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Today's Episode of...... You Can't Fix Stupid!

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Steamhead
Steamhead Member Posts: 16,949
Looked at this Dunham Return Vapor System (see Lost Art, chapter 15) today. We'd worked on it some years ago, in the process replacing some trap elements and adding Gorton #2 vents (the Dunham air trap was long gone). Complaint from the house's new owners was uneven heating and the pressure gauge was hitting 10 PSI.

Several years ago, the former owner had the American-Standard gas boiler replaced with a Weil-McLain LGB. Not by us of course, he obviously wanted and got a rock-bottom price.

So I went down to the boiler room and looked for the Gortons. Instead, I found this:



These are two Barnes & Jones vacuum breakers! They let air in, but not out. And if the air can't get out, the steam can't get in. You can't fix stupid!

So I replaced them with Gortons:


All Steamed Up, Inc.
Towson, MD, USA
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
Consulting

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,949
    edited December 2021
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    The Pressuretrol, as found. 3 PSI differential:





    And both Pressuretrols are on one pigtail. You can't fix stupid!

    This will get fixed later. For now, I made sure the pigtail was clear and cranked them both down.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,764
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    I don't suppose they piped the boiler right either.
    :)
    I guess they thought it was a vacuum system
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,949
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    When I went to check the low-water cutoffs, I found this:



    Yup- no blowdowns. You can't fix stupid!

    We'll have to come back to add them. I showed the owner how to verify the water level, every day, till we can return- and to call us if it gets low.

    This is why the LGB is not my favorite boiler- there are no tappings for direct installation of probe-type LWCOs. Whatever you use has to go on equalizing lines, which have to be blown down every week. The try-cock tappings are only 3/8", so a probe won't fit.

    When we started the boiler, all the radiators heated fairly evenly. A new set of Big Mouth crossover traps will speed things up.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,949
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    I don't suppose they piped the boiler right either.
    :)
    I guess they thought it was a vacuum system

    That's a whole 'nother issue............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,764
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    The previous owner was a dope not to let you do the boiler change out.

    That's why you have to charge people until their teeth hurt.

    After you fixed him up that's what you get. I still can't get over the vacuum breakers.

    LOL He put a 30-0-30 gauge on it. I don't think that came with the boiler so he must have thought it was a vacuum system
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
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    Vacuum breakers were a strange choice.  Maybe the radiator vents were squealing and the guy thought this was was due to a vacuum created when the boiler cycled off.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,949
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    Vacuum breakers were a strange choice.  Maybe the radiator vents were squealing and the guy thought this was was due to a vacuum created when the boiler cycled off.

    No radiator vents on this Vapor system.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
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    You can fix stupid!!
    When I had my consulting company, and with some customers I gave a proposal and estimate on what the corrective work will cost and along with that gave a percentile in therms that would be saved during the first heating season and if they wanted to improve on these results the second phase of maintenance would do them well.

    I on what I thought were expensive jobs would split the job into two parts, first part the work that must be done first and second the work that should be done.

    Several of the property managers for the the 30 story buildings I serviced in Manhattan balked at the pricing and told me they will have the maintenance crew determine what should be done and they will do the work.

    My words to them were you paid me now and you will pay me again bt I am cheap compared to what your contractor of choice will charge you next year.

    Do you know the owner of the building fixed stupid, he fired the property manager the following year.

    Jake
    delcrossvBobC
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,949
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    Never was a property manager on this job that I know of.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,949
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    Stopped by the office today and looked this up. When we first went there, in 2011, there was a single Trane vacuum vent on the dry return. We installed two Gorton #2 vents at that time.

    Hard to believe someone would replace the Gortons with vacuum breakers, but as I've said.............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 514
    edited December 2021
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    You can fix stupid!!

    LOL, my brother always says that. He then follows that up with "you can't fix really stupid".