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steam downsizing?

SolarGuy
SolarGuy Member Posts: 13
I have a customer that has an existing one pipe steam system. Boiler is only about 5 years old and can produce 446 sq ft of steam. Peerless ECT 03. House is broken into 2 apartments 1st and 2nd floor, 5 steam rads on each floor. My customer would like to replace the steam system with FHW on the first floor and leave the steam connected to the 2nd floor. Based on Dans book, and I know FHW but not steam, it says the system must be balanced. I think the house was built around the 20's and I think it was designed coal tho its on oil now.



If I cap the steam pipes at the first floor and leave 2nd floor connected will I be creating problems? how about efficiency? the oil bill is huge now and he wants it to go down. I won't touch the pipes in the basement because of asbestos and he won't take it out.

so the boiler will be at least twice as big as it needs to be.



thoughts?



thanks

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,422
    splitting up a steamer

    why not get the system working as well as it did when it was first installed [coal-fired era]? this makes the assumption that the present new boiler was properly sized for the radiation, and that the problems causing the high fuel consumption are related to bad piping, high pressure, and inadequate main venting.--nbc
  • SolarGuy
    SolarGuy Member Posts: 13
    more data

    sorry, I missed giving you a important data.



    the system needs to be split in 2 for the 2 apartments so the tenants can pay the fuel bill for what they use instead of being on a common system and having the landlord pay the fuel.



    there r some problems with the existing system. No main vent, only 1 of the 2 main steam taps being used, after the header and bull head Tee, one of the pipes slopes DOWN 4 inches before going to the main feed on that side. Dan would frown!!! lol



    having said all that, knowing if I can split it in to 2 systems is the first thing. I could remove that boiler and fix the pipes and replace with a smaller steam unit for one floor and put FHW on the other.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,422
    edited April 2010
    jumpy fingers double post!

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,422
    landlord's reduction of fuel expense

    how long will the payback on this project be? how will those 1-pipe rads ever work on hot water without leaking?

    if i were in his shoes, i would be content to have the system working as well and economically as possible, with the fuel bill  divided up between the tenants, or any extreme usage. perhaps the thermostat could be in a locked area with a remote sensor in each apt.

    it seems to me that you can buy a lot of fuel for the cost of one hot water system [maybe all new piping & rads] plus one new steam boiler.--nbc
  • SolarGuy
    SolarGuy Member Posts: 13
    even more data

    no plan to use the existing rads for FHW. new baseboard would be installed on 1 floor.



    its a 2 story house with 1 apt upstairs and 1 down. the tenants need to be on their own elect, fuel etc so they take some responsibility for the amount used. they r small apts so a new heating system is really not that big.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,324
    I agree

    you'll have to straighten out the steam system anyway, so make that the first thing you do. That huge oil bill is not going to go away otherwise. 
    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
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,324
    Why not

    split it into two steam systems?



    This way, the existing radiators and piping could be used, which would minimize material costs.  Not only that, but almost all the work would be limited to the basement area, minimizing disruption upstairs.



    The only new piping needed would be a new steam main and five runouts.



    Keep it steam.
    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
  • SolarGuy
    SolarGuy Member Posts: 13
    good idea

    I had not considered 2 steam systems, but why not.  My original question still remains. The existing boiler is 108,000 BTHU, each apartment only requires 40,000 BTHU. Sounds like I need 2 new steam boilers (on nat gas) that are much smaller than existing correct? If I use the existing boiler for one it will be grossly wasting oil.



    Thanks.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,339
    There you go...

    sounds like a plan to me!
    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
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,422
    making things better

    when you give him the proposal for the 2 systems, also give him a proposal for making what is there work as it should.

    when you say the apts are small, then that means small rents as well. if he is not willing to spend money on asbestos remediation, then i see him having trouble with 2 separate steam systems, being paid off with 2 small rents. if he can see that his fuel bills may have been twice as much as they should be, he is more likely to fix what is there.--nbc
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