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Another rotted-out atmospheric steamer replaced

Steamhead
Steamhead Member Posts: 14,474
Weil-McLain EG this time. It failed in the exact same place our last couple Independences did- at the top of the left end section, right above where the return line ties in. It was also piped horribly, with a colliding copper header. The only things right about the near-boiler piping were the Hartford Loop position and the 2-1/2" steam pipes.



I'm wondering if the basic atmospheric boiler design, regardless of brand, is vulnerable at this point. We've had three in a row and another one coming up in a couple weeks.



The Smith 4-section G-8 was our choice this time, as it fit the available space better. Here we see it after we'd finished the header. We used our now-familiar oversized header- 2-1/2" instead of 2".
All Steamed Up, Inc.
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
Consulting

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,474
    G-8 up and running

    with a view of Gordon's ultra-neat copper work. We didn't change the water feeder location, but did upgrade to a Hydrolevel VXT with counter, which you can see in the background just to the left of the water heater. Aside from a couple questionable vents, we didn't see any leaks on this system, but if any develop the counter will let us know.



    With the upgraded main vents, the steam distributes quickly and evenly. Too bad winter is almost over...... ;-)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,186
    edited March 2011
    Frank I am thinking

    It is due to the poor piping and an unstable water line. When cast iron is splashed with water when hot things go wrong. This can happen a dozen times a minute on some boilers I see. The boilers of some brands are fired far higher per square foot of boiler surface area than others are.  Another nice install but you knew that. Smith really should follow you around with a camera and use the photos to promote their product.
    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: 14,474
    We could say the same

    about your G-8 installs. So coming from you, it means a lot. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,478
    atmospheric burner to blame?

    how old was the old boiler? i can't believe there was any thermal shock going on, unless the auto fill was over-filling. could the feed water be from a water-softener?

    i have at least got 20-35 years from my atrmospherics, in spite of many problems, [during my period of steam ignorance]--nbc
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,655
    water line corrision question

    Frank nice piping work on that smith ,i am wondering how old was the weil .In my area i run into corrision above the water line also ,but i know in our area that the water is hi in chlorides and there seem to be no single boiler which is not effected also on another note a few supply house have stopped selling a popular semi inexpensive indirect that is stainless due to hi failure rates of the stainless as explained to me by them caused by hi chlorides also one supply house refuses to do any warranty on them and refuse to sell them and some that sell won't do the warranty either while one sells and  will over replaement  but require a 300 dollar fee to handle it .Just wondering if you think that these water line corrision issues are from chlorides in combination with sediment in the boiler itself .Also where the pins on the section still intact because on a few i have dealt with the pins where popped off which i was told may have been caused by chlorides building up there inside of the section corrasponding to where the pins where popped due to lower heat transfer caused by the chlorides build up and over heat the pins ausing it to pop and leave a thinner section of cast .Kinda funny think is that i have not run into this issue on wet based oil fired boilers.I do realize that excessive fresh water make up can cause this but most of the ones i have ran into did not have any make up issues and also i see it more with boilers that are only 10 years old and younger kinda weird .Thanks for any light you could shed on this from your experences and thoughts on the issue .Peace and good luck keep up the great piping   clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,474
    It wasn't that old

    10 years or so. What makes me wonder is that the failures are showing up in the exact same location on different boiler brands. And according to the owners, they didn't appear to be taking in a lot of feed water until they started to leak in that end section- which is, of course, hard to verify.



    This is why we need a three-pass gas steamer. With all the heat-transfer surface below the waterline, this kind of corrosion is much less likely. I hope Burnham OKs gas guns in the MegaSteam real soon!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,764
    Nice Job!

    The continued problems of rotting section have caused me to look at different boilers on the market, besides the obvious corrosion resistant Megasteam, and pose some questions for the pros.

    New Thread started, 

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/135698/Rotting-at-the-water-line-New-thread-from-Another-Rotted-Out-Steamer-Replaced/success 
    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
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    I have an EG 55

      I was just looking at the rot hole in pic 2.  I am not sure which is the left side but I think the left side, is the side, with the sight glass on it.  If so, the rot hole appears to be quite close to the safety valve.  Do you think the rot hole may have something to do with a leaking safety valve.  If that EG was still installed, and you took off the safety valve, and you stuck an inspection camera in there,  Do you think you might have seen the rot hole?  The reason I was asking is, if I could see something through the safety valve, I might just go get me an inspection camera and have a look in mine.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,474
    That's correct

    not sure if you could get the right angle to see a hole, but it's worth a try. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Boston_2
    Boston_2 Member Posts: 107
    Near boiler

    Just for my own edification, why didn't you use both boiler tapings? I thought the name of the game is to slow the velocity of the steam down and try and dry it out. Based on past postings, I thought if there are two taps availible that it's a good practice to use them.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,474
    edited March 2011
    On this one

    you only need one according to the manual. We left the second one accessible for use when the boiler is flushed out. They also say you only need a 2-inch header, but we enlarged that to 2-1/2".
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • heliostudio
    heliostudio Member Posts: 10
    Same Midwet Story

    well mclain 65 installed  and replaced similar in 11/1996.

    low water probe,mm150,bad traps,running on lowish pressure...started hammering and using water but no leaks...... 4th "new  boiler on1923  oe system.

    block was cracked on top of inlet side and the condensate was going up the chimney.

    finally boiled all the water up and the now clogged mm stayed open and the stuck makeup water valve didnt fill and the pump ran and the low probe was fried and it ran on till my wife ....doing laundry walked into the smokefilled room and turned off the power.

    10pm...15 below ...and im 150 miles away with the scouts on a ski outing.

    inconvenient.

    of course after reading the lost art i realize its my fault to a (several) degree.(s)

    where was the guiding hand of the company that installed and serviced it for the last 13 years?



    now the new burhman is in and barffing every 2 hours. about 20 gal a day...day 5

    traps
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,478
    barfing boiler

    sounds like you need your own thread to get this system back in shape, before it takes a dive as well!

    some traps can stop working merely because of over-pressure. even though you say "lowish  pressure", unless you have a good low-pressure gauge, how would you know?--nbc
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,360
    Re leaker

    Frank, do you think it rotted from the steam side out or the gas side in. I looked at the pics and its a little hard to tell. I have found in past that it was a gasket leak into the flue passages and rotted from gas side in.  I think more often than not this is the case with gasketed boilers. Tim
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