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You're in way over your head...

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Tinman
Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
I love The Wall and the vast array of knowledge shared here. I love the fact that highly trained professionals offer their time and talent to help others arrive at solutions to their heating problems.

But, I also believe the very best advice we could give someone is that it's time to put down the tools and call a qualified, knowledgable contractor. I did that many times when I worked Tech Support for a very large corporation. In fact, we were told to do so because of potential legal issues, probable safety issues, and certainly manufacturer warranty issues.

I think it's ok to tell someone they're in over their head. I also think there's a difference between helping and enabling. Just my .02.
Steve Minnich
icesailorZmanGordyCharlie from wmass
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Comments

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Funny you should bring that up. I was thinking of that when I logged in.

    Dr. Spock used to describe things as "Illogical".

    If you are called to look at a hydronic system that is 40 years old, (1975) and it worked fine until 3 years ago and a zone was added, it's illogical to think that a complete re-pipe and new high velocity/High Head circulators with all radiation piped with 1/2" CTS PEX, is the real solution. That's illogical.

    If the above solution is your only answer, perhaps you are in over your head.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
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    This site has made many homeowners aware of hydronics. Some attempt repairs that can be difficult for even trained professionals. That there is such a shortage of competent pros in the trade makes this a common practice. I don't see this going away.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Neither do I.

    And some become incensed when you suggest to them that they might be getting out of their comfort zone and might need professional help.

    Unfortunately, much of that "Professional Help" has never heard of, or read the information here at HH.com or other places.

    So, some homeowners to to the Youse Tubes and watch videos from Vinnie, the Butt Crack Plumber on how to tune and adjust your Beckett AFG oil burner. Something somewhat difficult for experienced professionals.

    Another Gas Conversion coming soon.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,270
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    It's always tough to gauge the poster's skill level over the www.

    If the poster has good mechanical or electrical skills, and many do, then a little guidance may be enough to help.

    Seems often HOs with little or any skill or knowledge, looking to save some $$, drop by. The site is marketed to all.

    It is near impossible to gauge the amount of info to share.

    Good post.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    ZmanRobG
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    It takes knowledge and skills to do the work of a tradesman, regardless of the selected trade. For the homeowner, they have to understand that knowledge is not acquired, with wrench in hand. Skills can be learned at the job site, but both are required before arrival.
    jonny88Tinman
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Here we go again. This sounds like another flavor of Charlie's long, long heated post. In reality, we have to assume the HO has enough common sense(huge assumption, I know) to know when he/she is in over their head and needs a Pro. They also have to have enough common sense to discern a good Pro from a bad one.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,592
    edited April 2015
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    If it were not for this site, I would have scrapped my steamer instead of replacing it. I would have then had enough room in the "pit" to install a work bench and the absence of radiators would have given us more room in the house.

    If it were not for this site, I would not have been able to use the experience gained from replacing our boiler and restoring its system to change course in my career a few degrees to maintain and manage several industrial boilers.

    If it were not for this site, I might not be as happy as I am with my home's heating system or career.



    Tim PotterRich_49RobG
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    I've never said a bad thing or for that matter, ever thought a bad thing, about this site. Never will. I'm a huge fan of it and it's proprietor.

    Steve Minnich
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,077
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    By clicking on the sign-in name someone uses you can see their previous activity and do a casual "background" check. I do this for both people asking questions and those answering. Just to get a feel of their experience.

    But if someone logs on and it is day one---post one, that opportunity isn't there and you just have to ask a few questions and maybe get a feel of their limitations.

    This has been the most educational site I have seen. And to ask questions and get good replies has really kept my interest in the trade.

    In addition I really learn from mistakes, but I can only make so many myself and stay alive. But to learn from the collective is good. Where else could you go and view so much of others bad luck, A lot of it is sad and I feel bad for the customer, but more so I feel worse for the future of the trades.

    I've thought lately that there should be an additional section called "The Wailing Wall". It could have choice postings of new installs/replacements that have went bad. People could see what to look for when considering having a contractor do work for them. I know someone mentioned 10 questions to ask etc. but to read/see how hacked up some things can get. It could get into a lot of reading but beats TV by a long shot.
    Fred
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    @JUGHNE , I like the Wailing Wall idea!
    icesailor
  • vibert_c
    vibert_c Member Posts: 69
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    I think this would certainly be better than tv movies or hockey when the ice/snow is gone. Only last week I ran into a replacement hot water boiler Slantfin Intrepid that was 3.9 times larger than the emitters in the small 1908 dwelling in Ottawa Canada.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    I need some clarification.

    Are you saying don't be afraid to tell someone they're in over their head when you think they are, but always help when possible.

    Or, are you saying never help anyone and always tell them to get help from a professional when it comes to HVAC?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    Hey Chris...I'm absolutely for helping everyone that needs help and I love that Dan has given many the opportunity to help and be helped.
    My concern is when it's blatantly clear that someone has no right installing or troubleshooting hydronic systems when they lack the most basic knowledge to do so. I can't help when I think there's a potential for somebody to screw up badly.
    Maybe I'm wrong? It's happened many times before.
    Steve Minnich
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    Hey Chris...I'm absolutely for helping everyone that needs help and I love that Dan has given many the opportunity to help and be helped.

    My concern is when it's blatantly clear that someone has no right installing or troubleshooting hydronic systems when they lack the most basic knowledge to do so. I can't help when I think there's a potential for somebody to screw up badly.

    Maybe I'm wrong? It's happened many times before.


    If it's completely obvious then I agree. And it often is.
    If it's just because they're a homeowner, I disagree. There are plenty of homeowners that are completely capable of working on almost anything.

    I think we're on the same page, but wanted to clarify that.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Tinman
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    I love homeowners! The ones I get through "Find a Contractor" have been incredibly knowledgable and capable.
    Steve Minnich
    ChrisJjonny88Zman
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,592
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    I get what you are saying. When dealing with natural gas, oil, electricity, fire, steam pressure, if you misjudge a person's aptitude for such things, you may actually assist in causing harm, damage and even death.

    That said, in all the years I have haunted this forum, everyone seemed to know where to draw the line. Many have advised to call a pro.

    It would be irresponsible to give certain advise like 'take your meter and measure'...and the OP comes back with " what's a meter?"
    icesailorTinman
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    Exactly.
    Steve Minnich
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    There have been some spectacular Nat. Gas explosions lately with total destruction of homes from gas leaks. I've never seen or heard of a building exploding from an oil leak.

    Start advising someone on how to restart a oil burner, where the person has already operated the re-set control multiple times, and you are putting yourself into the Liability Freight Train. If you start explaining something that can be difficult for the most experienced. The best advice one can give to a DIW is to call a Professional. Maybe the Homeowner/DIW is smarter that the Professional who comes. But I don't know that. I see a lot if implied liability here sometimes. There are things that I can do for myself personally that I would NEVER do for a stranger. Too much risk.

    I look up in the sky and see a lot of Turkey Vultures soaring around looking for a meal.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    @icesailor Are you still using a VTVM?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    ChrisJ said:

    @icesailor Are you still using a VTVM?

    I have no idea what that is.

    I use Comcast Xfinity wireless router with the high speed. Whatever happens, locks up my Internet, after locking up HH.com. It wasn't always like this.

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    icesailor said:

    ChrisJ said:

    @icesailor Are you still using a VTVM?

    I have no idea what that is.

    I use Comcast Xfinity wireless router with the high speed. Whatever happens, locks up my Internet, after locking up HH.com. It wasn't always like this.

    Vacuum Tube Volt Meter.
    They were very common into the 1970s for high impedance meters for jobs where something like a Simpson 260 loads the circuit down.

    I used to use one until I got my hands on a good modern meter. It was an HP true RMS meter from the 1960s.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    ChrisJ said:

    icesailor said:

    ChrisJ said:

    @icesailor Are you still using a VTVM?

    I have no idea what that is.

    I use Comcast Xfinity wireless router with the high speed. Whatever happens, locks up my Internet, after locking up HH.com. It wasn't always like this.

    Vacuum Tube Volt Meter.
    They were very common into the 1970s for high impedance meters for jobs where something like a Simpson 260 loads the circuit down.

    I used to use one until I got my hands on a good modern meter. It was an HP true RMS meter from the 1960s.
    I use my true RMS Digital ones. U use a junk analog one for the highly technical stuff like when I had to set the timing on my K181 thumper Kohler engine on my Gravely. That gets you close. Then you need a timing light. You open or close the points gap to advance or retard the spark.

  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,592
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    Oil has it's hazards. From spills, sooting to high CO. It's safer than gas maybe but in the wrong hands, just as deadly.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
    edited April 2015
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    icesailor said:

    ChrisJ said:

    icesailor said:

    ChrisJ said:

    @icesailor Are you still using a VTVM?

    I have no idea what that is.

    I use Comcast Xfinity wireless router with the high speed. Whatever happens, locks up my Internet, after locking up HH.com. It wasn't always like this.

    Vacuum Tube Volt Meter.
    They were very common into the 1970s for high impedance meters for jobs where something like a Simpson 260 loads the circuit down.

    I used to use one until I got my hands on a good modern meter. It was an HP true RMS meter from the 1960s.
    I use my true RMS Digital ones. U use a junk analog one for the highly technical stuff like when I had to set the timing on my K181 thumper Kohler engine on my Gravely. That gets you close. Then you need a timing light. You open or close the points gap to advance or retard the spark.

    A Simpson 260 is NOT a "junk analog meter".
    Nor is almost any VTVM.

    http://www.newark.com/simpson/12391-260-8p/multimeter-analog-6-functions/dp/62F1191

    I have a Simpson 260 7P as well as a Fluke 179 and two 2 channel oscilloscopes one of which has a built in high sensitivity DMM.

    I use analog meters for many things, such as aligning an FM tuner.

    For a good DMM I highly recommend the Fluke 179.

    http://www.newark.com/fluke/fluke-179-esfp/multimeter-digital-handheld/dp/25C4804

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
    edited April 2015
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    I'd like to apologize to the OP for getting sidetracked.
    I think it's a good thread and good advice.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    I consider the $9.95 hung on the wall at Radio Shack or Lowes to be junk analog meters. Useful mostly for checking continuity by eye. If the needle doesn't move, it's an open circuit. If it goes all the way over, its closed or a short.

    In five years, I personally haven't seen many topics here go off the rails. Someone, somewhere, is getting something from whatever is posted here.

    I have two Amp Clamps. One digital, one Analog. If you have a rising amperage before it blows, you can't tell as much with a Digital. Not so with a Analog. Analogs record in real time. Digitals by multiple "snapshots". Both have their uses. My most common use for them both was checking water heaters or voltage in houses or to appliances.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    It's hard to judge the competency of the person on the other end of the wire. All you can do is warn them to not attempt something if they don't understand it and remind them to kill the power before putting their hand into it. If they choose to ignore that then they may become a darwin award candidate.


    On the VOM / VTVM/ DMM front the answer is all of the above. It's like asking is a wrench or a socket the better tool.

    Each instrument has it's uses, have you ever tried to align a FM tuner with a DMM? That is where a VTVM (mine is a 50+ yr old heathkit that I built in HS) really shines.

    I agree with the analog meters being great for seeing trends and maybe being able to kill the power before the smoke gets out. Digital (4 Fluke DMM's, 1ea 77 and 3ea 8060's) is great for accuracy but analog still has it's place (two Simpson 260's, a Tripplet and a Unigor 3s for analog VOM).

    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
    ChrisJicesailor
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
    edited April 2015
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    BobC said:

    It's hard to judge the competency of the person on the other end of the wire. All you can do is warn them to not attempt something if they don't understand it and remind them to kill the power before putting their hand into it. If they choose to ignore that then they may become a darwin award candidate.


    On the VOM / VTVM/ DMM front the answer is all of the above. It's like asking is a wrench or a socket the better tool.

    Each instrument has it's uses, have you ever tried to align a FM tuner with a DMM? That is where a VTVM (mine is a 50+ yr old heathkit that I built in HS) really shines.

    I agree with the analog meters being great for seeing trends and maybe being able to kill the power before the smoke gets out. Digital (4 Fluke DMM's, 1ea 77 and 3ea 8060's) is great for accuracy but analog still has it's place (two Simpson 260's, a Tripplet and a Unigor 3s for analog VOM).

    Bob

    Hold on while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

    @BobC I had no idea we were into the same things!
    I used to be big into restoring 1950s-1960s Fisher,Marantz,McIntosh,HH Scott etc.

    I was also into 1970s Pioneer and Marantz for a while.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    I have 2 Simpson 260's. One is the roll top style.
    Steve Minnich
    ChrisJ
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,592
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    I like analogs....There are times when a moving needle is a better indicator than a flashing digit.
    icesailor
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
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    Lol so who is starting the fight now?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Q
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    edited April 2015
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    Q, why Q?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    I don't see anyone fighting?

    What's a tardiris?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Tinman
  • Condoman
    Condoman Member Posts: 91
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    I got my Simpson 260 when I was learning how to fix radios & TV in 1962. Still works.
    ChrisJTinmanjfulmer
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
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    right tools in wrong hands means nada.My friend spent 3200 on a analyzer.Give it to me and I will look for the on switch.No your limits and call a competent person when in doubt.No harm in it.Every day is a school day.
    icesailor
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Questions, even before deciding if someone is competent…If by chance something went wrong and property and personal damage/injury resulted…And you owned the ins. co. called in to investigate damage and cause, what would you first be looking at…? Me, I would be looking at the responsible parties credentials, and comparing them to all state and local requirements…Then I would refer to the manf. of the products to see what they required to preform service work on the appliance….If things don’t line up,I would seek a lawyer…Hopefully it never ever happens to anyone, here…In my area 3 deckers are the most common types of homes. Then they condoized tons of them....If owner A decides for some crazy reason to do his own gas or plumbing work..And owners B andC are in danger owner A has issues...Anyone on this site that has or is in business has seen this over and over again Iknow this sounds like a hit on homeowners but it is not at all...Some but not all condos in this area forbid in there bylaws work be done by anyone with no liability...

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    j a said:

    Questions, even before deciding if someone is competent…If by chance something went wrong and property and personal damage/injury resulted…And you owned the ins. co. called in to investigate damage and cause, what would you first be looking at…? Me, I would be looking at the responsible parties credentials, and comparing them to all state and local requirements…Then I would refer to the manf. of the products to see what they required to preform service work on the appliance….If things don’t line up,I would seek a lawyer…Hopefully it never ever happens to anyone, here…In my area 3 deckers are the most common types of homes. Then they condoized tons of them....If owner A decides for some crazy reason to do his own gas or plumbing work..And owners B andC are in danger owner A has issues...Anyone on this site that has or is in business has seen this over and over again Iknow this sounds like a hit on homeowners but it is not at all...Some but not all condos in this area forbid in there bylaws work be done by anyone with no liability...

    So,

    You're saying never help any homeowners on the site with anything?

    What do you feel this site is for?


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Chris Chris I am surprised you would ask me a question like that....
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    j a said:

    Chris Chris I am surprised you would ask me a question like that....

    Well,
    I'm hoping I just misinterpreted what you wrote.

    So, I'm just asking for clarification.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment