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Bromo Seltzer Tower Steam Rebuild

is where we got most of our fittings for the Bromo Seltzer Tower. It is the Last Bastion of the American Fitting.

Pratt Thompson is one of those places to pick up that 6 x 5 x 3 1/2" cast iron tee you've always craved...

They tell us that 4 1/2" is a dead size and has been so for 50 years. Even so, they still have a 55 gal. drum of 4 1/2" cast iron 90*s. They also tell us that the 3 1/2" size is on its way out.

Would it surprise you to know they don't use computers there?






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Comments

  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Bromo Seltzer Tower Steam System Rebuild By All Steamed Up, Inc.

    The Bromo Seltzer Tower in Baltimore, MD is heated with two pipe steam. There are 15 floors of (now) studio space plus 4 more floors of mechanical space above and a basement below.

    The clock room near the top of the Tower is impressive. The clockworks are now driven by a ridiculously small motor.

    The Bromo Seltzer Tower was renovated by Azola Building Services, which hired All Steamed Up, Inc. (Steamhead & Gordo) to renew the steam system.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    The Factory where the Bromo Seltzer was made

    is gone now, but used to supply steam to the Bromo Tower with a pipe going thru the wall at the northeast corner on the 5th floor. From there, the existing 4 1/2" wrought iron pipe rises up to the 16th floor just below the clock room. It loops around and supplies three down-feed risers.

    When the factory was removed, steam was piped in from the basement via a 2" riser installed circa 1968 and tied onto the 4 1/2" riser

    The drip trap for the riser was located in the basement and replaced last season.

    The 2" riser in the basement was sloping poorly as shown.

    Steam for the Bromo Tower is provided by Trigen, the district steam heating (and chilled water) utility of Baltimore. A picture of their valve and supply line for the tower is shown.

    The pressure supplied by Trigen to the Tower is 35 psi. The 1 1/2" Hoffman series 2100 pressure reducing valve was too large for the connected load and the pilot control had failed. It was replaced with a Spence D pilot last season by All Steamed Up to get the pressure under some control.

    Past the Trigen main valve, all equipment is the customer's.

    The safety relief valve was set to blow at 20 psi and had frequently done so, discharging directly over and onto the old phone system controls. And it was mounted incorrectly.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    When the System was Turned on from a Cold Start

    The 2" riser would knock and bang all the way to the 5th floor and take 10 min. to reach the 4 1/2" tie-in. As soon as it got there, if you took the elevator to the 15th floor (the last stop) and walked up to the 16th floor, the steam had beaten you there!

    If the system ran straight for more than 4 hours, the condensate running down the 4 1/2" riser would build up at the junction with the 2" riser, as it could not go down past the steam roaring up thru there, and it would choke off the steam flow. The building would freeze. Only by shutting down the system and allowing the condensate to drain back down, could heat flow be restored.
  • hvacfreak
    hvacfreak Member Posts: 439
    they got the right guys

    The BEST in this area...All Steamed Up gets refered to any weird old system I come accross..and any oil steam for that matter. Good luck with this high profile job.-Mike
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    As this Undersized 2\" riser was Slated for Removal

    Because it was in the way of a planed fire escape stairwell, it was determined by All Steamed Up that the size of the replacement riser would have to be increased to at least 4". 5" would have been better, but pipe wrenches would not fit in the chase space the pipe had to run.

    Vertical 4" pipe can supply 511 lbs. per hour "by the book". The connected load of the Bromo Seltzer Tower was calculated to be 625 lbs. per hour. But if 2" could heat it, 4" should have no problem.

    The services of Mike Berry, the owner of M.B. Contractors, was obtained to weld a half nipple of 4" pipe onto the existing 4 1/2" pipe.

    This phase of the project was time critical, as the floors which we were working on were going to be demo'd within days.

    Keeping one step ahead of the demo crew, we installed 78' of 4" pipe in 9' to 12' sections all the way into the basement.

    The 4 1/2" pipe was anchored into the brick wall by the Dead Men at the 5th and 6th floors and as it heated, it expanded upwards approx. 2". All Steamed Up's new riser was anchored in a similar fashion and would be allowed to expand downward approx. 0.8" .



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  • Maine Doug_64
    Maine Doug_64 Member Posts: 27
    Maybe we

    should get these guys autographs. They are going to be famous.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    We erected scaffolding

    under the basement stairs to install a 4" pipe expansion loop supported by a spring loaded hanger. The whole 180 ft riser was dripped with a 1" Tunstall F&T trap.


    The circa 1968 pressure reducing station was gleefully ripped out and All Steamed Up installed a 1" Spence E main valve controlled by a Spence D5 pilot. This pilot is designed and installed so that it cannot be turned up above 10 psi. A solenoid valve on the pilot pressure line provides the on-off control via a Honeywell VisionPro 8000 located on the Mezzanine level of the Bromo Seltzer Tower.

    A 1" by-pass with a locked out gate valve and a globe hand control valve to provide emergency heat in the improbable event of a PRV failure.

    The new 2" high pressure steam line supplying the PRV is dripped by a 3/4" Sarco thermodisc trap and the condensate run thru a 3" flash tank and cooled by 8' of 1 1/4" Beacon-Morris fin tube before being dumped.


    The steam that is condensed in the radiators on the several floors is run thru a bank of radiators in the basement to remove much of the sensible heat before it is metered by Trigen...and then dumped


    The Inner Harbor of Baltimore is ice-free due to all the warm condensate being dumped into the storm drains.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    All Steamed Up put the system into operation

    October 12, 2007. The steam took 5 min. to run up to the top of the tower...almost 200 feet. It took 11 min. for the steam to get to the 1st floor, the last radiators on the system. The pressure was 1 psi.

    Further notes: Over the weekend, the solenoid control valve stuck open, and the steam ran wild. The temperature in the Bromo Seltzer Tower reached 99*! A new solenoid will take 2-3 weeks to reorder. Thank goodness for manual control valves.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Here are some views of the Pressure Reducing Station

    at Bromo.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Here are some views of the Pressure Reducing Station

    that we installed at Bromo.

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  • Tombig_2
    Tombig_2 Member Posts: 231
    Nicely Done

    That's some mighty fine steam fittin' there, boys. In a way I'm jealous, then again I'm glad the chain hoists and comealongs are buried in the shop somewhere. Wrestling those 4" pipes in the elevator shaft must've been a workout. Worthy of a Wheaties box. How many men on the crew for that phase?

    So all the condensate gets dumped, eh? Interesting concept. I've never worked with district steam but there's some complexes here in the midwest that have a central steam plant. All the condensate returns to the plant. Do they de-oxidize all their feed water? Did the owners ever consider their own steam plant? I guess placement and venting would be a huge issue.

    The owners surely picked the right company for the job. Are you also handling valve/vent replacement? A lot of work there for sure. By the way, nice picture accompanying Ken Secor's steam article in the Oct. 8th issue of ACHR News. As always, it's a pleasure to view the "Vini,Vidi,Vici" concept that accompanies all your work.

    Tom Goebig
  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    old school steamfitting

    first class craftsmenship. nice to see some plumbers still know how to install proper clevis hangers. bravo.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Condensate Dumping

    Thank you, Sir, for your generous words.

    It was mostly the two of us, Steamhead and myself, humping that pipe, with some help from my son, Victor, and sometimes from the crew of the Azola Building Services.

    Yes, the condensate gets dumped...the maintenance cost of any return lines and pumping stations throughout the city would be greater than the cost of treating the raw make-up water in the boilers, I suppose.

    Attached below is a picture from the "District Heating Handbook" published by the "National District Heating Association" in 1951. The caption reads: "Fig. 3 - Smokeless Skyline of Baltimore, MD., A City Using District Heating Service". Also below is a map of the district heating piping in Baltimore from the same source.

    Included for your viewing pleasure are pictures of the work Trigen did on the low pressure line in front of the Bromo Seltzer Tower. They replaced a failed Fisher(?) PRV that had a motorized control with a 2" Spence PRV. They also replaced a fair bit of related piping and traps, etc.



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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Condensate Dumping

    Thank you for your generous words, Sir.

    Yes, the condensate gets dumped...I suppose the maintenance costs of rusting return lines and pumping stations throughout the city is greater than treating the raw make-up water for the boilers.

    Below is a picture from the "District Heating Handbook" published in 1951. It is a large file, sorry. The caption reads "Fig. 3 - Smokeless Skyline of Baltimore, MD., A City Using District Heating Service". Also is a map of the steam system, circa 1951.

    Included for your viewing pleasure is work Trigen did in front of the Bromo Seltzer Tower on the low pressure system. They replaced a failed Fisher (?) PRV that had a motorized control with a 2" Spence PRV and a fair bit of piping traps, etc.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Pipe supports

    Thank You, Sir!

    The concrete in the Bromo Seltzer Tower gives bad concrete a good name. It is cinders held together with dust.

    We had to de-rate the anchors by 50% and so needed to double the number of ceiling anchors and clevis hangers so I can sleep at night.

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  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    fishplates

    i have had that problem a few times. we drilled thru floor with fishplates. more work but it SHALL hold.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Excellent idea

    But we would not have been allowed to do that in this case, if I understand what you are saying. Historic floor and all that.

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  • Maine Doug_66
    Maine Doug_66 Member Posts: 28
    Last winter

    when there was some snowfall, one could find the warm spots either by the lack of snow/ice or by the homeless parked on the sidewalk "heaters".
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Here are Some Views of the Expansion Loop

    the scaffolding, and the main riser drip trap located just below the stairs to the Mezzanine level.

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  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    good show, bro

  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    Beautiful!

    What a wonderful job. Lots of work, but its fun, isn't it? Someone's going to thank you for the valves installed on the F&T's and the strainers.

    -Terry

    P.S. Doesn't it make you feel safer knowing you're working in a fallout shelter?
    terry
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Duck and Cover

    I'm old enough to remember air-raid drills in school...

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  • Tombig_2
    Tombig_2 Member Posts: 231
    Hey old timer

    Two questions:
    Is that you in the picture with the 48" wrench in Ken S's article in The News?

    Is the red pipe dope W.O.G. from Jomar? Good stuff!

    Tom Goebig

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,920
    This may be.....................................

    The "heaviest" job to date for you guys...I AM grooving on this (acid free too!). As the others said, you guys ARE the go-to-steam guys in your region. Mad Dog

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

    That's me.
    The red stuff is RTV high temperature silicone.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    It is

    Gordon's current masterpiece. Of course we both worked on it, but it was his vision we worked from. He is the best partner I could have.

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  • Joey B_2
    Joey B_2 Member Posts: 24


    how often do u come across 3-1/2 and 4-1/2 in pipe??? do they even make stock and die for it nemore or material to work on it??
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    4-1/2\" is kind of rare

    still see some 3-1/2" though. We have a 3-1/2 thread-chasing die that came in handy on one job.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Herewith are some views of the high pressure condensate drip

    The 35 psi drip goes thru a thermostatic trap and into an expansion chamber field fabricated out of 3" fittings.

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    There are three radiators per floor

    and they have Sarco H pattern traps. The cap on these traps is an octagon, so we had a machine shop fabricate a wrench to handle the cap without egging the body.


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  • bob young
    bob young Member Posts: 2,177
    RAD. WRENCH

    VERY SERIOUS TOOL . I LOVE BOX WRENCHES. NOTHING BETTER WHEN YA NEED ONE. STILL GOT A WHOLE BOX OF HOME MADE LEAD WORKING TOOLS . GOOD SHOW, BRO.
  • Maine Doug_66
    Maine Doug_66 Member Posts: 28
    Here is the building

    The original glass at the top is gone.

    http://www.spearsvotta.com/photos/bromo_seltzer2.html

    http://www.bromoseltzertower.com/
This discussion has been closed.