Joined on February 6, 2012
Last Post on December 12, 2013
@ December 12, 2013 8:35 AM in Mystery hot water capacity decreaseGordy has it. When you increased pressure, you got more flow ( as you found that it fills more quickly now). Your indirect can only transfer so many Btus per minute to the water going through it, and so if you move water through more quickly it can't get as hot as before. You also found your own solution to the new behavior, which is to only open the tap half way so you're getting the same flow rate as before.
@ December 4, 2013 2:01 PM in Thermostatic Rad Valve ControlThat looks to me as if the actuator is a non-electric (capillary) model, so it uses a tube and fluid pressure to control the actuator, not electricity. A multimeter won't help in that case.
In many cases if a capillary control is not working properly the capillary tube has been pinched or kinked at some point. With a kink, pinch, or hole in it the fluid can't transmit pressure from the dial to the actuator and it won't work. These capillaries aren't too delicate, but need to be handled with some care or they can be damaged (don't drop anything on them, put tight staples over them, or pull them tight around corners).
@ November 26, 2013 4:03 PM in Oil to Gas conversion 2 pipe steam system low heatDid the conversion include a new boiler? Photos will help a lot, but it sounds like it may be a piping problem if it's a new boiler.
The main vent should only vent when the system is getting up to temp - once the main is filled with steam and hot it should close. No steam should ever come out, just air.
@ November 21, 2013 2:24 PM in Need advice on how to go about getting custom controls madeThere are places on the internet that will do small runs of printed circuit boards, and some of them have design services as well which it sounds like you need. Check out www.sunstone.com, or google "prototype circuit boards" and things like that. What Zman said is fairly accurate, so plan on your prototypes being affordable but a UL listing being really expensive. You might do well to look at the UL labels on some of the similar products you have bought to see what standards or listings they are being tested to, and then buy copies of those tests to read up on and see what you would need to do to pass them.
@ November 15, 2013 11:34 AM in Radiator Gives No HeatThe domestic hot water section of The Wall is for hot water in the plumbing portion of your home, not the heating system. You may get a response to your heating question here but for a faster reply I would suggest that you post in the Main section where lots more people read.
Also, you probably need to provide more info to get an informed response. Most useful is a photo of the heating unit which is cold and a photo of the boiler room, so we can tell what components you have installed.
@ November 14, 2013 11:25 AM in Changing old vents--what will go horribly wrong?A better option than WD40 if you're looking for a penetrating oil to loosen stuck threads is Kroil, or PB Blaster if you can't find Kroil.
@ November 12, 2013 2:39 PM in Rusty Pipe at Boiler / Converting Boiler from Oil to GasYou don't normally need to cut slices all the way around the old pipe and remove it in pieces. Usually once you remove a section or two then some hammering or squeezing of the remaining pipe will get it to collapse inward (now that there isn't material all the way around) and it can be twisted out in a final big piece.
@ November 4, 2013 5:14 PM in How do I turn off this style radiator?When the vent isn't hot,wrapping a piece of electrical tape tightly over the hole in the vent works to shut off a radiator if the steam system pressure isn't too high (I do this at home rather than mess with the adjustments of my vents or close valves). If air can't get out, steam can't get in. Of course, if steam pressure is high the tape will be blown off and that won't work, but it's worth a shot since it's simple and you can't break anything trying it.
@ October 24, 2013 9:12 AM in How much of a temperature swing for Gas-Fired Boiler thermostat?As a general rule of thumb, the higher the mass of the heat emitter the less you should set it back daily (as it will cost more to bring it back up to temp later). The consensus seems to be that while it's not a huge mass like a radiant concrete floor, a steam system with cast iron radiators won't net you big savings from deep setbacks. My house is 40 years older than yours but the construction is similar and my steam system also similar (though a newer boiler) - what I do is set it back 3-4 degrees during the day while we are gone, and a few more at night as we like to sleep cool. I actually like the timing of knowing the system will be running when I get up and come home in the winter as radiators will be warm to set bath towels on and such.
@ October 23, 2013 1:22 PM in Lets talk snow meltThere are a number of automatic snow melt controls that will do what I think you want (sense snow fall and activate the system):
@ October 10, 2013 8:10 AM in tankless coil in the winterMost (if not all) mixing valves for domestic water temp control are non-electric. They have an internal element that responds to changes of inlet temps, and a manual adjustment knob to set the mixed outlet temp. Nothing electric to fail or stop running when the power is out or a wire gets disconected.
@ October 3, 2013 9:38 AM in gas conversion in weil mclain sgo3 oilI have just wrapped up the first year after getting my SGO-5 converted from oil to gas with a Carlin EZ-Gas gun. I don't have the exact numbers handy, but my fuel cost over the past 12 months is only 50-60% what I spent on oil the previous year. I'll have the conversion cost paid back within 3 years, so I'm happy with the switch.
@ August 16, 2013 10:18 AM in PVC elbows for pipe insulation necessary?Are the PVC fitting covers necessary? No, but I would recommend using them anyway. They aren't free, but in my opinion using them really makes a big difference in how good the insulation job looks. Is there going to be a performance difference? No, but you'll be happier with your work.
If it were me, I'd either use the covers or just leave elbows uninsulated. I wouldn't recommend white duct tape - I ran out of PVC tape at the last joint on my system and used white duct tape, and it looked lousy and didn't stick well and I just ended up removing it and using white PVC like I should have in the first place. The PVC tape is available from your insulation supplier, and I prefer it for holding the PVC fitting covers together compared to using tacks.
@ August 13, 2013 8:51 AM in Emergency Cutoff switch necessary for gas furnace...When I had the conversion done to my boiler last year, the Manchester NH inspector did mention that I wasn't supposed to have the cutoff switch upstairs with the gas, but went on to say that it's still good safety to have it and he wouldn't make me take it out (though I did anyway, as it was in the kitchen and the wife didn't want to see it).
@ July 18, 2013 9:18 AM in Oil-to-gas conversion Portland MaineIt's possible in theory to replace an oil burner with a gas one on many boilers, but given the age of yours I don't think most would recommend it. I made such a change on my boiler last year, but it's less than ten years old so made sense to continue operating it (and not have to re-pipe for a new boiler). With a boiler over 30 years old that has unknown maintenance history, you're probably best off just starting with a new boiler.
@ July 12, 2013 8:36 AM in Conduction along length of copper water filled pipeThis seems like it could be determined with a fairly straightforward differential equation (you have a starting condition, and want to understand the changes with time), but my calculus skills are so rusty that I'm not going to go near this one! If you've got a buddy with a college calculus text around you might get somewhere.
@ July 3, 2013 1:37 PM in problems with steam indirectWhat you're missing is that it's not the volume of water above the circulator that matters - only the height difference. So whether you have a 3 foot high section of 3/4" pipe filled with water or a 2 foot diameter tank filled three feet high, the pressure at the bottom is the same. So dropping your circulator in the piping will be just the same as connecting to a lower tapping on the boiler, and it is important to do to prevent cavitation in this application.
(In theory using a lower tapping is very slightly better since there will be a tiny amount of pressure loss in the piping, but that's a small effect).
@ June 20, 2013 8:32 AM in Sloped ceiling insulation problemI've got a similar construction in my 1890 home - recently spent a day in the attic snaking cable TV wires into the master bedroom which was quite a chore! The sloped segments of my ceilings/roof are filled with loose cellulose (not so loose anymore in some areas), though I've got a slate roof so it may have different venting requirements.
@ May 30, 2013 9:18 AM in Radiator - can I use for FHW?If it were me, I'd stick with steam. I've got that exact same boiler in my house, and converted it to a gas burner last year and cut my heating bills by 40-50% (balanced the radiators and added bigger main vents helped too). Your boiler doesn't sound like it's in as good a shape as mine was, so you're probably looking at a replacement anyway, but keeping the steam and switching to gas is a worthy idea to consider. I'm not far from you (Manchester, NH) in an 1890 Victorian (2400 sq. ft), and my biggest monthly gas bill this past winter was $342, where the previous winter I was getting $6-700 of oil per month in winter.
Getting away from the tankless coil would be a good idea for you (going to a stand-alone hot water tank or an indirect). I haven't done that only because my coil is working well and it's cheaper to run it than to change the system for better efficiency.
@ May 3, 2013 8:29 AM in Mark Eatherton to lead RPA...though it's now the Radiant Professionals Alliance.
@ April 18, 2013 2:45 PM in Adding a hydronic zone to a steam systemYour aquastat would be just like the ones used to control tankless coils in a boiler - they keep the boiler hot, but shut it off before it boils so you're not sending steam to the radiators just by running a hot water faucet.
@ April 2, 2013 3:30 PM in Is There a Secret to the SearchI generally find that I get better results when using the "Search the Wall" tool just above the list of topics as opposed to the general "Site Search" tool found in the upper right corner of the screen.