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Steam System Savings - Without Converting! (Steamhead)

Arthur
Arthur Member Posts: 216
Ha Ha Ha John, For some one who doen't like steam, You certainly get steamed up. Ha Ha ha

Comments

  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Here are some links you should look at

    I've saved these over the past several years. These were Wall posts that different people made, telling of the amounts of energy saved by repairing their steam heating systems rather than converting them or tearing them out, or even installing new steam systems rather than scorched-air! Unlike some other things we've seen recently, there's no hype here and no third-party complication.

    From Dean:

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&&Message_ID=171303&_#Message171303

    From Carl:

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&Thread_ID=31512&mc=7

    From William:

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&Thread_ID=21386&mc=33

    and from Steamhead:

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&Thread_ID=31966&mc=18

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&Thread_ID=29563&mc=53

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&Thread_ID=22035&mc=22

    Lastly, a couple links on steam or hot-water vs. scorched-air:

    http://hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/93/931114.html

    http://forums.invision.net/Thread.cfm?CFApp=2&Thread_ID=25079&mc=7

    Hope you find these interesting.

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  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    Its easy against forced hot air!!

    Steamhead,

    I have looked at the most stupid installation practices for forced hot air. They put the units up in the attic and insulate in the joices below. Air leaks through joints into the attic everywhere. Then they put that bubble foil bubble stuff around the ducts. Bubble Foil Bubble has been tested and found not to work nearly as well as they say it does. They then procede to cut in ventalation. This is like installing the equipment totally exposed to outside air conditions. A ton of heat is lost to the unconditioned space. My six year old daughter could design a system more efficient then that!!

    Oh ya then they brag about that high seer unit they installed.

    JR

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    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    But that's not all

    I included steam-system efficiency gains too. Read them again.

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  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    insuation............

    Steamhead,

    Are you insinuating that my information isn't good?

    I am talking about an engineering study done by Pro Engineers P.E.'s. This was a comparison done averaged out over many schools. After the steam to warm water conversions the schools averaged 68% savings. With condensing boilers of course.

    You have some here say from a few homeowners. A heating degree day analisys wasn't done to balence the numbers out. The houses next door aren't the same size.

    JR

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    John,

    guess those Professional Engineers do have the ultimate say afterall, eh? Who cares about the folks with all this on-the-job experience. ;-)
    Retired and loving it.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    Conversion PLUS condensing boilers =

    a lot of efficiency - indeed - and a TREMENDOUS upfront cost. Mad dog

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    Looking forward to reading the ASHRAE article.

    I'm wondering about how the study would turn out if they took two of these schools, converted one in the way described in the article (looking forward to learning what they did), and then took the other school and put it in the hands of a steam expert, allowing the same budget for the necessary corrections.

    How would it all play out, and what would be the payback period for both the conversion and the upgrade.

    A fair question, don't you think? Why limit your options when it comes to energy savings?
    Retired and loving it.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    I like to work with engineers............

    Dan,

    I like to work with engineers. Many of my close friends are engineers. There are lots of smart engineers. I'm not stupid. I learn from them when ever I can. Engineer or designer, I learn from both. This P.E. happened to do things right. He is smart I can tell. I judge you for your abilities not degrees. I feel you and Steamhead are very smart too. I have learned a lot from both of you.

    I fight to be considered equal. The engineers are so convinced they are better then me that they get very mad here on the wall when I fight for equality. They get very nasty. Even other contractors too. There are engineers smarter then me, of course. There are engineers dumber then me too.

    I outperform most engineer's at hydronics though, that I know.

    JR

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    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    In Steamhead's post

    Dean speaks of a 60% savings in fuel.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    I have an ASHRAE article

    from back in the early '80s where the conclusion of the study was that fixing steam traps in large buildings didn't pay back. The reasoning was that the heat wasn't lost from the building's envelope. I spoke with the author at the time and asked about the damage that steam in the returns causes through water hammer, and the unbalance that it creates when it comes to distribution. He told me that they weren't looking at any of those issues. They just looked at the steam passing through the traps and where it went. A lot of people used this article at the time to justify not fixing traps.

    The guy was a P.E., by the way.
    Retired and loving it.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    I agree..........

    Dan,

    I agree, why limit yourself. There is a need to improve the efficiency on all types of systems. There is a time to convert and a time to fix up the old steam system. I would be very curious to find that out too. I think someone like Steamhead would save a lot of fuel too. Not as much as 68% though.

    Wouldn't it be nice to have a method of comparison. A method to compare overall efficiency from one system in one climete to another of different sizes and shapes?

    It would be called overall efficiency. I could do that. If someone would fund me. They spent billions on AFUE. Spend millions on Overall Efficiency and I promise you much better results. I already have a lot of the problems worked out and am solving more every day.

    JR

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    John, those aren't all my jobs

    but on the ones I was involved with that have run thru a heating season, we included energy used per degree-day when it was available.

    For the threads begun by others, I'm not sure how they arrived at their savings figures. I'm sure they will tell you if you ask- their e-mail addresses are all there.

    "Steamhead"

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  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Ooooh, Kryptonite

    Our very own Patrick Linhardt just published an article in the latest HPAC magazine about a local college building with thrilled owners after a mild steam tune up. Nothing to it but big rewards for everyone involved, and mega savings of course.

    Option B, the bad option, roll in the steam shovel, flatten the grand old building and either camp out in new sheet metal chicken coop style classrooms or veg out in new mini strip mall style school house. For this, one would have to believe our dead men had it all wrong with their bricks and mortar... and steam.

    I've searched the internet version of HPAC magazine, without finding a link. Perhaps, Patrick will tell us if we can photopaste the item here. Or else, I'll happily forward it.
  • Guy_6
    Guy_6 Member Posts: 450
    Point

    I think the point that is trying to be made here is the payback on NEW steam vs. New HW conversion. I will grant that HW has the advantage of easier outdoor reset and condensing equipment. Steam, however, is generally heating LESS Lbs. of water, albeit MORE degrees. I think that the payback time on a total conversion would make it usually cost prohibitive.
    That bubble foil insulation spoken of IS fun to pop.....
  • Brad White_2
    Brad White_2 Member Posts: 188
    \"Some of my best friends are (engineers)\"....

    Or fill in the (blank) with the ethnic group of your choosing... then go on to tell a really good (engineer) joke....

    It's ok. I know how that works...

    :)
  • Arthur
    Arthur Member Posts: 216
    Engineers ??

    I can remember a couple of contracts which we had to modify the system after the engineer disapeared down the road to make it work,
    Most engineers are good, some will help to make a system work, while there is a few who won't listen, and it's the contractors fault if their design doesn't work.
    Guess it's like anything there are good ones mediocre ones and alwful ones,
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    They descriminate against me....

    Brad,

    Engineers descriminate against me. With the rules of the state of CT I have been descriminated against ever since I got out of High School. This stuff has been going on from before I was born. Still out of half a dozen of my closest friends, 3 are engineers, 2 are plumbers and one is an auto mechanic. I just relate good to engineers. Even though I complain to them they stay my friends. They understand why I complain. I don't treat an engineer bad or anything like that. When competing against Engineers I do tend to get competitive. I want to prove my capabilities to everyone. I highly respect an Engineer that is good at his job. I really hate Engineers that try to design radiant heating and haven't got a clue as to how to do it. I feel if they are not qualified they should pass on the project. I will try and discredit the design first though. The last thing I ever want to see is a badly designed radiant system get installed. It is bad for the industry and the client. The client ends up thinking that radiant is no good. They then tell all of there friends that.

    Don't worry Brad I respect you. You are here on the wall sharing your knowledge and learning every day. I like to work with and learn from engineers like you.

    Some Engineers can't think and learn outside the box. You have both the book knowledge from school and are here getting an alternative education. You have the best of both worlds and that makes a great engineer in my book.

    JR

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    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Arthur
    Arthur Member Posts: 216
    Steam systems

    Ah, AH, Ah, now the truth come out. John I can see your problem is that you have a deep seated inferior complex,
    Look nobody can make you feel inferior expect your self.
    Don't worry about what engineers say or how they look down their nose at you If you know your job that all that counts they cann't do your job and don't worry if you cann't do their. Every man to himself.
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    My Complex.........

    Narroc,

    Yeah I got a complex. When I was 18 I really wanted to work with my hands. I chose the trades over college. I started working on cars at night and racing them on weekends. Contrary to everyones belief. I feel I received a valuable education. I have a slight bit of ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. Because Of ADD I am much happier doing what I am doing. I love to tinker with things. I could never sit in one room for 8 hours straight and be productive. College would have been hard for me. Yes I could have most likely made it through college but I would have been misserable. I never would have raced cars. I would have missed a lot of practical knowledge. Racing gave me a learning method. My learning method works very well with technology. I work well in a team with an Engineer. I feel my knowledge and learning compliments them.

    I have taken some college courses at 4 different colleges. The difference is instead of focusing my knowledge on getting a degree, I focused my knowledge on increasing my Technical and business skills, computer skills, accounting skills or what ever I thought might help me out. I also have taken a ton of seminars at trade shows. I read a lot of books. I learned how to educate myself. It works. I now am interested in engineering or design work. I want to find a good book on Thermodynamics. I might even take course for it in school. I always all my life have had a complex side project to work on of one shape or another. Going to college four years straight (8 years if done at night) means that I would of had to give many of those projects and shift my attension to getting a degree. Even now I have two side projects going that I don't want to give up on. Which project should I quit. Overall Efficiency? Exquisite Heat? Both will save the world billions in fuel bills if they get implimented.

    I have a complex, I like being me. I just want to take myself to the next level. I'm getting there.

    I enjoy building a heating system or rebuilding an engine in a race car. I like to build a invention prototype or upgrade the inside of a computer. I like testing prototypes. I like researching stuff so that I gain knowledge to help me build a better, heating system, invention prototype, computer board or race car. I was born to build.

    Ya I gotta Complex, I was born to build. The problem is that I love my complex and wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.

    I wanna build, I don't want to be a desk jockey.

    JR



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    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Brad White_100
    Brad White_100 Member Posts: 5
    Discrimination...

    Well John,

    I took a look at my "to do" list today. Starting with finishing some calculations, conference call, report, site visit, answer questions from one of my designers.... by the end of the day, I realize that I never got to "31. Discriminate against Tradespeople". What have I been missing? I have never met any of my cohorts who have, myself included.

    You must be hanging around a bad neighborhood, my friend.

    Relax, John- enjoy what you are doing and the respect that comes from that. Starting with self-respect. Don't diminish that esteem with whining. There, I said it. We are NOT out to get you.

    We all add value, not at "levels" as in a tier system but as peers of different skills.

    With best regards,

    Brad
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 880
    How I think the trades should work.....

    Brad,

    It is not personally you that descriminates against trades people. It is our culture. I know a lot of very smart people that don't test well. They deserve to have respect and oportunity to advance and choose there career paths. To mix and match a little of this and that without the hastle of over regulation. Hands on people have a variety of interests they should be allowed to try them.

    1) I deserve to get a proper education that is both rewarding and chalenging. If they are forcing me to educate myself I should be allowed to choose my method of education. I should be able to take seminars or attend college level class's if they cannot provide said quality education.

    The state of CT has descriminated against me in the field of education. They forced me to take 16 class's for four years to complete my apprenticeship program. They only provided a total of eight. Half of those were designed for a fourth grader. It was a complete joke. The rule was that after completion of all eight class's you were to take the exact same class's all over again. Every year before I set up my schedule I complained and asked to substitute college class's. I was told NO!! I could only take the class's in the coriculim. It was a complete joke. Just think I could have taken a lot of college night class's by now.

    2) I should be allowed to try new alternate trades with ease. Sometimes a person starts out in one trade but later finds out he might like to do another. Maybe he wants to do part of one trade and part of another. There should be a way for him to do it. My Friend Bob is a Chemical Engineer after a while he got a job with computers now he is a computer engineer. He didn't go back to school and get a second degree he just simply changed jobs and learned something new. Another Engineer friend of mine is a Nuculear Electrical Engineer. He learned the Nuculear part on the job. Now he works with both.

    The state of Ct thinks they know best on what my job title should be. They have strict rules on what I can and can't work on. Apprenticeship programs are set up for each little trade. Example, when I started taking control class's on radiant heating I found out that it was best to learn how to both pipe and wire the controls at the same time. I am told that I need a seperate license for that. I am supposed to quit my job and serve an apprenticeship for four years, pass a electrical test just to do the job. Meanwhile the local electricians need a wire diagram from me to figure out how to wire the radiant controls I install. I want to both pipe and wire the controls without any hastle from the government.

    3) I also learned how design radiant heating systems. I want to do CAD drawings for other trades people. I am told that I need to be a P.E. I don't want to learn structual engineering or other things on the P.E. test. All I want to do is design radiant heating systems. If I am very good at designing systems for myself I should be able to do it for others.

    4) If I can design heating systems, build invention prototypes, build a car engine from scratch and more I should be allowed to call myself an Engineer. (Please don't crusify me for saying this or tell me to go back to college. I can live with the word designer.) I would distinguish from that of a P.E. of course. I believe that is a tough test and one who pass's it should be recognized as so. That doesn't mean that they should have a right to stop anyone else from designing systems though. I am certified to design radiant heating systems from the RPA. I don't go around saying lets stop all noncertified contractors from working on radiant systems. I let the homeowner choose who to hire.

    I am happy to be me. I just don't like others telling me who I should be. I want to discover that as I go. I want to drift from one thing to another depending on where my abilities and interests are. If I find myself to be good at it then I want to do it.

    I believe we are all born with gifts from God. As we try this and that we discover our talents. The talents may be a combination of three different trades. We should be allowed to create our own job descriptions. That is what freedom is about. By doing the combination of skills that work best for that certain individual you are providing a better service to the consumer.

    Two many rules and regulations stiffles creativity. It is this creativity that has made this country so great. What smart person wants to go into the trades if he is so over regulated to the point that it sacrifices his creativity. If the state of Ct is not going to provide an interesting and chalenging education for him why would he join then?

    I design and install the piping and electrical components of a hydronic heating system. I am happy to do that. I also enjoy developing ideas that will turn into new products that improve the future of hydronic heating systems.

    O.K. so far I can pretty much do everything I want but I have to be sneaky. If I want to wire a project I ask permision from the electrician on the job. I ask to wire everything after the red switch. I ask the electrician to look over my work and he does. The inspector then looks at my work thinks the electrician put it in and pass's the job. A lot of times they say yes. I do my own CAD drawings and design work. I put a clause on the drawings that says Must be installed by JR's P & H only. Actually this mostly works to my advantage. My clients won't put my designs out to bid! and I keep more projects that way.

    Anyway thanks for letting me vent. These are things I would do if someone asked me to improve the trades and make it apeal to the young people comming in.

    JR


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    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
  • Cosmo_3
    Cosmo_3 Member Posts: 845
    That' s pretty much bubble wraps' only use

    Well, other than getting in the way when opening a shipping box w/ goodies inside. Much better than the peanuts.

    Am I the only one who is too ADD'd to read John's posts?

    Guess, I need more coffee...or sleep


    Cosmo
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    Now let's work

    on condensing... :)

    All in good fun, JR.
  • Hank_3
    Hank_3 Member Posts: 7
    1 pipe steam

    I appreciate the stories about how great steam systems run when they are tuned properly. I only wish I could find a company in northern Minnesota that knows what to do. We have been trying for about ten years to fix this system of ours. Beginning to feel that it is our destiny to pay a lot for cold rooms.
    I will continue to study. Tsk
  • hank

    Hank, where are you located in Minn ? I'm planning to be in Isabella area in sept...
  • Gene_3
    Gene_3 Member Posts: 289
    variables

    get in the way, each home is different,each customer, yadayada.

    I would like to see certain old tech equipment banned from sale. ex-- someone has a dry base boiler and they go out and buy another one cause it rotted out --puke or standing pilot gas instead of 90+cond

    but in regards to Steam, I remember when I started out, I went to the school of HardKnocks, a real hi tech place, they teach you {get in the truck and go fix it}, I knew nuttin, when I had a steam problem it was all from the hip. But over the years I was fortunate enough to work with guys that knew and taught me, and I learned or I got grilled royally.

    Now we have Dan, this site, Alan and his site, HVACTV, etc, and all you fine people to spread the word and knowledge and hopefully techs will take advantage of it.

    There are a great many smart people in this field but we need more, and I think the ones that do great work should get more credit.

    My 2c
  • ttekushan_5
    ttekushan_5 Member Posts: 1
    not discrimination, just character flaw

    I've never found a monolithic group of anybody, especially engineers.

    Yup, I'll bet everyone's been treated like dirt by one engineer or another at some time. But I can guarantee nobody in that person's office can stand them either!

    -Terry
  • Dean_7
    Dean_7 Member Posts: 192
    savings

    Since I was mentioned here. Here is my 2 cents. The fuel savings are accurate you can compare the actual natural gas consumption. Most of the homes on the block are similar in dimensions, square footage, and construction (traditional 2 story wood frame) since all the lots they sit on are 40 x 100 feet. The homes are approx. 1600 - 1700 square feet. Mine is 1660 square feet. Before any work was done I did my home work. I ordered Dan's books and read them until I understood them. The radiators were measured and remeasured and properly identified using Dan's radiator book. A heat loss calculation was done on the house both by me and the heating contractor The
    numbers are so close as to be virtually identical. The new boiler was then chosen to match the existing radiation. The 4 main vents which had disapeared over the years were replaced. All the radiator vents were also replaced with new ones. A vaporstat was installed on the boiler. This system runs on 6 ounces of pressure, heats all the radiators evenly, quickly, and silently. All without any moving parts. My wife, who prior to living here always had forced hot air heat used to wear sweat shirts and pants in the winter now she wears t shirts and shorts. However it was the professionals on this site who provided me with the information to restore this system. In particular Steamhead, Mad Dog, and Dan (for his books) so credit must go where credit is do. Steam systems are efficient and effective and well worth restoring.
  • Hank_3
    Hank_3 Member Posts: 7
    duluth

    We live in Duluth
  • frank_25
    frank_25 Member Posts: 202
    engineers

    > from back in the early '80s where the conclusion

    > of the study was that fixing steam traps in large

    > buildings didn't pay back. The reasoning was

    > that the heat wasn't lost from the building's

    > envelope. I spoke with the author at the time

    > and asked about the damage that steam in the

    > returns causes through water hammer, and the

    > unbalance that it creates when it comes to

    > distribution. He told me that they weren't

    > looking at any of those issues. They just looked

    > at the steam passing through the traps and where

    > it went. A lot of people used this article at

    > the time to justify not fixing traps.

    >

    > The guy

    > was a P.E., by the way.



  • frank_25
    frank_25 Member Posts: 202
    engineers

    My shop (my employer) gets our fair share of "request for bids" from various weatherization agencies whereupon five or six contractors meet with the specifing engineer and walk thru the project. Not one of these jobs is an open and shut case. We (the contractors) have more questions on clarity, missed controls, or piping arrangements than there should be. Recently, on a three boiler, (60 HP each) hot water system, the PE had the three way valve piped to temper the system supply. He also wanted the boilers to maintain 180*. The supply to the load was being tempered in the boiler room, then returning back to the boilers without being warmed up (no by-pass) We informed him of the problems that would occur such as condensate in a non-condensating boiler. "oh, I'll give out an addendum adding shunt pumps"
    I remember an old saying that went something like this: An engineer knows everything about something, an architect know something about everything, and after dealing with them for so long, I know nothing about anything" But what do I know? I'm just a plumber.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,462
    Hey, I am that school

    been here before...

    Met John a few weeks ago on a different subject.

    Then I introduced him to the two small resi steam boiler working in my school.

    One a two pipe, original building system from a converted Vanderbuilt home turned private school.

    Second a steam unit to hot water heat exchanger, making, duh, hot water,for an addition wing.

    John sent me his article, interesting read, I will propose to management soon.

    I left my meeting with John with one basic question...

    How can steam, with its need for BTUs to get to 212*, compete against a mod con operating at ?130*? or 150* at design?? and far lower swing seasons?

    I'm not sure John or I answered that that day.

    maybe it's not this basic with emitters and all, but to me ya burn so many btus that leave in heat loss.

    Why burn extras for steam.

    Dan ?
    SteamHead ?

    neil
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Neil, the thing is

    those btus are not as "extra" as you think.

    Sure you have to add more heat to the water to get it to boil. But there is quite a bit less water to be boiled in a steam system, than there is to be heated in a hot-water system. So that balances out some of it.

    Pound for pound, steam carries BTUs more efficiently. A pound of hot water carries only as many BTUs as the delta-T being used. If the delta-T is 20 degrees, that pound of hot water can move 20 BTUs. A pound of steam can move 970 BTUs- that's the amount needed to turn that pound of water to steam, and is the amount you get back when the steam condenses. If the steam system is well insulated, and the air is vented from the pipes as it should be, you don't lose much heat on the way from the boiler to the radiation.

    If the steam system uses gravity return, there is no extra electricity or maintenance cost associated with pumps. These costs are often overlooked when people try to compare steam to hot-water. In Baltimore, the local unregulated monopoly just jacked our electric rates 72%. This makes hot-water pumps 72% more expensive to run.

    If your steam system uses a return tank and pump, do not assume they are actually needed. Many aren't. It depends on how the Dead Men originally designed the system.

    There has never, as far as I know, been a head-to-head, apples-to-apples comparison of distributing heat by steam as opposed to hot-water. This would involve both systems installed properly in the same building, sized to the heat-loss, properly insulated and vented, and using the same boiler. I hear John and others screaming that steam is inherently inefficient, and we ask them for their numbers and the relevent information which would make the numbers meaningful, and they say "call someone else" or "I'm working on it" or whatever. The scientifically accurate comparison we need, as far as I know, has never been done.

    Meanwhile, we've been able to cut our steam customers' fuel consumption by just getting the basics right. In a couple of cases the owners have documented savings over 30%! That's not exactly small change anymore. You can see some of these just by following the links in my original post. If you have any questions, you shouldn't need to call someone else- most of the original posters are still here on the Wall.

    I'd start by getting rid of that heat exchanger. Many of these require higher pressures to operate than you'd need for a steam heating system, and they lose a lot of heat in the exchange. Change it to a dedicated hot-water boiler, then tune up the steam system.

    If that was a Vanderbilt mansion, there's a fairly good chance the steam system is a Vapor type. These ran on less than a pound of pressure and as a result were very efficient. Do the rads have two pipes connected to them?

    Also, mod-con boilers tend to require a bit more care then standard units. If the existing equipment was poorly maintained, a mod-con maintained that way might not last very long. And, do you have a way to vent that mod-con that meets Code? We find that in a lot of older buildings, there's no way to do so without major alterations to the building.

    It is possible to make a steam boiler achieve 90% AFUE or better, but American boiler makers are dragging their feet on this. They do it in Canada and the UK on larger units, and those are just the ones I know of. The first American boiler manufacturer that introduces such a boiler for residential use will be able to sell them right off the truck before they even get to the wholesaler.

    Finally, here is a link to an article which describes how trying to convert a steam system to hot-water can cause you no end of trouble, especially if you get on the wrong end of a lawyer. I've seen jobs that have gone wrong as described and our company will not touch them. Go here:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/newsletter.cfm?Id=22

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  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,462
    Vanderbuilt history

    I'm the building super.
    building dates to the mid 1930s.

    The Vanderbuilt system is two pipe.

    TRVs on the steam side, small angle bellows traps on the condensate.

    End of mains have float and thermostatic vent main traps.

    Someone did put a receiver and pump on the return, with vavling and pipe for direct gravity.
    Been meaning to try direct one of these seasons.

    I run the system as low as the 1 -5 # controls allow, and thought about an ounce control.

    The second system should be converted to hot water, I think we all agree there.

    They installed it 1986 with the two header systems connected, but vavled off.

    Thinking must have been to back up the old boiler if it ever quit.

    Would have to do some quick return plumbing though. That's not there.

    And I imagine the second is grosly oversized to act as backup.
    It will cycle like crazy, every 5 minutes or less, making hot water.

    I also know the newer system leaks, so that conversion may come sooner than later.

    Meanwhile we limp long.

    I'm gonna hafta take pictures and post.

    I knew there had to be more to the BTU in and out thing.
    Good rebuttal.

    neil
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Might be a Webster Vapor system

    either a Type R if it originally had a return trap/alternating receiver, or a Modulation system if it did not. Either way it was a top-of-the-line installation for its time. Webster had a penchant for using F&T traps on their steam mains discharging air and water into dry (and sometimes wet too) returns. Most others dripped steam mains straight into wet returns, venting air thru crossover thermostatic traps (Dunham and Hoffman, for example) or ordinary main vents (Trane).

    If you have access to the original plans for this building, they would tell us a lot.

    Restoring these Vapor systems can save a lot of fuel. I have a friend who used to work at a college that had a bunch of them. He got the basics right- the budget officials loved him but the fuel suppliers didn't!

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  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,462
    VW 2

    I wish I had those old prints also.

    I'm too big to crawl around some of the crawlspaces to find all those end of mains.

    Returns are all dry cept for where it drops down to the boiler room floor.

    Who is Webster ?

    And yes, the school owns most of Dan's steam books.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Webster

    was the Warren Webster company, started by the gentleman of that name. They were located in Camden, NJ and were a big name in steam/Vapor/Vacuum heating for decades. Finally in 1969 or so they went belly-up and Dunham bought their assets.

    Send one of your spindly helpers in there to get the info on the traps. You should still be able to get parts for them.

    Look for Webster in chapter 15 of "The Lost Art of Steam Heating". Many of us, myself included, have more-detailed info on these old beauties. Tell us what you find and we'll see what we can do.

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