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Joined on February 22, 2012

Last Post on January 31, 2014

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@ January 31, 2014 11:15 AM in Boiler not keeping due to low water level

I use AquaChek test strips that go to 10.  Red is 10.  Mine was BRIGHT RED.

The knockdown I used was Blue Wave pH reducer.

Just took a tablespoon and mixed it into water then added to boiler thru skim port.

Or you can try these:

Micro Essential Lab 9800 Plastic pH Test Strips, 0.0 - 14.0 pH
Found on Amazon...

Not really.

@ January 30, 2014 11:02 AM in Boiler not keeping due to low water level

People rip them out for hot water...

...too bad.


@ January 30, 2014 10:50 AM in Boiler not keeping due to low water level

If you have made no changes to the system prior top this happening (repipe, additives, etc.) check the pH of the water.  if it above 11 then you might have a foaming issue which is throwing water up into the system.

My pH was over 12 and the sight glass would completely empty out then recover after steaming.  I added just a capful of pH reducer and the problem went away...


pH thru the roof...

@ January 23, 2014 3:49 PM in steam tablets

I would do EXACTLY what ChrisJ says...

I was using two tablets on a 3 section boiler and I noticed I started losing all the water out of my sight glass.  Did a little research and realized that a high pH can cause foaming.  Well, I checked the pH and it was over 12! 

Drained, flushed, refilled then went to one tablet and viola!  No more foaming.

The original tstat

@ January 19, 2014 11:38 AM in Howling Wind!

Is in the dr on a center wall. My addition is one rather large fam room with its own forced air. It heats the entire first floor even tho I don't have registers in living room, dining room or kitchen. As an example this morning it was a toasty 70 on first floor and 61 on second floor.

Ultimately a remote sensor on 2nd floor would be best and if first floor overheats I'll put trv's on the three first floor rads....

Well after a couple of days..

@ January 19, 2014 11:05 AM in Howling Wind!

I finally got around to swapping the valves. Go figure. The MoM valve was bad. Changed it out and all is quiet now.


As I mentioned to my wife about moving the Tstat to second floor she jumped all over me to do it. go. My pipe chase at the soil stack is now inaccessible due to my air handler being located in attic for AC in older section of house. So I can't run two wire to the second floor from the basement.

Any suggestions on a stat with a remote sensor that I can mount on the DR wall and leave remote sensor upstairs? I have a one pipe system with a Beckett AFG burner.

Appreciate all of the input so far!


The boys...

@ January 15, 2014 4:15 PM in Howling Wind!

Rad is slightly smaller in columns (24 vs 27) but otherwise same dims.

Good point!  I will switch the vents between the rads and revert findings...


Chris J-

@ January 15, 2014 4:10 PM in Howling Wind!

The riser to that rad is the last on the main.  The vents are about 3 feet after that riser.

2nd floor - guessing 13-15 feet (maybe) of 1.25" pipe from the riser to the valve?

The main is nestled close to the floor joists in basement and the take off is nestled between the joists and up the exterior wall.  It all looks insulated as far as i can see up the wall cavity (which really isnt that far...)

The funny part is, in my sons room which is the second to last riser with approximately the same LOA the vent is as quiet as a church mouse with gas...

Wow you guys are fast!

@ January 15, 2014 4:02 PM in Howling Wind!


Rad does get hot all the way across.
Vent does close as the air stops when vent gets hot.

I have a hoffman vent that I might put in tonight to see if that changes anything.  The only reason I took out the hoffman was bc of the "clanking" prior to shutting. 

Quiet the wolf!

@ January 15, 2014 3:59 PM in Howling Wind!

Answering all of the (very helpful) questions:

1) The rads all get stone cold (1st and 2nd floor) since the "ghost heating" is covering the entire first floor

2) The vent does close - its all air coming out as I have felt it.  When the rad gets steam it shuts.

I am just about 100% positive the main vents are working as I get air out of the vents and then they shut on steam reaching them. 

0-3 gauge tells me system cuts at just slightly under 2 psi so im really believing it isnt a pressure issue.

Could the "setback from the ghost heating creating the cold system" really be causing the system to generate so much air out of the rad vent?



@ January 15, 2014 3:37 PM in Howling Wind!

Its got a third of bubble pitch to the valve.
Valve is wide open.
I will try the open vent concept tonight.

One thing that you said tho strikes the inquisitive in me...

Setbacks:  My system has a conflict of interest on the first floor.  Great room addition on the back of the house has two open doorways into the "main" part of the house.  This is heated with forced hot air.  The steam tstat is in the dining room about 20 feet away from the great room but the heat radiates from the GR into the DR and "ghost heats" the whole first floor. 

Invariably, the second floor gets too cold but not uncomfortable.  The DR tstat comes on at night after the forced air calms down.  And I know it comes on when the steam main is stone cold.  Maybe I need to move the tstat upstairs or get a new tstat with a remote sensor and leave it upstairs....?

Thanks for the hints. 

Howling Wind!

@ January 15, 2014 1:36 PM in Howling Wind!

Hello all...

I have a problem and its driving me crazy.  In an earlier post I indicated that I repiped my boiler with a 3" drop header, 24" risers, all black pipe.  Worked it out nice.  Skimmed skimmed and skimmed some more.  Waterline is nice and steady now.  Everything heats up very nice.

HOWEVER (and there always is a however...)

The last rad on the system (which happens to be in my bedroom) vents like mad!  It sounds like I am in a wind tunnel. 

I have about 40' of 2" main and at the end of the main on an antler I have a Hoffman 75, three Gorton 1's and three Gorton 2's.  I threw everything I had at the main in terms of venting.

Pressuretrol is set for 2 psi cut out and .5 psi cut in. 

I checked the main vents and they seem to be working.  I get air movement at each of the vents until they heat up.  I even "open piped" the antler (its on a union) and left it open still I started getting steam and then reassembled and I STILL got the howling out of the rad. 

The rad is not big...24" tall with 27 sections.  Tube type.  There cant be that much air in the rad, could there be?  Its vented with a MOM with the biggest orifice they offer.

I'm stumped.

Any thoughts?  All appreciated.


@ December 29, 2013 7:49 PM in Ok guys...

As this is being written guess what I am doing. Drinking another beer, watching the pack pull one out over the bears. (Since my NY Giants are out of it) and skimming!


@ December 29, 2013 7:45 PM in Ok guys...


I would NEVER EVER disagree with steam head ! He's the pro. I'm the schmoe!

I was furthering to my post based on his suggestions hopefully tapping his brain and others on this board who do this for a living where I just build ships and move cargo for a living.

My previous post was just making a statement. No criticism and certainly no disagreement. This board is my haven and everyone here gets my respect, admiration and awe.

Having said that I know you are just busting my chops and that's cool.

I just want my system running like a top as we all do! Then I can focus my OCD on other things!



@ December 29, 2013 7:17 PM in Ok guys...

Thanks steam head. I just had my oilco service unit and everything checked out ok I was over the techs shoulder asking a lot of questions which he happily answered. Analyzer readings were all good and he did mention flame pattern looked good after he changed the nozzle. Manual calls for .85 and that's what he put in. He even showed me the nozzle and where to find the imprint on the nozzle.

Funny though. System originally piped in copper but matched piping diagram. Only issue was EQ was too high and it above nwl. Water was not running down glass at that time....

I'm really baffled with this one. My wife said "you are crazy" but I know I'm not. I just like to run with the horses!

Anything else? I really cleaned the crap out of it and boiling the sample there was no foaming at all. I even did the "joy" test and there was no oil coagulation in the pot...


Ok guys...

@ December 29, 2013 6:21 PM in Ok guys...

I'm at my wits end...

Repiped boiler with 3" drop header
Risers are at 27" above normal waterline
Lowered equalizer to 2" below normal waterline
All system piping is at 2" except for header as called for by Utica
Skimmed skimmed and then skimmed some more. Probably over 200 gallons
Flushed equalizer repeatedly
Flushed all wet returns repeatedly
Boiled a sample on stove; absolutely no foaming - water is also crystal clear
Used 4 steam master tablets and ran it for three hours.
Flushed all areas again
Checked pH - 8.4. Took multiple samples from different piping areas
System heats just fine. All rads nice and toasty. No water hammer whatsoever.
48' of total system piping vented with three Gorton 1s, three Gorton 2s and a Hoffman 75 on an antler. I used every single vent I had...

I am STILL getting water running down the sight glass. Not a lot but enough to kick in my OCD.

Any thoughts as to why? 2/3rds of main is not insulated but it still continues even when mains are too hot to touch, even at air valves

Appreciate pointers as to what I could be missing...or am I wasting my time?


I already have...

@ December 13, 2013 9:35 AM in ChrisJ - how many

A dropper test kit.  Not as easy as strips but it will do the job.

Looks like im going to be doing a lot more skimming tonight and for the next few nights.

Thanks again for the info.

Oh my...

@ December 13, 2013 8:38 AM in ChrisJ - how many

Thanks for the input gents.  I will follow what you have laid out for me.


ChrisJ - how many

@ December 12, 2013 9:34 PM in ChrisJ - how many

steamaster tablets should I use?

Boiler moderately clean. 3 section utica. Some oils from new 3" header still present. not a ton of sludge but enough. Been skimmed 5 times so far with about 15 total gallons removed.

Sight glass is clean but I still see some residue from oils.

Whaddya think?


@ December 3, 2013 7:17 PM in Rezeroing 3psi gauge?

You and I need to hang and have a few beers. You are as OCD about your system as I am! Maybe JStar can meet us and tell us how to improve the beer drinking!

Just kidding all....I love this site!


Theres water in dem pipes!

@ November 30, 2013 9:43 AM in 90 deg shutoff valve

Good morning

Based on the angle of the valve in the picture, you have water sitting in the valve. Condensate cannot return to the boiler and you are condensing steam before it gets to rad.

Not sure if you can remove that 90 and get the rad closer to the wall. It may have been installed that way for a reason. If you can't, you may have to come up with an ingenious way to pipe the rad properly.

Either way it might not be fun but this valve being piped this way is probably the reason for the lack of heat...


One of the many reasons...

@ November 19, 2013 1:15 PM in One of the many reasons...

I am proud to be born and bred in the USA....
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