Joined on September 15, 2010
Last Post on December 10, 2013
@ November 9, 2013 8:39 PM in Only 1/2 of my house seems to get any heat - help?If you turn the valves full counterclock wise it will be open.
Did the old boiler heat ok?
If this is single pipe steam, did they replace all the radiator vents when the new boiler was installed?
Did they replace the vents on the steam main(s)?
Is there any banging in the pipes?
Can you post pictures of the boiler and the piping around it?
@ November 9, 2013 6:19 PM in Cold room - anything I can do?You need to look at all the vents on your radiators because the key might be in delaying the steam into the radiators closer to the boiler so steam favors the distant one, you want that radiator to heat for a longer period of time so it warms up the room. That might bring the system into balance but insulating the piping in the basement will help all of this as will making sure your main vents are large enough.
@ November 9, 2013 6:05 PM in Gas companies in CT make big push into oil territoryWe are going back to era before the government broke up the big corporations in the late 19th and early 20th century. Capitolism works when it is controlled, when it is uncontrolled the gap between the haves and have nots grows until it's unbridgeable. Then those in power tell the peasants to eat cake and we all know how that worked out.
We are in a situation not unlike the industrial revolution when many jobs were destroyed by machines which could do the work of many men. Now most of our manufacturing has been moved offshore and people who once had good jobs paying a living wage are working for 30% of what they once earned IF they can even find those jobs. The credit crunch of 2008 was fueled by people living on credit trying to keep up a lifestyle they could no longer afford. Those controlling things will not be happy till they have everything but they will just bring the whole miserable mess down on their heads and then there will be plenty of misry to go around if that happens.
If supply and demand really worked we would see heating oil declining in price because of much reduced demand but they trump up one excuse after another to keep the price up. In 1970 heating oil was $0.139 per gallon and gasoline was $0.349 or so, Now gas is $3.20 a gallon while heating oil is $3.45 a gallon, gas has road taxes on it while heating oil has oil company greed on it. Congress is subsidizing detroit over people who have to heat their homes with oil because they don't have natural gas available to them and that might have something to do with the oil lobbyists on K street that keep election coffers brimfull..
@ November 9, 2013 12:51 PM in MAJOR WATER HAMMERThe installation manual has some specific piping instructions starting on page 15 but I don't see a reference to the relationship of the boiler header to the waterline. Common practice is for a minimum of 24" and the more the better. 28" would be nice but 24" is the lower limit. You might have a height problem there so drop header might have to be used.
This is a great steam primer that emphasizes the importance of near boiler piping (about 1/4 down the text).
@ November 9, 2013 12:31 PM in radiator gushing water, loud banging, gurgling soundsAnother thread on the wall tells us Crown is now offering piping kits to go along with their steam boilers. Show your installer this page and tell him you want it piped like page 2, 3 , or4 depending on what size boiler you have. There is probably enough information there for him to do it himself if he doesn't want to buy the kit.
A steam boilers piping is critical for proper and efficient operation.
@ November 9, 2013 8:11 AM in How would you talk to this contractor?but it will work and it should not cause the system to act as it seems to be acting. It will short cycle and it will burn more fuel but should heat the house quietly without any water hammer. Having the hartford loop two inches low will not cause the problems you are having. I assume the old boiler did not have any water hammer.
My old boiler was rated at 596 sq ft of steam and I have 196 sq ft attached to it - it was 3X to big and yet it heated evenly with no noise or fountains on the end of my radiators. It ran that way because I kept the maximum pressure low (12 oz) the pipe pitches were all good, and the boiler water was clean so it had a very stable water line.
Your neighbors installer sounds like he just dropped a boiler in, hooked up the pipes and ran out the door with check in hand. He is responsible for getting that boiler working, it might cost a bit extra to add a skim port and to replace or flush the return but he has to get that boiler working correctly - a good contractor would have done both as a normal part of the job. The boiler also has to be flushed and skimmed to remove the rust and to remove the oils in the water; flush first and then a nice slow (2 hrs per 5 gal bucket) skim - it may take several skimmings to get all the water out..
PLEASE post pictures, it is very hard for us to help you unless we can see how that boiler is piped.
@ November 9, 2013 7:52 AM in MAJOR WATER HAMMERHaving the water level 5" higher than it was designed for will result in very wet steam and could contribute to carryover into the steam main. That has to installed at the right height. that is strike one
Your picture of the boiler does not really show the boiler header, it looks like you have a ceiling height issue that may also be causing problems. The boiler header has to be far enough above the normal water line to separate any carryover water from the steam - a minimum of 28 inches. If the header is not 28" above the waterline that is strike two. The combination of a high water level and a low header is going to cause all kinds of problems. Please post pictures of your boiler header so we can see what is going on.
You said the boiler was just installed, did the installer skim the boiler? Newly installed boilers have oil in the water and that causes very unstable water lines. The boiler has to be skimmed to float the oil on the surface of the water slowly out of the skim port. A flushing will not do any good unless it's followed by a nice slow skimming and it may take more than one skimming session. If the boiler has not been skimmed and there is still oil in the water that is strike three.
@ November 8, 2013 8:28 PM in radiator gushing water, loud banging, gurgling soundsThat piping is WRONG, it could be used as a good example of how not to do it.
If you have the manual for that boiler turn to the piping page and look at it, then look at what you have. That boiler will never work the way it is piped, it has to be piped correctly to work correctly.
Listen to JSTAR he has installed countless boilers and all of his work because they are piped correctly and usually a lot better than the minimum required.
@ November 8, 2013 7:51 PM in Sq recess plugsI came across this and thought it might work for someone who has to get a square recess plug out of a boiler. I never used or even held one so I can't say how well it works.
@ November 8, 2013 3:52 PM in radiator gushing water, loud banging, gurgling soundsGet rid of the VariVents and get that boiler skimmed. Varivents are much too fast for most steam systems.
When you install a new boiler or work on the pipes the system gets oil into it. Steam systems and oil ARE NOT COMPATIBLE. The boiler has to be skimmed to get rid of the oils in the water.
@ November 8, 2013 9:07 AM in Better to Undersize or Oversizei know people have different ideas on how a thing should be done and the great thing about this forum is that homeowners who care about steam get to interact with the pro's who do it every day. We all know the number of good steam men is dwindling fast, please bear with those of us who are trying to help someone climb the ladder towards better understanding of steam systems. If we say something that is wrong we should be told what is right so we can all increase our understanding.
After my engineering job succumbed to the economic imperative we call China i ended my working career as a technician working on mail sorting machines at the post office. These machines are large and complex, they send you out to school for anything from 2 to 12 weeks to learn the machines operation and maintenance. As the new guy I made my share of mistakes but my previous training allowed me to see things that others did not because of the way i had been trained. I studied and worked on the machines and was grateful to the mechanics and techs who showed me the ropes there, they gave me insight that can take years to gather.
There were some who would not share what they knew because "they had to learn it the hard way and you'll have to learn it the same way". i never operated that way in the army as an NCO and I never did it as a technician, engineer, and finally a manager at my old job. As i learned I passed whatever knowledge I had with others that were not familiar with the machines because they were new hires or because they had worked in different areas. When i had to retire because of some physical problems a couple of the younger guys thanked me for showing them how things worked and for letting them make mistakes without fearing ridicule for making an honest mistake. i still get together with members of the crew for lunch a few times a year (I retired in '09) and i respect them for the work they do every night.
A good teacher knows he will learn from those he teaches. We all see things differently and we can all learn from each other.
@ November 8, 2013 8:11 AM in CryptoLocker malwareThey are probably in the former soviet union client states or asia where the governments ignore them until they hit the wrong computer. The only protection against something like this is multiple backups.
I use a mac as my primary computer and Time Machine backs up the computer every morning at 8:30, I can restore to any day I want for the last 30 days and once a month behind that (subject to the capacity of the backup drive) - that means any single file or the entire hard drive. I also have another drive that i use every couple of weeks with a different backup software as a backup to the backup and that drive is turned on ONLY when it's backing up. Hard disks can fail at any time, be ready for it.
The hard drive on my 3 yr old 27" iMac died last week so I bought it into apple and they replaced the drive (for free because of a supplier problem they had when the machine was built). I got the machine back and restored my computer to where it was the day before the disk died in about 2 hours.
It's just like the army where there was a box of rubbers beside the weekend pass rack - we all have to protect ourselves from whatever lurks out there.
@ November 7, 2013 9:34 PM in How would you talk to this contractor?A boiler installed in July and now that heating season has arrived the homeowners are finding it does not work. Boiler installations usually have a one year guarantee from the installer and 5, 10 or longer on the boiler itself by the manufacturer.
I would tell the installer that the boiler installation is not working - start off gently and adjust as you hear his response. It has to be piped per the manual at a minimum and although he did not install the return piping it's obvious he did not check to see if was in working condition. just because the boiler turns on when you hit the switch does not mean it's "working" and they can walk out the door with the check in hand and not look back.
If you didn't tell them a skim port was required he can charge you for that (he shouldn't) but if there are issues with the placement of the LWCO and the plumbing of the returns those are installation issues and they have to be addressed in order to consider the install finished. If he refuses ask to talk to the companies owner and hint that a judge would not look kindly on this kind of performance by a contractor.
Take some pictures so the pro's on this board can tell you what else is wrong with that install. Make sure you have some good shots of anything that you think is wrong. See if the company is willing to make this right but if push came to shove I would ask the manufacturer to have the installation inspected.
@ November 6, 2013 3:36 PM in Main Vent Sizing and PlacementI would put a short nipple where the vent is and then an elbow and a 12" nipple. Run that nipple back along the pipe so it will drain towards the return then add a T, a short nipple, another T, and a plug - then put a Gorton #1 on top of each T. use whatever size nipple you can to get the vents up away from any water slugs. You can use different size nipples to avoid floor joists.
The Gorton #2's are great vents but they don't give them away, might as well use what you have.
@ November 6, 2013 2:26 PM in Not getting any heat in risersas Nicholas suggested I'd try removing that vent and see if you get steam out of it, just have someone ready to kill the boiler if steam comes pouring out of the tapping. If you still get nothing there must be a pocket of water somewhere down below that is blocking the air and the steam.
Try stretching a string along the horizontal pipe in the basement so you can spot any dips in the piping. Then you can use a level to make sure it has pitch so water can find it's way back to the boiler through the main or a return pipe (if it has one).
@ November 6, 2013 12:57 PM in Main Vent Sizing and PlacementThe main vent has to vent the air in the boiler, boiler header, and the steam main. Each radiator vent has to handle the air in the radiator and the piping from where it comes off the steam main.
You could probably use a second Gorton #1 beside the one you have. The boiler header looks a bit low but if everything is heating up at about the same time your probably ok.
@ November 6, 2013 8:18 AM in Help with steam boilerWhat kind of boiler is it and can you tell where the leak is on the boiler?
If the casting has cracked and it's not to old you might be able to get a section replaced IF the other sections are not on the verge of failing. The labor to do this will be high and it will take time to get parts and pull everything apart. Also the force required to get things apart may do more damage which will mean more things have to be replaced.
If the whole boiler has to be replaced it's important that it be installed per the manual piping diagram using steel pipe - NOT COPPER. Where do you live? Look in the "Find a Contractor" link on this page to see if anybody is near you.
You should post this in the Strictly Steam section so the steam pro's will see it. Finally post some pictures of the boiler and the piping around it in Strictly Steam so we can see what your dealing with.
@ November 6, 2013 8:06 AM in Not getting any heat in risersIs this vent on the riser itself or is it on the radiator the riser feeds? If it's on the riser it probably wants to be a faster vent, what kind of vent was on there before? Has any work been done that might have caused a pipe to move? Make sure the pipe that feeds that riser has not dropped for some reason, if that pipe did move steam might not be able to gt up there and it might have seemed to work at the very start of the season and then stopped working. That could occur because condensing steam would eventually fill and low spot in the pipe and stop the flow of steam..
The 40 vents at 0.04cfm, you might try getting a Maid O Mist #5 (0.11cfm) because you can unscrew the orifice and turn it into a 0.33cfm vent. If that were too fast you can drill out the #5 orifice to get something in between. Once you know what size vent you might need you can use the right size Gorton vent if you don't like the maid o mist vent for some reason.
Assuming the piping slopes are all good you want to vent the mains and any long risers fast and the radiators relatively slowly.
@ November 6, 2013 7:43 AM in Newbie with some boiler questions.I think the best way to deal with a very high mass system like yours is to select a temperature you are comfortable and set it there, 68-70 or 72 find one that works and leave it there.Make sure you find and fix any drafts that occur when the wind blows. If you have a tight envelope you should be fine.
The Burnham MPQ is a great boiler but I don't know if it's the right one for you. Find an installer you can trust and make sure he knows that comfort is your first concern and ask him what the best boiler would be for YOUR situation at a price point you can live with, you don't want someone installing something that on special at the wholesaler that month. It may cost more than you want but if it's done right it will last a LONG time and you won't get nickel and dimed to death searching for fixes on a botched install.
See if there is anyone listed on "Find a contractor" section of this site.
@ November 5, 2013 10:12 PM in My Furnace Won't Stay OnThe thermocouple may need to be cleaned or replaced. It could also be a flame rod but I doubt it with an old conversion setup.
@ November 5, 2013 9:14 PM in Steamaster Tablets @ Pex SupplyDoes not go bad so why change it, I just add a bit occasionally to make up for anything I drain off. My PH has been about 9 for the last year so the 20 tablets I have left should last a good long time.
@ November 5, 2013 8:41 PM in Boiler won't fire up.Can you get a mirror into the chimney and look up? A neighbor found a dead seagull in her chimney a couple of decades back - you never know.
In any case don't run that boiler till the chimney has been verified by a technician or a chimney guy.
A relief vent does not go off unless the pressure exceeds it's rating, make sure the pressuretrol is working and that the pigtail below it is clear.