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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 22, 2014

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@ 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.

Cold Start:

@ April 1, 2014 10:36 AM in Weil McClain GV-5 Series 1 w DHW wiring

Yes, it does. When it gets the call, the "I" series stays closed or partially closed until the boiler water starts to come up. It then modulates the water going into the outlet side of the valve. The primary side/boiler side can go as high as it wants to. The system water for the heat side is modulated. When the indirect calls, it doesn't pass through the valve, but by it and back to the boiler, If the present 3/way is a "Either/Or" valve, when the non priority call is made (heat), the valve is closed to the indirect. If the indirect calls, the 4-way loses power because of the priority call and no water goes into the heat side. IMO, it's a form of hydraulic separator, another take on primary/secondary. You need a circulator on the primary side to pump water through the boiler. Another one on the secondary side of the heat side of the 4-way. I can't tell you the exact way to pipe it because I'm not there. It sounds like the guys that fixed your thermostat are competent. They should understand the concept. If they figure it out and make it work, they should get excited to see how it flows and works. Like I said, its a variation on how Munchkins are piped with a vision controller. Modulated heating water, high limit water to the indirect.

The only other question is do you want to spend money on such an old boiler? I consider them Bomb Proof and might do it. I'm just asking.
You actually don't need to add a circulator to the primary side, there's already one there. The internal one. Sort of what Weil-McLain did on the Series 3 &4 with the added circulator. Remember, what you are accomplishing is to stop any damage that the lack of the thermostatic by-pass provided. Which was a quick warm up of the boiler to prevent boiler condensation. The boiler will remain hot when running. Just the heat side will modulate. There are a lot of things you can do to play with boiler and system temperatures, but the 4-way will be the brains of the operation.

Descaling Super-Stor:

@ April 1, 2014 10:14 AM in Superstor sidearm problem?

That might work.
I'd be trying this, now that you brought it up,
White Vinegar, pumped in through the hole you mentioned and cover the coil. You could use diluted Muriatic acid. But leaving the coil submerged is the better way to go. You could "shock" the coil before you did it, but you won't get all the calcium from between the fins on the coil. You do that before you install a water softener to get rid of the dissolved solids in the water that caused the problem in the first place. Cheaper than a new indirect, that will do it again quickly.
People would be amazed at what white vinegar will clean and fix. I had a few customers with 'Broadway Collection" faucets, popular among the designer set who bought them as something special. Imported by a office company that had them made in a country that would make them cheap, based on a very old design that the patents had run out. They upgraded them with a ceramic cartridge. The faucets were such junk that they went bankrupt. But the cartridges are notorious for getting hard to turn. So hard that porcelain handles break off in your hand and gash the palm, requiring stitches. There's a company in California that sells most every kind of ceramic cartridge made at $80.00 a pop, but which one. Pre-paid of course. An overnight soaking of a sticky cartridge makes them like new.
What do you say to a customer that provides a specialty faucet that their "designer" sold them that they paid over $4,000 for, and two years later, it won't shut off, and the porcelain handle breaks off in their hand. And you can't get parts for it. And it's all exposed chrome in a bathroom that is supposed to look like 1920 threw up on it.

Environmental altitude adaptions:

@ April 1, 2014 9:50 AM in Coming From the"High"Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

Flue Gas Adaptation
If that was the earlier model that i think that it may have had the Flue gas adaptation feature.. That was a good Boiler..
If that feature is no longer applied, it sounds like a good selling point for a boiler with that feature.
Maybe I should have used Switzerland as a, area with a lot of high altitude populations? Far more than Colorado.
If you don't understand about how aircraft engines work, modern sealed combustion gas boilers have a lot in common. Varying loads into the same power plant. The liquid fuel content always stays the same, no matter where it is. The only variable is the air that the engine "breathes". The higher you go, the less air to breathe. The same air is available at 30,000' as at sea level just expanded. The boiler never moves once installed and set up. Engines move in 3 planes. Normally aspirated engines are limited by their service ceiling, where they can't breath enough air to be efficient. So, supercharging or turbocharging. Without the supercharger, any air that goes into the engine is introduced by atmospheric pressure and the vacuum created as the piston goes down in the bore, the intake. Then the air is compressed by the power stroke. The proper amount of fuel is introduced. The more air compressed, the more fuel can be introduced. More fuel, more power. Diesels do it by jamming as much fresh air into a cylinder as practical on the intake stroke. At the beginning of the power stroke, they introduce the fuel (Fuel Injection) and the friction heat of the compressing air, causes the fuel to ignite causing the gas to expand. The injection system continues to add fuel during the burn and as the piston is driven down in the cylinder. Gasoline engines add fuel through the intake stroke. Once the valve closed, that's all their is. Formula 1 race engines do it over 12,000 times a minute? Astonishing. Or maybe it's 6,000+ times a minute. Its a 4 stroke,
If that Veissmann Lambda feature was available and could constantly adjust the power level for existing conditions, it wasn't publicized. I only knew about it because someone asked the question and the instructor answered it. I knew immediately, the application.
I think that that feature could be a huge selling point for boilers. specially with the winter problems that the Nat. Gas suppliers are having in winters in the USA with keeping gas BTU content and pressures at prescribed levels. Even LPG has an issue because if it is really cold, LPG doesn't vaporize as fast as it could and a burner that automatically adjusts to the available fuel and air would be a hot seller among the American Techno-weenies. The American homeowner who is living with his 50 YO standing pilot gas boiler and can no longer get second hand parts, isn't going to buy one, he'll be complaining that he can't still get a like kind boiler and will complain about Gub'Ment interference in his life. The marriage of the Techno-weenie and the savvy and knowledgeable installer will have a great sales tool.
What else is there out there for someone that wants efficient heating at over 4,000'?

#200 Veissmann's:

@ March 31, 2014 10:22 PM in Coming From the"High"Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

back earlier or on another thread, I mentioned going to Veissmann school in RI for those boilers. I remember the discussion about the 200's ability to adjust to lowering gas main pressures. That efficiency would stay the same until some number (.04"?) where the efficiency would no longer be adjusted but the flame would remain.
If the CO goes up, I thought that it was a symptom of either too much air or too little. Sounds like too little. More air at 3 meters? If atmospheric pressure affects the gas valve operation, an increase in gas pressure? I'm just curious.

Getting confusing:

@ March 31, 2014 10:06 PM in Navien 240 combi installed - I have concerns

This is getting confusing.
First of all, no matter what size water pipe you have going to a fixture (except shower valves and tub valves), they all reduce down to 1/4" ID Tubing. The current El Cheapo PB spaghetti risers are even smaller. Even if you ran 2" copper to under the sink, the fixture is still fed by 1/4" ID tubing.
Although it is nice to have 1" run all over, it is commonly accepted installation practice to use a majority of 1/2" tube/piping in residential installs. Its nice to go bigger if you can afford it. Its nice to be competitive for jobs.
Massachusetts is as middle of the road as you can get. The minimum water service size is 3/4", even if it only serves a toilet. I don't know how cold it gets where this house is but if Canada, I'll bet the service is 4' down. Not a recital of the Earth Guitar Band. As far as checking the pressure, go to your local supply house and pick up a 0-160# 1/4" Bottom gauge and a 1/2" X 1/4" Reducing coupling or ell and a 1/2" boiler drain. Plus a washing machine hose. Connect it to any boiler drain you can find and turn it in. That will be the pressure. Let it flow, check the pressure. Its not expensive science.
Before you go nuts and start re-piping the house, check the PRV. It isn't working properly.
My Florida place is all 1/2" copper with a 3/4" copper service. The city maintains at least 60#. The pressure doesn't go up or down. But because of El Cheapo Moen 1982 Moen single lever Non-Pressure balance valves, if anyone turns on a faucet, you immediately feel it in the shower. Like I said in an earlier post, the Pipe Du Jour is now, 1/2" PEX, with home runs from a fixture to a manifold. Plumbing, heat and gas. 1/2" piping is the rule of the day.

Bee stings:

@ March 31, 2014 9:14 PM in Burnham MPO IQ147 or Weil Mclain WGO3

How many times should someone stand under the tree that the bees live in and be stung.
I've never had a Weil McLain boiler ever crack that was properly installed or improperly installed. I've seen more than a few "V" s leak in that exact same place. "V's aren't the only Burnham boilers I have seen with cracks.
I've installed a lot of WGO/WTGO 3's, 4's, and a few 5's. Along with a few 8's. Nary a crack.
IMO, it's the best "Pinner" out there. If they are left as "Warm Start", they are easy to clean.
Whatever your installer is happy with, that's what you should go with. If the new one cracks like the old ones, you'll be calling him first.


@ March 31, 2014 6:21 PM in Navien 240 combi installed - I have concerns

If the line coming through the foundation is copper, and what the water supply company replaced was connected to copper (they should know), you do NOT have a plugged up or obstructed copper water service. Unless it is common in your locality, it just doesn't happen and you're not the one. They make inline filters. CUNO makes an excellent one with high flow and replaceable cartridges. I would install them on new well water systems because one driller where I worked, never developed his wells to get all the fine sand and drill mud out of the casing. You sound like you have an iron issue. Like it is precipitating out of suspension and into a solid. There should be a small screw in filter on the water inlet to the water heater part of your Navien. I'm not familiar with Navien's, but all the others I have worked on, have this filter. Look for it. Pull it out and check to see of it is plugged up. Sometimes, you have to blow it with air. But if it slows down the water flow, it turns down the gas flow so as not to overheat the unit.
As this string goes on, I personally think that you have a service issue and not a mechanical issue. I promise you that if that Pressure Reducing valve was set at 75#, and you got in the shower, it would hurt a lot. Like most people can't take the pressure. Even at 60#, it still hurts in the second floor. And the first floor, you'd be backing off the pressure.
Check out the filter I am posting (I think). I always connect them up with McDonald MPT X CTS compression adapters for underground use with the big clamp and stainless steel bolt to keep it from blowing off.
This one:

Good Chlorine Points:

@ March 31, 2014 5:55 PM in Dormant commercial water heating system

Good points. One of the advantages of first blowing out the system with air is that you can usually measure it fairly accurately. If you really shock the system with adequate chlorine, you don't have to worry so much. A few years ago, I took on a large Museum like restored brick house with copper radiant heat in the ceiling. I wasn't concerned with that. But just with the Potable water. The previous plumber had been pumping trailer anti-freeze in the system for at least 5 years when I took over. The owner told me at least 30 gallons a pop. He was afraid something would break. I blew the house out with my small air compressor. I couldn't use the Weil-McLain TT Indirect for a air storage tank because draining the water and leaving the heat side would have broken the tank. I never had a single problem draining with air and refilling with water in the Spring. But it was at least 3 years before the alcohol smell of the anti-freeze was completely gone when I filled it. The water would also foam out of faucets with aerators.
Its a really accurate way to measure how much anti-freeze any heating system needs. To much is a waste and too little is dangerous.
Another thing on bleach. Cheap store brand is just as good as the expensive stuff. But be SURE to look on the label and be sure that it is 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite and not the cheaper 3.5% stuff. It makes a big difference.

No Oxygen: Missing Aircraft:

@ March 31, 2014 5:42 PM in Coming From the"High"Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

Again, I've said that I'm not talking about Oxygen and concentrated oxygen, just slightly compressed air. Enough compressed air to equal sea level at 10,000' or 3,000 meters, pick one.
In 1976, I bought a new Ford F-150 pick-up with a 351 "M".Motor. I bought in coastal Massachusetts. Had I bought it in Denver, it would have bees set up for "high altitude" driving. Like Denver. The gas mileage sucked. There was no way of knowing what you bought. If you came down to Massachusetts and bought my truck, it would have run like suck in Denver and have needed adjustments by the dealer (high altitude kit). The same truck bought in Denver would have run fine, maybe too lean, better gas mileage, shorter engine life. Today, my 2001 BMW 325XI wagon doesn't care where I drive it because the onboard computer constantly adjusts the fuel system with info from oxygen sensors. It even has the ability to tell whether you are using high octane fuel or "regular" grade and adjust the settings in the brain.
I think that it is already being done with sealed combustion and variable speed fan motors, You just didn't realize that it was done.
Mark Etherton said that there is a 2% pick-up in input with sealed combustion. It has to be because of the variable fan speed. If 2%, why not 4%. With a modulating gas and fan speeds, anything is possible. I'm not talking 4 meters in altitude, just 2 to 3. They're already set up for Seal Level where most of us work.
Another stunning bit of useless information from CM, I've been saying for over a week on Boards that they will never find wreckage from the Boeing 777 that is missing because of trash in the ocean where it went missing. It is lost in a "Gyre" however that is defined. Some prognosticator this afternoon was commenting on the stuff they keep finding that they can't find after it is first spotted or its nothing. The area that they are searching has floating trash to the tune of 43,000+ pieces of trash and debris PER SQUARE MILE!!!!.  And I complain about taking out the trash.
Hopefully, no trash at 3,000 meters.
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