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Joined on August 8, 2003

Last Post on April 12, 2014

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@ April 12, 2014 8:18 AM in Radiator air vent preference?

Thank you all very much.

I'll check this stuff out today. I don't know how those videos have gotten past me this long.

I'm told the Gortons use a bi-metal...

@ April 11, 2014 4:37 PM in Radiator air vent preference? opposed to the Hoffmans which also float(?) to seal.
I'm not sure I got that right, but that's the kind of answer I'm looking for: the mechanics of each valve.
I would think that will help determine which manufacturer's product may be better suited for one set of conditions over another.

Radiator air vent preference? Technical reasons?

@ April 11, 2014 8:42 AM in Radiator air vent preference?

I tend to use Gorton for the variety, ease of selection, and quality, but the Hoffman rep has me rethinking my choices.

I don't like Vari-Valves, so don't even suggest it.


Of course they work.

@ March 22, 2014 10:39 AM in main line water filter

But you need to know what it is you want to filter out.

If you can't answer that, then somebody is going to sell you a placebo unit. Have your water tested and see what filter media best treats your water if you want one.

My opinion is you're far better off with a point-of-use filter for drinking and cooking if you're concerned about health issues. There's no point in filtering your toilet water.

Don't get me started.

@ March 22, 2014 10:31 AM in Pipefitters shoulder

For the last 3 years I've been dealing with my shoulder and elbow.
I got a cortisone shot in my shoulder and two in my elbow and while they both offered some temporary relief, it wasn't until I actually listened to my doctor and physical therapist and started doing light dumbbell lifts at the gym.

3 sets starting with 2.5 lbs and working up to 7.5 lbs, as many as I can comfortably do gets it done.
I lift straight forward, then straight out to the sides, then lean over forward and lift backward.
I do that anywhere from 1-3 times a week and my shoulder is good.
If I skip a week it's ok, but if I skip two, my shoulder starts to hurt again.
That's how I know it works.

My elbow healed by doing tricep push downs and other tricep extension repetitions.

The key is to resist the urge to lift a lot of weight.

If you can do 10-12 reps comfortably, then you're using the right weight. You'll know when you can lift more, but don't push it.

My doctor is Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at a big deal hospital in New York and he strongly advised me to do these exercises and see how I feel before we even consider talking about surgery.
As far as I'm concerned, no one's cutting me open until I'm out of options.

Good luck to you.

Not for 1-pipe

@ March 22, 2014 4:55 AM in Adding cast iron baseboard to one-pipe steam system

Ci BB doesn't work well with 1-pipe steam.
If it's your only option and you need heat in the room, then you wouldn't be wrong to try it.
A 2" section won't produce much condensate and the reality is that you wouldn't be the first person to use the product with livable results.

If you must use it, vent the radiator with a ¾" x ⅛" bushing, a ⅛" nipple and elbow, and convector (straight) air vent.

That's a nice comment, Joe. Thanks.

@ March 21, 2014 11:34 AM in Weil-McLain & Caleffi Installation

Actually this was mostly a pro-press job.


@ March 21, 2014 7:33 AM in Weil-McLain & Caleffi Installation

I don't even know what that is.
I'll take a look though.

That's the side of the boiler.

@ March 20, 2014 10:47 PM in what is expansion and contraction noises?

The front is the part with the manufacturer's name plate on it.

Weil-McLain & Caleffi Installation

@ March 20, 2014 10:44 PM in Weil-McLain & Caleffi Installation

This is a hard installation to photograph but you get the idea.

We're happy with this one.

It's a large Manhattan residence with three WM 310 boilers and two 80-gallon indirects.

I know, I know. It's a lot of heat and hot water, but this is how it goes in this town.

Oh no.

@ March 19, 2014 10:15 AM in what is expansion and contraction noises?

This doesn't look like a good install. Can you send a pic of the boiler, front forward, including the piping directly on top?


@ March 19, 2014 8:12 AM in I'm working out in the shop today

"Prefer" (his word) is not "loathe" (your word). Let's not question people for misquotes.

I feel the same way. I like dealing with my suppliers.

Thermal imaging and trap testing

@ March 14, 2014 7:01 PM in General steam trap question

We use a thermal imaging camera to test traps. It eliminates a lot of guesswork.
That's a good thing.


@ March 11, 2014 8:43 PM in Not enough heat with new boiler set at low pressure.


What do you do when you have no idea what to do?

@ March 11, 2014 7:35 AM in Question about two pipe system

Drain the boiler.

You need someone else to have a look at this. Find a heating contractor that "specializes" in steam rather than one that has a passing familiarity.

Where are you located?

Which design temp?

@ March 10, 2014 9:22 PM in Boiler efficiency cycling vs continuous run

Outdoor at 10°, indoor at 70°?
Outdoor at 10°, indoor at 60°?

Which is your fictional boiler sized "to the smidge" for?


@ March 10, 2014 5:33 PM in Boiler efficiency cycling vs continuous run

...not necessarily.
When I started taking I=B=R classes back in 1992, this was a huge topic of conversation. I guess it still is.

The instructors there were a stone wall in their response that the only way setback thermostats showed any positive benefit was when there were long and deep periods, as in many days of setback at 10° or more.

They had study after study that showed multiple temperature periods in a single (24 hour) day showed no significant benefit at all. In fact, anything beyond a 4-degree temperature drop in those 24 hours often resulted in an efficiency decline.

Haha. This could be a long conversation...

@ March 10, 2014 5:24 PM in Boiler efficiency cycling vs continuous run

BoBoBoB, the bottom line is it costs money/energy to heat anything and everything above its ambient temperature for any amount of time.

ChrisJ, no, it doesn't mean that. The part of any heating cycle that involves a continuing call for heat (via the thermostat) and the burner is off due to having reached a high limit, that is the part of the cycle where efficiency is lost. That high limit can be the aquastat setting on a hydronic boiler, or a pressuretrol on a steam system.
The ideal heating system reaches pressure/temperature just as the thermostat is satisfied.

It rarely ever happens quite that way.

That's why we vent the heck out of steam, and love our mod-cons or size our non-cons properly for hydronics.

Someone's going to take me task on this.

Bring it.

Here's my stock answer on short-cycling and setback thermostats.

@ March 10, 2014 4:52 PM in Boiler efficiency cycling vs continuous run

The bottom line is steam systems run at 0% efficiency until they are actually making steam that is actively travelling out of the boiler and into the radiators.

Consider these stages of steam heat: 1. flame on/boiler firing/no steam/pipes cold; 2. boiler producing steam; 3. steam pressure created/steam in motion/pipes absorbing heat; 4. radiators warming and releasing heat to rooms.

One definition of efficiency is the measure of how much fuel being burned actually translates to heat in the living space. In a steam system, only the 4th stage is producing measurable efficiency. That means the longer a steam boiler remains in the first 75% of its heating cycle, the less efficient it runs. That's a lot of fuel to burn before any benefit is realized.

It's like incandescent light bulbs. Something like 90% of the electricity used for light bulbs is needed to make the filament glow, the other 10% determines the intensity it glows.

By comparison, hot water heating (hydronic) systems exchange heat from the water to the living space the moment the pump turns on.
Same can be said for the fan and burners of a hot air system, the difference being the steam and hydronic systems release heat long after the whole process shut down because the radiators are still hot and release heat slowly.

With setback, or for the purposes of this conversation, short cycling, you force the system into low periods where all the residual heat from previous cycles is lost, in many cases up the chimney, and the next cycle starts from deeper within the least efficient part of the process where it remains longer.

Many steam systems were designed originally for coal, which means they were designed for a constant burn and a steady temperature throughout. Setback thermostats might have well have been space travel back then.

Another thing to consider is that when you allow your home to drop in temperature, it takes everything with it: the walls, floors, furniture, etc. All that stuff will seek to equalize with the room temperature when the thermostat goes into the high setting. That consumes energy, too.

Admittedly a minor point, but..

@ March 9, 2014 10:14 AM in Beating a dead horse.

...after hurricane Sandy, I had people temporarily operating their atmospheric boilers off the cigarette lighters in their cars.

Most power burners draw far too much power to do that.


@ March 9, 2014 9:52 AM in Beating a dead horse.


You can't have it both ways

@ March 9, 2014 9:39 AM in Beating a dead horse.

If you don't trust the factory to consistently manufacture a boiler to perform at its best, then you can't trust their ratings either.

Again, the 85% rating on that boiler depends on the performance of that power burner.
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