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The Wall


Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 17, 2014

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What kind of valve?

@ March 22, 2014 10:08 AM in Controling hot water

What kind of valve is it?
Can you post a photo of it?

Where's the air?

@ March 22, 2014 8:54 AM in Pump with integral air vent

Again I ask, "Where's the air"? Where's it coming from? There can only be so much air inside a closed hot water heating system. Is it forming on the impellor vanes because the system pressure is too low or there is too much restriction in the badly designed piping array? I would have been getting panic attacks if I was thinking about all the stories I hear here about Power Purges and special schemes for getting air out of systems. What did I do wrong that I didn't get to experience the agony of special power purges. I purged it once, never left the boiler and was done. Not ever to go back.
Sadly, what have I missed? Not running up and down stairs to keep adding more water because of an old (needed to be replaced) fill valve.

Asbestos Smoking:

@ March 22, 2014 8:36 AM in are asbestos risks overblown?

What your lawyer friend says may be true to him. Not to anyone who dies from it.
Where I lived, there was a local plumber and heater that had bought his business from his former boss when he retired. "Bob" had a crew and a lot of customers. He was a smoker. He started to appear ill. Like deathly ill. He was diagnosed with lung cancer. In researching for causes, we all thought smoking. After all, Bob WAS known as a heavy smoker. But they can tell from X-rays and lung biopsy's. He had been suffering from Asbestosis. Seems that "Bob", when he was a sailor in WW 2, he was stationed on a destroyer that was all shot up in battle. He had to work in the shipyard to repair the battle damaged ship, Ripping out and recovering asbestos that covered the steam pipes and boilers. Some of us were skeptical. Later, some came to believe the information about the hazards of asbestos. There was a carpenter who used to cut a lot of asbestos to put around foundations. He died of lung cancer.
I think I'll avoid it. Being a 50+ year pediatric cancer survivor, I'll let the people in the Tyvek suits and the air packs handle it, thank you. I'll watch from a distance. And think about Bob. Trying to breathe.

Cleaver devices:

@ March 22, 2014 8:18 AM in New Flue

I'm sure that you are and I don't doubt your ability.
I'm just thinking about myself. How it will be if, after dropping a chain down the chimney, connected to the flue liner, I can hold it up (while standing on the roof to feed it down, while pulling it through from the bottom. Or, while pulling from the bottom, it gets stuck and needs a push down from the top. While pulling the chain from the bottom. I was only suggesting that for me, it would be a 2 man job. I could scamper up a roof with the best of them. Better than many. I always put vent terminals through roofs by myself, no help and no leaks. But in the back of my mind was always, if I fall and get hurt, and can't work, is this really worth it?
That's not a one man job. Not even for me.

Aching Backs:

@ March 22, 2014 8:05 AM in Superstor sidearm problem?

Vaughan "Top Performers" aren't cement lined. The coil goes in at the top. They usually leak bye at the square cut O-Ring between the coil flange and the top flange. All connections like that, I always pulled it apart at installation and greased the gasket surface with Super Lube synthetic grease. Once the water got under the gasket, it will boil away and leave lime or rust deposits. I hate going back to leaking things that I installed. Its a personal thing. Never seize the bolts too.


@ March 22, 2014 7:53 AM in How should I insulate this tank?

Can it be spray foamed?
When it comes to storage tanks, I prefer to feed the street pressure through the tank with the cold coming in and the hot going out, with no restriction. Then, feeding the tankless's off the colder bottom of the tank, pumping through the tankless's, and returning into the cold water inlet of the tank where it mixes. That's how the old dead guys did it with side arm heaters. You get full pressure through the tank to the fixtures without any restriction through the heaters. That was before Delta T's, PONC's and all that high tech stuff. But it worked for them and always worked for me. The idiots way. I noticed that they were smart idiots.

The Scales of Lime:

@ March 22, 2014 7:32 AM in Superstor sidearm problem?

It scales up on the water side, not the inside of the coil. Do you get a lot of white lime scale on your shower heads? Have you had your water tested for hardness o TDS? If you take a pot of cold water, put it on the stove, and boil the water away, is there a white powdery substance in the bottom of the pot? If so, those are dissolved solids no longer dissolved. They form on the outside of the coil because the coil is hot and the water inside the coil causes water inside the crust to boil away. I don't think the coil is removable. The only way I can think if to clean it is with a massive dose of diluted muriatic acid, CLR or full strength white vinegar.
Where I worked, Vaughan Top Performers were notorious for becoming plaqued up. But they come out easily.

Alone at last:

@ March 21, 2014 9:55 PM in New Flue

You see a lot of plumbers and heaters that work alone. They develop all kinds of schemes to do their job alone. One thing I always remember about moving stuff is to "Keep one end on the ground". A wheeled dolly qualifies as keeping one end on the ground.
You seldom see an electrician that works alone and doesn't have a helper. That's because it is extremely difficult to "fish" wires. You often need someone to push while you pull, pull while you push or feed, or keep the wire from developing a$$hats. What my good electrician friend calls wire twists. That said, I've done a lot of stupid things in my past. Unless you can find someone to help you fish that liner in, and one of you need to be on the roof feeding it down while the other pulls it down with a chain. you might find that it is stupid money to have a professional do the flue. Its something that even I wouldn't do alone. Especially the roof part.


@ March 21, 2014 9:43 PM in Gas piping

Now is the time that Steamhead comes in and says
But if he isn't already in business, he will be shortly. With the belief that "Profit is an obscene concept" and "Overhead is a Ceiling".
Everyone is a crook except him, and he is always the low bidder that drives a beater truck and works for cash only. If he is one of 6 companies price a job, 5 will be $11,500 to $12,500. He will be $5,000. Because he knows how to save money. Met a lot of them. Inspectors love them. If they can ever find them.


@ March 21, 2014 2:59 PM in Diverter Tee ID

As long as the flow is going in the direction of the arrows, and the other tee is connected downstream of the "supply tee, it won't matter if it is on the supply side or the return side. The water should get hot wherever that pipe goes to the radiator.
You say that the system was "Hacked"? Were any radiators disconnected and orphan tees left in place or just capped off? It can slow down the flow. If that is a problem, connect the tees together, giving the restricted flow a path to lowering restriction. Or remove the tees. I'd prefer trying connecting the tees first.

Thrush tees were really "Scoop Tee's" and add a lot of restriction if orphaned. I don't think that B&G Mono flow venturi tees add as much restriction.


@ March 21, 2014 10:24 AM in Weil-McLain & Caleffi Installation

Here's a link to HVAC-Talk to the Wall of Pride.
Scroll down to the very first post and click on each individual JPEG.
Check out the one about "How's My Brazing" for a real Piping Picasso.

400 Amp servvice:

@ March 21, 2014 9:49 AM in Buy used electric boiler

How much did a 400 amp electric service cost? How much would a 225 amp service have cost you? You used to have to use current transformers to measure usage and pay a commercial rate on 400 amp services where I lived.
The Oxymoron was the cheap electric boiler and the expensive cost to run it, and the cost of the service to feed it. If the service is a long distance, that must be some really heavy wire inside that conduit.


@ March 21, 2014 9:37 AM in Gas piping

I don't know any answers.
I went to a 2 day class at Viessmann in RI on Vitodens boilers. The question was asked by someone from New York city that where he worked, there was an area that had low pressure gas in the whole system and they didn't use regulators. That the whole system was (say) .5". What happens to the Viessmann gas valve when it sees gas at lower pressures? The instructor answered that the gas valve/computer adjusted for the lower pressure but because of the lesser pressure, the computer couldn't correct for gas pressures under .4". The burner would stay running, the output would drop. If what I understood, isn't that the same idea of the Navien valve? That it adjusts to keep the burner running, even at lower than standard pressures, just the output drops.
Forgive me if my decimals are off. The concepts are there.

Stupid Questions:

@ March 21, 2014 9:13 AM in Freon leak vs. moisture

The only stupid question is the one not asked.
If you were wondering, but afraid to ask, someone else was there with the same question but were too afraid to ask. Some others thought they knew the answer but would be wrong.
I'd like to think I know the answer but I'd like to have someone ask the question so I could find out if I was correct. Or if I wasn't, then I'd know the answer.
Never hesitate to ask a question, no matter how stupid you think it is. You have no idea how many people will be helped by the answer to the question you asked. You also have no idea how many people appreciate you asking and someone else giving the correct answer
Pick any topic on Look at the replies. But look at how many people looked at the string.
Ask the question. Don't be bashful.

Fix It:

@ March 20, 2014 7:21 PM in What is the safety zone in PSI for boiler pressure (and temp if important) for hot water Boiler heating system?

There is almost nothing that I will not try to fix. I've tried to fix boiler fill valves. I've never been successful. Watts 1156F pressure reducing valves are cheap dates. If you're going to replace any gauges, start with the Tridicator gauge on the boiler. Or buy a pressure gauge and adapt it to a hose fitting and put it on the boiler somewhere. If you let water out of the boiler and it registers 8#, the fill valve should automatically fill it to 12# to 15# without any help from you. It is automatic. If it is a cast iron valve, replace it with a brass one. If you get scuzz between the seat and the washer, it will leak bye. There are some who say to never leave them on.

The Word.

@ March 20, 2014 4:25 PM in Gas piping

Tim will have The Word.
I have a question. Who resolves the dispute between you and the inspector when he objects to piping the boiler with 24' of developed length of 1/2" black pipe for that particular boiler? Most inspectors said NO and they didn't care what it said in the manual or sales brochure. At least that's what AHJ's I've dealt with said. "What does the appropriate table in the code book say? Does it say that you can pipe 24' developed with that BTU inlet with that system pressure? If it isn't in the tables, make it in the tables or "I ain't gonna sign it off unless I get a letter from The Board saying it is OK." In my old world.


@ March 20, 2014 2:44 PM in Buy used electric boiler

Limited budget?
Electric boiler?
Sounds like an Oxymoron.
How big is the electric service in your house? Big enough to handle the load of the electric boiler?

Swing Joints:

@ March 20, 2014 11:29 AM in Piping correction 1 inch copper sweat

That's not a swing joint. Its an expensive off-set.
Any well stocked supply house (Home Depot and Lowes are not well stocked supply houses although some think that they are) will have the proper adapter fittings. I can hear my late, old dead former boss to this day. His rant about excessive fittings costing him money. You never, ever used a Street fitting unless you had a really good reason to use it. And there weren't a lot of good reasons.
The way you find the length with 45's is (the complicated method), the Square Root of 2. or 1.414. 1X1=1, 1x1=1, 1+1=2, the Square Root (a number, multiplied by itself will equal the first number), 1.414. X 1.414= 1.999396 or 2.
OR,, take the distance you want to offset and multiply it by 1.414. It will give you the centerline measurement of the 45* offset. It doesn't matter what plane you are measuring.
Say that you are running a pipe parallel to a wall on a floor or ceiling and you want to offset to connect another pipe coming from above. measure to the wall on both pipes. After subtracting the distance from the wall, and you have measured through the centerline of both pipes, multiply that number by 1.414. Say that the measurement is 10' or 120" (inches). Multiply 120" X 1.414 + 169.68 or 169 5/8 inches. That's through the centerline of the fitting. Subtract the distance of the centerline of the "make-in" for the pipe (say with 1" copper tube, it is 5/8" for each fitting. That's 1 1/4". Subtract 1 1/4" from the 169 5/8", and cut the pipe 168 1/8" or 168", close enough. With copper, there is swing. With screw pipe, there isn't.
In closing, don't ever forget that number 1.414 or shortened to 1.41, Put it in your wallet. Your cell phone has a calculator. Use it. Store the number as a "contact" in your phone. It is the best friend you will ever have. You can "square" anything by taking the short side of something, X 1.414 and measuring out the longer side. Where the answer falls, will be square. A 45* is half a 90*. 1,414 is the long side of a Right (90*) triangle, 1 X 1. One of anything. Using a Inch/Metric rule is easier because it then is like counting money. Ten finger, ten toes, there's 100 pennies in a dollar, 100 dollar bills in a hundred dollars. Ten millimeters (little bitty marks) in a Centimeter. :Cent" for a penny, and ten centimeters in a meter. Who cares how long it is, its on the rule. You don't have to cloud your brain with all those fractions, 13/16, 3/8, 5/16. All those little bitty marks. There's only 5 little bitty marls between the two numbers and the bigger little bitty nark between the number. As long as I have my glasses on, I can tell about how many little bitty marks there are between the big one in the middle. I only have five fingers on one hand. Its just like counting money.
My math may be off. It isn't my strong suit. The theory is when I can remember it.
I got to go do something constructive. Like grout the brick tile I made for my patio out of 12" X 12" slate tile. I squared up the old concrete patio by using 1.414 to lay it out so that everything fits. I tiled 1100 Sq Ft of porcelain tile, 12" X 12" in our Condo with no joints of cut tiles through doorways into rooms without cut joints. The full tile I started with in one corner, followed throughout the floor. With 1.414. The most important number anyone that uses a rule to measure can know.

Water Stains:

@ March 20, 2014 10:38 AM in Has a sink hole ever tried to swallow up a boiler you service?

That photo with your arm in it?
See the water stains on the wall? There's another one with water stains that come down from the ceiling. It looks like an overlapping line along the floor.
That grey stuff painted on the wall looks like Stay-Dri waterproofing cement paint.
It looks like the walls are concrete blocks that water is running right through. It may be old formed concrete walls, formed with 1 X 8 matched T&G spruce judging by the lines. It is probably an old poor Concrete mix. Heavy on the sand, light on the gravel and Portland Cement. Maybe with a lot of big rocks and chunks of old bricks thrown in as a filler.

Reviewing past pposts:

@ March 20, 2014 10:27 AM in Has a sink hole ever tried to swallow up a boiler you service?

I just went over these past posts.
This job and customer is an energy sucker and your uncompensated time will never cover your experience and cost. They are willing to spend a lot of money on a temporary fix, but not solve the problem. Don't sell yourself short.
From the appearance of the boiler that you installed, you are one qualified mechanic and do work to be proud of. It isn't appreciated and you were probably the low bidder, against slugs who would do an install worthy of the "Wall of Shame" on Go somewhere where your skills are appreciated. Working there is like living in an abusive relationship. You don't realize how bad it was until you leave.
Because of pride, it took me a very long time to learn that with some jobs and people, I needed to wish them health, happiness and long distance. And get on with my life.

Where's the dirt?

@ March 20, 2014 10:11 AM in Has a sink hole ever tried to swallow up a boiler you service?

I keep asking, :Where's the dirt gone"? and what is making it leave. If there's a water leak, the water is going somewhere. And it has to take the dirt somewhere. There aren't little munchkins under the floor eating it. And they have to poop it out somewhere.
Some building, somewhere near by is pumping water. Is there a sewer or water project somewhere nearby where they have to lower the groundwater locally to do the job? The water has to be going somewhere. Someone has done something, somewhere to cause this. Jacking up the boiler with foam is only a Band-Aid on the infection. Unless you have experienced it, and have worked extensively in low lying areas with ground water issues, you may not understand.
Tell me where the building is. I (or you) can look on Google Earth and maybe figure out where a problem can come from. Judging from that old riveted tank in the photo, that was an old boiler that was replaced. Why did this just come up? And not years ago? There's a "High Tide" mark on that support column. Look around carefully and see if there are any other columns or parts of the foundations that have tide marks on them. Look at the bottoms of the steel columns and if the very bottoms are rust flaking, there's water under the floor.
The company that wants to inject the foam, will only resolve that problem. There's another problem that needs to be addressed.
Believe me. I've experienced it.
You can just give me/us the Latitude. Longitude position.  

If you have had a lot of rain, it could be rainfall from broken downspouts or broken storm sewers. If it is a clay area (and the gray stuff in the floors and walls looks like it) and they dug out the foundation in the clay and backfilled it with clean sand, the building is sitting in an impervious clay bowl and if the water isn't lead away from the building, it gets washed under the foundation.
Remember this. When water appears, the first person they call is The Plumber. When water comes through a ceiling, the first person they call is the plumber. They don't call the tile person because it was a bad tile job. It only leaks when you take use the shower. 99.9999% of all water leaking intermittingly through a ceiling is from a shower and not a broken water pipe.
I'd say that the same holds true for water appearing seasonably like your problem. You can raise the boiler but what does someone say when it doesn't stop the washing away of the soil?

Offset Swing joints:

@ March 20, 2014 9:40 AM in is this considered a proper swing joint

Can you post some pictures of what you are talking about?
Its my experience that you can do what you describe with copper fittings. But with screw fittings, two 45's used to offset are really just a 90 and can only be used if one connection is perfectly offset from the other, and still falling into the plane of the 2-45's. Otherwise, you have to "spring" it into place and then, you run the risk of cracking a fitting. Unless of course, you use malleable fittings that stretch. There is one plane that will always be under stress and the purpose of a swing joint is lost.
Like someone playing "Fun With Nipples" because they didn't have a power drive or had no way to cut pipe and thread it.
All that will (of course) change when they come up with a PEX that you can use on hot water and steam boilers. I'll be up with the old dead  wet heads in the sky before that happens.
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