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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on August 29, 2014

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Trap Size:

@ July 26, 2014 4:04 PM in Cleaning 1-1/2" tub drain line

That was because of some old hateful dead engineer that didn't want people running snakes through their traps. And back then, all they usually used were flat tape snakes. Try getting one of those through a trap.

Air testing:

@ July 26, 2014 3:46 PM in How Long

FWIW, is why I suggested trying to test it with air before you did any long term planning. I've never played with HDPE before but that orange stuff was used by fiber optic users for underground. conduit. You could fish/pull fiber optic cable in it by sucking a proper sized ball of cotton with a piece of poly string tied on and suck it through. It was stupid cheap and there were a lot of 5 finger discounts given. If you have access to a supplier that deals in supplying water service fittings to municipal water companies. take a piece the orange pipe and see if they have a line of fittings that fit the OUTSIDE diameter of the pipe. You just need a compression sleeve for the inside. If you can find a mechanical fitting to fit it, it will be far more convenient than trying to line up someone to come and do a fusion weld.
That's just my opinion on the subject.

Thinking alike:

@ July 26, 2014 3:28 PM in HVAC options for 400 square foot addition

Snowmelt said it first. If you're pondering cost, you'll be going with HW baseboard and using a Mini-Split for cooling in the summer.
I personally would never install an insect door into the side of my house. Especially if there is a light in the room and you have a window AC. You get Black Flies where you are? They might get in. The "Noseeums " will really be in.

Kinda, sorta covered:

@ July 26, 2014 10:42 AM in Cut oil tank in half, now what?

According to this, its kinda, sort a covered. But the rules change.
If I was an AHJ, I would interpret it that a transfer facility (dump) isn't supposed to take cut up tanks unless they have a number and are whistle clean. Because of the date (2014) of the reg's, I'd be calling up NH DES and finding out their latest rules. If you have removed the tank and cut it in half, it might cost you more in materials to get it squeaky clean than to call some environmental tank disposal company and find out how much it would be to come take your dirty tank away. I mean, unless they are seriously trying to bend you over, they just have to come and throw it in a truck and take responsibility. When I sold my house in Brewster, MA, the town had instituted a knee jerk regulation proposed by some earthy crunchy person that all single wall tanks had to replaced when they were over 10 years old. With a double wall the tank. I've seen 50 YO inside tanks that weren't leaking and mine was an inside tank in a heated cellar on a concrete floor. They don't let go like the splats. No matter, it had to come out. It was out a 8' double door at grade. It was cheaper to have someone come and get it. It had to be tracked. My time has a value. I could do two service calls and pay to remove the tank and have it gone. An empty tank with some minor sludge in the bottom.
Its almost like stepping over ten dollar bills to pick up dimes.
But you know what your time is worth. Did you factor that tank removal cost into your gas conversion? Fear not. Because once the Wall Street Crime Syndicate gets the crude oil export law changed (from 1973) as much as possible, crude oil (and the LPG that goes with it) will be sent offshore so they can hook into the European demand for Russian gas and petroleum products. They'll be compressing to liquid all the new found Natural Gas to be sent to Europe to get the gas prices up where the stockholders think it belongs.

They'll be eliminating all the export fees so they can stick us for the cost and passing it off to the Banksters. Its the American way. American Exceptionalism.

Line Composition:

@ July 26, 2014 10:06 AM in Cleaning 1-1/2" tub drain line

If the drain line is old and made out of galvanized steel, it needs to be replaced because even if you get a "snake" through the trap, it is probably reduced in size by more than just soap scum. If it is copper or PVC, you can clean out the soap scum with high powered drain cleaner (Drain-O isn't high powered). If the drain isn't one with a lever piece in the Tub Shoe that operated the pop-up, and can be completely removed, you can use a 1 1/2"/1 1/4" blow up test plug in one side of the shoe and use a drain king type water expansion plug  in the other end. Adapted and connected to a portable air compressor. The swirling air will loosen it up. Once loosened up, you can switch to water.
I've used a pot of almost boiling water with dishwasher detergent (Cascade) mixed with the water. It sometimes helps. SOME wholesalers sell dangerous drain cleaners that can be a real problem if they don't work. They can quickly destroy the finish of a porcelain tub. Not all wholesalers want to carry and sell serious drain cleaners because of liability. Some "safe" drain cleaners are no more exciting than kissing your mother in law or grandmother. Drain cleaning is sort of an acquired skill from trial and error and experience. Like priming shallow well water pumps. No one way works best. Other than adding water as needed. If the drain pipe is galvanized steel pipe and is accessible, cut it off two inches before it goes into the stack (or wherever) and connect it with No-Hub Couplings and PVC. You can use Fernco Couplings if you aren't in it for the long haul. They rot out in time. No Hub type couplings have the stainless steel shell around the gasket and don't rot out.
Not for the faint of heart.

Under Pressure:

@ July 25, 2014 10:41 PM in New Boiler Install

If the fill valve is working and maintaining 10# to 12#, it will always show 10/12# on the gauge. If the pressure drops below 10#, the fill valve adds water.  Bad Extrols can kill a boiler. If the PRV blew and stayed open, the system pressure hit 30# Sometimes, they don't blow until over 40#.
Take the cap off the Schrader valve and push it down with a nail or screw driver. If yiu have air, it might be OK. If you get water, its shot. Drop the pressure in the system by draining some water out of the boiler. If the pressure goes to zero almost right away, the tank is shot. When it gets to zero, if you still gat air. Measure the pressure with a tire gauge If it isn't 12#, you might be able to add air to get it up. If it doesn't have any air at all, the tank is shot. If it is a #30 Extrol or equal, with all the additional water in the system with the wood heater or whatever you have, a #30 or equal is too small. You need at least  #60. It makes a difference.
If it is the original tank from the original install, it surely worn out.

A trip:

@ July 25, 2014 8:19 PM in New Boiler Install

It sounds to me like you have had a failed Bladder tank for some time. That the internal pressures have been going wild. If the relief valve was popping open, the system was over pressurizing. Above 30#. As a rule, in hydraulics, the difference in water under pressure due to temperature rise, it is in-compressable and the difference between 1# and 1,000# is a drop. When you shut off the boiler for the vacation, the water is displaced by its thermal properties. When it cools, it constricts. It will go negative and atmospheric pressure will push in through the weakest link, the gaskets. If the room temperature rises any amount, or the radiation or piping. It will cause water expansion. The relief valve will pop because of the expanding pressure.
I've not seen the issues that you describe with *68 series boilers. If you weren't careful cleaning them, you could knock the sealant between the sections. The biggest source of leaks was at the tank-less coil gasket The red rubber gets as hard as a tar road and leaks.
Failed Extrol type bladder tanks kill a lot of heating boilers.


@ July 25, 2014 7:42 PM in Time for a new oil boiler?

If the boiler is physically connected in a way that gravity flow won't occur to or from the boiler and the system, if you can install a "Makes on rise" aguastat directly in to the boiler, you can connect it LOW VOLTAGE to the TT terminals on the burner control and it will maintain a warm setting in the boiler and stop the condensation.
I don't understand why they keep telling you that you need to change the boiler. What is supposed to be wrong with it? You didn't answer that question.
A 10 year old boiler needs to be replaced? I'm 70 years old. My wife of 51 years hasn't suggesting that I be replaced by a newer model, yet.

Hydro Vs. Bladder tanks:

@ July 25, 2014 7:25 PM in handling power outages on a well

Before the development of "Bladder Tanks" on water well systems, they were rated on the amount of water that was removed from the tank, with the air pre-charge that occurred from the first filling of the drained tank. If you had a "Airy" well, the pump outlet was always above the drain by a few inches. The air went to the top. If there was too much air, you needed some type of air elimination device. If the tank would get water logged because it lost all its air, you needed a device to add air. Usually something that added air from when the pump started and picked up air between the nozzle and venturi as pump started. There are calculatable amounts of water that will leave the tank depending on that range of pressure switch you used. If you used a 20#/40# pressure switch, and it was a 40 gallon well tank, there was a listed amount of water that would come out of the tank after the pump shut off at 40# and came back on at 20#. If you went to a 80 gallon tank, more water came out during the range because of the bigger tank. The cut in-cut out pressures are part of the equation too. But water would still continue to leave the tank until the air pressure in the tank  went to zero, or a level that wasn't high enough to push it up and out of a faucet.
So when you try to rate a Hydro-pneumatic tank with a "bladder" tank, it is the amount of water that will leave the tank under pressure until it hits the pre-charge point when the water stops flowing out of the bladder tank. Ceiling mounted old style steel expansion tanks on heating systems are rated the same way. Its how much water can flow in and out of the tank during the expansion range of the tank . The bladder tank has NO reserve once the pre-charge setting is reached.
If you understand what I have tried to explain, I would add a large (80 gallon) hydro-pneumatic tank into the loop and leave the bladder type tank as the main source of expansion device.
You sound like a gnarly dude, able to change your oil in the driveway, change a tire, and maybe do many of those homeowner tasks that hiring someone else may be unsatisfactory. And you might even have a portable air compressor around with a air nail gun or two around the shop. If so, put a fitting inline to the hydro-pneumatic tank so that you always have a good "Squish" of air in the hydro tank. If you get clever, you can pre-charge the pressure air in the hydro tank. When the power goes out, if you have 20 gallons of available water in the bladder tank, and the pressure goes to the pre-charge, the water stops. But it will continue to flow out of the Hydro tank until the water/air pressure in the tank is too low to support the column of water.
Hydro tanks aren't cheap. Now, the bladder tanks might be cheaper. But when you get into the larger sizes, the value starts to flip.
I wasn't trying to be  WA with my first response. I don't always see solutions like some others. They might not understand my solutions. Your solution to your problem will work OK. Did you come up with it or did someone else come up with that. I'm not wanting to second guess someone else. Maybe they know something I don't know. And maybe they don't know how Hydro-Pneumatic tanks work in relation to bladder tanks. What you asked about would work fine. There is a way that might be cheaper and gives you better results.
There are other positive and negative issues if you are interested. I don't want to get windier than I usually am. Unfortunately, I tend to not be brief.

Tank Removal:

@ July 25, 2014 6:17 PM in Cut oil tank in half, now what?

I guess you are from New Hampshire. I don't know what the regs are in NH. I was from Massachusetts. The tank is supposed to be removed with a permit and disposed of at a licensed tank disposal facility. There's supposed to be a permit # painted on the tank. There are EPA rules that are supposed to be followed. If you cut up the tank with a sawzall, and there was oil sludge still in the tank, you were fortunate that there wasn't an unintended energy release.
There are tank removal and disposal companies that do that removal. They have the proper insurance to do it. I could cut up and dispose of a tank. The time it took me to do it, it was cheaper to hire the disposal companies. You need a few bags of Speedy Dri and a bale of oil diapers to clean it. They aren't supposed to tale it in a transfer facility unless it is squeaky clean.  
You really need Tyvek suits, cloves and breathing apparatus. Old and used oil has a lot of nasty chemicals that can really mess up your day or life.


@ July 25, 2014 6:05 PM in New Boiler Install

I'm the heretic here.
P568's have an indefinite life. Especially if they don't have a tank less and they are run as "cold Starts". I define "indefinite" as failing the day after the install under warranty, to outliving the homeowner. It can fail at any time.
It ran for 18 years with minor repairs. 
Get prices with a basic boiler replacement and additional alternates with additional pricing so YOU can decide what you want to pay for. It might be nice to put in new circulators but if your exposed heating pipes are un-insulated, you will get far more money for your dollar than just replacing the circulators.

The more options people are given, the happier they are. They feel that they have some control in their big expenditure. I always gave multiple prices and options. People never chose the cheapest, basic, and not the most expensive. But somewhere in the middle.  

Your ideas:

@ July 25, 2014 1:22 PM in handling power outages on a well

If this is YOUR idea and not someone else's, I'll point out a thing or two from my experience. If someone else came up with that idea, they might be right and I'm not.
Regardless of they type and size of your well bladder tank, whatever the pre-charge setting is inside the tank, when the house/pump pressure reaches that, the water stops. You said that it runs at 50/70#. It shouldn't. It should run no higher than 40#/60#. If you want to run 50# cut in, the pre-charge on the bladder tank should be over 50# (55#). Or, the pre-charge tank should be less than 50#. Depending on who you ask. The water in the system will "Pause" while the pump turns on. Because there is no more spring for the tank to push against.
When I/we did off grid houses with gasoline powered well pumps, you used standard hydro-pneumatic storage tanks. NOT bladder tanks. The compressed air at the top of the tank will give up pressure all the way to below 5# pressure. The bladder tank will completely stop when the system pressure and the tank pre-charge are equal.
IMO, if you need to run a generator for your water pump, just add the old standard Hydro-pneumatic tank in series with the bladder tank.
If you have a generator that rums just the well pump, you can 1/2 automate it. Get a pressure switch that "makes on rise" or, when the pressure is as high as you want it, the pressure makes the pressure switch close. Run a wire from the line and load side and connected to some grounded common ground t\and the other end to the spark plug on the generator. When the system comes up to pressure, the switch will close and ground out the plug stopping the engine. If the tank is on the same plane as the first floor, you'll still have adequate pressure at 15 or 20#. But the water will run slower and slower until it reaches zerk.  

Fusion Welds:

@ July 25, 2014 10:38 AM in How Long

It doesn't look like any fusion weld I've ever seen. But I haven't seen everything.

Take some PVC CLEAR cleaner and see if it softens the pipe. See if it softens the Ell that looks like a Sch. 40 PVC ell. Is there any of the orange pipe inside? Try the PVC Cleaner inside on that.
The Phone Company uses some orange conduit to run their fiber-optic cable. But I always thought it was Polyethylene (PE) pipe. Try taking a really sharp edge knife and scraping it on the pipe and the fitting. PE pipe usually scrapes off in sheets. PVC doesn't. Its possible that the OD of the orange pipe fit tightly inside the ell socket and someone glued it in. If it is Poly pipe, and the fitting is glued, tug and twist the ell and see if it comes loose. As far as I know, there are no socket welded PE pipe and fitting assemblies.
Are there no marks on anything?

It's also possible that the orange tube is "CTS" (Copper Tube Size) so the piece or orange pipe, see if it fits a standard CTS fitting. Like a 1" copper fitting. If that is the case, you can use standard CTS compression fittings on the Plly Pipe.

That way?

@ July 25, 2014 10:24 AM in handling power outages on a well

Did someone tell you to do it the way you describe? Or, is that your own idea?


@ July 24, 2014 1:42 PM in Time for a new oil boiler?

Is there water running out of the boiler or is it just the mucky black stuff that got you and the soot sucker into a dither?
Unless there is water pooling in the boiler and running out the front, or you can float toy boats in the chamber, that black mucky stuff is from normal condensation in the fire side of the boiler and the cold boiler and the warmer warm, moist air hitting the dew point and condensing inside. The carbon soot is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture) and is sucking the moisture out of the air because of the draft through the chimney. 100% normal for cold start boilers. Most veteran soot suckers know that if you fire off the boiler and get it warm/hot, all the soot stuck to the sides and passage falls loose and you brush and suck it out. Maybe they never figured that out and only have experience cleaning cold start boilers. Or maybe they did both and never wondered why it was always so much easier to clean a warm start boiler that hadn't been cleaned in 5 years as opposed to a cold start boiler, cleaned every year.
How do I know it is a cold start? I am assuming that the other photo's with a burner firing on to something is the burner, Those black clinker things are Kibble & Bits, formed from wet soot that gets dried out from hot exhaust. They plug up passageways in cold start boilers.
If you aren't going to run the boiler for the summer, at least figure out a way to keep the boiler only above the dew point temperature. There are easy ways to do it.
If you want to change what appears to be a perfectly good back-up oil boiler, knock thyne  self out. My Northern England DNA says to leave well enough alone and save the money. You (and I) won't live long enough to re-coup the cost of changing it.
My neck and ears are hot thinking about how I will pipe a new boiler into the nice job you did without it looking like someone replaced a boiler.
If I understand the question. 


@ July 24, 2014 12:23 AM in thread sealant

My preference for any threaded connection is quality Teflon pipe tape and a quality pipe joint compound like Rectorseal #100, Rectorseal #5 or MegLock.. But quality tale like Blue Monster first, always.

Location, Location, Location:

@ July 23, 2014 11:01 AM in What's your favorite jacketed electric water for use as a storage tank?

Don't install the tank in a location (like behind a boiler) where it becomes a PITA to remove the tank.

Diagonal Measurements.

@ July 23, 2014 10:58 AM in Just wondering about oil tanks

You always have to take the diagonal measurement into consideration.

Found in a bucket:

@ July 23, 2014 10:52 AM in this tool, why didn't I

There isn't a one in that photo that would have made it into my bucket. Mine is an extension of a 50' quality rubber air hose or a direct connect to the compressor. A 6' or a 9' washing machine hose connects to most anything I ran into. If longer, the 50' hose.
Ever been by yourself looking for a water leak and have to use a Schrader valve to add the air while looking for the air hiss?
You'd be loving my type. I had a shelf full of similar ones in the picture. They had their "seldom used" moments.
Ever dragged a handy pump into a cellar to pump out a boiler or water heater? Once you blow the water out with air through a hose on the low point, you will NEVER cart a electric water pump into a cellar again in your life. Unless you are a sucker for punishment. Why I might even (sometimes) leave the air compressor plugged in on the first floor and throw the hoses (air and water) hoses down the stairs so I didn't have to cart the compressor down the stairs. Especially in those cribs with no electrical outlets in the cellar. Or they had a receptacle on the side of the boiler that had the power killed when you turned off the boiler.
Sparky, Why would you?

Mass Save Oiled-Up:

@ July 23, 2014 8:55 AM in warm air 86% and ECM

You might be looking long and hard.
Mass/Save is really a consortium between the Gas Utility's and the Commonwealth to help drive out oil as a home heating fuel. They have driven out most of the small oil distributors so they don't have the clout of the Wall Street Crime Syndicate.
If you are in the sticks with no Nat Gas available, go LPG. You get the rebates.

Tools to have:

@ July 23, 2014 8:47 AM in this tool, why didn't I

If you want a really cool tool, and don't have one of these, you will wonder how you went to so long without one.
When you run across a severely eroded piece of copper tubing that sand cloth can't get down to the pits, the female side of this will shine it to like new condition. A lot of supply houses carry them. More useful that the store bought test rig.

third world (cheap) universal test rig:

@ July 23, 2014 8:37 AM in this tool, why didn't I

I can't show you the ones I used for many years, and I made many a variation on the theme.
A few 1/2" X 2"+ nipples, a I/2" BL Coupling, 1/2" X 1/4" BM Coupling, 1/2" X 14" BM tee, a 1/2" Boiler drain, and the proper air fitting that matches the air hose that connects to your portable air compressor. A 6' washing machine hose and whatever gauge you need (0-5# for gas, 0-100 for anything else). A 1/2" IPS ball valve gas cock finishes it up.  Fits in a 5 gallon bucket like it grew there, and there isn't anything that you can't test of connect to blow out. If you can't figure out a way to connect to anything in the way you want, you're not really trying.
I had to buy one of those things because I forgot to bring one down. I bought one of those things displayed. I still had to adapt it for ease. I could have built one from scratch with nipples and fittings. In Florida, they don't carry Black malleable fittings and Nipples. If they don't carry it at Lowes or Home Depot, you don't need it.
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