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Joined on July 7, 2011

Last Post on October 24, 2013

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I like

@ February 9, 2012 4:21 PM in Radiant floor with steam

your idea of the pipe radiator in the joist bay. Just be sure to support,  pitch, drip and vent the pipe properly. I would guess that one 1/2" pipe is more than enough heat supply for one joist bay.
Good luck,

Disappearing water

@ February 9, 2012 4:09 PM in water being pulled from boiler

I will assume the boiler has worked well in the past and nothing mechanical has been changed. The boiler water has three ways to get out of the boiler: Carryover from dirty water and surface tension, it can back out the bottom of the boiler through a defective check valve at the condensate pump and up the chimney if you have a leak in a section.
I have had a lot of good results by cleaning the water side of the boiler.
Good luck,

vacuum breaker

@ February 9, 2012 3:53 PM in vacuum breaker

I am a little stumped. I normally see vacuum breakers stick and the boiler will go into a vacuum as the steam condenses. At this point the the boiler vacuum sucks the water out of the boiler feed tank without any help from the pump. This often leaves my boiler overfilled.
Good luck,

Munchkin wet controls

@ February 9, 2012 3:35 PM in Munchkin wet controls

I am working on a M# 199, 2004 vintage boiler. It is a modular system with 2 matched boilers. The customer complains that it backfires every couple of days. 2 months ago we had replaced the burner, gasket, door, insulation, electrode and flame rod. Yesterday, when I took the cover off, it seemed damp. On the top edge of the base there was moisture from the gas pipe to the control board. I couldn't find the leak, all the sensors, pipe and manifold connections and insulation were dry. I finally found it moist air coming from from the air venturi opening. There is no sign of a leak inside and there is no condensate (I have checked the trap and it is clean) during the off cycle.
Has anyone run across this before?
I am thinking i must have a small leak that evaporates all the evidence due to the hot heat exchanger.

Hot Steamer

@ February 9, 2012 3:02 PM in Honeywell True Steam blowing up our cond pump

I like the solution you propose. It is inexpensive and easy to maintai.
Good luck,

I agree with Ed

@ January 20, 2012 9:12 PM in Apartment Building Steam Heating Problem

Vacuum does not suck water out of a boiler. Carry-over does. Cleaning the inside of the boiler and then filling with clean water is a good first step.
I think I am missing something, if your two pipe radiators do not have traps, what stops the steam from venting out the boiler feed tank?

Good luck,

No problems

@ January 20, 2012 8:43 PM in piping question, tight tees

for a one zone system... and if you decide to add a second zone then add a flow check valve to the first zone.
Good luck,

It is a ratio

@ January 5, 2012 10:34 AM in Flue temp and return water temp. condensing?

BTU Input (burner firing rate) : BTU output (lbs.water flow x temperature rise)

The square inches of heat exchange surface is constant.

Your water flow is usually constant, so a decrease in your firing rate will decrease the water temperature rise through the boiler.

 The burner, at low fire is moving less air and gas, the hot gasses flow through the boiler slower.

This means the flue gasses are in contact with the heat exchanger for a longer period of time.

That makes the flue temperature closer to the return water temperature

Hope this answers your question,

I agree

@ January 5, 2012 10:13 AM in Two Radiators Stay Cold - Help!

with bn, run the pressure up then pull the vents and see if you have any steam pressure in the radiators. If you have no pressure at the vents, then the valves need attention.
If you can't get pressure to build up on the boiler, close 30% of your radiators for the test.

Good luck,

You can do everything you want

@ January 5, 2012 10:00 AM in swap gas for oil with replacement core?

The burner, power venter, indirect water heater and hydronic zone can all work well together with your boiler. It sounds like you have a good grasp of the concepts. It really comes down to sizing and zone priority. If the current boiler is over-sized, you can operate all three zones at once. If not you will have to prioritize the zones. Just remember the boiler will be hot 12 months a year for hot water use. I would recommend a time clock to break that circuit during the middle of the day.
I would definitely get help from a professional, who has done this before.

Good luck,

Made in America

@ December 16, 2011 2:17 PM in Made in America

I don't know if anyone has seen this, but I highly recommend it.

I'm concerned

@ December 1, 2011 10:15 AM in Wiring steam boiler

since I have many students that confuse series and parallel circuits when they are first starting out. This mistake can cause deadly situations. To answer your question, all limit controls are wired in series. All control switches must be closed before the burner will start and any one control can stop the burner.
I would suggest that a qualified contractor should do the wiring and check-out for you.

With out an expansion tank

@ December 1, 2011 9:54 AM in Crossed Hot Cold Pipe?

is it possible the indirect coils are heating the domestic water and creating excessive pressure in the hot water lines as the water expands?


That is a sad story...

@ November 11, 2011 7:45 PM in Generator in the garage

it only took 15 seconds to read it and move on. What is it that two people die in a  small plane crash and everyone wants to hear about it for 10 minutes on the nightly news, but this couples' family is devastated and if is just a little blurb?
We really need to ring the alarm bell much louder!
What ever we are doing it isn't enough.


I have used both

@ November 11, 2011 7:27 PM in heat exchanger testing

a draft gauge and combustion analyzer. very successfully, but of course I did find one that did not show a failure. I suspect the furnace pressure was equal to the blower pressure. I have since inflated a balloon in the flue pipe and set off a smoke bomb in the firebox until the smoke inside is stable, then turn on the blower. I have seen smoke come out the observation port and air being drawn in if the exchanger is breached. Just make sure there is no air leakage around the observation port to distort the visual effect.
Give it a try and let me know if you have any false readings.

Good Luck,

Could you

@ November 11, 2011 7:08 PM in System Losing Water

have a small leak in the steam chest of the boiler(warranty). It would only leak a small amount of steam while there was pressure and hide as flue gas. Try capping off the air vents and pressurize the system and have an ultra-sonic test performed to find where the air is escaping. At 1 gallon per day, I would have thought it would be more obvious.

Good Luck,

I have several

@ November 11, 2011 6:58 PM in just a thought

large commercial boilers with a 2" x 6" anode connected to a 2 1/2" plug mounted in the mud leg. If it works for them, why not you.

Good luck,

You should

@ November 11, 2011 6:54 PM in substitute burner

be concerned with the flue gasses being too cold and condensing inside the boiler, causing corrosion or damage to the chimney.

I would be concerned with the following:
How long does it take to make steam from a cold start?
How long does the flue temperature stay below 350F?
What pressure is the burner maintaining?
Are there signs of water around the boiler or flue?

Good Luck,

How many pumps?

@ November 9, 2011 12:18 PM in Constant Circulation and WM Indirect

Do you have 2 or 3 pumps? A diagram of your piping would be helpful.
Or just install a motorized ball valve on the heating loop.

Good luck,

Over-heating zones

@ November 9, 2011 12:02 PM in Temp stays higher than thermostat -- radiant hydronic heat

The most likely problem is the when a zone calls for heat, the over-heated zones get some parallel water flow from the other pump. If this is the problem then you can have flow control check valves installed. I would turn off the thermostats in the affected areas today and tomorrow I would check the supply and return piping temperatures for the zones that are over-heating.If they have heat flow then you have found the problem.

Good luck,

Leaking steam vent

@ October 25, 2011 5:30 PM in Vent doesn't seem to close on main riser

Since it is new, I would check to make sure the vent is plumb. I would also check if dirt, pipe dope or teflon tape could have gotten inside the vent. Do you have any water hammer when the system fires up? 
Good Luck,


It looks like you have a Trane

@ October 13, 2011 3:04 PM in Trying to understand my Vapor-Vacuum system

boiler return trap. The two pipes coming out of the top are connected to the steam supply and the vented condensate return piping. The float alternates which one is open or closed. I have seen the return traps piped into a Hartford loop and I have seen them piped directly into the bottom of the boiler. The system will work fine either way. I would not take the return trap apart until it fails. You have a sediment trap on the piping before the first check valve, to keep the traps clean. If you desire you can clean the sediment trap and check valves. It is good that you have lowered the pressure setting. Confirm the main air vent and end of main vent(s) are functioning and the system should cruise through the winter.
Good luck,
Tim H
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