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best book for an amateur

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Sera
Sera Member Posts: 5
I just bought a house with a boiler system in it. We were attracted to the non-drying, lovely air that the radiators give off, but I am LOST. As someone with very little technical knowhow, I"m having difficulty not being overwhelmed by just checking out the manual. The combination of gas/pressure/water/homeownership has me concerned that I'm going to make some huge mistake. I would like a resource to help me become more competent with what I"m working with. I've been looking at the website and perusing the FAQ's, but would like something of a more comprehensive manual for people with no plumbing/technical experience. Which of the books would you suggest? Thank you kindly!

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  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Post a pic of boiler
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,572
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    Do you know if you have a steam or hot water system? You can post pictures if you are unsure.
    And yes you will get some great recommendations...
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,331
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    Hello, I'll add that there is a store here and in it are some AMAZING books written by the founder of this site, Dan Holohan. Dan writes in a very clear and easy to understand way, throwing in the right amount of humor and perspective, so the lessons go down easily. I'd start there.

    Yours, Larry
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 884
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    Agree with the above. First step is to see what kind of system you have, if you have steam we will recommend steam books, hot water we will recommend books for that. Post a picture of the boiler, stand back far enough to get the piping that is near the boiler, and we will be able to tell you what type of system you have and point to the right book.
    MilanD
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    edited May 2017
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    Besides the above mentioned recommendations, you should find a competent pro in your area who will service the equipment. When they come out, have them give you a tutorial of your whole system-take notes, make a video. Ask them what things you should pay attention to, and when to call in the pros.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    Besides the above mentioned recommendations, you should find a competent pro in your area who will service the equipment. When they come out, have them give you a tutorial of your whole system-take notes, make a video. Ask them what things you should pay attention to, and when to call in the pros.

    To which I might add -- if you tell us more or less where you are, chances are pretty good that someone on here knows someone who fits the description of that pro.!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Sera
    Sera Member Posts: 5
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    I am smart-phone free and just moved, so posting a picture might take me a week or four :) I am nearly positive that it is hot water and not steam. There are two pipes coming out of the ground attached to the radiator on either side if that helps. The manual says "Gas-Fired Natural Draft Hot Water Boilers Sizes 37,500 thru 280,000 Series A" Model number BW1 or BW2. There are several models listed in the manual (which seems to be a compendium of a few booklets actually), but looking at the boiler and the manual, it looks like a model BW1 or BW2 water boiler. I haven't a clue if it's continuous pilot (BW1) or Electronic Intermittent Ignition (BW2) and didn't feel competent enough to move or prod things too much. I did look at the books, but some reviews mentioned that their novice minds had difficulty with the technical terms, so wanted to check in here for recommendations before purchasing one. I'm in Pittsburgh, PA. How much do you guys think it would cost to call someone out for a tutorial? And I am not looking for an actual quote, mind you, I won't hold anyone to anything, but a very, broad range would be helpful in budgeting for said service. Thanks for all your help!
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
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    Lucky for you, industry icon Ray Wohlfarth of Fire n Ice Heating and Cooling lives in Pittsburgh. I'm sure he'd be glad to quote you a fee for reviewing what you have and offering suggestions.

    If you Google him, you will see that he too writes books on hydronic heating systems. Great guy with a ton of experience and knowledge...

    ME

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    delta T
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,613
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    As @Mark Eatherton said Ray would be a great reasource for you
    delta T
  • Sera
    Sera Member Posts: 5
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    Sounds good. Can someone please still recommend a book though? I"d like to educate myself as well. Thanks!
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    Sera said:

    Sounds good. Can someone please still recommend a book though? I"d like to educate myself as well. Thanks!

    Start off with "We Got Steam Heat", available from the store on this site. Then, as you get more into it, get "The Lost Art of Steam Heat". Both excellent reads and well worth the price.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,771
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    Sera said:

    Sounds good. Can someone please still recommend a book though? I"d like to educate myself as well. Thanks!

    Start off with "We Got Steam Heat", available from the store on this site. Then, as you get more into it, get "The Lost Art of Steam Heat". Both excellent reads and well worth the price.
    It sounds like they have a hot water system?

    For me, if that's the case.

    Classic Hydronics: How to Get the Most From Those Older Hot-Water Heating Systems

    http://astore.amazon.com/heatinghelp-20/detail/0996477217

    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
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Caleffi's IDronics series is available online, and you can sign up for Taco's FloPro University online. Be careful, you may become an addict. You'll be finding everything that's wrong with your system, before you know it.
    hydro_newbiedelta T
  • Sera
    Sera Member Posts: 5
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    I do believe that it's hot water and not steam. And I spoke to the previous owner, who showed and told me how to bleed/drain the radiators in the fall and told me that it's a closed system and that the boiler does not have a pilot light to be lit, but that it is automatic. I will check out the Classic Hydronics would work better!
    And Paul48, I'd love to check out the University online, but 3 small people in my life means pipe dream :)
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
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    I have some books I will give you for free. Contact me at gastc@cox.net
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    It is a University in name only........It's free, and there are tutorials that you can do at your own pace, in your free time. Give it a try....I think you'll be amazed at what you can learn.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,572
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    Sera said:

    I do believe that it's hot water and not steam. And I spoke to the previous owner, who showed and told me how to bleed/drain the radiators in the fall and told me that it's a closed system and that the boiler does not have a pilot light to be lit, but that it is automatic. I will check out the Classic Hydronics would work better!
    And Paul48, I'd love to check out the University online, but 3 small people in my life means pipe dream :)

    Almost all online programs are free.
    I would highly recommend Classic Hydronics
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein