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newer style Pressuretol?

ChrisJ
ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
My new boiler came with a cheaper looking Pressuretrol than my current one.  It appears to be a PA404A type while my older one is a L404F type which has a large mercury bulb.



Is the newer style worse / better or the same thing with cosmetic changes?  I of course would prefer to use the new one, but not if its cheaper and less reliable / less consistent.  I will of course be using a Wica 3 PSI gauge along with the Pressuretrol.
Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
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Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,864
    If you can

    use the old one. It really is much more accurate.



    If you live in an area that has banned mercury-switch controls, you can get a similar, non-mercury unit. I'd go with a Vaporstat- you really don't need more than a pound anyway.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    wow

    there is actually a chance an inspector would fail the installation due to the use of this pressuretrol just because of the mercury switch?



    So this would mean instead of it being in use safely in my basement it would end up at a landfill, getting broke and leaking into the ground.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,864
    Depends

    on the inspector and the Code in your area.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    Steamhead

    I sent you a PM regarding this and just noticed you already answered the question.



    My biggest fear is if I buy a Vaporstat will it increase the possibility of my boiler short-cycling?  If I can get by with 16oz for sure and the Vaporstat will act more consistent I'll definitely buy one.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    wait

    Wait till after the inspection to switch to the old one. I trust the mercury bulbs on my Vaporstat a lot more than any crappy microswitch.



    What they don't know won't hurt them.



    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    hmm

    Well I'd say I have three options



    1: use the old mercury style pressuretrol

    2: use the new style microswitch pressuretrol.

    3: buy a new microswitch vaporstat.  Will my system work with 1PSI for sure?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    edited October 2011
    Vaporstat

    Probably even less than a pound Chris.  My vaporstat is set to shut off the boiler at 8oz.  Some guys around here are even lower.  Wait before you go and order one.  There are a lot of models that look the same.  My model number is L408J1009 non mercury.  Right out of the box it was set to on at 3oz and off at 8oz.  Thats where I left it.  It does what it claims.  You might want to pipe in an allowance for a second vaporstat or pressuretrol.  The first one is for controlling your everyday operation, the second is there as a failsafe incase the first one fails.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    edited October 2011
    Why

    Do most steam boilers come with a pressuretrol if 1psi is enough?



    I'm going to go ahead and guess its because a vaporstat is 50% more expensive?





    I was looking at the same one you have crash, http://www.pexsupply.com/Honeywell-L408J1009-Vaporstat-Controller-Steam-0-to-16-oz-in2
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    ounce gauge

    Don't know, it must be a cost thing.  I just went and checked mine.  The boiler is heating the house well at less than 2 ounces.  The vaporstat is set to on 5oz and off 8oz.  Rarely get to 8oz, only when its real cold like -15F.  I added an ounce gauge as well.  0-20 is easier for me to read.  Dont like to do the math :)  I'll e-mail you another source tomorrow.
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    My other source for the vaporstat

    turned out to be 8 bucks more
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    L404F

    What are the last four numbers of your L404F.  It would likely make a good secondary.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    MODELS

    Old one is a L404A-1354 and new one is a PA404A-1009
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    Sopurce for low pressure gauge

    This is the place most get low pressure gauges from - http://www.gaugestore.com/products.asp?dept=1123



    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    edited October 2011
    Wow

    I hooked up the new style pressuretrol to some brass tubing with my 3psi gauge and tried blowing in it.   It doesn't trip until around 2.5psi and then closes the contacts again as high as 1.5psi.



    I seem to remember some guys tweaking these to work better.  I see a tiny allen screw which I have to guess would allow some adjustment.  My question is if I go through the trouble messing with this to get it to open the contacts at 1.5PSI and close them at around 0.5 PSI will it stay accurate once set?





    Why are these sold so far out of adjustment??  Burner on at 1.5PSI and off at 2.5PSI doesn't seem like itd be healthy for anyones wallet or air vents...



    The reason I am doing this instead of buying a vaporstat is I'm kinda broke for now so gotta use what I've got.  Hopefully in a few months I can swap it out for a vaporstat.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • steamnut
    steamnut Member Posts: 28
    So........

    is there ever an instance when a pressuretrol would be superior/preferred over a vaporstat?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,515
    Pressuretrol vs. Vaporstat

    You can always use the pressuretrol as a high limit on a separate pigtail, so if the main vaporstat has a problem, the secondary one will prevent runaway pressure over-shoot.

    A vaporstat is always preferable to a pressuretrol.

    If there is short-cycling, the main vents are not big enough to do their job or the boiler is vastly over-sized. The ounce gauge will show how much resistance there is to the escaping air.during the venting process. When the air has left the supply pipes and mains, then the pressure will rise a few ounces as the radiator vents do their job of letting the air out of the radiators.

    As a paper-weight to keep the installation manual open to the correct page, during installation, the shape of the pressuretrol works better than the more complicate shape of the vaporstat.

    I am sure that honeywell must monitor all the postings on the Internet about their products, so I wonder if they have any embarrassment as a result of the many complaints we have about their products here..--nbc
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    edited October 2011
    I'm not so sure that Honeywell cares.

    Should they care what me, a simple home owner has touched three pressuretrols in my life time thinks?



    I have had my hands on a mercury style one and two newer ones.  My neighbors which I have cranked all the way down and yet still his air vents howl and now my brand new one.



    As others indicated the mercury one though the scales werent terribly accurate was able to operate at a low pressure.  The new ones, GARBAGE. :(



    I disagree with Nicholas, the new style pressuretrol has sharp edges making it suck even as a paperweight.  But like I said, I'm only a homeowner, Honeywell doesn't care what I think.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,515
    the only game in town

    maybe i did have to file, and polish the edges to avoid damage to the manual!

    the problem is that honeywell have no competition on the pressure controller front, except for siemens:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/124202/New-Boiler-Savings

    this seems a pricey item, but would take over several functions: pilot/flame control and pressure regulator. maybe it's time for some experimentation again with this. has anyone else had any experience with the siemens rwf-40?--nbc
  • steamnut
    steamnut Member Posts: 28
    well,

    that answers that in very short order. of course now I just want to run out and buy a vaporstat and hope it fixes all of my problems like a magic bullet. probably not realistic though.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    No

    The first thing you need to buy is a Wika 3.0 PSI gauge so you can see whats going on.  Without this you are blind because even the vaporstat may not work accurately set with its scale.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Thane
    Thane Member Posts: 6
    Great gauge / Bad Control

    I've gotten a lot out of this discussion. I have an old Bryant with a cheesy Honeywell Pressuretol. I find it amazing the the gauge goes up to 30 lb when it seems that my four floor home probably needs no more than 1 lb.



    I see the references to the low pressure gauges, but on my system, the gauge appears to be purely informational in that the cut in and cut out are in the Pressuretol next to the gauge. While I am very interested in knowing what's going on, the Pressuretol is currently set to limit to 1 lb and it goes up to 3.5 lbs! The Vaperstats seem to combine a cut in and cut out. Is that my best option or are there better ways to get my old boiler to operate in the sub-1 lb area?



    Thank you,



    T
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    Gauge

    The gauge on the boiler is there because insurance companies require it, they are pretty useless below 5psi. You should consider installing an auxiliary 0-3psi gauge so you will know what the pressure really is. A lot of people get a gauge from - http://www.gaugestore.com/products.asp?dept=1123



    Older pressuretrols won't go much below 1.5psi and new ones don't seem to go below 2psi. To get below a pound you have to install a vaporstat, they are not cheap (2X the price of a pressuretrol) but they pay for themselves over the years with fuel savings. The old pressuretrol can then be used as a backup in case the vaporstat ever fails (unlikely, but you never know).



    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    How low can you go?

    I'm curious just how low you can usually get by with the burner turning back on.  I know Dan mentions as low as 1/4 PSI being possible.  Should I start with this and see how she performs?



    Is it beneficial to have a pressure gauge I can mount on the furthest radiator to make sure it stays under a small amount of pressure the whole time? 
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Thane
    Thane Member Posts: 6
    newer style Pressuretol?

    Bob,



    Thank you! This is very useful information. I had not thought of putting in both units. This could be important because I'm on BUG/ConEd's -- or whatever they call themselves these days -- maintenance contract. I assume they would not support equipment added on by me.



    I have two further questions:



    1. Would adding a Vaporstat break any building regulations for New York City residential use? Given that the gas tech people come by once a year, I don't want to do something they might report me for.



    2. I have a tech guy come over next week because the gauge is reading 3 to 3.5. I know the gauge is not to be depended on, but I the boiler is doing some things that make be believe the pressure is actually far higher than my settings should allow. My question is: is there a way for the tech to test the gauge without replacing it or adding a second one?



    BTW, there seems to be only one Vaporstat on the market (for about $170). Is that it? Seems like something that would save money would have a number of manufacturers? If there are more than one, could you suggest the best value?



    T
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    Adding devices

    I'm not familiar withn those regulations but adding a gauge and / or another safety device will not degrade safety, it will only enhance it. If you add or replace the pressure safety just make sure it's wired safely and use flexible mettle  tubing (greenfield) to protect the wiring. Fot true redunancy a secondcpressure control should be on it's own pigtail so no single clogged pipe could disable both of them.



    A known good gauge could be substituted for the existing one to see if the readings agree. If it's another high pressure gauge you still may not know what the real pressure is because they just are not very good in the low range. i suspect the guy is just going to want to install a new one and let it go; if you want to install an auxiliary low pressure gauge you might have to do it yourself.



    Vaporstats are the only game in town for real low pressure control (1 PSI and under) unless you put in a Siemens that goes for almost $1,000. I was lucky to snag one of the last mercury units a few years back.



    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
  • Thane
    Thane Member Posts: 6
    newer style Pressuretol?

    Bob,



    Thank you. I'm sure you are correct about them wanting just to replace the parts and get out of Dodge. But hopefully it will be me back to a sustainable situation where I can organize the optimal solution.



    T
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    For NBC

    Thought you might be interested in the manuals / literature

    - Rod
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Vapostat Info

    Here's some info on vaporstats.

    - Rod
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,515
    gauge on radiator

    here is mine, mounted so i can see when the system is running, although not the furthest radiator.--nbc
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,515
    thankyou so much

    i haven't completely digested this information on the siemens rwf 40, but i think for the larger user, it might be cost effective in its ability to replace everything at once on the boiler and control system.--nbc
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,985
    edited November 2011
    almost time

    Finally to the point where I can start piecing this together.



    The plumbing inspector should be coming this week if the phones ever get hooked up again.  I need him to inspect my gas line so the gas company will hook to is, so while hes here I'm going to ask him about the mercury pressuretrol.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Thane
    Thane Member Posts: 6
    Selecting a Vaporstat Model

    Bob,



    I researched vapor stats and found four very similar models. The 1009 (the least expensive) the 1017, 1033, and the 1025. They look the same and the pressure ranges are the same. The main difference that my untrained eye saw was that the 1009 and 1017 units have RWB terminals and the other two have just a R and W due to "miswiring compliance".  I assume this means that the "B" terminal was not really needed and was subsequently removed. Do I need to look at my current unit to see how many wires it has?



    And, is there any thing that would prevent me as a home owner from installing this? I know enough to wire light switches and the like and I have teflon tape for the treads. If I was doing this during the summer, I would be a lot more comfortable, but my need is now.



    T
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    edited November 2011
    easy job

    Almost all boiler pressuretols break the connection on pressure rise so they shut the system down once you reach the upper pressure setpoint but some are different. Check the wiring on the pressuretrol you have now to verify the wiring, with the power switched off verify the terminals are shorted when the boiler is cool.



    The instructions that came with my L608A vaporstat specifically warned installers to use an ohmmeter to be sure they selected the correct terminals because that model has 3 terminals and can be hooked up to make or break a circuit on pressure rise. I suspect a lot of folks ended up with the wrong style (normally open verses normally closed) and added quite a few sales to the bottom line at Honeywell.



    All you have to do is to thread the vaporstat, using some thread joint compound or teflon tape, onto the pigtail and hook up the two wires (make sure the ckt breaker is off). Just make sure to test out the hookup to make sure the boiler shuts down when you hit the high pressure setpoint.



    If you do keep the old pressuretrol on the system it has to wire is series with the new vaporstat and should be on a separate pigtail for true failsafe performance.



    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
  • Just installed a new one

    FWIW I just installed a brand new Vaporstat from PEXsupply.com and it seems to be cutting out and in in a good agreement with a high precision 3.0 PSI gauge.
  • Thane
    Thane Member Posts: 6
    New Vaporstat

    Which model did you install?



    T
  • Thane
    Thane Member Posts: 6
    Selecting a Vaporstat Model

    Thank you. That's the one I was leaning towards.



    I see that it has three electrical terminals -- whereas similar units have only two. My current pressuretrol has only two wires (i.e., red and yellow). I gather that the "B" of "RWB" terminal connections is not used.



    If your system also has two wires, which color goes to which terminal?



    ==Thane
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    R and B

    My vaporstat instructions say to use the R and B terminals for use as a high limit control, the W is not used. Because it's being used as a SPST switch it makes no difference which wire goes to R or Because your just breaking the series circuit.



    The instructions that come with it are pretty good. Just be sure you verify it will shut the system down when the system pressure exceeds the high setpoint.



    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
  • Ignore W

    What Bob said, just ignore W in the middle. Instructions say B-R breaks, R-W makes.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 702
    No Problem in NYC

    NYC codes permit a vaporstat if the building only requires one control.  If the system requires two controls, one must be of a type that locks out on high pressure and must be reset manually. 
This discussion has been closed.