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Joined on September 15, 2010

Last Post on September 16, 2014

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clock the meter

@ September 16, 2014 8:22 PM in Unbalanced heat

To see if the boiler is burning the right amount of gas you should clock the gas meter while the boiler (and nothing else) is running. Turn off the water heater and make sure no one is using the stove while you do this. This link will give you an idea about how to do it -

by the way this site is being reconfigured overnight so I'd advise you print anything out you think you might need till the transition is complete.


You need to use some of that pickup factor

@ September 16, 2014 5:49 PM in Unbalanced heat

The 392 sq ft of steam is the amount of steam available to feed the radiators (EDR). There is an additional amount of steam produced to handle the pickup of the steam pipes. You have to insulate the steam piping on the boiler and as much of the other piping in the basement so you can use that pickup factor for the radiators upstairs. Don't forget to make sure the slope on the piping is correct. make sure the main vents are all working and have someone check the firing rate on that boiler.

Make a list of the radiators you have, the EDR of each one, and the type of air vent on each one. I've used Maid O Mist vents for a few years and never had a problem with them, they sell one model that comes with 5 different orifices so you can adjust the speed of the venting. I would start by venting the radiators that get hot very slowly and tr slightly faster vents on ones that only get warm, and a faster vent on any that don't seem to heat.


Single pipe?

@ September 16, 2014 12:11 PM in Unbalanced heat

Make sure the mains and radiator runouts all have adequate slope and make sure there aren't any dips that might allow water to pool in the pipes.If the boiler is piped so it produces nice dry steam and the piping in the basement is all insulated you should be able to make this work. The rating on the boiler assumes a 33% pickup factor, you have to reduce the pickup factor on the system so the steam will be available for the radiators.

Is this single pipe steam, if so what radiator vents are being used? Post pics of the boiler, it's piping, the mains in any area you think there might be an issue and a couple of representative radiators showing both ends. Also where are you located?


Enough of this!

@ September 16, 2014 7:24 AM in What can prolong the service life of oil fired boiler

This poster should be marked as spam and deleted.

His posts have anything to do with home heating, left unchecked his volume of spam will just increase until the board is swamped.


Live and learn

@ September 13, 2014 5:58 PM in PLEASE READ: New site going up this week.

I'm seven years younger and had to retire 5 years ago because of physical limitations that made it hard to do the job I was doing. I learned a long time ago:  you are always learning because somebody always knows something you don't or they see it in a different light.

I have worked places where people told me that I would have to learn the same way they did. I've never held with that, I was always willing to teach anyone what I knew and most times I learned something from them along the way.

Nothing keeps the mind working like learning something new, and nothing keeps you young better than teaching somebody something you know.


Will work if done right

@ September 13, 2014 10:48 AM in sizing new boiler

The 629 sq ft of steam should be fine but proper installation is a must. All the steam piping has to be done in threaded steel pipe. Both tappings on the boiler should be used and the header should be at least one size bigger than the pipes feeding the header. I would pay a little extra and have a drop header installed so I would get nice dry steam. All the steam piping in the cellar should be insulated with 1" fiberglass pipe insulation so the het you pay for ends up in the living space.

Make sure the slope on all the piping is adequate so water can find it's way back to the boiler. The main vents should be large enough so all the air can be expelled from the main in a minute or two, the radiators should be vented slowly with large remote units needing a bit faster venting. Ventrite makes great vents, none better.

The 1.65 gph rating is for the full 629 sq ft of steam, if you downfire it to a lower firing rate it won't heat all the radiators because it won't make enough steam. Make sure that new liner will work with the 1.65 firing rate, the Burnham manual says it needs 7".

Anything you can do to insulate and stop any drafts will help.


Partially Blocked ports

@ September 12, 2014 1:51 PM in Constantly filling steam furnace

If the water level looks low in the glass tube does that change if you wait for the boiler to be hot or cold? Does the water in the glass look reasonably clean?

Sometimes the brass fittings that the sight glass fits into become blocked with sediment, have someone remove that glass and make sure both ports are open to the boiler.

Check to make sure nothing looks like it is leaking at the boiler or any of the piping in the cellar including the radiators themselves.


At least 4ea #1's

@ September 8, 2014 6:55 AM in One Pipe Main Venting Question

That 40 ft of pipe contains about 1.5 cubic ft of air. If space is an issue you probably want at least 4ea Gorton #1 or Maid O Mist #1 main vents.


Good move

@ September 7, 2014 8:42 PM in One Pipe Main Venting Question

Running a pipe back along the main to get the vents away from the end of main drop to the wet return is a good move, just make sure the added pipe has slope to let water find it's way back to the return. I did the same thing a few years back and I'm sure the vents are much happier not to be at the end of the main any more..  Make sure the main and any radiator feeds all have slope and check for any dips in the piping that might be pooling water and causing hammer.

How long is the main and what size pipe? Once we know that we can tell you how many Gorton #1's or #2's you might need. Gorton #2's are big so see if you have enough head room for them.


Steam is lazy

@ September 4, 2014 10:00 PM in Unbalanced Steam System?????????

it will go wherever it finds a path of least resistance. Having returns tying together above the water line might make it easier for it to head upstairs instead of going to the radiators on the first floor. No guarantees but it might well be a cause. If the systems worked fine when they were separate, something happened when they were tied together.

If steam comes across water lying in a dip it can bang but sometimes it doesn't, steam is not only lazy, it's fickle.


If your diagram is correct

@ September 4, 2014 8:57 PM in Unbalanced Steam System?????????

and there are returns that tie together above the water line that could be your problem. All returns should tie together well below the boiler water line.



@ September 4, 2014 7:52 PM in Unbalanced Steam System?????????

How long is each main and are they sloped so water can easily find it's way back to the boiler. You may need more than a Gorton #1 on the mains and if there is any dip along a main or radiator runout there might be water pooling in the pipe. Pooling water will collapse steam and can cause water hammer.

Post some pictures showing how the mains were joined AND how the returns were joined as well. If it wasn't done right it can cause problems like you are seeing.


Could save a nice piece of change.

@ September 4, 2014 7:42 PM in burner conversion Peerless EC/ECT via Carlin EZ pro?

I switched to gas a couple of years ago buy installing a Smith G8 (no longer available) with the EZ Gas burner in it. My 15 year old Burnham v75 was not a good candidate for a retrofit. The fuel cost savings were very good. If your boiler is in good shape it should be a good candidate for the EZ Gas and that should ave money for the other work you need to tighten up the house. Is this a single or dual pipe steam system. and where are you located?

Post some pictures of the piping around your existing boiler so we can see what other work might be needed to give you a good efficient steam system. Also take some pictures of your main vents and make a list of radiators (list height, width, depth the number of columns deep and number of columns across) and what kind of vent each radiator has on it now (if it's single pipe steam).


Sq ft not BTU

@ September 1, 2014 7:29 PM in Unbalanced Steam System?????????

Forget about the BTU rating on a steam boiler. The boiler has to be rated to deliver the sq ft of steam that is needed for the total EDR of the radiators The sq ft of steam rating on a boiler includes a 33% pickup factor so don't add that in, in fact if the house is well insulated and the steam pipes as well you can cheat on the required sq ft rating.

I'll second the recommendation about lowering the steam pressure, mine is set to 12 oz and that is more than enough.


Won't work long term

@ August 29, 2014 9:25 PM in Bryant 244-7 Series A Gas Steam Boiler

Boiler sealers might work for a week and maybe a month - if your lucky. They will NEVER work for years.

I suggest you look into financing now while you have some control over the situation. If that boiler has to be be replaced on a cold January night you will pay a lot more than you would now when installers are not going crazy.


Steam Master

@ August 26, 2014 9:22 PM in low pressure steam boiler - conditioning

A few of us are using Steam Master tablets to raise the PH of boiler water into a benign region (PH 9.0) where it won't encourage corrosion. This is added to a boiler and left in the boiler for it's life.

If you decide to use this DO NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS, most residential boilers only need one tablet not 4. Also whenever you add water to a boiler or add something to the water in the boiler, you should bring the boiler up to steam to drive off any oxygen in the water.


More heat

@ August 24, 2014 4:44 PM in Adding longer baseboard steam radiators

Do the radiators in the cool rooms get hot at the same time as other radiators in the house? Is this single pipe or two pipe steam?  Do they get hot fully across? Where is the thermostat in relation to these radiators in the cool rooms?

Getting longer cast iron radiators will not be cheap, don't try and use anything but cast iron. The pipe feeding a radiator has to be large enough to feed the surface area of the radiator. Can you tell us the size of pipe (circumference of the pipe would be fine) that feeds each radiator?  Do you know wht the EDR (surface area) of the radiators is? Do you know if there is insulation behind the baseboard radiators and are they recessed into the wall?



@ August 24, 2014 7:19 AM in puchasing a new ammeter, recommendations?

Analog meters have one very handy trait, they give you a very accurate picture of how fast current is ramping up and that is good to know in many applications. I've used quite a few digital models but never found anything as useful as my 30 year old Sperry amp clamp (better copy of the amprobe).

Analog does cost more and most analog clamp ammeters don't do DC. With the new inverter heatpumps I don't know how either works on the chopped waveform.


Why did it fail?

@ August 23, 2014 7:14 AM in Operating noise in a Burnham Indepence PV?

Is your system using too much water? That type of boiler is very sensitive to having fresh water added. If you do have to add water, make sure you bring the system up to steam right after adding the water. If you have a auto fill without a meter on it you could be adding more water than you realize.

Does your water have high chloride content? Some areas between Boston and Providence has high chloride content and that can rot a boiler block.If your not sure you could have your water tested. Keeping the PH of the boiler water at 9 or 10 can inhibit corrosion as long as the chloride content is low.


It depends

@ August 22, 2014 10:09 AM in Should we use new steam boiler for hot water heating?

Could you boost the temperature of that tank and stretch the supply of hot water in the winter? Make sure you install a mixing valve on it's output to limit the temperature of the hot water that is delivered to the taps.

While an indirect is more efficient, would it make sense to have one for a single occupancy apartment? My 40 gal stand alone gas hot water heater only uses about 5 therms a month in the non heating months and that costs me about $17 a month, it is going to take a very long time to recoup the cost of an indirect (on energy savings alone).

If you use a lot of hot water I would consider installing an indirect but make sure you know the costs. For the apartment I'd just install a stand alone gas hot water heater (10 year tank) and I'd replace the anode rod every 3 years to extend it's life.



@ August 19, 2014 9:10 PM in Please Recommend a good gas to radiator boiler system

Is this a forced hot water system or a steam system?

Has a heat loss been done on the house yet?


23 and done

@ August 18, 2014 9:03 PM in Confirmation of boiler failure

You can replace single sections on a boiler but it's hard work and expensive from a labor point of view, Also you may have more than one bad section on that 23 year old boiler.

It's time to get quotes on a new boiler. be sure the new boiler is sized to your installed radiation and make sure it is installed per the manufacturers piping diagram using threaded steel pipe NOT COPPER.

Where are you located?

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