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This weeks case, the Case of the Plugged Gas Pipe

RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,147
This case is different than the others as I could not solve it. We were starting two new boilers and found no gas pressure to the burners even thought the valves were open to the meter. To give you the back story, Bill the mechanical contractor was a mean overbearing person. He would take peoples tools on the job without asking and get angry when they wanted them back. By the end of the job, he had angered almost everyone on the job site. Someone deliberately plugged the pipe as a way of teaching Bill a lesson. I would love hearing about someone like Bill on your job site and how you handled it.
Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons


  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 719
    edited March 17
    About 25 years ago, I was starting 2 H B Smith boilers in a school district near Philadelphia, Pa when my boss called to ask if I could visit a school across the parking lot that had a Union contractor replacing all the boiler sections in an H B Smith 640 boiler. On new installations or on a boiler that all the sections are being replaced we usually provide a day or 2 of assistance to make sure that the factory specs are being followed. The time has to be paid for so some contractors opt out of our help. On this job, they opted out because the Union guys said that they did not want any Scabs on the job even though I would be considered a factory rep and not considered as a workers. I visited that school minutes later and was greeted at the door by a crew of guys dressd in "UNION" shirts asking if I was Union. I replied NO, so they said that I was not welcome on their job. I asked the foreman if I could just see what they were doing and that I would not interfere. I looked at what they were doing and then I told the fitter foreman that they were not doing the job correctly and that the boiler would have to be disassembled and reassembled. I also told them that would only get 1 or 2 more boiler sections installed and explained why. They just laughed. I stayed overnight, and the next morning I finished the boilers that I came there to start and was about to head home when my phone rang. I was directed to go to the other school to meet with the company's owner and job foreman and was told that they could not finish assembling the boiler sections. I explained that the "Union a**holes" did not know what they were doing and that they had to disassemble the boiler sections and start over. When they finished, call me and I would return. The owner asked how many days it should take to assemble that boiler and I told him that my crew of 4 scabs could do it in 2 days. Including that day, they were on the job 4 days and half the boiler sections were installed. There were other "jabs" exchanged but I won't mention them now. (use your imagination). I returned the next day and with my help and expertise was able to get most of the sections installed. I went back to my room, met the owner for dinner which he bought, and drove home the next day. After that fiasco the owner always asked for help with the assembly of an H B Smith boiler.

    I have lots of stories after working as a service and installation tech for 40+ years.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,147
    LOl You go @retiredguy You always make me smile
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,338
    Never tried it but I was told a disgruntled worker found that a tennis ball would fit perfectly in a 2 1/2" pipe and would plug it pretty tight.

    I guess they looked for it for hours.