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Do you ever get sick of looking

clammy Member Posts: 3,110
Do any of you get sick of looking at and pricing re piping of mis installed /mis sized steam boilers for those who do not want to spend money to make it right and are looking for some miricale screw driver turn that will make it all works as should?Plus there's always the we are only staying here a few more years and are moving .At some points i just laugh and then tell them well then you only have to live with it a few more years till ya move .Just can't make up human nature and the amazing search for  a bargin and a miracle and some fool do make it happen ,good thing the fool is not me .Thanks for the rant peace and good luck clammy
R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
NJ Master HVAC Lic.
Mahwah, NJ
Specializing in steam and hydronic heating


  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    looking over:


    "There's never enough time to do it right. But always time for someone else to do it over".

    "Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't be mean in saying it".

    When faced with that common scenario, remember that, "don't be mean in saying it". Then, remember the time. Tell them that. Tell them that YOU are that "someone else". Replaced steam boilers are to replace the boiler, not the steam radiation system There are only two parts to a steam system. The heat emitting part, and the heat producing part. It worked before the boiler was changed, now it doesn't. The heat producing system is installed wrongly. There's no such thing as a good deal on a bad install.

    Tell them (or consider this) that if "I" (you) took that identical boiler that you just had installed, and piped JUST the boiler, like it is supposed to be piped with say a nice dropped header, properly sized for the application, with the proper amount of outlets and the return(s) properly connected, to wring as much water out of the steam before it went into the system, and connected the new (your imaginary boiler) to the existing system, separating the two or three whatever you want to call them that the last installer tied together into one, and fired it off, it would steam like a champ and not have problems. Its not your fault that the last dubber was a hackaroo and didn't know what they were doing. It cost money to fix mistakes. You don't work for free. If they want it fixed, it will cost what it cost. Not being a Steamer, I know enough to know that it is a picnic to make a hot water system behave with mistakes. Not so with steam. No matter what you do, you will always be just one sandwich short of a picnic. If the original installer/hack had brought a whole loaf of bread to the picnic, he would have had enough sandwich's. He didn't. YOU come with a feast.

    There's no free food on a food truck.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Cost of repair

    You can point out as well that the cost of repiping must include the disassembly of the improper piping. This is sometimes rusted in place if the boiler has been in use for a few years, before the owners discover that steam should not be uneven, fuel hungry, noisy, etc.

    I think the boiler manufactures should be more careful who installs there boilers, and how it is done. A sticker notifying the owner of this website might help unknowlegeble owners get some information more quickly, and detect a bad installation.

    Maybe a cd with a video of correct piping would be seen by the installer, and the owner. It's very hard to get the knucklehead to correct his work a few years later.--NBC
  • Joe V_2
    Joe V_2 Member Posts: 234
    I dont blame them

    they probably paid a fortune for a poorly installed system, paid a fortune in fuel and were never comfortable. Then, a competent installer shows up and tells them they need to spend another fortune to make it right.

    I feel for them. In most cases, they are low or fixed incomes. sometimes, they can afford it but cant justify it. once bitten twice shy
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,110
    usually not fixed income

    Most of these jobs are not for those who on fixed income they have the money but have spent on some thing else .ie driveway pavers,extreme kitchens ,radiant and more aside from keeping it in tere pockets ,they do not  have POS cars in drive ways get my drift and the funniest is the ones with what you say are lower or fixed income they are always the ones who see the value and usually re pipe .Those who are the haves won,t spend it they try to get anyone to do it cheap or they pass it on to the next owner who get so sick of it they rip it out n put in hot air ,It is very dis hearting . But i take it in stride and move on soon to forget there badly installed missed pipied short cycling steamer,no sense in wasting your time it seems no matter how you explain it they will never see the value until there boiler starts leaking and cracks then lets get a lynching mob together and some one must pay but not them .It is quite a comedy shows like a repeat of south park still funny each time . .I was really posting this to guys who are out there like myself still working doing this day in day out and see this pooh in person instead of just a piciture on a screen  Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,820
    South Park?

    More like Beavis and Butt-head.............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Always entertaining when Beavis goes out to rummage through the trunk of the '83 Corolla looking for a tool -- or when they show up with a new water heater tied to the roof (using two different kinds of rope.)
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    I get sick of

    Guys that don't know how to properly pipe steam, then underbid a job leaving you with no work. Had it happen to me about an hour ago. Very very frustrating.
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,963
    All the time

    Happens to me all the time. I feel bad for these homeowners. How are they supposed to know the difference between one installer and the next. In these situations, I leave the customer with a card and offer them to draw up a piping diagram for a fee. In addition, I offer pre and post consultations. Every once in a blue moon, I actually make a few dollars off these consultations.
  • VA_Bear
    VA_Bear Member Posts: 50
    Just part of the business...

    Even with heating boilers being a relatively small part of my business and steam heating even less so, I find almost every aspect of my work in HVAC/R deals with cleaning up incomplete installations, mismatched systems and the "technician" (in a service van or their own vehicle) who doesn't understand the big picture when they change a part, setting or sequence. About a week ago, I was at the residence of a local HVAC contractor's senior leader dealing with two high end dual fuel package systems with variable speed/torque blowers only to find the basics had been ignored and total external static on the duct systems in excess of 1.4" WC on a system which should be derated at 1.0" and is not designed to operate above 0.8" at nominal air flow. My current steam heating project (read small nightmare!) is a church who had their "dinosaur" steam boiler replaced with one "more efficient" only to find their fuel cost at new highs, wet steam, removed controls, a regularly flooded condensate return pumping station (anyone ever seen a 9' tall overflow line?!?) belching steam and leaking water, then to have me come in and tell them they are going to have to spend more than the boiler replacement to get the primary problems out of the way. I feel sorry for them and try to offer as much information as I can as to why the jack-leg charges 1/2 of what I do and can do the job faster . Some will listen and benefit from a reliable, comfortable system, some will not and I often see them again when the problems become bad enough. Customer service and customer education are hallmarks of a quality technician and are likely to be in higher demand as fewer of us are left and fewer still want to work to achieve that level of skill. I am saddened that craftsmanship has faded from many trades and tradespeople, exacerbated by the customer's view of tradespeople as subordinate to engineers and designers (said coming from a family of both engineers and tradespeople).
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    as long as low bidders and not so low bidders

    install boilers I will never be out of work. Just looked at an 888 weil McLain with 2 four inch risers going into a six inch header that was about 6" above the jacket and welded straight into the header with the system supply right in the middle of the two risers.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,245

    I dealt with commercial and I presented long term proposals. Business people understand, or they should understand, long term point of view. But why should they believe me? So if they don't believe anybody they do what seems least expensive now.
  • VA_Bear
    VA_Bear Member Posts: 50
    Can you say...

  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,110
    commerical /residental

    Big difference and have done both for a long time number one difference is in residental there is a personal connection with the money and with commerical there is no personal connetion they just write the chk plain and simple at least thats the way is was but that was also in the days of do the work and send the bill and they pay now every one is on the cheap and basically price chk everything as though no one is allowed to make a cent on any thing .Then they wonder why there s no pride or skill shown in the work they perform because they don,t care and it,s basically all about the money .plain and simple sooner or later the HO will get sick of calling and find some one else .The sick part of it is that alot of my residental work is from commerical jobs and the bussiness owners who are just sick of the residental sectors contractors and shoddy work ,they really never bust me on my price there more then happy to pay out of there pockets but they know there getting the correct job usually i don.t find that i.m wasting my time with them like the rest of the residental market ,hard time tough decissions peace and good luck clammy 
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Joe V_2
    Joe V_2 Member Posts: 234
    edited March 2014
    knuckleheads v. competents

    the shear number of incompetents outnumber the competents. This is the crux of your problems ( opportunitities in my book).

    As far as homeowners who come across as cheap, I offer this, the gospel according to The Lending Tree:


    If the latest financial crisis thought me anything its most people are pretentious and foolish.

    I present the millions who lost homes, cars, lifestyles, wives or husbands because of a glitch in the economy. You cant reach them! You are competing against idiots for idiots who are prospects..

    Disclosure: I am a homeowner who wishes to help those who have gladly helped me.