Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Another New Install Mess

This one came across my screen yesterday. She says it won't stop banging....



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

Comments

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,605
    LOL time to quote some work
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119
    What is it with people that won't open the manual and follow the piping diagram??
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410
    I don't think that is the first person in the house that didn't know what they are doing. The old piping looks to be a mess, is the return tied back into the end of the header?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Yes, LOL. That return is tied right into the header. And the nice guy even replaced the vent, for all the good it will do when steam hits it in the 1st few seconds...
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410
    How do these people stay in business? They obviously screw up on a regular basis and yet still have work to do. Have they really convinced the general public steam is that bad? People really believe all these problem are the steam and not the contractor? This is insanity.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • RyanD
    RyanD Member Posts: 20
    Is that a motorized damper in the flue of an oil boiler?
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,132
    Flue pipe looks shiney...
    steve
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,997
    RyanD said:

    Is that a motorized damper in the flue of an oil boiler?

    Probably a Field OVD series, which is made for oil boilers.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,997
    KC_Jones said:

    How do these people stay in business? They obviously screw up on a regular basis and yet still have work to do. Have they really convinced the general public steam is that bad? People really believe all these problem are the steam and not the contractor? This is insanity.

    Another case where people get paid for being stupid.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    Please help. Unfortunately this is my mess to fix as the new home owner. How can I get the plumber to fix the mess he made? I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly what is wrong. Does all the old stuff need to come out too?
    Wish I could have found this website sooner.
    Thanks.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410
    At a glance it looks like you may be the victim of several contractors messes. What appears to be new work by your contractor is totally wrong, there is literally a picture in the manual with the boiler that shows how it's supposed to be piped and I'm guessing that was too much for him.

    Also if he knew what he was doing, he would have recognized the existing mess and discussed with you.

    I sometimes take pictures and mark up changes for people, but honestly the start here is him tearing out all his work and starting over.

    Have you paid in full for the work done? How responsive has he been on a scale of "tell me everything you want and I'll do it" to "leave a voicemail and I won't respond"?

    I ask about payment as, for me, I would rather get someone in that knows what they are doing to fix it, than pay this person any more money. Also, unless he is willing to do everything for free to fix it, you could get nickel and dime'd to death from your current contractor and still end up with garbage.

    We are happy to help in any way we can, but for me your case starts with a serious evaluation of your desires and if you feel that working with the current contractor is worth it.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,620
    The lack of skillset and knowledge of both steam and hot water systems is limited with many contractors. Steam requires careful piping modifications that match the manufacturer's instructions. Hence the acronym RTFI.
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    Hi KC.
    He has been responsive but I don't think he knows what he is doing. I really don't think he purposely did a bad job. He has been paid in full.
    Not sure where to go from here. If I had the money I would definitely get someone else in here to make it right. Unfortunately I'm on a tight budget. Even if I could get him to start from scratch for free I wouldn't know how to educate him so it doesn't end up wrong again.
    The old furnace was put in in 1957 and my dad, who is a retired plumber, wasn't impressed with how it was installed. My dad had several conversations with the new plumber as far as putting in a Hartford loop etc. My dad doesn't see any issues with the new install just said it needs a cleaning with dry steam. My dad is 76 and has been retired for about 20 years. He has also had some major surgeries so his mind isn't what it used to be. The new plumber is older too probably mid sixties. Not that that's an excuse. As long as the way it's hooked up now will not damage anything it seems like I'm going to have to live with it at least for this season.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410
    I think the difficulty here is if he can't understand what is clearly shown in the manual, is there any amount of discussion you could have with him to make it right?

    This is the point I get stuck on.
    Here are a couple of questions for him:
    Did he look at the manual for the proper piping?
    If he did what about the piping diagram is confusing to him, that he didn't understand?

    Just because he connected everything that needed to be connected does not make it right. Things must be connected in a specific order and specific orientation.

    We are happy to help, but need to figure out if the contractor is open to help and find out his level of understanding for us to be able to help him. Does he even understand schematics? That may sound rude of me to insinuate, but I am a draftsman/designer by trade and there are more people that can't read them than those that can.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    Paul PolletsIronman1MatthiasMichelleLe1
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119
    You won't find anyone better than NESW.

    Unfortunately, we see this kind of hackery all too often. And IDK if this is true in your situation, but HO's quite often assume that any contractor will do the job right and therefore they choose the cheapest one.

    I'm truly sorry for your predicament, but I'd recommend you bite the bullet and pay NESW to get it fixed right. The life of the boiler, energy cost, and most of all your peace of mind will be less in the long term than continuing with someone who is clueless about steam.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    DZoro1MatthiasMichelleLe1Canucker
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,456
    The first thing I thought of when I saw the pictures was that this has been hacked a couple of times...probably multiple boiler replacements.

    But, @KC-Jones beat me to it!!
    MichelleLe1
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119

    Please help. Unfortunately this is my mess to fix as the new home owner. How can I get the plumber to fix the mess he made? I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly what is wrong. Does all the old stuff need to come out too?

    Wish I could have found this website sooner.

    Thanks.

    Here's a near boiler piping diagram from the manufacturer. Please study it closely and you'll see that yours doesn't resemble it in any way. Note the required pipe sizes also.




    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    MichelleLe1
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    edited November 2018
    Thank you all.
    Thank you Bob for the diagram. I will print it up and ask him about it when I see him. Hopefully I can get a feel for how much he understands.
    I think I would still rather save up and have you guys fix it.
    I got 2 quotes. One was $ and the other was $ so yes I'm guilty of going with the cheaper contractor.
    Is $ what I'm looking at or is it going to be more now to have the existing removed?
    Is the furnace the correct size and type?
    I'm reading Greening Steam by Dan Holohan. I'm trying to wrap my head around how steam works.
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    edited November 2018
    No price talk here, but the boiler is there now so you are going to pay labor and materials for the removal and construction of the proper piping.

    Also they will have to go over the entire install so it doesn't come back as a call back down the road
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,075
    Thanks, @Leon82.

    @MichelleLe1 - This book will also help you better understand your steam system: https://heatinghelp.com/store/detail/we-got-steam-heat
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    IronmanMichelleLe1
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119

    Thank you all.

    Thank you Bob for the diagram. I will print it up and ask him about it when I see him. Hopefully I can get a feel for how much he understands.

    I think I would still rather save up and have you guys fix it.

    I got 2 quotes. One was $ and the other was $ so yes I'm guilty of going with the cheaper contractor.

    Is $ what I'm looking at or is it going to be more now to have the existing removed?

    Is the furnace the correct size and type?

    I'm reading Greening Steam by Dan Holohan. I'm trying to wrap my head around how steam works.

    The only way to know if the boiler is correctly sized is to measure your radiators. I'll try and post a chart for that.

    A steam boiler MUST be sized to match the connected radiation (EDR). Many times, contractors simply put the same size in as what was previously there. This can be a serious mistake if radiators have been removed or added over the years. Had you known this beforehand, you would have been able to filter out some bad contractors, because if they didn't do a radiation survey first, it would have proved they were incompetent.

    I also would second what Erin suggested about getting the book "We've Got Steam Heat". It's the best primer on the subject. Too bad that we can't get most contractors to read it.




    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    If anyone else in MA/RI wants to get a work party to help out Michelle, I'm happy to donate my labor.

    I know that is what contractors get paid to do but it feels like this job could be tackled by a few well-intentioned Wallies.

    I can swing wrenches, sweep the floor, donut runs...
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
    IronmanCanucker
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410
    I have some miscellaneous fittings and nipples that I probably won't need for anything. Not sure how much shipping would be, but I'd be willing to ship anything I have that could be useful. I don't live remotely close so I can't help with actual labor.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    Oh wow! Thank you Peter and KC. That would be a Christmas miracle 😁
    Thanks to Bob and Erin too (is Dan your dad?)
    I will measure and see what I come up with.
    Would a good cleaning with dry steam hurt anything? That's what my dad thinks will help.
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 720
    edited November 2018
    It may help settle down what you have but it's kind of like washing your car after you've been in a crash. Save your effort until the piping gets sorted out
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
    rick in AlaskaDouble D
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119

    Oh wow! Thank you Peter and KC. That would be a Christmas miracle 😁

    Thanks to Bob and Erin too (is Dan your dad?)

    I will measure and see what I come up with.

    Would a good cleaning with dry steam hurt anything? That's what my dad thinks will help.

    A pic of the sight glass would tell us if the boiler needs skimming. Most likely it does. But the only way you're gonna get dry steam is by having proper piping.

    New England is a little far for me to travel from VA, but I'll give it prayerfull consideration. It's probably gonna take 4 able men to get everything corrected in 1 - 2 days.

    @Sailah,
    Maybe if you'd start a new thread asking for volunteers and linking this post, there might be enough response.

    Also, someone needs to go to the job and size up exactly what fittings and nipples are needed beforehand.

    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    MichelleLe1
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410
    If this could be pulled off, I wonder if the contractor would be interested in joining the "party" and learning a few things in the process?

    Also what town do you live in? I'm curious about travel time and possibly shipping of parts, my brain is crunching on this one now.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    MichelleLe1
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    @ironman My preference is to be a helper. I'm not a boiler guy or contractor but I can certainly be helpful in other ways.

    I want to be careful of stepping on contractor toes, but if Michelle truly is under a budget constraint it sounds like a volunteer effort might be the only way to get it done.

    We really need a true boiler piping expert there and they are probably very busy. Maybe we could do some type of crowdfunding effort for those not able to directly participate as a way to compensate the real expert/contractor.

    Could be heating helps version of giving Tuesday?

    Not sure where Michelle is, probably the first step.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
    KC_JonesIronmanMichelleLe1Canucker
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119
    edited November 2018
    @MichelleLe1,
    Please post some more pics of the boiler and it's near piping from multiple angles. Also, the boiler label.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    Grallert
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    I'm in Sterling CT just over the Foster RI line near route 6.
    Here is a link to the pictures. Let me know if you need more.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/oBjtL2die14NLMcn7
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,581
    Does anyone see an actual steam main there?
    Could this be 6 or 7 runouts to radiators?
    All counter flow of course.
    The "return " with the air vent might be a run out supply also.
    Ironman
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    JUGHNE - There are 9 radiators (all on one floor) each has its own run back to the mess of pipes just above the furnace.
    The most troubling thing, aside from the banging, is that the water in the furnace runs low about 5 minutes after the heat goes on and shuts down. Then the auto water feeder fills it back up and it starts up again. Because of the way it was leaking out of one of the air vents before it was changed, I'm afraid to leave the heat on when I'm not home. I work from home so it's not too often but at some point it will be too cold to turn it off.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,410

    I'm in Sterling CT just over the Foster RI line near route 6.

    6 1/2 hours for me, I don't think my wife would be very happy about that.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,261
    edited November 2018
    I would be in to help out but it would a few weeks before I could even get up there.
    Sailah
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,075
    That's really kind and generous of you guys.

    @MichelleLe1 - You can also see if this job is a fit for Oil Heat Cares (https://oilheatcares.com/). And to your question, yes, Dan's my dad.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    MichelleLe1
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    I started a thread in strictly steam. Let's get some action and we can start penciling in dates that work.

    Sterling CT isn't very far for me, maybe 1.5 hours. Holidays are obviously hard time to plan these things esp in a volunteer manner.

    But i have 2 pipe wrenches and can make donut runs like you would not believe :)

    @EzzyT Would be awesome to have your experience and finally get to meet. Drag your buddy @Danny Scully up here and I'll wear a NY uniform the whole time I'm working!!!
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
    Ironman
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 720
    > @KC_Jones said:
    > I'm in Sterling CT just over the Foster RI line near route 6.
    >
    >
    >
    > 6 1/2 hours for me, I don't think my wife would be very happy about that.

    Oof, 10.5 hrs for me. Don't think I can get there
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    Thank you Sailah and EzzyT so much. I'm also more than willing to help any way I can.
    No worries KC and Canucker that's too far. But the thought is appreciated.
    Going to measure my radiators 😁
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119
    @MichelleLe1,
    Can you post a closer pic of the white boiler data tag so we can see what size/model it is? It's just to the left of the yellow energy tag.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • MichelleLe1
    MichelleLe1 Member Posts: 31
    Here you go Bob.
    I believe I have a total of 210.5 sq ft of radiation.