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What's blocking the heat?

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DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
Super-thick floor covering? Things stuffed inside the convector? Ridiculous radiator covers?

Just for fun, what have you seen?
Retired and loving it.
Erin Holohan Haskell

Comments

  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,429
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    Spray foam completely filling the bottom of a recessed cast iron radiator. Had to chip it all out :lol:
  • Big Shrub
    Big Shrub Member Posts: 18
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    Fintube installed on its side so no air could pass thru it. Customer called to add some additional radiation. Didn't add any just twisted his existing fintube 90 degrees and all was good!
    Robert O'Brien
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    I’ve seen the turned fin tube. That’s a good one!
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Danny, that stuff sure does a great job. :-)
    Retired and loving it.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    Finned tube mounted vertically behind louvered enclosures. Gets hot to the touch. No convection whatsoever .
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Good one, John. That in NYC?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,544
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    In the heyday of shag carpeting you could have made a living raising baseboard.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    We once owned a rug rake. I quake thinking of what was growing in that rug.
    Retired and loving it.
    Robert O'BrienSolid_Fuel_Manjuliei
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
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    Radiator covers loaded with dust and dirt inside.
    Nothing wrong with nice cast iron radiators with a nice paint job on them.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
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    20' of baseray with the rug stuffed under it blocking it completely. The carpet people told her it was ok since it still got hot and looked better..
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,397
    edited January 2019
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    The house had two zones with fin tube BBs. The lower floor would not heat and other contractors had tried numerous repairs including replacing the circulator for that zone multiple times. The last one put a series 100 on it thinking that bigger was better and that would fix it - it didn't.

    After checking everything that you normally would and still having no flow, I took the pump out and found no problem with it. I then looked up into the return line and found a roofing nail lodged in the pump flange which was completely blocking the flow.

    This house was 40+ years old. How the nail got in the line, or why I took that long to lodge there - I can only guess.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
    edited January 2019
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    A problem for 40 years and you solved it. Well done!
    Retired and loving it.
    Ironman
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,397
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    The really interesting thing was that it was acting like a check valve that was backwards. Because the pump was on the return pumping downward, the nail would block flow by gravity. But when I purged upward through the return, it would lift and allow flow.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    I once saw a nickel that turned this way and that in an elbow, stopping and allowing flow. The surprises never end, do they?
    Retired and loving it.
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,048
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    "Government help company" came in to insulate. Drilled into the ductwork of the trailer and filled the ductwork full of insulation. :s:s
    Solid_Fuel_ManJUGHNEicy78
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    @DZoro Seriously?!
    Retired and loving it.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,102
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    Easy to happen.
    I have seen new track house construction where framing was built for kitchen soffits, framers did not want to come back after sheetrock.
    This was the common wall for return air stud spaces, on the other side of kitchen soffits.
    Sheet rock installed on everything including soffits.
    Attic insulation was blown in everywhere, including soffits and return air stud spaces.

    It was only noticed when recessed can lights had to be cut into the soffits.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Gosh
    Retired and loving it.
  • steamfitter
    steamfitter Member Posts: 156
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    Many years ago I had the simple job of walking through a beautiful old residential building on Central Park West (in NYC)to make a punch list. The old cast iron rads were fitted with one-pipe steam trvs. One apartment had an Oscar on the shelf belonging to an elderly actress. Don't recall her name. The penthouse belonged to the famous singer/songwriter Paul Simon. What an apartment!
    In another apartment a sweet little old lady was complaining about the lack of heat in her living room. A very large space with a grand piano and a magnificent view of Central Park. The radiators were huge but covered with the nicest custom made wooden enclosures I ever saw. These covers were also incorporated into a large L shaped sofa. Look like one of those sectional sofas, only it was all one piece right down to the floor. No air could get to the rad for convection. And not much heat could be radiated through all of this furniture. It was really something to see. I explained to her how rads work regarding what transfer. Radiation and convection. Especially in an enclosure. I recommended getting the custom furniture guy back to cut slots down low under the sofa to try and get some convection going.
    Solid_Fuel_ManDZoro
  • steamfitter
    steamfitter Member Posts: 156
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    ...rads work regarding heat transfer.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    @steamfitter That sounds like the Brentmore: https://www.6sqft.com/this-18m-prewar-co-op-is-the-kind-of-apartment-that-invented-central-park-views/

    The Oscar-winning actress would have been Celeste Holm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celeste_Holm

    Thanks for sharing the great story!
    Retired and loving it.
  • Stet
    Stet Member Posts: 42
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  • Stet
    Stet Member Posts: 42
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    The Golden effect. No rug, just a frolicking pair of golden retrievers. It's a wonder the living room heated at all. Looks like a nice warm golden blanket.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Gosh. On the top?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,344
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    @Stet, the Golden effect - LOL

    @steamfitter - That sounds like quite an apartment building. Nice research, @DanHolohan.

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

  • Dave_94
    Dave_94 Member Posts: 17
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    Had the “golden effect yesterday lol not warm enough, 1/8 of hair on every bit of the bottoms of the fins😎
  • Le John
    Le John Member Posts: 226
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    @steamfitter @DanHolohan Wow - Very Nice Apartment. Some things are built to last and will be around for generations to come.
  • Learner35
    Learner35 Member Posts: 5
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    I had a customer 25 years ago that was having a problem with the relief valve on her boiler discharging due to a waterlogged compression tank. Draining and recharging the tank did not permanently fix the relief valve problem. Her father and mother had built the house and her father was also the plumber who had installed the hot water system.

    The entire house was heated with Cast Iron convectors under all the windows with some C.I. wall radiation under the joists in the basement where the Kitchen and bathrooms were for radiant floor heating. The system was at that time about 50 years old. The operating temperature of the system was 180 degrees and the house was also not heating. This was North Central Illinois in the dead of winter.

    Upon investigating the radiation which had who knows how many layers of paint covering the enclosures, I discovered by shining a flashlight from underneath the C.I. radiation that no light was visible from the top of the radiation. Every single C.I. convector was totally plugged up with the lint of 50 years.

    Upon cleaning out the convectors, the operating temperature started to drop, the house started to warm up and heated to set point temperature. Eventually, the operating temperature settled around 130 degrees. Pressure normalized in the system and no more relief valve discharging and compression tank water logging. The tank had been sized properly for the original design temperature.

    I then installed a bypass on the newer boiler to protect it from condensing due to the low operating temperature. In the coldest of weather, her father the plumber had designed a low temp hot water system that heated that home with 130 degree water. Gotta admire and respect these old dead men. They knew their stuff.
    ratio
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    @Learner35 Such a simple solution. Well done!
    Retired and loving it.
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 378
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    a while ago I saw a picture of a condenser unit covered with spray foam insulation.
    SeanBeans
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    @sunlight33 That will get you scratching your head!
    Retired and loving it.
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,261
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    Not so much a case of what's blocking the heat, more a mysterious case of nothings wrong and yet the heat seems to have a mind of it's own. Sometimes it works for days, sometimes for hours.

    But it always quits for no reason. So said both the boiler man and the electrician. The boiler man said it's an electrical problem, nothing he can do. Sorry. Electrician says it's a boiler problem. He can't find anything to fix.

    Investigation revealed the boiler had a shared power circuit. The power circuit was shared with an alarm system of sorts. This alarm system had sensors at the end of the driveway that detected any vehicles coming or leaving. If it detected a vehicle, it would turn on a flood light that lit up the parking area and the walkway to the house.
    Nice!

    Only problem, the flood lamp had an electrical short in it. So every time a vehicle passed through the drive, it flipped the breaker and the boiler lost power as well, since it was a shared circuit.

    It took a nimble tongue to persuade a confused and aggravated homeowner to allow me to fix a floodlight she didn't care about, instead of fixing her heat.

    IronmanDZoro
  • pitman44
    pitman44 Member Posts: 18
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    I had a friend who called me because his teenage daughter's bedroom was cold. The rest of the house was fine. I recalled that during the summer decided to pull the BB cover off and paint them. Knowing Jeff was quite the procrastinator I asked him if he had ever replaced the cover on the BB in her room. There was a pregnant pause before he said, Nooo. Easy fix.

    We replaced an oil boiler in the same fellow's raised ranch home with a gas boiler a several years before. I had spoken with him about the potential dangers of CO at the time and he wasn't too concerned about it. But then, during the install, the tennis star, Vitas Gerulaitis died from CO poisoning caused by an improperly installed gas pool heater pool heater. Jeff immediately reached out to an alarm company and had a smoke/fire/CO/natural gas detector system installed in his home not far from the boiler.

    A few year later I was chatting with him, he's no fool he was an engineer on a nuke sub when he served in the Navy. I don't recall what the conversation was about, but during it he complained about the damned CO detector going off every morning about 3am. He said he needed to talk with the alarm company to see what the heck was wrong with it. I asked him if it ever occurred to him that maybe it was doing its job? He was very quiet for a few seconds. We went over that day and found it was over 1000ppm air free.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,565
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    Vitas Gerulaitis rests in peace a hundred or so feet from where my parents are doing the same. His was a senseless death.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Plumber7
    Plumber7 Member Posts: 19
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    I went on a heat call to a regular customers house. The steam heat wasn’t warming the house on a very cold day. I noticed that they had a very talented carpenter build some beautiful radiator covers. The 1” spaces built into the covers went almost all the way to the floor and up to the top. Apparently they weren’t happy seeing the cast iton in the 1” spaces so the stapled a very fine black fabric inside so you couldn’t see the radiator at all. It was so fine, it clogged up with dust. No heat at all was coming from the enclosure. Yanked all the fabric off, and the steam worked fine again.
  • fixitguy
    fixitguy Member Posts: 92
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    Bread 🍞 that the customer's son stuffed in a fintube to dry it enough to sweat. Smelled nice when I took it apart. To top it off, the customer lied about it.