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Drop headers

JoeV
JoeV Member Posts: 62
I was looking through the library and came across photos of drop headers. Are they preferred? Necessary? What makes you decide when to build one or not?
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Comments

  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    work great

    drop headers are something like a good beer. once you have one , you will always have one if you can. look great, work wonders and are easier to pipe than a conventional header. try it , you will enjoy it.
  • JoeV
    JoeV Member Posts: 62
    I'm not a

    pipefitter or a contractor. I just troll this site to learn something new. Building drop headers do not look easy or inexpensive and I believe if it were easy, people wouldn't be so proud of their work they'd post pictures of it. What's the benefits? When do you choose to build one?
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,739
    up side

    The up side of a drop is that it makes the connecting of the supply from the boiler easier to tie together and also allows for alot more expansion because of the extra the elbows taking the expansion and contraction of each heating cycle ,another thing they do is slow the velocity of the steam existing the boiler which really means they help to dry the steam out by making it harder for the water to carry over into the mains .The biggest reason is that they let you cheat alittle bit in re connecting to existing steam mains by dropping your new header a little lower it gives you a bit more room to line things up .The biggest good point to drop headers is that they slow the velocity of the steam entering the existing steam mains and help your new small footprint boiler produce some real quality steam instead of wet steam which a improperly piped steam boiler will produce .The benefits of dryer steam is more heat where you need it and that's saying your piping in insulated also peace and good luck here's a pic of a small peerless drop peace clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Rodney Summers
    Rodney Summers Member Posts: 748


    Thanks for the pic. Does the header have to be horizontal or pitched to the return?
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,739
    yes

    Yes it should have a slight pitch to the drop for the equalizer .I generally increase the header size to at least 1 size larger then the existing main or mains and i usually will always install a drop header it's only a couple of ells and a few nipples and it does make a difference .The only time i wouldn't use one is if a had alot of height to tie into the existing system like 4 to 4 1/2 ft (top of boiler to exist header it happens rarely and when she does plan on a false water line or lowering your returns )Alot of time by the time to install your boiler riser and start to pipe your header remenber min of 24 above water line you have no room to fit a union to tie into your existing mains do there it is a in a nut shell .PS these are not anything new i have seen drop headers on a arco oil fired steam boiler installed in the 1920 with the take for the mains on the center of the header instead of before the drop no equalizer either worked excellent .In closing drop headers are not something that every mechincal heating guy might know some may have never heard of and dismiss as BS in alot of cases alot of steam boilers are install incorrectly and after getting a price for doing it in steel wuth a drop and correctly meaning meeting or exceeding the boiler manafactors piping diagrams it's no wonder they aren't as common as they should be but that's because alot of people want cheap peace and good luck steam a endless journey clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Rodney Summers
    Rodney Summers Member Posts: 748


    Thank you for this information
    Joe K.
  • JoeV
    JoeV Member Posts: 62


    Thanks clammy. I thought it was for lack of head space that people went through all the trouble.

    Joe V
  • JoeV
    JoeV Member Posts: 62


    Is it possible to make steam too slow?
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 702
    I like...

    ...the smiley face on the drop elbow.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,739
    don't know

    Don't know but the slower she moves the less carry over water you get and as dan would say dry steam carries alot more passangers on that train because more latent heat can get in there (that,s dry steam)The slower the steam moves the dryer it is and the more latent heat makes it to your rads .Drop headers are real steam dryers they do everything that larger older boilers did with there larger steam chests that new boiler do not have i install them on all steam boilers i do there is always a noticeable difference when a steam boiler is producing dry steam compared to the lesser espically at the raditor and lastly in your monthly gas or oil bill peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 702
    A word game...

    You aren't actually making the steam slow. What truly slows steam is when it is entrained with water -- when it is "wet" steam. Then it moves slower, it condenses faster and it holds lots less latient heat.

    We are talking about two things here that affect quality of steam coming out of the boiler. Velocity city, which, if too high, causes water to leave the boiler with the steam, and the ability of the header to slow down reduce this velocity by increasing the volume of space available which will permit any water to fall out of the steam.

    With a header that is too small or too close to the water line, the pipes fill with wet steam and water. This has little latient heat and woun't travel well, fast or far.

    Long Beach Ed
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    easy doo

    when i said easy ,i was refering to an installation by a seasoned qualified steamfitter or plumber. as opposed to a tight ,cramped overhaed header in a confined space. never said inexpensive---fittings & pipe cost plenty but are well worth the price.
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    easy doo

    when i said easy ,i was refering to an installation by a seasoned qualified steamfitter or plumber. as opposed to a tight ,cramped overhaed header in a confined space. never said inexpensive---fittings & pipe cost plenty but are well worth the price.
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    ;permatex

    is that permatex i detect on your connections Clammy ? ah , a man after my own heart. just finished a burnham in12 and i am scrubbing the black death off my nails. but not a leak !!
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,739
    hercules grip

    Hercules grip real tough stuff also no scrubing though all thjat comes off easy just wash your hands off with rubbing achol it usually softens it up when it gets to hard to work with i beliueve the siad of the can tells you to add some should thye product become to thick .thanks fore the kind words peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    In situations where you've got height issues

    or I have a big old vapor system where very dry and low-velocity steam is required....you can't beat 'em. No they ain't cheap, but they actually do make piping easier as you have a lot of swing to mate up your takeoffs. They are not for every job and sometimes are overkill...ask me I know. Mad Dog

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  • Jamie_6
    Jamie_6 Member Posts: 710


    That is an impressive looking header MD! That must have been a bugger laying that out without any unions between those 2 90's. But why the galvanized piping?

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  • Actually Joe

    they are easy and inexpensive to build up . For me , 2 boiler risers will use 2 extra street ells - and that's it . And it's money well spent for the time saved joining the 2 risers together .
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    I knew someone would nail me on that............................

    C'mon dude....That is called its ten pm and you gotta get the heat back on. Anyone who's been in the boiler trenches has been there. I think the use of galvanized occassionally much like copper on wet returns does no harm and can be used without any real worries. Just like using cast fittings...I prefer them but sometimes you just can't get them and have to get the job done. Guilty as charged! Thank you for the compliment, Jamie. How's that GB working now? Mad Dog

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  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 702
    Simply beautiful... dude

    That's a really nice job there Dog.

    Here's a question, and excuse me if I'm being ignorant...

    You upsized the risers. Was that just to make piping easy, as in no 3x3x2 els, or do you usually do that? Gotta help.

    Long Beach Ed
    (cold down here today)

  • Bob W._3
    Bob W._3 Member Posts: 561
    Not Mad Dog (but mad sometimes)

    I had my installer increase the risers from 2" to 3" per Dan's recommendation in TLAOSM, to decrease the steam velocity on a modern boiler, so the steam will be as dry as possible. Looks like a lot the steam guys on this Board follow that practice.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    THanks ED...yeah Long Beach must be frigid

    Good day to hunker down with some good Bourbon and a fire...with the kids playing nearby. Actually, the first man to show me that was Jimmy The Gent Burke from Comfort Zone...years ago. Yes, Das is a big advocate of that and so am I . I always "blow up" to the next size for slower velocity. We have a very small Peerless oil-steamer to install tomorrow. I'm sure I would be fine if I stayed with two inch, but I guess I can't help my self....gotta doa 2 1/2 header at least. Thanks Ed. I can't wait to see your Paul system someday. Mad Dog

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  • Jamie_6
    Jamie_6 Member Posts: 710


    Ahh, I just had to bust your stones! Everyone knows I've had mine busted many a times on this Wall! Like the GB problem.

    It ended up being the venting. I didn't have the intake and exhaust far enough away form each other. I was actually getting about 4 PPM CO in the intake with my Testo. We found this out because one night we left there all frustrated and kept the cover off the boiler. When we arrived the next morning the house was warm and the boiler satisfied. Duh! Live and learn I guess.

    Like I said that is a great looking Steamer!!!!! Where are you located anyway?

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  • PG
    PG Member Posts: 128
    Steam takeoffs on header?

    I've always kept my headers in a straight line, all the way to the 90 looking down to the equalizer. This includes putting the takeoffs in this straight line. (Sorry I don't have a pic) I thought the manufactures and Dan highly recommend not changing the direction of the header until the 90 (the one looking down to the equalizer). Also I never offset the equalizer until below the water line. Yes I do run into space problems, but I always seem to make it work. Am I overdoing it in these areas? I've seen several pics on here that don't follow these practices.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 702
    Yea, Wouldnt think...

    I wouldn't think of not upsizing the header. It's made a wonderful difference in all the jobs we've done. Actually have 4" on my house and it's fast and quiet.

    Still own one rental with a Dunkirk oil boiler that Petro had installed 25 years ago with an 1-1/2" header... Imagine that? A single 3" riser going into a 3' x 1-1/2" reducing el.

    Yesterday I was going over the oil bills for that place... The Dunkirk's grossly oversized (140,000 BTU vs. maybe 75,000 BUT collected load). All this equals 1800 gallons of oil each year. I must be nuts. But you know what they say about the shoemakers' shoes...

    Gotta junk that thing or pull two sections out of it or somethin'. Bet I nearly half the oil consumption.

    See ya soon.

    Long Beach Ed

  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 702
    That's what I do too.

    James,

    I'm right with you. I do things the same way. Don't pay too much attention to everything you see here. Get to know the players.

    Ed
  • Dave_12
    Dave_12 Member Posts: 77
    Is that galvanized pipe

    Mad Dog:


    Nice drop header on that small steam boiler; but, is that galvanized pipe I see on the lower area of the equalizer??
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 408
    My $.02

    There was a whole back and forth about drop headers a year or so ago, with flaming spit balls traded back and forth between the pro and anti drop-headers...

    In any case, there doesn't seem to be a reason not to do it, from what I understand, and it's imperative if you don't have the clearance for the boiler take-offs.

    When I decided to re-pipe my boiler the correct way (our house came with a real knucklehead install) I built a drop header even though I had the room to go higher. I think it looks better than two tall risers... IMHO!

    Alex
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    The Island of Long..............................................

    Mad Dog

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  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    Your eyes are not deceiving you.................................

    indeed it tis'...most people don't need to see sausage made, deer gutted, horses intestines cleared with one's greased up arm (all the way to the armpit!), or what it sometimes takes to get someone heat on a cold and hoary night (all things I have done). A few galvanized fittings on any system are not going to hurt anything. Mad Dog

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  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    Make it a summer project this coming year

    Rip er out. With the way fuel is going, you won't regret it. C'mon Ed, you and me will get a case of beer and get it done!!!!!!! I know, I used to tell my wife to "put a bucket under it"......my mom had to "threaten" to call another plumber in a few times. Mad Dog

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  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    galvanized nipples

    i had to use a six inch long 3 " galvanized nipple on a drop header on sat. & it killed me knowing it cost triple the price. but i fired the unit so all is well.
  • Joe K_2
    Joe K_2 Member Posts: 17


    Any more pictures of Drop Headers?
    JK
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    Here ya go........................................

    Ask Noel from Slant Fin...he was the original drop header king. Mad Dog

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  • Boilerpro_3
    Boilerpro_3 Member Posts: 1,231
    Here's another

  • Bill_24
    Bill_24 Member Posts: 26


    > Ask Noel from Slant Fin...he was the original

    > drop header king. Mad Dog

    >

    > _A

    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=

    > 210&Step=30"_To Learn More About This

    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in

    > "Find A Professional"_/A_



  • Bill_24
    Bill_24 Member Posts: 26


    Mad dog love the blck paint on the headers!!!!!
    But being a tad nueurotic I wouldn't be able to not keep
    painting, even though I know you are probably insulating
    the unpainted pipe:)
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 408
    Warm and fuzzy

    MD,
    They're too pretty to insulate! I notice that a lot of headers are not insulated. Shouldn't they be?

    Alex
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • Boiler Guy
    Boiler Guy Member Posts: 585
    MD yu da man!

    Up here in the "nort contree" I had never headrd of drop headers until I met you in Long Island.
    I had a problem job with really wet steam. After I got back from Dan's course I convinced my customer to let me try using a drop header configuration (only by promising him it would only cost material - if it didn't work) I did the 50lb job -- single 6" riser off the boiler with an 18" drop - 72" long header with 5 risers After the third day the boiler virtually quit making up water -- ALL of the plant equipment had dry steam. Of course chemical use dropped and we reduced the system pressures to 35lbs.

    Needless to say I got paid in less than 30 days.
    The boiler inspector had some questions at the yearly inspection but once it was explained to him he thought it was pretty cool. Just shows .... sometimes ya gotta think outside the box.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    In the perfect world????????????????????????????????

    Perhaps. People are free to insulate the header once I leave. But where does it stop. Alex? Some things in life are meant to be free and naked. Mad Dog

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