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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on July 24, 2014

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Check Fix:

@ June 22, 2014 2:18 PM in Hot water first floor, luke warm water second floor

They must have not been IPS checks with unions and the caps removed before installation for easy removal and repair.

Springing The Swing:

@ June 22, 2014 10:49 AM in Hot water first floor, luke warm water second floor

Me personally, I would be taking the cap off that check and looking for some debris inside. And whomever installed it, must be some form of rookie to have used street fittings to solder it together. You have to find a socket to fit the cap head. Whether a 8 Point or a 6 Point socket. You need to seriously back up the valve. You have to crank really hard on the cap. It will move 1 degree and you can get it off with your fingers. If you put it back, use generous amounts of carefully applied Teflon tape and paste. The best part of spring checks is that the spring breaks or debris gets behind the poppit. IPS Checks rule because you can put a union on them and unscrew them for cleaning, repair or replacements. The best part of soldering checks is that you can invertantly solder the check open or closed. And because that cap fits with a ground joint seal, you can easily solder the cap in place, permanently.
If memory serves me right (failing memory), check valves go in the return of circulation lines. Therefore, unless the picture is off by 90 degrees, the flow is down. Which way is the arrow on the valve facing? The direction of the flow or against the flow. If the flow is down and the arrow is up, the valve flapper is closed. If the arrow points down and the flow is down, the flapper is always open.
Best check that out. And put it in a horizontal position so gravity holds the check shut when the pump is off.
Recirculation pumping can be a hair puller to fix. You might need that hat that George Will wears on the Sunday Talk Shows.


@ June 22, 2014 10:30 AM in Can anyone identify this Honeywell Control?

Uhmm, that's usually the sign of a bad control. Be sure to put that silver gooy goop in the well. When you next try to get it out, you will break the tube. Then, you need a new control AND a new well. You get them at the supply house. They always have lots of the ones that don't fit. And never the one you need that fits.
The Honeywell 7000 series microprocessor/electronic is a really good and accurate one to replace with. It fits any application. It just has a serious problem with tankless only applications. Because of the self test diagnosing feature, the water gets cold by the time the burner finally comes on. Much like those On-Demand water heaters.
Why storage tanks are so nice. Instant availability of hot water.
Efficiency? I brought that up with my wife years ago when the shower got cold and she couldn't get the soap out of her hair. In went a storage tank. I've never brought THAT up again. The blowback was INTENSE!! Just not worth whatever savings there might have been.

Sizing DHY loads:

@ June 22, 2014 10:20 AM in sizing indirect for new steam boiler

Kind of an exercise in futility?
Size the DHW load by the way it is supposed to be added to a boiler, then picking boiler for a 30,000 BTU load at design temperature. When the DHW load calculates to over 100,000?
Its a "Phantom Load". Just put in a bigger indirect.

Lesser Agrivation:

@ June 22, 2014 10:08 AM in No end of aggravation

Most all stop made were made by Brasscraft and re-branded to others. If it is the stem assembly that's the issue, and you carry some older ones around, take the stem assembly out and compare stems. If they are the same length and the inside threaded portion of the stem starts the same with both, they are interchangeable. Really handy if you need to change a ballcock on a toilet and it won't stop running, or a sink that you want to change a faucet. A few years back, I replaced some sink supplies from 1960 with 2008 ones. A lot easier than trying to get all the water out of a large t story house with all the floor shut-offs not to be found (NTBF). This applies to ALL the stops. Threaded ones too. Chrome or RB.


@ June 22, 2014 9:59 AM in No end of aggravation

I've been using slip-on stops since I started plumbing in 1963. With a stray one with brass nipples here and there. REALLY stray.  I/we always ran copper run outs. I must say that I have NEVER, ever seen what you describe. Maybe some new MIA (Made In Asia) off brands. But through the casting? Maybe it is a newer "Lead Free" body and because of the lack of lead/zinc, it is failing in some types of water. But older one like Brasscraft? Up until a few years ago, if you had one installed that you needed the stop to work, if the stem leaked, you could just take a new one and rob the insert and stem assembly and replace it. As far as the 1/2" Nominal compression ones, many think that it is a ground joint connection and needs nothing to help it. Since 1963, I have always coated the pipe and compression sleeve with some form of lubricant. I have NEVER had a leak on ANY connection that slight twist didn't stop. Now, with the almost universal use of braided connections, a little synthetic grease goes a long way. And for the cave dwellers that still refuse to use Teflon Tape, that " I need to just get another 1/4 turn, or Geez, it isn't tight, I have to go around another turn, with Teflon tape and paste, you already over tightened it. And you won't have a leak. And on the very remote chance you do, another wrap or two of tape on what is already there, and stopping where it is even still loose, will be fine and no leak. Even 5 years later.
Down here in the Perpendicular universe of Florida, the only run outs you will see are copper with R-14 or R-19 1/2" copper X 3/8? OD compression stops with split spring flanges. They look REALLY quality nice.
If you're using IPS nipples and not using QUALITY pipe tape like Blue Monster, you're still working with early 1960 technology. Things have progressed.


@ June 21, 2014 9:38 AM in Can anyone identify this Honeywell Control?

That's one of the true understatements in the heating trade.
It was right scary seeing the Tridicator pegged at 260+ degrees, the PRV leaking steam and the Pressure showing 30# so you know that the fill valves isn't filling.
I'll turn this bomb off at the remote safety switch, the one in the same room and I'll be back later when things cool down. There was a "Top Of The Line" Repco oil boiler that was just a gas boiler set on top of a box with some refractory in it with a dragon blowing his breath into the box. A 4 section was junk and they put the sensor into the tankless. I think it was on the side, maybe in the front. They overheated to scary levels. But if you got a 5 section or greater, they had such bad circulation in them that the back would be steaming and the system water was flowing through just the front section. No place in the back to get a circulation line. That's when I switched to Weil-McLain #66/68 "A" blocks only because they had a tapping in the back bottom so you could get really good circular flow through the block. They ended that practice with the WGO series unless you got a Steamer and that was counterproductive.
I saw a photo of one here recently and had a panic attack just seeing and thinking about them. New Yorker AP's were just as bad. They all made poor boat mud moorings.

Nasty Water:

@ June 21, 2014 9:19 AM in turn down boiler in summer when I only need hot water?

You must have some kind of nasty water in your boilers. They must be steam boilers where you can't see the water level in the gauge glass. I have never in my life ever seen a coil in even an old and long running boiler that came close to your description. If you're talking tank less only boilers with no storage tanks, maybe you have a control issue. I think this all started with a controller setting. Maybe you just don't understand how the control strategies work. Maybe you have bad mixers or improperly installed ones. Maybe you were trying to save $$$ and set the limits too low. Either way, your experiences don't come close to what I have seen. If I spent the time to take a coil out of an active boiler, it would have only been to replace the coil because of a leaking red rubber gasket leaking and I was trying to save a boiler for someone that didn't have a lot of money to spring for a new boiler. Either way, I could have cleaned the black iron oxide residue off with some TSP and high water pressure from a hose.
As far as cleaning coils, you hire someone else to do it? I don't hire anyone else. If they are lazy and don't know what they are doing, they are dangerous.
I once cleaned a dirty (on the inside) coil that took me over 24 hours to clean. I left the full strength 40% Muriatic acid running overnight. The next morning, it was plugged solid. Nothing would pass. Even trying to run it backwards. So I hooked my air compressor to it and blew it backwards. Great big white chunks of calcium chips came out of the coil. About 2 cups worth. It was fine after that.
One of the things about storage tanks is that as the coil loses performance, it just takes longer to fill the tank with hot water. The efficiency goes down but they sit idle most of a day so who cares. And they don't use anymore fuel running longer.
But I guess you are right. You are far more educated than I am. I went to the University of "How does this work". with a Graduate Degree in "How Do I Fix It". A Post Graduate Degree in payment from satisfied customers who didn't wonder if they were being robbed. Like that late heater guy I used to follow. He wasn't a licensed plumber but he represented himself as one. He never saw a case of a lack of hot water that couldn't be resolved with a new boiler. He often sold the old boiler as a "Reconditioned" boiler. He never installed a 70A properly with a heat trap. "You don't need them".

An "Old Timer" once told me that if they call you on the phone, they want to spend money. I'm going to send them to some fool that cleans coils and the sells them a boiler? Where I worked, I didn't have the luxury of sending them to a coil cleaning expert. Who would sell them a new boiler. I'll do that myself.
I wonder if that's a reason why so many of us are so possessive about our customers. Especially the good ones who pay their bills and don't crab. I always gave them extra special care. Because they were special. Some still call me about problems that they can't seem to get resolved.

Operating set point

@ June 20, 2014 10:04 PM in Can anyone identify this Honeywell Control?

As long as you don't set the operating/low limit to as low as you can go. It will condense with the best of the cold start controls.


@ June 20, 2014 9:58 PM in Can Anyone Identify this Honeywell Control?

You have to think outside the box to figure out the uses for the plastic jigs. Its the spacing's of the electrodes where you don't need to be trying to stick a ruler inside the head to measure the wires. And foolproof. Unlike those other gauges for your favorite burner.
What setting do I use? What head is in this? Is this the one with a F-6 head and they dropped the firing? Did they change the head and the plate? What do I do now in the hour I planned?
Well, like I always said, the solution for a bad running and temperamental *&^%@## is a brand new Carlin. Solved the problem every time. And I can honestly say that I never once changed a "Z" dimension after I checked it as a last resort. Even after the couple I had that the end cone fell off.
I may never see another dragon for the rest of my life.

In the Harbor:

@ June 20, 2014 9:47 PM in Riello 40F15 oil Burner

They made poor boat moorings on muddy bottoms.
The best part of the installation was the burner. IMO.
Some didn't like the small diameter air tube, but they sure passed a lot of air down the tube. With a LOOOOOOONG flame. Burned the back right out of those short boilers. BUT WAIT!! The solution, the "A" Tubes, were far worse than that boiler.
At least that was my experience.  Even Watts'ys universal nozzle didn't fix them. The Hago or Delavan 70 degree SS or H, or 70 Degree "H" or "B".
The one thing I never figured out a cause for was Whiskers. I didn't see them often but now that I think of it, I don't think I ever saw them after I went to dual spin-on's. I'm getting old. I have to stop this on-line reminiscing.

You're kidding?

@ June 20, 2014 9:32 PM in turn down boiler in summer when I only need hot water?

You're kidding?
What do you think that I have been describing? How do you think I connect what I posted two examples?
Did you miss the part about where I and someone said that the only electrical connection to the electric water heater might be a lamp cord to act as a switch leg through the bottom thermostat to the small Taco 006ST pump?
When tank-less coils fail and do not produce hot water, if is ALMOST always from the inside of the coil becoming plaqued up from water hardness coming out of suspension in "hard" or water with high dissolved solids. Many of us who have been faced with this scenario pump a acid solution with a acid resisting pump through the INSIDE of the coil. Some of us even planned when installing a boiler with a tank-less in hard water areas to make provisions to do so for the future need to be de-scaled. Most of us have never taken a coil out of a boiler to clean the inside.
Some of us have only seen a coil that is coated with calcium on the outside is from indirect coils where the coil is immersed in a tank of potable water high in dissolved solids and the hot high limit boiler water circulates INSIDE the coil. The heated water around the coil precipitates the dissolved solids onto the outside of the coil.
The water inside a closed heating system becomes devoid of dissolved solids. Which are supposed to fall out of suspension into the bottom of the boiler where they stay for life.
At least that has been my observation.

Working, then not:

@ June 20, 2014 6:39 PM in Hot water first floor, luke warm water second floor

It worked for a year, now it doesn't. The motor being backward/upside, down shouldn't matter. If the arrow on the casting is going the right direction, shut off the water so there is no pressure on the mu,p. Take a 5/16" nut driver and undo the 4 nuts. flip the motor assembly 180 degrees. While you're at it, check the vanes on the impellor. They are usually a white plastic. They can be worn or broken off. That will keep it from circulating properly and not develop enough head pressure.
If you have a Moen shower valve on the second floor, take the cover off and see if the valve is hot or cold when it isn't running. The check/stops may be bad.

Onions & Rookiedom:

@ June 20, 2014 6:28 PM in CI Rad, intlet & outlet setup - Bushings, nipples, elbows and TRV’s

Let me peel away another layer of your rookiedom.
The reason for doing the heat loss and the radiator output is to see how close you can get the radiation output into balance with the rooms. Which you did. If you picked a magic number and it was 170, and you can get radiators to equal what is needed to heat every room close to a set point with 170 degree water. So, you just learned how a gravity heating system works. If you pump water fast enough to keep every radiator filled with 170 degree water, all the rooms will be the same temperature. Therefore, if you use ODR/Out Door Reset you can lower the system temperature to evenly heat rooms with different temperatures as the OAT goes up and down. .
Use either a ODR control or a 4-way valve that has ODR capabilities. Don't go nuts with circulators and end up over pumping it. Use zone valves. You can do a lot with your system and have a lot of fun learning while you do it.  
If you understand what I'm saying.
And the old dead wrench turners will be so proud of you.
And you get bragging rights to go along with those old radiators that some can't wait to get rid of.

Jiggin' Around with A Carlin:

@ June 20, 2014 6:03 PM in Can Anyone Identify this Honeywell Control?

If you work or worked on 100 CRD's and didn't have a red plastic head jig, you were dancing in the dark with a stranger. Then, they came out with the yellow head jig for the EZ-1's. If you don't have both, you are at the dance the whole evening with the same stranger. You don't know what you've got.
Strangely, I discovered one day that there are really only a few measurements on oil burner electrode locations on every burner I came across that is considered Modern. Both those jigs will cover those measurements. 1/8", 3/16" apart" Covered. Same with ahead of the nozzle. Above the nozzle? Covered.
The only time I ever had problems with 100 CRD's was when the distributor got some nasty oil and I had a load of Hago 60 degree SS nozzles that must have had extra fine strainers. They plugged up quickly. Before Spin-On's. And you'd be surprised about all the other Carlin burners that the red jig works on. Like the higher CRD models like 701's and 801's. They work on Riello's too.
Screw the rulers.

True DHW heaters:

@ June 20, 2014 5:42 PM in turn down boiler in summer when I only need hot water?

Those and all the others I have ever installed have been installed as true DHW heaters. They are piped like a prehistoric Brown Bros. Copper tank with a side arm heater in a gas burner or a Florence kerosene stove. The "tank Less" coil is the side arm heater. The only heaters I ever did were electric heat conversions where the electric water heater was already in place. The tanks are piped full size 3/4" nominal size on the hot and cold. There is full pressure in the hot and cold water supply. There is no potable water restriction through the tank less coil.
I did indirect's. I did anything anyone wanted. I gave everyone lots of choices with prices. I'd have done Indirects if people were willing to pay more. I installed many water heaters like shown for people that didn't have enough hot water with a coil only and a 70A mixer. 40 years ago, they sold 30 gallon indirects (Aqua Boosters) for as much as I could sell the same electric water heater for a nice profit. The Aquabooster was just a standard 30 gallon gas water heater without the burner. The extra hole for the control is where you put the extra line to the coil. The instructions they showed didn't work well. I changed the way to make it a true side arm. It worked far better. With the concept, you can make any water heater a side arm heater for a bigger tank for more storage. Without the increased hourly BTU input. It has never once failed. Not EVER.

Scuzz on heads:

@ June 20, 2014 5:09 PM in Riello 40F15 oil Burner

What do you have for filters on the oil? Two spin-on's?
I used to find that with plugged up nozzle strainers. No matter how much pump pressure you can show on a gauge, it won't be the same at the nozzle orifice.
To me, it seemed to be that the correct amount of fuel isn't mixed with the air and burned in the primary flame, and because the Air/Fuel ratio is wrong, there is unburned fuel in returning retention secondary air. The diffuser plate isn't hot enough and the oil vapor sticks to the plate. There's enough residual heat to boil off the oil and leave the carbon.
When you pulled out the nozzle jet line, did you notice how fast the oil ran back out of the line? Is it better and faster with a new nozzle?
I don't get to play with dragons anymore. But if I was, I'd be trying a wire mesh strainer on low GPH nozzles with dual Spin-On filters. I'll bet that problem would go away.
Some may not agree with me, but it helped a lot for me when I went to exclusively dual spin-on's on everything.

Concentric Vents:

@ June 19, 2014 6:47 PM in concentric termination relative to dryer vent

I personally haven't seen the problems that everyone squawks about. And they can be used in a vertical position through a roof. Where I worked, at some time, the wind would blow from any point of the compass. As long as you don't allow the landscapers to plant trees and bushes in front of them, or the owner designer just hates the sight of them and finds some antique cast iron screen and has it installed 2" in front of the outlet, they work fine.
If the normal highest snow level is 27", and you must keep the termination a minimum of 12" above the snow line (39"), and you want to have the vent termination through the rim joist that is less than 16" off the ground grade, its really hard to use a concentric.

Closer To Thee:

@ June 19, 2014 6:01 PM in CI Rad, intlet & outlet setup - Bushings, nipples, elbows and TRV’s

When you locate a heating or cooling thermostat, do you mount it on the floor where it controls the floor temperature or in the area where you sit like 4 or 5 feet off the floor.
If you're really serious about all this, you might as well do it right. You need to accurately measure the output of the radiators using some equal factor for them ALL. Then, you have to do a really accurate heat loss for the rooms you want to use them in. We need balance in our lives. We need balance in our heating systems. You need to see if you can find a balance using the radiators you have in the rooms you want to use them in. I suggest not getting anal trying to make every room its own zone. It will cost a lot of time and materials. There are so many schemes you can use to do what you want. If you have rooms that are close together with similar needs, make them all one zone. Use the R&L nipples and whatever you need to make it work. If you are trying to connect the radiators with Home Runs with manifolds in a remote location, use zone valves on the manifolds and wireless thermostats located where they need to go.
If you're serious about losing your rookie status, learn how to calculate your own heat loss. Its easy and you will never be sorry. The more you learn, the more you will know. Like Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, you only need to be close. Not exact. If this is for yourself, go for it. If it is for someone that wants it done by you, they need to understand that these things aren't cheap. But putting the thermostatic operators is really kind of tacky and a non starter for me.
Keep us posted.

Straight & Level:

@ June 19, 2014 5:13 PM in CI Rad, intlet & outlet setup - Bushings, nipples, elbows and TRV’s

"" You asked about a straight TRV vs. and angled one? They definitely are available, but how would that help? ""
If it is IPSXIPS and no union, the nipple is the union.


@ June 19, 2014 4:08 PM in CI Rad, intlet & outlet setup - Bushings, nipples, elbows and TRV’s

I sent you a link to a source of nipples. Nothing is cheap. And if you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler.
I also told you that the R&L nipple is the union. Life and piping old things isn't perfect. You have to dance with who you brung.

Relief Valve:

@ June 19, 2014 3:48 PM in Can the boiler be the air scoop?

I think if you look closely below the 3/4" tee to the expansion tank, the relief valve is installed. Improperly. When the expansion tank failed, the added a tee to put the Extrol in and moved the vent up. The air vent on the supply might be where the old compression tank was, Either way, it looks like they did a quickie Extrol install. The price was right .
You never know what you will see on an old boiler replacement.
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