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Boiler Install Results - con't

4Barrel
4Barrel Member Posts: 125
Here are the last three pics, of where i propose to move my main vents. I could not get them to attach to my first post. Thanks for any feedback. Cheers, Jeff

Comments

  • Unknown
    edited October 2009
    Very Nice Job!

    Hi Jeff-   You've done a really great job!   It would sound to me that you're on the right track with thinking about improving your main venting. The faster you get the air out of the mains the faster steam can get into the radiators.



    You mentioned  removing the elbows and adding tees for the vents. There is no need to do that. Just drill a hole in the top of the pipe and use a pipe tap. This isn't high pressure steam we are talking about here so just drilling and tapping the pipe will work fine. Borrow or rent an angle drill and drill a small pilot hole first, then run the tap drill though and then tap the hole.  Did you see the diagram on the Menorah /Antler  I posted a while back? These work really well. Using the union allows you to work on /add another vent easily.



    The "traps" on the drips are to stop the steam from "short circuiting" the mains.

    This was the problem you had on the original returns and why Steamhead suggested that you connect them under water in the wet return.



    Since you mentioned insulation I've attached a chart on insulation efficiency vs cost.

    As you can see 1 inch seems to be the best bang for the buck.  Insulation makes a huge difference. I had the typical old system in that  mains were / are insulated with asbestos and when the old tea kettle boiler was updated, the new boiler piping was left bare.  I added 1 inch insulation to the boiler pipes and it made a noticeable difference in my heating bill.  I'm thinking of doing the return lines but haven't got to that as yet. If heating oil goes up again that will probably get me going!

    Again congratulations on a very nice job. With people predicting a very cold winter, you'll be nice and cozy.
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    thanks for the kudos

    i appreciate it!



    on the tapping - what size do you recommend? recall that on one main I've got the #2, on the other i've got 2 #1's. i'm a tad nervous at this approach, but it would be much easier then pulling apart the pipes.



    the other question i have is about the vent orientation. on the returns, i was able to use the menorah set up (see pic) for the dual #1's, and had enough room to position the #2 vertically. do the Gorton's need to be oriented vertically? there's no way that i'll have room to position the #2 vertically on the end of that main (unless I knock out basement ceiling plaster). does the top of the vent need to be at least 6" above the pipe?



    for insulation, yes, i've got the 1" stuff on order. i'm glad that's the best deal, b/c i'm running low on funds for this project :)



    thanks again for the feedback!!



    cheers,



    jeff
  • Main vents

    Jeff-  Don't worry about getting the full height on the vents just do the best you can.

      Think of it this way. You see vents mounted on the elbow at the end of a main. Now that one I would be worried about as a slug of condensate (water) traveling at 30+ mph slams into the 90 degree elbow with a pretty good impact. You'd want that vent on a good length of pipe. Now if you put the vent hole back from the elbow (15`inches is the normal recommendation but again you do the best that is practical) and loop it back along the pipe antler style, the slug water has to do a 180-degree turn so actually this vent is better protested than the end one.



    Vent hole size - A 1/2 inch open pipe will support 2 each  Gorton #2s . A 3/4 inch open pipe will support 4 each Gorton #2s.  For most mains I'd stick to a 1/2 inch pipe for venting. If you want more vents you can always add another vent pipe. (See Steamhead's signature photo - dual vent pipes with 5 Gortons attached.)



    Gorton #2 s have substantial venting capacity so I wouldn't think you'd need more than 1 per main.  (I may have mentioned this before Gorton #2 s have 3 times the venting capacity of a Gorton #1) You can set up the antler so it is easy to just add another Gorton if you think it's necessary That's the big advantage of using a pipe union on the vent which makes it easy to detach and modify /service.



    Don't sweat the tapping. It's quite easy If you want, get a piece of pipe and do a couple of practice tappings first.   You need a  45/64 drill and a 1/2 -14 pipe tap.

    Maybe you know someone who will lend you one.

    The pipe tap will run you around $35-40 for a good high speed steel one that size.

    Out of curiosity i looked up Harbor Freight and you can get a 3 tap set for under $15

    I don't normally deal with Harbor freight as they sell junk but for just a few holes it might be the way to go. Drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole first and the enlargen the hole using the 45/64 drill.  Put a little oil on the tap and screw it into the hole. The idea is to do  1/8 to 1/4 of a turn and then back off (reverse) to clear the tap,cut another 1/8 to 1/4 turn ,backoff and just repeat till the hole is threaded satisfactorily. It's pretty easy to do. You may need to borrow or rent and angle drill if you don't have one if the clearance above the pipe is limited. If for any reason you are unhappy with the threading, a litte JB Weld epoxy around the inserted pipe nipplewill make a tight fitting.

    - Rod
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    nice detail

    good direction here, exactly what i needed.



    do you think it's worthwhile to still vent the returns?
  • Vents on the returns.

    You could I guess though you have to keep in mind what what the purpose of the vents is and that is to get the air out of the way so the steam can get to the radiators. If the air is out of the way and the steam is able to get to the last radiator on the main  you don't really care if there is air in the main after that. The only benefit I can see is addition venting capacity.

    - Rod
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    got it.

    i'll just cap those off for now - that way i'll be able to make a direct comparison.



    one more q on the antlers: when you say to orient them 180 degrees, do you mean with the cap end of the antler pointed in the direction of the path of the steam?
  • Antler Orientation

    No- Point the antler back towards the direction the steam/condensate is coming from. That way the condensate (water) would have to do a U turn to go into the antler which would slow it down and protect the vent.
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    makes sense

    that's what i thought... will post results when done! thanks again! cheers, jeff
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    new vent location results

    just finished re-locating my main vents from the returns to the end of the mains. the longest main got a gorton #2, the shorter main got 2 gorton#1's and i added my old hoffman 75 to the end of the "sub" main to the longer one - the rads off this branch are painfully slow. plan on upgrading that one to a gorton#1 when I can get a hold of one.



    i couldn't position the taps on the tops of the supply pipes, so i needed to go in from the sides. even then, i still have trouble getting some height - see the hole i needed to cut for the #2... input welcome on suggested improvement.



    results: from a cold start, prior to the change, it took the set of rads connected to the shorter main (with the 2 #1's) about an 45 min to get hot about halfway across, now they are hot all the way across in 25 minutes. and they stay that way. big improvement.



    i still have to test the others, but hoping for similar result.



    feedback welcome, as always...



    cheers,



    jeff
  • Vents

    Hi Jeff-  Your vents look good!  While it might have been better it you could have got them a bit higher you just have to do the best you can. You may find they have a shorter life span and on the other hand they may last 30 years. 



    A friend on mine didn't have room for his vents as he has a finished ceiling in his basement so he cut holes in the ceiling similar`to what you have.  Later he was doing some wiring and came up with the idea of using a "can"  to make room for the vent. "Cans" are the roughout  metal containers that you use for installing recessed ceiling lights . You can get them most anyplace -Home Depot etc.  They make a model for retro fitting. You just cut a hole in the drywall (they have a cheapie cutter for that) and insert the can. It has a locking system to hold it in place. What my friend did was to rip out the electrical stuff in the can , tape the holes, and used a can of spray paint and paint the inside. It looks rather odd (unusual) but looks more finished than a jagged hole an allows room for the vent. Just thought I'd mention it as it was a fairly good solution for the problem if the aesthetics of the hole bothers you.



    I use all Gorton # 2s as it makes the logistics easier to have them all the same and I'm a real believer in there is no such thing as too much main venting.



    That's a really impressive improvement in the heating times and it has to make an economic improvement in your fuel bill also. You'll find an additional time benefit when you insulation you boiler piping /mains. With insulation they aren't losing the heat and the steam quickly stops condensing in the pipes/mains  and moves on to the radiators.  I was amazed at the different insulation made to my systems operation.
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    cans!

    that's a great idea - i'm very familiar with those, but hadn't thought of that use. great idea!. today i did raise up the #2 a bit more, inserting at 45 degree bend so it would sit higher... and hopefully it will help the condensing water to drain out.



    i did more testing today, and only half the building saw the time to heat improvement. the other half is still an issue. in particular, i have two problematic radiators... then run off the "sub" main where i installed single hoffman vent. even after an hour, they were both stone cold. one sits on the first floor, the other on the second, and they are each key to heating those apartments. i really thought the new vent would help here (i swapped the hoffman out for one of the gortons just to make sure it wasn't the vent itself).



    so i feel like i'm taking two steps forward, one step back. without those two rads kicking on , here no way the house will heat evenly. perhaps the insulation is the next step, maybe that will improve the situation. a challenge for tomorrow... thanks for your help...
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,457
    edited October 2009
    So

    do all your mains now get steam to the end at about the same time?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Problem Main

    Is the problem main a parallel or a counterflow.?

    You might try using just a ball valve on the end of the problem main  as a "manual" main vent  and test it and see how it works if it is wide open. That'll give you an idea if it is a venting problem or something else.  Be sure to add some elbows and nipples to duct the blow off steam to a safe place.
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    times for steam to reach the ends

    measured in minutes. "steam" when pipe is hot to touch:

    0:00 - Start

    5:00 - Risers warming

    6:00 - Beginning of both mains hot

    8:00 - Main 1 (shorter main): hot 1/2 way. Main 2 (longer main w/ parallel "sub" main): hot 1/4 way.

    9:00 - Main 1: Hot to end.

    10:00 - Main 2: Hot to mid point. Sub Main hot at beginning (sub-main branches off before mid-point of Main 2)

    12:00 - Main 2: Hot to end.

    13:00 - Branch to Main 2 hot to end (a small branch after mid point, not same as sub main). Sub main hot to mid point. Can hear newly installed vent working.

    17:00 - Sub main hot to end. Two runouts from sub-main are cold.



    It takes about another 5-10 minutes to feel heat in the Main 1 radiators. The 5 connected radiators to Main 1, in spite of being on different floors, all get heat about the same time.



    For Main 2, it gets complicated:

    - 2 second floor rads get heat right away - they are on a branch right off the very beginning of Main 2.

    - 5 rads (mix of first and second floor) get heat, but slowly. the second story ones very slowly.

    - 3 rads off he sub main get heat slowly, in particular the last two that branch of sub main get heat the slowest of all. a second story rad took about an hour with the system steaming consistently. meanwhile, the front half of the house gets pretty darn hot. (FYI-to assist with baselining, i set all the rad vents to "medium")



    Basically, the front half of the house, served by Main 1 and the two hot rads off Main 2, gets heat fast. resulting in two hot apartments. the back half of the house, served by the rest of Main 2, gets heat slow, to very slow, resulting in two cold apartments.



    more info than you wanted, but there you go... thanks for the help....
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    edited October 2009
    the sub-main

    is parallel. i did observe it venting, so that works (thanks to your advice). i suppose i could ad more venting capability here... the sub-main itself is not counter-flow, but one of the runouts from it is counter-flow for a portion, but then it is dripped. this happens to be one of the slowest radiators to get heat.see my post to Steamhead's q for more detail...



    i'm sorry rod, i've edited this b/c i'm not sure i thought about your question carefully enough... i should say i BELIEVE that Main 2 and its "sub"-main are parallel. but i need to validate they are actually operating that way... that appears to be the set up, but i have not double checked the pitch on these mains themselves to be sure. i didn't think about condensate flow in the mains themselves - i'm usually thinking about that in terms of the runouts, drips and risers... if not pitched correctly, that could explain why the sub-main is slow to fill w/ steam...
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,457
    Have you checked to see

    if the boiler is leaking steam above the waterline? This can cause what you're seeing.



    With the boiler off and cold, fill it past the top of the sight glass. If water leaks into the firing zone, you've found the problem. If it doesn't, drain the water back down before firing the boiler again.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    the boiler is

    brand new, so i hope it's not leaking, but i will certainly check this. i didn't notice what you describe when i was skimming...
  • Check Boiler & A Venting Thought

    New or not I'd definitely check it out, especially if Steamhead suggested it. He's a Very  experienced steam pro and I have a lot of respect for his comments. If you haven't looked under the cover, these boilers have sections that are bolted together something like bolting slices of bread together. It may have been that during installation, the boiler was tweeked a bit and this has caused a leak in a gasket between one of the sections. I'd just check it out if nothing else just to eliminate that possibility.



    I've been thinking over your venting on the problem radiators. Maybe you could go with "Gerety's Master Venting Approach"   (Page 118 - in  "The Lost Art.....")  I'd remove the problem radiator and hook up a ball valve with a choke (bushing) to simulate the vent volume you'd be using and time it and see how well a master vent setup would work out. I don't know if you have "The Lost Art..." book  as yet so I've attached  a drawing i modified to show the concept. (As always- Be careful with Live Steam!!)

    - Rod
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    master venting

    is something i thought about for a few of the troublesome rads. yes, i saw this in Lost Art... it will take some doing to get the current valves off...



    i am going to check the pitch of the mains, and may add some more venting to the slow one, as well as looking for leaks... hopefully, something will come of this approach...
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