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How to Kill a Boiler

HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Posts: 465
edited July 2016 in THE MAIN WALL
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How to Kill a Boiler

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SWEI

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  • There's a movie theater. Built as a theater, but somewhere in the past there was a sorry renovation done to relocate the concession stand. Plumbing skiwiffed in by a past owner trying to save a buck, (isn't that where almost all the trouble usually begins ?). What's the number one by-product of movie theater popcorn ? The soy-sludge they call butter. FOLKS, THERE'S NO REAL BUTTER INVOLVED ! ANYWHERE ! A skiwiffed waste line drips this sludge laden water into a floor drain down in the deep dark catacombs of the theater. Semi-annually,(like clockwork) clogging the main sewer line. My phone rings. Usually on Christmas eve when I've just laid down for a long winter's nap."Murf ?, one of the popcorn shovelers said the basement is flooded." SOY SLUDGE ! It's a steam boiler heats the place. I installed and maintain it. Low pressure. Nice, straight forward installation. After one too many interrupted long winter's naps, I installed a valved hose connection on the steam controls manifold. Then bought an industrial extra-long hose. That soy-sludge ? It melts like butter.......
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    I love this story. Melts like butter. LOL
    Retired and loving it.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    I love this line
    They are information vending machines, but you first have to insert a question.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    Thanks, Kurt!
    Retired and loving it.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,245
    The last time I had to work on a drain in a movie theater, I had to cut out the entire line and replace it. It ran from the concession stand all the way to the bottom of the theater along the left wall. It was 2"ABS and was packed solid all the way. Much cheaper to replace it then clean it. Luckily it was just laying on the floor so was easy to replace.
    Makes me wonder about my arteries.......
    Rick
    dennis53
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,172
    Those God for saken steam traps again lol.........
    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

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  • braplu1
    braplu1 Member Posts: 1
    Dan. How do you test the steam traps,...I have forgotten? Mr. Brady
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    You can check radiator traps with a thermometer.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 988
    I use the old fashion long screwdriver to listen to the trap. It works every time.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985

    You can check radiator traps with a thermometer.

    Dan, do you (or anyone) have any recommendations for a good, reliable IR thermometer? I have a cheesy one that was around $30 but it seems highly unreliable, especially at cold ambients. If I go outside with it, it seems like the colder the thermometer physically gets, the colder the readings I get. I went out one night when it was in the single digits out and at first it was fine, but over time I started measuring -5, -10F etc and it simply wasn't possible.



    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
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    edited August 2016
    I'll check to the pros on this one, Chris. Guys, what works for you?
    Retired and loving it.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    NOS Fluke on eBay worked for me. Read the fine print -- the inexpensive ones have fairly wide angle optics, while the higher end stuff has narrower beamwidths.
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    SWEI said:

    NOS Fluke on eBay worked for me. Read the fine print -- the inexpensive ones have fairly wide angle optics, while the higher end stuff has narrower beamwidths.

    I understand, but the issues I have just seem to be the device stinks. There's no way anything was in the negative and yet I kept seeing it.

    I originally bought it to measure the evaporator temp on my monitor tops. Sadly, it can't do this either, either due to frost, or the surface of the stainless. My readings end up all over the place. If I freeze a thermal couple to the bottom and measure 8F with my Fluke DMM, the IR thermometer will see anything from -2F to +20. That's useless to me. :(
    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
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    Most IR guns are very sensitive to the surface you're trying to "shoot", I use them for comparative measurements only. I use a thermocouple for anything I need accuracy on. .

    I've never used the fluke gun so i can't comment on it.

    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
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Any IR temperature measurement is (by definition) affected by the emissivity of the surface(s) being measured. When you look at the range exhibited by typical materials you can see the potential for error is huge. I trust my IR gun for relative measurements only, though it does have a thermocouple input that comes in handy.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,936
    I've heard that the emissivity of masking tape is perfect for IR measurements, make a patch appropriately sized for the scope of your gun. That said, I too only take differential measurements, or quick is-that-thing-up-there-hot-or-cold guesstimates.

    I also use a fluke VT04. It paid for itself when I found the first underground condensate leak.

    I'm a big fan of instrumenting important installations with K-type thermocouples. So far, I've had good luck with mechanically zip tying them the airstream on makeup air units & sticking them in a dab of 15% on linesets (to use with my digital manifold). They're not super permanent, but I'm going into year three on some of them.

  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    The VT04 is slick -- though at half the price of my FLIR I'd probably pass.

    I bought my 568 on eBay about five years back. 50:1 spot ratio (roughly a 1.15 degree field of view.)
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,245
    Chrisj:
    What others have said about surface reflection. Unless you are shooting at a flat black surface, or close to it, you will get erroneous measurements. Especially if you are trying to get temps on copper or stainless. I had a can of flat black model paint I would carry with me to shoot different surfaces and it made all the difference in the world for accuracy. Unfortunately, I am out and can not get that small can around here. Give it atry and see how much it changes readings.
    Rick
    ChrisJ
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Friction tape works pretty well. It eventually gets gooey on hot pipes, but it does the job.
    ChrisJ