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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on September 17, 2014

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@ February 28, 2013 10:41 AM in Fostapex for a steam return?

is not really suited to high temperatures.  Polypropylene is a better choice, but I don't think I'd connect it to a radiator.

copper expands

@ February 28, 2013 10:36 AM in How connect steam Cast Iron baseboard around 90 degree corner?

Roughly 50% more than iron does with heat.

insulating older houses

@ February 26, 2013 8:41 AM in 100 yr old Steam Boiler Coal-to-Oil Converted - Replace or... Help?

is indeed an art.  Cellulose can usually be blown into wall cavities with relatively little disruption, and it breathes -- unlike foam.  AirKrete is another option to consider.  50 years is absurd - most jobs we see pay back in five years or so.

flush valves

@ February 25, 2013 10:04 AM in Off-topic: wall-hung toilets

Commercial job, public restroom.  14" wall on top of existing 75 year old slab, WCs on both sides.  One RR over grade, other RR over basement, one end of row for both over grade required excavating, plus a structural column in middle of the lineup.  Several multi-angle combos of 22s and 45s, some street, required to get things draining and venting properly.  Don't think I took pics during construction, but now I'm wishing I had.

There's a tank-type wall hung in the building behind it.  Not sure what brand but I remember the guys installing it.

cleanouts in tight spaces

@ February 24, 2013 7:58 PM in Off-topic: wall-hung toilets

Row of horizontal (feed-thru) carriers in a tight commercial retrofit.  A 3" PVC street ell into a 4x3 bushing, Hercules clamped to the last one made it -- with about 3/8" to spare.  Had to trim the cover plate, but it passed.


@ February 24, 2013 7:51 PM in leaking steam pipe possibly asbestos

Call your local landfill and ask if they can accept it.  If not, they will know who can.  Ask them what they require as far as packaging - typically something like double layer 6mil bags with tape.  If you live in a city you'll probably need an environmental permit to move it as well.  The process is not particularly expensive, but you have to dot the I's and cross the T's in order to end up with a proper chain of custody and disposal receipt.  It's worth it.

Belimo CCV

@ February 24, 2013 1:10 PM in favorite zone valve?

proportional control with a range of Cv choices.

microprocessors and PLCs

@ February 24, 2013 11:53 AM in The elegance of simplicity has it been lost?

are now cheap as chips.   A number of real improvements to safety, comfort, and efficiency have resulted from this trend, along with some new challenges around previously unimportant issues like power quality, grounding, and PCB waterproofing.

Mechanical stuff, especially if it has brass and copper in it, is getting more expensive.  Complex mechanical linkages are fading from our world.

Smart circs are a complete no-brainer in my book, at least on the system side.  They solve a number of longstanding fixed-speed circulator issues at a minimal cost differential.


@ February 23, 2013 5:13 PM in Need advice on converting from oil to natural gas biolers...

Is a fine boiler if you have a heat loss of 80-100k and your DHW needs can be met by its 14 gallon indirect.  It is NOT a good choice if your heat loss is 41k.  Really.

DO NOT OVERSIZE YOUR HEATING BOILER.  Any contractor who tells you this is a good idea should be shown the door.

well shock

@ February 23, 2013 4:45 PM in Rattling sound

is fine for your DHW, but a properly operating hydronic boiler should not be adding water on a regular basis.  Sodium hypochlorite (aka bleach) is a strong oxidizer and the last thing you want in contact with ferrous materials, so if you do shock the well, do not allow any of that water into your heating system until after it the DHW piping is very well flushed.

Boiler water treatment (8-way, Rhomar, whatever) will take care of bacterial issues along with preventing corrosion and helping to dispel air.

I'm testing a simpler alternative

@ February 23, 2013 4:29 PM in Preferred domestic recirc piping

and so far it's working quite well.  If you can dial down the recirc to the point where it just overcomes the heat loss of the loop, you eliminate a lot of the complexity.  The variable speed versions of Laing/B&G ecoricrc e-series pumps turn this into a trivial exercise, and really minimize pumping costs.  We also put a thermistor on the mixed DHW output and alarm if it goes out of range.  This also eliminates the need for heat traps on the valve inlets.  I like to know when something needs fixing.

clogged pigtail?

@ February 23, 2013 9:34 AM in Wonky Pressuretrol

Try cleaning the pigtail...

portable LPG tanks

@ February 23, 2013 9:29 AM in Good old "Powerpile"

I was tearing out an old Orangeburg sewer main with a small excavator.  The line passed under a concrete fence footer near the 160 gallon LPG tank.  The soil was quite rocky and hard so we decided to remove the first foot or so using the bucket.  Big mistake.  The LPG company had buried the line less than 6" below the surface.  It caught on a tooth and lifted the whole segment, snapping off at the upturn elbow near the house.  In order to get the dryer running, I hooked up a 40# cylinder temporarily.  Seven months later, the cylinder ran out.  I bought another 40# cylinder and never looked back.

41k heat loss

@ February 22, 2013 10:17 AM in Need advice on converting from oil to natural gas biolers...

would lead me towards a Triangle Tube PTS60 (or a Lochinvar WHN055) paired with an appropriately-sized indirect.  Increasing the size of the indirect should cover the DHW demand unless you have extraordinary DHW loads like a giant soaker tub (and there are better answers for that than an oversized heating boiler in my book.)

Wilo display

@ February 21, 2013 10:44 PM in How would you control a Bumblebee circulator in a pure TRV situation?

Geniax is a jaw-dropper

paint will not stick to PEX

@ February 21, 2013 4:56 PM in Need Solar Science Project Idea for eigth grader........

black PE pipe is really inexpensive and works quite well.  There are plenty of homebrew solar thermal collector plans out there.  Maybe re-post this in the Solar section?

I have had this happen to me 2x before

@ February 21, 2013 11:58 AM in white smoke from chimney

in the same house?  That is not normal.

it shouldn't

@ February 21, 2013 10:10 AM in winterize

as long as the system is tight.  Try shutting off the fill valve for a few days and see if your pressure drops.

I can zoom in

@ February 21, 2013 10:00 AM in Valve on PRV

but the JPEG artifacts are off the charts.

I'm guessing there might be a ball valve instead of (or after) the PRV?

Am I the only one

@ February 21, 2013 9:49 AM in Valve on PRV

who sees the same size image when I click on the thumbnail?


@ February 20, 2013 8:56 PM in High efficincy steam heating boiler

is there a derating factor that I can use on an oil rating to give me an optimal gas capacity?


picture too small

@ February 20, 2013 12:09 PM in Valve on PRV

To see any detail?
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