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piping help with pictures

Arlo
Arlo Member Posts: 9
Help!!



I had a new steam boiler installed (a CAC/BDP series psb-8d modal bs2) on 12/8/08, we loved or old boiler “Pete” but he was leaking water from places he should not have.



Two years now and at least 7 repairs I am still having problems. I am questioning the piping that was changed to fit the new boiler. “Pete” did not have the problems the new boiler is having.



I will try to explain. I have a one-pipe system and the return heads down into the Hartford loop and then comes up to join the equalizer at a tee with the equalizer turning horizontal and coming in to the tee from one side and the return coming in the other then out of the bottom of the tee the equalizer continues down to the return at the bottom of the boiler.

To top this off the tee is at the water level not the 6” below as is shown in the papers that came with the boiler. I am concerned that this is why my water level when the boiler is running is dipping down to the bottom of my sight glass and kicking on the auto feed. Now my water level when the boiler is not running is at the top of the sight glass or beyond.



One more question. The pipe that is sending the steam out leaves the boiler turns vertical and meet the steam supply main at a tee with the equalizer, I have a tee for a header?



Let me know if any of this could be a problem.

Thanks, Ed

Comments

  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Pictures

    Hi Ed- Could you take some pictures from farther back so we can see the whole piping and boiler in one picture? That's so we can trace out what pipe goes where.

    - Rod
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    Questions

    If the boiler is not piped per the installation manuals piping diagram it is not going to work right. Those pictures show the installer was not famililiar with steam boilers.



    You state the system has been repaired 7 times in the 2 yours since it was installed. What were the problems and what did they do to correct them.



    What problems are you having now?



    What pressure is the system operating at?



    Are the main vents and the radiator air vents all working?



    Is the water in the sight glass bouncing up and down a lot?



    Is anything banging or hammering?



    Take some pictures of the front of the boiler showing the sight glass and pressuretrol. Then take some shots that sow the boiler and it's piping from a ways back so we can get a good idea of how it's all tied in.



    good luck,



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Arlo
    Arlo Member Posts: 9
    more pictures

    more pictures
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    pete's replacement

    that piping seems "inventive" to say the least. the installation manual has not been followed. probably a drop header could be used to make corrections more easily to this piping. was this done by a professional?--nbc
  • Arlo
    Arlo Member Posts: 9
    pictures for Bob

    The vents are all new with the new boiler 08, and are working

    The picture of the sight glass shows it during a run, when the boiler is off the water will go up to the top of the tube.
  • Arlo
    Arlo Member Posts: 9
    professional?

    They were the contractor that came with the new home owners ins. I live in St. Louis a place that needs AC in the summers so most people have replaced there boilers with central air units. Finding good boiler workers out here is not easy.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    water level problems

    any horizontal piping in the wet returns should be well below the waterline height [like the floor]. when a wet return pipe is at the same height as the waterline itself, it can "hide" the water as pressure rises during steaming. this drops the waterline in the boiler, and kicks on the auto fill, and when the burner stops, all the over-filled water comes back. best to redo the returns to be on the floor.

    while you are at it, check the main vent next to the chimney, and put it on an antler, out of the firing line of the vertical underneath. another vent here like a gorton #2 would not be too many. you should keep your pressure down as low  [1.5 psi]as possible for basic function on this setup when the piping is corrected, or 12 ounces for comfort and economy.--nbc
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,473
    Pressure and piping

    It looks like the pressure is higher than it should be. that tab on the front of the pressuretrol should be set to 0.5 9turn the screw on to till it goes down to 0.5); thake the cover off the pressuretrol and make sure the wheel is set to 1, no higher. That should allow the boiler to cycle between 0.5 and 1.5PSI when it is making steam.



    The water in the sight glass looks like the boiler needs to be flushed and skimmed. If you decide to repipe do this after repiping.

     

    Your boiler is an eight section boiler and it has two steam takeoffs, the reason the water level jumps up when it's off might be because only one of them is being used. The other reason is there really is no header, the output of the boiler just goes up to the main. If you decide to have the near boiler piping redone you might want to ask them to use both steam outputs and pipe them up to a drtop header and then feed the main from a header after the two steam feeds. Do not let them pipe the main from between the two steam feeds from the boiler. Your installation manual shows how this should be done.



    I'm sure other here will have ideas on how this should be done as well.



    Let us know what current problems you are having with the system now.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Arlo
    Arlo Member Posts: 9
    current problems

    Monday we had the low water sensor and control replaced. Before that the problem was when we would go out of town we turn down the thermostat and when we come home and turn it back up. Once it over heated and melted the plastic glass on the pressure gauge on the top of the boiler. Another time it threw the spill switch. Weird things happen when we go out of town and come home and turn it back up. I think some of this was cased by the bad low water sensor.
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Boiler Piping

    Hi Ed-  A couple of questions:

    1.Is your pressure gauge working now? (I'm assuming that the pressure gauge is mounted flush on the top surface of the boiler cabinet at the corner?)

    2. Do you have the installation manual that shows how to pipe the boiler?

    It's a Bryant and I can't seem to find an installation manual on line.

     3. What other problems have you had with the boiler?



    It looks like a Dunkirk type clone so I guess one could just pipe it that way. I'll dig around and see what Dunkirk info I have.

    - Rod
  • Arlo
    Arlo Member Posts: 9
    Rob

    1 Yes the pressure gauge is working they put a new one in.

    2. I do have the installation manual that is one of the things I used to show the workers that they did it wrong.

    3. had a new flu liner put in, the transformer has been replaced twice, the water has been flushed out at lest three times. the water jumping up and down in the sight tub. that is most of it.
  • World Plumber
    World Plumber Member Posts: 389
    Tee

    At least he has a tee. I serviced an oil burner last night. They come out of the boiler with a 4" long nipple el over to a tee down 4" to a tee for the Hartford loop (yes at the top of the boiler) then straight up to the main. Amazing it the water level is fairly stable. 
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Boiler Piping

    Hi Ed- I looked through my boiler pictures and found a boiler like yours with a nice dropheader. Technically the piping in this picture looks pretty good though I think in view of the tight spaces you are working with in the Sight Glass area it might be better to mirror image the piping layout in the picture and put the equalizer on the other end opposite of the boiler.  I've attached a drawing reflecting the mirror image layout done on one of your pictures just to give you some ideas. You might also be interested in this video on boiler piping done by Dan:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/article/107/Steam-Heating/118/Steam-boiler-near-boiler-piping

    Boiler waterline- How much is your boiler waterline in the sight glass bouncing? Up and down 3/4 of an inch is ok.  What's the pressure reading on the gauge?  Residential steam systems operate at very low pressure. It should be under 2 PSI or less -(The lower the better),

    - Rod
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    gas piping

    first of thanks rod for posting that link from dan.ario,i see the boiler installer didnt have the money for a new gas cock and re pipe your gas line,also i didnt see a bypass on your water feeder.i would definitly get someone competent in your area to look at this boiler
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Water Feeder and Gas Cock

    Thanks Jonny for pointing these problems out.  Unfortunately Ed in the St. Louis area where I know other homeowners have had a problem finding a steam pro. If anyone reading this can recommend anyone please let Ed know.

    Ed-  As Jonny88 pointed out your water feeder and gas cock need changing. The water feeder is not piped properly (See attached instructions) and the present gas cock and piping are old and obsolete, both in age and code wise, You need to have new piping and a new gas cock (see attached picture) installed.

    Ed- I'm sure there are reputable heating pros in your area that can help you with this. I tend to shy away from anyone an insurance company recommends as most insurance companys pay the minimum for the job and therefore tend to get "minimum people". That doesn't mean that everyone doing insurance work is incompetent just that the insurance company's main criteria is low cost so most aren't that concerned with competency.

    - Rod
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    Gas cock and piping?

    Hi Rod. Just curious why the existing gas piping and cock don't meet code? Pretty standard around here to use the existing piping and cock. That type of cock still seems to be available for sale.



    http://www.americanvalve.com/pdf/bronze/13.pdf
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Gas Cock

    Hi Mike- Thanks for the input.  First of all I'm a homeowner so my experience with gas codes is rather limited so I'm interested in what your thoughts are on this. Last year I put in a new gas water heater in a house I own and the inspector told me I needed to upgrade my gas cock and since my old one was very similar to the one in Ed's pictures, I assumed this was now a requirement. I've learned that one does not argue with inspectors but would now be interested what exactly the requirement is now and how much it might vary in different areas. As for the piping, if you blow up Ed's pictures, the gas piping on the ground looks a little beat up so that was the reason for the "obsolete" comment on the piping. I'm a great believer that anything to do with gas should be kept in top notch condition and should be dealt with by professionals.

    - Rod
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    it would have been ironic

    if you lost your house (which sounds very lucky you didn't based on melted pressure plastic) due to an install from the insurance company. count your blessings again tonight.
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

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

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

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Unusual Location for Pressure Gauge

    Hi jpf- It's not quite as bad as it sounds due to the fact that on this boiler the pressure gauge is located in a rather unusual position. It is located on the top of the boiler, inside the cabinet, at the corner. I took it for unused boiler port at first but it was just the opening through which you could read the gauge. One of those things that makes you wonder what the designer was thinking.

    - Rod
  • Arlo
    Arlo Member Posts: 9
    Wow

    Wow, this is great --all the help this site has given impresses me.



    Here is an update on my boiler, it is running and heating the house. I am sleeping soundly knowing that the new low water sensor (replaced 1/6/11) is doing its job.



    Now each morning when the programmable thermostat wakes up and warms the house for the day, the new sensor kicks on the auto fill and over fills the boiler (at rest the water line is just below the top of the sight tube)



    The last two days I have drained the boiler down to the waterline and it runs all day fine with out over filling. My question is if I just leave it overfilled would this cause some problems and how much more work is the boiler having to do to warm up the extra water (is it going to show up on the next gas bill?)



    Looking back on some of the other problems I have had I think this low water sensor has been bad for some time. It would explain why the boiler has overheated when we turn it on after coming home form a weekend away. (Melted gage, tripping the spill switch)



    Today I am going to look at the pressure and see if it needs to be turned down.

    I am hoping this will help settle the water from bobbing up and down in the sight glass and give the water some time to make its way back to the boiler so the auto fill doesn’t over fill it.



    Do you think lowering the pressure will help so I don’t have to re-pipe?
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    Setback

    How far are you setting back the thermostat at night? You mentioned that the boiler only overfills when recovering from setback in the morning. Have you tried reducing the setback. You might try that and see what happens.



    The boiler piping is certainly putting a lot of water into the steam main, which is contributing to the loss of water from the boiler. Have you checked to see if your returns are clogged? This would slow the return of water to the boiler and cause the autofeed to kick in.



    Lowering the pressure is good, but don't think it will solve your overfilling problem
  • Arlo
    Arlo Member Posts: 9
    set back

    the set back is 5-6 degrees



    The Return was drained out last week, and as I feel the pipe warm up it feels like it is getting through.



    And Rob I watched the video thanks.
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