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Boilers not taken care of......

I am in the middle of West Virginia and just bought a building with a double boiler system, both are Dunkirk D247, steam systems.  I am slowly getting them to run, but from what I can tell they have not been serviced or have not been serviced correctly for years.  I have tenants who are without heat and for some reason I cannot get their radiators to heat up.  I have limited knowledge of these boilers and if anyone can help out with some information on how to clean the system out or get these to heat I'd be grateful. 

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,164Member
    edited October 2011
    w.va steam problems

    can you describe more exactly the problems?



    is there a safety which is preventing them from firing?



    there are usually reset buttons on the modern pressure, and low water cut off devices.

    was the boiler drained of water  and hasn't been refilled?--nbc
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,042Member
    What part of WV?

    We work in some parts of the Mountain State. We're based in Baltimore, but if you can't find someone closer, get in touch.
    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
  • RandomaktsRandomakts Posts: 6Member
    w. va. steam problems reply

    Ok, the problems are that while I have my boilers up and running now, the radiators are having what I consider major problems.  Many of them are heating up which is always a good things, but there are plenty that are not even getting warm.  The pipes which I can access to these that are not working are still cold.  I am unsure of how to clean out the system, which I've been told would be something that needs to be done. 



    I have been trying to add in more water here and there to increase some of the pressure in the system for a short period of time and I have been taking out alot of dirt and grime dayly.  But still none of the ones that are cold are getting warm. 
  • RandomaktsRandomakts Posts: 6Member
    Part of WV...

    Thanks for the info, we're in Randolph Co.  If I can't get these up running to how they're supposed to be, then if your company heads in this direction we'll more than likely be calling you guys to have alot of work done.
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,781Member
    Pipe pitch and venting

    Increasing pressure on a steam heating system usually causes more problems than it solves. If this is a single pipe system (has only 1 pipe going to each radiator)you will find an air valve about 1/2 way up on the end of the radiator opposite the pipe and valve that feeds it. First make sure the valve feeding the radiator is all the way open and then make sure air is coming out of the air vent, steam can not get into the radiator till all the air exits.



    Next make sure all the steam piping to the non heating radiators is pitched back towards the boiler. use a level don't trust your eyes. If you have a dip along the pipe you may have a pool of water which is condensing the water before the radiator.



    If this is a large system you may have several steam mains that feed groups of radiators, are the non heating radiators towards the end of one or more of these mains? Find and check any air vents on the steam mains to make sure they are working and check that the mains are pitched correctly. If those air vents on the mains are undersized they may have to be replaced with larger vents.



    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
  • RandomaktsRandomakts Posts: 6Member
    The system itself...

    I'm not sure how I would go about working on changing the level of the pipes, mainly because they are under 120 year old flooring and I can only reach about 5-10" of piping per radiator.  Although what you say makes perfect sense, the pooling of the condensation might be a cause.  Each of the radiators has a pipe going to and a pipe comming from them and for some reason which I cannot understand many do not have a bleeder valve.  I am going to try and put in a picture or two into this post to show the system itself.  Also I do not think that the pressure gauges are working properly either.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,042Member
    edited October 2011
    Near Elkins?

    That would be an interesting trip, haven't been out that way for a while. Also, is this a one-pipe or two-pipe system (do the radiators have two pipes connected to them, or only one)?
    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
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,781Member
    Two pipe system

    If the radators have two pipes then you have a two pipe system and probably have steam traps either at each radiator and system traps as well. Old traps can often be rebuilt. Usually two pipe systems don't have radiator air valves but it's not uncommon to find one pipe radiators in a two pipe system. There are many ways this system could have been configured and it could even be a vapor system.



    The pressure gauges that come with a boiler are not very good at the low pressure steam heat operates at, even if they are still good gauges. A lot of folks add a low pressure gauge so they can see exactly whats going on. What is the pressuretrol or vaporstat set to?



    The piping is probably the way it was installed unless it's been modified or the building has settled unevenly. can you tell how far out the pipes hea on the bad radiator pipes or is it all buried in the structure?



    Your probably best off getting someone like Steamhead out there to inspect the system and get you off to a good start. Once things are working correctly you'll be able to do a lot of the routine maintenance yourself.



    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
  • RandomaktsRandomakts Posts: 6Member
    In Elkins

    This is a two pipe system with some one pipe radiators here and there built into it or so it would seem.  Any idea of the cost per hour to have someone one come here and basically do a systems wide check and workup?
  • RandomaktsRandomakts Posts: 6Member
    Two Pipes

    The vaporstat looks like it's set at just above 2.  Well I'm glad to know that the gauge's are probably working, but just not able to be good enough for the low pressure. 



    From what I can tell from my monkeying around this place lately it seems as though practically nothing has been changed and it's all the origional sytstem.  Except for the basement, the entire thing is burried in the structure and from every angle I could think of there's no way to really get inside anywhere to do some of the work and I dont think there's any chance to rip anything up and out wihtout causeing more money down the tubes than not doing that. 



    To think someone had this for over 20 years and did so little to this place. 
  • w va boilers

    2-pipe systems are a bit more forgiving of pipe sags than 1-pipe.

    the radiator which are not heating may be joined to some vent or trap which is not letting the air out, thus preventing the steam from coming in. sometimes the traps don't work because the pressure is too high. most well maintained systems can deliver hot steam to the radiators with 4 ounces of pressure, and any more than that is a waste of fuel.

    if you are lucky enough to persuade steamhead to come and give it a check-over, then you will also learn a lot about your steam system, and be able to do much work on it down the road.

    in addition, get some of the steam books from the store here--the steamy deal will give you a lot of knowledge

    post some pictures here of the radiators, so we can see what particular system you may have.

    the one thing you lack now is a good low pressure gauge, so why not order one and steamhead can put it on for you:[gaugestore.com, 0-3 psi].--nbc
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,042Member
    edited October 2011
    Well, we don't discuss pricing here

    but if you e-mail your phone number to allsteamedup at verizon dot net , we can talk about it.



    And thanks all for the kind words!
    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
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