Consulting by Mad Dog (CX4 Inc.)
I am Matt "Mad Dog" Sweeney and I fix SCREWED %@#!~ up heating systems....you know, the ones everyone else left for dead and said couldn't be fixed and should be RIPPED out. You spent alot of good money on the advice of someone you trusted, but the room is not getting up to temperature, the system is noisy, and your heating bills are higher than EVER! I have been swingin' the wrenches in residential and commercial boiler rooms for 30 years now. I've worked with the best in the business. Many times I lost alot of money coming up, REFUSING to walk away from problem jobs. Holohan calls that, TUITION! But did I get an education! There isn’t a bad system that intimidates me.
I've attended every Dan Holohan seminar I could over the years and have STACKS of all the Master's books. I am a licensed Master Plumber as well, so, I bring the WHOLE picture to your home and business when I come out. I pick out things that OTHERS miss. I'm the guy you call when everyone else gives up. I NEVER, NEVER, EVER QUIT! (Winston Churchill)
After spending as much time as we need to make things clear to you, and canvassing your problem system, I write up a thorough and comprehensive report, complete with Isometric drawings that ANY licensed, master plumber can follow. I will tell you EXACTLY what ails your system and EXACTLY what its going to take to remedy it. I will walk your trusted plumber through the corrective work. Once you hire me as your consultant, I will be available for phone calls or emails to walk it through to TOTAL success.
Comprehensive consulting services for:
- ALL steam heating systems: One-pipe, Two pipe, Vapor, Vacuum, Hybrids, Mini-tube
- All Hydronics: Monoflo, Baseboard, Gravity, Radiant, Primary-Secondary, Injection, Solar Thermal, and Snowmelt
- Carbon monoxide mitigation
- Boiler wiring problems
- Control strategies
- Heat loss calculations and designs
- Green plumbing & heating designs
- Common sense energy conservation strategies
Case Study: McNulty Family
The McNulty family paid good money to have a large, residential steam boiler replaced in 2006 on their Dunham Bush Vapor-Vacuum Steam System. It was a gorgeous Gold Coast Mansion built in 1899. It looks out over Manhasset Bay. There had been several renovations through the years: Zones were added off the boiler to accommodate the new radiantly-heated kitchen, two baseboard zones and 4 bathroom renovations. Immediately after the install, the heating system was in an uproar. Nothing worked right and as Dan Holohan wrote in the Lost Art in 1992: "...It sounded like the anvil chorus." The contractor came back a few times, but that was IT! He walked away.
Fast forward to January 2016: The McNultys had more than 6 reputable, licensed plumbing/heating contractors come out in an attempt to resolve the system's woes. They tried this, they did that….to no avail. They paid for it too, through the nose! They did have their trusty, local plumber along the way. He was honest and had tried all he could, but he was at his wit's end. Fed up, Mr McNulty talked to his brother Dick, who was an Ol' (late 70s) Navy man and steamfitter who still had some contacts in the business. Dick told him: "...Look, u hav’ta get this kid Mad Dog in here to straighten this crap out...he's the REAL deal and ALWAYS fixes the problem for good." Mr. McNulty tracked me down and I paid a visit the next Saturday morning.
The steam side BANGED like the The Anvil Chorus, especially in the wee hours on a January night. The hot-water baseboard zones never got above 130 degrees, even though the rooms needed 180. The radiant floors? Well....they never worked right. The McNultys settled for plug-in electric radiators throughout the radiant areas. Not only were the gas bills through the roof, but the electric bills were also. I noted on my report that the steam header was undersized, pitched the wrong way and the take offs to the mains were ALL wrong. The Hartford Loop was way above the water line causing crazy banging. Flat Plate HX (heat exchanger) was piped totally wrong resulting in the inability to get 180 to baseboard. The make up water was all wrong too. The traps were original, and never rebuilt. The main venting was woefully inadequate.
We walked through the home room by room. I interviewed the McNultys like I do ALL my clients: An easy going, give an' take rapport. I listened to ALL they had to say: "...well, Matt, I get up around 4:30 am and the bathroom tile is cold as ice...the steam radiator in my master bedroom is banging like hell around that time...." After our walkthrough, I spent considerable time surveying the boiler room, basement and ANY crawl spaces I need needed to see. I encourage the client to stay with me so we can uncover ALL that needs to be shone the light of day. I take copious notes and make some quick drawings to chronicle what is wrong with the piping.
Right off the bat, I saw that this old vapor system had a badly piped header, Hartford Loop, and returns. The HX was piped wrong, and the circulators were in the wrong places. The aquastat was the wrong type AND in the wrong spot. The radiant needed mixing valves, bypasses, and thermometer gauges. All of that was missing. I also pointed out how the flue pipe was not safe and chimney should be checked. Last, I spec'd out all the traps for replacement and recommended a BATTERY of main vents to get the system hotter, faster, and quiet.
We sat down at the kitchen table and I wrote a clear, cogent, and concise report that their trusted, local plumber could follow. I then spent awhile drafting up some isometric drawings of what the piping changes needed to reflect, with great detail.
They brought their trusted plumber back in and he had to call me only once in the beginning to get him flying straight. We spoke once more to walk him through the fine tuning and tweaking. The work was completed by mid February, so they got to see results quickly. The McNultys were thrilled with their “new” quiet, comfortable, and efficient system. They now enjoy warm floors and the electric radiators are stored in the garage. I told them to expect big savings on their gas bill. Last we spoke, their March and April gas bills were much lower than the seasons before. Their plumber is proud of himself and happy he learned something new.
Most people ask: "So, Matt, how did they come to call you Mad Dog?" I got tagged with that moniker playing high school football in the early 1980s. I wasn't very big or talented, or fast, but I worked my BUTT off on the field and in the weight room. My Pop told me to always work HARDER than ALL your teammates! I played with ferocity, tenacity, intelligence, integrity, and a dogged determination like the NFL middle linebackers. Papa and I watched films of: Mike Curtis, Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, Jack Lambert. The Mad Dog name followed me through high school, in to rugby after high school, and then my beloved trade. My dogged pursuit of perfection, tenacity, and attention to detail is what DRIVES me every day.
I am Matt "Mad Dog" Sweeney and if you follow my prescription, to the letter, I GUARANTEE that your heating system will be quiet, as efficient as can be, and work as The Dead Men intended. Call me and we will solve your heating woes, together. And one last thing: after we work together, I will NEVER ignore your calls or emails AFTER the work is done.