Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Problems with New Steam Boiler

<span style="font-size:12pt">I was researching steam heating systems and discovered this site.  I have learned a great deal from reading the posts and wish that I had found it sooner.  I am having problems with a new steam boiler and could really use some assistance.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Recently I had to replace a 62 year old American Standard Oil Fired Steam Boiler due to a tankless coil leak.  I converted to gas and a Burnham Independence Boiler was installed.  The system is a single pipe steam with two headers, each feeding 4 radiators (8 total).  There is one riser coming out of the boiler.  The original Honeywell thermostat that controlled the old boiler is still being used for the new boiler.  The new boiler was connected into the existing piping with minimal changes.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">The new boiler seemed to work fine for the first several weeks but the weather was warm and the demand for heat was low.  About one week ago, more heat was needed and many problems came up.  The radiators on one side of the house (fed by one of the headers) never get hot.  In the morning when the thermostat is turned up from 62 to 70 degrees, it takes approximately 3 hours to heat up the house to 70 degrees.  The boiler continually shuts off for 1-2 minutes and then comes back on.  The outside temperature is in the high 40’s or low 50’s and is not really cold.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">I called the contractor who did the install and reported these problems.  They sent a repair tech (not from the installation dept) and he flushed out the system.  It was difficult to determine if flushing the system had any effect.  He also noted that the piping directly over the boiler (called near boiler piping?) was incorrect and was causing the problem.  Basically there is one riser that comes straight up from the top of the boiler.  It connects via an upward angled elbow to another pipe that ends in a “V” type coupling.  Each leg of the “V” feeds one of the headers.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">The tech feels that the new riser is smaller in diameter than the old one and not enough steam volume is being supplied.  This is causing the steam to “follow the path of least resistance” and mostly supplying only one header.  He recommends that the piping be changed to a common supply to improve the flow of steam.  I looked at the installation instructions and the diagram shows two risers.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">The contractor maintains that the re-routing of the near boiler piping was not included in the original job and is charging a significant, additional amount to correct this problem.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">My questions include the following:</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Does this sound like a feasible solution to the symptoms described?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Should there be two risers coming out of the boiler?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Should near boiler piping changes have been included in the installation?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Could the old thermostat or a clogged pipe be causing these problems?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Would it be advisable to get a second opinion on this problem?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">I live in Long Island, NY and could not find a steam expert in this site’s database.  Can anyone recommend a steam specialist in this area?</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">I would really appreciate any suggestions or assistance that anyone would provide.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt"> </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Thanks.</span>

Comments

  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    pictures?

    posting pictures would really help people here to have a look at everything and understand the system.



    what do you have in the way of venting at the end of the mains?

    post pictures of all you boiler control devices as well. and gauges.



    is the waterlevel of the new boiler the same as the waterlevel of the old one?
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,907
    Oh boy...

    You are going to have a fight with your contractor.  There is absolutely no excuse, other than shear ignorance, for not doing the near boiler piping in the way that the manufacturer of the boiler recommends.  Curiously, they do know the minimum way to pipe their boilers.  In my opinion -- but it is just my opinion, and the lawyers are who counts -- correct near boiler piping should have been included in the installation, and probably at not much more cost.  Without knowing the size of the boiler and the size of the risers, I can't be certain, but if the boiler maker called for two risers of such and such a diameter, then indeed there should be two risers of such and such a diameter -- or greater.  Anything less and you (or your contractor) are a test pilot.



    The very first thing to do, though, is to check and see what pressure your contractor set the boiler at.  On the front there is a control -- probably called a pressuretrol -- which controls the boiler running.  Can you take a good, clear, sharp photo of it and post it?  Then we can help you set it.  It should be set for 1/2 psi cutin, and the differential (additive) should be 1 psi.  No more.  Either one.  It is just possible that making this one setting will solve the problems, oddly enough.



    On Find a Pro, try just New York with a very large search area -- I know they're out there.



    And no, the old thermostat isn't causing the trouble, and it is is exceedingly unlikely that there is a conveniently clogged pipe doing it, either.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • I agree wholeheartly

    I agree wholeheartly what the other replies are saying... near boiler pipings are part of boiler nowadays. Must be followed as per instructions.. Be a better educated customer by getting the 'steamy deal books' from this site, far much cheaper than lawyer, etc... yes yes do post some pictures of the boiler and pipings!
  • Jim Pompetti
    Jim Pompetti Member Posts: 552
    Piping

    Go to the instruction , Its all there . If it matchs your ok , if not get them back to make it right
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 804
    Besides Any Near Boiler Piping Issues...

    ...has anyone checked the "heat anticipator" setting of your old thermostat?  It may be time for a new thermostat anyway,  one that is properly set for steam system operation. 
    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
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,234
    Maybe a band-aid ?

    Check the steam vent and drop the steam pressure? Start basic and buy time to get them back to pipe it as the book that comes with it says to. There maybe other issues that are not even clear yet such as returns that need changed and other sorts of things. Best of luck. One last note if the Steam lines above the water level are copper that is also a big no no.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • GeorgeM
    GeorgeM Member Posts: 2
    Contractor's Response

    Even after a long and heated conversation, the contractor who did the boiler installation refuses to correct the problem with the near boiler piping without an additional charge.  He maintains that it was not specified in the original contract and was not included in the price.  He did offer to meet, go over the job and to negotiate the price with me.

    The house is only being heated about 50% right now and must be fixed soon as it is getting colder.

    I did find a Professional listed nearby in New Hyde Park named Matt Sweeney, Triple Crown Plumbing and Heating.  Would a second opinion be a good idea?
  • DavidK_2
    DavidK_2 Member Posts: 129
    You would think

    that when you pay somebody to install a new boiler that they would follow the instructions and specifications provided with the new boiler. At least that is what I would expect; but apparently that is not always the case, and has to be written into the contract? It would seem to me that if the contractor installed the boiler in a way not compatible with the instructions, then it was not installed properly. If they were any good they'd stand behind their work and complete a proper installation (assuming for the moment that they did not)



    You payed for a new boiler, and installation, with the reasonable assumption that the boiler should work. If the installer did not bring up the "optional" cost of installing properly, then you should not be responsible for paying additional costs to have a properly functioning boiler.



    On the other hand, if you had existing problems with the system it would be unreasonable to expect that a new boiler would fix all those problems. A heating system is a "system", a boiler is only part of it.



    I would certainly get a second opinion before I payed the original installer to do any more work on your system. (I'd also get very familiar with the install manual to determin what the install specifications are.) Good luck
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,907
    Matt's

    a good man.  He will give you a good second opinion -- which will probably agree more or less with what we've been saying, although as noted if there are other potential problems he will probably find those too!



    I go back to what I said before, though -- you may have to go the legal route to get anything out of the other contractor.  Shouldn't have to -- he should make it right, and gladly, but... I'll stop right there so Dan doesn't have to edit what I say!!!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steve_95
    Steve_95 Member Posts: 27
    Good Steam man

    I'm just a steam/homeowner on Long Island but I have a few thoughts.

    First, Matt sweeney Triple Crown is EXCELLENT for steam.  He did my install a few years ago (I found him here, FAP) and saved me a load of $ on fuel. I highly recommend him!

    Second, you mention you converted to gas.  Make sure your your stat is set to gas and not oil, maybe change it out.  I installed a Honeywell Vision Pro and it does a good job.

    Finally, your contract should read (ideally) "install as per manufacturer's Specs.  In my opinion that includes correcting near boiler piping to make it work.  Again only my opinion but it would seem to be  implicit.
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 804
    Have You Checked

    Your thermostat yet?  It may be the cause of your boiler's over-cycling.
    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
This discussion has been closed.