Joined on January 30, 2012
Last Post on December 4, 2013
@ December 4, 2013 11:10 PM in An exercise in PH readings - paper VS electronicI wanted to compare the results of PH paper to an electronic meter to get a better feel for the paper's accuracy in boiler water when the water is contaminated with a dye (Steamaster tablets).
For the test I used the following PH paper that a few others on this board are using:
The meter I used was this Hanna PH pen:
When I received the meter it came with a signed certificate of calibration, but I checked it and it was WAY out of calibration. Either the QC person didn't care, or this instrument requires constant calibration; who knows. In any event, the meter calibrated very successfully in both 7.01 and 10.01 buffer solutions so I'm confident the readings I took with it are accurate.
The below pictures should show, in order:
1) Reading taken with PH paper in 7.01 buffer
2) Reading taken with PH paper in 10.01 buffer
3) Reading taken with Hanna meter in 7.01 buffer
4) Reading taken with Hanna meter in 10.01 buffer
The above results told me that the paper is pretty accurate in a buffer solution (calibration solution).
Continuing the pics, in order:
5) Reading taken with PH paper in boiler water
6)Reading taken with Hanna meter in boiler water
The boiler water tested at 8.5 with paper. The boiler water tested at 10.8 with the Hanna meter. I though these results were interesting and figured others on this board might appreciate the info especially considering all the talk of Steamaster tablets lately.
@ November 18, 2013 9:45 PM in Newbie to vents and mains insulationBeautiful radiators in that house!
@ November 18, 2013 7:02 PM in Water clarity for steam boilers - how clear should it be?Are any of you guys concerned that the purple tint from the Steamaster tablets affects the color reading of the PH paper?
My water is still nice and clear by the way.
@ November 16, 2013 8:21 PM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?Blaine, I'm considering the horizontal plumbing in my basement the main. It's a relatively small house (26' x 36') floor plan with a centrally located boiler, so maybe mine is different than yours. There have been two radiator modifications that I'm aware of which occurred over a major kitchen and bathroom renovation. One radiator was removed and the pipe was capped, and the other radiator was swapped out for a smaller hot water radiator so it would fit in the half-bath. The hot water radiator heats in a very odd pattern but it's so small, and first in line from that main, that it's going to get hot no matter what.
@ November 16, 2013 8:06 PM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?I always wondered why the basement walkout door was so short. Initially I thought it was a walk out bulkhead which was later modified, but eventually discovered it was part of the original foundation. Maybe this is where the chute was located. I'll poke around a bit.
@ November 16, 2013 9:15 AM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?Please forgive the wooden shim, been meaning to replace that with copper. The previous boiler was an oil fired Burnham installed horribly incorrect. It was sitting on two cinder blocks so I don't know the history of any concrete floor modifications as they were done well before we owned the home.
@ November 16, 2013 9:05 AM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?This house was built in 1934 and it never even occurred to me that it could have had coal at one point. What kind of evidence would suggest coal was used? Here are a few pictures. The boiler sits up against the chimney, and on the other side are two cast iron 8x10 cleanouts (there's a fireplace directly above it). Two mains run from the boiler room to either side of the house; one splits again into a tee and the other makes a 90* turn.
@ November 15, 2013 8:56 PM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?The thermostat being located in this room is a win. My wife likes it warm and she'd keep the house at 75* if she had her way. I am the exact opposite - I like it cool. So, we compromise by keeping this area of the home warm. By pumping the heat into this room I can keep it nice and toasty, and the rest of the house a little cooler. In the past we'd use a small space heater in the family room but I'm thinking with the large vents we won't have to this season.
@ November 15, 2013 8:25 PM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?Bob,
These radiators are in our family room where we sped most of our time. During normal operation they don't get hot all the way across, but when it gets very cold they do. This is the room where we want as much heat as we can get. This is also where the thermostat is located. These larger vents are giving me some major heat right where I want it. I'll keep an eye on it as you suggest as the temps fall this season.
The thought of adding mains has crossed my mind but the system is so well laid out and plumbed that I have to believe the "dead man" knew what he was doing. Maybe they ran it this way back then? I'm very curious to see how it behaves as the season progresses.
@ November 15, 2013 5:51 PM in No mains on one pipe counterflow system - what about a large vent on the radiator?There are no main vents in my system so I'm experimenting a bit. I installed adjustable Maid-o-Mist vents on a couple of our downstairs radiators and have them running with the largest orifice. The radiators get HOT all the way across within minutes of the boiler steaming. I've been running it all day (working from home today) and I haven't seen a single problem so far, and I like how quickly these radiators are heating. The large vents are allowing the mains in the basement to quickly fill with steam which is also helping the upstairs radiators get hot when needed (the upstairs radiators don't run as much because I have them cranked down with TRV's so the bedrooms stay cool).
I recall you guys saying that large vents on radiators are a bad idea but I really like the way the system is running with them. Is there anything I should be watching for to make sure everything is ok?
@ November 15, 2013 10:34 AM in Water clarity for steam boilers - how clear should it be?I just ordered these which appears to be the same thing you posted Mike, but available in a single unit quantity.
@ November 15, 2013 10:06 AM in Water clarity for steam boilers - how clear should it be?Good point BobC.
Hanna is now making a low cost electronic probe that gets favorable reviews:
Might be worth investigating for $37.
@ November 15, 2013 9:49 AM in Water clarity for steam boilers - how clear should it be?I haven't checked my PH yet because I can't find my my test kit. I'm going to run to the local aquarium store today and see if they have a decent one for short money. I used to have a saltwater reef aquarium and from my experience PH is an easy parameter to check with a simple test kit. An electronic probe would probably be overkill, I'd look more at something like this:
I never really trusted litmus tests that much. Guess I just had too many problems checking swimming pool water parameters with them.
@ November 14, 2013 11:43 PM in Steamaster Tablets @ Pex SupplyMine arrived today as well. Pex Supply rules.
@ November 14, 2013 11:09 PM in Water clarity for steam boilers - how clear should it be?I had to make up a small 3/8" wand because my best access was through the 3/4 NPT drain port. I drilled holes in the nozzle to get a multi-directional spray. Probably flushed 75-100g through the system in total.
I tried to use a standard spigot valve in reverse direction but discovered it can't run that way, so I used the water heater spigot instead to control flow.
The pictures show a dirty water sample in a glass, the dirty water I flushed out, and a clean water sample in a glass after the washing.
Chris, how many Steamaster tablets are you running? I put in 1.5 tablets and my water is much less purple than yours.
@ November 14, 2013 10:34 PM in Steam powered box factoryI would love to pull that steam whistle. There's some serious power in that system.
Did any of you guys notice the dog was missing half its tail? My guess is it got it caught in one of the pulleys.
@ November 14, 2013 12:17 PM in Steam powered box factoryThis has nothing to do with heating, but everything to do with steam. I thought some of you might enjoy the video.
@ November 9, 2013 6:31 AM in radiator gushing water, loud banging, gurgling soundsDoesn't it look like the horizontal plumbing in the second pic is lacking the proper pitch?
@ November 7, 2013 10:33 PM in Better to Undersize or Oversize...after what I've been through trying to figure out my system I feel very fortunate to have found this forum. We bought our first home 8yrs ago and hired a highly recommended home inspector who passed the steam boiler with flying colors. I know now that the installation would have been in the top 10 of the shoddy boiler installation hall of fame. When we discovered the boiler had a cracked block a few years later, the oil company who serviced it wanted to replace it using the existing near boiler plumbing which was horribly wrong (and copper). We were lucky enough to stumble across a contractor who could get the job done quickly and knew a thing or two about steam. Only problem was he didn't properly skim and clean the boiler and was unreachable after the installation leaving me to wonder what the heck was wrong with it.
Bottom line is there are a lot of folks out there who are doing crappy work and you have to be an informed customer. It's nice to read some feedback from the pros who know the in's and out's of steam. I've checked out the photo albums of the pros on this forum and I marvel at them. Very impressive.
But, I've also found the questions and answers from other homeowners equally as helpful for a number of reasons.
Also, it's winter which is my down time. When it's not boating season I have to tinker with something or I go nuts. The steam boiler in our house fascinates me now that I have it running well. I know, I'm a nerd.
@ November 7, 2013 8:21 AM in Better to Undersize or OversizeI'm a homeowner as well. That said, I attended Dead Man's steam school and the first subject out of Dan's mouth was boiler sizing. The old steam systems were designed to heat the house on the coldest day of the year, with the windows wide open. It seems to be common practice to undersize boilers nowadays since we're now heating these same homes with the (double pane) windows closed, and insulated walls and attics.
@ November 5, 2013 8:57 PM in Steamaster Tablets @ Pex SupplyI only found one online vendor who sells them, Shamrock Supply, and they'll only sell them by the case. Sid Harvey carries them but they don't sell to the public, so I have a contractor buddy buying some for me.