Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit

Am I getting burned

NickM Member Posts: 25
I am contracting someone to replace this boiler with a Burnham. He has had a sudden revelation that not only the steam header must be replaced but the distribution system has to be changed...   Can anyone tell by the pictures if this is true or tell me where I can find a design for a steam header or the  correct method of developiong "distribution."


  • Greg Maxwell
    Greg Maxwell Member Posts: 212
    Steam system

    There are a lot of questions that would need to be asked before I would let someone go in and change a steam "system", meaning piping, just because the boiler needs to be changed. But, I am not on the job, so I cant tell. This looks like it probably is a parallel flow system, and has probably worked well for the better part of 80 or so years. Dont be afraid to get other opinions. It sounds like it may be to your advantage.
  • NickM
    NickM Member Posts: 25

    I appreciate the honesty..

    Do you think I am going to see the 40% drop in oil use or is that just more salesmanship ?
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    You could

    go to the Burnham website and look up the model of boiler.  Most if not all of them will show a diagram of how the boiler needs to be piped.

    From what I can see in your photo, your new boiler will need a header, and the ends of the distribution system "the mains" will have to be connected to the header. 

    Sounds like you need a second opinion on your upcoming project.  Have you tried the "find a contractor" section at the top of this page?  
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Talk to the Reps

    That's a big boiler! First of all is it possible to switch to natural gas? When you have that size of a heating plant you might want to look into multiple boilers and modulated stage firing burners. I think I would contact Burnham and maybe other boiler manufacturers and talk to their reps. On a big job they will quite often help you out with engineering etc. and would be able to find you an installer that is capable of working with a larger system.

    Just a thought.

    - Rod
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,004
    edited August 2011
    Nick- I haven't got a clue

    what that actually means in steamese.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • NickM
    NickM Member Posts: 25

    Do you think I will see the 40% savings on fuel by installing a new boiler ??


  • Greg Maxwell
    Greg Maxwell Member Posts: 212
    Bog 'ol steam boiler

    Please please please, get a knowlegeable ol steam guy in there to snoop around. My bet is that you have never had a problem with comfort from that monster, just fuel consumption. That is what I gathered from your previous thread. Another set of eyes on that wouldnt hurt. Main vents will need to be changed, as well as radiator vents, but Im willing to bet that is all beside near boiler piping, and if an inexperienced guy does it, you will probably get a LOT of problems.

    Ill be interested to hear your progress. Dont give up!
  • NickM
    NickM Member Posts: 25
    You are on target

    I have never had a problem with this beast but it burned 4500 gallons last winter.

    I was told that it is not efficient because the gun was put in the wrong place and would save 40% with a new steam plant.

    IS there truth to this .. is it that big of a savings ???

    I appreciate your help.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,449
    new boiler economy

    our replacement of a 1,050,000 btu. 1-pipe steam boiler resulted in 30 % less fuel cost [corrected for degree days]. this was mainly from:

    1.lower pressure with a vaporstat [>12 ounces].

    2.massive venting of the mains [air out at a back-pressure of 2 ounces].

    3.insulating supply pipes.

    4.correcting low spots in the main.

    5.relocating/replacement of the thermostat.

    6.not sending steam up the chimney!

    also factor in that the average apartment temperature is now a few degrees warmer than before!--nbc
  • NickM
    NickM Member Posts: 25
    The lost art of steam

    Wow -- now if I could only find one of you guys near Mt Vernon NY

    I am leaving now to  meet Boiler Pro #8 today and all of them put together had less knowledge than these postings.


  • Hoog23
    Hoog23 Member Posts: 19

    I live in Westchester too and had no luck finding a local steam pro on this site.

    I have learned a lot from reviewing old posts and asking questions and am using a plumber from Bronxville to convert from oil to gas and replace my old boiler with a Smith G8 and Carlin EZ-Pro burner.  I am almost finished with the conversion project and will post some pics when done.
  • Joe V_2
    Joe V_2 Member Posts: 234
    You will see savings

    My old boiler was a huge fuel consumer until it died.  Local boiler pros are non existent in this area(- although many claimed to cut there teeth with boilers).  Went with forced air,(needed air conditioning anyway) lowered the fuel bill by 50% but was never comfortable.  Bought a Burnham IN5 Natural gas boiler and installed missing steam traps in radiators, main vents, insulated pipes, vaporstat, etc. and received savings of 30% over the forced air system over the last two winters.  And, we were very comfortable!  So, my guess is, you will see substantial savings with a new, properly installed steamer.  Keep looking for the right contractor.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,412
    Now that's a success story

    and we need more of these!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,178
    Some boiler people do travel

    I do travel for boiler installations. Email me perhaps I can help you get the answer that will work for you.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,719
    Beat me to it...

    I was just about to suggest that Nick get in touch with you, Charles! 
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,178
    Thanks for thinking of me Jamie

    I am looking at this coming week to come visit Cedric II .
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,719
    sounds good...

    just let me know a few minutes ahead!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • NickM
    NickM Member Posts: 25
    Resolution-- I hope

    Thanks everyone for the input, it helped.

    After having several "Pros" look at this boiler for replacement, I chose the guy who got the least number of wrong answers,



    Hoping for Global Warming


This discussion has been closed.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!