How to Clean a Steam Y Strainer

how to clean a y strainer

Steam y strainer – it’s the dark looking y to the left of the valve.

A couple months ago at work, we were having issues maintaining the proper pressure on one of the low pressure steam systems.  The cause, well one of the causes, ended up being due to a clogged steam y strainer.  Using some pics, this post is going to go over cleaning a steam y strainer.  There are a lot of factors actually in choosing how often to clean them, we probably aren’t going to get into that.  It’s just important that if you do operate a steam system with y strainers, keep it in the back of your head that you should do some preventative maintenance on them.

I’m not a home heating expert by any means but I believe I have seen y strainers on them as well, tiny little ones that look like sideways y’s.  Those should have preventative maintenance done as well.  They are easy. Read more

Indoor Air Quality – What it is & why you should care

indoor air qualityIndoor air quality has been around forever, but just like everything else us bonehead humans didn’t start paying attention to it until recently. Indoor air quality is technical, fickle, and in general a pain in the behind.

It is necessary. As a building engineer or homeowner, it’s important to at least have a handle on what’s going on both at home and at work. Are you like me and burn a lot of wood in a fireplace? Our indoor air quality is lower than someone that doesn’t. We need to take extra care in ventilating our
home. Feel me? Read more

4 Ways to Lower Your Air Conditioning Costs this Summer

ways to cut ac costs

The Goodman in my backyard.

Running your air conditioning unit can get kind of expensive these days, especially if you’re anywhere like me in the mid-south.  It hits about 100F in the summer but registers like 115F on the heat index.  When I was little I used to think air conditioners were basically luxuries, ceiling fans too lol.

We never had either one of them and the only time I ever saw a window air conditioner was when we visited my grandparents in Wisconsin.  Everyone made SUCH a huge deal when the air conditioner was on that I thought it must be made of gold and diamonds.  Did someone just move a curtain and let sunlight in?  You did not just inhale some of the just cooled air did you Steven?

Money is tight now anyways right?  It is for me.  I have mentioned my psycho-ness about how I maintain my home temperature and thermostat settings in other posts.  This is primarily way to save on energy consumption.  I am not this green composting save the Earth guy, I’m save as much money as possible guy.  But I do compost so hush your mouth.  That’s because I garden.  To save money and get outside.  You can buy a pack of literally 3 million seeds for .08 cents so you do the math. Read more

Insulation – What it is, the R value, important things to consider

how to reduce energy bill

(pic from

Insulation is vital for keeping heat and coolness both inside and outside your home.  Depending upon your wishes muah ha ha.  And it does this switching back and forth as the seasons change without you telling it to.  It’s black magic.

No it’s man and his ingenuity.  He found that certain materials had better, or worse, insulating properties.  Eventually we figured out how to use this to our advantage and use it in construction in order to reduce energy consumption costs.

If you want to reduce your energy bill, increase your energy efficiency.

The primary job of insulation is to minimize the amount of heat (again, or coolness) flowing into and out of your home.  In summer months, insulation keeps the outdoor heat from creeping inside while in the winter months, it traps heat inside the home to prevent it from escaping. Read more

Furnace Maintenance – Have You Been Doing It?

Furnace PM Checklist

Sample Furnace PM.

I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say like most of us, you haven’t been doing preventative maintenance on your furnace. And by most of us, I mean you guys as I do mine. On everything. On schedule. Cause I’m anal like that. Really though, performing routine maintenance on your furnace is just as important as changing the oil regularly on your car.

The bottom line is that as a homeowner, you want your heating system to run as efficiently as possible and for as long as possible. By trying to accomplish both of these, you will save money.

One way you can accomplish this is by scheduling and conducting regular and routine maintenance on your furnace. Faulty settings, dirty filters, and clogged, blocked, or dirty burners are just a couple of the potential issues you might come up against. By doing regular checks, you will most likely find something before it becomes a major problem or issue. Any of those problems listed can quickly lower the efficiency or your furnace or cut off its operation completely.

Regardless of whether you have a forced air heating system or some other type of furnace, you should inspect the filters on a monthly basis and replace them quarterly. You should also have a certified, licensed, and bonded inspector come out once a year to test your furnace and its operation, the safeties too. They know what to look for and can spot a serious or critical issue quickly. Failure to maintain your heating system could result in huge repair costs down the road and even create a dangerous or unsafe condition for your family. Read more

Cut Your Heating Bill – 5 things you can do

cut your heating bill

Wooden, single pane. I need to replace these.

Please note I didn’t say all 5 of these energy saving tips were easy or necessarily cheap lol. 4 are fairly simple and straightforward, 1 could get expensive and messy and that is kind of the last straw one, when you may want to consider replacing older heating or hvac systems.

It’s something we all want to do right? Save money? One way to save money is to reduce how much you are paying each month to heat or cool your home. Many people think that little changes don’t add up but they do. The less often that you run your furnace also means the less time the fan runs. By having the fan run less frequently it will require less maintenance and the filter can be changed less often. It’s like a little pyramid scheme.

Stop trying to think of a big way to save, focus on maximizing the energy efficiency of your home, what you already have and are working with. This will also improve the overall long term value (probably) of your house. Sometimes you may even earn yourself a tax credit if you take certain steps. Read more

What is HVAC? Get the skinny without the school.

what is hvac

Giving up heat – one example of part of an HVAC system.

You have probably seen it written just like that above, HVAC.  Maybe you’ve seen it as hva/c, or hvac/r.  I think it is evolved to that in order to indicate like refrigeration with the r or that air conditioning is two words.  For me, for you, for the building engineer industry, HVAC is fine.  And that is what we’re going to talk about today.

Ever seen HVAC equipment?

I bet you have.  If you have ever been in a plane flying over a city or in a tall building downtown, a spot where you could look down on shorter buildings.  Sometimes you’ll see metal boxes and you can maybe make out some fan blades whirring.  Or you might see some metal squares with water, fans, and steam coming out of the top.  This is all HVAC equipment.

Everybody has seen it or walked past an HVAC system (like those banks of air conditioning units at apartment complexes) they just maybe didn’t know or even really pay attention to what they were passing.  It’s cool, it’s cool.  Building engineers are behind the scenes, underappreciated people.  HVAC is one of our systems.  So don’t you worry, we got this. Read more