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Opinions on Fixing the low bidders boiler...

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Bid the job but didn't get it...
4 unit apartment building
Now owner calling me to fix.
Every radiator pushing out water (16 in total)
excessive fuel use
EDR at (I sized @) 488
low bidder installed a WM 380 (can't make this stuff up) minimum EDR for this one is 867. I bid an WM SGO-6
current Pressure at 5 psi
2 pressuretrols & 3rd w/ man reset below top of boiler without trap or pigtails to protect from live steam
Hartford loop minimum of 2" inches too high.
Installer used both supply tappings (2" inch copper no less) into 2" copper header with supply take off in middle of the 2 tees feeding 2&1/2' main.
inadequate venting (1 Gorton #1 on end of long main) and a small Dole on other...
Oil burner is a Carlin with a 2 gph nozzle.
boiler never skimmed.
six (6) empty cans of dry steam laying on ground with some mighty green water! lol
Short of completely replacing boiler, I'm suggesting using both tappings but making them 3" inch black into 4" drop header then taking the 2&1/2" off to main.
install a 1,5 gph nozzle & back pump pressure down to 100psi..
skim it real well
flush returns
raise controls to acceptable level & provide pigtails..
Any thoughts short of replacing boiler?
It boggles my mind how some people (who claim to be professionals) can do this and to replace this without a permit or inspection is criminal IMHO..
best one was there was a tankless on old boiler but since the water line was (capped) squished with pliers & rolled up...leaking btw..
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Comments

  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,415
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    Is this in jersey city?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    That boiler is so oversized, it will never run right unless something is done with it first. I don't know that I'd want my name tied to someone else's botched up job. Last one to work on it is usually the one who gets talked about. Is it worth it?
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
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    Snowmelt said:

    Is this in jersey city?

    Not in JC
    It's in Belleville

  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
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    Fred said:

    That boiler is so oversized, it will never run right unless something is done with it first. I don't know that I'd want my name tied to someone else's botched up job. Last one to work on it is usually the one who gets talked about. Is it worth it?

    Thanks for reply Fred
    But
    Nature of the beast is always the ol' mighty $$$ (and I gotta eat) ! I'd always found I sometimes make more money fixing these messes anyway.

  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    Sounds like a complete reinstall.... *shrug*
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
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    That boiler is rated at 867 square feet with a 2.4 GPH nozzle.

    If you can downfire it to 1.5 GPH (quite a stretch), you're looking at 546 square feet of steam with the 33% pickup factor (installed EDR of 488) Perfectly manageable.

    This would be a situation where I would increase the size of the radiator venting a bit, the opposite of the normal approach.

    I would also operate this boiler with a thermostat or the Eco-Steam controller that can provide not less than two cycles per hour. Ideally, you want to be running this boiler for not more than 15 minutes every time it starts. It can probably fully heat all the radiators in that time if you can vent them fast enough.

    Of course, you already know about increasing the main vents.



    I don't see the need to replace the boiler.............$$$$$$$$$$

    Thanks for response Hatterasguy.

  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    Did you happen to tell him when bidding " pay me now or pay me later " ? You gotta eat and he needs heat , go get paid , and get paid well because you have more work to do than the first guy who was such a bargain .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
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    Yes, I did tell him something similar
    Once I gave him my price he got real funny (boarder line insulting)
    I tell people like that "Stop, before you insult me. Shake my hand & keep my number. And when low bidder screws this up, I'll STILL come & fix it"...
    AlCorelliNYMark Eatherton
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    Then go get the Essex County money and call it a day . You can wait for the referrals that will come from this guy . Spent this morning servicing System 2000 installed by others . My bid was too high also .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
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    How is it possible that the installer could be the low bidder when he offers a WM380 instead of an SGO-4? I would think he'd be paying a 50% premium for the 380?

    Imagine if he actually did offer an SGO-4.............

    Just found out from my WM distributor
    The property owner purchased it..

    kcopp
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    what's a 380? a series 80?
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
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    yes, it's a Weil-McLain 80 series boiler with 3 sections.
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,115
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    Why is somebody in Belleville still using oil?
    AlCorelliNY
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,415
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    Dam Robert tell us what's going to happen this should be very interesting.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,841
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    The 3-80 has a minimum spec of a single 3" riser and header. When we installed this one............

    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/148298/atmospheric-out-power-burner-in#latest

    .... we used a 4" riser and header. It was comfortably above the minimum spec, yet involved less piping than a 2-riser setup would have used. W-M specs a single 4" riser and 4" header for the 4-80 and 5-80 boilers.

    Down-firing this boiler will help, but I wouldn't go below 80% of its rated input or it may take too long to make steam. I know you well enough that I don't have to ask whether you use digital combustion analyzers. Make sure the stack temp doesn't go too low.

    Remember that when down-firing, your flame temperature may drop to the point where you get smoke. If the boiler does not already have one, I'd install a Kaowool rug on the bottom of the firing zone to help keep the flame temperature up. And, especially when down-firing, you want the best atomization you can get, so don't use a 100 PSI oil pressure. Keep it at 150. A 1.65 GPH nozzle at 150 PSI will give 2 GPH, which is just above 80% of that boiler's rated input, so start there. Use the same spray angle and pattern as the spec nozzle.

    Let us know how you make out.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,841
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    Not much else you can do.............. this is where I'd think twice about getting involved, since the guy didn't want to pay to get it done right in the first place.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    Robert, the property owner insulted you and youre gonna go bail him out? Can I give you a jingle tomorrow? Lets have some pride and honor, this man seems to think you're his lackey. Seriously, I kid you not, I can help you on this.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    Gary,

    Many of us make a living and earn referrals by doing just this . It is not a matter of pride or honor . This is NJ , you cannot leave people to their own devices when they make a mistake just so you can say , I told you so .This is actually how some become the go to guy and make a very good name for themselves , hell even build a strong business . The industry is in shambles and not stepping in when called will just further that .
    By the way , maybe you this site should be called , "You need real help , you're on your own "
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    Gordy
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    Rich, I fear you may have misconstrued my message. If you tolerate being disrespected by someone seeking your services, I don't know to say (well, it would not be constructive). I've worked for characters as described in my early days, been there done that. My comments were strictly business. I'm not saying "don't work for him", I'm saying "if you do, you need to offer him chance to renew his attitude".
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    Rich_49icesailor
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
    edited February 2015
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    Gary ,
    I hear you . The fact that you , I or Robert is there is humbling enough . You can be the go to guy and a gentleman . I know it's hard to believe that I said gentleman , but you guys are all plumbers and heating guys and deserve a bit of straight talk now and again .

    Hatterasguy ,
    You know I always tell the truth . I may be inclined to tell this guy just what I tell them all in the beginning when I see them making the price mistake . You get one chance to do this right and it may not be salvageable when I come back . This consumer may be a very good candidate for that harsh reality , that will be Roberts decision .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    icesailor
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    I'm here to learn when I need help/advice, and share whatever technical knowledge I have, but when I see a hard working tradesman getting dissed I may inject my personal opinion on occasion.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    Rich_49icesailorAlCorelliNY
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    yes, it's a Weil-McLain 80 series boiler with 3 sections.

    Holy RatF!!!!
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    FWIW:

    I believe that 3 section #80 boiler comes with a Carlin 201CRD burner. You can't downfire that burner to 1.50 GPH, and especially if you drop the pressure to 100#. It might take a Carlin EZ-3, but if you go below 2.00 GPH, you need an EZ-2 and it isn't worth the effort to try to make it go that low, You have to change tubes and the squirrel cage.

    I seriously hope that when this guy calls you finally, you have found far more fruitful projects to practice your skills on. I always found it difficult to work for people that knew far more about my craft than I did. Your only saving grace is that he probably won't ever call you because he knows you are smarter than he is. And people like him don't like to be around people that know what they are doing and don't like to see their mistakes fixed by others.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,230
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    Robert,
    There is something rewarding about seeing the job you lost becoming a utter disaster. There's also some great feeling of...I don't know...cosmic justice...in being asked to fix it.
    But what you're describing is so way off, and this is now such a busy, cold heating season, that if I were you (and I'm in this position plenty) I'd get away from this job.
    I have a thing that I say to myself when I look at a lot of jobs like this.
    "Do I want to be the last person who touched this?"
    Meaning, as professionals we take ownership of the systems we work on. Do you want to own this system?
    I'd think you'd do far better going forward having this job and this customer out of your life.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    CanuckerTinmanAlCorelliNY
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    In the mid 90's my old DELCO boiler (1947?) gave up the ghost. I had it replaced with a Burnham v75 that was rated for 596 sq ft of steam (little did I realize how oversized it was) . The boiler was swapped out in one day and the installer came back a week later to skim and remove the old boiler. The heated just fine and the boiler worked fine but did seem to be cycling a bit much.

    It seemed the house had just over 200 sq ft of radiation attached so the boiler was a tad large for the system, back then i really did not understand the boiler should be matched to the radiation. The header was maybe 14" above the NWL but it ran without any noise and my oil bills were not bad, no worse than the old oversized DELCO - no better either.

    The point is oversizing a boiler is bad for efficiency but the system can still work reasonably well. That v75 ran for about 17 years and only had to be repaired one time so I'd say it gave me good service. It did get serviced every year. The v75 was replaced with the gas fired g8 when the oil tank started to weep.

    About 25 years ago I was engineering a job where the customer had installed a new series of switch mode power supplies to power his product. It was a disaster, some of the equipment worked, barely but most of it would start working and stall out, the customer was beside himself and called us in to see if we could fix it. After going over the system with a fine tooth comb I told him the power supplies he bought would not work because they could not supply the peak currents his system needed (motors and solenoids) and a new power supply had to be designed. We designed a new linear power supply (using constant voltage transformers). This new supply was larger, a lot heavier, and more expensive but it worked. he customer was happy and his customers were happy.

    I think if you explain to the homeowner the problems he will face because of the installed equipment (in writing) it might just work out. If he balks tell him you would be happy to install the correctly sized boiler and he could try to sell the oversized one off.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,239
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    JohnNY said:

    Robert,
    There is something rewarding about seeing the job you lost becoming a utter disaster. There's also some great feeling of...I don't know...cosmic justice...in being asked to fix it.
    But what you're describing is so way off, and this is now such a busy, cold heating season, that if I were you (and I'm in this position plenty) I'd get away from this job.
    I have a thing that I say to myself when I look at a lot of jobs like this.
    "Do I want to be the last person who touched this?"
    Meaning, as professionals we take ownership of the systems we work on. Do you want to own this system?
    I'd think you'd do far better going forward having this job and this customer out of your life.

    100% in agreement.
    Rich_49Tinman
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Some people are just too smart for their own good. Some PC's (Potential Customers) are like that. Some of them, you need to wish Health, Happiness and Long Distance. Because they can destroy your happiness by telling you how to do your job and/or not paying you for your skill and knowledge.
    AlCorelliNY
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 951
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    Supply house selling to the building owner? I'd buy from someone else!
    icesailorAlCorelliNY
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Supply house selling to the building owner? I'd buy from someone else!

    Wait a minute now. A supply house should be able to sell to anyone who has the money to pay. It just becomes the HO's responsibility to get it right when he/she buys. This install was a well orchestrated collaboration between two knuckleheads, The HO and the Installer.
    I just wouldn't be the last person to put my hands on this install.
    AlCorelliNY
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    JohnNY said:

    Robert,
    There is something rewarding about seeing the job you lost becoming a utter disaster. There's also some great feeling of...I don't know...cosmic justice...in being asked to fix it.

    Well said. In my younger days I would have been afraid to have this point of view. It's funny what 20 something years of going around the block will do to one's general attitude, namely mine. If you attract this type of customer, you will struggle to climb the American ladder (yes, it's a social thing). Once you shoe these birds away, you will be amazed at what happens next----people that actually pay good money for good work.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    GordoSWEIAlCorelliNY
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,177
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    Damn Belleville is my town, was born and raised there, wonder what building it is??
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Maybe the owner has another 10 unit building he can use the monster in, and you can stick to your original plan, (and price) for the correctly sized and installed boiler.
    However, this type of person usually has unrealistic expectations about what can be done, and what it should cost, and you may have trouble getting paid! Maybe if he would come here, and present his problems, he would see how much work is involved.
    I like the rewards of "cosmic justice"!--NBC
    icesailorAlCorelliNY
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
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    If you don't want this job, I'll take it. Half of our business comes from fixing other people's mistakes. As long as some very specific rules are written into a contract, I have no problem being the last person to work on a system. Every time we work on ANY system, we're the last ones to touch it.

    I would propose new piping with a 5" drop header, and a high/low dual-fuel burner. Convert to gas within the next year and let the fuel savings pay for your work.
    AlCorelliNYjosieT
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,230
    edited February 2015
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    Top dollar solutions. Let the customer decide. Nothing wrong with that approach either.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    AlCorelliNY
  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,047
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    Going into something like this, documentation is important. I'd write up the scope of work in detail, have him sign the paper, GET PAID UP FRONT ( that is always fun), give him a copy of the scope AFTER you finish ( this guy would just give it to the original meathead and make him do it for nothing).

    There is no justice in this. The owner may appreciate what you have done or he may run you down like crazy. More likely the later.
    AlCorelliNY
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    "" There is no justice in this. The owner may appreciate what you have done or he may run you down like crazy. More likely the later. ""

    People like that wouldn't appreciate you even if you did the job for free. Their brain is contaminated with the thought that they got screwed by the first installer. When THEY bought the boiler and found someone willing to install his boiler, on the cheap. The very sight of you will remind him of the screwing he took. And he is the one who screwed himself.

    Whomever repairs this mess, once it is fixed, will never, ever be called again. Because of the memory of the past experience.

    As far as the supply house where he bought the too big boiler? The customer is always right. Somehow, someone came to that size, and because the owner knows that any professional he calls is its out to screw him, he screws himself. Its genetic in him. Deeply rooted in his DNA.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    Ice, wow, you've driven around the same blocks I have it seems. I look at some of the comments on this thread and it really seems you, Johnny and I are in the minority. It seems people like to talk wrenchs and not business.

    I had my eye balls poked too many times as a young tades professional. It was abundantly clear that just because I had wrench skills did not mean I had street smarts to deal with people much more talented than I was in the game of life. I could not hold a candle to their negotiating and manipulation skills. I became their lackey. Of course these people were not the magority, but they certainly got me good back in the day.

    Once I turned the corner I grew in my abilities to deal with these people. Many times it's simply easier to send them elsewhere. It takes a sixth sense to know when you're about to make money or lose money.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    icesailor
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
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    "Forensic repairs", or fixing poorly installed systems is what you do if you have the skillset. I'd be leery of a supply house that sold a steam boiler directly to the consumer, and I'd be sure to talk to the management of the company to give them my 2 cents.
    I'd make sure your fees are well worth it given the history.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    GW said:

    Ice, wow, you've driven around the same blocks I have it seems. I look at some of the comments on this thread and it really seems you, Johnny and I are in the minority. It seems people like to talk wrenchs and not business.



    I had my eye balls poked too many times as a young tades professional. It was abundantly clear that just because I had wrench skills did not mean I had street smarts to deal with people much more talented than I was in the game of life. I could not hold a candle to their negotiating and manipulation skills. I became their lackey. Of course these people were not the magority, but they certainly got me good back in the day.



    Once I turned the corner I grew in my abilities to deal with these people. Many times it's simply easier to send them elsewhere. It takes a sixth sense to know when you're about to make money or lose money.

    Or as Lenny once said to me: Are you making any money if you do that job? Just because you're handling a lot of money, doesn't mean your making any".

    That got my attention.

    Some PC's (Potential Customers) are just energy suckers and want to pick your brain. Get free engineering that we worked hard to learn.

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
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    I never put myself in a position to lose money on a bad job. I do, however, give people the benefit of the doubt and offer one chance after a mistake. I'm in the business of fixing problems. Making money is a biproduct of being good at fixing problems. I've been burned on jobs, like everyone else, but at least if somebody is going to steal my ideas, the job might get done safely.
    icesailorSWEIRich_49