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Joined on May 5, 2011

Last Post on July 22, 2014

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@ May 4, 2014 11:02 AM in Pilot lit but burners not igniting

This is what Weil-Mclain says.


@ May 2, 2014 8:44 AM in Please critique this layout

How about a Gifford loop? I've always heard they produce a more stable water line.


@ May 1, 2014 8:36 PM in W-M SGO-3 to gas conversion

Where have you seen a steam boiler with an AFUE of 90+,92+ and 97+?


@ April 30, 2014 8:38 PM in Please critique this layout

I used bushings on my EG-45 and have absolutely no problems. 

When do you expect to have the new boiler installed by?  Friday? :)

Gauge glass

@ April 29, 2014 9:40 PM in new radiator vents are puffing

In regards to skimming, would it be possible for you to either post a short video of how the gauge glass acts after the boiler has been steaming for a while.

If not, can you post a picture of what the water in it looks like right now?

I don't know about others, but I don't trust "It's been skimmed enough!".  Not saying you don't have other problems like sags in the piping and those awful vari-vents, but I figured I'd start at the boiler.


@ April 29, 2014 1:15 PM in A rare sighting

I'd rather a house torn down than converted to as steamhead says, scortched-error.


@ April 29, 2014 11:39 AM in A rare sighting

The first thing that came to mind when I read that was this :

It's pretty sad when we're amazed it was actually done correctly. :( Of course, does make you wonder why it was removed? From what I've seen 3 years is plenty of time to rott a block out and I don't like the looks of that gauge glass.


@ April 29, 2014 6:14 AM in eg-45 start up questions on surging and wet steam

There is no difference, PEG means packaged so that can't be what they meant.

Old manual

@ April 28, 2014 8:56 PM in eg-45 start up questions on surging and wet steam

Good thing I saved a copy so I could prove I'm not crazy.
Also glad to see they finally fixed the manual.

As far as I know, the center of the gauge glass is the NWL on the EG series. I think the bottom of my header is something like 30" above the NWL, however I also have a drop header.


@ April 28, 2014 5:26 PM in eg-45 start up questions on surging and wet steam

So he is so sure he did it right even though he didn't install a skim port on a steam boiler. That's basic knowledge even a dumb homeowner like me knows.

Now I do recall something confusing about the EG manual in regards to it having two lines for 3 boilers, I think EG-35,40,45. I'm going 100% off of memory but I want to say it looked like you could use a 2" header on it, but somewhere else in the book it stated 2.5". They had like 2 different lines in the chart for some reason.

For what it's worth, I doubt the inspector will know or care about the header size. I know mine wouldn't have and I've noticed a lot of inspectors pass piping that is completely wrong. I think it's ridicules he won't upgrade the header if you're willing to pay for it.

Frequency and material

@ April 28, 2014 8:29 AM in Thermostat wire

Hi Techman,

As far as I am aware only frequency and material of the conductor have an effect on it. In DC circuits where I work we typically use solid wire even when dealing with micro and millivolts.

Thank you in regards to the pictures. I try to keep updating them as things change.

Suface area

@ April 27, 2014 4:11 PM in Thermostat wire

As far as I am aware, stranded vs solid only ever matters in regards to AC and never DC. With AC the skin-effect is fairly deep at 60Hz so it would only matter when dealing with fairly large conductors, something like 8mm diameter if I recall.

Here's a wiki on it.

Harvey, I'm sorry if we have had this discussion before, based on your response I'm concerned we may have. If we did, I completely don't remember and didn't mean to offend you.

AC vs DC?

@ April 27, 2014 12:46 PM in Thermostat wire


This is the first time I am hearing such a thing and I work in the electronics industry.  What would be the reason for sticking with stranded for DC?  The only thing that I can think of that might ever matter is the skin effect which only happens with AC and is practically meaningless at 60Hz.

To the OP, I ran 4 conductor stranded 18AWG to my stat.  I had originally used 2 conductor but wanted a common to power the stat so swapped it out for 4 conductor.  I'd highly recommend running more than two because you never know what you might want down the road.  As others have said just look for some 18AWG stranded wire of whatever multiple in a single jacket.  I think the brand I used was Belden and has red, white, green, black.


@ April 26, 2014 10:59 AM in eg-45 start up questions on surging and wet steam

I personally went with two 2" risers into a 3" header. I went with two 2" risers over a single 3" as I felt it would perform better.

I would try to get any rust and sediment out of the system you can but I wouldn't clean the boiler more than once a month or two my self.

In regards to rusting of the boiler itself and salts in the makeup water, after running my EG-45 for a year I started running Steamaster water treatment and never looked back. All of my rust problems are gone and my boiler water is always clean. It is however extremely important that you get your water clean before adding treatment. All oil must be completely gone.

This is a video I made of skimming the boiler.

After skimming six times I finally made a wand like Gerry Gill uses and washed the boiler via the skim port opening. This is what finally got my water clean for the first time. I connect it to the drain on my water heater so most of the water I get is fairly hot.

This is what my boiler water looks like today and I never worry about rust or makeup water. I drain the boiler twice a year and occasionally wash it with the wand just to make sure I get any sediment laying in the bottom out.

A lot of guys are against water treatment but I will continue using it without a doubt. I just can't stress how important it is that you get your boiler clean first. If you go with Rectorseal Steamaster tablets don't follow the instructions on the bottle as they are wrong. Use one to two tablets at the most. I'm currently running two.


@ April 25, 2014 7:46 PM in eg-45 start up questions on surging and wet steam

I just glanced at the pictures as I'm getting ready to do something but from the looks of it it doesn't look piped too bad.

However you need a skim port.  The yellow hole on the side with the gauge glass is where this port belongs.  Have a look at the pictures at the link in my signature and you will see what I mean.  Without this port you cannot get the oil out of the system.


@ April 22, 2014 10:08 PM in Skimmer valve failed!?

Here is a picture of the failed ball valve.
I just noticed it's not even a Hydrovalve but an Everflow brand.

Looking at it in the picture it actually looks like the coating came off of the ball.  It does appear the ball is brass rather than rusty steel.  This is the side that was facing the boiler since November of 2011.  It's hard to tell, at first I thought there were scrapes but now it looks more like the coating just came off while rubbing against the plastic seal.

Perhaps it's just a bad valve, or maybe Everflow ball valves can't handle steam.  Or maybe rust or something just worked its way in between the ball and seal. 

Any and all opinions welcome as always. 


@ April 18, 2014 8:48 AM in Twin Steam Boilers - 4 Stages of Firing Rates

Another beautiful install by Thatcher Heating and Air Conditioning.

I am surprised you went with atmospheric boilers this time though.


@ April 17, 2014 8:20 PM in Skimmer valve failed!?

My new "skimming apparatus" is installed.  I went with a plug rather than a cap because I can remove and install it using a 12" adjustable rather than a pipe wrench. 

It's near impossible to tell from the picture but both the coupler and plug are LEE brand brass made in USA.


@ April 17, 2014 10:47 AM in Skimmer valve failed!?

Nope, only thing I use is the steamaster tablets during normal use.

I have a few guesses of why the valve failed. Perhaps rusty water drying on the ball sticks a little better than when its wet and was able to get past or into the plastic seal. I used the skim valve a lot, especially in the beginning so maybe it was just how I was using it. Maybe it was just a defective valve, or perhaps it doesn't like the high temperatures of steam and junk worked its way into the seals when they were hot and soft.

So far it's the only valve I've had fail on the boiler. All drain valves which are also ballvalves are still fine and my king valves that are gate valves rated for steam are also fine.

New skim port

@ April 17, 2014 9:50 AM in Skimmer valve failed!?

So I decided to eliminate the valve and install this instead. Might be hard to see the color but they are both solid brass.

30 minutes with C

@ April 17, 2014 8:52 AM in Am I venting my mains too fast?

Holy smokes, 30 minutes even with a size C?
Did you remove or reduce the main venting on the short main and does the long main start to get hot right away or does it take a long time, seeming like all of the steam is going to the short one?

My boiler isn't oversized but rather is sized perfectly, and 30 minutes after I start producing steam all of my radiators are completely full or close to it. Once steaming it usually takes 2-3 minutes to get steam to all of my radiators meaning the pipe going to every radiator is hot, not the radiator it self yet.

As others have said swooshing sounds are never good, that's your steam dying before it even gets to the war. Killing steam is the same as burning money so you need to fix that as painful as it may be.

Just to keep everyone on the same page, the times I gave are after the boiler starts producing steam. I don't include the time it takes to heat the water up as that's variable and very dependent on when the last time the boiler was on. After being off for a few days it took 20.5 minutes to start steaming from a cold start + the time to get the steam down the pipes. On cold nights it may only take a minute or two to start steaming.


@ April 17, 2014 6:20 AM in Should the water supply flowing into a steam boiler be cold water or hot water?

The only time I've heard of hot water being an issue is if you have an autofeeder.  I believe the seals in autofeeders aren't designed for hot water and may fail.
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