Security Seal Facebook Twitter GooglePlus Pinterest Newsletter Sign-up
The Wall
Westport_Johnny

Westport_Johnny

Joined on September 22, 2011

Last Post on August 19, 2012

Contact User

Recent Posts

1 2 »

Steam guy

@ August 19, 2012 1:30 PM in Contractor in CT needed

Last yr discovered a steam guy in trumbul (fairfield county). Drop me a note if you're still looking and i can pass along contact info

Good for you!

@ February 15, 2012 2:03 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Happy to hear you had a fast payback.  Great when the matter can be tackled early in the season, when the temps aren't frigid and one can take their time to make an educated decision, get the work done, and realize a full season of savings in first yr.
(In my case I didn't have the luxury of waiting... then again, no regrets as the oil company that serviced me 2007-2011 was, and remains, the tops.  Its just with the movement of heating oil prices vis-a-vis nat gas, combined with the fact that I already have gas lines to the house, the cost differential was too great to continue with #2 heating oil.)
In my case the payback's even faster as it was only a conversion, not an entire system replacement (and no need to invest in chimney liner), and with that a lower overall cost.  In simplified terms, the job was essentially bringing over gas lines, swap out the burner, change the exhaust connection to include double-swing feature, and add the safety switch.  Not a huge investment in parts, although it did take a day's labor.
To the extent anyone has gas delivery and a system that can convert easily (and work efficiently) with gas I'd highly recommend... also, if anyone has gas delivery and their system is on its last legs and needs replacement, its the way to go.  Again, my Smith boiler, which feeds steam through my house, apparently works equally well with oil-fired and gas-fired burners.

Fast payback on conversion to Nat Gas

@ February 14, 2012 10:55 AM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

For those considering conversion, payback can be fast.  This month I saved HUGE vs. cost of oil. 
Specifically, this month I used 409 CCF, which cost me $447.68 (before converting I was using 2 CCF / $17 per month for stove use). So, about $430 this month for heating.
For the same period I would have consumed ~295 gallons of oil for heating (historically about 9.5 per day during Jan / Feb). 
Assuming oil price ~$3.85 / gallon, this month's savings is over $700!!!!  As originally estimated, the payback is essentially 1 winter.
Very happy indeed- burner / boiler efficiency virtually the same as oil, and the house feels the same, so savings without a decrease performance.  What more can one ask for.
My only regret is not getting it done at the start of the season- oh well / better late than never!

Yes, Job finally complete!

@ January 13, 2012 8:30 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Yes, finally.
While its taken 3 months longer than expected, its done and working great!  Short explanation for the delay below in italics (skip to straight font if you aren't interested in that part of the journey).
As shown in this thread, I researched the conversion in late Sept, vetted contractors in early Oct, and settled on one to do the work in mid Oct (someone who several plumbing jobs at my house in since I bought in '07 and was also listed by SoConnGas on their NatGas conversion literature as a qualified contractor).  After handing over a deposit, I dealt with a bizarre turn of events that lead to months of wasted time.  In short, the guy had issues... I wanted to be loyal and wait for him, but enough was enough and moved on (fortunately I got my deposit back, however given the guy wasn't communicating that wasn't easy).
Eventually spoke to SoConnGas rep and was given a personal reco to a larger Heating co which, while more expensive than the initial contractor, the price was reasonably, the company was very responsive, they scheduled the install for the same week I called them, and really did things right.  Moreover, not only did I get good installation service, but I have peace of mind knowing they keep parts on the truck and are reputable for service, received a real warranty on parts & labor, and they tossed in 3 yrs of annual service inspections.  (I'll manage my expectations / probably unfair to compare them vs. the great oil company I've been working with... as I've said before, they've been extraordinary)
Anyhow, the new Carlin EZ Gas is running great, per the printout reading its firing at 82.6% AFUE, which is almost equal to the 83.6% I was getting with the Carlin Pro oil burner.  Given that NatGas is pretty cheap these days (heard prices are down 32% since start of 2011, and with supply high unlikely to rise a lot in near future) while my heating oil deliveries are coming in at around $3.85 per gallon (and we were using ~1700 gallons per year), I am confident it will pay back in no time.
While its too bad lost a few months / missed out on savings as I waited on the 1st plumber who flaked, but what's done is done... in the end I am very pleased with the way things turned out.
Thanks again to all the experts who provided guidance along the way!

Type L vent connector

@ October 13, 2011 6:46 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Tim- thanks for coming back with additional insight.  agree that replacing the connector with something new is fine... cost not significant, and an ounce of protection...
A question...  if I understand correctly, Type L refers to the structure, with difference vs. Type B  being a stainless inner wall used for Type L....
Question is, for a single flue entry, should I expect it to look like my current Y connector (with both gas and oil fired exhausts coming in on same plane), or need the design accommodate an "upper" and "lower" position???
As always, your expert advise is much appreciated,
John

Type L vent connector

@ October 13, 2011 6:46 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Tim- thanks for coming back with additional insight.  agree that replacing the connector with something new is fine... cost not significant, and an ounce of protection...
A question...  if I understand correctly, Type L refers to the structure, with difference vs. Type B  being a stainless inner wall used for Type L....
Question is, for a single flue entry, should I expect it to look like my current Y connector (with both gas and oil fired exhausts coming in on same plane), or need the design accommodate an "upper" and "lower" position???
As always, your expert advise is much appreciated,
John

Separate oil & gas appliance connection into single flue openning

@ October 13, 2011 4:08 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Paul- Thanks.  Coincidentally spoke to Don C this afternoon (left him a message a few days ago- didn't realize he typically works remote).  He essentially said the same thing- that the existing Y connection, which is rated for oil, should be fine. 
I do find it odd as it contradicts the "gas above oil" and "lower BTU input using narrower pipe positioned above, higher BTU input using wider pipe positioned below)... I guess that it doesn't matter / the rule only applies when connecting into 2 openings
Anyhow, if it was relevant- again, I presume its not, in our case the placement would be opposite, with oil above gas... the oil-fired hot water is the lower BTU appliance and would be positioned in the top slot, and the gas-fired boiler higher BTU positioned in the lower slot.
Again, grateful for the outstanding guidance from everyone in the community, welcome any other insight people can add, and definitely plan to post an update when complete

Current Set-up (single flue openning)

@ October 13, 2011 1:12 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Paul- Yes, as you know, the current set up is a Y connection from Toyotomi OM-180 oil-fired hot water heater (on left) and Smith Series 8 oil-fired boiler (on right).... both appliances going into a single openning.  A moderate-quality picture from my phone below. 
I am not quite sure what Tim was referring to / how the connector that goes through the masonry and connects to the single chimney flue openning (to my untrained eye it looked like a big 'ol black stove pipe), but my plumber seemed to know.
While I appreciate that 2 separate opennings would be preferred, I am working with the understnading that the oil and gas appliances can be connected and use a single flue openning.
Anyhow, moving forward with Tim's suggestion, I'm guessing that it what is needed is a Type L vent (suitable for oil and gas) that accepts the exhaust differently that what's there right now... that is, instead of a Y connection like I have today, a wider / lower connection for the oil-fueled Toyotomi and a narrower/ higher connection for the gas-fired.
By the way Paul, as the provider of both the Smith and Toyotomi, let me ask you something... am I correct in thinking the gas-fired Smith boiler will have the lower BTUH input (which should use the narrower pipe and be positioned at a higher point), and the oil-fired Toyotomi hot water will have the larger BTUH input (which would use the wider pipe and positioned a lower point)?
Many thanks to all!

Nevermind- plumber already assumed the connector

@ October 13, 2011 12:17 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Tim- thanks... don't need a visual on the connector... confirmed with my plumber, who was going to do the piping, burner swap, etc. that his quote alreay assumed using a dual vent connector to the flue when he gave me the quote.
So, in the end, as the fuel exhaust flue was deemed clean and lined, looks like we're moving ahead next week.
Excellent / very happy.  Will post an update after its done in next 10 days.

Vent connector idea

@ October 13, 2011 11:43 AM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Tim- sounds nice, but unfortunately having a hard time visualizing how the connector would work (with 2 separate vents going in... presumably 6" gas flue above, 8" oil flue below).  
Any ideas where I can see such a thing? Or better yet, know any suppliers who sell such a kit?

Chimney connection may be an insurmountable problem

@ October 13, 2011 10:34 AM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Paul, Thanks for chiming in.  Yes, when I called Dom G. at the building dept this morning he heard my earlier message, he started off reading that it is in fact permitted (he noted he was thinking of a solid fuel appliance, which cannot be combined with gas or oil appliances).
Actually had a chimney expert here a few minutes ago, who coincidentally was the chimney guy for the previous owners, and has worked on this house for the past 20+ years.  Had good news and bad news...
- chimney is already lined, so that's set, however.
- bad news: base of chimney, where boiler / hot water come in probably cannot accommodate 2 separate pipes. (Detached the vent from hole in masonry and looks like the fuel flue is 1 pipe... not sure it can be converted to take both a smaller gas exhaust above a larger oil exhaust).
Not giving up yet, but will need to have someone else to look at it; if that's the case, will either have to stay all oil (which while expensive, is terrific- I do like how it works, and love your company's service, which is outstanding), or go all gas.
More to come later....
 

2nd Update: Oil to Gas Conversion

@ October 13, 2011 9:06 AM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Did a bit of research, and went back to the Building Dept citing IRC 2427.5.6.2 and NFPA 211 9.8.3, both of which declare that running 2 different non-solid fuel appliances (e.g. Oil & Gas) up the same flue is permitted.
Building Dept recognized this and changed its stance / corrected its error and will now let me go ahead with the conversion.  With that, can keep my nice high efficiency oil HWH and avoid having to spend $ on a new gas HWH.
(Also learned that the Toyotomi OM-180 that we have cab be direct vented, however even if I wanted to move it, the fact house perimeter is surrounded by a porch its not really possible).
So at this point we will proceed.  Moving on getting a permit then chimney work done (stainless lining; will need to enable 2 separate connections), gas line plumbing, and burner conversion (change from Carlin EZ Pro oil-fired to EZ Gas, addition of double swing barometric draft regulator + blocked flue safety switch).  Will also call the gas Company, which apparently will change my service status (move to a lower heating rate), as well as provide a rebate on the gas burner (which is nice).
Key is to get the chimney addressed asap, as the rest can be done pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, as those guys are busy, booked out a couple of weeks, I must wait. Once its done, probably early Nov, I'll share any other learnings. 
Appreciate all the guidance provided by members in the community- thank you!

Update on Conversion Process- Chimney Code

@ October 11, 2011 11:31 AM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Folks- wanted to share an update on the oil to gas conversion....
While all's moved along well with respect to preparing for conversion (chimney inspection, cleaning & lining needs, finding contractor to bring gas pipes over to boiler / swap burner / double swing barometric draft regulator / blocked flue safety switch), the project hit a snag.
As noted earlier in this thread, was hoping move to gas heat using my Smith Series 8 steam boiler while keeping my high efficiency direct fired oil tankless hot water heater.
Checked with building dept and was advised that CT state code does not allow for 2 different fuels up the same flue.
So, I guess, in the absence of direct vent for the hot water heater (not sure it can be done), I'd be looking at abandoning oil all together (writing off the wonderful Toyotomi O-M 180 HW system, removing it from the basement, as well as I guess removing the above ground oil tank + writing off the hundreds of gallons stored), and either a) adding the optional Smith tankless heater for HW, which supposedly gives up to 5 gallons per minute, or b) adding a separate gas HW heater.

Any clues on whether the Toyotomi HW system can be direct vented (yes- I'll research myself), or input on optional Smith tankless HW works reasonably well? 
As always, insights appreciated.

John

Smith S8 Setting for Carlin EZGas

@ September 26, 2011 4:07 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Thanks for the suggestion... sent a note to Smith, noting I had an oil-fired EZ Pro burner, and wanted to swich to gas-fired EZ Gas burner.
Kind folks quickly sent a me a scan of the settings for all Series 89, (which I am trying to attach here... if it gets loaded, my particular need is boxed)
Everything moving along, although somneone's raised a concern that the town may not allow me to continue using my oil fired Toyotomi Hot Water with a separate Nat Gas boiler going up the same chimney.
We shall see

Nope- Westport CT

@ September 26, 2011 12:46 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Tim, thanks for the offer, but unfortunately further away.
In Westport CT, not Westport MA.
(Not the first time that's happenned.  Very familiar with the region; we keep a summer home in South Kingstown RI near Narragansett, and drive right through the area each summer when we go out to visit our older girls on the Cape.)

Too bad its not a good fit.

John

While feasible, perhaps not really needed

@ September 24, 2011 6:57 AM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Thanks for the input Doug.  You may be right that its physically possible.  However, I guess the question I should have asked myself is why?
- My region gets cold, however Southern New England is closer climate wise to Mid-Atlantic than Northern ME / Nova Scotia so dual system and / or secondary back is not critical.
- Already have built-in backups (this old house has 6 fireplaces, so in we could supplement heating system when on, and have a fallback in event of system failure) 
- Arbitrage on commodity isn't going to be productive; I do realize that we're probably be better off putting the $$$ into insulation.
In the end I think its best that, at least in my case, we keep things simple and go with the conversion recommendation provided by the knowledgeable community members.
John

Carlin settings

@ September 23, 2011 11:07 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Yes, I understand the gas burner comes from carlin (interestingly, per their website, looks like need to get from a distributor- if so, who would preset???)
I figured I'd call Smith only to learn their recommended settings.
If carlin knows what's appropriate for a series 8-S-5 and there's no need to research with Smith, that's even easier!

Thanks

Another good reco on Conversion from oil to gas fired steam

@ September 23, 2011 9:30 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Tim, Very clear / thanks.  Probably best to keep in simple.
So, at this point, unless someone else chimes in with input, is to 1) contact Smith to learn the recommended burner settings for Series 8-S-5 using a Carlin EZ gas burner, 2) sort out the contractor (s), and then 3) coordinate burner order from Carlin with the contractor so that we get the right model, preset the burner to the right firing rate using specs from Smith.
Much appreciated- this forum has been terrific.
- John

Instead of converting, worth adding separate Gas system?

@ September 23, 2011 8:33 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Rod- Thanks for the good advice on locating a supplier, as well as learning optimal settings for the Smith.  The conversion recommendation from Steamhead was excellent.
Interestingly enough, I found no CT based heating companies under "Find a Contractor" link on the banner at top of this page.  Fortunately I located 2 options- I was aware of an local old-pro plumber who partners with a boiler guy, and today I connected with a real, live "Steam Guy".
   - The first option, which had already given me a reasonable estimate on a new Weil McLain, came back with a reasonable estimate on the Smith conversion. 
   - The second guy, who I only discovered in last 24 hrs, will come by to see the job next week
Between the two, I think I'm in good hands.
Anyhow, something else has come up today... before my 1st post in this thread, when I met with the plumber / boiler team, I casually raised the concept of having "dual systems", the existing oil-fired system + a new gas-fired system next to it, with the option of manually switching between heating sources.  Not sure if it was feasible, or let alone practical (as primary reason for looking to gas was to save on fuel bills, and with the differential today not sure oil system would get much use), but figured I'd toss out the idea.
Well, I spoke with those plumber / boiler team this evening to alert them to the change of plans (convert the Smith Series 8 using a Carlin EZ Gas), which they understood and confirmed he can do, but at the end of the call they asked whether the dual system idea was now dead.  Apparently, the estimate they gave me for the Weil McLain assumed keeping the Smith in place and available- I totally forgot / gave up on that concept, assuming that having 2 systems was not feasible and Smith was going to be hauled away.
I wonder, is anyone familiar with a residence having both gas & oil-fired steam systems, with capability to switch between the two?  Is it possible?  Reasonably efficient?  Worth a few K's for a homeowner to have the option to select heat source?
Figure that since I found this forum and had such great success in getting excellent insights, I might as well ask this question to see if anyone has knowledge to share.
Many thanks!

Confirmed PSI setting & nozzle size

@ September 23, 2011 2:39 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Hi.  Confirmed that my Smith Series 8-S-5 has 150 PSI with 110 size nozzle; so its currently set up at the low setting (which I presume is a good thing since a conversion / retrofit for Carlin EZ Gas burner would be done at low).
I really appreciate the guidance provided; clear on need to move gas over to boiler, a Carlin gas burner, as we;; as barometric draft regulator, blocked flue safety switch, perhaps some chimney cleaning / lining, and who knows what else.... having an old house, there's always more surprises.
At this point I wonder if you have any additional insights?  Can you recommend anyone to do the job, or should I start looking a "Steam Guy" in Fairfield County CT?
Recommendations to how to make it happen are welcome- unfortunately it seems like Steam Guys are a rare breed, close to extinct in these parts.
- John

Yes, feeling fortunate :-)

@ September 22, 2011 11:35 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Thanks Rod.  Great to hear that I might have gotten lucky selecting the Smith Series 8 a few yrs ago.  And also thanks for the link to the books... I just discovered this site tonight, and along the way heard about the writer and those books... unfortunately the links to the book on elsewhere on heatinghelp.com (right side of page) were dead.  Will definitely order.

And absolutely "Steamhead" (Frank) knows his stuff.  Read a few of his posts and he's consistently helpful (as well as funny- liked reading about a "Snowball" replacement).

The challenge I have is where to turn to next... looks like Steamhead is in MD while I'm in CT.  Would like to engage a contractor with his level of knowledge and care- unfortunately, not too many of those around.  In fact, not familiar with any steam / plumbing guys in this area (again, I've looked at gas almost annual since 2007 and haven't had anyone to work with).  I understand I need a professional to do the work, whether swap out the Smith's Carlin burner with a Carlin EZ Gas burner, bring gas over to the boiler & connect, shut down the oil line (without cutting oil connection to the Toyotomi hot water heater, which I'll keep active), address any required changes in attachments from boiler to the chimney, address chimney lining if necessary, etc. etc. etc.

If anyone has suggestions on where I should turn, let me know.  Otherwise, may have to call Carlin EZ Gas distributors in CT and ask them for some recommendations.

So far, lots of great guidance- in fact, a sound recommendation.  Only need to find out how to execute.  Anyhow, a successful evening... maybe tomorrow we get closer to the solution.

Many thanks to all.

Yes, its a Smith 8-S-5

@ September 22, 2011 10:01 PM in Is oil-fired boiler more effective for steam than gas-fired?

Very interesting!!! (sent a msg to you direct, too).
Yes, its a Smith Series 8 (8-S-5), which at least originally had a Carlin oil burner (might have been swapped out since then, but for sure its a Smith that when initially installed had a Carlin).
Aware of the high & low outputs / not sure how its set.  I now presume that with my question on effectiveness, it will depend on setting (big difference if on high with 152 MBH vs. low with 126 MBH... my guess is that its on low, as the initial quote was for AFUE rating of 86.2%... which actually looks like the rating for 8-W-5L; the 8-S-5L is 85.3%)
Anyhow, if the job can be done by only moving gas to unit, swapping out the burner, and if necessary addressing chimney lining, that would be prefered (as the Smith is good equipment / hate to idle a 4 yr old boiler, and figure I'd save a few $$$ too).
Hope to learn more about Carlin EZ-Gas
Again, thanks!
John
1 2 »