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Joined on October 17, 2010

Last Post on April 10, 2014

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@ April 10, 2014 9:10 PM in Filter Dryers and moisture indicators.

I had one riding around on my van for about 4 years.  It was a 7/8" that I bought for a job and ended up not using it.  Pulled it out of my van on a Saturday morning in desperation and installed it while showing "Caution."  After a full triple vacuum, it showed Dry. Tech said, they last a while.

Can't fix stupid can you?

@ April 5, 2014 10:15 PM in Economizer

I got a call from one of my younger techs last spring on a similar issue.  He was scratching his head and spinning in circles.  It took us a bit of tracing wires to find the two sensors both sitting in the return box.

Good find.

Ray rotary burners

@ March 30, 2014 9:41 PM in Old boiler room equipment

Sorry for the delay Smith, I have been on the road working for a few weeks.

These rotary cup burners were the common method of burning heavy oil from the late 30's till the mid 60's.  The pump pressure required to atomize heavy oil is huge.  Like 250-300 psi.  The oil pumps of the era were not capable of producing this pressure reliably (still aren't really), so external atomizing air was the preferred method.  This method is still employed on occasion with Tar Sands burners.  Quite often, there would be a compressed air plant within the boiler plant.  The secret and often problematic issue is that the air had to be dry.  Very dry.

These old burner setups were not very efficient, but remember that oil was dirt cheap at that the time.  Reliability was the name of the game.

If you can keep it running, it will last forever.

Server room.

@ February 14, 2014 7:19 PM in Heat gain in computer server room

We recently installed and started up the equipment in the largest data room in the state of Maine.  This system holds 1,100 lbs of refrigerant.  That doesn't count the chiller or the redundant CRACs.  That is only for the rack coolers. 

The list of questions regarding this room are endless.

Techman is correct.  You need to control humidity.  Outside air is a huge no-no in data rooms as moisture of OSA cannot be controlled.  If budget is an issue, I concur with SWEI to install (3) 12K units and put the setpoint one degree higher on each consecutive one.

Good Luck.

PEX for gas.

@ February 14, 2014 7:02 PM in Pex for natural gas?

There is a huge difference in HDPE and PEX when it comes to chemical composition.  I have been using HDPE underground for years, but I am not brave enough to try PEX for gas. 

Good luck to those that do.


@ February 14, 2014 1:09 PM in Anyone Heard of Cleaver Brooks OG Boilers?

You are very correct Ice.

The smallest water CB is the Clearfire in 4 million Btu/hr.  They do have a version of the classic CB in steam that is supposedly available in as small as 15 boiler HP, but the smallest that I have ever seen is 80 boiler HP.  That would be 2 million Btu converted from boiler horsepower.

CB's are most often seen in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and universities.  They do have an industrial process line that we see in smaller manufacturing facilities.

I service one that is bigger than a 1,200 sq ft Cape.  It is making steam for a medical equipment manufacturing facility.

I was just looking though the CB Internal Tech secure website.  There is an OSSG model.  It is 227 Tons of steam per hour.  that is 500,000 lbs per hour.  That is A LOT of steam.  It is an industrial application boiler.  Heavy Oil Sands specific.

Cleaver Brooks

@ February 14, 2014 10:28 AM in Anyone Heard of Cleaver Brooks OG Boilers?

I have been servicing CB's for 20+ years and still do several times a week.  The only model that had a G in it was the WGX series.  There was a series of custom industrial process watertubes built in the early 70's that may have had a G in the model number, but I am at a loss on the OG model number.

Do you have a picture?

Below design conditions

@ January 5, 2014 4:33 PM in We're at design temperature in NYC.

Just an FYI to our colleague Mr. Eatherton.

I spent the bulk of the day Friday at a research facility that we built last year.  The building is LEED Certified (Platinum I believe).  Engineer designed mechanical systems.  The boiler plant was struggling to say the least.  It had run at 90%-100% since Wednesday night.  I finally got the train driver on the phone and asked him about his design.  He told me that he used -6 F because he didn't think it got that cold on the coast.  Our usual design temp is -10 F.

The air temp at the time was -21 and the wind was howling off the water.  While I don't dispute ice's comments, I can tell you that in my years of experience, wind chill does effect the building's heat loss.  To top it off, the contact temps on the bulk LP storage tanks was -38 F.  We were struggling with vaporization and with the boilers keeping up. 

Made for a really long day.

I feel your pain.

@ December 26, 2013 9:51 PM in Don't read this until the 26th.

We were just having this same conversation at the shop this morning, as we were working on the year end accounting stuff.

It is a shame that we spend our whole lives trying to perfect our trade proficiency and end up spending most of our time chasing dead beats and those that want something for nothing.

Sad to say, but it almost isn't worth it anymore.

Gas Vaporization Problem??

@ December 25, 2013 5:11 PM in NTI ER6 code in cold weather

What you are experiencing is an ignition problem.  This could be caused by poor vaporization at low temps only.  Is this unit propane or natural gas?

Something funky with that model number

@ November 25, 2013 3:56 PM in info. on york self contained

Something is funky with that model number.  York never made a DVW model that I am aware of.  Got anything else.  Is this an RTU or a Chiller?

As usual, it depends....

@ October 31, 2013 9:01 PM in firetube vs. watertube boilers

The most common firetube boilers are of the Scotch Marine Variety.  These are "package' boilers and are most often offered for the lower horsepower outputs (less than 300 bhp).

Watertube boilers are the largest in scale and typically are found in the highest horsepower outputs and highest pressures.

By nature of their size, watertubes require a team to operate and a team to service.  Scotch Marine boiler plants can have one operator per shift that can effectively manage the operation of 4 or 5 boilers at a time.  Watertube plants will have 5 or 6 people per shift to operate one or two boilers.

We service countless Scotch Marine firetubes and the annual cleaning and inspection takes about 2 days for a licensed technician and the Plant's Lead Boiler Operator to perform.  The handful of watertubes that we provide some service for are all multiple story boilers found at paper mills, power plants, etc...We only provide combustion side technical service.  The overhaul work is done by union boilermakers.

Hope this helps.


@ October 2, 2012 8:28 PM in oil schools in new hampshire or maine

Maine Oil Dealers Association has a great training center in Brunswick, ME. Classes are reasonably priced. Tuition assistance is available I believe.

Their website:

Sorry I am missing it.

@ September 8, 2012 9:52 PM in Hydronics Roundtable

I really wanted to make it to this one, but I am going to Mississauga, Ontario the following week to the Riello and Weishaupt Large Burner Classes. Can't be gone two weeks in a row without the boys going wild.

Call the installer

@ September 3, 2012 4:08 PM in Rinnai RU98i only works with cover off

You need to get the installer back out there. He is responsible for the warranty of the unit.


@ September 3, 2012 9:50 AM in Tool

Ultrasonic Flow Measurement has been used in manufacturing for years. Particularly in the pulp and paper industry, they are used quite frequently. The problem is that the accuracy is only as good as the equipment. Meaning, that the really reliable ones are stupid expensive. (Think half a years salary or more.)

I don't know what this one costs, but as stated, balancers won't use them, so.......

Buyer beware.

Good Luck.

Agree with Paul.

@ August 16, 2012 3:04 PM in Off Topic: DWV Venting

UPC has a great companion guide to their code.  It may not apply specifically to the NYC code, but it has a lot of pics and explanations.  We use it to train newbies.

I understand what you are trying to do.

@ August 15, 2012 6:11 AM in anyone use a Variable speed drive to control heating pump motor?

I am a commercial, institutional, and industrial contractor.  I understand what you are trying to do.  I am just trying to tell you that it won't give you what you want.

Good Luck to you.

We don't discuss pricing on this board.

@ August 14, 2012 9:43 PM in Oil Heat Maintenance or Replacement

We do not discuss pricing on this board.

Basically you have a 20 yr old oil system. Could the tech's slip say 78% eff or could he have simply mis-written 70% instead of 78%? Peerless of that era typically run about 80% +/- a % or two.

The high PPM of CO could be caused by flame impingement on the combustion chamber. That chamber has been in there for 5 yrs. Not unheard of that the chamber is crumbling, if not properly maintained every single year.

Depending on your location, most unprotected oil lines are now required to be replaced and sleeved to protect against oil leaks. There is no way that your chimney liner guy is going to warranty the chimney liner after 5 yrs. Good luck with that.

Bottom line, you have a boiler that is at the end of its useful life. Time to start thinking about and budgeting for replacement. Do you still drive the same car that you did in 1995? I doubt it, and your boiler sits in your basement and runs with maintenance only once a year (if that) for 20 yrs. Think of it as your boiler now has 2,880,000 miles on it.

I don't mean to sound harsh, but the reality is as described.

Good luck.

night setback

@ August 14, 2012 9:32 PM in anyone use a Variable speed drive to control heating pump motor?

The way that those systems work is as follows,

The heating circuit pump is setup to follow a Preset Delta T. The Delta T is measured across the supply and return loops fed from the pump. The controller then outputs a 4-20 or 0-10 signal to the VFD to lower or raise the pump speed. This Delta T is not easily adjustable.

The building setback is set through either a supply temperature system on the boilers and tied to a clock system, or a centralized space setpoint setback also controlled by a clock.

Simply slowing the pump down at night will do nothing to decrease the amount of heat consumed by the building. The only way to do that is to lower the target temp of the space or do the massive amount of math and setup a constant circulation system and setback the boilers accordingly, which may cause other problems depending on the boiler.

This is not an easy fix or a maintenance project. This is a time consuming project for a competent controls and or Mechanical contractor.

Simply installing a VFD on the circ pump will not do what you want it to do, even with a Delta T controller.

Siding Nail?

@ August 14, 2012 7:52 PM in p.i.t.a refrigerant leak

I once had this happen. Although it was a long time ago. Long story short, the siding guys used one coil of longer nails when they put the cedar shingles on. The leak didn't show up at first. Only after the building had expanded and contracted a few times and the nail worked its way loose and opened up the hole.

Not sure if this is your problem, but maybe it gives you an idea.

Please note that back in those days, we were less likely to pressure test to as high a pressure as we all do now. Back then we would just throw 100# of nitrogen on it, go to lunch and if it held, it was good.

Now we know better, huh?

Good Luck

Cart before the horse.

@ August 14, 2012 7:46 PM in anyone use a Variable speed drive to control heating pump motor?

No VFD can do a setback by itself. You have to have a total control package to do what you are trying to do. You would have to setback the entire building temperature for this to work. I would suggest talking to a Controls Contractor. They can provide you with a whole host of options and try and help you decide between what you need and what you can afford.

Good Luck.
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