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Finally got a good call!!

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  • Finally got a good call!!

    Or I hope so. A guy who is settling on a house in the city that being Baltimore called and wants the gas boiler looked at says it does not work and wants to know if it can be fixed or if it should be replaced? So my work experience with boilers is limited to troubleshooting the plumbing controls replacing them , replacing circulators , and replacing boilers the whole thing. I have troubleshooted gas water heaters and I am told it is very similar to that and have been trying to read up on boiler controls. I talked to the "boiler guy" at ferguson's today and he gave me a run down on the sequence of operation so I can go down the line to test to see what works. However I asked him about buying a manometer from them to test gas pressure before and after the gas valve and was told the pressure should be the same. I also found out that Honeywell makes a universal Gas valve , control board and pilot kit and also asked him is it worth it to install these and he thinks it would be a waste for homeowners. Do any of you retro fit old boilers with these kits he also tells me that 25yrs is a good age for a boiler to be replaced. I guess the controls are too much? Or will the cast Iron sections give out ? what say the forum guys!

  • #2
    Re: Finally got a good call!!

    First, the guy who is teaching you works at a supply house for a reason. The gas pressure better not be the same in and out of the Gas Valve. That would be very bad. 3.5"wc is what the factory setting is at normal altitude. Someone can clarify but I think 9-11"wc is normal on the inlet in most areas.

    25 isn't too bad on a boiler. Gas side components are a cinch to swap. If the water side is good to go, no air issues, even heating at all radiators....I say do the repair all day. Even the pump is usually worth it. If your client is interested in fed tax money, this is a good year to do a new unit. Problem is, if the water side (valves, feeder, scoop, expansion tank....etc) are an issue, you'll still need all that done with a new boiler!

    BTW, you can NEVER have too many valves on a boiler. Never with a capitol NEV!!

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    • #3
      Re: Finally got a good call!!

      Well I was able to talk to the guy today and am getting a better picture of what has happened here First this house was a foreclosure and lost heat I guess it sat over the winter because he says one of the radiators is cracked and another looks like it is leaking. I asked him if the boiler is leaking and he did not know. He also says the house dates back to 1930s and looks like maybe the boiler has been replaced since 1930. After talking to him he sounds like he wants to just replace it with a new boiler. This system has a few radiators all the other rooms have baseboard. But now that I know it was a freeze I am thinking should I give him a price on new piping and new baseboard all the way around. Or just fix leaks all day hey I will make money either way labor is labor but How much of a negative effect would be put on the system if I had to cut out a lot of breaks and ripping out the aluminum fins and piecing it back together with two foot sections of copper would it reduce the systems effectiveness ? And could I replace the radiators with sections of baseboard ?

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      • #4
        Re: Finally got a good call!!

        i worded that wrong in reference to gas pressure being the same what he was saying was that the pressure is most likely good before and after the valve. sorry

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        • #5
          Re: Finally got a good call!!

          Originally posted by Clipper City Plumber View Post
          This system has a few radiators all the other rooms have baseboard. But now that I know it was a freeze I am thinking should I give him a price on new piping and new baseboard all the way around. Or just fix leaks all day hey I will make money either way labor is labor but How much of a negative effect would be put on the system if I had to cut out a lot of breaks and ripping out the aluminum fins and piecing it back together with two foot sections of copper would it reduce the systems effectiveness ? And could I replace the radiators with sections of baseboard ?
          I have made LOTS of repairs in fin-tube over the years.

          You can just buy new sections of fin-tube if the cover is still in decent shape.

          Working with that stuff takes a little getting used to for people that don't work with it alot. The copper is thin, and can do some real neat stuff when it freezes

          The radiators are certain to have alot more BTU's than an equivalent sized run of baseboard. The important thing is that you provide enough heat to the room somehow.

          The upside to baseboard, is that because of a lower thermal mass, they tend to not overshoot the target temperature as radiators sometimes do.

          Good Luck!

          If you need more guidence in this area, freezeups and baseboard are 2 things I am rather experienced in.

          ------------

          Help me support children’s cancer research CLICK HERE!

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          • #6
            Re: Finally got a good call!!

            well I went to the house on thursday and man this place was built in the 30s and the heating system had different types of heat on every floor basement radiators and a section of one inch baseboard that was one foot off the floor? one rad in the basement was covered in sheet metal and had a duct leaving the top that went to the room above wtf 1st floor had a radiant panel in the kitchen one inch steel with ten 1/4" welded fittings with bundy weld tube making up the panel then base board for the rest 2nd floor had 2 rads and one convector and in the bath room it looked radiant baseboard. I saw the two busted rads one in the basement and one on the top floor I found 2 baseboards that looked like they were busted by looking at carpet stains and I found one heat line in the basement that had separated.Looked at the boiler and the gas cock had the a connection for the pilot it was still running. the system had four t-stats and four cir pumps the heat supply was had loop I am guessing to pre heat the return water ? The chimney was some sort of pipe did not look metal but passed thru the basement wall and extended ten past the roof surface maybe this was metal and wrapped with something to insulate it? This guy was has got me worried now first he was just some one who was going to settle on this house and wanted some guidance on what approach to take repair/replace right then I talk to him the night before and it again sounds like he is buying this place.Then I get their he does not want to sign my work order and says no no I don't want you to fix any thing today just tell me what needs to be done and how much. OK I am thinking last night you acted like if I could fix the leaks and start up the boiler great. But I did not say this and just told him ok just pay my service call charge $45 and take a look. I measured all the baseboard and the rads and the kitchen floor area I thought he wanted to replace right!! well he gives me a check and tells me as I was leaving I am not buying this place I was hired to see what the cost are to fix this place up and if the buyers don't want me any more I am gone. And then tells me he would be paying me not the owners at this point I really feel like this is a waste of time but then he says he can not go on t&m and wants a price to work for four hrs and a price to replace. Well after I left I looked for him in the state contractor database guess what he aint there no kidding the I google his company name he is a lead paint tester. I don't know about this one I liked working on boilers it was some thing different learn some stuff hear and their but this seams a little risky for my new company I think I will just email him a estimate for 8hrs at my rate and give him a per foot pipe cost and leave it at that. I am not use to this kind of work and usually always work directly for the home owner not a middle man This guy is not even a general contractor and tells me well if the buyers don't want me after I give them the prices I am gone ? would you work for some one like this or risk your money?

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