Oak Park Electric
Joined on November 26, 2010
Last Post on July 8, 2011
@ July 8, 2011 7:13 PM in Old, Old, Old BoilerAn OLD boiler is one of the coal to oil to (maybe) gas converted snowmen that some of the steam pros here work on. A 40's hot water boiler isn't THAT far fetched. Anyway, that's not the question. First of all, it is NOT leaking CO2 (carbon dioxide). If it was tested with the proper equipment and found to be leaking something, that something would be CO, (carbon monoxide). Carbon dioxide is not hazardous except in higher concentrations, but carbon monoxide is highly poisonous even in lower concentrations. All combustion equipment should be cleaned and inspected by a qualified person before every heating season. If the basement is usually damp and the boiler has only been cleaned once in 30 years or more, there may be a lot of rust flakes (from the wetness) laying on the burners. This will cause abnormal combustion and CO. There may be other causes as well, but I can't know without seeing the boiler. Some other things to look for - obstructed chimney, flue pipe rusted out, insufficient draft, and insufficient combustion air. If there is nothing mechanically wrong with the boiler and you want to keep it, have a competent heating guy clean it and inspect the venting / check draft. He should have a combustion analyzer to test the flue gas for CO. If he can eliminate the CO problem and get the unit running safely, then there's not much reason to change it. You should have a monoxide detector in the house and make sure it has good batteries, even during the off season. I would also recommend getting the gadget that calls you automatically if the inside temp drops too low. They are fairly simple and affordable, and a lot better than a freeze up. A welfare check once a week is fine, but if the boiler quits for any reason, the pipes and radiators will freeze and break before the next check. At least with the temp alarm, you will know there's a problem before it gets major.
@ March 3, 2011 12:04 AM in boiler experts -removing plug from boiler blockEven if it's not a recessed head plug, but the standard type with the square boss, you can still use an impact wrench. Measure the head, and get an 8 - point impact socket. It will cost a few bucks, but they are intend just for square things. Make sure it's really an impact socket, though ( black, not chrome) or you could shatter it. And yes, remove any vibration sensitive things from the boiler beforehand.
@ February 4, 2011 10:26 PM in Our friend Tim.Yes it's already in other parts of the site, but why not also have links to Tim's books and training manuals, and also to the tech school page for his training center appear on the closet page? The more it's out there, the more it will be found. Just a thought...
@ February 2, 2011 11:36 PM in Blizzard OTOnce in a while, living in the Midwest is not for the lilly livered. This is one of those times. I woke up the Metal Monster ( Toro 524 ) this morning, and cleared snow all day until dusk. Must have moved the equivalent of two dump trucks of it. One pic is my service van, no going anywhere today. Also, it's supposed to go down to 5 below tonight, zero tomorrow.
@ January 22, 2011 2:15 AM in cast rad with left hand thread*IF* that rad port is really left threaded, Mc Master sells right to left nipples from 1/8 to 2" and 4, 6, and 12" lengths. At least that way you could get it back to something usable on the end. Somehow I doubt it's really a leftie, but if it is please post a picture of the rad and the connections. It's all about learning new things here.
@ January 13, 2011 11:35 PM in The Plan so far..Don't mess with the insulation on the pipes currently. It's "that special stuff". Add fiberglass where the pipes are naked.
@ January 13, 2011 11:28 PM in I thought we did everything right. What do you think?I know that "just repipe it" is not what anyone wants to hear, but I suspect that the drip tees may have something to do with it, as well as no vents. First of all, is there a way to get vents elsewhere in the system, like at the top of the risers? ( Only if it's totally impossible to do it right with them on the mains ) After that, the drain tee that is turned to the side and connected with the 45 ell is probably not draining all the way. I bet there is condensate in that section, maybe running back to the header, then getting pushed out into the system again. Also check all the old pipes for proper pitch back to the boiler, and no sags. Don't leave anything to chance. Check ALL the pipes. It sounds like water is getting trapped somewhere, causing the low water level and noise. The vacuum at the relief valve is probably because of no main vents too. It was caused as the steam collapsed after turning the boiler off, and the only air that could get in was a little bit through the rad vents.
@ January 9, 2011 10:59 PM in Piping check pls?Yep. Needs a new boiler. And that's an interesting take on a header. We've seen a lot of wrong piping here, but not anything quite like that. When they do the boiler, the pipes should be replaced up to the mains on the ceiling and of course should follow the diagram in the manual. The way it is now is definitely wrong.
@ January 7, 2011 5:30 PM in Heating for large warehouseCeiling fans are very important if you want to get any of that heat down to people height. You would not believe how severely air stratifies in big open buildings. Where I'm working now ( stationary engineer / electrician / maintenance ) we heat with steam unit heaters and have high ceilings. With a chest height temp of 62, it is a little over 80 on the ceiling. I also had a similar experience in a hospital gymnitorium. Without fans, that heat is wasted. I can't say if radiant is the way to go or not, but in that application, comfort is typically not first priority and gas units might be cheaper to install. I would recommend separated combustion units if you go that way.
@ December 31, 2010 11:49 PM in Been meaning to get this upHA HA ! Look at the relief discharge! Wonder where it goes?
@ December 28, 2010 2:00 AM in White stuff in glassIf you wanted to clean out the boiler and pipes, then drain and flush as nbc suggested. Also flush the baseboard loop. This is the only way to get the crap OUT of the boiler, which is where you want it. Although additives may seem to make the water in the gauge glass look cleaner, there is no bottle of magic stuff that makes the contaminants disappear. What it may have done is cause the junk to settle in the bottom of the boiler, where it will cause hot spots and rumbling boiling noises. Now to the pump. If it is a small self contained unit, it is designed to be water lubricated. If it's a big one like a series 100, then it needs oil. Either way, putting something in the boiler to lubricate the pump is not the way to do it. Some additives do a little bit of something, others are purely medicine show BS. But none of them are necessary in a clean, maintained system. Just because people sell something does not mean that is works or is safe for the system.
@ December 24, 2010 12:42 AM in We're having a contest!So...... What do you think would have happened if that second valve had relieved or started to drip? Third one in its outlet port? I wonder if the first valve would even open under pressure
@ December 24, 2010 12:29 AM in We're having a contest!It's the poor man's economizer. "But it gets all that wasted heat back into the garage". That same "wasted" heat that keeps the gas from condensing and destroying everything? "Yeah, that's the stuff ". At work, I was asked about a heat recovery setup for the big gas burning drying oven, which is currently vented directly up to the roof. "Can't you just run a whole bunch of flue pipe all over the room before going out the roof?" You can guess my answer.
@ December 21, 2010 2:56 AM in can you fix my boilerI would be running back to the truck...
to either (A). Get the sawzall and sledge or
(B). Get as far away from that place as possible.
Wow... What a wreck. This has winning potential
@ December 20, 2010 2:01 AM in Gate valve for hot water radiator?Just read the other post again... if I'm reading it right, there is no reason you can't use regular radiator valves and union elbows, and just have them come out of the wall 90 degrees from where they would usually come from the floor. I just did one in a basement this way, will post picture if I can find it.
@ December 20, 2010 1:46 AM in Burnham furnace driving me crazy - need some help pleaseThe gray Honeywell box is your pressuretrol. It shuts the burner off if the steam pressure reaches the setpoint, which is adjustable and should be low. The low water cutoff, if you have a standard one, is a black cast iron triangle located somewhere near the gauge glass. ( Where you see the water level ) Its job is to prevent a cracked boiler or explosion if you run out of water. Post a few pictures of the boiler, all sides, and point out what you have to hit. Anytime the controls on a steam boiler are not working normally, it is very important that they be fixed right away and by somebody who knows what they are doing. If it is the cutoff that is causing the problem, you have a critical safety issue and it MUST be repaired or replaced immediately. How often is it needing water? Does the water line in the gauge glass move a lot when it fires?
@ December 18, 2010 12:56 AM in Boiler Piping DiagramsI've seen that boiler here somewhere before... Are you having any definite problems with the system? It is not piped right according to proper steam practice, but when dealing with old pipes in those kind of sizes, if it does work I would not want to mess with it. Well... actually that's not true. If it was mine I probably would repipe it, just because that's how I am, but I would only do it in summer. I can't help with a real original installation diagram, but some of the guys here have all kinds of old books, catalogs, and manuals. Is there another tapping on the other side of the boiler opposite where the steam line comes out in the picture? ( even if it has a plug in it ) If it really needs to be redone, the answer might be to just do it with a generic arrangement that is kind of typical of most modern steam install diagrams.
@ December 18, 2010 12:34 AM in ARCO Cast iron convector radiatorTry www.antiqueplumbingandradiators.com
Check any scrap metal buyers in your area, and look on ebay... there are a bunch of radiators there.
@ December 17, 2010 10:10 PM in ARCO Cast iron convector radiatorThose radiator sections are not welded together, but you would think they are. Originally, they are pushed together under considerable force. But in your case time and rust have gotten involved too. It is possible to carefully knock radiators apart, remove a bad section, and then reassemble. Another option might be not welding but brazing. If I had to fix a non-radiator cast iron part that's how I would do it, and it might work for the rads too. One thing to watch out for though. What Charlie says about traveling cracks worries me. If you spend the money and time having them brazed, but the cracks move anyway, the repair could be costly and all for nothing. Probably the best first thing to try is a salvage place like Steamhead said. But also check your pipes. They might need replacement too. Cap all the open ends, and use compressed air at less than 30 PSI to see if you have any leaks. Just don't let anybody try to talk you into a scorched air system.
@ December 17, 2010 9:23 PM in Pressure too HighFurnaces are frowned upon here. You, fortunately, have a boiler.
Jamie already said it well, but I guess I'll throw this in anyway. It's from a different thread, but same subject. Residential boilers tend to be rated at 30 or 50 PSI for hot water, and 15 PSI for steam. The reason is that 15 pounds is the breakover point between "low "and "high" pressure for steam systems. Somehow it was determined that 15 PSI was pretty safe as a maximum for unattended use. High pressure steam systems are dangerous and in this area they require a licensed engineer (stationary) to be present when the system is operating. Plumbing / heating / mechanical codes want one gauge on the unit that has a range of twice the relief valve pressure. Not "you must have a 30 PSI gauge", but instead "you must have a gauge with a scale that is double the relief rating ". So the boiler is rated 15, and consequently so is the relief valve. Do the math. That is why we have 30 pound gauges. You do not have to worry about the tube in the 3 PSI gauge failing at 15, it won't. Maybe at significantly higher pressures, but those would blow the boiler up before the gauge. Conventional power plants operate at around 2200 PSI and 1050 degrees at the high pressure turbines. Primary Cooling Loops (high pressure hot water) in pressurized water reactors run about 2350 PSI. They both use electric pressure transducers that send a signal to a remote readout in the control room. There are also "regular" looking gauges used in hydraulic systems that go to 10,000 PSI and they use Bourdon tubes. It's just that the tubes are made out of phosphor bronze or monel.
@ December 17, 2010 8:23 PM in BOILER TURNS ON WHEN THERMOSTAT IS NOT CONNECTED!!!Thats right. The pressuretrol and lwco must be wired in series, and the thermostat also. When it's done, you ABSOLUTELY MUST test the lwco for proper operation, or you might not have a house left to move into. Real simple... just turn the thermostat up and open the blowdown valve on the cutoff. ( With a bucket under it - that water is hot ) The burner should shut off right away. If not, turn the boiler off and figure out what is wired wrong. Never allow any steam boiler to operate with a cutoff that isn't working normally. And of course, if you need more help, we're always here.
@ December 17, 2010 8:05 PM in This is why you have to maintain pressure safety'sThat cap on the end of the discharge line is why some areas / authorities / experts tell us to cut the end of the pipe on an angle, hopefully it would outwit some of the homeowner "repairs". Has everyone seen the Mythbusters water heater bomb episode yet? If not, it's on you tube. Gives a better feel for how powerful it is than just a picture of a hole in the house. Be safe out there