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Possible Drop Header Opportunity

4Barrel Member Posts: 125
Hi All -

Well, my boiler replacement project is proceeding, albeit slowly. I do have my new boiler on order, but i don't expect delivery for another week (i ordered the version with electronic ignition which was out of stock). So the extra time has allowed me to address the return and venting modifications (THANKS to all of you who provided such great advice!), and now has gotten me to thinking that maybe this might be an opportunity to change to a drop header config.

The original set up had both boiler taps connected with a offset to the header with 4-1/2" nipples (see first pic). The problem with this set up is that the burner access panel was facing the wall, w/ little to no room for servicing. So, my plan is to reorient the replacement with the access door facing out, which will require an increase in the offset to about 8"

The next pic shows a possible drop header in this new scenario - just one side of it b/c i'm lousy at photoshop :) I would need to raise the output pipes by 8" or so. The idea is to keep the header in the same spot so i won't need to re-do the piping up above (i suppose i could lower the header by increasing the lengths risers to the mains instead, but then i'd have to chop down the equalizer).


- is this worth the effort?

- will i get somewhat "better" steam by increasing the offset, regardless of the drop header?

- is there a better approach?

Thanks for your ideas and input!



  • Dropheaders

    Hi Jeff-

       Actually  a drop header  is less 'effort" than what is usually installed. I'm not sure why more installations / factory drawings don't specify a drop header. Cost wise you're only talking a couple of elbows and a couple of pipe nipples more.

    Advantages -

    1. The risers can be put higher - height equals dryer steam.

    2. On a dropheader-  the joints to the boiler are true swing joints. With the extra  elbows, the joints are a complete universal joint and therefore expansion doesn't put any strain on the boiler sections

    3. The complete universal swing joints of the dropheader make the piping much easier to fit to the boiler. There is no chance of a slightly longer/shorter cut pipe putting tension into the header system.

    4. The drop header keeps the steam and condensate (water) flows separate. If the risers join the header from the side in the conventional way, the water flow and the steam flow collide especially on a twin riser system. On a drop header any  water from the riser drops to the bottom of the header pipe and the steam stays at the top of the header pipe allowing for more water`to precipitate out as the steam travels along the header. Result = dryer steam

    Downside?- I can't really think of any other than a slight bit of material cost /labor though I'm sure this is off set easily by the ease of installation over the conventional header.

    I wouldn't lower your present header height. If anything go higher on the risers.

    You might want to look at this link to the Library on Steam piping. There are a lot of good examples of steam headers there.  Masterpieces from the Steam Super Pros!


     Look at riser height and piping carefully as you can learn a lot.

    I think I already posted a link to Gerry Gill's website. http://www.gwgillplumbingandheating.com/webapp/GetPage?pid=1

    You can learn a lot by looking at the pictures of dropheaders he and Steve have done. They are works of art!

    I was also thinking that you might want to post pictures of the rest of

    your system's near boiler piping in case there is something else that

    needs to be modified. The drip problem would have been missed if you hadn't have posted a picture.

    - Rod
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    do the dimensions

    in the altered photo look acceptable? might be hard to figure from the pic.

    i was a little concerned the feeds from the boiler might be too tall... i'm glad the header height can stay the same, that really would make it easier. my plan would be just to re-thread the one union closest to the riser take offs, turning the header 45 degrees, then installing a lengthened offset and upper riser segments. i think this is very doable.

    here is a pic of the loop/drip set up (the supply line to the boiler has been removed - but i've drawn it back in so you can see where it went.). my plan is to keep this the same, with the exception of adding the now separate drip connection for each dry return (main 1, main 2). one lingering thing from the last thread: what size should i make the drip connections? the previous single drip was 1.5" should i downsize, and make each 1"?
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