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Joined on September 15, 2010

Last Post on September 1, 2014

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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.


mainly low frequency?

@ May 6, 2014 7:34 AM in Hot Tub Noise

If it's mainly low frequency noise you need vibration isolation mounts on the motor and pump. I'd ask at a hot tub dealers to see if they know of anything.

This would be impractical for this problem but is good to illustrate one solution. I know using a small inner tube under a turntable is very effective for isolating it from footfalls or heavy bass. The tube is lightly inflated, the higher the inflation the worse the low frequency effectiveness. 

Hopefully the new tub will have better balancing on the motor and pump.


Vent Rates

@ May 6, 2014 7:20 AM in end of return venting

At one ounce of pressure -
 Ventrite 75 is 0.116 CFM
 Hoffman 75 is 0.50 cfm
 Gorton #1 is 0.33 cfm
 Gorton #2 is 1.10 cfm

Note the Gorton #2 has a 1/2" thread all the others are usually used with 3/4" and the #2 is a large vent 7-8 inches so make sure you have room. I would start with a single #2 at each location but you may well need 2ea.

If you need more than one it's easy to use a 90 and the T off the horizontal to add more vents, just make sure that horizontal pipe has a bit of slope so water can find it's way back to the boiler.

The current location should be fine. If not available locally the vents can be bought from


Much bigger

@ May 5, 2014 9:22 PM in end of return venting

The first main contains about 1.7 cu ft of air and the ventrite you now have will take almost 20 minutes to vent all that air. I would replace that vent with at least 1 Gorton #2 vent, you may need two there but I would start with one and see how it goes.

Depending on the relative length of the second main it sounds like it needs less venting, perhaps 2ea Gorton #1's (one Gorton #2 equals about 3 Gorton #1's). The ventrites have about 1/10 the venting rate of a Gorton #2.

You want to balance the venting so the mains will vent all the air at about the same time so it may take some adjustments to get it right.


The location is ok

@ May 5, 2014 12:21 PM in end of return venting

but they might be to  small; they are slow vents and only good for short steam mains. How long are your steam mains?

If you suspect the vents might be closed, unscrew them and try blowing through them while holding the vent upright.


One saving grace

@ May 2, 2014 7:08 PM in "Kitchen Boiler Connections" from 1899.

of old equipment is simplicity. It's heavily built and the controls are usually pretty apparent, if something stops working it's usually easy to figure out what went wrong and pretty straight forward to get it working again.

Twenty years from now if something goes wrong with a complex controller I suspect you will have the devil of a time getting a replacement. If a LWCO or valve lets go on a simple boiler you will probably have no trouble finding a part that will work.

A case in point is an old 1980's amplifier (Hafler) I bought cheap with one dead channel, I took off the cover and made a few measurements and found a bias point way off. Looking at schematic there were only a couple of things that could cause this. In ten minutes I found two open signal diodes, I replaced them and had that amp singing like a bird 30 minutes after taking the cover off. A friend asked me to look at a 5 year old high end amp that had some pretty complex control circuitry and the manufacturer was out of business. That's probably not repairable at a price he would want to pay.

Sometimes it's worth trading some performance for good simple operation that can be easily maintained  You pays your money and makes your choice.


I have the EZ-Gas on a Smith G8

@ April 30, 2014 7:07 PM in Oil to gas conversion burner

It works fine but does have a rumble That might have something to do with the chimney length (a resonance perhaps) but I could be mistaken - my chimney is 25 to 28 ft tall from the breech to the top.. It seems this noise is mostly on small boilers like my G8-3.

The acoustic cover will do no good on any low frequency rumbling. I did downfire mine from it's initial firing rate and that did lessen the noise, it's not gone but is diminished.

I wonder if a baffle might help quiet things down on small boilers.


I lived with one of those

@ April 30, 2014 7:40 AM in "Kitchen Boiler Connections" from 1899.

My grandparents had one of those in the kitchen in the early 50's, I lived with them when i was about 6 years old. I can remember they would turn it on before doing the dishes or if someone was going to take a bath. i also remember them being very careful because if one was left unattended and started to make steam they were known for making nice round holes in roofs as well as stains in the seats of your trousers.

The gas fired ones were the best, a lot easier than trying to get a 5 gallon jug of kerosene onto the stump without spilling it all over the floor - just like replacing a 5 gallon glass jug on an old water cooler. If a fire started in a kitchen with a kerosene stove or heater the house was almost always a complete loss.

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