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thanks to steamhead and Gordon

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You'd have to contact Peerless and ask them.

The 2-stage gas control system would have to be available from the factory. This is necessary to avoid invalidating certifications from AGA, UL and others. It comes on all W-M LGB boilers, but since many installers never read the manual I doubt if they even know it's there. BTW, the LGB is technically a commercial-size boiler which in this case is installed in a very large residence.

In general, boiler manufacturers have been dragging their feet regarding useful energy-saving features like this on residential boilers. Don't be surprised if 2-stage gas equipment is not offered on the 63 series. W-M deserves some credit for making it standard on the LGB. It couldn't cost that much more to just make it standard on the W-M EG/EGH, the Peerless 63, the Burnham Independence and other atmospheric gas boilers. The first boiler manufacturer to do this, armed with the evidence of how much fuel is saved, should sell a lot of steam boilers and retrofit packages for their existing units.

On the oil and power gas burner side, lo-hi-lo has been available on commercial burners for years. The only residential lo-hi-lo oil burners I know of are a Riello used on the Thermopride furnasty, and it is not available as a retrofit. I've heard HeatWise also offers one but don't know any more about it. Again, manufacturers are really dragging their feet here.

On John's Broomell system, we'd done the venting upgrade some time ago. The lo-hi-lo upgrade was directly responsible for the 40% fuel savings he mentions. You think if we could do this on every steam system out there that we'd make a significant reduction in our nation's energy consumption? I sure do!

I've sent the link to this thread to some of my favorite people in the industry- maybe now they'll take notice.....

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Comments

  • john_122
    john_122 Member Posts: 15
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    A Steamhead Success Story

    Last Fall, Steamhead and his partner spent a day installing a vaporstat on a Broomell System. As a result, bills have dropped 40 percent and the home heats evenly.
    So, to anyone who is considering going with them, simply please do so.
    Now, for some fun thoughts: Should we install a vacuum pump tied to the temperature of the pipe at the end of the mains to speed steam circulation on startup...when the gorton's close the pump shuts down.
    And, why can't we tie in some sort of atmospheric damper to prevent flue loss(obviously failing in the open position?
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    Thanks, John!

    More info- this particular Vaporstat was installed to operate the lo-hi-lo feature on John's Weil-McLain LGB boiler. Previously it ran on high fire all the time, bouncing off high limit once the system filled with steam. Now, once the system reaches 3 ounces or so, it drops to low fire and just simmers along.

    Now we have some numbers that show possible fuel savings from lo-hi-lo firing on steam or Vapor.

    My main objection to vacuum pumps is their mechanical complexity. Plus, your system wasn't designed around them. I have a friend who some time ago inherited a college campus full of Vapor systems that someone had added vac pumps to. He went back to straight Vapor operation and they actually used less fuel, not including the electricity needed to run the pumps.

    Stack dampers should help, especially since your boiler vents to a chimney that was designed to draft thru a coal fire. I know that chimney is still pulling hard when the burners shut off, sucking the heat right out of them. Send me the actual LGB model number and we'll see what W-M has to say.

    Maybe we can add the missing traps to those baseboards this summer.....

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  • BRIANJ
    BRIANJ Member Posts: 118
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    What about Peerless

    Steamhead, This sounds very interesting and just what's needed for a Broomell or any other Vapor system. Can a Peerless model 63-6 boiler be fitted to go l0-hi-lo as you did on the Weil-McLain? Thanks, Brian
  • BRIANJ
    BRIANJ Member Posts: 118
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    Peerless

    Steamhead, thanks for the information. I'll contact Peerless first thing Monday morning. If there's any news I'll post it on the Wall. Hoping they are taking a step forward like Weil-McLain. Brian
  • De-ja-vu going way

    back to the old Republic Gyroscopic gas conversion burners used on old coal steam boilers converted to gas. Those were actually able to have a sort of modulation to them on the high fire setting. They were a great burner once they were set up, problem was not many people knew how to adjust them so they circumvented the lo to high to lo and just ran them on high.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    Ahhh... the Gyroscopic

    I remembered you talked about this burner but couldn't remember its name. But fuel was cheap in those days, so no one was really concerned about efficiency. Times have changed....

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  • john_27
    john_27 Member Posts: 195
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    it's an lgb 15.....i have it set to fire 99 % at low fire....i found too much modulation(back and forth) at 3 ounces.....i preferred to leave it at low fire because it best simulated a coal fire.
    I'm still intrigued with the pump as a way to speed inital distribution.....i'm still not entirely pleased with the speed throught the mains.
    Also, i have too find a way to rehumidy the house....the old way was through two Burnham Dualators..which had steam lines running through them....heating pans of water...which were than blown into the ducts serving the indirects. The system is now so efficient that the water in the pans no longer heats to a boil...John
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
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    glad to see others

    installing high/low fire also..it always, always, makes the systems work better..sometimes it saves money, sometimes there is little difference, but it always makes the houses heat better..stands to reason, since the coal boilers ran on continuous cycle, with just some damper action, the high/low duplicates what was originally there..we do this on mouat systems all the time..we don't particularly care what the manufacturers say either..since they were to stupid to equip the boilers with it at the factory..

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  • William Faust
    William Faust Member Posts: 168
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    lo-hi-lo

    Steamhead - Wow, I gotta get me some of that 40% stuff.

    As you know, we changed to a larger, correct receiver size, replaced or repaired F&T traps and also installed missing main vents*. You correctly predicted that the system would "breath" better (receiver vent no longer under water) and that steam would hit the rads more quickly. Before these changes, we normally used a thermostat setting of 64 degrees. Now, it's 58 to 60 (we don't prance around in shorts and t-shirts here) except on extremely cold days when we crank it up to 62. Do you think that we truly have the same level of comfort at the lower settings, or is it just in my head? Our rads are virtually all convectors, so is it that the proportion of convection versus radiation has changed? If so, in what favor?

    As you also know, I will this summer replace all radiator steam trap thermostats and also install vents at or near the tops of steam risers.

    Back to lo-hi-lo, the guy who installed the new receiver said that lo-hi-lo would not produce material energy savings. Would you consider effecting such change or, if logistics are inconvenient, explaining what I need to do? I only understand that a second Vaporstat is required.

    I still can't remove the skim plug to skim the boiler.

    * except for one end of a "T" shaped main where it would require drilling

    Bill
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    Yes

    we can make lo-hi-lo happen on your LGB. I'd love to see the numbers this time next year. We can drill for that main vent too. How about sometime next month? E-mail me at steam.head@verizon.net .

    The level of comfort at a given temperature may have increased because the steam hits the convectors sooner, so the rooms don't cool down as much.

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  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
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    Long time we said hi

    Hi John,

    I know it's a long time ago we talked about your beautiful system. I'm glad the easy hi-lo set up proved to be so successful. The draught damper is the next big easy thing to put a crimp on the big efficient sucking chimney. Did your system originally have the open atmospheric returns stuffed into the chimney base for a bit of boosted suction? This could answer your wish for artificial vacuumized evacuation.

    I also remember your account of having both Broomel non-thermostatic radiator vents along with replacement thermostatic traps. Depending on the return piping lay out, this can be a source of difficult venting --- and a guaranteed difficulty if your exiting air, after it has wiggled itself through the constriction of the trap, has to struggle through any other difficult passages (dirt obstruction, sags, hard elbows, and, painfully small air eliminators and one-pipe style air vents) all causes for bloated returns.

    Thermostatic traps work by segregating heat - not pressure. When they're open, the boiler pressure (as in initial air) is passed down into the returns. Fine. Broomel traps do not segregate for heat, they segregate for pressure. Oh, just a tiny little bit of pressure and the thing is, they won't work if the return main pressure added with the segregation pressure of the Broomel trap comes up to a value greater than the boiler pressure as it appears at the radiator.

    An open thermostatic trap feeding into a return main downstream of a Broomel will stop any gas flow (steam or air) through the Broomel. This happens most sadly on startup when plainly cold air is shuffled around during the evacuation. Action at the Broomel waits until the thermostatic traps close. A delay.

    Does this correspond to your symptoms?

    The fancy cure: the vacuumizer. The simple cure: carefully rethink the two-pipe atmospheric returns.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    Another way to equalize them

    would be to use a thermostatic trap with a rather low throughput (as measured by Gerry Gill & Steve Pajek), such as a Hoffman #17C. This would be closer to the throughput of the Broomell ells.

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  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
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    Push or pull

    What a delightful idea to use the traps that suck in order to create the same or larger pressure drop there is through the Broomell. This calls for lots of skill and it's all there in Steamhead's hands. Good thinking.

    My doing was more along the lines of performing bypass surgery on the returns, possibly adding new ones and new wide open breather holes on the return risers that drain the thermostatic traps along with deep crossover water seals at their bottom where they re-connect into the remaining Broomell condensate returns. This way the necessary pressure gradient can be properly assured within the Broomell returns.

    Good job on saving 40% and too bad for the gas company.



  • Hi John,

    Glad to hear you got Steamhead to come to Philly to get your Broomell and LGB tuned up. He is the man for the job.

    We spoke at the Wetstock in Baltimore and then a few times since. The lo-hi-lo of the Weil-McLain is a great feature that most overlook, Peerless offers it also on their 211A.

    Best regards, Pat

  • Mike Neish
    Mike Neish Member Posts: 3
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    chillers

    Problem with condensation on the pipes in the boiler room,

    Chiller pipes come into boiler room boilers are valves are closed so no chilled water in boilers. Pipes sweat, we have wrapped them and insulated them but still condensation is causing major rust problem on pipes.

    Our next plan is to put a/c in the boiler room any other suggestions?
  • john_27
    john_27 Member Posts: 195
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    Thanks to Pat Lindhart as well...

    Pat Lindhart's book on steam heating is a must for a homeowner who wishes to understand his system. I found his charts of steam flow excellently illustrated, and also, the fact that I could zip it into an enclosed case makes it much easier for me
    to work with it in the basement.
    Pat has also answered questions about my system, and really helped me to understand it.
    I think it is available on this site- i purchased my copy from Pat at one of Dan's steam seminars.
    So, thanks for being there for us Pat...we really appreciate it...John
  • your welcome

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the kind words. My pleasure to help, wish I had more time to spend on the wall.

    Best regards, Pat
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
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    i have an old well mcclain oil boiler with a republic/gyroscopic-balance gas conversion burner. i need a wiring diagram and how this unit works including how the bi metalic pilot bar works.I know it heats up the bar and makes the mercuy switch close,but im lost after that?
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
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    That's a museum piece

    you should consider a new boiler, which should be much more efficient. Old round boilers especially were pretty wasteful.

    If that's not an option, get in touch with Tim McElwain. I believe he has the info you'd need.

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  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
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    Corrosion Control

    Hi Mikey-

    Under the kinds of high corrosion conditions you mention I would use a product called ACF-50 by Lear Chemical Research. I order it through Aircraft Spruce. Its by far the best thing I've ever used to prevent corrosion in the boiler room. Many of the buildings I service have the worst moisture problems during the summer months so I just automatically spray this stuff on the pipes, unions, gas lines, valve stems, gas valves, ignition modules etc. It has the usual water displacement characteristics but its uniqueness is in its ability to neutralize the galvanic voltages at the molecular level that actually cause the corrosion. You can wipe off the excess if you like , leaving a pipe that looks dark but not wet (but I usually leave it pretty wet). This film is all thats necessary. The corrosion simply STOPS.

    Typical oils don't work the way the ACF-50 works. Its actually designed for aircraft frames, landing gear, electrical connectors and components, etc. It can protect for two years at 600 mph and 30,000 feet! In the boiler room it lasts a verrrry long time.

    I have no affiliation with Lear Chemical nor Aircraft Spruce. I just researched and tried things for years, and this stuff did it for me.

    -Terry
    terry
This discussion has been closed.