty cellar. The mechanic was shaded by the leaves on the tree, I was shaded by the cob webs.

i guessed:

@ April 5, 2014 12:36 PM in Add-on fans for old convectors

I guessed that you were trying to do something like that.
The problem with old churches is that they didn't want the attendees to be comfortable. And they built them with those lofty ceilings so as to be closer to their Heavenly Father. Somewhere along the line, someone didn't check with the Physics Professor. There's probably more than enough radiation to heat the building if they turn the heat up as long as they don't try turning it up 1 hour before services. That said, its been my experience with high ceiling places with an over abundance of radiation is to have some form of ventilation device to take the hot air from the ceiling and get it to the floor. And I don't remember the BTU output per human, but a church full of souls looking to the heavens for guidance put out a lot of heat and then need ventilation.
Perhaps an air handler or two, one at either end in the attic or properly situated would be a better answer. You get heat mixing and when you switch to AC in the summer or whenever you need it, the AC is set up perfectly. The other consideration is that the ladies usually come dressed to the 9's and become hot. Hot people sweat. Sweat raises the humidity. A/C does an excellent job of removing excess humidity.
Something to think about. You could spend more on fan coil motors and not be satisfied when ventilation is what you need. Not more heat.

Water Tanks.

@ April 5, 2014 10:13 AM in Install electric tank

You already have a boiler, connected to an indirect water heater?
If so, and you want to purchase an electric water heater and connect it to the potable water system to try to save money, it can be done. I've never seen it work for anyone but it might work for you. I know it wouldn't work for me. Even with me doing all the labor and getting everything at whatever my professional cost is, I would never, ever get the cost back by any savings of doing the switch. In fact, the cost of just the electrical upgrade could be more than you can save.
Another good example of stepping over a $10.00 bill to pick up a dime.

Sliced & Diced:

@ April 5, 2014 8:57 AM in Add-on fans for old convectors

No matter how hard you try. you'll be doing some precision surgical carpentry.
With judicial use of molding and other such things, anything is possible. You used to be able to get Airtherms but the last time I went looking for parts, they were non-existent. Its not ever going to look like it was new, but if the client works with you, you can come up with a solution. Those Smith's Environmental units are the cleanest looking ones I have ever seen.
If what you are trying to do is adapt a blower in a standard convector, it's really hard. There's not enough room under the coil for the fan, and you can't make it tight. Over the coil and it is the same problem. Making the fan tight to the coil. If that's what you are trying to do, how do you figure out the output and balance the flow?

Honeywell Zones:

@ April 5, 2014 8:45 AM in Weil McLain indirect hot water heater, short cycling?..

I thought you probably had Honeywell's like in the photos. I was commenting on things which I have found with Taco's that might be of interest.
Whenever I have found a Zone "Ghosting" for no apparent reason, it's always been either crud in the seat or something keeping the ball or paddle from seating properly.
Because I have always considered Zone Valves to just being motorized flow checks, I always installed a standard flow check on any zone valve system. It stops any of that gravity flow or "ghost flow" that might happen. I'm probably not telling you anything, but, when the system is cold, turn up a zone that is NOT one of the Ghost zones. Feel a supply pipe to the ghost zone. If its getting hot or warming while another valve is calling, its a bad valve. Or crud under the seat. If there are isolation valves between the boiler and the system, shut off the supply and let the boiler get hot without the zones calling. Once hot, shut off the boiler. See if the ghost zones start warming. If any do, the seat is leaking bye. Its easiest if the valves are on the supply. Of they are on the return, its more complicated.

Below Minimums:

@ April 5, 2014 6:48 AM in Taco I Series Mixing Valve not working?

I don't understand your comment about not being able to set it below 85 degrees.
I thought the idea behind the I Series 4 way was that the primary/boiler side was to be high for boiler protection and the secondary/system side can be what you want it. If the issue is the ODR sensor, couldn't you get a lower resistor or is the issue that the primary water is too hot and you can't mix down enough?
I don't know why I ask, I'll never see another one. But I like to think about it.
Are you trying to control system temperatures with the boiler return sensor set on the system return side? Wouldn't that set up a conflict with the ODR sensor?

Zone Controller:

@ April 5, 2014 6:40 AM in Weil McLain indirect hot water heater, short cycling?..

It may be the zone controller. It sounds like it might be.
If any zone valves don't properly close all the way, or appear to be closed but don't completely break the end switch,  they can do what you are talking about. But, a yellow light will be on, or come on, But the red light never comes on. When it does this short cycling, do any of the controller lights come on?
With Taco 57* valves, they can get rusty on the metal hold down plate and the piston from the actuator can get stuck not coming back all the way and the spring isn't strong enough to push the motor plunger all the way back. Leaving 2 & 3 still closed, almost. The yellow light will stay on. If the red light never comes on, the plunger is stuck. Take #1 wire off to kill the power for at least 2 minutes and remove the power head. If the metal top has rust around the hole, spray it with Kroil. Take a big pair of water pump pliers and put one end on the underside of the valve, the other side on the top if the plunger. Operate the plunger manually with the pliers until it works easily. Spray the inside of the power head with WD-40 or 556. The manual lever should then easily move up and down. Then, work the valve. If you need to replace the actuator/piston, this plier trick is a very good way to replace it. I buy a whole new valve but don't replace the body. Its cheaper than buying the parts alone and the time draining and refilling the system.
You may indeed need a new control panel. Did you check the output of the transformer? There really isn't much else to go wrong with the ZC zone valve controllers. If it was a SR, another story. Those ice cube relays get lunched often.

Ghostly Images:

@ April 5, 2014 6:15 AM in Mysterious infrared image caused by steam heating system

Those are recessed steam/hot water convectors. In one photo, it shows a piece of what appears to be sheet metal behind the element. It is supposed to help reflect heat back into the room. What you see is heat absorbed by the wall and the brick. Buy a sheet of 1/2" R-Max reflective urethane foam board and put it against the wall, above the element. You won't be able to get it behind, but it will reflect heat back into the room. It will make the heater work better. Shoot the wall after. You'll probably see less image.
If you're handy and crafty, I'd be taking the baseboard off on the side that the supply comes up in the outside wall and trying to get some poured in insulation in there. If it is a solid brick house, I doubt they left pockets for the steam pipe. More likely, that one goes up in a closet. I'd be considering taking the finish off and insulating the pipe. As far as the ones that go into the room, under the floor, that heat is lost into the envelope.
Those brick walls are at least 8" thick because hardly anyone would use a fake running brick bond on a veneer wall. Every 5 courses, a 1/2 brick? That's a lot of cut in half bricks.

FWIW (Enlightened)

@ April 4, 2014 8:13 PM in Indirect or Combo Boiler with Recirc DHT?

FWIW, You can buy a GFCI for the bathroom plug (all bathrooms are supposed to have a GFCI) that comes with a light sensitive LED night light.
If the light is an issue, you will barely notice it. And, it is my long held belief from long experience, that for those late night bathroom trips, NEVER open both eyes, only one. The left eye stimulates the right side of the brain and the right eye stimulated the left side of the brain. Therefore, if you only open one eye, you only stimulate one side of the brain. If I follow that rule, I go right back to my usual noisy slumber. If I open both eyes, I'm awake until morning.
Unlike the old State of Maine story I heard about the old fisherman.
Seems he was quite renowned as one who could always catch fish. Once, someone asked him the secret of his successful fishing.
Well, when I wake up in the morning, and my wife is sleeping on her left side, I fish off the left side of the boat. If I wake up and she's sleeping on her right side, I fish off  of the right side of the boat. After a pause, the inquisitor asked: What happens if she's sleeping on her back? To which the old Captain relied, "Then I don't go fishin'".
Keep one eye open in the dark. Don't trip on anything.
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