Joined on July 25, 2011
Last Post on May 20, 2013
@ January 18, 2013 8:39 PM in Steam BoilerI got nothin', but maybe if I could see it something might come to me, or somebody.
@ January 17, 2013 10:34 PM in Crazy IdeaBut it'd take more than a paragraph to explain what all that stuff is--to me anyway. You guys sure get into some interesting stuff, on top of the mundane replace/repipe boiler work. I'm impressed with the amount of photo-documentation you guys do, considering how busy you are, but I sometimes get the feeling it just scratches the surface.
@ January 17, 2013 10:20 PM in Sticking pressuretrol?Jorgensen makes all kinds of clamps. Nice vises too.
You could probably also use a big adjustable wrench on it with a couple of shims to protect the tubing.
@ January 17, 2013 10:09 PM in Pigtail modificationIt's always good to have a union at one end of the pigtail or the other so you can remove it without disconnecting the wire.
You'll notice my pigtails are pretty close to the boiler jacket too, but I can rotate the tees a little to give them room to turn.
@ January 17, 2013 10:04 PM in Job Pictures. 1930's TRANE Vapor system.It's hard to believe the difference between the before and after. As I'm reading down, everything looks reasonable, step by step, but then I went back up and looked at the "before" pictures again and, holy crap! What a difference!
Just think how many years it took to get all screwed up compared to the time it took you to make it better than new. That's pretty impressive.
@ January 17, 2013 9:42 PM in Pigtail modificationDon't let the length of the wire limit where you put the pressuretrol. It's just a pair of wires, and it doesn't even matter which one goes to which terminal on the switch. There's nothing wrong with that type of pigtail, you just shouldn't let the length of a wire dictate how you arrange things. Generally the higher the pressuretrol the better.
The pressuretrol should work at any angle, as long as it's vertical. If it were one of the older ones with the mercury switch you'd have to keep the loop of the pigtail perpendicular to the face of the pressuretrol because the loop expands a little when it gets hot, and that could tip the control and change the point at which the switch would make or break contact.
I don't see anything wrong with your planned arrangement, but I don't see anything wrong with it the way it is.
@ January 17, 2013 11:14 AM in Sticking pressuretrol?Usually the loop of the pigtail will give you enough leverage to turn it by hand, but if the pipe joint compound has hardened, you might be in for a tough time.
The trouble with using a pipe wrench on a brass pigtail is that brass is soft and pigtails are thin-walled, so the wrench is apt to crush it. If that happens you'll have a hard time getting it out because the crushed tubing will just twist right off.
You might be able to get more leverage by sticking something through the loop, like a large pipe or a baseball bat. The bigger it is the better. You want to apply the pressure to the largest possible area. If it doesn't seem to want to come out without a fight, stop and wait to see if any of the pros have any tricks you can use. Don't do anything drastic unless you have a new pigtail and a 1/4" tap on hand.
And yes, you can use ptfe tape on these. If the last guy had done so, you'd be having a much easier time right now.
@ January 16, 2013 10:19 PM in Sticking pressuretrol?Unless the system is heating, all your vents should be open, so there should be no resistance to blowing through the pigtail, and I think you'd know if the system was on. ;-)
Tomorrow you can take that pigtail off and rap it on a hard, flat surface. I use the top of my head, but you might prefer your basement floor. If you have any of those wire tube brushes, they can help, but I have yet to see one that will go all the way through. Knock out as much as you can but try not to put any dents in it, then blow it out with a blow-gun, if you have a compressor, or use a shop-vac to suck the loose stuff out, then soak it in some washing soda or white vinegar for an hour or two and rinse it out.
@ January 16, 2013 9:49 PM in Installing main ventsThat sounds pretty run-of the mill, so I would vent the heck out of it. =:^o
@ January 16, 2013 9:45 PM in Sticking pressuretrol?The cut-out pressure is the sum of the cut-in and the differential, so yours is 1.5 psi, right where it should be.
If the pressuretrol isn't working, a plugged pigtail is the most likely cause. If your pigtail is steel (if you can't tell from the rust, test it with a magnet) it's a good bet that it is plugged. Don't even try un-plugging it; just get yourself a new one made of brass. If you can't find one locally, there are lots of online sources. You just need to get the same type, i.e. straight (360°) or right angle (270°). Use ptfe tape on the threads and remember to put water in it.
@ January 16, 2013 9:35 PM in Crazy IdeaI'm finally getting around to shopping for a new calendar for my office (Why don't people give their customers calendars anymore?), and I got a crazy idea.
Am I the only guy here who'd buy a calendar with pictures of steam boilers, piping masterpieces and other exceptional examples of steam systems? If the pictures some of you guys posted here were of high enough resolution I'd do it myself, but I really like to see it done right, especially if it could have little extras like a paragraph from the pro who did the work.
I'd think this kind of thing could be done every year, with a different theme every year. One year it might be near-boiler piping, or boiler trim. Another year it might be classic radiators or main venting. One-pipe, two-pipe, vapor systems, restorations--once in a while it might even be fun to have a year of knuckleheads.
@ January 16, 2013 9:14 PM in Installing main ventsNot usually, but there is an exception, and it may be pertinent in this case. You mentioned that your mains are 1½" pipe. That's on the small side--usually they are 2" or larger--but you don't say what your boiler's output is. The boiler generates steam at a rate measurable in CFM, or cubic feet per minute. When you force it through a pipe of a given cross-section area, measurable in square inches, it moves at a velocity measurable in feet per second. Since you divide the output by the cross-sectional area of the pipe to obtain the velocity, the smaller the pipe the higher the velocity.
One of the pros here (I think it might have been Gerry Gill) mentioned something called critical velocity. This is the speed at which water droplets entrained in the flow can't precipitate out. Unfortunately I can't remember what that velocity is, but I would need some information from you to calculate your velocity anyway. Hopefully one of the pros will weigh in on whether or not this is a potential problem. Most of them have done the calculations so many times they just know what size pipe and what size boiler would be problematic.
@ January 16, 2013 7:57 PM in My boiler wont turn on sometimesWould this by any chance be a millivolt (or powerpile) system?
@ January 15, 2013 10:05 AM in Pressuretrol or gauge30 psi gauges are usually not too accurate, but considering the symptoms you're seeing, the Pressuretrol is apparently off by a few pounds. They can be recalibrated, but since this is a new system, I'd ask for a replacement first. You'd need a more accurate gauge to do the calibration, and while you might want to get one anyway, they are kind of obligated to give you controls that work with a new boiler.
@ January 13, 2013 9:03 PM in Gorton #1 ventsThe way you have them now they combine to make a 90 degree bend in the pipe. That's one extreme. If you rotate the upper 45 180°, your antler will be sticking straight up in the air, as the two 45s will just zig and zag and cancel each other out. That's the other extreme. Somewhere between those two extremes you find whatever angle you're looking for.
This is something you'll just need to play with by taking those joints apart and hand tightening them and trying out different alignments, then tighten them up in the same orientation.
@ January 13, 2013 7:58 PM in Gorton #1 ventsReplace the 90° elbow with two 45s. Then you can achieve anywhere from 0–90° by rotating them.
@ January 13, 2013 7:41 PM in Gorton #1 ventsIf both antlers are pitched the same amount then the difference has more to do with the main than the antler itself. If you think it's the pitch, give it more pitch by adjusting the 45s, but if it doesn't help, try raising it up.
@ January 13, 2013 7:27 PM in Possible Substitution for Radiator?If you need an 8-foot panel or more you need to run the condensate out the other end, but you can do that on a one-pipe system as long as you can run a separate drip line all the way to the wet return.
@ January 13, 2013 7:19 PM in Gorton #1 ventsIt doesn't look like you have a lot of room for it, unfortunately, but is there any way you can raise the antler a little higher above the main?
@ January 13, 2013 7:17 PM in Gorton #1 ventsIt doesn't look like you have a lot of room for it, unfortunately, but is there any way you can raise the antler a little higher above the main?
@ January 13, 2013 1:32 PM in Oh look what I found in my closetYou should see some of the knuckleheaded stuff they did when they put the addition on my house--not just the steam piping, but the electricity and plumbing too. I try to correct things when I can, but there are some things you just can't do over.