Joined on December 20, 2010
Last Post on September 14, 2014
@ September 14, 2014 4:24 PM in sizing new boilerIn addition to the prior suggestions, I might add to be sure the installer maintains the current water line or accounts for it with a false water line. You may have to raise your new boiler since they're frequently smaller. This helps prevent your wet returns becoming dry which can lead to a slew of problem. Treat the manufacturer's specs as MINIMUMS. Install a ball valve in the skim port and ask your installer to show you how to skim it or look here for instructions. Once is NOT enough with a new boiler and piping, at least in my experience. Disclaimer: I'm another homeowner as well as another female. Glad to see you on the site!
BC, your boiler's lookin' GOOD!
@ September 12, 2014 2:56 PM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomFor those waiting on pins and needle for the next installment (Ha!), while waiting for the Speakman replacement parts, I managed to fix the broken 100yr old HW shuto-off in the cellar, no thanks to my local plumbing store. I think it will be good for another 100 with the SS screw I used. Now there's no more cold water flowing into the hot spigots of the other bathrooms and kitchen when I shut off the hot valve. Unfortunately, it had no affect on the shower in question.
Also, having a heck of a time finding a replacement valve for my Symmons Canterbury sink faucet that has weak HW flow. The obstruction is somewhere between the shut-off valve at the sink and the tap. Cold water flows freely and the connecting hose is clean, so that leaves the connecting lines and the valve itself.
On another note, very disappointed in the local plumbing store I've frequented for years. They no longer help or even know about older stuff and seem to have a condescending attitude that I'd even try saving anything old. Just rip it ALL out and replace and then do it all again in ten years when that stuff breaks. Sometimes that's the only choice, but what ever happened to Yankee ingenuity. I guess that's how they sold me the wrong gaskets last year. Just venting. :)
@ September 3, 2014 2:17 AM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomjust not in the Blue bathroom. BUT, thanks to the pdf Steamhead posted, i now have hot water in the Masterbath sink for the first time in years! It's always been a trickle and I figured it was either the shut-off valve or an obstruction, but the valve was one I'd never seen and was clearly OLD. I'll post a pic later. Anyway, I dismantled it and then blew out the line of mineral deposits and who knows what else. Then I looked to see if I could fix the valve. I only figured out exactly how it worked because it was drawn on p.19 of Steamhead's Speakman catalogue. https://archive.org/stream/SpeakmanShowersAndFixtures/SpeakmanCompanyCca34986#page/n0/mode/2up
It's described as an old-style low seat valve. Since it would no longer turn, I filed some off the end and left in in the "on" position. I'll replace it later when I get something attractive. But for now I have great pressure and HOT water.
I then did the same in the Blue Bathroom, which did improve hot flow to the sink to a degree, but when I shut off the cold in the basement, hot water came out the sink's cold tap, again.While the sink is not a mixer valve there does seem to be some sort of obstruction there. I'll take the whole thing apart when I have a moment. As usual, disaster struck when strainer fell down the drain, necessitating removing the trap whose brass connection broke off due to corrosion which required a quick late night trip to HD. While a great excuse to totally clean out the pipes, I've had enough actual plumbing for the next few days !I'm not doing anything to the shower until the correct gaskets arrive.
P.S, Steamhead, I'm having fun finding all my parts in that catalogue. I'm hoping Tapco still make some of them for my bath as I would like original shut-offs there, but need the stems. My showers' Needle is shown on p.9 . The main difference in my older fittings is that they're lever and these later ones are all cross-handles.
@ August 30, 2014 12:38 PM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomI think the valve is the compression type. I don't know if you can tell from the attached pic. I looked and felt and couldn't find any screw head. i think it just dissolved. When i recently cleaned a third floor shower head, I did find some black gasket material clogging it, (as well a a lot of mineral deposits). Cleaning out the head totally cleared up the problem. butdoing so had no affect on the blue shower on the second floor.
I'm also attaching a few pics of th bib assembly. notice how the washers appear different sizes...they aren't. It's just the metal has totally worn away on one. The actual valve holder is surprisingly clean.
@ August 30, 2014 12:40 AM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomI'll do a schematic tomorrow to show the hot and cold lines and that might be clearer. I'll post some pics then as well.
Today I concentrated on the Speakman. I took out the yolk assembly and plungers. Everything was in correctly in all ways. No issue there. It is, in fact, impossible to get them in wrong.
I was wrong. The hub washer was correct from the kit, so apparently this kit was the proper one. (I was told these washers were for a Speakman Mix-o-Meter when I bought them.) The washers still seem to be in good shape, but the plungers are really rough! I'll try posting pics. I don't know if these are causing the problems (not sure about that now), but I'm ordering new ones. Thanks for the link, Icesailor. That was my EXACT unit, not a newer model. I'm getting whatever new parts I can, cuz who knows when they'll stop selling them. I always run into that.
No check stops on the valve and no chance I missed them. I don't have anything on my toilets either. They don't sweat because it's a long way from the basement to the lavs.
I didn't address the water pressure issue today. The HW pressure is great.
While I had the water off and drained, and the shower apart, I blew the air compressor down the lines. I didn't feel any air!!! Then I blew water out shower valves in case anything came out under the high pressure.
However, the hot water shut-off valve in the basement is broken and letting through water unless I shut off the inlet to the HW heater. I have to wait til Tuesday to get the proper parts as everything was closed and the Big Box stores didn't have anything that would work. It was missing the gasket (blown somewhere down the line), and the screw holding it on was completely dissolved. As icesailor mentioned, this could be causing an obstruction, but the pressure in the shower is good.Any chance this could be causing a cross-connection? I have to check out the older CW shut-off tomorrow. The one that goes to the blue bathroom is a newish ball valve.
Icesailor, the "third" valve is the cold control for the west half of the house. The dedicated ball valve is supposed to shut of the blue bathroom only (North). It isn't leaking water through that I can tell, but I still need to shut of the "third" valve" to totally stop the cold water flow to the blue bathroom. The last valve is the HW valve. I'll post a schematic and pics tomorrow.
At least I know I have a leaky valve, the shower gaskets are fine, the assembly is in correctly, but the plungers are badly corroded and need replacing. Not sure if this info helps. I probably won't do anything until Tues. Thanks for all the help and have a Happy Labor Day. C
@ August 29, 2014 4:50 PM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomHi. Yes we have the little copper monel pins that hold everything in place. They're just not in the pic. That how we were able to get the assembly out. Very simple, but slick design.
The valve in the pic is actually from another bathroom; I just used it for illustration purposes. Don't ask about the plastic netting. :( No tile has been repaired or replaced.Someday I'll figure out how to permanently fill the tiny grout holes so they don't leak...unless i find a suitable solid surfacing. These tiles are set in concrete with very tight spacing. It seem, however, that the fine line of grout is the only thing holding in the water. The floor is fine.
@ August 28, 2014 7:31 PM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomThanks for your continuing help icesailor...the pic was before they were all cleaned up. forgot to take on after.
So yesterday I got in my 15,000 steps; today I'm spent that energy on the phone to Speakman. They are AWESOME!!! REALLY AWESOME!!!! Veronica and an "old-timer" (40+ yrs. with the company) spent a very long time helping me troubleshoot; they have the originals of the pdfs as well as some other catalogs, etc, in addition to a working knowledge of these Mix-o-Meters. (They didn't think these units had stop-checks, but I'm sending them pics so they can maybe identify my exact model and specs in their old catalogues.) We came up with a list of possible culprits for the HW first syndrome, and CW cross-connection issue.
-Too high HOT water pressure. This might explain the hot water first syndrome, as well as the hot toilet. Easy to test.
-Entire yolk assembly put in wrong, letting hot water enter fist. Easy to verify and fix.
-Replacement gaskets/washers wrong size (depth), even if correct circumference. The replacement gasket for the hub that came with the kit was wrong, so perhaps the valve gaskets were wrong as well. This does NOT explain why replacing them actually fixed the hot in toilet. but not not the cold water carry-over.
-Worn/damaged hot or cold plungers. Even the enclosed washers could be worn.
Easily replaced with new ones from Tapco. Not sure if they can go on the yolk wrong, but can check when entire assembly is out.
-Pinhole in valve casting due to age. Worst case scenario as it requires ripping out tile without guarantee of finding a new one. I have to talk to Tapco about it if it comes to that.
P.S. Icesailor, this shower plumbing backs onto an exterior brick wall. :( I know...why would anyone do that!) It's the only fixture that does with the exception of the Butler's Pantry sink, but that shares a space with a radiator.
P.P.S. i looked up recirculating HW and now I'm amazed we don't have that or didn't at one time. I don't see any pipes that go nowhere. That would have been awesome because it does take forever for the Master Bathroom to get HW.
@ August 28, 2014 2:19 PM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomThis is the difference between a plumbing genius like you, and a novice like me! I didn't think to mention that YES, the water comes out of the shower hot first. DUH! In my experiments shutting off the valves at the various sinks, the only difference it made was that the initial hot water ran for an increasingly long time before turning cold. It's done this since the beginning of the problems before we replaced the gaskets.I guess I read the pdf wrong when it said they couldn't go in backwards. I also think the plumber was careful to put them back as they came out...of course that doesn't mean they were in there correctly. In 100 years, someone my have replaced a part and screwed it up.
tt used to leak hot water down the front of the valve. A new gasket on the escutcheon plate fixed that issue, but the smaller gaskets/washers really did nothing. I notice in the pdfs, it says something about them being "enclosed"' ; Is there any possibility they weren't put in correctly?
Re-reading my old post, I also see that we found the cold valve was somehow stuck in the "on" position due to mineral deposits.
I'm going to go through this post and answer each comment and question. i won't be able to actually take it apart until next week when I have someone with the proper tools to do it. Thanks for this further food for thought. Gosh, are you sure you don't make housecalls?
p.s. WHAT IS HOT WATER RE-CICULATION?
@ August 28, 2014 2:21 AM in CI Radiators, air furnaces and more in Dayton/Cincinnati Ohio,Thank you. Ill have to figure out the edr and dimensions to see if it would fit. It's pretty fancy looking compared to my others. Do you have any of the valves?
@ August 28, 2014 12:53 AM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomindicate that the cross-connection is at the Speakman valve!
Thank you robg..Very clear directions. .I did as you suggested and the hot lines all remained hot. I also turned off the washing machine valves. That is the only fixture that stays open. Nothing is ever on with the shower.
I then shut of all the mixer valves at their shut-offs working my way up to the 3rd floor, as suggested in other posts.First hot, then cold. Absolutely no affect on the bleed-through.
Lastly, I turned off the cold supply to the Hot Water heater and turned on the hot shower tap on the third floor. Instead of turning off, it ran cold. I wondered which cold shut-off controlled it....I shut off the cold that supplies the Blue room only and that did the trick. I deduce it's the cold supply that feed the blue room that is bleeding into the other lines. Is this correct thinking.
Icesailor, there are multiple shut-offs in the basement...each one SHOULD only shut off one thing or series of faucets, but because of the bleed-through, I had to shut off an "unrelated" valve to totally shut-off the blue bathroom's cold, and THAT was when I finally go HOT water full strength in the shower.
Where would I find check stops on the Speakman? BTW, it was designed so the Hot and cold spools couldn't be switched and the cold ALWAYS came on before the hot. These valves are actually a pretty sweet piece of engineering. Very elegant in their simplicity, but seem to be way ahead of their time in safety.
I look at this as a mystery that we can solve through a process of elimination. Now I just need to figure out what can be wrong with the actual mixer valve to cause this problem. We replaced the washers last year in an attempt to fix this....it DID stop hot water going to the toilet, but not the cold cross-connection. Looking at your reference yolk assembly and the following pdfs, do you have any ideas what's really wrong and how to fix it? Could the cold valve somehow be stuck open? http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/posts/18504/S-2230%20Mixometer%20Operation.pdf
Thank you all for hanging in there
P.S. Just found this gem: https://archive.org/stream/SpeakmanShowersAndFixtures/SpeakmanCompanyCca34986_djvu.txt
Unfortunately no pics, but good descriptions. As icesailor said, some did have check stops, especially ones like mine with the shampoo and needles. However, it specifically states to provide access panels in the back and neither of my Speakman showers have them. the house was built to a high standard with very few shortcuts. It also said they could go elsewhere on the line. Where to look? Wish I could identify my model @.
@ August 27, 2014 2:47 PM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomSo, I've been trying to find how to trouble shoot a cross-connection. Every post I find suggests a different method, some turning off one or both of the valves directly under a fixture to shutting off one or both of the H/C valves in the basements. Surely these can't all be correctl
How can I isolate where this originates...It's actually quite a bit of trouble to take the SpeakmanMix-o-Meter apart so I'd like to eliminate the mixer valves at the other bathrooms and kitchen sink before trying that again.
It is possible the washers we replaced last year didn't work, but everything was cleaned and put in properly. To tell the truth, I don't recall the plumber testing it all out...once the hot toilet was corrected, he figured it was fixed. The shower and sink remained tepid. Is there somewhere else in the mixer valve that could be allowing the leak? Here's two pdf attachment with schematics and info for the valve as well as some pics of the valve itself:
@ August 26, 2014 3:19 PM in CI Radiators, air furnaces and more in Dayton/Cincinnati Ohio,Would you by any chance have a wall-hung unit. I need a smallish one (mainly two-column) for my kitchen @ 39 sq ft edr. At least that is what was the heating bench =style was that I removed a few years ago. It actually doesn't HAVE to be wall-hung, just not very deep.
@ August 26, 2014 3:10 PM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomI'm glad you saw this post, thanks for taking time again. yeah,my posts often disappear if I click off the page too soon...very frustrating; I usually try to remember to hit"copy" before I post!
Anyway, back to the cross-connection. I'm now sure that's what it is after reading about it extensively last night.The line feeding the sink may be obstructed, but that feeding the shower is free-flowing based on yesterday's findings. Yeah!
I'm not sure what you are asking about having HW circulation or the source of the HW. I have a separate, dedicated gas hot water tank. It's always provided sufficient HW. I get HW to all the faucets in the other baths and kitchen; it's only the blue one with the Speakman mixer that gets cool water ALL the time at the shower and sink. I have NO positive shut-off handheld showers. I know what you mean. The washer seem to work fine and is on separate lines.
Uggh!!! Just lost the rest of my unsaved Post!!!!! Anyway, you get the picture.
I think any photos would be about as confusing as this post given all the steam mains and condensate lines that parallel one another.There is one odd little section I'll try to capture.
Big question: How do I find where the cross-connection originates?
@ August 26, 2014 1:59 PM in Plumbing Forum?That is hilarious, but so true. I have a hard time wrapping my head around
disposable plumbing fixtures, I guess. Generally, I've found the
original to be superior or at least fixable. Even my Chambers stove is
getting up there in years. In fact, the single modern state-of-the-art
system in my house is that for heating: twinned Slantfin Intrepid
TR50s, stage-fired, but they're attacehed to the awesome 100yr old Trane
vapovacuum steam system.and use the original Vstat.
I'm startinga new post with my latest findings. Please follow. I'm pretty good at
trouble-shooting with guidance, but need guidance!!! Plus, then I'll
need to figure out how to fix the problem.
@ August 26, 2014 1:43 AM in Cross-connection in blue bathroomBy popular demand, I'm starting a new thread on my shower woes in the Blue bathroom. The original confusing thread can be found here: http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/146228/Plumbing-Forum
IT went all over the place and the original issues became hopelessly confused (except to icesailor!), who managed to follow the details and actually knows how my shower fixture works.
Background: 100 yr old Speakman Mix-o-meter that HAD and probably STILL has a cross-connection. We replaced the gaskets and THAT stopped the toilet from from getting hot, but the sink and shower remain tepid. The sink also has very low HW flow, but I believe this is unrelated, due to a series of experiments I did today.
After a zillion years, I finally discovered where the hot & cold shut-offs in the basement are for this half of the house, but my "experiments" showed some strange things. PLEASE NOTE: a single valve controls the HW to this part of the house, but two valves control the cold water, one of which ONLY goes to this bathroom. When I shut off the cold valve servicing the blue bathroom, all cold water is shut off, but the hot water is still weak and tepid. When I shut off the hot water in the basement, I still get flow out of all the hot taps on all the fixtures, but it's very tepid.. Only by shutting off BOTH the Hot AND cold valves can I stop the flow to the hot tap. In addition, when I shut off both cold valves and turn on the hot one, the shower water becomes HOT and has great pressure.(The only time I've felt this in at least a year!) This is why I don't think it's obstructed. The sink also gets very hot, but it's still just a trickle.
I don't see how the water from the other cold valve servicing the other rooms is crossing over into the hot as I've already shut off the cold valve that supplies this bathroom. Confused, anyone? So am I.
I might also note that when I did the same experiment with the other bathrooms and kitchen, I had the same result. Shutting off the hot water did NOT shut off the flow at the hot taps. It just became tepid, but maintained a strong flow. When I then shut of the cold valve as well, all flow ceased. Someone please explain this to me. Could it all originate at the shower in question or should I check out the mixer valves in the other fixtures which are all fairly new. Is it possible this originates in the basement? If so, why is the blue bathroom that's furthest away the one with a problem. All the other bathrooms and sinks on this side are fine.
Icesailor, regarding the low-flow to the sink...I think it may be unrelated. I thought to get the shower cross-connection fixed first and then address the sink.
Why would replacing the gaskets not fix the entire problem, but only the HW in the toilet? What am I missing in how these old Speakman Mix-o-meter work?
Thank you for any and all suggestions. I intend to fix this!!!
@ August 24, 2014 2:25 PM in Plumbing Forum?Thanks icesailor, I love reading your musings. I wanted to clarify there ARE shut-off valves to the sink ,bath and toilet, just NOT to the separate shower as it backs onto an exterior wall.There also, is NO shut off valve to just shut off this half of the house in the basement (that we/ve ever found). Should I take it off and try the air compressor method there? We did it through the faucet before.
Regarding the mixer valve. I'll try turning it to cold and see if I get hot. If I'm reading your reply correctly that's what should happen, although I don't think it's the case here. In the prior experiments, when I shut off the cold in the basement, I didn't get any water flow out of the shower when it was turned to cold. That tells me cold is hooked up to the cold valve. You do have a great understanding of these valves...they work exactly like you say!
I'll try the air compressor tomorrow. If that's the issue, it should help the flow of water to the shower as well, correct?
@ August 23, 2014 8:08 PM in Plumbing Forum?It's the only plumbing fixture without individual shut-off valves in the entire house and only one of two on an outside wall, which explains no access panel also.
soi here's a cruddy little schematic showing the br set-up Right +North. I think the water lines come in from the East to the tub and then from there over to the sink/shower/toilet, but i can't really see behind the panel very well due to insulation/joists, etc.
When we recently repaired the drip, we just put in new gaskets. That fixed the toilet hot water issue. Everything about the actual mixer tap seemed in really good shape and the plumber cleaned it all beautifully before reinstalling it. The gaskets were specifically for this Speakman mix-o-meter.
When i have help on Monday, I'm going to try to turn off the HW valve for the front side of my house and see if any lines from there go to the problem bthroom. I've never been able to find a master shut-off for the back side of the house.
@ August 23, 2014 3:42 PM in Plumbing Forum?Thanks icesailor and robg. Yes, it always worked until the last couple of years. It's seems random as nothing was changed recently except putting a low-flow shower head on which I removed for all experiments...it didn't seem to have any effect.
The tub and shower are original fixtures @ 100yrs old. The shower has no access panel and I can't see anything unusual in the bath access panel. It's basically just the drain pipe and water lines with shut-offs. The toilet is ten years old and the sink taps were put in maybe7-8 years ago on an old sink. It's a modern washerless faucet.No chance of any tempering valve as I've lived here many years and this is a recent problem.
I thought I'd fixed the cross-over problem when putting in the new shower gaskets...does the hot water in the sink tap mean that's not the case?
I can draw a little schematic showing where the fixtures are relative to one another, but I can't really see the piping. I presume it comes to the tub first and then to the sink and shower as the tub pressure and temp is fine. I'll do that when I get home.
I'll try your suggestion at the HWtank on Monday when I have help.
The experiments basically just involved shutting off the cold water to that bathroom in differnt orders and seeing what affect in had on the hot. The only time it did anything unusual was when I had the sink tap on prior to shutting off the main supply. It's just too strange that cutting off the cold supply while running cold water at the sink would force hot water into the tap.. BTW, I had the shower off but turned to cold and when I shut off the cold supply it DID shut off any cold flow to the shower and tub. When I turned it to Hot, water came out.
I love a good mystery, but this one is beyond me.
@ August 23, 2014 1:43 AM in Plumbing Forum?So I tried some trouble-shooting experiments to see if any of this makes sense to anyone.
Background: 100yr old Speakman that had a valve cross-over leak. We fixed that aspect, but the other problem of trickling hot water at the sink and tepid water at the shower persists. This is a second fl BR; the tub and toilet are fine. All the water to other plumbing in the house is HOT and pressure is great except to hot water tap at sink.
For these experiments I shut off the Cold water supply in the basement that ONLY feeds this bathroom.
1st experiment: Turned On hot taps to shower and sink
Turned Off Cold supply in basement.
Result: no change.trickle at sink, tepid at shower.
2nd experiment: Turned on Cold at sink (great pressure) and left running for a couple of minutes
Turned of Cold supply in basement.
Result: water at tap did not turn off, but turned HOT!!!, and pressure stayed strong. No effect on dribble of water at hot tap.
3rd experimen with cold supply remaining shut Offt: shut off cold tap to sink (which was running HOT water), turned ON cold to shower. NO cold water at shower so turned tap off. Then I turned on the Cold at the sink, but this time instead of Hot water there was no flow. Hot tap NOT affected.
The only difference was I turned on the sink tap AFTER turning off the Cold supply and trying to turn on the cold at the shower.
4th experiment: Turned on Cold supply valve and then cold tap at sink.
Result .full flow of cold water at sink. No effect on Hot tap.
I then turned shower mixer to hot, but sink remained cold.
Why can't I get HOT water at the shower and full pressure at the sink. I tried cleaning the lines as icesailor suggested, but no luck. Do these experiments help anyone trouble shoot this? And why was I getting HOT water out of the COLD sink tap? I'm determined to fix this.
@ August 18, 2014 2:37 PM in Replace gravity with pump in condensate line?You might want to email steamhead directly to ensure he gets your message. Just click on his name on the sidebar and you'll be taken to a for to send him an email. When he replies you'll receive one that says" Someone from The Wall has sent you a message". then you can set it all up privately. It's a very nice feature of this forum. Most just have a pm feature , but you have to be on the foum to get it.
@ August 14, 2014 6:30 PM in radiator steam traps vertical pattern single unionMany, many old two-pipe systems have orifices and the metered valves. These were generally higher-end systems. My own two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system has the metered valves, but where some were replaced over the years, I'll be putting in orifices. I'm not sure if anyone still makes the metered valves.
I don't know the history of traps, either when or why they were introduced, but many early systems lacked them; maybe it's like today when there's planned obsolescence! Once you have traps, you have to maintain them. I also had some knuckleheads over the years tell me I had to ADD traps because my system couldn't possibly be working correctly without them!
I'd follow Jamie's advice and lower that pressure STAT, then look into adding a Vstat and orifices. Don't worry about lowering it further; it can go much lower. For comparison, the Empire State Building runs on about 2 1/2lbs of pressure! You can get a Vaporstat for less than the price of ONE new trap. The pre-drilled orifices are not expensive, but if you use the charts, you could custom-drill the blank ones that are sold for even less.
I might also add that a properly vented system will not allow the pressure to go too high. Without any vstat on my newly installed boilers, the pressure rarely reached over 1lb and generally never exceeded 1/2lb. I had the pressuretroll set for 2 with a cut-out of 1.
I also wouldn't be too sure your system wasn't designed to run in a vacuum as many folks here have discovered. Good luck.
@ July 31, 2014 6:05 PM in Oil to Gas ConversionJust goofed up my post. :( So the real ? is do you actually plan to add more radiation, and if so, how much? The smaller boiler already allows @26sq ft edr. If you truly do plan to add more than that the larger boiler may possibly be down-fired a bit in the interim. I also seem to recall that these boiler are the same except for the burners. Hopefully, the pros will read and verify this or correct me.
Bear in mind the larger IN6 is @35% oversized, which is quite a lot. As it stands now, the IN5 seems to be a perfect fit.