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Steam experts: how does this install look

JH_2
JH_2 Member Posts: 57
Hi all-



A few years back you guys helped me out resolving some issues on the steam system in my apartment when the L/L wouldn't. Now I've bought my first home (with steam of course) and I'm back again as a homeowner looking for similar advice.



Background:

- I'm located in Holliston, MA  (~25 miles w of Boston)

- I'm a H/O, not a Pro, but I did my homework and read LAOSH

- I bought this home this summer. Its an antique cape with single pipe steam.

- The boiler was replaced in '05 by the gas company with an Burnham  IN5 and superstore ultra (40gal I think)  indirect

- As best I can tell previous owner hasn't had it serviced or cleaned since '06.

- During the inspection we did fire it up and I didn't note any significant hammer or short cycling, but that was in the spring and we didn't cycle it very long.





I'm collecting names from the find a pro list to find an expert to come in, look it over, correct things the gas company did wrong, and get it serviced before winter.



Before I do that I have an  idea of some issues that need adressing but I'd like the opinions of the experts here..



1 - P/Os had the pressuretrol cranked to 3/5. I reset it to 0.5/1.5



2 - Dirty boiler water. I drained, refilled, and fired it to boil once



3 - It appears to be about 40% over-sized comparing the measured EDR to the net rating. I have the calculations at home and will post them tonight after work. I dont know how to account for the load of the indirect though.



4 - The gas company removed the asbestos and didn't put in new main insulation. I can do the insulation myself, but if its already oversized would that make it worse and potentially cause short cycling?



5 - The temperature limit control for the indirect is missing, so on a DHW call it steams and heats up all the mains.



6 - The IN5 has 2 riser taps. They piped a single riser to the header feeding 2 mains, which by the Burnham manual is "acceptable" however it shows 2 risers into a drop header as preferred. 



7 - The main vents are all fairly small and Teed at the end of each dry return (rather than a few inches before the drop).  I have some larger Gorton #1's I can put on, but I wonder if it should have even more venting and have the vents moved.



What do you guys think? What issues do you think should be corrected immediately and what would you take a wait and see approach? Anything else you can see wrong from the photos?



I'll post again tonight with my calculations on the EDR and some more photos.



Thanks,

Jeremy

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,714
    Start with the indirect hookup

    you need to keep the boiler from steaming when only the indirect calls for heat. This is done with an aquastat either on the boiler or in the water loop to the indirect. Also, you need a bypass pipe between the return and the circulator inlet so that when the boiler IS steaming, the water temp in the loop will not exceed 180° F. This will help keep the pump from cavitating. Cavitation will shorten the circ's life.



    Speaking of the circ, it should made of bronze rather than iron, and should not be a wet-rotor type. The water in the bottom of a steam boiler does not properly lubricate a wet rotor, and may eat it up if there is any grit in it. The proper type to use on this setup is a 3-piece oil-lubricated bronze unit such as a B&G 100AB or Taco 110B. These are not cheap but will last a long time in this use.



    I would definitely redo that header, using two risers. I'd also increase the size of the horizontal portion of the header to 2-1/2" and provide an individual takeoff for each steam main. Burnham says you can get away with 2" but we find that the larger size helps dry out the steam even more.



    Measure the length and diameter of each steam main and we can tell you what vents you need.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    edited September 2009
    steamhead

    Steamhead,

    thanks for the quick reply!



    Yep, I figured that the indirect was piped wrong. . The Burnham manual calls for the second aquastat to limit the temp to 180 on DHW only call to be on the boiler itself. Its that second control that  I'm missing - thanks for the confirmation. And thanks about the tip on the circulator setup. You were right, Im pretty sure mine is iron and there is no bypass. I'll make sure to ask about those when I get some guys in.



    I'll take some more pics also. The circulator loop piping is a mix of copper and iron. I don't know if it should be all iron or what.



    I'll measure the mains tonight and send that info along with the radiator EDR calcs I did.



    Thanks,

    Jeremy
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    Mains dimensions & EDR calcs

    Steamhead -



    Here are the mains:



    #1  36 ft of 2" pipe, with 7.5 ft of 1" dry return after last radiator take off.



    #2  12 ft of 2.5" pipe, then 31 ft of 2", followed by 9 ft of 1" dry return



    There is a sub main (?) that takes of where #2 reduces from 2.5" to 2". This loop has 25 ft of ~1.5" pipe returning by 23 ft of 1" dry return.



    The 3 dry returns each have one Vent Rite #35 main vent at the end.



    --------------



    And the EDR calcs.  Using the tables in lost art I added up 257 sq. ft. of EDR in the house.  The IN5 manual has the net output at 358.
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    Indirect loop

    Couple more shots of the plumbing to the indirect
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,714
    edited September 2009
    First, the main vents

    #1- 2 Gorton #1 vents

    #2- 1 Gorton @2 vent

    #3 (sub main)- 1 Gorton #1 vent



    The indirect circ is an iron-body Taco 007, which is a wet-rotor unit. Change it, for the reasons noted above.



    The boiler is a bit bigger than needed, but a long as it doesn't short-cycle.......
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    thanks

    Thanks Steamhead.



    I'm going to do the main vents and insulation myself.



    I contacted a few folks from the find a pro list here. Most were too far away and it sounds like repiping the header would cost  more than I'd save in fuel for many many years. So I'm just going to have the temp control done and the circulator looked at (and cleaning of course).





    Thanks,

    Jeremy
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    edited September 2009
    vents in

    So I got the new main vents in. I also used the balancing with a venting chart to set all the radiator vents (mix of ventrite #1 and Hoffman 1A's). 



    I just ran the heat from a cold start. 8 minutes till the mains started heating. 15 minutes to heat every main to the end. A little under 20 min and every radiator (except 1) is hot.



    So far so good, and no hammering or surging or hissing vents. But there are still 2 issues I see:



    1 - I have the pressuretrol set for 0.5/1.5 but yet by the time all the main vents closed it was reading close to 3psi on the 0-30 gauge, and once all the rads were hot the gauge was reading over 4psi and the burner was still running..  It would only shut down if I cranked the main scale all the way down to the bottom. Pressuretrol label says Honeywell L404 F 1367.



    What do you think - bad pressuretrol? or a clog? or a bad gauge?



    2 - One radiator in the front hall doesn't heat. Valve turns ok and is wide open, so I took of the vent and felt nothing.  Seems like a bad valve.



    I have a heating contractor coming on Thursday and I'll ask them to check all these issues.
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    update

    Its now been over 30min since I turned off the thermostat and shut down the boiler.  0-30 gauge still reads 4psi.



    So I guess its a bad gauge and the pressuretrol is probably ok ??
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,714
    edited September 2009
    Probably

    either that or the pigtail is plugged. If the gauge has an internal syphon, replace it and add a brass pigtail. If the pressuretrol pigtail is iron, replace it with a brass one. Iron pigtails rust up and clog too easily.



    Check the pitch of the line leading to the cold radiator. You may have a water pocket therein.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Pheloa
    Pheloa Member Posts: 2
    Burnham install

    Find the manual if you don't have it you can find it on line . One of the things I like about the Burnham line is they have dedicated tapping for the aquastat as well as the feed and return for the indirect. By not using them you only circulate the water in half the boiler allowing the other half to sit there and just lose heat up the chimmney. Using their aquastat tapping also conserves heat by preventing unnecessary firings.
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    edited September 2009
    radiator valve is ok, gauge looks bad?

    Radiator:

    Its a small radiator so I was able to disconnect and move it to check the valve.  It is opening properly. vent is also clear. I checked the pitch of the runout, its sloping down to the main all the way and it has the proper 45deg takeoff. Is it possible the pipe is completely plugged up?



    taking the run-out apart is more than I want to tacle myself so I'm going to leave this one to the pros when they get here Thursday.



    Gauge:

    After 45 minutes yesterday it still showed 4psi yet the mains were cool enough to hold onto without a burn.  So then I tapped on it and the reading started to drop.  Seems like a bad gauge? I did order one the the 0-5psi jobs Ive seen recommended here, so I'm going to put that on a tee with the pressuretrol once I get the right fittings and new brass pigtail (need to go to the plumbing supply house for that and the mains insulation).



     I'm going to have the guys take it off and check the pigtail when they come for service Thursday before I try that - I don't feel like removing the ptrol is something I cant do but I want to watch the guys do it first to be sure I wont break anything.
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    re: burnham install

    Yup, I do have the burnham install guide, the installer left it (wonder if they read it?) 



    They did use the correct in and out tappings for the indirect loop.  They left off the boiler side aquastat (I can see the closed punch out in the jacket where it should be)
  • JH_2
    JH_2 Member Posts: 57
    radiator is hot now.

    Ok, so after taking off the radiator and cheking the valve I waited a day and ran the heat again.Now the cold radiator got hot.  !?



    Hmm, maybe the valve was sticky and I didn't get it all the way open the first time? In any case looks like the problem is gone.



    thanks again everyone.
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