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Joisy Steam (Stonehouse)

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Ed_50
Ed_50 Member Posts: 18
.... fraud charges be brought against them for impersonating a knowledgable contractor? I guess it's a good thing they had no PVC on the truck that day.

hb

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  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    From Knucklehead to Header...

    My bro-in-law Jon, wanting to support his local businesses, contracted his oil company to replace his old converted coal steamer. The knucklheads charged him a small fortune and installed a SGO-3 while using the I&O manual for kneepads. The result is attached.

    The result, too, was surging water, overfilling and you name it. Jon posted some of the issues here Furnace Overfills. Forgive the "F" word, he was unknowing then... Jon has since done a lot of research, and, of course, bought Dan's books. He's a fast learner and quite savvy now...

    I offered to help him repipe the sucker and so this past Thursday we tackled it. The results are also attached. It took us about 12 hours, including a couple of supply house runs. About 1/2 the time was spent removing some of the old fittings so that we could split the 2 mains and provide them with individual take-offs.

    It's a 2 1/2" riser dropped (sorry Ken) into a 3" header. We left the copper returns, perhaps to replace with black in the spring, or perhaps not... We cut a valve into the return before the loop to aid in skimming and cleaning.

    Fixed the stack too, as it too was installed completely wrong. Instead of using a 8 * 7 reducer they stuffed some insulation around the pipe and cemented it in. Nor did they clean out the ton of ash that had nearly blocked off the entire chimney stack.

    We used wick and RectoSeal, though we were forced to go to HD to get the dope as none of the supply houses carried it. We must have gotten a bad batch as it was pretty goopy and dripped when it got hot. But no leaks...

    With a quick, cold skim, the boiler filled the mains in about 15 minutes from a cold start. I put the correct nozzle in the burner, adjusted and brought it to spec using the Bacharach.

    Jon installed a 0 - 3 gauge, and is awaiting his VaporStat. After that a TigerLoop and insulating the pipes...

    The 2 story house is all convectors and now heats with .25lbs of steam.

    He's done a couple of skims, which has helped the surging but he's still not getting condensate back quick enough. Insulating the mains should help and further cleaning will calm that water down.

    Jon was exhausted at the end of a long day, but was excited and ready to do it again. He's started to devour Dan's TLA and I expect we've got a new member of the congregation...

    Alex ("The Wire Nut")
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    I cannot thank Alex enough for his help and Dan for writing the books that made me more knowledgeable in 2 days than the "professionals" have gotten in 20 years.

    I will continue to tweak out the system and address the rest of the "must have" items, but the boiler runs less than it ever has, the house is very comfortable, and most importantly my wife is happy. She doesn't understand why I would want to have my coffee in front of the boiler, but she'll come around ;)
  • Steamhead (in transit)
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    Looking good!

    while some of the reasons for a drop header don't apply here, since there is only one riser from the boiler to the header, the added height of the riser helps dry out the steam even more.

    Thanks for saving another steam system.

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  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
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    Nice job

    I'm betting the wife will be much happier now!! And with the price of fuel nowaday's your pocket will be also!!
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    I am now dealing with a "touch" of water hammer on start up. That is to say, after the (uninsulated) mains have completely vented and are hot, and the first convectors in line have vented and are heating, I get some very rhythmic hammer, to which my wife "suggested" I fix ;)

    Outside temps dropped last night and I was awakened by the hammer around 5:30am. If the boiler continues to fire, the hammer will eventually stop. Since I have owned this house for the last 5 winters and have never had water hammer before, it really can only be 2 possibilities (according to my noggin).

    1. During the install of the new header piping, we changed the pitch of a pipe somewhere, trapping condensate.

    2. The new boiler/header combination is putting out far more of that good dry steam than ever before and the uninsulated mains are causing more condensate than ever before.

    On another note, seeing as I was awake during a nice long burn this morning, I was monitoring the pressure with my new 0-3 PSI gauge. Once the system completely heats and all vent valves close, the system will top out at 1.5 PSI at which time the pressuretrol will kick off. In about 30-45 seconds, the pressure drops to .5 PSI and the system kicks back on. In 2-4 minutes the pressure has gone back up to 1.5 PSI and the cycle repeats until the thermostat is satisfied.

    This seems like short cycling to me, but I am new at this game. Today is a good day to play around with a level and shims if need be, so I'll be messing about.
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    With the uninsulated mains, and perhaps a fair amount of condensate stuck in the returns there are ample opportunities for steam to find water lurking. I might also suspect some sag in the long main where it goes from the boiler to the far wall.

    Also make sure the convectors slope back towards their feed side so that the condensate can slide out.

    The cycling you see is the combination of uninsulated mains and, perhaps, too much boiler for the load. After all, we never did an EDR, which we should do now...

    What is the temperature of the house when you hit pressure?

    Also, what thermostat do you have and where is it placed... I was so excited about doing the header, I never looked at anything else!

    Alex ("The Wire Nut")
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    This is the smallest unit WM makes, so I can't imagine it would be oversized. I'll get those convector measurements to you today.

    The stat is a 5 year old Honeywell Chronotherm IV Plus that I put in as soon as we got the house. It's set to 68F when the kids are home and rolls back to 63F when everyone's at school/work and at night. I have always been told that rolling back the stat saves energy/money, but I wonder if that is all for naught when I need to re-heat the home each morning and afternoon.

    The stat is in the living room (or parlor as the Dead Men would say). I'm not sure what the house temp is when the system is fully pressurized, but obviously the stat is still calling for heat. I doubt if it got down to 63F last night or I would have heard the hammer.
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
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    I have spoken to...

    the Copper Gods and they forgive you for the mis-application.

    The hammer is the uninsulated mains, for sure.

    Don't change any "slopes" until the mains are insulated. The slope of a rad is almost always NOT the cause of hammer, merely a well entrenched old wive's tale.

    The vaporstat will also help immensely.

    An actual standing load EDR calc. must be done. Since the boiler is the smallest model, simply down-fire the nozzle to match the actual EDR calc., adding 15% for the efficiency "losses" of the boiler/burner ratings. Just be sure not to use a nozzle so small it ends up on the "edge" of what the burner end-cone is rated for.

    Let us know how it all pans out.

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  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    > the Copper Gods and they forgive you for the

    > mis-application.


    Please explain that I did not do the copper installation and as a "steam heat dummy" I simply did not know any better.

    > The hammer is the uninsulated

    > mains, for sure.

    >

    > Don't change any "slopes"

    > until the mains are insulated. The slope of a

    > rad is almost always NOT the cause of hammer,

    > merely a well entrenched old wive's tale.


    The mains were uninsulated since I own the home. Nothing has changed except what you've already seen.

    > vaporstat will also help immensely.


    How can a more sensitive pressure regulator help with hammer?

    > An actual

    > standing load EDR calc. must be done. Since the

    > boiler is the smallest model, simply down-fire

    > the nozzle to match the actual EDR calc., adding

    > 15% for the efficiency "losses" of the

    > boiler/burner ratings. Just be sure not to use a

    > nozzle so small it ends up on the "edge" of what

    > the burner end-cone is rated for.


    This is my fault as Alex has aked me to measure convectors several times and I have been lax in doing so.
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    Ah Ken, always ready to use a sledge when a tack hammer will do! ;-)

    I suspect, Jon, that we are now making steam hot enough to flash the water into steam, whereas your old setup was so laden with moisture it didn't quite have the BTUs to do the deed...

    As to the insulation, the photos we posted show insulation on the mains leading from the boiler...

    Alex
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • Steamhead (in transit)
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    As long as

    those copper pipes don't carry steam, there shouldn't be a problem. I know if Alex encounters any steam-carrying copper, he rips it out- as we do!

    And it can't hurt to check the slopes to be sure, but I doubt that's the problem. Still, I have seen a few....

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  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
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    ...

    "Please explain that I did not do the copper installation and as a "steam heat dummy" I simply did not know any better." - I understood that. I was being fascetious, as Alex knows.

    "The mains were uninsulated since I own the home. Nothing has changed except what you've already seen." - Suggesting 'nothng has changed' when an entirely new boiler was installed is like saying "I'm feel just fine" with a 2" bolt going through your head. It is because of the new boiler that the steam mains - once improperly left un-insulated and functioning noiselessly heretofor, now do bang. The new boiler has completely changed the system dynamics, from the steam chest to the last radiator off the main and into the returns, etc.

    "How can a more sensitive pressure regulator help with hammer"? - The existing preseuretrol is incapable of meeting fine adjustments necessary to accurately make the boiler turn off at 2 PSI and back on at 1/2. At best you might get within 1 pound, 1/2 pound if extremely patient. A problem of repeatablity is standard with the "standard" pressuretrol the boiler makers send with the unit. Likelwise, the pressue gage sent with the boiler doesn't usually even have 1/2 pound increments in the range we want to operate in. So it (what they give you) becomes a two-fold dillemma, one, we can't set a proper pressure with any accuracy regarding on/off pressure(s) and two, we cannot read the pressure accurately with the gage they give you - which should read between 0-5 PSI and be adjujsted to within 1/4 pound of accurate.

    Having said that, we must remember the code calls for a gage capable of going to twice what the boiler's safety relief valve rating is - and for homeowner typ steamers, that number is 15 PSI. The naswer is to install a secong gage; one with 1/2 PSI increments and a max reading of 5 PSI.

    Likewise, the perfect pressuretrol is called a vaporstat, a pressuretrol that can easily be manipulated in the 1/2 pound to 2 pounds range.

    Alex knows all this stuff.

    BTW, where in NJ are you? I'm from exit 136 (;-o)





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  • BD Brannan_2
    BD Brannan_2 Member Posts: 14
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    Big Valves

    The do-over of the system shown here includes two big brass valves on the risers. I don't recall seeing such valves on steam risers in the fotos of other systems posted here in the past. Reason I am interested is that our steamer has similar valves on the risers also. They don't seem to be hurting anything - but I couldn't ever figure out a purpose for them. Just curious.

    bd
  • Steamhead (in transit)
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    They're called \"King Valves\"

    they allow the mains to be shut off when skimming or cleaning the boiler, or to allow one main to heat while you work on the other one.

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  • Phil_17
    Phil_17 Member Posts: 178
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    Water could be a touch dirty too...

    I had my boiler replaced this fall, and the issue of getting it good and clean is very important. The "quick cold skim" certainly did most of the needed work, but it's possible that there was some residual gunk in the new piping, or that the more potent steam of the new boiler has washed some gunk out of the system.

    My old system never hammered, ever, but after the new boiler was installed the hammer came back a while after it was initially cleaned, and sure enough it needed to be skimmed again (never would have believed how much of a difference this makes if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes/ears)
  • Nice save Alex

    Don't worry about that little bit of copper above the water line , or the copper returns . As long as the joints were real clean and a good strong solder was used , it'll last decades . The Rectorseal was fine too . It always oozes out when the steam first hits it . Makes cleaning the outside threads pretty easy when it has the consistency of liquid cheese .
  • BD Brannan_2
    BD Brannan_2 Member Posts: 14
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    Thanks, Steamhead

    Another minor mystery solved.

    bd
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Thanks for all that Ken. I understand. Thinking of it as a system rather than a series of pipes with some steam and water is something I'm coming to grips with. I did replace the stock gauge with a 0-3 PSI and I noticed the cut out of the pressuretrol varies between 1.5 and 2 PSI, cut in varies as well. I will replace it with a vaporstat, but insulating the mains and near boiler piping must come first. I also want to replace the main vents. They're both Gorton #1s, but they don't vent fast enough for the way this new unit cooks now.

    Today I added a few pipe hangers replacing some 2x4 braces and walked the condensate line with a level. I found 2 trouble spots were the pipes were pitched the wrong way. A few tasty pieces of 2x4 made it all OK again. Not as steep a slope as I had hoped for, but everything is a compromise. And, hey, whaddya know, my boiler is suddenly overfilled. At least the water found its way home again. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Cool. I set it up to slow skim at 180F during dinner tonite. Each heating cycle brought forth more poop. That was the 3rd skim session. I'll keep at it until she's clean.
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    Nicely said Ken! From the masters we neophytes learn much...

    BTW, did you get my email with the pictures a week or so ago?

    Alex
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    I am humbled by your kind words O Master of the Art... Thanks for the encouragement!

    Unfortunately, the sweat jobs were as bad in execution as the rest of the install. That's why I think we may be revisiting it in the spring with a black pipe upgrade or just a clean up of the joints.

    The joints look like they were done with a butane lighter and a lot of solder, just in case...

    The other scary thing was the black nipple they put in the riser tapping. It was in so tight, it literally took heating it with the torch and banging the wrench with a hammer. I'm surprised they didn't crack the casting getting it in...

    But knucklheads will be knuckleheads...

    Alex ("The Wire Nut")
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • Jay Zebryk
    Jay Zebryk Member Posts: 16
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    Pressure Gauge

    What are you using for a pressure gauge?
    Where did you install it?
    Is the needle stable or does it dance about?
    Does it ever peg full scale?
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    > What are you using for a pressure gauge? Where

    > did you install it? Is the needle stable or does

    > it dance about? Does it ever peg full scale?




    I'm using
    http://www.gaugestore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=33041
    It is mounted in the stock location, brass pigtail, t-fitting to the pressuretrol. The unit shipped from WM with the gauge/pressuretrol pre-installed and it matches all the literature. When she's making steam, the needle is fairly stable. Full scale would be 3PSI. The pressuretrol kicks out between 1.5 and 2.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Who needs an alarm when you have water hammer? Much reduced from yesterday, but still there. I was able to localize it, but given the location I am not sure I can correct the piping. I will attempt to explain...the short side main terminates at an elbow which goes vertical and feeds into the condensate line. That would be the condensate drop for that main. Anyway, it goes vertical (2" pipe) for about 18". Then it runs into a short section of horizontal pipe (1 1/2") with a union and then drops into the condensate line. That horizontal pipe is where the little guys with the hammers live. I suspect is is not quite level, but I am not sure if that section from the main to the condensate can be "touched" without repercussions. I also realize a picture is worth many words here. I will snap one tonight.

    In other news, the condensate line is really flowing well now. At least I fixed something.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    Here's the house that the guys with the hammers live in. The 2" vertical pipe is a 16" nipple at the end of the short side main. The horizontal section with the 1 1/4" union is where the hammer happens. Its length is 8" from elbow to elbow. Can this be re-piped without issue? Does there need to be a minimum vertical drop from a main? The drop from the long side main is 22".
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    That's the one! He loves that thing...

    Thanks again, and best to Jaye!

    Alex
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    I suspect the hammer gods live in the actual return rather than the drop. Might be interesting to crack that union at shut off and see if the condensate returns without the vacuum created by the condensate in the mains and convectors.

    Just guessing though...

    Alex

    P.S. Don't forget to get me the manufacturer's name from your convectors...
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • Steamhead (in transit)
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    Alex and Jon, check to see if

    that tee joint and short horizontal pipe are below the boiler's waterline, or above it.

    I bet they're above it, steam is getting in there and that's what's causing the banging.

    The cure is to lower the return so all parts of it are below the waterline. Since you were thinking of repiping the return anyway, now's the time to lower it.

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  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    > I suspect the hammer gods live in the actual

    > return rather than the drop. Might be interesting

    > to crack that union at shut off and see if the

    > condensate returns without the vacuum created by

    > the condensate in the mains and convectors.

    > Just guessing though...

    >

    > Alex

    >

    > P.S. Don't

    > forget to get me the manufacturer's name from

    > your convectors...



  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    I'm not sure what you mean Alex. I thought condensate was a gravity feed back to the boiler. If the system is pressure equalized through the Hartford loop and there are no blockages in any pipe runs, there shouldn't be any vacuum anywhere.

    There are no markings, stamps, castings on the convectors. I probably should have saved the one we pulled out of the kitchen when we remodeled years ago. That line is capped off the main.
  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    That is most definitely above the water line. The entire return runs along the sill on the foundation, about chest high on me (sloped of course). It then drops vertically close to the boiler. I would imagine that this is the way it has always been, but there is no way to tell. The house is from the mid 1930s (I forget the exact year), so I would assume the Dead Men did it correctly.

    I was able to eliminate the hammer this morning (4:30am) by partially closing the king valve to that main. It still heated the associated convectors and had no ill effects.

    The 1" thick fiberglass insulation for the mains has been ordered and I'll be installing that this Friday. I plan to wrap all the fittings with fiberglass and foil tape. I will special order some more for the riser and header sections 2 1/2" and 3" and another small piece for the copper drop back to the boiler.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
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    The original boiler

    would have had a much higher waterline, which is why they could run the return that far off the floor without having it bang.

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  • Jon Held
    Jon Held Member Posts: 48
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    The water level is certainly lower on the new unit, but I don't think the old one was that much higher. I had to replace the sight glass once and I remember being on my knees to do so (no comments Alex). Hard to say though. I still think that the core issue in my home is the lack of pipe insulation. Before anything else happens I want to see where that gets me.

    I have to say that I really appreciate the time and effort that all of you have given in my quest for a better mousetrap. Thank you all. I will keep at it until it's right. I promise.
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 420
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    You're pulling a vacuum because the expanding steam pushes the air out of all the steam pipes. When the vents close and the steam condenses and contracts, vacuum! Which may then pull back on the condensate that's a "stopper" in the returns.

    The condensate normally gets put back by the weight of the column of water above the water line, normally 28" (per lb of steam pressure whilst the boiler is running). Once the steaming stops the condensate will fall until it's at the water level of the boiler, presuming there isn't a vacuum in the system... (Steamhead, smack me here if I'm off base)....

    One thing we could do, for the time being, especially since we don't want to be moving those return just yet, is to make "loop seal" which acts as sort of a trap to keep the steam from hitting the condensate. It's essentially a big pipe U, about 3' long, that goes between the drop and the return.

    We can bore everybody at turkey day dinner chatting about this!

    Alex
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
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