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ARCO Model K system in the Jersey Skylands

Steamhead
Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
Somewhere in northwest New Jersey, there is a property that was first settled shortly after America won her independence. In the 1930s it was refurbished, added to and christened "Knockbawn" after a place in County Wickford, Ireland.



You enter thru this medieval-looking gate, where both the original Gaelic name and the Anglicized version appear. According to an online Irish (rather than Scottish) Gaelic dictionary which I found here:



<a href="http://www.nic.funet.fi/~magi/opinnot/gaelic/irish-dic.html">http://www.nic.funet.fi/~magi/opinnot/gaelic/irish-dic.html</a>



the Gaelic name "Cnoc-ba'n" translates to White Hill in English.



The security camera is the only indication so far that time has visited this place.
All Steamed Up, Inc.
Towson, MD, USA
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
Consulting

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    edited May 2010
    The Main House

    one of three on the property. This one has the Model K system. One of the others has hot-water and the third has scorched air.



    The left-most part is the original, believed to have been built by a Revolutionary War surgeon. It has floor joists made of logs, and a huge stone fireplace which was probably the only heat source.



    The center and right parts were built in the 1930s by a gentleman named O'Brien, from Newark, NJ. At the moment, the owner doesn't know much about him, but he had enough pull to get electricity and phone service run up the hill. Mr. O'Brien was the one who had the Model K installed.



    The property itself is a place of simple beauty. I have seldom visited a more agreeable place.



    We originally were consultants on this job, but the owner asked us to return and do the de-knuckleheading.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    The system itself

    could not heat the basement rooms properly, even with vents installed on the radiators. Here are two of them, and I'm sure you can see why. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    edited May 2010
    Now the air has a place to go

    Here is the solution. The owner and a friend did the first one, in the storeroom behind the larger of the two rads above. The friend is a welder, and he added thread-o-lets to accommodate all the needed air lines. The second, smaller rad needed its air line to go thru two walls, so we handled that one.



    The boiler is a couple steps down from the main basement level, which allows for a sufficient "B" Dimension.



    We thought the bottom-mounted thread-o-lets might allow water in the dry return to fall into them and block the outgoing air flow. But the water doesn't show up until the venting is nearly complete.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    Temporary Solution

    The thread-o-let that was meant for this rad's air line was too low for proper pitch. So we installed the tee and ran up to a Gorton #1 vent. We'll get that one piped in next time.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    Water pocket repair

    This main was way off-pitch, which allowed water to build up in it. We had to realign it, and of course one of the old cast fittings cracked. The available selection of replacements wasn't great, but we made it work. With the right pitch, those concentric bushings do not trap water.



    You can also see one of the logs that is used as a floor joist in this pic. It still had bark on it.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    edited May 2010
    Inside the Model K rad valve

    you can see the slot where the steam passes into the valve spud. The orificing device is a screw that is turned clockwise to make the orifice smaller.



    These valves are spring-packed. The owner was able to locate replacement washers and packings, and is rebuilding these valves. He's our kind of customer!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    edited May 2010
    In the boiler room

    we find this Weil-McLain 6-62, complete with tankless coil. The owner wants to replace it with a MegaSteam and indirect in the next couple years, so we didn't go crazy on it. But we did brush it out, added valve-on-delay to the burner (which is not the original), went to 140-PSI firing and tuned it on the Testo. We also added heat-transfer grease to the aquastat bulb and well, which eliminated a 20-degree error in its temperature measurement!



    The system now vents its steam mains on about an ounce of pressure, thanks to several Gorton #2 vents installed on newly added thread-o-lets. From there the pressure slowly rises to four ounces and then holds steady. The Vaporstat never trips unless someone shuts radiators off.



    The system has a float trap/air eliminator that also incorporated a thermostatic trap at its dry return inlet. This trap had failed closed, and was part of the reason the pressure was set to 5 pounds when the owner first bought the property. We eliminated that trap, since it's not needed with Vaporstats and Gorton vents.



    Oh, and that old stack economizer is not used. That's a good thing!  And the owner installed all those gauges as well as the Vaporstat. At least I didn't have to hook up a gauge to set the fuel unit's pressure  ;-)



    We all expect this system to use less fuel now.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    cool one!!

    you guys really travel for your service calls!  its hard to get me to go 10 miles, hehe..
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Very neat.

    And I'm very jealous that I don't get to see nearly as many of these older systems in real life.



    So, did the basement ever heat properly in the past? What changed to make it stop? Was the old boiler water line a lot lower than the new one?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,821
    As far as we know

    the basement never heated properly. The present boiler's waterline appears to be lower than the original, judging from the way the float trap/air eliminator was piped. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    I like it when a plan comes together!

    Proof even some of the dead men were knuckle heads. Nice job Frank its very fulfilling to work for nice people and fix things like this.
    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
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