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Burnham Baseray

New to the board here but this seems like an incredible community.  I recently moved into a 100 year old house with steam heat and of course I am having problems.  It is a 1 pipe gravity return system the boiler seems to be only a few years old and  the system pressure is always running high, it has opened the safety valve on at least one occasion so I bough some books and started looking around at the system.  The first floor of the house has 4 Burnham baseray heaters, approximately 10 feet long each, they each have 2 supply lines coming in and only one vent which doesn't seem right to me but I really know little about it.  If it is correct does it matter which supply it is pitched back towards?  The other thing I noticed in the base4ment was that there were 4 gate or check valves that I could see at various points along the line, was wondering if they had a purpose or if they may be causing problems?  Thanks so much, sorry for the long post.


  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Definitely Post Some Photos

    That will be the single largest help. Especially regarding those valves you mentioned, but also the near-boiler piping, a typical radiator or anything else you think is important to share.

    Ideally (and practically), your pressure should not be over 1 lb. or even less. If it went over 15 psi, that is a serious problem, obviously. There are some good steam practitioners out your way, so please, please, seek them out.

    Burnham Baseray has a steam limitation of 9 feet, if I recall, so the ten feet is obviously longer. Not that the extra foot is the culprit, but it is obviously longer than recommended. The radiators should always pitch back toward the inlet valve in one pipe steam. 

    The two supply lines you mention, I assume they connect to each of the high and low tappings on one end, with the vent at the other? If they connect one on each end, let us know that. Could be a hybrid.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Bill_chicago
    Bill_chicago Member Posts: 10

    The 2 pipes on the baseboards connect 1 at each end with the vent on only one side.  I am including photos of the pipes around the boiler and of the fitting/valve.  Thanks for taking the time to respond.
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Enhanced Photo

    Hi Bill-

       I took the liberty of enhancing you boiler photo so the detail would be more visible.

    - Rod
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Bill I think you need to contact Boiler Pro.

    Someone tried to to hook up your base board as two pipe but did not know how. They seem to have used swing checks instead of steam traps. There are ways to make Base Ray work in your home but this is not the way we would do it. You actually seem to have a supply side and a return side this is why there are two pipes. Turning down the pressuretrol is the first thing to do as the steam pressure should be as low as possible. Topping off at under 2 pounds, preferably under 1 pound. The pressure relief on steam boilers is 15 pounds so if it is tripping you need a pro in there sooner rather than later.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Bill_chicago
    Bill_chicago Member Posts: 10
    edited October 2010

    Double checked where those check valves were and there is one going to each baseboard on the pipe going to the vented side, should those be steam traps? Can anyone recommend a good boiler guy in south chicago, the ones that come up on the contractor search are from far northwest burbs?

    Thanks, Bill
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Boiler Pro

    As Charlie above suggested, contact Dave Bunnell, "Boiler Pro"  312-202-0511 or 815-857-2339

    He's a very experienced steam pro.

    If you're out of his service territory, I 'm sure he could recommend someone to you.
  • Bill_chicago
    Bill_chicago Member Posts: 10
    Thanks for the help!

    OK, Boiler Pro is a chicago area shop, I thought Charlie was telling me to contact a boiler pro.  Will call Boiler Pro tonight.  Again, thanks for the help everyone.

This discussion has been closed.