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Dead Men Tales: How To Kill A Boiler

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 651
edited February 2022 in THE MAIN WALL



How To Kill A Boiler

In this episode, Dan Holohan shares a murder mystery involving a troubled heating system and a well-intentioned suspect.

Listen and subscribe here.

Thank you to our sponsor SupplyHouse.com.
Solid_Fuel_Man

Comments

  • Scottric1958
    Scottric1958 Member Posts: 1
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    Dan, I am a new member and i enjoy Heating Help Web very nice story.
    Thank You Scottric 1958
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,458
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    I am glad I don't work on that type of stuff. I did have a customer who had the garden hose on the drain of a Weil Mclain oil boiler so he could wash his pickup, so we did have a conversation about that, however.
    Good stories.
    Rick
    icy78SuperTechSteven_Bangs1966
  • Labenaqui
    Labenaqui Member Posts: 72
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    In my 65 years I have only seen two Weil-McLain's that didn't just die of very old age.
    The first a 6-yr old SGO Steamer that stuck a McDonald-Miller Valve from poor service and "Cherry-Topped" the Boiler. W/M honored the Warranty!
    The second is a currently to-be-replaced commercial-app 19 yr. old WGO-4 that has been chronically over-fired by 20% and exhausted by an also failing Power-Venter, screeching for mercy. Rainwater runs through the venter and down into the boiler every storm. It has finally opened a crack in an upper and burps through the PRV occasionally, despite a lowered systemp & pressure.
    To your point Dan, you really have to do some very bad things to fail a cast-iron boiler!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, guys!
    Retired and loving it.
    Steven_Bangs1966
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 922
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    Great story.

    If this site was for commercial boilers you could write about grossly overfired steam boilers we called OHIO specials.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    We talk commercial boilers here. Tell us a tale.
    Retired and loving it.
  • icy78
    icy78 Member Posts: 404
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        Dan, I was a road hazard today while driving to a service and listening to your REDFLASH RECKONING  episode!
       Tears-in-my-eyes- laughing! Oh,! When my lovely Caroline hears this one. I have her hooked on these episodes,  as a librarian she enjoys a good story too.
        Thankyou again for the great stories Dan.
    mattmia2ayetchvackerSuperTech
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    @icy78 , you made my day. Thanks to you and Lovely Caroline!
    Retired and loving it.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,093
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    This is a garden hose story, but it and the owners are innocent.

    Small steam boiler was loosing water.
    The lady attending to LWCO blow down and adding water noticed this and made a call.
    Long story short, there was a hose on the boiler drain run across the basement to the floor drain. The boiler drain was dribbling water out and it was never noticed across the room.
    New boiler drain without permanently hose solved that.
    Boiler has survived a few more years.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    😳
    Retired and loving it.
  • Bill_Kitsch69
    Bill_Kitsch69 Member Posts: 48
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    Put one on the make-up water supply of Every steam boiler installation:

    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Dwyer-WM2-A-C-03-3-4-NPT-Multi-Jet-Brass-Water-Meter-Max-30-GPM

    Then good luck getting the client to record the reading once in a while and tell you if fresh water usage begins increasing or is too high.
    delcrossv
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    Years ago I had a repeating service call about air in a hot water system like once a month durning the winter . Looked high and low for any sign of a leak couldn’t find one plus it was fairly new home . While there one day working on the boiler installing a new prv and going though the normal of bleeding the system , the homes wife comes w a garden hose and ask me to hook it up to the boiler drain at that moment all the piece fell into place ,she was washing her car once a month using the boiler water . Informed her that this was not the place to hook up for water and was the cause of her air issues . I don’t think she really understood so I put a hose cap on very tight and adviser her to use the drain on the indirect only . Never went back again for air issue and put that into the memory log for the future air issues . You never know what you ll find so u always have to not have any pre conceived ideas of what the issue is or what’s causing it and remember some times it s just not knowing and not asking any questions when faced w Reoccurring issues . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    SuperTech
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    Good one, Clammy! Thanks for sharing.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Old_Steam
    Old_Steam Member Posts: 11
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    Your text is correct, but your audio misstates the famous NYDN cover quote. It was “Ford to city” not “Ford to New York”. Thanks for all the great info.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    One of my many mistakes in life! Thanks for fixing it for me.
    Retired and loving it.
  • al_s
    al_s Member Posts: 2
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    Good stuff!!
  • Steamfighter49
    Steamfighter49 Member Posts: 20
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    This tale reminds me of when I was a young service tech and a new ‘Dan Disciple’. I had a problem with a multiple boiler setup where the off boiler would flood. So after some serious thinking like steam and condensate I added a ‘water line trap’. Man was I smart, figured it out all by myself!
    Then I went back and read one of Dan’s books. Some Dead Man had figured it out long ago. Guess I wasn’t so great but thanks Dan.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    That’s how I learned it, too! Thanks. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • MarkMurf
    MarkMurf Member Posts: 35
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    Just to touch on the the poor manufacturer's and their products being targeted as the culprits. Some decades ago, working as 'the service tech' at a mid-sized family P&H Co., when the industry jumped on the notion that coil boilers were the new low mass rage, the firm went whole hog on the idea. Just fine ! One guy could walk a new boiler into a home on a hand truck. No bolting cast iron sections together. No need for a second or third set of hands to wrestle cast iron sections down the basement steps. All money making, quick modern notions. Then came the service calls. And as a matter of course, the installers didn't take the calls, I did . Quickly realizing the shortcomings of their piping arrangements, I had to gently pull the Old Grand Master(Father to installers) to the side. Being as diplomatic as a career in the service trade allowed, I relayed the fact that the boys(his sons) weren't piping the boilers up correctly. That they weren't cast iron boilers. They were a "totally different animal". That all they had to do was to open the installation manual up to page seven and pipe em up as shown on the schematic; bypass, two pumps etc. Consider delta 'T' blah blah blah. Well the somewhat general if not arrogant response from 'the boys' was, "I've put in a thousand boilers, I don't need to be told how to pipe em !" Hence, the well known manufacturer was blamed for a less than adequate product as one after the other failed due to the usual installation shortcomings. The firm went back to cast iron boilers as their fall back. Ei Yei Yei.....Walking the aisles of the grocery store the other day an old gal tugged my arm . "I know you don't remember me. But you put the new boiler in my house (20 years) ago. I've never had it serviced. It works fine. Should you come over to take a look ?" It was one of the coil boilers in question piped up like on page seven. Everything was spec, clean, being a fastidious house keeper the old gal even wiped the boiler jacket and piping down regularly ! It looked like it was put in yesterday ! "Well mame, if it makes any odd noises or doesn't heat the house give me a call. Other than that you've got nothing to worry about . Damn coil boilers, HA !
    thegreatcornholioayetchvackerSolid_Fuel_ManEdTheHeaterMan
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    Great story, @MarkMurf. Thanks for sharing. Years ago, when I was starting out on my own, I did some writing for what was at the time Teledyne Laars. I also did some seminars for them. At one of those sessions, a contractor asked me if Laars made a steam boiler. "Yep," I said. "All you have to do to get one is ignore the installation instructions."
    Retired and loving it.
    ayetchvackerSolid_Fuel_Man
  • PHCS
    PHCS Member Posts: 3
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    OH Man this strikes to close to some customers I have dealt with.
  • ayetchvacker
    ayetchvacker Member Posts: 63
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    Laughed like a little kid listening to this one! New guy riding with me today did not see the humor. But I had the pleasure of introducing him to a certain fellow I call Uncle Dan and for that I believe he will thank me someday. 
    Fixer of things 
    Lead Service Technician
    HVAC/R
    ‘09Moto Guzzi V7
    ‘72CB350
    ’83Porsche944
    Erin Holohan HaskellSolid_Fuel_ManEdTheHeaterMan
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    Thanks! So glad you enjoyed the tale. And here's to the new guy!
    Retired and loving it.
    ayetchvacker
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,335
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    Thanks for listening! We're having a lot of fun putting these episodes together.

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

    ayetchvackerSolid_Fuel_Man
  • carneye
    carneye Member Posts: 1
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    Thank you for the information!!!
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,157
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    I loved the story this week, you guys rock! Also loved all the comments. @clammy's customer that washed the car hit home for me! I got one better! I had a customer that connected the washing machine HOT hose to a boiler drain valve used for purging a baseboard loop. I disconnected it and told the customer to get a plumber to provide a DHW hose connection for the washing machine.

    Next year I returned for maintenance and the hose was connected to the same valve again. I asked the customer why she did not have a plumber make a new connection for her? She said the plumber did make the connection! (This guy was a licensed plumber)

    I then installed a hose bib on the DHW line for her at no charge and made the proper connection.

    (back in the day, long long ago, my license did not allow me to do potable water piping...
    New Jersey, the state of many laws)

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    Good one, Ed! Thanks. 
    Retired and loving it.
    EdTheHeaterMan