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rick in Alaska

rick in Alaska

Joined on June 23, 2002

Last Post on August 13, 2014

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@ August 13, 2014 1:40 AM in By special request.

  Collect you payment as soon as you are done before the customer forgets how important it was to have you out there right now.
  Be polite.
  Clean up after yourself.
  Tuck your shirt in!!!
  Pass along the knowledge.

d.v. burner

@ August 12, 2014 3:02 AM in Looking for a direct vent oil burner -

 First of all are you just looking for a direct vent burner or a boiler combination. If you already have a boiler it must be designed as a direct vent unit. I am guessing by the rest of your post you are looking for a complete boiler with burner.
   I have installed Buderus g115 with Riello burners, Burnham MPO with Beckett NX,  Weil Mclain ultra oil with Beckett NX,  and Burnham Le with Beckett AF11. They all run excellant with no sooting. In fact, the Weil Mclain is in my own house.The burner is very noisy though despite what is advertised.
  The only issue I have had is with the Riello burner and the Fields ft6 (I think) termination. The intake and exhaust is so close that if the wind is blowing the exhaust can be picked right up and the Riello will shut down right away, but then immediately restart. This can definitely lead to some sooting problems. This one is a case where a different termination is needed if you are prone to winds on it.
  Not sure if you are East coast or not, but it sure seems the guys on the East coast sure seem to have a lot more issues with burners. My guess is the equipment is a lot older and the fuel is a lot nastier. We just don't seem to have the same problems here.


@ April 29, 2014 1:07 AM in Please take this survey

Done, but no System 2000 on their list, which I thought was unusual.

ockhams razor

@ April 11, 2014 11:24 PM in By special request.

Whole heartily agree with that. What I was saying is just don't assume that when you find the basic problem that you are done. There might be a second issue that is not apparent until the first problem is fixed.
p.s. I also use the same problem solving sequence myself. Start with the most likely problem and then go from there. Gets me to where I need to be.


@ April 6, 2014 1:31 AM in By special request.

!. Keep your dang shirt tucked in!
2. Look around and ask lots of questions. And get lots of training.
3.  Always assume there is more of a problem than you think. Keeps you from fixing the "problem" and leaving, only to find the other one on the recall.
4. See #1

flooded chamber

@ March 31, 2014 12:32 AM in Oil furnace won't light!!

 Quite a few years back I encountered a flooded chamber on a combination oil/wood boiler. The homeowner had just bought the house and was in the process of moving in when he came in and noticed there was no heat. He went to the boiler and found it running and with fuel leaking out the chamber on to the cement floor and down through the floor drain. He shut everything down and called me in. When i got there a couple of hours later, you could smell the fuel from outside. i took the combustion chamber door off and spent the next  hour cleaning out oil from every bit of the cast iron and then religning the chamber floor with a new kaowool blanket.
 After reassembling everything, i tackled the burner and found that the transformer had died and the primary control would not shut off. I replaced the parts and fired it off with the way Icesailor does it. I will leave the inspection port open just enough to keep the flame burning without coming out as I don't  want it to be just smoldering. I have found by experience that if the fire goes out and is smoldering and you try to light it too soon, it makes a bad boom and the barometric leaves the chimney! We did a controlled burn on that thing for 4 hours before we were able to get it to burn off enough so that the burner could take over. Definitely not one I would ever want to see again.
 Not sure what he wound up doing about the floor drain that dumped in to his septic tank, and exactly how much did go in, but I know he did pour some type of chemical he got from the fuel company down the drain to "neutralize" the potential for fire in the drain line. Hopefully it cleared it all up, but not sure.

lp cost

@ March 30, 2014 11:06 PM in LP Gas usage rating? GPH?

Last price that I heard of around here was $6.25 and going up.
A customer of mine had me replace his Hydrotherm with a Viessman modcon that he supplied and he said is heat bill went down dramatically. He was very pleased with the changeout and the new fuel bills. Roi might be better than you thought.
We now are in the process of getting natural gas here, so a lot of propane tanks are going away, along with a lot of fuel tanks. Keeping me very busy!

gas detector

@ March 30, 2014 10:54 PM in electronic NGleak detector

I just got mine about 5 months ago from our local Johnstone supplier. Not sure if they are in your area or not, but any heating supply place should be able to get them.

heat wave

@ February 2, 2014 2:19 PM in Frozen fuel oil line

I haven't had to worry at all about a frozen line this winter. The "Polar Vortex" took all of our winter away! No snow on the ground and has been between 28 and 52 for over a month now. Very weird winter!
P.s. for split fingers I find it is because I am not getting enough water, and because it is so dry here, also weird, I get dehydrated easily. Besides, we now have natural gas here and i am working seven days a week 12 to 14 hours, but very little oil work. Sign of the times I guess.

galvanized pipe

@ February 2, 2014 12:32 AM in Galvanized fitting?

Actually it can be used. The IFGC 403.4.2, UMC, and UPC allow it. I called the gas company to also verify it with them, and they will allow it. I have been using it on all my outside piping as I am in a saltwater environment and black pipe rusts just as fast as I can get it. Since it is wintertime, at least for the East coast,it is too cold to paint.  Galvanized looks good also!
 I also do put sediment traps on all appliances even though it is not required on some.
 Not taking any chances!

underground line

@ February 1, 2014 11:58 PM in Frozen fuel oil line

We have very few underground tanks around here, like maybe 10, but there might also be a chance that someone put a foot valve on the supply line in the tank. I have seen it done on above ground tanks. Something to check would also be the vacuum on the line.
 Also, I always wear nitrile gloves to keep my hands out of the oil. After having cancer and being told it was because of exposure to petroleum chemicals over the years, seems like a good idea. Also, I don't like my hands to smell!
Good luck with your problem.


@ November 29, 2013 3:00 AM in Carbon Monoxide Issues - HELP!

My last post got dumped somehow, so here is a shortened version of it.
Find out if the boiler is really putting out that kind of co or not . Is the dryer gas?
If the boiler is putting out that amount of co, get it fixed immediately. I never leave a boiler running more than 50ppm, but usually closer to 15.
If you are getting back draft through the barometric on the air intake line ( damper is required up here not for draft, but in case vent gets blocked outside .But it must be set up right), then you have an air issue inside the house that is making the house negative pressure. I suspect you do not have enough combustion air in the basement to run the dryer and anything else that might be pulling air out.
Although the exhaust vent does not look good, it is mostly an insulated chimney connector, and the joints are sealed ok. I doubt you are getting exhaust leakage through it. But a smoke bomb test in the boiler would prove any leakage.
The exhaust termination is ok for that boiler, but according to a local rep here, i you were to cut a 3" hole through the center of it, it would direct the exhaust gases out further such as some direct vent water heaters do. This might help with any air being pulled back in through the air intake, such as on breezy days, and help with the staining on the wall caused by the acid in the exhaust gas hitting a cold wet wall.
p.s. check the door seal on that boiler as I had one that the gasket was not sealing as it should.

conversion burners

@ October 22, 2013 4:24 PM in conversion burners

HI guys and gals!
I am sure I have asked this before but never go a clear answer on it.
When doing a conversion on a furnace or boiler and the conversion burner manufacturer  has not tried their burner on whatever it is that you are converting, how do you decide to use it or not.
 I trying to find out if I use say a Riello burner on a furnace that used an Af11 burner, even though the manufacturer says they haven't tested it on this furnace, who is liable? I am fairly sure it is me, but wanting to verify. I am not wanting to do anything that makes me liable for using a product that hasn't been tested by the manufacturer.
 So I guess basically  my question is this: If I have a furnace and I want to convert it, which way should I go. Go for the best assumed burner, or replace it. At this time, I am replacing them as I feel it is cheaper anyway. But I do have a couple of Williamson and Thermopride furnaces that I know have a lot of life left in them and are also in a bad place to get to for removal, and it would be nice to just change the burner.
  I also have a church with 7 lennox furnaces that were installed back in '07. Convert or replace?
 Thanks for any help or advice. Much appreciated.


@ August 21, 2013 12:39 AM in New Style for Butt Krack Plumbers

My wife says that is like "putting lipstick on a pig", to quote our ex governor Sarah Palin, but I like it.
In my company, crack is a non-no.
lol, rick


@ August 20, 2013 2:33 AM in conversion liability question

Yes I am in Homer. They have a lot of people in town putting in the lines, and are moving along pretty good. Supposed to have gas coming on line in about 2-3 weeks or so. I guess we will see. Definitely getting busy for me though.
 I know there is no one to actually check whether I am qualified to do conversions or not, but I do not want any lawyers showing up later if there is s problem.
 Where are you at Bill?


@ August 18, 2013 10:48 PM in conversion liability question

Gotta check with the state tomorrow, but so far have tried five times to get a call back but without any response. I guess with one guy to cover about a 250 mile by 50 mile area, he is probably busy.
Thanks so far.

conversion liability question

@ August 17, 2013 9:52 PM in conversion liability question

This is something I have been wondering about for a while and thought I would see what you guys say about it.
 We are in the process of getting gas in our town and people are flocking to get it installed and conversions done.
 What my question is, is who is responsible for making the conversions on the appliances themselves?  In other words, the kitchen stove, dryer, wall heater, water heater, etc.
I know I can do the heating system and most likely the on demand water heaters, (or at least I think I can), but not sure about the rest of the "appliances". I have a mechanical administrators license and my plumbers card, but am not sure if that directly enables me to do this work. I am not sure if the basic appliances need to have an appliance certified person do it or not.
I would hate to have the homeowner have to have multiple guys come in to do the conversions, but at the same time, I absolutely do not want any possibility of liability for doing something outside my licensing
 Hope to hear from anyone and everyone!
 Thanks, Rick

dead end

@ June 17, 2013 11:26 PM in Do all LWC's Need

The dead end can also have an air pocket that can be hard to get out, which will make the control shut the system down since it is not covered with water.
My 2 cents anyway.

my pleasure

@ May 26, 2013 9:13 PM in It was great having Ric Norvell

Thank you Tim!
 It was great taking the class and being able to meet you. It was only a little over 4000 air miles to get there, so no big deal :)
 I had a good time driving around Providence and Boston and the surrounding areas and checking out the scenery. Having never been on the East coast, it was nice to finally see it.
 Anyway, the class was very helpful, and I was able to use the information I learned in class on the second day I was back. Gas furnace that was shutting off and I was able to find the problem and cure it.
 With all the gas conversions and replacement units that will be going in with the new gas line being brought in, the knowledge that I got will be very helpful. So thank you for making the class available.

making a happy wife

@ May 5, 2013 2:15 AM in Lesson learned NEVER let the wife tag along to the home show

Two things you need to say to your wife to keep her happy: ( This is from my wife)
1.Yes dear
2. I love it!

Life is easy.


@ April 17, 2013 12:46 AM in trouble free furnaces

Thanks for the replies!
I am in the process of getting a few bids out for conversions now as people are finally starting to believe gas is coming after all these years. Piping is being put in right now and they say maybe turning some of it on by the end of June. Going to be a busy summer.
 I think whatever I get for furnaces will be what they will be. Hopefully problem free for a while anyway. The last time I took on a new line of condensing furnaces I lost about 5 hours on each one of them for callbacks and tweaking due to bad parts and the unit itself. Hopefully this won't happen again.
Anyway, thanks for all opinions!
p.s. Hey Bill are you in Anchorage area or Palin ville?

parts, etc.

@ April 16, 2013 2:07 AM in trouble free furnaces

sorry about lack of info. I am talking furnaces in this case. I do have 3 suppliers about 80 miles away that stock most of the parts, (at least I hope they will since they are selling the furnaces).
 I also understand the  installation concerns. That is not going to be the problem, nor is the lack of stocking, at least somewhat.
 I just need to know what would be my best choice of furnaces to be buying of the ones I named so I know which supplier I will be using. Then I can find out what parts to be stocking.
Thanks for any replies.
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