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The Best Heating System

Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
Built in 1909-1910, the Louis P. Best residence is a very large example of the Spanish Mission style of architecture, with 8400 gross sq. ft. of floor space.  In addition to the main residence, there is an adjacent 2 story, 3-car garage with chauffer’s apartment above, which adds another 2100 sq ft.  The structures of the buildings were considered “fireproof” at the time, with all walls and floors being masonry and reinforced concrete.  There are numerous examples of complex engineering in the construction of the house.  Perhaps an equal feat, was the moving of a very large Victorian house from the site to a vacant lot down the street, to make way for the construction of L P Best’s new home.  The residence was converted to apartments in 1928.

 

The heart of the heating system appears to have been a firebox/fire tube steam boiler.  The very long and narrow foot print of the boiler in the concrete floor seems to indicate this.  Local building permits indicate that a gas conversion burner was installed in 1954.  In 1967, the boiler was replaced with a Weil-McLain low pressure steam boiler.  I’m not sure what happened, but this boiler had a very short life.  In 1975, the boiler was replaced with a Pennco  Model  40M 1050S, which is a 1,050,000 BTU/HR cast iron sectional boiler, very similar to the Pennco 41J series currently in production.  See manufactures information at <a href="http://penncoboilers.com/product_detail.asp?key=168">[u][size=12][color=#800080]http://penncoboilers.com/product_detail.asp?key=168[/color][/size][/u]</a> .  After 35 years of service, the current Pennco boiler seems to be in very good operating condition.

 

Original total radiation was 1865 sq ft.  Radiators appear to be Sun Radiators.  They are unmarked except for a small “S” in the casting.  They are undecorated versions of those shown in the Sun Boilers and Radiators Catalog; available on this website at, <a href="http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/articles/1064/210.pdf">[u][size=12][color=#800080]http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/articles/1064/210.pdf[/color][/size][/u]</a> .  My assumption is that this undated catalog is from an earlier period, and that the radiators were simplified and modernized by 1909.  The overall shapes of the castings are identical.

 

All radiators were fitted with ½” Dunham #2 Traps, seven of which remain.  Steam inlet valves are at the bottom of the radiator and are piped large.  Radiators 80 EDR and above are 1 ½”; 30-79 EDR, 1 ¼”; and less than 30 EDR, 1”.  In the boiler room, there is evidence of a return trap, with a ¾’ steam pipe feed that has been capped in mid air.  There is also evidence of other floor mounted equipment adjacent to the original boiler location.  There is original electrical service, in conduit, to the boiler room.  These cloth and rubber insulated wires are both red in color, with no neutral, and pass through a more modern DPST fused disconnect switch.  This would seem to indicate that there was something running on 220v in the beginning, and I assume it was a vacuum pump.  This electrical service has since been changed to 120v, with one leg of the old wires being cut off of the terminal screws in the disconnect switch and remounted to the neutral bar.  Of course, it was also reconnected to the neutral at the main panel.  This service now powers the boiler controls.

 

When the building was purchased in June 2008, about half of the radiators had air vents installed.  This is a sure sign of traps having failed in the closed position.  In addition, there had been F&T traps added to the condensate return lines at the point they drop into the vented condensate receiver tank.  This is obviously someone’s “fix” for radiator traps that had failed in the open position.  Some of the original radiation had been removed from service.  These were as follows, all radiators in the garage, 2 large indirect radiators that provided fresh air, a kitchen radiator, and a couple of small ones in the original side hall.  Two new radiators were added at the end of very long laterals when the front corner screened porch was enclosed to make additional living space.  Additionally, there had been a few replacements where small tube radiators with a much smaller EDR than the original had been installed.  In the front stair hall, the foot prints of the original radiator and the height of the original heat shield indicate that the original radiator was a 3-column by 22-section, with a resulting EDR of 110.  It had been replaced with a small tube midget with an EDR of 42.  All of this resulted in a total connected EDR = 1285 sq ft, less than half the 2600 sq ft rating of the boiler!  The boiler was controlled by a Honeywell round thermostat located in the 2nd floor hallway, at the top of the open staircase.  This only source of heat in this space was the grossly undersized foyer radiator.  Even with the thermostat set at 68, most of the space was over heated.  Heat was uneven and the boiler short cycled. Annual gas bills topped $8700.

 

My previous experience with steam consisted of operating a large system in a school building and an even larger high pressure steam system in a hospital complex.  While I had considerable experience with cast iron hot water systems in historic properties, I did not have experience with low/no pressure steam residential systems.  I had a lot to learn, but luckily I found the Heating Help website.  It has been a fantastic resource!

 

Immediately after the purchase of the building in June, 2008, I put together a plan of attack.  Prior to the beginning of the heating season, the following items would be completed:

·         Remove all air vents from radiators.

·         Repair and/or replace all defective radiator traps.

·         Remove the 2 F&T traps from the condensate return mains.

·         Lower the firing rate of the boiler.

·         Install a control system that would regulate firing time.

 

I began the project by removing all of the air vents from the radiators.  A simple task!  Repairing radiator steam traps was deferred until the heating system was brought into operation in the fall, so that the operation of the trap could be observed.  The second summertime work item was the installation of a Tekmar 279 controller.  I included 2 indoor sensors; one in a north facing apartment and another in a south facing apartment.  They are set up so that the colder of the two sensors has priority.  An interesting issue with the Tekmar control is what I believe is an error in the installation instructions.  For one pipe steam, it shows installing the condensate sensor on the riser to the very last radiator.  This is to sense when steam has been established.  Their instructions for a two pipe system indicate that the sensor should be installed on the condensate line coming out of the last radiator in the system.  This location would cause the system to not sense a steam established condition until all of the radiation was completely heated.  This would produce wild swings in temperature; at least it would in this building.  I installed the sensor on the steam main, just after the last riser, in a location where the steam main essentially becomes a dry return and heads back to the boiler room.  Operation of the Tekmar system has been good.

 

The next task was the repair and replacement of the steam traps.  I bought a few traps online and started to replace a few of the Dunham #2 traps that were failed closed.   I failed to realize the significance of flow restrictions by different trap manufacturers.  The Dunham traps had a very large venting capacity, almost like blowing through an open pipe.  When I replaced these with a new style Hoffman 17c, it did not work so well.  Also, I replaced a Dunham side outlet trap with a bottom outlet trap, and in the process created a nice little water seal.  As a result, I purchased Barnes and Jones cage units and caps to repair the old Dunham #2 traps that remained in the system.  These have been very satisfactory.   Other traps have been replaced or repaired.  All existing Dunham Bush 1E traps have been repaired by installing new thermostatic discs.  In a few locations, Armstrong TS-2 traps have been used as replacements for failed traps, but they too have a very unrestricted passage and seem to perform the same as the Dunham traps.

 

When all of the traps were repaired I removed the F&T traps from the returns.  These were causing a significant restriction in the venting of the radiators.  I noticed that the time that it takes for the mains to vent suddenly got much longer.  Some of the radiators heat very quickly, while others seemed to have slowed down.  A few of the rooms in the house were not getting enough heat, and with great reluctance, I reinstalled air vents so that those radiators would get steam quicker, and heat more sections in each firing cycle.  It has taken me most of a year to conclude that one Hoffman #75 Main Vent, and one Dole #5 Quick Vent, do not provide sufficient venting for the system to operate properly.

 

Two grossly undersized radiators were replaced.  In the foyer, two salvaged radiators were disassembled and reassembled to create a 22 section, 110 EDR radiator.  The radiators used are United States Radiator, 38”x 5 tube, large tube style.  In another room, a similar process was followed, constructing a 19 inch tall window radiator.  Again, it is a United States Radiator, large tube design, 18 sections @ 4.25 sq ft / sec. for a total EDR of 76.5.  Again, I had faint foot marks in the floor from the original radiator and limitation in height created by the presence of the window sill to help me to know the actual size of the original radiator. 

 

It seems that someone had already lowered the firing rate by adjusting the regulator.  The boiler was firing at 800,000 BTU, but I was able to lower it to about 725,000 BTU.  Any additional reduction will require a change to the orifices, or the installation of a 2 stage gas control valve.  I have not checked the manifold pressure, and that will be done this fall to help guide further firing rate reduction efforts.

 

The current work involves calculating the volume of the steam mains and increasing the venting capacity.    An inherent design error appears to be the connection of the dry returns on 2 of the 3 loops on the system.  However, it appears that this may have been compensated for by the installation of a vent in a distant area of the front loop.  At an unknown time in the past, the vent was removed.  I will reinstall vents in this location, as well as additional vents in the other two locations and see how the system works.   (See attached file)

 

At present time, I am placing an order for additional helpful materials from Heating Help.  They are as follows; Balancing Steam Systems using a Vent Capacity Chart, EDR – Ratings for Every Darn Radiator, Lost Art of Steam Heating, We Got Steam Heat, and Greening Steam.  I can’t wait for them to arrive!



Attached images are Best Residence 2008, Best Residence 1923, Struck Residence being moved from Site, Louis P Best, sketch of basement steam mains.
Dave in Quad Cities, America
Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
http://grandviewdavenport.com
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Comments

  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,510Member
    edited June 2010
    Yes, I would say you have the best

    no pun intended......



    The Sun catalog you found dates from 1905. I contributed it, so I know ;-)  As the 1900s progressed, Victorian ornamentation fell out of favor and by 1920 I doubt if anyone was still making ornate radiators. I've seen some American Rococo rads that had the scrolled ridge at the top but no scrollwork whatsoever anywhere else on the radiator sections. It makes sense that they would have simply removed the scrollwork from their existing patterns to update their product offerings.



    The company that made the Sun equipment became part of the United States Radiator Company, a 1920s combine of a group of smaller companies. U.S. merged with National Radiator Corp. in the late 1950s, forming National-US. Crane bought them out a few years later, then sold their boiler and radiator division to Slant/Fin in the 1970s. So today's Slant/Fin boilers are descendants of the old Sun boiler/radiator line. 



    The piping around the radiators is also of interest. The Dunham equipment was probably added later. The earliest Dunham publication I have (which came from the U.S. Patent Office Library) dates to 1909, describing their "Vacuo-Vapor system". This used a receiving tank which condensed some steam to form a slight vacuum, and was the first or one of the first Dunham systems. This book specifically states that this system could be added to an existing installation. The large, bottom-connected supply valves tell me this was probably a one-pipe system originally, and later converted to a Dunham. The Dunham traps in this book look very similar to later ones I've seen.



    The Dunham company still exists, now called Marshalltown Engineered Products Co., or MEPCO. And they still make traps in that style.



    With regard to the dry return connection problem, are you referring to the Front loop connecting with the Side loop before dropping into the wet return? If so, you're right- they both need to drop to the wet return before connecting. This will insure that some water stands in the drops to keep steam from flowing between loops. Each loop will need its own main vent. And the "plugged vent" you found on the Front loop was a radiator connection, not a vent location. A vent would have been installed at the very end of the main.



    You've probably mentioned it before, but where is this located?
    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
  • Neat System!

    Thanks very much for sharing with us the information on your fantastic system. It must be very rewarding to be able to resurrect such a beauty.

    The books you ordered will be a great help. You might also want to take a look at Gerry Gill's website http://www.gwgillplumbingandheating.com/  Gerry and Steve (with I believe Steamhead's input) wrote the book on venting. You'll find it very useful. On his website, be sure to look at the pictures on venting and also his other sections on steam. His installations are masterpieces.

    - Rod
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited July 2010
    Dunham Original

    Thanks for the feedback and information.  Regarding simplified radiators, U. S Radiator also did the same thing.  There highly ornamented radiators even had lion's heads.  They produced a modernized radiator that was essentially the same casting, but the fancy relief was replaced with some vertical lines on the section on the sides of the fin part fo the sections.  These simple lines converged into a simple circular patter at the top and bottom of the section.  Looked quite nice, really.

    Regarding Dunham being added at a later time to the Best steam system, I don't think this was the case.  All of the return piping is install in the same manner as all of the rest of the plumbing and piping in the house - hung by the same type of pipe supports anchored into the concrete and hollow tile ceiling, runs through pipe sleaves whenever passing throug a masonry wall, ( that do not appear to be added), and also, all vertical risers are concealed within pipe chases within the masonry walls of the house.  Also, I find on the Mepco webpage, http://www.mepcollc.com/STEAM%20BROCHURE%20screen.pdf  that Dunham marketed his first steam trap in 1903, and introduced the first radiator trap in 1904.  I am attaching a pdf file of a publication from 1907 entitled Modern Steam Traps.   Look at Figure 55 on page 75.  This is the same Dunham trap that was originally in this house, several of which remain.  I was going to try to take a picture of them, but the camera is acting up.  Also, the 2 indirect radiators, which are no longer in service, have Dunham Air Service Valves on them.  They are piped back into the return piping.  See the attached file, "dunham #2, original traps"  This page is from a later publication, Condensed Catalogs of Mechanical Equipment, pubslished 1916,  but I suspect the air valve was available earlier, since the trap on this same page is the same as the #2 shown in the 1907 book.

    I don't know for sure that the system ever operated on vacuum, or what kind of apparatus may have been used.  Maybe just a very low pressure, "vapor" system.  Note, there is a remote gauge (it is original) located in the dining room, so that the occupants could see what the boiler was doing without having to go the basement. 

    The Best Residence, now apartments is located in  Davenport, Iowa, 150 miles from Marshaltown, where Dunham was located.  The house is amazing in the use of a number of very innovative engineering techniques.  The structure makes use of hollow tile and reinforced concrete for all floor systems.  In some places, walls are supported by reinforced concrete beams, when open space was required below.  The architect was the local firm, Clausen and Clausen, a father and son team.  The younger, Rudolph Clausen, was educated at M.I.T., having graduated in 1904. 

    The owner, Louis P Best was innovative in his own right, having been educated in the universities in Germany, he came to Davenport in 1871 to operate the first Corn Syrup plant in Iowa.  The investors could not figure out how to run it successfully, and closed the plant down after 18 months.  Best came out, and operated the plan successfully.  A few years later, the plant exploded and was destroyed by fire.  A new plant was built with a large 5 story brick buidling, large bank of boilers, high smokestack, etc,  according to Best's designs, and was in operation wihin 6 months.  This plant was a huge financial success, and the source of Best's fortune.

    So, again, don't really know what, if any vacuum aparatus was present, but feel very confident that the Dunham traps and 2-pipe system was there from the beginning.  (wouldn't a 110 sq ft radiator be connected with a 2" valve on 1-pipe?  Here, it is piped at 1 1/2")

    I have added also added a cleaned up diagram of the basement steam supply piping.  The connection that you have indicated was a radiator connection... It could be, but I don't think so.  All of the rest of the radiator laterals are piped off of the main at a 45 degree angle.  This connection comes straight out of the top.  There is no evidence of any other radiator every having existed anywhere near this connection.  It's possible that it might have been future planning for womething tat was never done....but don't know what that could be. 

    I plan on installing a vent in this location and seeing how it affects the system.  If it evens out the heating, then we know that the engineer must have calculated, or guessed, and assumed that this would give the system proper venting....   If it doesn't work, I will end up correcting the end of the loop piping, and split the side loop and front loop, vent them separately, and drop the lines to the wet return section of the piping.

    Thanks again for your feedback and I look forward to your comments!
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Gerry Gill's work

    Rod,

    Thank your for your comments.  Yes, I have seen Gerry Gill's webpage and have spent a great deal of time pouring over his various "masterpiece" installations. 

    They set the bar pretty darned high, as it should be!

    I am finding the book on venting VERY helpful, and now realize that my huge venting capacity on the radiator traps causes imbalance that I am experiencing.  As the steam begins to go into the rads closest to the boiler, (since they are doing a large portion of the venting) the mass of the radiator begins to "consume' the steam, and the push of the steam reduces and thus it takes a very long time to finally get to the main vent at the end.   I need much larger main vent capacity!  I have experimented with how much time it takes to vent with the Hoffman 75 removed, venting through an open 1/2" pipe.  It is much much faster!  If I can replace these vents, and resolve the goofy situation that exists on my "front loop", I think things may suddenly approach Steam Nirvanna!



    Thanks,

    Dave
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,510Member
    edited July 2010
    Interesting

    QCA= Quad Cities Area. Boilerpro is just east of you, in Amboy, IL. I have family in western IL, so I've been through the QCA too.



    In "Lost Art" (page 251), Dan attributes the original liquid-expansion thermostatic trap to a Professor Mapes in 1903, but his name appears in a discussion of a Dunham system. It is likely the Professor was connected at that point, or possibly later, with what was then called the National Vacuum Heating Company and then morphed into the C.A. Dunham Company.



    My 1909 book doesn't cover pipe sizes, but most of the ones you list as radiator steam supplies are large enough to work on a one-pipe system. If the system was originally laid out as one-pipe, the monster 110 square foot rad could have worked with a 1-1/2" valve if it also had its own return line (and air vent, of course). Or it might have originally been a two-pipe air-vent system. But if everything looks original, it might have been installed in a transitional period before engineers discovered most residential rads on Vapor systems worked fine with 3/4" or 1/2" steam supplies.



    What pressure range is this remote gauge? Is it a "retard" gauge with expanded pressure graduations from 0-10 PSI or so? Can you post a pic?



    The Air Service valves on the indirects were essentially mini-steam traps, used to vent air into the dry return. This setup was pretty standard on indirects.  I think parts might be available for them.



    Gerry and his partner Steve came up with a way to block the release of air from Vapor rads by keeping the dry return from venting until the steam mains were hot to the end. Check with them for details, but I believe it involved a surface aquastat and a solenoid valve.



    I doubt you need that condensate tank. If you use a Vaporstat to control the boiler pressure, you should be able to keep it from exceeding the "B" dimension.



    Let us know how you make out.
    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
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Book's Right - I'm wrong!

    Nice thing about the stack of steam books that just arrived from Heating Help.com, the charts make your math errors painfully obvious.  Of course, my first assumption was that there was a misprint in the book!  Rechecked my calcs... (*%*(^(*&^!  , and I have had my errors posted for the world to see.

    Just rescanned the basement piping diagram and have corrected the various volumes for the piping loops that appear in the bottom right hand corner.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited July 2010
    Remote Steam / Vac Gauge

    This little gauge, which I'm not sure if it works, is still hooked up.  See image #1.

    It is in the corner of the room that was originally the dining room and was hidden behind the swing of the door, when in the open position.  You can see it in the corner to the left, on the second image.  The 88 sq ft radiator is located in a recess behind the brass grill located to the right of the built-in sideboard.

    The Gauge is a compound type, reading from 30" Vac to 15 psi.  The manufacturer is National Steam Specialty Co., Chicago.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • edited July 2010
    Steam Links

    Hi Dave -

    Here are some links to articles that I thought might be of interest to you. You may have already come across them. 



    This one is by Dave  “Boiler Pro” Bunnell.  I found it very thought  provoking as it gives you a new insight into steam heating.  

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/article/11/Hot-Tech-Tips/1551/Taking-Another-Look-at-Steam-Boiler-Sizing-Methods-by-Dave-Boilerpro-Bunnell



    This link is on radiator orifices. I know you’ve already fixed your traps but as it is an interesting approach I thought you might be interested in the idea

    http://869789182725854870-a-energysavingscience-com-s-sites.googlegroups.com/a/energysavingscience.com/www/articles/henrysarticles/BSEOrifices.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7cr2pPhuIIuExPRwKL1DJtbts7HDHl9-PLMGEcwiEgGE6v13b7zmL2_uBYfP67t3D2gSomWgtDce_PvZ69uXqbF-gNZ_qCcZdeRB8_VRZK3tSG-CF_cPiGmjHY32jmHER8JY_M6VnLQujnBNpVXVG03_POi3noSlCaW0TrvX6iunnbN5SlDBIjvAfFI4J6RoCKIdLF1kczB6B9B-MWwACuTEEmGJOdhT_mrO9THvxdVAH2MEg00%3D&attredirects=0



    This link is on TRVs installed on  a 2 pipe system. I have one pipe system in old 3 story house in Maine and I’ve found using TRVs a big help as it allows you to thermostatically control the heat in individual rooms which prevents overheating and it also allows you to shut off parts of the house (using the minimum settings, 42 F, and not worry about the old plaster freezing) and this has made a beneficial savings in fuel use.

    http://869789182725854870-a-energysavingscience-com-s-sites.googlegroups.com/a/energysavingscience.com/www/articles/henrysarticles/BSETRVs.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7cp_7TtnzpEs3NgjbtW1mBZsWHHoF9asQzpx6wdOPjlgccxmfQK06McnpYFNXxKwGq0IY0AsiYhic7eB3bXMXuf46hRILVr6d8SY8QxLL3aB-KPxIfIw8VFEg6-pi-3h7KmsImjsLaLD6ZX3btV9dV9cmbCDha4rtQ1G02CGlfPQV4yhhsaHvfqxZ8wd7cZdqdgsSpTZvk7axBPeTP13Rh3kj20cMJKWthjUxvhOszUH4pfjCxg%3D&attredirects=0
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited December 2010
    Foyer Radiator Installation & Sunporch Steam Traps

    Here is a picture of the new Foyer radiator after installation.  Note, the original Kauffman heat sheild is still in place.  The radiator was constructed using parts from 2 different radiators that were being discarded from a mansion accross the street.  The radiator is a 22 section, 5 tube, large tube design, United States Capitol radiator, EDR 110.  This the same size as the original, except it would have been a cast iron column type.  At some time in the past, the original was repaced with a small tube style, 22" tall x 28 sections x 5 tubes, 58.8 EDR.  Needless to say, the new 110 EDR is working much better!

    Also, here is a picture of the sunporch traps that are remotely located in the boiler room, to prevent freeze damage to the traps if the heat was turned off during the winter.   Note, the significant patent dates, Aug. 11, 03 & Mar. 1, 04, that are in the casting of the cap of these Dunham #2 traps.

    Last picture is of a dunham #2 angle trap that was damaged by attempt to repair it.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,510Member
    edited July 2010
    Looking good!

    So what went into the mansion across the street? Or do we really want to know?
    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
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited July 2010
    You're correct!

    You really don't want to know.   A long story actually, regarding the mansion accross the street.  About 10 years ago, gas forced air was  installed, 2 units on the second floor and one on the first.  All piping for the hotwater system was removed, but the radiators were left scattered about the house.  There have been a succession of owners, and the previous to the current owner planned to reconnect the rads on the first floor, (beautiful American Roccocco and also curved window radiators).  The plan was to install a geo thermal system sized for cooling and use a high efficiency condensing boiler on the first floor to make up the difference in severe cold weather.   The current owner plans on a geothermal system, but does not plan on using the rads.  However, he has decided to keep them in place on the first floor, for their aesthetic value.   (note: photo of this magnificent mansion, from postcard Ca. 1904.)

    For the Louis P Best Residence / Apartments, in addition to the foyer radiator, I also salvaged a US Capitol radiator, window style, 20" tall by seven tube, (large tube style).  A room on the second floor, located in the NW corner, no less, had an undersized replacement (46 EDR small tube) installed at sometime in the past. Barely visible foot marks from the original radiator were helpful in approximating the original rad.  The new replacement is 76.5 EDR.

    Steamhead, thank you for your compliment.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited December 2010
    Progress Report

    This past fall, the venting of this system has been corrected.

    The front and back loops both got new venting stations with 2 Gorton #2 vent each.  When I purchased the property, one had a Hoffman #74 and the other had a Dole #5. 

    The return end of the small side loop was separated from the dry return of the front loop steam main and ran back independently with its own drop to below the water line.  A new vent station for this loop consists of 2 Hoffman #75 vents.  (I already had them on hand)

    Installed a Vaporstat, set it at 8 oz.  System will cut out on pressure if it runs constantly for 30 minutes.  However, the radiation seems to be sufficiently oversized so that this never occurs unless the outdoor temperature is well below 0F.    Steam distribution is quick through the mains.

    Steam distribution was greatly improved, but I still had a few areas in the building that did not get enough heat.  I was having to run the building at 74F to keep these two problem areas at 69-70F.  I replaced traps, installed Mepco 1E with side outlets, as the original Dunham #2 traps would have been.  Still was not getting enough heat.

    Acting on general advice the long risers may also need to be vented, I installed a straight pattern varivalve on each of the 3 radiators in this cold apartment.  They vent at about the same rate as a Hoffman #75, and can be installed by drilling and threading a hole in the lateral pipe coming to the radiator. It speeded the arrival of steam to these radiators, but had the affect of increasing the steam only about 1/2 of a degree F.

    Perhaps I should have installed orifices in the very beginning; they could have been adjusted to balance the building.   But at this point, I have rebuilt or replaced about every trap in the building.  Also, as it is possible that I may convert the building back into a single family residence, the fact that 2 bedrooms on the second floor are a bit cool would be of little consequence, and probably would be corrected if downstairs living room doors were open to the foyer and the bedroom doors to the hallway at the top of the stairs were left open.

    But for now, I still needed to get some extra heat into this apartment, and some extra heat into the apartment on the 3rd floor.  I gave up on the idea that the system would work perfectly if it was completely repaired. It still wasn't balanced.

    I ended up doing 2 things to shift the balance within the system.

         1.  I installed one-pipe style radiator vents on one of the radiators in the cold 2nd floor apartment, and on 2 the radiators in the two coldest rooms in the 3rd floor apartment.

         2.  I also added a restriction to the vent outlet of the condensate receiver, this being the common vent point that the rest of radiators vent through via their traps.

    This has worked to bring the buidling into perfect balance.  Three radiators are heating much quicker than the rest of the system, and the rest of the system is heating basically evenly as well.   Yes, I know that a condensate receiver has all kinds of warnings posted on it that vents are not to be restricted.  The receiver is not a rated pressure vessel, but in this case, the receiver is not connected to a trap on a high pressure system.  My system is running in ounces, 8 ounces maximum.  The secondary pressurestat is set for 1 psi.



    When the boiler first starts to produce steam, I am reading 2 oz pressure at the boiler.  When steam gets to the ends of the mains and the vents close, pressure rises to 3 oz.   When the 3 fast radiators are fully heated and their vents close, pressure rises to 4 oz, where it stays until the rest of the radiators become fully heated, and as their traps close, pressure slowly rises to the 8 oz set point.  I could probably run it even lower, but might result in short cycling.  I"ll see what happens when we get the to the really cold weather!

    .

    I'd like to thank Dan for his excellent publications, and for eveyone who participates with helpful advice on this wall.

    .

    The Pros are knowledgeable and helpful.  Many others, Rod, jpf, and others spend a great deal of time helping others on here.  I spend way too much time on here myself, but since I retired last spring, it gives me something to do and keeps my brain active!

    .

    Additional pictures showing the most recent work are posted below.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Riser Vents and Radiator Vents

    Here are some pictures of the varivalve vents installed as riser vents.  The short under window radiator is a replacement that I build with sections salvaged from a nearby house.  The original radiator had been replaced with a small tube style that was about 40 EDR.  I could tell from faint marks in the floor, left from the feet of the original, that it was probably about 70-75 EDR.  This replacement is 76.5.

    Also visible are the Mepco side outlet traps.





    Of course, I have been avoiding discusion of the boiler piping all along.  It is NOT piped correctly, but it seems to be opering just fine.  Produces dry steam, stable water level, etc.  The boiler is 35 years old and shows no signs of rotting or corroding sections.   However, when it comes time to replace the boiler, the piping will be cleaned up and corrected!



    Enjoy,

    Dave
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • crash2009crash2009 Posts: 1,484Member
    Dave,

    I just wanted to complement you on your meticulous attention to detail regarding the restoration of The Best Home.  Many others may have gutted the home in the name of progress.  It's nice to see that your home will be kept as original as possible. 

    While inter-netting the other day to find out "Who the hell is that Best guy"  One of his wives names, Krause I think, reminded me of my Schleicher research.  Schleicher built (around 1900) the house I live in here in Ann Arbor, Mi.  The next time I pull the file I will see what I have on that Krause lady.

    We live in a historic district, and are familiar with some of the do's and dont's.  Here, all permits have to be approved by the Historic District.  Here though they are only concerned with the outside.  Did your historic authority demand that your steam was done in a certain way?
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited January 2011
    Reply to Crash

    Thank you for the compliments.  It is always nice to to hear from someone who appreciates the whole aspect of a project, that just happened to include steam heat.

    The property is located within a locally land-marked historic district, and I completed an individual National Register nomination on the the Best property as well.  That is redundant, but it was good to document the property and the Best family as much as is possible.  The Davenport Historic Preservation Commission only addresses the exterior of the building, and then only if a building permit is required.  I serve on the Historic Commission in Rock Island, IL, just across the river from Davenport, and so I support the role that they play in the process.

    Mrs Best's parents names were Robert Krause and Louise Steinhilber Krause.  Robert was a German immigrant and did very well for himself with a clothing factory that specialized in overhauls, as well as being involved in the local banks.  Best was a German Immigrant, educated as a chemist, who came to the US to work as a chemist in a large sugar refinery in New York city.  I soon became involved in the importation of equipment used for brewing.  There appears to be some distant connection to Jacob Best, who formed what eventually became Pabst Brewing company.  Louis Best's main occupation in Davenport was as the superintendent of a Corn Syrup plant, which prospered under is  control.  It was the first such plant west of the Mississippi river, and one of the first in the county.  It was sold to Corn Products Company around 1897, and made the owners, which included Best, huge windfall profits. 

    The National Register nomination was about 60 pages long, and so I better stop before I end up typing the whole thing in here!  HA!
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited January 2011
    Missing Insulation on Steam Mains Replaced

    Progress Update

    About 36 feet of insulation  that was missing from the steam mains and a few laterals has been replaced.  Pipe sizes were 4", 3", 2 1/2", and 2". 



    An additional sensor for the Tekmar 279 was added to the 3rd floor, which had been running about 5 degrees cold last year.  The addition of an additional radiator, as well as other measures described in the previous post, with the effort toward balance the system helped a lot!



    After the insulation was installed, I reduced the firing rate on the 1,050,000 BTU boiler from 750,000 to an even lower firing rate of 600,000 BTU.  This proved to even out the distribution of steam even more.  The nearest radiators no longer heat noticeably faster than the far radiators. 



    In previous work, steam mains got new aggressive venting stations and the return main venting was slowed down to .5 cfm @ 1 oz pressure.



    I am pleased to say that the system seems to be working in tip top order!  Now, all I need to do is to remove the condensation tank and pump that is no longer needed.



    Now, I plan on coating the old insulation with an incapsulant product that will make it all look clean in white, and seal up any damaged areas.  All of the masonry is dirty and sooty from back in the days when coal was being burned.  I will need to power-wash both the brick walls and the concrete and hollow tile ceilings.  If I get really energetic, I can get fancy with some paint (maybe Crash will come over and help!)
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • crash2009crash2009 Posts: 1,484Member
    Sure Dave, I'd be glad to help

     You are more than welcome to use my painter anytime.  I wish that I had the budget to do the right thing here.  I would have restored the brick and rock to new, and plastered the ceiling and wall.   In my case there was at least 3 colors of over-spray, everywhere.  It was just easier on the budget to slap some paint on it to cover up the mess.

    In your case, I like the natural brick and (what is that on the ceiling?)  I would just clean up the mortar a bit and give it a wash, if I was really energetic maybe a clear coat.  When I saw the photo of your boiIer room I said to myself, "I wish mine looked like that".  I like the old look.
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited January 2011
    Fireproof Construction

    What you are seeing on the ceiling is the bottom side of the floor deck.  It is constructed of hollow tile fillers that are flanked by concrete beams reinforced with steel.  When the concrete was poured, it tended to run in between the temporary support cribbing and the hollow tile fillers, thus it looks a little sloppy from the bottom.  This was the common method of fireproof institutional/commercial construction between 1919 and 1941, most commonly used in schools, city halls, courthouses, hospitals, etc.  It is pretty rare for residential construction.  It is a good strong structure, an much more fire resistant that steel.  My floors have a hardwood overlay everywhere except the party room and a store room located on the 3rd floor.  There, the finished floor is concrete.  Imagine... going up to your attic.. and having a reinforced concrete floor!

    I am adding a couple of attached files that illustrate the structure.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • crash2009crash2009 Posts: 1,484Member
    Oh, that kind

     I ran some cat 5 in an old bank that had a ceiling/floor like that.  They wanted the new workstation at x marks the spot. I had to jackhammer/drill a hole for the conduit.  The steel was welded to the vault.  I set off the vibration alarm.  Every cop in town showed up. 

    Thats some fireproofing you got.  Is there a ballroom above there, or some other large room?  Why the bulletproof style of construction? 
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Because he could afford it ?

    This was built at at time when the Chicago fire was still a memorable event, then there was the great Baltimore fire in 1903 or 4, the San Francisco Quake and fire in 1906.  Fireproof construction was a new invention, and this guy was a real forward thinker.

    Although divided to apts in 1928, it was originally (and is still pretty intact) a foyer, parlor, living room, dining room, billiards room, sun room, kitchen, and butler's pantry on the first floor, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths, office, and solarium on the second floor, 3 bedrooms, bath, store room, and a party room, (smallish ballroom, but still a pretty large room) on the 3rd floor.  Basement has a fruit and wine room (wine racks still there), laundry room, vegetable room, toilet, boiler room, coal room, and drying room. Total, 8,400 sq ft. not counting basement.    Garage structure at back of house, 3 car garage on first loor, chauffer's apartment above w/ 2 bedroom, bath, kitchen, pantry, living room, ample closets.  2100 sq ft.  Garage Bldg was originally heated from the steam system in the house, but rads have been removed.  All steam mains are still present and connected. 
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited January 2011
    And the Gas Bill is .......

    I had hoped for more significant savings.  However, there are major parts of the building that are now properly heated, and that takes more energy.  A few isolated spots were being overheated, and that has been corrected.  I am fortunate for the relatively low price of fuel in the Quad Cities.

     

    GAS CHARGES

    Company Reading 01/25/11 28215

    Company Reading 12/23/10 26448

    Total ccf                                       1767



    12/23/10 to 01/25/11 33 billing days   Avg temperature=20



    Basic Service Charge                                                           10.00

    Delivery Charge 250 x 0.16741 41.85250 x 0.16741      41.85

    Delivery Charge 750 x 0.11949 89.62750 x 0.11949      89.62

    Delivery Charge 778 x 0.09561                                            74.38

    Gas Supply Charge 1,778 x 0.57088                            1,015.02

    1.00 % Local Option Tax                                                       12.31

    6.00 % State Sales Tax                                                          73.85

    Total                                                                                   $1,317.03



    I might add, the original gross sq ft of the house is 8400.  Of that, 760 sq ft is a 3rd floor party room that does not have any radiators, but is insulated and is within the building envelope.  Temperature of this room, which is kept closed, is usually in the 50s.  Plus, there is added space from the screen porch, which was enclosed and is now living area, for a total heated area of 8022.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Two-Stage Gas Valve Installation

    Installed a new gas valve this afternoon.  Honeywell 2 stage, diaphragm, regulating valve. 

    Set Low Fire for 525,000 BTU, Hi Fire 975,000 BTU.  Design Rating of boiler is 1,050,000 BTU input.  It seems to be running great on low fire.  Connected EDR is 1,287.  At 80% efficiency, and 34% pickup and piping loss, I should be firing at 517,374 BTU. so I think this is close enough. Switch to Hi Fire is manual, and will only be used if additional radiation in garage building is restored and turned on.  The garage is also known as the "Auto House" has a Chauffer's apartment on the second level.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Mike Kusiak_2Mike Kusiak_2 Posts: 604Member
    Automatic Hi-Lo firing

    Dave, have you considered automatic hi-lo firing with a vaporstat? Could be the best of both worlds- rapidly filling the system with steam and then maintaining a low constant pressure for the remainder of the cycle. 
  • Fuel bills et el.

    I worked in a home with very similiar size and construction as your's and replaced a very similiar boiler (Utica version of yours at 700,000 input), with two 200,000 input slantfin gas fired Intrepids that are stage fired.  Fuel bills are running about 60% of yours now.  I bet alot of your high fuel usage is the boiler.  I've combustion tested many of those units and their firing efficiency is very poor.....a fairly high level of excess air and high exhuast temps.  The newest models are slightly better due to better control of combsution air, but still are poor.  They also have pretty high amonts of waste due to the huge uninsulated flue collector, which gives artificially lower exhaust temps when combsution testing.  I suspect even at full fire under the best of condiations, you are getting at best about 65 to 70% firing efficiency and, if properly sized, about 10% lower seasonal efficiency due to standby losses.  They do make good steam at those smaller sizes due to the big 4 inch steam dome.   I imagine at that reduced firing rate, your firing efficiency is in the 55 to 60% range......Ouch!

    Sometimes you just got to work with what you got.
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert





    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    I like that concept, but wouldn't help my situation

    I am blessed with a buildling that was way over built and over engineered. Not a lot of thermal improvements have been made except insulation in the roof and attic and addition of storm windows.  However, the original windows did have zinc weather stripping and are 1/4" plate glass. 

    The result of this is that the radiaton seems to be oversized, or perhaps, as I strong suspect was sized with the intention of being run in a vacuum and therefore much lower temperatures.

    So, with the garage building taken being converted to forced air, and the 2 indirects out of service, I am left with 1287 EDR of the original 2100 EDR.  The boiler was considerably oversized when it was installed, when they were still heating the garage with steam.  Because the radiation is oversized, I don't usually ever build any pressure.  I suppose I would if I did a setback, but I don't.  Tonight, it is 6 F outside.  Just came from checking on the boiler.  Room temps are in perfect control.  Boiler cycle time, after getting steam to the end of the main is 22 minutes, with 38 minutes off.  Firing at 600,000, this was enough to heat every radiator fully.  The traps were hot to touch, but the system had not started to build any pressure.  If it had fired another 10 minutes, it probably would have.  It is just in the normal operation of my system, I don't build any pressure.  And that leads to conclude that I am best to just leave it on Lo Fire, because that is actually what is matched to the EDR.  It also assists my efforts in evening out the heat in different rooms.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Very interesting set up!

    BoilerPro, I had just spent about a half hour typing a response to you, but somehow, it got lost when I clicked the submit button!  My brain is too tired to attempt to write it over again.  So, will just say that I had hoped my system was a little bit more efficient!  Darn!



    I find your work with the 2 Slantfin Intreptids to be very interesting!  Are they sized less that the EDR of the system?  How did you make that all work.  Orifices?  Of course, vacuum also would be away to effectively reduce the output of the radiation.



    Very interesting and I'd like to hear more about it.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Sizing..

    they are sized to the heat load and run an earlier non-orificed Warren-Webster vapor system.  There have been some balance issues, which have been partially compensated by adjusting inlet valves.....many no longer turn.  The owner is planning on installing orifices.  The boilers stage fire off a two stage thermostat.  We contemplated using a modulating burner on a single boiler but figured we were going to gain a lot of efficiency just by staging and we got built in backup with the two boilers.  This is now the second winter, with only two issues 1) The water content is pretty low in these boilers so water levels are a bit high on start up 2)  The boilers are producing such pure steam that the electronic probe cannot measure conductivity properly when installed in the balance pipe/header drain.  Both of these are problems I have had in the past with both the Slantfin Intrepids and the Galaxies in modular/multiple installs on gravity or condensate pumped returns.  Low water content comes with higher efficiency on virtually any modern boiler, the clean steam, however, makes me really like the Slantfins, among other reasons.  I will probably be installing these either with a boiler feed pump to tightly control the water line or a tank at the water line to give more usable water for operation.
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert





    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • crash2009crash2009 Posts: 1,484Member
    Dave

    This is unrelated to steam, but I thought you might be able to steer me in the right direction towards identifying this old roof we have.  Its made of some type of metal, and appears to be soldered.  It has this ID stamp on it "Scott's, 1C, xtracoated, old hammered openhearth"
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 8,048Member
    sheet metal roofing question

    probably the metal panels [terne?] were made by the company whose name is stamped on the roof, and installed by the local [excellent] craftsman.

    think of having to fold those seams, and solder/lead them so well in place with a soldering iron heated by a kerosene torch!--nbc
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,510Member
    Terne

    sounds right. Very common on this type of job back then. 
    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
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited April 2011
    Terne Coated Steel

    Yes, nbc and Steamhead have it precisely correct.  The appearance of rust on the metal lets you know that it is NOT copper, which would have a much longer life.  However, Terne, an alloy of 20% tin and 80% lead, is an excellent coating for steel and is the typical material for what is referred to as a "tin" roof.  It is applied in one of two ways.  Standing seam is used on roofs with a pitch, and flat lock is used on roofs with very low pitch.  On flat lock, two adjacent sides of the panels are turned up, and the other two adjacent sides are turned down.  Then the panels are assembled, there are anchor straps inserted into the bottom seams that are nailed to the roof, before the second panel is put in place and soldered. 



    This makes a very good roofing system that will last a very long time, if it is property maintained.  That means that any collection of sediment or dirt is removed at least once or twice a year, and that the surface is kept properly painted.   There are paint formulation made especially for metal roofs, and not that aluminum colored stuff.  Don't use tar, or black jack either.   If you can't find the special stuff for roofing, a couple coats of rustoleum type paint would probably work as well.  But one thing for sure, if you do not keep it painted, it will rust through.



    You have an excellent installation, and finding someone to replicate it would probably be even more difficult that finding a good steam contractor!
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • crash2009crash2009 Posts: 1,484Member
    Thanks for the direction!

    Hope I can save it.  I think I have a broken truss.  Looks like it will have to be worked on from with-in.  Here is the historical tid-bit of why it is stamped Scott's.

    Terne is more popularily known as a tin roof or more recently a Follansbee.  Follansbee Steel traces its history back to the early 1800’s when James Park produced a number of products, including block tin, ingot copper, antimony, sheet zinc, sheet iron, and tin-plated carbon steel, a widely used sheet metal roofing product.  The tin plated sheet manufactured by Park came to be known as the “old tin roof.”  The 10- by 14-inch modules go back to medieval times.  The 19th century saw increases up to 14 by 20 and 20 by 28 – always on a 10 by 14 module.  By looking at the size you can tell roughly when it was put on.

     

    Ownership of the company switched hands to James Scott, and was eventually purchased by John and Robert Follansbee.  The outstanding performance and popularity of the “old tin roof” coupled with the brothers’ entrepreneurial expertise resulted in a rapid expansion of the newly named company of Follansbee Steel.  In 1902, the opening of the Follansbee Steel plant gave rise to the City of Follansbee, West Virginia.



  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited October 2011
    Tunstall Orifice Plates Installed

    Perhaps I should have started this with a new thread, but it is a continuing saga, so I will post it here and dredge up this old and almost dead thread



    Thanks to the expertise and wisdom passed on by Dave Bunnell, aka Boilerpro, in articles written by him.  Also, articles by Henry Gifford.  Both of these men extol the benefits of using inlet orifices on two-pipe steam systems.



    My Dunham Vapor system has been plagued by difficulties in achieving correct balance and even distribution of steam.  It seems that Dunham recognized this problem and solved it with inlet orifices in shown in their 1946 publication (see image below).  I have tried about every possible trick to improve the distribution, but only met with marginal success.  This fall, I bit the bullet and ordered 32 inlet orifice plates from Tunstall.  The installation was not difficult, but not a snap either.  I have quite a few 1 1/4" and a few 1 1/2 inlet valves, and they are all located at the bottom of the radiator.  This made it a little more difficult to install the plates, and it involved moving the monsters a fraction of an inch to get enough space to slip the orifice into place.  I was afraid of having leaks, but have only 3 that I have to go back and attend to.  One surprise along the way, I found one radiator that had been very slow to heat, already had an orifice in place.  However, it was very thin copper and had a much larger orifice than what I was installing based on 8 oz of pressure.  I think it indicates that there might have been orifices on the entire system, but there is no way to know for sure.



    I chose to size the orifice plates at 8 oz. of pressure.  My boiler is over sized, and this will allow the pressure to rise up above 8 oz.  Since the orifices have been installed I have seen it rise as high as 12 oz if I forced the boiler to fire a prolonged period of time.  Even if the pressure was to rise up to 16 oz., I would still have more than an adequate B dimension and will be able to do away with the condensate pump sometime in the future.  I have set the vaportstat for 16 oz.

     

    Many times, orifices are used in lieu of steam traps since the incoming steam is sized to the radiator.  In my case, the traps have all been repaired and are working great.  Even distribution is my only need. 



    This evening it is about 54 degrees outside; just low enough to allow the boiler to fire via my Tekmar 279 controller.  On a 3% cycle, or 1.8 minutes of firing time after steam reached the end of the main, I find that steam reached every radiator and every radiator had just a slight amount of heating in the first section.  While, this short of a cycle is probably not desirable because of poor efficiency, it does show that every radiator is getting the correct amount of steam even in the worst condition.   On longer cycles I find that all radiators are heating proportionately.  Room temperatures have evened out, even in the most distant parts of the building.  I find that temperatures are all within 1 degree F in all parts of the building.   Hurrah!



    Also, I am showing some pictures of 2 radiators that we added to the old party room, which has been converted to a very large living room on the 3rd floor apartment.  Because of the location of the nearest steam riser, we had to put both radiators in the same location, which is less than ideal.  But, so far it seem to be working fine.  We have also taxed the riser a bit, having more EDR on it than it is rated for.  However, the orifice plates seem to be doing a great job of providing proper distribution, even in this case.



    I am so very please with the way the system is working.  One change is that I can now hear steam velocity noise at the valves, but it is barely noticeable.  I am amazed at how precisely even the distribution is.



    Other benefits will occur when it is time to change out the boiler, as a much smaller boiler will be possible.  I would try to explain why that is, but I will leave it up to the pros.  Read Boilerpro's article on the subject, or Henry Gifford's article.  They will together explain why I won't have to use the piping and pickup factor of 1.34, but instead, a 1.1 piping loss factor only. 



    Also worth mentioning, steam in a radiator at 0 psi is a bit cooler than 2 psi steam, so a factor of 225 BTU/sq ft can be used instead of 240.  Since all of the cast iron radiators are somewhat over sized, I probably can further downsize the boiler to 70% of load.  If the boiler can achieve a 4 oz pressure on the supply side of the orifices, they will pass 70% of the steam that they are rated at at 8 oz, and thus heat each radiator to 70% of its capacity. 



    Also, I have removed the heat timer vents that I had installed as riser vents on some of the second floor radiators.  I have removed all obstructions that I had installed on the condensate tank vent.  I have removed several radiator vents that I had installed to attempt to get steam to the coolest radiators.



    I have noticed that I can hear air bubbling up through the traps on some of the radiators a minute or two after the boiler shuts off.  I guess that old equalizer pipe that used to run between the header and the return piping, with a check valve to prevent steam from going to the return, served a real purpose.  I will plan on reinstalling it in the future.



    I will keep you posted as the winter sets in.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Great news...

    I have a set of orifices on my desk right now ready to go in.  I am still working mostly with one pipe (Chicago is full of it), but am continuing to pursue this path.
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert





    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    Orifice Size

    Hi Dave - Thanks for sharing with us the further upgrades on your marvelous system. I'm curious as to how did you determined the size of the orifices for 8 oz. of pressure?  Gifford's chart if I remember correctly was for sized for 2 PSI.

    - Rod
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Tunstall's Chart

    Tunstall's chart covers pressures of .5#, 1.0#, 2.0#, 3.0#, 4.0#, and 5.0#.  From looking at the table I can see that cutting the pressure in half results in a reduction in flow to approx 70% of the original value.  So, my assumption of performance at 4oz is from extrapolation off their chart, not from a stated value.



    Tunstall furnished the plates with the orifice openings already punched, so I didn't have to take time to drill them all. 
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Thank You!

    This project would not have happened without you sharing your expertise and insight.  Thank you! 
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • moneypitfeedermoneypitfeeder Posts: 235Member
    Hi Dave!

    You're system is really coming along, I love seeing all the pics of the estate and the rads. I was interested in your info about Tunstall's orifice charts. Do you have a copy or link for them? I just checked their website and I couldn't find it. I'm looking to balance my rads like you were doing, but taking the trap out of the equation. If you only let in what that rad can condense, you don't have to trap. (most of mine are pushing 100yrs old) And I'm a big fan of non-moving parts. Its great to hear that you are able to balance the rads heating by using orifices. Again great job on all you done to bring the estate into life again, I love seeing the old brought back to life, craftsmanship like what is found in your place is inspiring to see, but sadly not common. Thanks, Dee
    steam newbie
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    Tunstall's chart

    Best thing is to contact Tunstall.  They will email you a chart with the orifice openings designated with a letter, A through X depending on the capacity.  When I ordered my orifices, I included some blanks in the order and they sent me a chart with the actual size of the opening in decimal fractions.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • Dave in QCADave in QCA Posts: 1,742Member
    edited November 2011
    The Orifice Results are in!

    My first observations of the new orifices in place were that the steam was arriving at all radiators at the same time, or within 30 seconds.  By the time steam was at the end of the main, each radiator valve was hot to the touch, but the radiators themselves were not yet beginning to heat.  Once the steam gets to the end of the main and the main vents close, the pressure begins to rise a few ounces and the steam begins to flow into the radiators at a specific rate determined by the size of the orifice.  This represents a huge improvement compared to the way the system had been operating!!!



    Steam distribution was greatly improved, in fact it seemed to be perfect.  The next test would be the observation of space temperatures and whether they were were consistent and even throughout the building.  I took sensor readings at 7 AM before there was any effect of solar gain on the south side of the building.  I was getting sensor readings as follows:  1st floor south, 72F; 1st floor north, 72F; 3rd floor, 69F.   For a moment, I was tempted to call it good enough, but that temptation quickly passed and I set out to adjust the orifices on the 3rd floor by drilling them out and increasing their capacity.  I chose to increase the flow to the bathroom and kitchen radiators because their risers were near the end of the main and the amount that the radiators were heating were proportionately less than the others.  I increased the orifice to the next size on the chart.  This had little effect.  So, I increased them some more and managed to increase the steam flow to a measurable amount.  The north bedroom has a large complicated window that does not have storms on it, and probably will not.  So, I increased the orifice on the radiator in this room too.



    Next morning, with the outdoor temp at 30F, I was getting readings of:  1st floor south, 72F; 1st floor north, 72F; 3rd floor, 71F.  This was getting really close, and I again was tempted to call it good enough.... but why settle for close if you can have exact?



    So, in the old party room, now living room of the 3rd floor apartment, where I had installed two antique radiators, an 88 sq ft and a 65 sq ft, I increased the orifice rating on the 65 sq ft radiator from 57-64 sq ft to about 68-78 sq ft.   Now, the readings are 72, 72, and 72!!!!   The temps have remained absolutely consistent with the exception that the south side warms up on a sunny day.  Now that temps are absolutely even, I will lower the set-point a degree and see if everyone is still happy.



    Why was the 3rd floor not getting as much heat?  Well, it was probably a few factors combined.  The total EDR is less up there than the lower floors, with the doors open as would have been the case in a single family home, heat from the downstairs would have risen through the stairwells and hallways to the 3rd floor.  However, the ceilings are generally lower on the 3rd floor, so perhaps the calculations of the EDR was correctly done in the first place.   Possibly the second reason for the imbalance might have been pressure loss in the mains and risers because of the long distance from the boiler.  This was one of the warnings by Henry Gifford and the reason for his recommendation of using a 2 PSI set up.



    However, I wanted to accomplish a few things with my setup.  I wanted to maintain the operation of the Dunham Vapor system with the very low pressures that it was originally designed so that I could eventually get rid of my condensate return pump.   My motive for installing the orifices was to precisely regulate the steam distribution, create a steam condition in the mains that will enable me to install a much smaller boiler when that time comes.  The pickup factor can be eliminated from the calculation.  I will be able to size the boiler for the actual heating load of the house.



    One thing that is usually an objective in orifice installations is the elimination of the need for steam traps.  This was not one of my goals and since I have good working traps throughout, I was able to benefit from some virtual sizing of the radiators. 



    Virtual Radiator Sizing

    In one space on the first floor that was originally a front parlor and has a large 80 sq ft beast, I put in a 40 sq ft orifice.  This was because half of the original exterior wall, which also had a huge window, became interior wall surface when a porch was enclosed as living space.  I was guessing at the needed size and it has turned out perfect.   In this same unit, the enclosed porch, now kitchen, has a lot of exterior wall surface, poorly insulated ceiling w/ flat roof above, and huge windows.  When we purchased the building, the rad in this space was only 24 sq ft.  I replaced it with a 40 sq ft model, and that was the limit of what would fit in the space.  Even the 40 was not quite enough and the space was a bit cooler than the rest of the apt.  When the orifices were installed, I sized this one at 50 sq ft, and it seems to be working great! 

    I will state what should be obvious.... when installing orifices, if you use an orifice that is rated larger than the EDR of the radiator, you MUST have a functioning trap on the radiator.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
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