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Joined on September 15, 2010

Last Post on July 15, 2014

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Leaving the equipment aside for a minute

@ July 15, 2014 7:45 AM in Not Cool:

It seems insulation may be a large part of your problem (you mentioned having to add bat insulation to get the original system working right) and that some decisions made by the new system installers didn't help matters. I suspect your attic insulation isn't doing the job you need of it. You mentioned bat insulation, you might be a lot better off getting rid of all the fiberglass insulation in the attic and replacing it with a lot of blown cellulose because it does a much better job of conforming to irregularities than the bat type of insulation. Make sure they don't nlock the soffit vents when they do the insulation. If you can stop or at least slow down hot air from coming in contact with  the ceiling the system will perform a lot better.

Make very sure there are NO LEAKS in the attic ducts, if you want that check done right you probably have to do it yourself. I would try to avoid working with the insulation myself because it's just miserable job, especially in a hot attic,  for those of us who have survived long enough to retire.

It is important that the new system works the way it should but you should be able to figure that out with some detailed temperature readings. Be careful with IR thermometers, some are very fussy when reading the temperatures of different materials, They work well when looking for the difference between similar surfaces. I trust thermocouples or a good stem thermometer (you can get digital cooking thermometers for almost nothing these days), more for air temps. If I have any doubts about them I test them with a crushed ice bath and then boiling water.

good luck,



@ July 12, 2014 4:03 PM in Identifying boiler capacity

It looks like the EG-45 is a a good starting point if your going to stay with that series of boiler. Your total is 408 sq ft and the 45 is rated for 392, as i said that includes a pickup factor so as long as the piping is insulated it should be about right.

Have your steam man look at the specs and see what he thinks. I tried to attach a pdf spec sheet but this site won't let me. Look on page 38 of this -



Do it right

@ July 12, 2014 3:07 PM in Identifying boiler capacity

It sounds like you have a two pipe steam system, if that is so it should be running well under 1 PSI and that means it should have a vaporstat not a pressuretrol that I see in your picture. Anybody who used copper on a steam header probably did not waste any time with proper sizing of the boiler, I'll bet what you have is oversized by a good bit. Also make sure you really need a condensate pump, most house don't need them; to often they are installed to mask other problems that should be corrected.

Go through the house and survey all the radiation, list the radiators by room and if you don't have a radiator chart give us the following data.

  # of tubes or columns across
  Rad width
  # of tubes or columns deep
  Rad thickness
  Rad Ht (floor to top)

From that we can calculate the EDR of each radiator and then the total EDR of your system. Usually you just match the total EDR to the closest match available in a steam boiler. The EDR rating on a boiler builds in a 33% pickup factor so you can select a boiler a little smaller than your total EDR assuming the piping is all insulated in the basement.

Then when the time comes you have to find an installer that will do a much better job on the installation.


I agree

@ June 28, 2014 6:14 PM in need electrical help

if a boiler comes prewired with safeties in the 24v line it's best to leave it like that in case any question ever comes up that you don't want to be soley responsible for. It's not that you wouldn't do it right but you don't want to get in the cross hairs of some officious insurance inspector.


120 vs 24v

@ June 28, 2014 6:40 AM in need electrical help

Another good reason to interrupt 120vlines instead of the 24v ones is it should reduce nuisance trouble calls. A switch handling 120v is much less likely to not make contact especially when you know they will use the cheapest POS switch if the bean counters have anything to do with it. It costs money to make a good reliable dry contact switch for low voltage and low current environments.

Reduced trouble calls and a safer environment for those working on the equipment is a win win all around. In some cases you might not have the choice but if you do, choose the higher voltage loop to put the safety in.



@ June 25, 2014 6:59 PM in The history of the toilet

When I was fresh out of the army and a little short in the cash department we used to buy Haffenreffer Private Stock (Green death), it was a cheap malt liquor that had a tendency to skunk up if improperly stored. That didn't stop us, we drank it anyway.

After buying a house I made my own beer for over a decade and got a lot of complements on it's taste. I learned that cleanliness is critical when dealing with yeast, you can get all kinds of strange tastes and odors if you don't keep everything clean.

These days i buy the mixed twelve packs of Otter Creek or something similar; I enjoy a little variety.


Good news

@ June 25, 2014 6:55 AM in Old baseboard steam radiator cold

I'm glad to hear you got it working, it's nice to hear the outcome of something like this.


If your really lucky

@ June 19, 2014 9:49 PM in Adding a Radiator to an existing one pipe steam system

And the radiator feed pipe is large enough to feed both radiators.
And it can be piped so BOTH radiator feeds slope back towards the boiler.
And the radiator is close to the boiler so you can add a drip to this pipe so you can increase it's steam carrying capacity and get rid of the pesky condensate.

Or maybe you have to convert one or both those radiators to two pipe.
Or maybe it would be easier to make the new radiator a hot water radiator.

This may be more involved than you think so it would be best to have some expertise handy so it works like you want it to without having to do it again.


Amazon has it

@ June 12, 2014 7:11 AM in Donley Bros. Co. Vented ash clean out

not cheap but worth every penny.


Grill area

@ June 9, 2014 12:01 PM in Wife HATES old steam radiators. Don't care for covers. Alternatives?

Grills pretty much max out at 63% open area for anything meant to keep fingers out of something. That means if you need a sq ft of open area you will need about 1.5 sq ft of grill area.


Bad near boiler piping

@ June 7, 2014 4:47 PM in Boiler replaced - Boiler trap removed

It's no wonder all the water is leaving the boiler the way it is piped. The header configuration is wrong, the equalizer is badly done. I suspect the water line is bouncing around and the boiler water may be filthy.

No mater what else happens the near boiler piping has to be completely redone in threaded steel if you ever hope to have a stable waterline, then add Gorton #2 main vents for each main - each main should be fed from the boiler header separately. The boiler then has to be skimmed to get rid of all the oils that will be introduced to the system. Also the pressure should be kept very low (ounces) and that means throwing out the pressuretrol and installing a 16 oz vaporstat.

You also will need venting on each main or it's return, the pipe diameter and length will tell you haw many. You may or may not need a master steam trap but as long as all the radiator traps are working you might get by without them. Some of the pro's on this board will be able to tell you what the best course of action to take.

good luck,


Probably right

@ June 6, 2014 7:50 AM in Skim Port Drain Plug Removal Advice

Hap you are right about penetrating oil getting through thread sealer that has been on there for a long time. Since he already has the oil it MIGHT help if he could chip some of that sealer away before applying the oil.

The plug in my Smith G8 boiler was 1-1/4' and the square head on it was 1", if yours is a 1-1/2" plug it might be a 1-1/4" square head. You can buy open end wrenches to fit them and then use a cheater with it. The other option would be the right size square impact socket and a breaker bar / cheater. None of the above is cheap (I would not trust a cheap wrench with a cheater on it) or easily obtainable but they both would be a lot easier to maneuver in tight quarters.

If you can get the bolts off the cover it would be a lot easier to work on that with a bench vise and some heat as Hap said.



@ May 30, 2014 9:12 PM in Skim Port Drain Plug Removal Advice

A lot of mechanics swear by this stuff , i don't think there is a better penetrating oil available. I would apply some and give that brass plug a good rap (to shock the interface between the plug and boiler) with a ball peen hammer, let it sit for a day and apply more and give it another rap. Don't beat it to death, you just want the shock to open up a channel for the penetrating oil to go into.

I agree that a picture would help us see what your dealing with.


Pay the money

@ May 28, 2014 9:11 PM in Heat load calc( to pay, or not to pay)

As an engineer myself I understand wanting to trust your own calculations but unless you you have specific training in this field I'd pay someone to make sure I had not overlooked anything. $400 is literally a drop in the bucket, if your numbers are wrong, the fix could be orders of magnitude higher than that.

I would make sure whoever you hire has the expertise you need.


Fan speed?

@ May 23, 2014 9:01 PM in MunchkinT80 Error codes

I don't know anything about them but I did find this -


Somewhat noisy

@ May 22, 2014 8:44 PM in Flue liner question

I'm south of Boston and had a Smith G8 (no longer being made) installed in 2012 with the EZ-Gas instead of an oil burner. My boiler is the smallest in that line and does have a rumble to it. I was able to down fire it and tame the rumble somewhat; the boiler is rated for a lot more steam than my system needs.

I have used it since October of 2012 without any issues.


Is the floor level?

@ May 16, 2014 9:59 AM in Sunrad Radiator - Loud banging problem

If it is level i would expect some noise but I would not expect the anvil chorus unless it's pitched the wrong way. Is the floor it sits on level?

Is there a length of horizontal pipe under the floor that might be pitched wrong?

What kind of air vent is on the radiator? If it's venting at too high a rate rthat could make the problem worse.


Call them

@ May 15, 2014 9:17 PM in end of return venting

They have been used somewhere before, the question to ask is why were they returned?


Do it carefully

@ May 13, 2014 10:55 AM in Water leaking from glass gauge

If you want to replace the gauge glass washers you will have to close the brass cocks above and below the tube and loosen the nuts that hold the tube in place. Work carefully so you don't break the glass but I would recommend having a new one on hand just in case. If you can't find the glass or washers locally you can order them from Mcmaster Carr  they have several sizes available that are pre cut.

Remove the tube carefully and make sure you clean any old rubber off the tube and the brass nuts.Put the new washers on the glass and install it, tighten the nuts carefully so you don't crack the glass.



@ May 10, 2014 4:24 PM in Old baseboard steam radiator cold

If the 3/8" pipe that the vent comes off is blocked by water you will never get the air out of the radiator. Try removing the vent and find a way to blow air into the pipe and clear the water. Then see if steam starts to come out of the open 3/8" pipe.

If that works you have to find a way to correct the lope of the radiator.


good to know

@ May 8, 2014 7:47 AM in bathroom baseboard

That's what I love about this site, I seem to pickup tidbits of knowledge every day.


Much like the Ventrite 35

@ May 7, 2014 7:08 AM in end of return venting

the Hoffman 4a is 0.133cfm. They may have changed the pitch on some of your piping while doing the work. I would go over all the horizontal pipe i could reach and make sure there is pitch so water can find it's way back to the boiler - and make sure there aren't any dips that might let water pool in the pipes.

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