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Dealing with mercury in an old heating system

HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Posts: 490
edited December 2019 in THE MAIN WALL

If you're staring at an odd, old device and you don't know what it is, put your hands in your pockets and back away from the thing.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • Rocky_3
    Rocky_3 Member Posts: 231
    Now I know why a lot of people put their hands in their pockets and slowly walk away from me when I try to start a conversation with them! Mystery solved! Thanks, Dan!
    Solid_Fuel_ManIntplm.mattmia2
  • Controlsgirl
    Controlsgirl Member Posts: 10
    Great article. Fun read.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,505
    I know someone that has the remains of one of these systems in Detroit.
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 541
    The most common place I see Mercury is in old Mercoid vacuum switches. Where still installed they are working flawlessly. Not only totally reliable, but super easy to adjust; just set the pointers to the off and on settings and you're done.

    On the other hand, the 9016 diaphragm type usually found on today's vacuum pumps have to be set on a change-and-try basis. This isn't so bad where there's only one switch, but on a duplex unit, you have 2 switches. Both need to be set to turn off at the same point, but the primary switch needs it's on point to be set just a little higher than the secondary switch. I find this to be an aggravating task.

    Also, I have found that over time, these switches go out of adjustment and need a repeat of this aggravating task.

    At last check, these Mercoid vacuum switches were still available, although frowned upon for reasons described, and now getting prohibitively expensive.

    Does anyone know of other vacuum switches that have the reliability and ease of setting as the old Mercoids? Those sold by the same company are available Mercury free with snap action mechanisms, but their minimum differential is too great for use in this application.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,505
    I've got to think there is an electronic switch out there somewhere.
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 541
    mattmia2 said:

    I've got to think there is an electronic switch out there somewhere.

    Yeah, me too. Problem is all my searches have come up either empty or not suitable. Switch needs to be wide range adjustable, and able to complete two (2) separate control circuits.

    I'm hoping someone here has some suggestions.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • That stuff was so fun to play with. I had a gold ring that I coated with mercury. A couple of days later, it disintegrated.

    A liquid metal!
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,739
    My mom, a nurse, brought me some to play with from a broken thermometer. That doesn't happen anymore!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG