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Desperately Need Help

jrchobjrchob Member Posts: 7
I am in desperate need of finding someone in the Grand Rapids MI area that knows steam systems. Only one contractor is listed on this for the whole state and that one is on the other side of Michigan.

I thought I finally found someone several years back, in fact he re-piped and insulated the newly installed Utica boiler. I don't know what the problem is because my calls are not returned. The boiler which was on a "list" to be serviced the beginning of the year is still not done. Needed work to replace radiator traps not done. I even asked in one message if I had offended him in any way.

I have called several heating and plumbing concerns for information. But I think their definition of knowledge about steam systems is different than mine.

Any lead as to someone that can help me would most certainly be appreciated. Thank you.



  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,663
    edited July 2013
    there is so much opportunity

    in this country it truly is amazing..sorry i dont know anyone over there..just think in 5 years its said that 40% of all plumbers will retire..gonna be interesting.

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    Looking for Mr. Steam

    Start by asking the local wholesalers of various hydronic products, and see if they know of anyone capable.--NBC
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    edited July 2013
    Finding a Steam Pro

    Hi- Following along on NBC's suggestion -

    A lot of boiler manufacturers list installers/ contractors available near you. They also usually list the local company rep and/or the local wholesaler.  I would  take the installer names and then approach several of the wholesalers listed and ask who they would recommend as being competent with steam heating. Keep in mind that the manufacturers, to the best of my knowledge, DON’T DO ANYTHING TO QUALIFY the installers on these lists. Any fool can put his name on there so keep that in mind. The lists would just give you a place to start your search.  The wholesalers and especially the reps would likely steer you to reliable people.

    Here is a list of boiler manufacturers that give out contractor’s names.

    Weil McLain - 

    Contractor -


    Burnham -


    Smith -

    I would print out the lists and compare them and then approach the suppliers /reps for recommendations.

    - Rod
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    You might try

    Calling the local B&G rep.  Looks like handles both Hoffman and McDonnell & Miller.  They may be willing to give you the name of a contractor who actually works with their residential steam products.
  • RJRJ Member Posts: 483

    The United Ass. of plumbers and steamfitters has its national training center at Washtenaw college in Ann Arbor,  check into contacting someone there.
  • todd_ecrtodd_ecr Member Posts: 91
    edited July 2013

    You could give a call to Behler Young.  They are one of our largest wholesalers in Michigan and have a location in Grand Rapids.  Their phone number is (616)531-4400.  They should be able to recommend a reputable contractor to you.
  • jrchobjrchob Member Posts: 7
    Thank you!

    I want to thank you all for your responses and suggestions. I will start making calls tomorrow. I do appreciate the very specific information as to contacts.

    I will be sure to follow up here and let you know the resolution of my problem.

    Again thanks.
  • jrchobjrchob Member Posts: 7

    After several calls around, I spoke with Tom at Behler Young. What a nice and helpful person. I explained my situation and he said he would call back. Within 2 hours he called with the names of 4 Heating and Plumbing contacts with phone numbers and in several cases with the name of a specific technician. 

    I have an appointment later this month with a Master Boiler technician.(can't remember the exact title). He is with a company in Lowell MI which is @ 30 minutes from Grand Rapids.

    So again thank you for your suggestions. Thank you for giving me help.  Janet
  • jrchobjrchob Member Posts: 7
    Proposed work

     Our system was looked at. The estimate was for replacing 13 radiator traps and repiping 3" and 4" black piping and reinsulating. Would take 2 workers 4-5 days for the boiler. The boiler was repiped previously after a horrendous installation.

    The wet steam issue was taken care of. My big question is is it worth the @ $7000 to repipe the boiler as our gas bills do not seem out of line, heat is basically good, and no major problems although I don't know what may be lurking.

    I do think the radiator traps should be done as they are the originals. Apparantly the water shooting out of the main vent is causing the boiler to use too much "fresh water"

    I have posted pictures of the boiler which I hope shows the piping and the steam vent that shoots out water when the heat is raised in the morning and when it cycles.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    Grand rapids

    Your pictures are a little hard to see, but I think your main venting may be woefully inadequate.

    In your supply piping, the riser connections to the boiler should be the full size of the boiler trappings, and then drop into a larger diameter header to reduce the steam velocity-is that the case?

    What are the pressure settings on the pressuretrol, and do you have a 0-3 psi gauge to verify them? --NBC
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