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Joined on July 7, 2011

Last Post on October 24, 2013

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Do you have

@ September 23, 2011 10:14 PM in splitting control's

one pipe going to each radiator, or two?  Is the thermostat on the main floor? What do set it at? When it reaches set point, what are the temperatures on each floor?

Tim Hodgson

You can make a zoned steam system,

@ September 23, 2011 10:06 PM in two one pipe staeam systems alongside each other?

Install a vacuum breaker on the boiler. Do not allow condensate to collect on the system side of a closed zone valve. Do you have a condensate pump? If you have a gravity return, put a check valve in each zones return.

Good Luck,
Tim Hodgson

I always agree

@ September 23, 2011 9:45 PM in Pilot light question

with men named Tim...Get it cleaned and tuned up. and GET a CO detector!
Your service technician should check the burner, firebox, heat exchanger, flue and chimney for condition and cleanliness. They should also check on the combustion air supply and anything(s) that would depressurize the house.

Good Luck,

Tim Hodgson

It should work fine.

@ September 23, 2011 9:02 PM in multi boiler pump opitions

The pumps and boilers need to be identical and make sure you have a check valve to prevent reverse flow through the other boilers when they are off.

Good luck,
Tim Hodgson

It would be

@ September 20, 2011 8:03 PM in Lightning and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

interesting to see if that brand of CO detector is triggered by ozone.
I now know what I am doing this weekend...
Thanks for the idea,

Cheap Fix

@ September 20, 2011 7:31 PM in Hodgepodge of Radiators!! Suggestions

Restrict the air flow through the convectors until both floors are comfortable. I would go to a sheet metal company and have them cut some 4 foot by the width of the fins dimension and then cut them at 12' long. You can overlap the sheetmetal and make a baffle any length you need. You will have to experiment until you find the correct amount. I would start by blocking 70% of the air and decreasing it as each room gets too cold.
Good luck,

Not Always

@ September 7, 2011 5:56 PM in C.A.Z. testing question...

I am pretty good at calculating my combustion air every time, but I do not stress the air supply unless we have had a problem with odors, moisture, limits,headaches, heat streaks or spillage signs.
 I remember the problem job, where it would smell up the house intermittently in the evening. I would get the call once a week. I would turn on the dryer, range and bath fans trying to make spillage at the draft diverter. No such luck. Two weeks later I figured out it was only when they had two or more fans on and they had left the glass fireplace doors open while burning a fire. If you closed the glass doors, the spillage would cease, open them and it would spill again.
I do believe that a lack of combustion air is a big problem. Both contractors and homeowners remodel and love hiding the heating equipment behind a wall or door.   We have a pretty temperate climate in Portland. Most older homes have a
lot of air infiltration and most new, tightly constructed homes have
sealed combustion equipment.
 We should adjust our equipment when the air supply is at its worst. I will stress the next few jobs and see what results pop up. Although I would hate to stoke up the fireplace in July.
Best regards,


You can

@ September 7, 2011 5:22 PM in How to adjust heat?

open or close the air damper in the top opening of the baseboard.


At what temperatures

@ September 7, 2011 5:19 PM in Upgrading the system

do the fan coil motors turn on and off?
Good Luck,

It all depends

@ September 7, 2011 5:09 PM in Replacing a steam radiator...

on the supply pipe size vs. the radiator size. If you stick to the 2 pipe it is probably safer rather than connecting a large 1 pipe radiator to a small supply valve.
Good Luck,

2 pipe vapor

@ September 7, 2011 5:03 PM in Vapor Steam Boiler -- What is this? How to replace?

Your system is probably a Broomel vapor system. Most likely the new boiler holds 1/2 the water volume of the existing boiler. You will probably need a "boiler feed" pump not a condensate pump. I believe the drop header is what we call a "False water line" to maintain a wet return water seal. You will need this so you do not have to install traps on each radiator. The keys to making this system work are: Do not exceed 1 pound of steam pressure, Lots of venting if you remove the ceiling vent radiator, no pressure in the condensate line.  Basically, make the new boiler adapt to the existing piping.
The first bid sounds like he understands the system better.
Good Luck,


@ September 7, 2011 4:34 PM in Need some guidance

It looks like you want to remove one steam main and replace its steam flow from the end of the other main. Calculate the EDR of all the radiator. If the mains are large enough, then you have a good chance. I'd check the sizing against the old charts in "The lost art of steam heating"  Then I would look at the pitching of the steam and condensate piping. Remember, just say no to water trapping. EVERY pipe drains to the boiler !!

no steam traps

@ September 7, 2011 4:22 PM in Two-pipe radiators with no steam trap

You are correct that without a trap the steam will just blow through. I can only think of three possibilities:  The steam is throttled at the radiator inlet, the steam traps are in the basement ceiling or the condensate piping is directed into a wet return in the basement.
Good Luck,

steam engine

@ September 7, 2011 4:16 PM in Any ideas

It looks like a steam engine oiler, or one to a hit and miss engine.

Coffee grounds in giannoni heat exhangers

@ July 7, 2011 9:42 PM in Strange residue in Giannoni heat exchanger

I agree with Mark that all condensing boilers have some scale on the fireside. I too have noticed some units require cleaning twice a year. The manufacturer said to clean it with CLR (phosphoric acid). I took a cup of it back to the office and stuck a magnet in it. Wow! it is ferrous. The R in CLR is for Rust. My observations are the combustion air pipe is usually in a damp area (flower beds, shrubs and bushes) there may be some extra recirculation of moist air. Although I have not noticed any evidence of moisture in the boiler cabinet. My best guess(and yes that is all it is) the stainless is not as high a grade as it should be, but wait it could be the landscaper using too much moss out on the lawn..... Of course I have not found any magnetic scale particles in an aluminum heat exchanger.
I have found through the years that if a manufacturer minimizes the problems and sells the benefits. So if I hear them say they have a minimal problem, it is probably the weak link in their equipment. The same thing holds true for the installation literature.
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