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De-Knuckleheading the Webster system at Walter Chrysler's old hunting lodge

Steamhead
Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
One of the things we love about our work is the places we see. This might not be the same as Dan's trip to Madonna's apartment building, but it's pretty close.



Yes, we're talking about THAT Chrysler- and it's a pretty safe bet he's spinning in his grave over the condition of the car company he founded so long ago.



Mr. Chrysler built this in the late 1920s as part of a working farm, but he designed and used it as a hunting lodge, and did everything first-class. It's located near Cambridge, MD, which most of us know as just another little speed-trap town on US 50 that you pass thru on the way from Baltimore to Ocean City. But if you know where to turn off instead of going straight "down-e-ocean, hon", you find this hidden gem, facing the Choptank River.



The Chrysler family no longer owns the property. It was sold to someone who defaulted on his mortgage, and the government owned it for a while. It was allowed to deteriorate during the latter period, until they sold it to the current owners.



The first picture is what you see as you approach the house. There are two wings hidden in the trees: The North one, on the left, was the servants' wing, which helped us establish that this was a Webster system as it had not been updated over the years. On the right is the guest wing, with three bedrooms. The family lived in the second floor of the main house. And, except for the servants' wing, <em>every </em>bedroom has a private bathroom.



The second pic is the side facing the river. The third is looking toward the river from the house. Under the tree at the left, that little blob is a fire hydrant, originally fed from two huge tanks. They thought of everything- the local volunteer fire companies hadn't been organized at that point.
All Steamed Up, Inc.
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
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Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    edited August 2011
    In the basement

    is the mechanical room. You go downstairs and past these two long-dead Airtemp A/C units (Yes, Airtemp was built by Chrysler Corp.) We're told they were ground-source units. There are a couple old walk-in refrigerator rooms down there too- Airtemp, of course.



    The boiler appears to have been originally located here- we found the chimney connection for it- but during a circa-1948 renovation it was moved to the "Patio House" which we'll see in a bit, and about 100 feet of 3" pipe run from there to the main house thru a giant pressure-reducing valve. The steam main comes in a couple feet off the floor, then up to a zone-valve manifold. The drip from the incoming main had a lift in it, after the trap. We found out why- there are a couple of dead vacuum pumps sitting in that basement! Those pumps also partially explain the smaller size of the zone valves. We think they were installed during the renovation.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    edited August 2011
    More views of the mechanical room

    A badly leaking Webster trap dripping the zone-valve manifold and the Shipco condensate transfer pump that was put in when the vac pump failed- complete with a 2-inch master trap. Also, the domestic hot water tank that is heated with a steam coil and the three ancient electric water heaters that are used in the summer.



    The zone valves were floating-point ones that, again, were designed to run with a vacuum pump.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    Moving on to the boiler room

    Looking toward the Patio House from the north end of the main house, then the Patio House as seen from the pool house. This building is a boiler room on one end, a guest house in the middle, and a bowling alley at the other end- with an old-style manual pin-setting setup. Yes, they have duckpins as well as the more-common tenpins.



    Next, the pool house, heated from the main boiler room.



    Both these buildings are vintage 1948, and have hot-water heat. The patio house froze some years ago so someone tried to substitute a duct coil...... nice try.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    edited August 2011
    The Boiler Room

    Walking in, we see the shell-and-tube heat exchanger that uses steam to heat water for the Patio and Pool houses. There used to be a domestic hot water tank here too, before it failed.



    The boiler is a Peerless LC-09, with a Beckett CF2300A. It maintains pressure all the time- the oil company's dream. The end-switch control circuits are intact, so we'll eventually re-connect them. And the boiler-feed pump controller is piped in with 1/2" pipe, to the wrong tappings. The probe-type LWCO is a CycleGuard instead of a CSD-1 manual-reset unit, and there's no manual-reset pressuretrol. Also the air damper on the burner is stuck, and the lo-hi-lo control has failed.  We have a lot of work to do here- at least the 47-2 LWCO function is working.



    The boiler-feed pump is in a pit, along with a drip trap where the steam main drops and heads out to the main house. This was a Watson-McDaniel bucket trap, placed at the bottom of an expansion loop (the steam main gains almost 2" when it heats up) and therefore full of sludge. The new one is a Sarco inline F&T trap, above the expansion loop. I've included views of the loop in its cold and hot states.



    We had to replace the make-up water ballcock in the boiler-feed tank- and the old one didn't come out without a major fight. Whoever posted the trick a while back of heating the surrounding metal and cooling the center piece with an ice cube- THANKS!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    edited August 2011
    First order of business

    was to replace the failed Honeywell zone valves. Since the vacuum pumps have been abandoned, and the zones heat up without them, we went with on-off units and new programmable thermostats.



    These are Belimo units using ball valves instead of globe valves. We got some LED indicator lights that work off 24VAC and mounted them in the new junction box covers. The second one from the left is on.



    When we started the system, we got severe water hammer when the steam and condensate reached the manifold. So we scheduled some trap replacements- the one in the boiler room, the one dripping the manifold which we changed from a Webster to an H-body Hoffman, and last but not least the one dripping the end of the steam main.



    This one had an 1-1/2" Barnes & Jones F&T that had to lift its condensate to the dry return. When we reworked the piping around the transfer pump and removed the master trap, we added a tee and installed a new trap connection. The trap we used is a 1-1/2" Watson-McDaniel inline F&T, one of the biggest inline F&T traps made, and chosen on the advice of their engineers. The piping and support artistry is all Gordo's- one of many reasons he's my partner.



    When we started the system up with the new F&T traps, we could hear the condensate coming thru the steam main and we braced ourselves for.................. silence.



    No banging in this area, for the first time in years.



    We'll be back to work on some failed traps out in the system, and give the boiler some of our special attention. Watch for updates.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,004
    looks like a really fun time,

    i'm jealous...that system was a mess huh..where did you come up with 24 vac lights, as i've never been able to find any? must be fun to work in some of the placeas you go. Keep up the great work.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 986
    master trap?

    I don't understand the need of a master trap before the condensat tank. We remove them. Most plumbers install tehm toprotect the vacuum or condensate pumps from steam and do not look at doing a trap survey te replace leaking or stuck traps.



    Henry
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    A master trap

    is a sure sign of knuckleheading. We always take them out too.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    edited August 2011
    Any good electronics store

    (not Radio Shack) should have them or be able to get them. These came from Baynesville Electronics, a store north of Baltimore that's been around for generations. They had the last tube testing machine in the area, and you can still get CB equipment there. I think the lights' brand name was Lin-Rose, or something like that. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 757
    Here Are Some "Before" Pictures

    The 1-1/2" B&J trap on the main steam line had a 22" water seal on it.  According to the workers there,  when the system was turned on, it took hours for the water hammer to subside.  It shook the piping MUCH more than the last earthquake!



    The inverted bucket trap on the main drip was plugged with mud.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 757
    edited August 2011
    How NOT to install a LWCO

    It's clear that the installer did not heed or read the instructions that came with this boiler.



    They clearly state that you can use a MM #47-2 only up to the 7 section size, then you must use something more substantial.  This is a 9 section boiler.



    Peerless is really good about providing information and options to do this correctly.



    That MM #150 pump controller is installed with 1/2" pipe off of the top sight glass tapping.  Then it finds it's way back to the boiler through a 1" x 1/2" bushing on the side.



    There is no blow-down, naturally. 



    "Yeah, that'll work.  Looks good from my  house."



    I'm starting to think that oil companies should have no business even touching a boiler. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    Next phase is done

    this involved rebuilding or replacing all the remaining F&T traps in the house- all sixteen of them- and servicing the boiler.



    There was a LOT of water hammer around these traps. We found this was because most of them were originally Webster 26-series units, which had been replaced with Sarco 6-bolt units. The Sarco's pipe connections are about 1 inch wider than the Webster's, which threw a lot of trap runouts off-pitch. Bang, bang, bang! We ended up repiping about half the traps.



    The first pic shows some repiping in progress. The Hoffman H-body trap replaced a Sarco unit (one of two) that was positioned with its faceplate to the wall, where it could not be serviced. The remaining Sarco stayed where it was, but you can see the runout's pitch problem at the disconnected union.



    We rebuilt the two Sarco traps we removed and used them to replace the two remaining original Webster 26-series traps. Both of these old Websters were packed solidly with gunk, and were hammering badly. You can see the effects of the water hammer on this one- it blew the float right off the rod!

     
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    edited November 2011
    In the boiler room

    we opened up the M&M 150 pump controller and realized why it was acting so sluggishly. This is what happens when you pipe it with 1/2" pipe instead of 1", and don't install a blow-down valve. What a mess. We repiped it, of course.



    The new-style #150 head uses snap switches rather than mercury switches. These have a lower current rating than the mercury types, so we had to add a relay to the pump motor circuit.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    edited November 2011
    And of course the boiler itself

    was badly sooted, and the baffles were sitting up against the boiler room wall. But the burner tuned up nicely once the boiler was cleaned- on low fire- we found the change-over valve on the fuel unit was bad.



    And we repiped the control tree to accommodate a low-high-low Vaporstat and a manual-reset Pressuretrol. We also replaced the CycleGuard with a CSD-1 manual-reset LWCO.



    This system was running at 4 PSI at the boiler. Now that the F&T traps are all working, we were getting a lot of steam at the transfer pump in the main house, from bad convector traps. So we backed the pressure down to 1.5 PSI, and that was enough to heat the house.



    We'll be back with a new fuel unit and a whole bunch of convector trap parts.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Old Steam Sytem

    Totally Cool!!!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post all those pictures and comments. Most of us here will never in our lifetimes, ever see anything like this in person. Pictures with the comments of your experience is better than any class you would pay for.

    Again, Thanks.

    Chris Gordon
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,764
    Fantastic!

    Yes, I second the thank yous! 

    It is great to get to see this system and its original engineering, the effects of neglect, and your diligent and well thought out approach to repairs.
    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
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    RE

    Question about the trap in the pit...



    Are there required dimensions for the piped trap after the steam trap? Like depth, or length?
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,360
    Re: Old steamer

    I think she deserves a good paint job at the end of the deknuckling. It would be nice to see the boiler and components all cleaned up and something to be proud of.  Tim
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    Not that I know of

    it just has to be able to take up the expansion. If this didn't work, we would have used some industrial-grade braided steam hose to take up the movement.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    I agree

    but we'll have to get someone who can paint better than I can.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    RE

    That's what I thought. It's just a swing joint for expansion. Just wondering if there was a reason for it to be piped downwards and not sideways.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,415
    Sideways

    wouldn't allow the needed movement.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
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