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MegaSteaming on Maryland's Eastern Shore

Steamhead
Steamhead Member Posts: 15,513
of the Chesapeake Bay, that is. This was a bit of an out-of-towner for us, but how can we resist the chance to install a MegaSteam and straighten out the rest of a steam system? Have steam, we'll travel..............



Easton is located on US 50, which forms part of the main route from Baltimore to Ocean City. Once you get off the commercial strip along the highway it's a pretty little town, with many old houses. This one was built around 1910, and the one-pipe steam system appears original to the house. It has Rococo-pattern radiators without the scrollwork- first time I've seen that.



The old boiler was an American-Standard A-34 that had dry-fired and cracked. The installation had most of the woes we find in many basements- dangling wires and oil lines, no main vents, badly done header and pipes that were way off pitch. The last was due to the house settling into the sandy soil found in this part of Maryland, rather than incompetent installation. The owner told us the system took about 1-1/2 hours to get steam into the radiators, and banged constantly. Wonder why?
All Steamed Up, Inc.
Towson, MD, USA
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
Consulting

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,513
    edited February 2011
    The new MegaSteam 396

    in all its glory. In the second pic you can see the two Gorton #2 vents on the long main, and way back in the back you can just see the single #2 on the shorter main. 



    It took us a bit to get all the pipes pitched and radiators properly aligned, but once that was done all the radiators heated quietly. The steam reached the ends of the mains in a couple minutes and the radiators started getting warm shortly thereafter. We also eliminated the unneeded oil return line and ran the oil feed inside a strut from the ceiling to the floor.



    This customer is a great guy- he did a lot of running around for us, including a trip to Baltimore to pick up some extension couplings ("pipe stretchers") which were needed because we radically changed the pitch of the main that runs behind the boiler and needed to lengthen several radiator stub-ups slightly. This main was where most of the banging came from. And among other things, they fed us dinner one night! I wish all our customers were this way.



    The old boiler and the new one have the same firing rate, but now the system is making much better use of its fuel. I bet the oil company will notice the decreased fuel consumption.



    BTW, for those Riello fanboys out there, the I&O manual that came with this MegaSteam included Riello burner information. So that burner will probably be an option soon.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,393
    edited February 2011
    Another 3-pass standing-O, Steamhead!

    Your work once again stands out. I really like that "power drop" vertical strut protection too.



    What is that item that looks like an LCD screen between the sight glass and pigtail? Auto water meter I thought at first, or is it a control?



    I am glad you found a customer like that. They got the best and word will get out, I have no doubt. Had I steam, I would treat myself to you.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"



    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,513
    edited February 2011
    That's the low-water cutoff

    the "LCD screen" effect comes from the camera's flash reflecting off it.



    There is an actual screen, not LCD but LED, on the Hydrolevel VXT water feeder. You can see it to the rear of the header.



    Thanks for the kind words- and it's good to see you on the Wall regularly.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,766
    Nice piping ole memories

    What a vast improvement from the older unit.From the looks of that basment brings backs lots of memories of installs from the past you know old basements cob webs and the hangmans wiring noose  gotta love it .Did you guys blow that out in one day? (the boiler piping)Hats off to you also for the re pitching of the mains that alone an be fun at the best at least most of the time .i will tell you that the HO must be a pretty smart guy ,he was smart enough to get the right guys to do the job done correctly the fist time smart dude .Again nice piping job that boilers performace is gonna be like stone age to the computer age .Kep up the excellent work .Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,513
    edited February 2011
    Not in one day

    and we didn't want to pipe the boiler until the mains were pitched properly. We thought pitching the mains would affect their position at the boiler- and it did. So doing the mains first saved us some time and effort.



    Thanks! BTW have you seen this thread? Someone in North Jersey is looking for a Real Steam Man............

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/135317/Any-Norther-NJ-steam-experts-morris-county
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Steamhead

     I have a couple questions for you about your headers.  I have seen pictures of a lot of your installs,  and I've noticed some similarities with most of your dropheaders.  Do you always take the boiler risers as far up as possible or is there a measurement you go by?  And then, when the riser turns to the left, is that distance just to get to the outside edge of the boiler?  And the drop, does the amount of drop have anything to do with the elevations of the mains, or waterline, etc?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,513
    Well, the short answer is

    it depends.



    Most boiler manufacturers tell you your minimum riser height is 24 inches above the "normal" waterline. We take our measurements a bit higher than that, from the top sight glass fitting. Higher is better- on this one we have 24-inch nipples coming up from the boiler, then the unions and nipples above that add another 6 inches or so. That gets us above the header itself so we can drop into it. So this one has roughly 34 inches above the normal waterline.



    The offset is another variable, which depends on the boiler's placement relative to the header and steam mains. Since a drop header has those extra swing joints, the offset length is not as critical for taking up expansion.



    The drop from the offsets into the header will vary according to the heights of the risers and the header itself. I've used everything from street 90s to 6-inch nipples for this. The extra swing joint and the fact that any water is thrown down to the bottom of the header are the reasons for the drop.



    All these variables give us a lot of flexibility when putting in a steam header.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,216
    Looks real nice

    It will amaze the people how they feel so warm and use less fuel. Who got to crawl in to put in those vents? The drop headers do come in handy when the roof is coming down on you. I see you brought your shy hook to support that line too, Strut comes in handy thats for sure.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,513
    Thanks, Charlie

    " Who got to crawl in to put in those vents? "



    Guess!



    Actually we both spent time in the crawls- Gordon did his while we were re-pitching that steam main.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
This discussion has been closed.