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Pressure too High

RyanC
RyanC Member Posts: 38
I've recently bought an old house (built in 1850) with a Burnham V-33 steam system.  I've been reading through a lot of the posts just trying to learn about steam (The last house used a heat pump.  Yeah, a heat pump in New England that was brilliant).  I see a lot of people talking about the systems running at 1-2psi?  When my boiler is running to heat the house the gauge on the front of the boiler typically reads 8-10psi and occasionally will hit 12psi.  Should that be like that?  Should that gauge only be reading 1-2psi? I do know for a fact the burner was faithfully serviced every year (it was my grandparents house) and no one has ever said anything about the system not working right.

Thanks!

-Ryan

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,340
    One pipe, or two?

    Steam is amazingly forgiving -- sometimes!  I would be reasonably certain that it will work better -- and probably cheaper -- at a lower pressure.  I'd try scaling that pressurestat back to half a pound cut in, and a differential (additive) of a pound, and see what happened.  You can always dial it back up!



    The possible problem is that there might be a trap or vent somewhere that has just given up under the higher pressure, although if it is one pipe and radiator vents, while they don't work well at higher pressures, at least they don't (usually!) give up completely.  Ditto main vents -- I forget the maximum working pressure...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • RyanC
    RyanC Member Posts: 38
    It's a one pipe

    It's a one pipe system.  As far as I can tell all of the radiator vents work.  I cannot for the life of me locate the main vent....
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,340
    It's possible

    that there isn't a main vent.  Should be, of course, but there may not be.



    Try it at the lower pressure and see where we get to.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 754
    What Does Your Pressure Gauge Read

    When the boiler is not running?  If it is reading zero when off, you are running too high a steam pressure.  Most of the time, the radiators should heat and the house get warm with hardly any pressure showing at the gauge.  Really, truly, a 1/2 psi steam pressure, when the steam mains are properly vented, should be enough. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • RyanC
    RyanC Member Posts: 38
    When the boiler is not running

    the gauge generally reads zero.  Sometimes when it is running for domestic hot water it will go up to 1 or 2psi.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,324
    That's too much pressure

    time to have a Steam Man look at it. Try the Find a Professional page of this site. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Durafoil
    Durafoil Member Posts: 2
    Is your gauge attached directly to boiler?

    I have seen this before, 30 psi gauge attached directly to the boiler and it was actually reading the water spalshed into the gauge. Either ignor it and check the pressure on a low pressure gauge high up with your pressuretrol or try to get the 30 psi gauge out and up it as much as possible with a pigtail

    On the other hand, you might have a dirty boiler and jumpy waterline.

    I am no pipe fitter/plumber just happend to be a home owner went through 4 steamers in two house and a few friend's boilers as well. It always distress me how cheap the boiler manufacters are and how bad the inatll can be.
  • RyanC
    RyanC Member Posts: 38
    Does the pipe going to the pressuretrol need to be cleaned?

    There is a curved pipe going from the front of the boiler into the pressuretrol.  Is that what people call the pigtail?  Could that just be gunked up? Can I drain the boiler and take that off to clean it? I took the cover off the pressuretrol and the switch will move nothing in there seems to be jammed (I was able to move it with a screwdriver.  I cut the power at the breaker first).
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