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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on September 2, 2014

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Time for projects:

@ August 24, 2014 1:23 PM in home made thermostat

A great project for those with far too much time on their hands. I'd be spending the money and looking for other money making uses for my time.

If there's a problem, who you gonna call, Ghost Busters?

Speakman Mixers:

@ August 24, 2014 12:58 PM in Plumbing Forum?

Those old Speakman Mixers like the Kohler ones have a quirk. At least the Kohler ones do.

Did this start when the plumber changed or repaired the shower valve parts?
Does the valve open and cold water comes in and on when you first turn on the water? If you look at the parts that hold the washers, they appear to be the same until you compare them side by side. Then, you will see that they are exact opposites. If you are unaware of this difference, it is very easy to flip them over and have the hot spool on the cold side. If you take them out (carefully), you will notice that the scooped out part on one starts on the bottom by the washer and the other one is on farther up and open at the top. That is so as you turn on the water, one side (cold) starts first and as you move the yoke farther away from the seats, it exposed more of the other side. But that shouldn't be the cause of all your problems. I see things like yours when faucet washers come off because screw heads on bibb screws fail from de-zincification. The screw gets lodged somewhere and or the washer gets ground into the seat, partially blocking the hole for the water to come through.

There is a way to add stops to the sink. Some may not see it but others among us can see how it is done. The soaring thinkers among us who can't walk away from a situation and find out that someone fixed it. Because the hot supply only feeds the tub and sink, it has to be in there. You need to install a stop valve on the sink so you can make air or water go in reverse and blow whatever is in there, out. I can see and hear subtle things that mean absolutely nothing to you and others that mean a lot to me. That's the difference between one and another. Experience.


@ August 24, 2014 12:21 PM in you will go with one-pipe monoflo setting or two-pipe reverse return setting?

Where did you get that PDF? Most of us wouldn't mount the expansion tank on the secondary side where you can shut off both secondary side valves and isolate the boiler from the expansion control.

On the second drawing, it always has part cut off on my computer but it looks like you have (or someone has) drawn it with a two pipe direct return. Direct Returns are considered by most as a bad practice. If your intent is a Two Pipe reverse Return, that isn't one. Parallel Reverse Return = First In, Last back. Direct Return= First in, first back, last in, last back. A properly installed reverse return will almost always have a place where there are three pipes in parallel where a direct return will not.


@ August 24, 2014 12:12 PM in How much flex in piping?

Hag out the side of the new floor. What difference does it make.

Of more concern to me is that the old hole is shown on the top, and the fitting below the floor is no where near in alignment. Are you connecting to a radiator?
Unless you don't mind strange noises in the night, I would never let it rub on ANY wood.


@ August 23, 2014 12:02 PM in who builds?

Aluminum is not an acceptable vent material for oil. Steel or Stainless Steel only.

Hot & Cold:

@ August 23, 2014 11:53 AM in Plumbing Forum?

Its hard to follow what you did in the order which you did it.
I suggest that you do a single line drawing of all the fixtures with the hot lines in red and the cold lines in blue. With a green line as the outlet. You have to think of it like an electrical schematic except that electricity doesn't care where it goes (unless you use diodes) and of you turn off one side of a water supply system, the other side will go where it wants to go. The only place that you have a direct cross connection between the hot and cold is at the shower valve.
I once had something similar to what you describe, In a past renovation, years before, someone put a Watts #70A tempering valve under a floor to control water temperature to a hand shower on a tub. Through subsequent renovations, this fact was lost. The owner never complained about cold showers, but people paying $20,000 for a month Summer rental did, But you I couldn't make it happen when a tenant was there and the owner never complained. The house was sold. The new owner complained. After a lot of screwing around, I found the valve, covered over years before with no access anywhere. Because the house was built in the 1920's and had some parts piped overhead, I had to figure out how it was piped before I could pinpoint what the problem was.
Are you sure that there is no place where someone might have put a tempering valve that became buried in the walls that only controls the hot water for the tub/shower and the sink?

Can you shut off the water to the whole house, drain it back and take out the guts of the stop valve for the hot water in the cellar? Look and see if the bibb screw head has come off and/or the faucet washer is off and jammed into the seat of the valve. If it is a brass screw and the head is off, it could be jammed into some galvanized pipe.
At one time, it worked. The problem is finding out what happened so that now it doesn't.


@ August 23, 2014 11:25 AM in Hot water baseboard heater too big for room

Post a photo of the offending heater. Depending on what it is, there are ways.


@ August 23, 2014 11:22 AM in Offsets in pipes between floors?

A 45 degree offset takes up less room that two 90 degree ells, and has far less resistance.
All fittings have a resistance valve listed as equal to feet of pipe. 90's are far more than a 45 degree ell. 90's add more resistance.

Return Duct leakage:

@ August 22, 2014 10:22 AM in condensate drain ?

There can also be an issue of duct leakage on the return (negative pressure) in unconfined spaces. Like attics or damp crawl spaces. The one piece of return I see doesn't have any tape seal on it. You can also have a serious infiltration problem into unconditioned spaces which has a high heat and humidity ratio. Like Florida attics with attic ventilation.
That's an impressive amount of water. The only time I have ever seen pans like that were from long pan drains that had pitch issues. Once because an insulator knocked pitch blocks down and the drain had a sag. It doesn't appear that this is your case.
I plumbed a house for a well known person. They had two AC systems. One for the second floor and one for the first. They had a very large open stairway to the first floor. The second floor had massive cathedral ceilings. The second floor was VERY hot, no matter what. The first floor was around 60 degrees even though the thermostat was set at 75 or below. The cold air from the second floor was coming down the stairway. They had French doors across the entire Southwest side of the house. The prevailing winds in the Summer are from the Southwest. Hot and humid. Because it was cooler outside than it was on the second floor, they opened all the French doors to the outside to keep the second floor cooler. You needed a sweater to stay downstairs. I noticed that the second floor drains were draining constantly and had puddles on the ground. The first floor AH's didn't run at all.

The Cooler man said it was normal and always done that way.


@ August 22, 2014 9:58 AM in Should we use new steam boiler for hot water heating?

Is the existing radiator load measurement 585 EDR? Or is that what you think you need because of the reduced heat loss in the building due to improvements?
Those old dead guys were usually so tight that they creaked when they walked. They spent someone else's money like it was their own, they didn't.  I'm just wondering why they put a more expensive 750 Sq. Ft boiler where a smaller and cheaper one would have done. It is said that unexpected things can happen when you fire a smaller steam boiler into a system that needs a bigger one.
Just asking.

standing water:

@ August 22, 2014 12:15 AM in condensate drain ?

That's why I think you have another issue. I've never seen a pan with that amount of water in it. If you haven't seen any other HX'ers of that brand full of water, then I doubt it is the problem. Where the drain runs under the unit, are you sure that it is pitching properly where you can't see it? If the water level in the pan ia completely covering the outlet drain hole, and it isn't pouring out of the end of the drain, something is obstructing it. Whatever is in there, you're going to be surprised when you get it out and what it is. I'll bet there's some interesting science projects inside that drain.
Those manufactured PVC running traps can be a problem.
Blow the line out from the pan with air. See what comes out. It should drain easily. If it doesn't, there's a problem.
Does the coil just sit on the plastic waste pan? I can't imagine putting bolts through the pan to hold it worm. It might leak. Maybe it isn't seated on rails. If you have another one like it in your customer base, go look at it.


@ August 21, 2014 11:58 PM in Not the Usual Failure

So, "Stewart" is the left hand wrench. The Skuld wrench is the right hand one.
You always use two wrenches. One goes on the left side and the other on the right side.


@ August 21, 2014 11:44 PM in New Boiler Radiant & Baseboard Taco Controls Question HELP!

Why on god's green earth did you buy a state of the art heating system, with all the toots and whistles.  And but a CGA boiler in it? If you wanted to save money, you should have just put in baseboard and some zone valves.
At least a boiler with sealed combustion and some efficiency.
A Weil McLain GV 90+ would give you higher efficiency, has sealed combustion, is bomb proof, and is internally piped to protect the boiler from condensation damage. A CGA-3 is 84% on a good day.

Your system will be like building a F-18 fighter jet and hanging a prop on the front, powered by rubber band bungee cords.


@ August 21, 2014 3:41 PM in Not the Usual Failure

One's for the left side and the other is for the right side.

Good Eyes:

@ August 21, 2014 3:39 PM in Not the Usual Failure

If I did that, you would have noticed it too.
Its because it is the only thing in the whole piping array that isn't plumb and square to the rest of the piping. Some unknowing person off the street will see it instantly. They don't know what's wrong, just that something isn't right.

Parallel measurements and the Square Root of 2 (1.414) are a pipefitters best friends.

De-Rate AC:

@ August 21, 2014 3:30 PM in Hydronic Baseboard Altitude Derate?

In that case, how much do you de-rate an AC unit? Same type of HX.


@ August 21, 2014 3:26 PM in condensate drain ?

Additionally, if the end of the condensate drain goes in to a floor drain or any type of receptor where there is standing water in it, and the condensate drain is inserted into the water seal, it will act like it is double trapped. It needs a air break or air gap to drain properly. I've seen where someone put a piece of rubber drain hose into a icemaker drain pump and the hose was inserted too far in and was in water. They overflowed. You need the free flow of air.
Don't futz with Mother Nature. She has big teeth to bite you with.

Vented Drains:

@ August 21, 2014 3:20 PM in condensate drain ?

There's a problem with that drain. I don't have the I/O manual but from a plumbing standpoint, it could be better.
There is a tee on the bottom horizontal drain with a cap on it. The cap needs to be off to let air in.
In plumbing, we consider that an indirect waste and it needs a free flow of air from the upper part where it comes through the cabinet and drain pan until it goes in to the trap. Which must be below because I don't see it. If there is some sort of trap arrangement inside the cabinet, and another that is below and I can't see, then it is double trapped and will never drain properly. With ice machines, you need a vertical rising vent that is at least one pipe size larger than the size of the drain through the cabinet to vent the line.
My old AC Air Handler had a tee with a short open riser on the vertical at the top. The new one has the same set up but it is plugged with a safety switch to stop the unit if the drain plugs and backs up. The problem is that there is at least 30' of I" PVC under the slab and who knows how well it pitches. But that doesn't matter because instead of turning the outside ell down, it is turned up with two more ells to get the drain higher from ground level. Which makes the whole 30+ feet part of a trap. They constantly plug up. You can suck 2+ gallons of water out of the drain. That would be normal. I would say that it is either double trapped or not pitched enough. You need to find a way to blow air through the waste line and give it venting. Its not my trade but I've never seen a full pan like that that didn't have a drain issue. And it had nothing to do with the pan. Usually, they only have enough water in the pan to come up to the bottom of the drain hole. If it gets higher, the drain is plugged. Take that cap off on the bottom. See if it is full of water. There shouldn't be any water in any of those drains.


@ August 21, 2014 2:49 PM in legends of the south pole

Also known as CFIG. Controlled Flight Into Ground.
And you don't have to be flying in clouds. As long as the temperature, humidity and dew point align in the proper manner, you can be toast. Even with the prop de-icers working, the sound of ice flying off the props and hitting the side of the airplane, can make you feel like you haven't been a good enough person yet.

Musty Water:

@ August 21, 2014 2:44 PM in quick odor in sinks/showers

Do you have a private water system (Well) or are you on a public/municipal water system?
If you are on a public system, are you at the end of the system?
Does it smell "Musty" like sweaty socks or like rotten eggs?
It all makes a difference.

Leak Detecting:

@ August 21, 2014 11:21 AM in gas piping.

 ""Use dish soap mixed with some water. ""
There are available commercial liquid leak detecting products that are FAR better than dish soap and water. Some make great big bubbles in a fraction of the time that dish soap will make little tiny bubbles.
Be sure to wipe it all of so it doesn't leave the work looking like a Hackaroo piped it when all the bare steep parts get covered in rust.

It's true:

@ August 21, 2014 10:19 AM in legends of the south pole

It's true. Water under certain conditions, doesn't freeze until as low as -40. And it can freeze as high as 39+ degrees.  But it ALWAYS melts at 32 degrees.
Although frozen water/ice melts at 32 degrees, water, in the form of pure water can freeze at 32+F to as low as -40. It has to do with "Pure Water" as like distilled water. There are no solids in the water.
There is moisture in the form of evaporated water that becomes pure when it evaporates. At 30,000', there is moisture but it is invisible. Not until the moisture can gather on a speck of dust, can the water vapor convert and freeze, forming clouds. Its called "Super-Cooled Water Vapor".
A good common example of the phenomenon is if or when you put a bottle of beer of bottled water in the freezer to chill it and you forget it. And you remember it before it becomes solid. You pull out the bottle and see that it is still liquid. But, if the conditions are right, because you have disturbed the tranquility of the water in the bottle, you might see a cloud form (in the form of slush) at the top of the bottle and slowly descend to the bottom. The contents of the bottle have turned to slush. We who lived in The North, might see it commonly if we leave bottled water bottles in a truck outside at night on below 32 degree weather. It is common on nights when it is clear and you get radiational cooling.The water doesn't freeze until the bottle is agitated.
When you see aircraft passing overhead and they leave contrails behind, it is the soot from burning hydrocarbon fuels that is reacting with the water vapor present and the exhaust gasses that form the Contrails or clouds. That's the theory behind "Cloud Seeding" to make rain. If you put enough dust or debris into the atmosphere, and enough moisture gathers on the dust, it becomes too heavy and finally falls in the form of rain.
If I put bottled water or flavored water in the very back of my refrigerator for long periods of time, I might get one out and I can watch the phase change. If I catch it right. I can make it happen in the freezer. Beer does it when it is shaken or moved because it is reacting to the CO2 in the beer. Beer does it just as well as water. Watch for it.
Super Cooled water vapor does this on aircraft surfaces where water can freeze as high as 39+ degrees because of the cooling effect of air moving over a surface in a vacuum, which lowers the temperature of the water vapor and it sticks to the surfaces it can find. Like wings and propellers.
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