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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 20, 2014

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Combustion air/sealed combustion:

@ March 31, 2014 11:37 AM in Modcons in Closets-

It would seem to me that unless the air intake is directly connected to the burner blower, and gets ALL make-up and combustion air through the outside connection, you can run the risk of using up excess air in a bedroom if the unit is run with the cover off. And the covers aren't all that tight. Then there's the issue of ventilation in the door.
Sounds like a "Camel's nose under the tent". thing. Once the nose is under the tent flap, and smells that's there, the camel wants the whole tent.
"What do you mean it's wrong? The Code says 96" developed, I'm only 2" past that at 98". No, you have to include the two 90's and the 45* in the total developed length. You need to go up in size. Its in the I/O manual. Didn't you read it?


@ March 31, 2014 11:21 AM in Coming From the"High"Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

Because of my Type 2 diabetes, I don't do cookies.
I figured that you can play with quotation marks.
Some symbols go back to DOS commands and will make UNIX and some other operating systems lose their collective minds.
Or so I have figured out.  These things " < " and these things " > " will cause untold grief. Along with forward slashes and back slashes. It seems that any forbidden symbol under DOS will cause some browsers to loose their collective minds.
And maybe this won't post because I have violated some unknown rule of applications.


@ March 31, 2014 11:13 AM in Navien 240 combi installed - I have concerns

You should be able to go to the water supplier and find out what you have for a service. Copper was cheap post WW ll, but if the builder had a surname that is often common in the northern British Isles, galvanized steel was cheaper and would be working fine when the deeds were signed over. If it is galvanized, there is definitely plaque problems with brass valves. Unless the pipe is galvanized wrought iron. If you have high dissolved iron in your water, definitely.
If you replace the service, go with a minimum of 1" SDR/200# Poly. It will equal 3/4". I always used 1 1/4" with compression couplings to equal a 1" flow.
If you get the water service fixed, you'll think you died and went to heaven.
One good way to spot bad services without a gauge is to open a tap that is at the service entrance like a boiler drain, and open it up as wuickly as you can, note if the flow is high and then drops off to a steady, slow flow. Stop it, then repeat it. If the pressure goes back up and does it again, there is an obstruction. Sometimes, you can actually hear the water filling the pressure back. The slower the refill, the worse the obstruction.
Where I worked, the water provider was a very old company started in the late 1800's.They had records going back to then. If you wanted to find out of an old house had a lead service, you could look in a 1890 service record and see the fittings they used to connect it.

Before you dig:

@ March 31, 2014 10:55 AM in Navien 240 combi installed - I have concerns

Before you dig, check the service pressure like I told you in a previous post.
If you have metered water, where is the meter? At the curb or at the house? Have it checked for flow. It can be "hanging" and not flowing as fast as it should. When the house was built, did they use 3/4" poly pipe? Is it 160/200# poly and did they use compression fittings or insert fittings? Some cheap installers back when used some galvanized steel insert fittings that if screwed into a brass  curb stop, will develop rust at the connection and slow the flow. Is there a curb stop just outside of where the water service enters the house? If the meter is at the property line and it is a distance away, is there a bib pressure drop from the meter location to inside the house? It will show that the curb stop needs to be replaced. Or you could have a big rock crushing the plastic/poly water service because someone was too lazy to hand backfill the trench to cover the pipe, Then finish with a machine. If it is rocky soil, it may not have clean sand under the pipe.
If its a long run, really consider a booster pump.

Another take on your problem:

@ March 31, 2014 10:42 AM in Navien 240 combi installed - I have concerns

Here's another take on your problem.
First of all, that is a really nice professional installation. Be proud that you hired someone that knew what they is doing.
You need to get something (or someone) to check the static (nothing running) and the flow (something running) at the water in the house. You have town supplied water. Piping houses with 1/2" copper is wrong, but if you go by the fixture unit valves in piping, it is OK, but you still need a minimum of a 3/4" water service where it may split and go 1/2" each to the water heater and the hot water, If the service entrance is 3/4" and reduces to the whole house from there, it is wrong. Put a pressure gauge device on the service entrance and measure the pressure, If it is under 40# static (not flowing), it will never work properly. If it drops below 30# when flowing, it will never work properly. If you have a single lever pressure balance shower valve, it will never work properly because the valve is constantly doing its job and protecting you by trying to balance the hot and cold water. If the Navien is set to 120 degrees, it probably can't over come the lack of hot water pressure and the volume of cold water.
If you want, the easiest way to solve your pressure problem is to install a booster pump on the water service as it inters the house. You can buy stand alone units or make up your own. But it will raise the pressure and volume available in the system. Remember, when you raise the system pressure by sucking on a water service, you are theoretically increasing the street pressure by making the system use atmospheric pressure to push harder on YOUR system. Mother Nature HATES a vacuum.
Where do you live?

I know what you mean:

@ March 31, 2014 10:15 AM in LP Gas usage rating? GPH?

I know what she means.
I still have ALL my teeth except for one in front with a implant that I had 6 years ago. Now, at my age, and in Florida, every dentist looks into my mouth and thinks they see the inside of my wallet or bank account. I have a back upper tooth that I had to have removed. Everyone wants to put in an implant. That can take over three years in upper, back teeth. They get really distressed when I tell them NO, because I won't live long enough to pay for it and I don't want to stick my wife with a bill if I am dead.

Brake Cleaner:

@ March 31, 2014 9:59 AM in Sporadic Vac Readings

Ever try PVC cleaner? Its cheaper and more readily available. Will brake cleaner get Rectorseal #5 off your tools and fittings?

Certainly are:

@ March 31, 2014 9:52 AM in Circulator pressure differential question

They certainly are. And you are 100% correct.
Those work well on gas. Not on oil if they are ODR and not have any boiler protection. The sections are horizontal and if you can't get the exhaust out of the top, you can't clean them and they will plug up and fail. The seal breaks between the block and the firebox. But that has nothing to do with the need for Primary/Secondary. Which will even work satisfactorily if the crossover bridge loops are reversed.

Bad Hydronic Panel Install Joke:

@ March 31, 2014 9:44 AM in Bad hydronic panel install...

This is really a bad joke.
Manufacturers are selling their complicated products to the lowest common denominator in the quest for sales and leave we professionals to compete for scraps and then be expected to fix these disasters. I put in a few of these advanced, complicated and expensive systems. They never worked to my satisfaction. And although customers never complained to me directly, I never thought they were all that happy with the results. I spent more time looking at systems that couldn't be fixed in expensive houses.
Some hot shot contractor didn't want to pay to have it properly installed by a professional that knew what they were doing, so he buys it on-line and installs it himself. He made a ton of money off his defective install. It doesn't work. Now he doesn't want to spend any money on you to fix it? When the cost of you doing it right in the first place would have been less than if you had done it in the first place.
I came to find that I learned far more from fixing other installers wrongs than I ever did by my own mistakes. The more I had to do to keep it correct and proper, the more expensive it became to do it right the first time.
These contractors all want to drive 5-Series BMW's but pay Ford Focus prices for it. Same philosophy they have about hiring professionals to do their work. Fast, expensive and cheap in price. A late Electrician contractor friend had a big sign on the wall of his shop where people first cam in and for all to see:
"Your poor planning, doesn't constitute an emergency on MY part".
There for "Contractors" who just spent 6 weeks in St. Barts in the Caribbean while nothing was done on their job with a completion date on June 15. And owners moving in for July 4th weekend. They were lucky if they moved in by August 1.
And you wait 60 days or more for your money. After you cut 10% off the bill or they want you to cut them a check for cash.
There's a line in a song by Woody Guthrie about "Some will rob you with a six gun, others do it with a fountain pen."
I had a very long time customers who I did a couple of houses for him. He decided to build another one. He hired this Contractor that I knew as a sleaze. I told the owner that I would be working for him and not the contractor, that any pricing and billing would be going to him the owner, and any arrangements between the builder and the owner were out of my jurisdiction.  And that I was redy to start that day (November) and I had a lot of work to do the plumbing and heating, that it was a complicated install in a custom house. And that I didn't want the contractor calling me up on April 1 and telling me that I had 2 weeks to do the rough because he had sheet rockers scheduled for April 15 and if I couldn't do it, he would get someone else (which he had already. The foundation was done before November, and the lumber was already there. He started framing February 1. The owner called me April 1. I reminded him of what he said. Someone else did the job. I have too much work in the Spring to drop everything on a house like that. The heating was a disaster. A first floor loop was Runtal Panel Radiators, 15 panels piped in series with 1/2" copper, It started in the kitchen (thermostat) and ended up in the Living Room. The kitchen was hot, the living room was cold, with lots of NW facing glass. They used a Taco high head, high volume circulator to try to push the water around faster. Within 6 months I was back trying to salvage what was there. Much of what was there couldn't be salvaged. They learned to live with it.
Just because you're handling a lot of money, doesn't mean you're making any.
Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.
Is it worth it? Sometimes its hard to separate pride from good sense.

More ?

@ March 30, 2014 5:34 PM in Coming From the&quot;High&quot;Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)
Starts with AIR, makes Oxygen, Scrubs Nitrogen. Not what I'm talking about. Compressed AIR.
You know, you're right. It can't be done. Stupid me for even suggesting it. Suggesting that there might possibly be a way to get enough AIR at high high altitude to make something like a sealed combustion gas boiler at 10,000' act like it was at sea level.
And airplanes don't fly at high altitude with kerosene burning engines using compressed air for an oxidizer. Like a SR71 Blackbird at 0ver 100,000' and over 2,000 MPH.  That same aircraft is incapable of flying at 10,000 because of a lack of oxygen.


@ March 30, 2014 5:20 PM in Coming From the&quot;High&quot;Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

A lot of thought went into my comments. Which are you asking about and what's your point?

Wiring & piping:

@ March 30, 2014 11:53 AM in Weil McClain GV-5 Series 1 w DHW wiring

I don't know how much you want to put into this boiler.
By removing the bad thermostat, you lose the cold protection it was supposed to give but lost. And still doesn't have.
If I remember, you wanted to get ODR or something from the heating zones. You can't do that now without serious damage to the boiler from cooler waters condensing inside. It may already be damaged.
However, there is a way if you are interested. I don't know your capabilities and you might need the services of the people that removed the thermostat/valve.
Use a Taco "I" series 4-way mixer and install it in place of all of the zone piping. It becomes a primary loop of a primary/secondary system. One side of the 4-way is the primary and through adjustments of DIP switches, will give you boiler protection and ODR. Both of the heating zones get connected to the other ports of the 4-way valve. You will need a separate circulator for the heating zones that will work in conjunction with the primary circulator when it is calling.
Because the 3/way zone valve is "Either/Or", you might be able to leave it as is. I'm not there and I can't tell if it is. If it is "Either/Or", the zone valves could be connected to a Taco 503 or 504ZC Zone Valve controller. The hot water indirect heater gets connected to the priority zone. When no call for the indirect is present, the valve is closed for the primary water to go to the indirect and the boiler won't run. If you get a call for heat, the zone valve(s) open and water flows through the primary circuit, through the closed 4-way, and back to the boiler. You should add two closely spaced tees and a circulator (007) to the heating secondary. The 3-way to the indirect is closed for water to go through the indirect. The 3-way MUST be closed to the indirect when there is no call and the water is all directed back to the boiler. The zone valve is connected to the Priority zone and the switch is ON. If the Taco 404 ZC closes the heating zone valves on a priority call, the primary circulator must still be able to run unless all valves are closed. If the indirect calls, Priority should take over and close the two heating zones, but open the indirect zone by transferring the primary circuit through the indirect and back to the boiler, It is sort of a take on what Munchkins do with a Vision Controller. Its either through the indirect or through the heat zone.
I'll probably have to add to this. I have to go.


@ March 30, 2014 11:24 AM in Sporadic Vac Readings

Sorry if I didn't understand what you were asking. If it was photos of dirty Garber filters, you can find them here. Just look down the string. Hope this is what you were after or asking.

Flex Lines:

@ March 30, 2014 11:18 AM in Sporadic Vac Readings

I seem to remember that part of the Listing for flexable lines is that they must be replaced regularly. Two years come to mind. There was a huge kerfuffle when they first came out. This was the code requirement as I remember, They had to be replaced on a regular basis. As part of regular service.
How do you hard pipe with Copper, a two pipe or Tigerloop'ed Riello?
Not easily?
Weren't Flex Lines a solution to the introduction to swing out doors on oil burners to take away any excuse for lazy service people who didn't want to be bothered cleaning out the Kibble & Bits from the bottom of the chamber and causing premature failures of boilers?
Why did they develop "Soot Saws"? Because cold start boilers fill up with crud. Where does it go? To the bottom of the boiler. How do up get it out? Remove the burner or open the front. What happens if it only has a copper oil line? Oil all over, stinky house and smelly clothes. "I'll get that next time" or "I'll leave it for the next guy".

COmpressed Oxygen/Compressed AIR:

@ March 30, 2014 10:57 AM in Coming From the&quot;High&quot;Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

Maybe the powers above don't want this string to continue.
I never said a single thing about compressed OXYGEN!!!. I was ONLY talking about compressed Air. LIGHTLY compressed air.
If a pilot flies an aircraft from Topeka Kansas to Denver Colorado, doesn't he set his altimeter to the barometric pressure in Topeka, and when he gets to Denver, he is informed of the barometric pressure, the wind speed and direction and visibility? The barometric pressure so that if the barometric pressure is 30.1" in Kansas and 29.7" in Denver, his altimeter will read properly for his elevation above the ground? Especially in IMC's so he doesn't make a "Jong John down the runway or land in the grass doing a Shorty?
Is there a difference between compressed air and compressed oxygen?
Aren't we using compressed air in a power burner to raise the air pressure above atmospheric pressure to get more available air to burn the fuel?
You ARE aware of the function on Nitrogen in closed combustion like engines and oil and gas burners. To cool the flame and not allowing the Oxygen to go nuts and melt the cylinder or chamber. Oxygen is the oxidizer, Nitrogen is the radiator.
I think that the question has been answered. Increasing the fan/air pressure at higher altitudes on stationary equipment will make the equipment behave like it is at seal level. You just have to know what you are doing to adjust it properly. There are a lot of high altitude places in Europe. Especially in Germany. They don't go to the next size boiler when close because it is installed at 10,000'. No one asked them so no one replied.

Epoxy Repairs:

@ March 30, 2014 10:21 AM in steam section broke at the top.

Epoxy might work for you. Or anyone else for that matter. If the hole is on the bottom, an easy fix. Side/vertical or horizontal/overhead gets to be difficult. A two part epoxy mix might be too runny. If it is, you should be able to add WEST 406 Colloidal Silica to the mix to make it stiffer and easier to work with. Make like something between mayonnaise to peanut butter. The colloidal Silica because it is just very fine sand. Heat shouldn't bother it.
Surface preparation is super critical. Like someone else said, get it down to bare metal. Clean it well. There may be something better but my favorite is cheap PVC cleaner. It cleans almost anything except Rectorseal #5 off of a surface. If the hole is very small, spooge the epoxy through the hole and because you must get it to the right consistency, you want some to squirt out the back but not run down the inside. That will help hold it in the hole. If after you have cleaned out the hole to make it clean, the hole is of a large and proper size, that you can stick something in it, Imagine patching a hole in Sheetrock. You stick something as narrow as the hole but longer than the hole. Putting the narrow end in the hole but spanning the hole with the length. Like a stainless steel washer, held with vice grips and ground flat on two sides. So it will go through the hole but span the hole. Put a small diameter stainless bolt in the washer. Stick it in the hole and when centered, pull back on it. Now you can get creative. You can spooge up the inner washer with epoxy and pull back on it, hold it in place with a nut and washer. Once set, cover the outside. You can take a bigger washer on the outside and with a bigger piece of scrap copper tube, cut a 1/2" piece and cut a slot out of the top, hold it in place and use it for a form so you can fill the mold from the top from the top. Spanning all of the hole and using the bolt sticking out to hold it all in place. You can put the mixture in a medical syringe with the end tip cut off and squirt it in  a hole.
Epoxy is a beautiful thing. The real key is the washer that you can pull against on the inside. If the hole is in a curve, cut the copper to fit the surface curve.
You might think of another way based on the ideas I have suggested. I once fixed a water tank with a temporary patch that held enough to last until a new tank could be procured and installed.
Dremel makes a carbide drill rasp like you would use in a Roto-Zip (they might make one too) that will grind cast iron like 80 grit sandpaper will grind the finish off a floor. Don't use anything that isn't a 2-part Epoxy. If J-B Weld isn't 2 parts and you have a choice of 2 part, use the 2-part.
If someone wants a price to fix this in an hour with 5 minute epoxy, tell them to get someone else. With time and careful preparation and application, it SHOULD work. Until they get a new boiler.
I hope you understand my methodology or that it has given you ideas.

No Brainer:

@ March 29, 2014 6:28 PM in Stem pipe insultation

Its a no brainer. Rip the old stuff and replace it with REAL pipe insulation. As thick as you can afford. Cover the fittings too.
"There's never enough time (or money) to do it right, But always time for someone else to (pay) and do it over.
You're the one. Do it right, now. You won't be sorry.

There you go:

@ March 29, 2014 11:53 AM in Pipe Freezing

There you go. Having to fix some architects bad dream. And some installers mistakes from bad soldering.
The lack of poor planning (on someone else's part) is now an emergency for you.
It probably took someone weeks to make those mistakes and someone wants you to fix it in an hour.
The thought of trying to fix what you have is giving me an anxiety attack and hot flashes.

Altitudes with steamy attitudes:

@ March 29, 2014 11:45 AM in Altitudes with steamy attitudes:

Adding and following another discussion here on the wall, for the sake of a new discussion,
If you have a vapor vacuum steam system, at sea level, steam is generated at 212 degrees F, But with the perfectly working vapor vacuum system, as the vacuum increases, the boiling point drops because of the lesser pressure. If you moved the boiler and system to Denver, CO and ran it there, the water would boil at 194 degrees F. I would think that steam temperature in a steam system on Denver would have cooler steam than in New York city.
If you could install a steam system where the sun and moon aligned perfectly, and you could make and hold much lower vacuum pressures in the system, wouldn't it them be possible to control system tempertures and have them use less fuel by lower steaming temperatures? Much like ODR water systems?
I'm not talking practicality. Just theoretically. And wasn't that the idea behind vapor vacuum systems anyway? More work keeping a tight system but it is the concept.
Just idle wondering.

Who said/Oxygen:

@ March 29, 2014 11:28 AM in Coming From the&quot;High&quot;Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

"" "I guess it would be the same as with inducing Oxygen into the equation when no more Oxygen is available...As in out of space.... " ""
Who said anything about unavailable oxygen? NOT ME!!!
If you are a scuba diver, you compress air into a cylinder to the tune of 2500# PSIG. The oxygen.nitrogen are still there in the same ratios as before it was compressed. If allowed to expand to 0 # PSIG, the same nitrogen to oxygen ratio is still there. It didn't change. Just the occupied space. The clean air that you breath at the beach at Montauk, NY has the same air as at the winter cottage at 10,000 in CO, just less of it because of the expansion of the air from the higher altitude. Take that same cubic foot volume if air in a balloon at Montauk , NY and put it at 100' below the surface and see how big it is. It still has the same expanded or contracted nitrogen (80%)/oxygen (20%) ratio. Just in a smaller space.
High pressure tries to equalize lower pressures. That Rocky Mountain High isn't from communal pot smoking, its from the sun beating down and heating the earth and trees in the mountains (or wherever) and rising up in toward the stratosphere. Line fine dry sand or dry powder snow. Push it into a pile and the sides want to run down. The higher the pile, the harder and faster the snow or sand fall down the sides of the pile. The air in that Rocky Mountain High falls down to the surface because it is warmer and the bottom is cooler, causing wind. The air at a thunderhead at 40,000' still has the same ratio of nitrogen/oxygen. As it falls, making tornados on the plain, blowing up Oklahoma, the ratio is still the same. All gasses have a weight in relation to water. Specific gravity. Measured at sea level. Is it the same at altitude, uncompressed at 35,000'? I'm not sure, but the gasses all have a weighted valve. Like a big blanky covering the earth, allowing us to be warm and live. Like sleeping in a bed, covered up. If you put three blankets on a bed, it feels like 3 blankets on you. Take away one, there are 2. take then all away. There's nothing. A spacecraft whipping around in space where there is no atmosphere whatsoever, because gravity has pulled what is available to earth, has no resistance to the space craft. The resistance comes from the air. In the same ratio of air to nitrogen as at the surface.
Have you given any thought to those oxygen recovery/accumulators that they use for smokers with COPD or lung cancer? They take common air in the room and compress it. Then, scrub the oxygen out and mix it back with the nitrogen to breath at a higher oxygen ratio than the normal air. Same air that you breath when sitting next to a suffer of COPD.

Maybe I am a really dumb cluck and mis-understood the science I learned in public schools. Maybe I came along too late for Charter Schools where you learn complicated stupid things in a complicated way. My 7th grade science teacher DID have a PHD in Biology and applied science. I wasn't the best student, but I learned things. More than my grown children did because after their science teachers got done explaining things to them and they didn't understand it, they asked me and no teacher ever told them I was wrong.


@ March 29, 2014 10:42 AM in Coming From the&quot;High&quot;Country CO...(Altitude not Attitude:-)

I know how it works. It was a Journeymans practical test question when I took my Journeymans license test in 1967.
I figured that YOU would know, but many others wouldn't have a clue what it was or how it worked.
Compressing and decompressing air caused by flowing water, starting and stopping with a syphon.
Wasteful. Noisy too.
I once saw one in an old barn. The owner didn't know what it was or what it might be used for. Might have been used with wooden water pipe. That's old.


@ March 29, 2014 10:26 AM in Gas piping

Does that include approval of and by the board of Plumbers' and Gasfitters' in Massachusetts? Just because it says that is listed by the printed standards, may not mean the that interpretation is OK. There might be a superceeding interpretation by the Board which makes the Gastite "suggestion", moot. I don't remember in my last Massachusetts CE class, anything about sizing gas pipe that small except for LPG. In Massachusetts, inspectors get twice the extra training we do. The Board has pretty much trained that "I like to see it like this, in spite of what the code says" attitude out of inspectors now. Everyone is mostly on the same page. Its usually not worth arguing with inspectors. If you don't agree with one, you can call the board and get an instant ruling. For or against. I've not seen problems with gas flow in oversized gas lines. But I sure have on undersized installations. Why take the chance? So you can sell more undersized jobs and have problems?
Some would pipe a whole job with 3/8" OD ACR tube if someone else told them it was legal. Just to try to get the job cheaper.
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