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Joined on February 18, 2014

Last Post on August 25, 2014

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@ August 25, 2014 8:48 AM in Cast Iron fittings

Ward is made in USA and the lowes stuff is mostly if not entirely imported.  If you work with them more than a couple times you will see the difference in quality.  The imported is okay in a pinch maybe for something small, but I would never do an entire job with it unless I wanted to curse and redo my work a lot.  I am only a homeowner and I have had this experience many times.

clean install

@ August 24, 2014 10:57 PM in Oh look what I found in my closet

Looks great Chris, but given all the other work you have posted on here we would expect nothing less!

I am in South Central PA

@ August 23, 2014 8:21 AM in Cast Iron fittings

Hanover (17331) to be specific.  Seriously I would love to deal with a local supplier (within 15-20 miles), but if they don't seem to want my business I will go online.  If anyone knows of a supplier I am all ears.  I don't want to mention the name of the one I already contacted.  I am actually about an hour away from Steamhead I wonder where his supplier is?  Steamhead are you out there?  Don't know why I didn't think of that before lol!

All mine

@ August 23, 2014 8:02 AM in Offsets in pipes between floors?

Have the double 45 offset at the ceiling.  Mine are all original to the heating system and as far as I can tell it is to keep the pipe as close to the wall as possible.

cast iron on supplyhouse

@ August 23, 2014 7:56 AM in Cast Iron fittings

Chris if you click on fittings you get the page in this picture and there are the cast iron fittings.  Sounds like everyone is saying just do supplyhouse.  

That is

@ August 22, 2014 11:45 PM in Cast Iron fittings

The online retailer I am using for comparison.  I will go that route if the local guy doesn't want my business.  I don't mind pay a "little" extra if I get service, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.  I have ordered from them before and they ship fast and are great to deal with.  The local guy said 1 week lead time on non stock items, I think supply house can get it to my house faster than that...wait I KNOW they can.  Oh and the reason I have been working through email at this point is their hours are difficult for me.  7-5 and I work 8:30-5 so that only leaves me a very short window in the AM to get to them, no weekend hours either.

They do both

@ August 22, 2014 11:20 PM in Cast Iron fittings

They sell steam boilers and do all plumbing.  I figure one of 2 things he really doesn't stock them (which makes me wonder about all the local contractors installing steam boilers) or he is giving me the run around because I am just a homeowner.  This isn't a small outfit either, they have I believe 6 different locations.  He also misquoted some of my items, I asked for a low pressure gauge 0-20 oz and he quoted me a 30 psi gauge.  I also asked for a boiler drain cock and he quoted a y strainer?!  That one really threw me.  I sent and excel and a pdf of my list it was quite clear what I wanted.  I was just curious if people had thoughts on this?  Give him a second chance or go to the online store?  I will admit a couple of the more "special" items I knew would be better online, but wanted to get a full quote for comparison.  And I thought this would be

Cast Iron fittings

@ August 22, 2014 10:06 PM in Cast Iron fittings

Question for well anyone really.  So I got price quote from my local distributor for all the fittings and pipe to install my new steam boiler.  First thing that struck me a bit odd was they do not stock Cast Iron fittings.  They carry Ward brand fittings which is good, but on every fitting I chose they list it as non stock item freight charges apply (even on a 3/4" fitting).  Now I live in an area that is mostly old houses and a ton of them have steam heat so this surprised me.  My question, is this common for suppliers not to stock cast iron?  I understand I am just a homeowner and probably won't get as good of a deal as a contractor, but the prices they quoted...well let's just say my hind quarters are sore from reading the prices.  I compared to a certain online retailer and my local guy wants 40% more.  I may contact them back and see if they can do any better.  I really want to patronize the local guy because it is what I believe in, but I have never ever encountered such a huge price differential in my life.  I deal almost exclusively with my  local lumber yard instead of the big box guy because my local guy is actually cheaper and gives fantastic over the top service.  The plumbing supply has been nice to deal with and very prompt with my inquiries, but the stocking issue and price are hard to swallow.  Oh and the other reason I want to deal locally is that if I need something last minute I want to be able to go to him, but again the stocking issues makes that impossible.  Just curious if anyone has thoughts on this.


@ August 7, 2014 10:50 AM in Help...I bought a foreclosure

You should definitely pressure test all that pex.  When people do that much damage you have no idea what you are getting.  For all you know they filled the tube with water so it would freeze and burst the tube over the winter, then when you fill it up....  I am just a homeowner, but I know a bunch of people who have gotten into the "good deal" on a foreclosure.  Be careful and good luck!

I have used

@ August 3, 2014 4:19 PM in Trouble Reconnecting a Water Softener

Petroleum jelly before also.  Not sure if it's a good or bad idea, but it worked like a charm.  I figure if it's safe to use on babies it's safe for potable water.  In my experience almost any O-Ring likes a little lubricant.

Sort of

@ August 3, 2014 1:22 PM in Brazing without nitrogen?!

Basically a double flare makes the flare have double the tube wall thickness.  Here is a video showing how to do it.  This one is for brake lines, but it's the same for anything.  These types of flares reinforce the end for extremely high pressures (brakes systems can see thousands of PSI).

Just make sure....

@ August 1, 2014 3:47 PM in Oil to Gas Conversion

The installer follows the manufacturers recommended piping at a minimum!  Way too many people come on here with the horror stories of bad installs.  Just make sure everything is written in the final contract.  Oh and no copper on the steam side!  Good luck and post back after it's done so everyone can hear how it turns out.

Enjoying reading this

@ July 31, 2014 9:40 PM in Brazing without nitrogen?!

Some of the conversations on this site are thoroughly enjoying.  I am enjoying the back and forth on this topic.  I have only brazed a handful of times in my life, most of my experience is welding so this has been very educational for me.  I am just a homeowner, but I do a lot of my own work so I always like hearing and learning about how things should be done.  I am not going to try brazing refrigeration lines anytime soon that is what I learned here.

Off topic but...

@ July 31, 2014 9:48 AM in Brazing without nitrogen?!

Ice you are hitting another nail on the head.  I have been through manufacturers training from Spears on proper PVC pipe joint assembly.  Some things I learned the "cleaner" doesn't just clean it is actually the solvent for the pipe and is part of the "welding" of the joint together.  In addition how many "plumbers" actually hold the joint together for the appropriate time?  On smaller pipe (less than 2") it's 2-5 minutes that the pipe needs to be held in position.  On larger pipe (2 1/2"-8") it's supposed to be held together for 30 minutes.  On DWV it probably isn't a big deal because of the lack of pressure, but on any pressurized pipe it can be.  The company I work for put us all through this training a while ago and it was a huge eye opener for all.  We discovered this was the cause of some leaking pipe on our units.  I have personally watched a joint back out 10 minutes after assembly due to pipe size and cure times.  Those sockets are tapered and will push the pipe back out.  We work in PVC as big as 16" that pipe needs to be clamped up and left for at least 2 hours to cure.  All these "recommendations" are of course just that.  The bottom line though if the manufacturers instructions aren't followed the warranty is void on the pipe and fitting.

I noticed that too

@ July 15, 2014 1:11 PM in Do I need a chimney liner?

Looks like a shiny piece of pipe back in there.  Another thing I noticed was the one boiler reduces right at the appliance, at least it appears to reduce.  I always thought that was a big no no.  Another issue that I don't think was mentioned is the acid.  The combustion gases from gas appliance can produce an acid if they condense.  This is what can ultimately destroy the masonry chimney.  This is the biggest reason for lining (so I was told).  I have a 100+ year old house and am currently in process of abandoning the masonry chimney and having a new B vent installed inside the house.  If you saw my chimney and what can happen you wouldn't question the lining issue believe me.  Just another homeowner.

2 stage gas valve

@ July 12, 2014 9:52 PM in Identifying boiler capacity

Gerry Gill is a big fan of them as well.

Homeowner opinion

@ July 11, 2014 11:08 AM in Did my plumber "F" up my system?

If all those new pipes are run in an area that won't be accessible when the bathroom is done that could be an issue.  If there is a problem in the future you could end up having to rip apart the brand new bathroom to have it fixed.  It sounds by your description like this will all be buried in the floors and walls.  Like was said by others it might work just fine, but what about long term?  Working and not leaking today to me isn't much of a guarantee that in 2 years the whole thing could let go.  And now you are remodeling the bathroom again, and who will your GC hire to fix the pipes the second time?  Same guy that did it wrong the first time?  It could be a vicious aggravating cycle that doesn't end.  You could also post some pictures of this piping and people might be able to give better opinions.  Like I said just my opinion as a homeowner.


@ July 10, 2014 11:46 AM in Lightening Strikes

Either of these the ones you are talking about?

Fiberglass and the itches

@ July 6, 2014 6:55 PM in stupidity

I worked for a fiberglass company for a couple years and the only way I found to keep it away was layers.  I always wore a long sleeve T-shirt under my long sleeve Dickies button up shirt and that usually helped.  It was scorching hot, but I dealt and drank tons of water.  Not quite attic hot, but we weren't allowed fans or much ventilation because it could mess with the curing process of the fiberglass as well as all the EPA regulations for VOC's etc.  Heat stroke and exhaustion were primary concerns in the summer so we all had training and always watched out for people.  Conversation was encouraged because holding a conversation required brain function and when you get hot that can be a first sign of problems.  Oh and we had respirators on a lot so that didn't help.  Sending people into an attic, in the summer and alone seems ludicrous to me on all levels.  Cutting corners and sacrificing safety is never worth the profits.  Kakashi is a hero and should be commended you saved a life as far as I am concerned that is a fact.


@ July 1, 2014 10:08 PM in New gas boiler sizing

That boiler doesn't look that old.  I think someone mentioned already about putting a gas conversion burner in it as an interim until the boiler needs replaced.  Maybe an expert could comment on that and answer this, could a gas conversion be sized to down fire that boiler and work on a new smaller boiler later?  Just a thought, but really need an expert that knows about this to comment.

Floor jack?

@ July 1, 2014 7:11 PM in Moving a radiator to put floor down

Some floor jacks sit pretty low so possibly jack it up and slide a dolly under it?  Another option could be to lever it up with an old pipe or something?  Make sure to put a piece of plywood or something under the end so you don't destroy the floor.  Something else, depending on the type of floating floor be very careful when you put those rads back.  I have installed thousands of sq ft. of flooring (hard wood and floating) some of those floating floors aren't as good as others.  In my parents house we installed bamboo over the concrete slab.  The flooring dents if you look at it wrong even though bamboo is very hard (which it is).  The problem is it is basically made like plywood and the layers under the top bamboo layer are white pine which is very soft for this reason it dents easily.  Just wanted to throw it out at you.  The better floors are "hard wood" all the way through, but you pay for them. Good luck with your project and post some pics on your page when you are done I love seeing remodeling work!

just a homeowner here....

@ July 1, 2014 9:27 AM in New gas boiler sizing

That being said be careful about the price thing.  I will reiterate what Rich said above generally speaking you either get quality or cheap, but almost never get both.  If you have set a dollar amount in your head and are trying to hit that number in my opinion you are doing it wrong.  I appreciate we (as homeowners) only have so much money to spend, but to be honest I would get a loan if I had to, to make sure the job was done properly.  Try and get more quotes, there is a find a contractor link on this site and it can be a good place to start.  Don't be afraid to put the search range up to a high number (50 miles) the worst that can happen is they will say no.  Many of the good contractors will travel pretty far.  Your judgement on what is too high should be based on the estimates you get not on some number you have invented in your head.  Heating systems are very expensive (many thousands) in many cases you can get into 5 figures even on a modest house.  Find more contractors get as many quotes as you can and personally I would stop chasing after people that don't want to get back to you.  If they don't want your business then why would you want them?  Good luck with everything!
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