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Hap_Hazzard

Hap_Hazzard

Joined on July 25, 2011

Last Post on July 21, 2014

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Try-cocks

@ October 30, 2013 8:51 PM in What are these?

Those are try-cocks. They're an alternative to a glass gauge. The water is at the correct level when water comes out of the lower valve but not the top valve when you try them.

If the bottom one's clogged you can clean it out, but if the gauge is working, it's not urgent. As long as they're not leaking you're good.

And

@ October 30, 2013 5:43 PM in Get it while it's cheap!

It makes a great Christmas gift!

You can't really go too big

@ October 30, 2013 5:37 PM in Weil McLain EG40

Using both risers tends to keep the water line more level when you're running full blast, and the low velocity on a vertical rise will allow even very small droplets to coalesce and fall back. Of course you may not need as big a header as if you had 2" risers. You might be able to get away with 3" pipe for the header too, but let's see what the pros say. I'd feel better with a 4" header, but 3" will cost less.

Another thing I forgot to mention above is that each main branch should be supplied by its own riser from the header. Ideally you want a full-port ball valve on each system riser. This allows you to blow down the boiler through the mud leg, but it's also good to have if you need to fix a leak without shutting off heat to the whole house.

Near-Boiler Piping

@ October 30, 2013 7:34 AM in Weil McLain EG40

The purpose of the header is to separate the steam from any water it might be carrying. To accomplish this it needs to slow the velocity to about 15 ft/sec. To determine the right pipe size for the header, you need the total output in cu. ft. per second, which can be calculated from BTUH, divided by the cross-sectional area of the pipe (in sq. ft.) to give you velocity in ft./sec. Or you could ask Joe Starosielec (aka JStar), who has worked out the numbers for the most common pipe sizes.

In general you should not use anything smaller than the riser ports as system risers. If there are two riser ports, use them, even if the manual only requires one. The boiler risers should extend to at least 18" above the maximum water level, but more is better. The header should have at least the same cross-sectional area as the risers combined. For two 2" risers, use a 3" header. There should be at least one diameter separation between the two riser connections to the header and two diameters between the last boiler riser and first system riser. The diameter of the equalizer should be the same as the header down to the water line.

Most important: if any of the pros here tell you anything different, LISTEN TO THEM. I've basically learned everything I know from them. They are the ones with the real-world experience.

I'm cheap.

@ October 16, 2013 9:53 PM in ballvalves

I use these: http://www.harborfreight.com/14-full-port-ball-valve-68254.html

Those need to be mounted higher.

@ October 16, 2013 9:45 PM in Found Main Vents!

As you can see, the USAV vent (the silver one) has been ruined by water. The same thing will happen to the new ones. The higher you can extend them above the main, the longer they will last, and when access is a problem, you want them to last, right?

I recall a discussion on here a while back about using thermostatic traps as main vents. They cost more, but they will last a lot longer than conventional main vents. You might want to see if you can get a pro to install them for you so they vent to a safe place where they won't damage anything. If done right, you might not have to touch them again for a long time.

Fluctuating Water Line

@ October 7, 2013 8:59 PM in How to detect dry (or wet) steam

When you push a lot of water into a system, it can take a long time for it to return. If your water level gets unusually low during each heating cycle, then takes a long time to return to normal, that's a pretty good indicator of wet steam. The water level will normally dip during the heating cycle, but for every gallon of water that leaves as steam, you get 1,600 gallons, or about 214 cubic feet of steam. If it's carrying its own weight in water, it takes twice as much water out of the boiler. Depending on the size of your boiler and system, you might see the water line dip as much as an inch under normal operation, but usually less than a half an inch. It certainly shouldn't get anywhere near the bottom of the gauge glass or trip the low water cut-off to shut down the burners. If anything like that is happening--assuming your wet return isn't clogged--then you've got wet steam.

Those look good from the description

@ October 5, 2013 10:31 AM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

but I haven't seen anything like a spec sheet, so I don't know if the dimensions are any better. They're about six times as expensive as some of the other valves, so I'd want to be sure.

I think I'm going to just take the bushing out of the radiator and get a 1-1/2" valve and put the bushing on the bottom of the valve. Since the bushing is concentric, the radiator will drain better without it, but it won't be a problem under the valve.

Measuring Threads

@ October 5, 2013 10:15 AM in Weird Pipe Threads

If you can tell a 1" BSP thread from a 1" NPT thread (11 tpi, 55° vs. 11.5 tpi, 60°) you're a better man than I am. I always measure if there's any doubt.

If you don't have a thread pitch gauge (they usually come with tap and die sets), you can use a digital caliper or vernier caliper. Just measure the distance in inches between the farthest apart thread crests, matching the tips of the caliper jaw to the crests. Then you count the number of threads, and divide the number of threads by the distance to obtain threads per inch. If it doesn't come out reasonably close to a known standard, convert to millimeters and check the metric tables.

To measure the taper, put a caliper over the end of the pipe so it contacts the crests of the largest diameter thread at the widest point, then measure the distance between the caliper jaws and the smallest diameter thread (the last whole one at the end of the pipe) on both sides. Average this measurement and divide it by the distance between the largest and smallest diameter threads. For a 1" NPT pipe you should get 1/16" per inch. If you need the taper in degrees, get out your trigonometry tables and ask your kids how to use them. :)

Can you measure them?

@ October 4, 2013 6:48 AM in Weird Pipe Threads

I have to be honest, that looks like nothing I've ever seen before, and I don't see anything even remotely like it in the standards tables, but it might be useful if I had some actual numbers to go by. Do you know how to measure thread pitch and taper?

At this point I assume it's academic, right? You're just going to thread them to NPT because you wouldn't be able to find fittings for it even if you could identify it. Still it would be good to get some numbers before you destroy it.

And pay shipping and restocking fees

@ October 2, 2013 8:14 PM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

Just to learn that they're both junk. If I've learned anything lately it's that brands mean next to nothing these days. The latest thing is "leveraging" a good brand name by "branding" cheap Chinese junk so they can sell it at premium prices.

Investment

@ October 2, 2013 6:57 AM in Need Help in Bergen County, NJ

I think you'll be able to re-use your piping when you replace your boiler, especially if Joe does the work with that in mind. He can set you up with a nice drop header that can be adjusted to fit your new boiler. You might need longer boiler risers, as newer boilers tend to be shorter, but that's pretty minor.

Newer boilers also tend to have smaller steam chests, so Joe can make sure the header is big enough to compensate, giving you a system that's essentially future-proof. Then, when the time comes to replace the boiler, he'll be able to drop it in and get you going with minimal effort--minimal for the job, that is. Installing a boiler isn't a piece of cake, but planning ahead will make things go relatively smoothly.

So don't think of this as a temporary fix. Think of it as phase one of a major energy-saving upgrade.

Gifford Loop

@ October 2, 2013 6:30 AM in Steady Water-Level Contest

The purpose of the Gifford loop is to prevent cyclic fluctuation of the water line, where the condensate returns so slowly that a low water condition may occur mid-cycle but adding make-up water results in flooding once the system drains. It doesn't reduce bumping or surging in the boiler.

From what I can tell

@ October 1, 2013 10:53 PM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

They're no different than Watts or Webstone or anybody else. If they have anything better to offer they're not showing it on their spec sheet.

Since the tapping on the radiator is 1-1/2" anyway, I think I'm going to go with a 1-1/2" valve and nipple and hope I can find a 1-1/2"-1-1/4" 45. I have to repipe the runout anyway.

Several Reasons

@ October 1, 2013 12:41 AM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

The spud broke, the disc is shot and I've never had much luck at replacing them. It was definitely a much better valve, but I'm afraid it's had it.

If there are no more decent valves available I'll take a shot at removing the disc. If I can get it off and find a replacement then I might be able to machine the spud from the new valve.

The pictures

@ September 30, 2013 9:27 PM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

I assume you can tell which one is the new one. :)

I didn't mention how restricted the bottom is. What a piece of junk. I'm seriously thinking about using a ball valve to a street elbow if I can make it fit. There may even be right-angle ball valves out there. I honestly can't understand why they ever used valves like this for one-pipe steam in the first place.

It's kinda like...

@ September 30, 2013 9:16 PM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

when people try to get on an elevator when people are trying to get off. :D

Boiler Riser

@ September 30, 2013 7:08 AM in dropped header size

The benefit of having a tall boiler riser is that carryover can't ascend higher than 24". The only thing better than this would be two tall boiler risers, which would cut the velocity by half, allowing even smaller droplets to coalesce and fall back.

Watts

@ September 30, 2013 6:46 AM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

Hi,Rod. The valve pictured in the PDF looks exactly like the one I have, right down to the square nut on the bonnet. The cross-section, on the other hand, is like nothing I've ever seen. It doesn't accurately reflect how these things are made, so you can't really see how restrictive the inlet is.

The valve I took off is much less restrictive. If it's not full-port it's pretty darn close. I'll try to post a side-by-side picture of the two valves. The differences are quite dramatic.

I hope this isn't another "don't make 'em like they used to" situation.

It's a one-pipe system

@ September 30, 2013 6:31 AM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

Hi, Jamie. I guess I should have mentioned that it's a one-pipe system, so that does make the inlet size critical.

Radiator Valves: Full Port?

@ September 29, 2013 12:35 PM in Radiator Valves: Full Port?

I needed a 1-1/4" radiator valve, so I picked one up at the Home Cheapo, and when I got it home and unscrewed the spud, I was shocked at how small the opening to the valve looked. To make sure I wasn't just imagining it I took out my calipers and measured it. It's 1.16", and there are further restrictions on both sides where the bore enters the valve body. (1-1/4 pipe has a 1.38 I.D.)

To me it looks like they took a 1" valve and put a bigger union on it. The restrictions on the side are caused by the inlet bore not being bored all the way into the body, but they couldn't have made the inlet any deeper without hitting the valve seat.

To me this is totally unacceptable. This is going on a 24-section, 6-tube Arco. That's 72 ft². A 1-1/4" runout is too small to begin with. Am I being to picky here?

Does anybody have any experience with the Matco-Norca valves they sell at PexSupply? The picture of the 1-1/4" looks almost identical to this one. The top of the union nut is about even with the top of the valve body. I'll be really ticked if I order one, pay shipping, and end up with the same valve.

Can anybody recommend a good source for good radiator valves, or do they all suck these days?

Maid-o-Mist

@ September 24, 2013 10:55 PM in Good air vent brand?

You can buy Maid-o-Mist at Home Cheapo, but caveat emptor. If the label that seals the box is cut, open the box and check the vent. First, make sure it isn't used. I don't know if they just put customer returns back on the shelf or if customers are exchanging their old ones for new ones, but I see used ones on the shelf all the time. Second, make sure the orifice is screwed into the outlet and that the number or letter stamped in the orifice is the same as that marked on the label.

Amazon is also a good place to buy M-o-M vents. Amazon and Home Cheapo both have smartphone apps, which makes it easy to compare prices. You can even scan the barcodes if you find them in a store and want to check their prices online.

One thing I like about these vents is that they come in the same size as the Gortons, but you can remove the orifices, so when you're balancing your radiators, you can just swap orifices around instead of having to unscrew the vents. Once you've got all the right size installed, you can replace any vents that go bad with the extra ones you bought while you were balancing, swapping the orifice, if necessary, and when they run out you just replace it with the same size Gorton. Think of the M-o-Ms as "training" vents.

Last year BobC found a Maid-o-Mist that came with a complete set of orifices. I followed his lead and found the same model at Amazon. I got a good deal, but I don't know if they still have them at the same price.
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