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Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on August 29, 2014

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Jamie's right

@ August 29, 2014 7:50 PM in Going around obsticals

that 1/2" difference is what makes this thing work. 

The Trio

@ August 29, 2014 9:39 AM in Trio oil boiler with their energy manager plus II control

is based on the Biasi block, like the Solaia. We've installed several Solaias and like them. Haven't seen the Trio's control though, but the one that comes with the Solaia is nice.

You do need to make sure this boiler doesn't get too much cold return water. This would involve either a thermal bypass or a primary-secondary hookup.

I think you're right

@ August 28, 2014 11:38 PM in Zone valves and RIB cubes

if the coil of the RIB is wired to terminal 3 of a Taco 570-series or other 3-terminal ZV, it is being used as an "isolation relay".

The terminals on the 570 ZV head are:
1- to thermostat
2- 24V power feed, usually coming from the R side of the transformer
3- end switch sending 24V out to a relay or other equipment.

Terminal 2 is wired internally to one side of the heat motor and also the end switch. The thermostat is wired to the other side of the heat motor via terminal 1. When the thermostat closes, it completes the circuit thru the heat motor back to the C side of the transformer, and the motor expands the wax to open the valve.

When the valve opens, it closes an internal switch (the "end switch") and 24 volts appears on terminal 3, goes to a relay coil which activates the relay, and back to the C side of the transformer.

It is possible to wire these ZV heads to the TT terminals of the usual boiler control without using a relay if you get the polarities of the transformers just right. But I always use a relay because sometimes transformers don't play well together, and it's way too easy to get polarities mixed up on a 1:30 AM no-heat call.

The ZV relay panel Icy mentioned does basically the same thing, enclosing all the hook-up wiring in the housing so you don't really have to think about it.

That boiler is as old as I am

@ August 28, 2014 11:15 PM in Oil to gas

and is probably in better shape :-O

I don't have the info handy but I believe those Sunnyday boilers were three-pass units, which were surprisingly efficient if properly installed, tuned and maintained. Three-pass means the combustion products travel the length of the boiler three times, which is key to their efficiency. Some Crane 3-pass boilers, however, had extra-large final passes which didn't extract much heat unless they were baffled well. Baffles also work well in the other passes of these boilers.

With that said, however, a newer boiler will be more efficient, even if it's a cast-iron one.

The issues with condensing boilers are 1- that they cannot exhaust through a standard chimney, and 2- some of them have had rather short life spans.

The exhaust situation means you either exhaust them through the sidewall, or drop suitable piping through the existing chimney (assuming this is even possible) which also means you can't connect anything else, such as a water heater, to that chimney. If you come out the side of the house, you have to come out at certain distances from windows, doors and other wall penetrations, and at least a foot above the highest snow accumulation in the area. That last point doesn't appear in all manufacturers' instructions, but if the unit gets a noseful of snow and shuts down or runs poorly, no one is going to be able to come and fix it until the roads are cleared. 

Some condensing boilers, particularly those using heat exchangers made by Gianonni, have started leaking after 5-10 years of use. Since these are typically more expensive to buy and install, and require more maintenance than the typical gas boiler, that represents a rather poor value.

Fortunately, non-condensing boilers are getting more efficient. We've been using the Burnham ES2 (85% AFUE) and 3 series (84%) atmospheric units, with good results. A modern 3-pass boiler with a power burner like the Carlin EZ-Gas will also give as good or maybe slightly better efficiency. This is quite a jump from the 80% gas boilers offered as recently as a couple years ago.

Whichever way you go, add an outdoor-reset control which adjusts the water temperature based on the outdoor temperature. This will give you a saving of at least 10% of your fuel.

Not the header

@ August 28, 2014 10:45 PM in What is the solution?

looks to me like this is a steam main above a dropped ceiling. We generally drill and tap the side of the last tee for 1/2" pipe thread, holding the drill and the tap at a slight pitch so they slope down towards the tee, and use a short nipple and an elbow to mount the vent. This way the pipe to the vent does not collect water and bang.

Where are you located?

@ August 28, 2014 10:41 PM in Unbalanced Steam System?????????

there may be someone in your area who can help. 

Go with the 3-pass

@ August 27, 2014 8:13 PM in oil burner replacement

these are much easier to service, so there is a much better chance of their being serviced properly. 

Is that a JO or TW series Peerless?

@ August 27, 2014 8:08 PM in BTU needed on Oil to Gas convesion

If so, or even it it's a later model, that Wayne burner won't work well. Its fan will not develop enough static air pressure to move enough air through the tight flueways in these boilers. You will not get good combustion efficiency and the CO levels may be too high, from incomplete combustion.

The Carlin EZ-Gas would be my first choice, followed by the Riello gas burner. Beckett just came out with their CG4 but I have not used one, so can't speak to its capability.

That's the W-M "QB" burner

@ August 27, 2014 2:03 PM in Weil Mclain Burner to Beckett Burner

they will run fine with proper setup. But you can't set them up like a Beckett, which too many knuckleheads try to do. For setup info, go here:

The delayed ignition can have several causes- electrodes not set properly, bad ignitor or nozzle, etc. The fuel unit (pump) is a standard Suntec part. Carlin and others make replacement ignitors for this burner.

You should not have to replace the cad cell (eye) each year. I'd bet the burner head is out of adjustment, possibly causing the cell to overheat.

Did the oil company set up this burner using a combustion analyzer? Since you're having so much trouble with it, I think I know the answer................

Can you

@ August 27, 2014 2:01 AM in Minnesota Radiators

post some pics?

If you have access to a local orchestra

@ August 27, 2014 1:57 AM in Steam versus Hot Air

Saint-Saens' Third symphony would be my choice. The fourth movement is awesome!

Nate, here's more info on the mini-tube system

@ August 23, 2014 8:34 PM in New House Heating

along with some pics:

I've seen this system operate- it's everything Gerry says it is. You would do well to go this route.

And of course

@ August 23, 2014 8:17 PM in New House Heating

we'll get lots and lots of pictures, right? 

Nice job!

@ August 22, 2014 11:54 PM in steam header

one question- does the return lines' teeing together above the waterline allow steam to get into the returns and bang?

That's called a "colliding header"

@ August 22, 2014 11:24 PM in steam header

and it's wrong. It is likely causing wet steam, which you don't want.

This article has a pic of a well-done drop header on an older EGH:


@ August 21, 2014 9:57 PM in Oil boiler with gas conversion burner

Slant/Fin Intrepid and Columbia CSFE for the smaller jobs, with one or two Weil-McLain SGO when we needed to disassemble the block to bring it in. Mostly W-M 80 series for light commercial jobs, with a couple Burnham V9A. Which one we choose is based on the specifics of the particular job.

Most of our burners are Carlin (EZ-Gas, 201Gas, 301Gas) though we have used some Midco and PowerFlame units.

Most of our chimneys are semi-exposed, and the owners have them lined.

Almost all our gas services are low-pressure, 7-8" w.c.

You might want to look at

@ August 21, 2014 8:47 AM in Steam versus Hot Air

your church's bylaws. There may be something in there regarding financial matters that they have conveniently overlooked. Also there may be some provision for removal from office in cases of incompetence or malfeasance. 

They are

@ August 21, 2014 1:10 AM in Oil boiler with gas conversion burner

for either type. Use the factory-published ratings. Multiply the oil firing rate by 140,000 to get the Input BTUH. 

Once again-

@ August 21, 2014 1:06 AM in Steam versus Hot Air

you can't fix stupid!

By any chance, was the sole bidder related to one of the council members?

Time to throw the bums out!

That's one of steam's advantages

@ August 20, 2014 4:46 PM in New House Heating

the radiators don't need to be anywhere near as big as with hot-water.

When we built the steam system that I had designed years ago, the radiators looked positively tiny- people thought there was no way they could heat the rooms. That is, until heating season came along- now they say they've never been in a more comfortable house.

Thermal Efficiency

@ August 20, 2014 12:17 PM in Oil boiler with gas conversion burner

is the difference. This is expressed as the DOE output (Gross output on larger boilers) in BTU per hour, as a percentage of the Input BTU per hour.

When doing this calculation on a standard calculator, for a boiler having an Input of 187,000 BTUH and a DOE Output of 152,000 BTUH, you would enter 152,000 divided by 187,000 but instead of hitting the = key, you'd hit %. The result here would be 81.28.

Atmospheric steam boilers typically run 80-81% thermal efficiency. Most of this is due to the higher excess air in the combustion process (typically 35-50% as opposed to 25% or less with a power burner, which lets more heat go up the chimney) as well as heat losses from the base, which does not have water moving thru it to absorb heat. DOE does not consider base losses as "losses", since the heat is released in the space around the boiler, but since this heat invariably warms the combustion air and eventually goes up the chimney, we want to eliminate it. We want that heat to go to the radiators.

We find thermal efficiencies of 85-86% on wet-base steam boilers with power burners, because they eliminate those two inefficiencies.

Thermal efficiency is often overlooked since most people are stuck on AFUE, but it plays an important part of the boiler's over-all efficiency.

I've done it

@ August 20, 2014 11:20 AM in New House Heating

go for it!!
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