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Steamhead

Steamhead

Joined on March 11, 2004

Last Post on July 23, 2014

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OK, but there's

@ February 23, 2003 12:40 AM in Heat pump to produce HOT water?

still the problem of contamination. I'd still rearrange it. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Charlie, A Better Arrangement

@ February 22, 2003 11:29 PM in Heat pump to produce HOT water?

would be to have the boiler water heating the domestic hot water in the tank via the heat exchanger, and a reset controller operating a primary-secondary pumping setup or mixing valve that can vary the water temp in your radiant floors. This way you don't have fresh water running thru the boiler all the time, which can shorten its life and add impurities to your faucet water. Variations of this type of system have also resulted in bacterial contamination. I'd change this right away; your family's health is at stake. I've heard of heat pumps that can route their reject-heat into hot water tanks, but am not that familiar with them. Maybe another Wethead (see our Find a Contractor page) or someone from Trane, Carrier or another heat-pump company could help you there. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Another Beautiful Job, Dave

@ February 22, 2003 11:18 PM in I'm a little Munchkin, short & stout.....

and knowing you, it works as well as it looks! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Tim's books

@ February 22, 2003 10:55 PM in Power Gas Burners

are as highly recommended as Dan's. Very well written, lots of information and easy to understand. Get his catalog and order yours now! I know this sounds like a late-night TV commercial, but Tim's books really are that good. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Believe it or not

@ February 22, 2003 8:09 PM in Steam vent question

it contained just under 3 cubic feet of air. The Gorton #2 will vent about 5 Cu. Ft. per minute at 2 ounces pressure. So it has plenty of capacity. You could use several Hoffman #75 vents to do the same thing. But since a single Gorton #2 costs about the same as a Hoffman #75, the choice is obvious. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Perhaps just as important, Mike

@ February 22, 2003 7:59 PM in Need to replace my WM MGB-6 (cracked casting)

is trying to ascertain why it cracked. Was the low-water cutoff working? Was the piping around the boiler done according to W-M's specs? Was the boiler sized properly to the building's radiation? Was the boiler firing at the proper rate? Are all the system's air vents properly sized and working? Are the return lines flowing freely? Is the pressure set no higher than the system was designed for? Is the water feed line piped into the wet return, so cold water will not shock the boiler? Any time I assess a system with a cracked boiler, I look for things that could cause the crack. Often I find more than one of the above. I recently looked at a Hoffman Vapor system with a Columbia boiler that had cracked for the second time. The first time someone replaced the bad section and hoped for the best. This time it gets done right! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Dan came up with something similar

@ February 22, 2003 7:48 PM in dead men

"A hundred years from now, they will gaze upon my work and marvel at my skills, but never know my name. And that will be good enough for me." To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

What

@ February 21, 2003 7:25 PM in Boiler Return Trap

are the symptoms, Wayne? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Me too, Tim

@ February 21, 2003 9:12 AM in combustion/makeup air question....

always glad to hear your ideas. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Nice Job, David

@ February 21, 2003 8:45 AM in another drop header (pics)

I saved one of the header pics. We're proud of you! And that's a great choice for a mascot........ To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

So

@ February 21, 2003 8:27 AM in VERY cool old rad!

what room are you gonna put it in, Eric? And is that the architectural shop at Fountain Square? To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Depending on the boiler

@ February 19, 2003 9:02 PM in vent dampers

the saving can be as much as 10% (AFUE)under normal circumstances. If the building has one of those old chimneys designed for coal boilers, with a draft that can almost pull you up the flue, you will probably save more. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

I'll bet

@ February 19, 2003 8:46 PM in Steam boiler water hammer

those zone valves have turned the A dimension into a B dimension, causing water to back up into the mains. Then when steam hits the water- BANG! Lock them open as Steve suggested, I'll bet the noise goes away. Best way to zone steam is with TRVs. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Dan wrote a story like this

@ February 19, 2003 4:12 PM in Illudium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulator

which included Gunkulators and Turboencabulators. It's in his limited-edition book "Ye Compleate Workes of Dan Holohan" from a few years ago. One of his funniest. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Look at the boiler

@ February 19, 2003 4:08 PM in Radiator Failure

if there is a glass tube showing the water level, it's steam. Since it's two-pipe, it's probably a "Vapor" steam system, which was the Cadillac of heating in its day. Post some pictures here of anything you're unsure of, and we'll do our best to help. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

The answer

@ February 19, 2003 4:05 PM in Steam vent question

David has 40 feet of 3-inch pipe. The proper vent is a Gorton #2. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Here are your pics, Michele

@ February 19, 2003 3:33 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversion

The boiler pic is first. That should be an Ideal "Type A Heat Machine". This was one of the best residential boilers of its day. Whoever built that system went first-class! The "Columbia" is the name of the gas conversion burner. The new vent looks like a Gorton or Maid-o-Mist #1. I think that's a bit small for that system- my choice is the Gorton #2 which has four times the capacity of the #1. The "trap area" shows a green vent which I think is a Hoffman #76. It looks like this is venting the steam main- I think a Gorton #2 is a better choice here too. But measure the length and diameter of the main first to be sure. "Varying the quantity of steam" is simply a matter of how long the burner runs each cycle, in response to the thermostat. www.gorton-valves.com To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Murph, tell us more

@ February 18, 2003 11:02 AM in What would you do......???

about what he needs. Maybe someone on the Wall would be kind enough to donate the equipment......... To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Answers-

@ February 18, 2003 10:50 AM in Steam to Hot Water Conversion

Any steam boiler made today must have an annual efficiency (AFUE, which is something like miles-per-gallon for a car) of at least 80%. I've seen steamers as high as 86%. There are very few really bad steam boilers out there- I like Burnham, Columbia and Slant/Fin but there are people who swear by Crown, Dunkirk, Peerless, Smith, Weil-McLain (made right over there in Michigan City, IN) and others. What really matters with any boiler is how well it is installed. No boiler can be expected to perform well if the installer does a poor job. In steam, the piping around the boiler is crucial to good operation. The manufacturer provides a piping diagram which the installer must follow to the letter. The fast-cooldown problem is probably caused by uninsulated steam pipes. Remember, steam is a gas that really wants to condense back into a liquid. But you want it to condense in the radiators, not the pipes. When steam condenses to water, it shrinks 1700 times. This can cause a vacuum in those uninsulated pipes which can pull steam out of the radiators. The traps that generally need attention are the ones on the radiators. You can still get parts for almost any trap. If there are two big "traps" in the return lines near the boiler, one is probably a float trap/air eliminator. This is the main air vent for the entire system. The other is a return trap, which makes sure the water can return to the boiler no matter what the boiler's pressure. BTW, do you know who made the ones on your system? Outdoor-reset controllers do exist for steam. But before investing in one, I'd straighten out the system. Most times this will solve the problems that made you think of outdoor-reset in the first place. A standard or suitable digital-programmable thermostat works quite well on the usual steam or Vapor system. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

If you're having trouble

@ February 17, 2003 10:34 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversion

geting the house warm, you may have a bad trap or an air-venting problem. These are really easy to fix, and cost far less than converting to hot-water. You may want to go to the "Find a Contractor" page of this site to locate someone near you who can give you a second opinion. Too bad you're not in the Baltimore area- I'd love to get my hands on your system! To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

And (thanks, Ron)

@ February 17, 2003 10:16 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversion

if the existing radiators really are in the way, you can still get cast-iron radiators in different shapes and sizes. These can be made to go where needed, same as the original ones were. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"

Radiators vs. Baseboard

@ February 17, 2003 9:38 PM in Steam to Hot Water Conversion

The cast-iron radiator is one of the best things ever invented to heat a building with. It gets its name from the fact that part of the heat it gives off is "radiated" much the same as the heat from the sun shines on you. Air passing over the radiator is also heated by convection, where warmer air rises and pulls cooler air over the radiator. Also, cast-iron holds its heat when the water or steam shuts off. Most baseboard, on the other hand, works by convection only. There is little if any radiation from one of these units, which IMHO detracts from comfort. Baseboard also cools quickly when the system shuts off. Baseboard has the advantage that it takes up much less space than cast-iron radiators do. But I think the increased comfort justifies the space radiators take up. If space is a problem, several manufacturers make cast-iron baseboard which works almost as well as radiators do. It costs more than the usual fin-tube baseboard, but is worth it. If you have a steam or hot-water system with radiators, I would simply fix any problems and let it run another 80 years. To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"