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Group Consensus Desired On this Install

An elderly woman with serious health issues qualified for a free boiler installation from a local non-profit. Prior to this install, which occurred on 10/23/16, she had the original "snowman" boiler, which they removed. The new boiler is a Williamson GSA-175. It bangs and won't heat and is all-around causing the poor woman grief she can ill afford. They came out a few times and according to her, changed the thermostat 7 times, telling her it was the cause of the problems and that a new boiler and thermostat need time to "get used to" one another. But now they have apparently given up and refuse to respond to her. Their tone seems to be that it was free, so what do you expect?












New England SteamWorks
Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
newenglandsteamworks.com
«1

Comments

  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    Not to sound smart, but she got what she paid for. My meaning...free is roughly what that installer is worth. So what kind of consensus are you looking for?

    It's piped wrong obviously, isn't even to minimum spec in any way shape or form. Are you planning on helping her out?

    If one is going to be generous and help someone out like that it should still be top notch work. If one cannot do top notch work they shouldn't be giving it away for free.

    I'm guessing it's oversized too?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,227Member
    edited December 2016
    My intention is to draft a letter for her to forward up the ladder and try to get some action, so I'd like to make sure I get it all in and as professionally as possible. The manual states the riser should be 2-1/2" (it is 2") and the equalizer should be 1-1/2" (it is 1"). Additionally no skim port was installed so I am certain we have surging. We have a bullhead tee.

    The steam take-off is after the equalizer, obviously a problem. But it is a counter-flow system with two branches, which when compared to the single-branch counterflow diagram in the manual, would be confusing to a layman to comprehend I think. Myself, I would have separated the two branches and supplied each off a dropped header. The manual is here, page 11, but I can't figure out how to copy it to post here.

    There is a drip on each counterflow branch, but instead of being close to the boiler at the bottom of the pitch, they are way out at the ends and come all the way back. The drip tees look original, but the long drip piping is from the new install, so this is confusing.

    Anyway, help and suggestions for drafting a letter that would be comprehensible to laymen greatly appreciated.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • adamfreadamfre Posts: 122Member
    It looks almost like someone found a new boiler, a few buckets of random sized nipples and fittings, threw it all down the basement and 'TAADAA!!!'
    Just want to stay warm in the winter. :D
  • I'll have sizing info in a few minutes @KC_Jones. Hang on...


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,127Member
    Time for some sawzall surgery. This will never work right.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Radiator EDR is 344, boiler is 454.




    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    Not sure if it's in that manual, but I know the Weil McLain manual states (I'm paraphrasing) failure to follow manufacturers recommended piping will void the warranty.

    If you find that clause that could help your cause and also reinforce the "recommended piping" clause.

    I would definitely mention the oversizing as somoine in that chain overpaid for the bigger boiler that wasn't needed. She probably could have gotten away with a boiler 2 sizes smaller 1 size smaller for sure. The sizing is something they can't argue with, it's numbers plain and simple.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    Ok I looked at their warranty and here are a couple things that could void it, these are direct quotes. In addition here is a link to the warranty.
    "The failure to properly size the Product for its use;"
    " Installation not done in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions"

    Hope that helps.

    http://www.williamson-thermoflo.com/sites/default/files/field-file/final 2016-0501 - gsa cast iron gas boiler residential steam warranty.pdf
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Thank you @KC_Jones. I did not think of the warranty angle, which is a good one. Quite helpful.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • What a lovely floor!
    An estimate from you as to the cost of repiping, would also get the attention of the non-profit.--NBC
  • gerry gillgerry gill Posts: 2,952Member
    I'm with the other guys..repipe is the only answer
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

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

  • Well, you and I know it has to be re-piped. But the non-profit has apparently taken the side of the contractor as of now, so the need here is to explain why their contractor has to come out and re-pipe. Again, with the use of the word "recommended pipe sizes", and the counterflow diagram that's not really pertinent to the actual system, etc.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • SailahSailah Posts: 794Member
    I'd send them a pic of one of your installs. Should suffice.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    The system doesn't work properly, that should be evidence enough and should probably be mentioned. Also a description of how a steam system is supposed to operate. I would think a description from the homeowner of how the system operated before they touched it would help as well.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,663Member
    We all agree on the fact that it should be repiped. The fact that it is oversized by at least 30% is a problem, too.

    However, to convince the non-profit may be very difficult. I'm not sure how happy you are with essays, @RI_SteamWorks , but this is looking as though it needs a fairly thorough essay in how steam is supposed to work and why the various errors -- too numerous to mention -- in the piping will make it work poorly, if at all.

    Some judicious plagiarising from TLAOSH might be in order here. With @Dan Holohan 's blessing, of course!
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    edited November 2016
    @RI_SteamWorks

    I've seen your renderings of proposed piping. Do one of theirs, noting everything that is incorrect. Do a proposed one, even if it is factory minimum. Enclose a copy of this thread. We need to cut through the bureaucratic BS and get this done for this lady. It becomes the cruelest joke of all, to give a poor person a shiny penny, when they need a nickel to survive.
    @Erin Holohan Haskell
    If the site will permit it......give us the information...I can send a small check.

  • adamfreadamfre Posts: 122Member
    edited November 2016
    Sailah said:

    I'd send them a pic of one of your installs. Should suffice.

    Peter is on to something here. The install is so obviously wrong that a side by side of this install vs. a correct install is pretty obvious. (Even a homeowner, just woke up sitting in front of his PC eating a pop-tart can see it)
    Also, I think you are going to have to put together 2 separate presentations. One for the contractor, showing him in whatever detail how this needs to be done. For the not for profit.... I propose Mr. Steam.

    Who is Mr. Steam? He is the fellow whose only wish in life is to make Happy Homeowner warm. On the photo showing the current install, you could show how Mr. Steam struggled to life, bursting through a layer of scum in the non-skimmed steam birthing place known as The Great Boiler, grumpily clinging to his parent The Water as he flies up the too short, too narrow riser, through the mess of piping, banging his head on the final T and sadly wandering through the main towards the house.... too exhausted and weak to do the one thing he wants to do, make Happy Homeowner warm! :(

    Now, on the clean installation pic, you can show Mr Steam bursting to life from the crystal clear waters of the skimmed birthing place, saying good by to his parent Water as they separate in the properly sized risers and header, happily drifting into the main, NOT bumping his head into a tee, but flowing through two elbows going either direction into the main, to make Happy Homeowner warm and cozy!!

    Maybe not that simple, but you get my drift. I am a manager for a multi lambda, 100G optic network that spans our state and have to sell its services to people have no idea what a 100G optic network is or how it works. If you don't keep it simple for the potential customer to understand, there eyes will glaze over in 30 seconds and you've lost....

    Anyway, that's my .02c, take it for what it's worth. Now I gotta go find the can of canned air so I can blow these crumbs outta my keyboardddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

    A
    Just want to stay warm in the winter. :D
  • Thanks, you guys are the best! Great ideas and insights for me to work with. Now I just need to get it all together...


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,913Member
    Have you checked the thermostat?

    I bet it's the thermostat, does it every time.

    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
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,130Member
    Paul48 said:

    @RI_SteamWorks

    I've seen your renderings of proposed piping. Do one of theirs, noting everything that is incorrect. Do a proposed one, even if it is factory minimum. Enclose a copy of this thread. We need to cut through the bureaucratic BS and get this done for this lady. It becomes the cruelest joke of all, to give a poor person a shiny penny, when they need a nickel to survive.
    @Erin Holohan Haskell
    If the site will permit it......give us the information...I can send a small check.

    I'd be willing to donate some money if needed.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,919Member
    Personally, I would approach this from a warrenty and manufacturers installation manual as some have pointed out above.

    Your going to be lucky to get a "minimal job". If you go for too much (what we here would call the right job) drop header, larger piping, larger risers etc it will probably get tossed out entirely and the customer will be left with what they now have.

    I would compare warrenty, state or local code and the install manual and use that to back up every change you ask for.

    It's a good thing you are doing trying to help her out you should be commended for that but it's not without problems
  • Mad Dog_2Mad Dog_2 Posts: 3,455Member
    Three stooges still in business? Cut it all out. Mad Dog
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 1,117Member, Moderator, Administrator
    edited December 2016
    Paul48 said:


    @Erin Holohan Haskell
    If the site will permit it......give us the information...I can send a small check.

    That's fine with me and very kind of you to help. Thanks for asking!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,942Member
    edited December 2016
    pretty bad they couldnt even get the sediment trap on the gas line right..... Just curious, did they at least have the asbestos removed properly? Or take care of that to?...
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    @RI_SteamWorks

    I'll gladly send a check to the non-profit org., if they are willing to repair that mess. They need to find a way to prevent that from happening, going forward. Let me know......If you give me the lady's last name, I'll include that in the "for" section of the check.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,918Member
    Wow, sad installation. So many things wrong. I don't see where they might have eliminated the drips near the boiler if this was a counter flow, but the way those mains are configured, it had to be counter flow??
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Posts: 1,349Member
    Paul48 said:


    If the site will permit it......give us the information...I can send a small check.

    KC_Jones said:


    I'd be willing to donate some money if needed.

    Me too--I mean three. :)

    But here's another thought.
    Here in Philadelphia, the local NBC station has this "On Your Side" program where they investigate complaints like this, and they talk to both sides, and it basically puts the fear of God into businesses that aren't taking care of their customers. Almost all of them end up doing the right thing. See if there's anything like this where you live, and if not, try to get some local media involved to expose what's happening here. Non-profits rely on community support, and businesses rely on the trust of prospective customers. A little bad publicity can undo a lot of advertising.

    If that doesn't make them do the right thing, then they can publicize how a handful of people from this online community chipped in to help one of its members step up and help out someone who'd been abandoned by the people who were supposed to be helping her.
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S
    3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Fred said:

    Wow, sad installation. So many things wrong. I don't see where they might have eliminated the drips near the boiler if this was a counter flow, but the way those mains are configured, it had to be counter flow??

    Yes, it's counter-flow, no question. But I don't understand the drips configuration either. Wish I had a "before" photo.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • Personally, I would approach this from a warrenty and manufacturers installation manual as some have pointed out above.

    Your going to be lucky to get a "minimal job". If you go for too much (what we here would call the right job) drop header, larger piping, larger risers etc it will probably get tossed out entirely and the customer will be left with what they now have.

    I would compare warrenty, state or local code and the install manual and use that to back up every change you ask for.

    It's a good thing you are doing trying to help her out you should be commended for that but it's not without problems

    Just to be clear, my approach to this is not for me to re-pipe it. The homeowner responded to some marketing we sent out saying she had a lot of problems with banging and flooded radiators. When I visited I did not anticipate a brand new install gone wrong! My initial instinct (and still my current one) is to see if, by adding my (our) voice to the mix, we can get the contractor to come back out and pipe at least to the minimum standards and get it working. It might well be a he-said-she-said issue with the non-profit cluelessly in the middle. That's my hope any way.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • FredFred Posts: 7,918Member
    I'm willing to make a donation to if that is what it takes to properly set her up with heat. That makes 4.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    edited December 2016
    They added new dry returns to the end of a counter-flow system? The problem is, the original contractor is also clueless. Even if he re-pipes the near boiler to factory minimum, he will not know how to tie that in and properly drip it. I'd say he could remove the dry returns and take them with him, but I'd be afraid he might use them on someone else's boiler.
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,125Member
    Paul48 said:

    They added new dry returns to the end of a counter-flow system? The problem is, the original contractor is also clueless. Even if he re-pipes the near boiler to factory minimum, he will not know how to tie that in and properly drip it. I'd say he could remove the dry returns and take them with him, but I'd be afraid he might use them on someone else's boiler.

    I have to agree.

    Do we really want this clueless clown back on site again?

    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Ironman said:

    I have to agree.

    Do we really want this clueless clown back on site again

    Point taken. We'll see how it goes. He would have supervision the second time around though...


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,972Member
    Maybe the installer didn't know what he was doing but you might be able to show him how and why it should be done the right way. Most people want to be proud of the work they do, the ones who really don't care are hopeless.

    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
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,125Member
    BobC said:

    Maybe the installer didn't know what he was doing but you might be able to show him how and why it should be done the right way. Most people want to be proud of the work they do, the ones who really don't care are hopeless.

    Bob

    Maybe. But I doubt it. He replaced the thermostat seven times and kept telling the HO that it had "to adjust itself to the system". That shows not only that he's incompetent, but that he lacks critical thinking skills.

    That kind usually can't be helped. As Steamhead says: "You can't fix stupid".

    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,972Member
    @Ironman It looks like your right, you can't teach someone who won't listen.

    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
  • FredFred Posts: 7,918Member
    @RI_SteamWorks , Do you think that giant Tee originally had a close nipple on the bottom of it with another large Tee that feed off of the old boiler on one side, up into those mains on the top and became the equalizer/condensate return out of the other end?
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,227Member
    edited December 2016
    Fred said:

    @RI_SteamWorks , Do you think that giant Tee originally had a close nipple on the bottom of it with another large Tee that feed off of the old boiler on one side, up into those mains on the top and became the equalizer/condensate return out of the other end?

    1. It wasn't uncommon for the Deadmen to use a bullheaded tee.
    2. But a bullheaded tee lowered with double 45s?
    3. Then note each branch has a union in close proximity to the bullheaded tee. No need for unions here in an original install.
    4. Then note the bullheaded tee is bushed on the branch/bull/outlet where it should not be, and that bushing looks old, but it has new tape/dope. I think a 3" riser went into that tee with the previous install. But I no longer think that the previous "snowman" boiler was the original. After the original boiler came the "snowman" with unions, double 45s, bullheaded tee, and a single 3" riser.

    Or?

    Also, drips out at the ends still a mystery.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • FredFred Posts: 7,918Member
    @RI_SteamWorks Said: Also, drips out at the ends still a mystery.

    The drips out at the ends of the mains may not be as mysterious as the piping near the boiler. I've seen mains that are counter flow out from the boiler and then change pitch to become parallel flow further out in the system.
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