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Montgomery Ward Boilers

Yep, this one was even older but I don't think it was MW. The house was built 1907. the boiler was built here in CT but memory escapes me as to which city. I'll be seeing it again sooner or later, he's in no hurry. It's actually two pipe. One 3" main off the top and two returns coming in horizontally on either side of the boiler near the bottom. I'll make sure it's piped correctly. I always defer to more knowledgable when it becomes necessary. I'll do plenty of homework before starting anything. MY biggest concern is getting that big ol' chunk of American cast iron up and out of that basement. I'm not the spring chicken I once was. I just thought it was funny to come across them in the catalog so soon after seeing one.


  • I was checking out the Newsletter and perusing though the old Monkey Ward catalog and would you believe I was JUST looking at a very similar boiler at a friends house in Hartford. I don't recall the brand unfortunately. Converted to gas who knows how long ago. All I did was cement up the seams around the door frames, clean the primary air inlets on the burner and inspect the chimney. It runs like a champ. The owner wants to replace it and I'm considering staying with steam, seems like the most cost effective way to go. I read "The Lost Art" and it's companion a while ago so I'm up on the 24" between header and waterline dimension which I have plenty of room for. Other than that I have done zero steam boiler replacements so if you'd like to chime in and give me ideas on how to proceed or what else to look out for I'd certainly be appreciative.

    Meanwhile that seminar in Marlborough, Mass caught my attention and I thought it might be a good place to be on that day (July 27?) but can't commit quite yet. Is there a deadline for applicants? This ECM stuff looks mighty darn interesting!
  • Al Letellier_9
    Al Letellier_9 Member Posts: 929
    Monkey Ward boilers

    Funny you posted this, I just looked at one here in Portland yesterday. Oldddddddddddddd Montgomery Ward steamer with Economite conversion burner in the door. As near as we can tell, the boiler is original to the house, built in the early thirties. Does the job, but.....
    As to installation of a new boiler, make sure of the type of system you have and pipe accordingly. If a simple single pipe system, just follow the manufacturer's instructions......to the T. All steamers come with piping diagrams. If you're not sure, don't guess. It would be better to pass on the job than to pipe it incorrectly. You mnay be able to find a willing steam pro to help you out.

  • Here's the big question. SHOULD it be replaced? I know they (not me) replaced granny's and she hasn't been happy since. and I've done all the vents a couple times now.

    Just a little background on me. I started in steam in 1975 at MM/A school in the USN. When I was discharged I was qualified to run a 1200 PSI steam plant. I picked up AC&R as well and that's what I drifted into when I got out. Rooftop package units, that's me. I've serviced a few steam systems over the years too but just never have replaced an old steam boiler like this. I'm thinking if I'm careful, I might be able to get the job done correctly. I'm also licensed to do so, just so you know. :)
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    look through the system while it is running ...

    observe the system during its start up run cycle...

    check individual rooms...

    that right down on Steam the other day about it being noisey blah blah blah is B.S.

    hang out at the boiler and while there check the alignement Now of the pipes...some ...many buildings settel over time some structural members "Pinch: or Crown that means there are some stresses that may have been placed over time not always just a lot of the time things are other than when it was first installed.

    check the fluids:)

    consider or meditate as it were on , why there might Be extra pipe this way or that. when looking in the basement heating system...insulating pipes is a good idea think though how much heat is this piping radiating into this area...

    the sight gage...dont go fixing on it right away :)

    is there a Huge recirc B&G ? then ask questions about changes to the system and or any additions over the years....

    there are some thoughts....

  • Thanks for that. Everything I saw looked pretty straight and pitched the right way. No insulation if I recall correctly. I asked about banging and he said no. I looked but didn't look all that deeply. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. No B&G. I just wonder if he would be better served by my just leaving it in place and installing a more efficient burner and doing some insulating on the pipes. My thoughts on granny's system have been it doesn't like the smaller mass of water in the new boiler. It cools off too quick. It liked that big steaming pot of water just waiting for a call. Now her system goes from cold start every time and theres a pretty good lag it seems. Just my impressions of course. Plenty of guys have looked at it, nobody can figure it out. She has radiator covers on most of them BUT it wasn't a problem with the old boiler and she ain't taking them off. ;)

    So, anyhow, I'm afraid of running into the same problem here. If I rip out that nice big fat boiler and put in a teeny one, it may never work the same again. That would make me sad, to say the least.
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    I'm with Al and YOU!.

    Do an EDR measurement...(throw in a heatloss to cover your butt)....then check the archives here.

    Remember to do the conversion factors from someting that is rated at 212°, to something that will (hopefully) be on a reset curve, if you/they decide to switch!)

    I'm out of the office right now, but I have a file from the archives that SHOWS the difference and different ways a radiator cover will effect the output of steam radiators.(any help folks?... It's Friday!)

    As has been stated...Follow the manufacturers piping instructions, insulate all feeds and returns to the waterline, and either replace the vents or rebuild/replace the traps...as applicable and save the owners a ton of fuel and money!(in the long run!)

    Steam systems were and STILL ARE a wonderful way of heating a home.Conversion to HW is a guess..at best. Time needed to do the work is often NOT taken into account, as it depends on both the radiators AND the desired results. (ask me how I know! Steam radiators NEED to be tested to see if they'll hold WATER, at pressure!)

    Steam is still a viable way of heating a home that was originally built that way. As long as the pipies are facing the right direction....the biggest concern to the homeowner(MONEY!!!) will make a HUGE difference.

    Ask the owners how long they PLAN to stay there.(If they'll be moving on shortly, say 3 or 4 years...maybe an upgrade for the boiler ONLY makes sense.)The longer they PLAN to stay there...the better the payback, if they want to switch from steam to hot water.

    With a 2 pipe system..you actually stand a BETTER chance of making a conversion to H.W. ASK!

    I could go on for hours on this topic...so I'll stop now, and let you digest everything you've read so far. Chris

  • Yea, I'd rather keep it steam, why mess with what works? Thanks!
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    Been there....

    Been there, done that..and have no reason to lie.

    I base my decision on the time that the owners want to stay there, the diffulculty or ease of the changover
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Keep the steam

    there are so many pitfalls trying to convert to hot water that our company does not recommend or perform such conversions, and will not work on a system someone else has converted. If we can save some of our steam customers at least 30% on their fuel consumption by just getting the basics right, that takes away any reason to convert.

    Whether or not a system is "One-Pipe" or "Two-Pipe" depends on how many pipes connect to each radiator.

    Many of those older Wards boilers were made by Dunkirk. Can you post a pic of this one?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"

  • It may take a few days but when I get a chance I will post a pic. Thanks again to all for the input!
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