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

plumber here 'skimming' ???

gypsy
gypsy Member Posts: 84
So, the installer is finally here to do the skimming...  Is this ok??



He is using the pressure releif valve on top of the boiler(which has a pipe connected to the hot water heater between it and the boiler) to do the skimming..??



He is also telling me that i am misinterpreting the banging and gurgling sounds on one side of the system for the water returning and that i need to raise my radiators and maybe drain them to stop the banging and gurgling.  I know they were all empty of water before this new install, and the banging/short cycling/gurgling are all new sounds.

Comments

  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    edited November 2011
    ... and he's gone...

    i think it was 3 buckets of water/steam that were removed.  I was told its all set... its still surging.. was told that is normal and not harmful and wont affect or harm anything... and he may have to come back to do it again when the water gets all 'sh*tty' again...
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
    ummm

    Skimming has to be done out of a horizontal tapping in the boiler. A vertical tapping just moves water, but doesn't remove the oils properly.



    If the noises weren't there before, why are they there now? Maybe you need a steam expert to look at the system. Go to "Find a Contractor" at the top of this page.
  • Patrick_North
    Patrick_North Member Posts: 249
    Hoo boy...

    Skimming takes a lot longer than 10 minutes.

    Surging is not normal. It will "harm" efficiency and performance. That banging and gurgling aren't normal, either.

    Doing a little searching on this site and you'll find all you need to know about properly skimming a steam boiler after a new install. Luckily, it's something a homeowner can do with a little effort. Something tells me you may have a hard time getting your "pro" to address it properly.

    If you haven't already, I'd order the steam books available through this site. You may be kicking yourself for not doing so before your install, but better late than never.

    Good luck!

    Patrick
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,416
    Did you really say...

    that there was a pipe of some kind connected to the pipe from the pressure relief valve to the boiler (in between the valve and the boiler)?  And that the plumber was using the pressure relief valve to skim the boiler?



    Hoo boy...



    I can't really picture that pressure relief valve installation in my mind, but -- there must be no obstruction or valve of any kind between an appliance and the pressure relief valve protecting the appliance, and the discharge of the pressure relief valve must be piped to a safe location and discharge to free air, again without any obstruction or valve of any kind.  Period.  There is no way I can figure out a compliant -- never mind safe -- way to pipe any other appliance -- like your hot water heater -- into a pipe relating to a pressure relief valve.



    That's part A.  Part B is that the pressure relief valve is just that, and while it may be opened for text purposes, it is not to be used for any other purpose.



    Part C is that in order to have water flowing out the PRV, the water level in the boiler has to be well above any normal water level.



    As Patrick said, there's no way you can skim in 10 minutes -- even with a pretty clean system -- and there's no way you can skim without using a horizontal opening or pipe.



    It sounds to me as though you have some serious code compliance issues with that PRV, and a plumber who simply hasn't a clue as to what he or she is doing.



    From the comment on banging and gurgling, my guess would be that you are getting a lot of carry over water in the system.  And if this plumber is the one who piped the installation, I would hazard a comment that there may be, just possibly, some real problems with the near boiler steam piping...  If the system didn't do it before you had a new install, it shouldn't do it now -- unless the new install has "issues".



    You need serious, competent help... try Find a Contractor, but use the state search, rather than zip code.  And if you come up empty, tell us where you are and we may be able to help out.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    here are a couple pictures...

    Thank you all for your information!



    The releif valve that was used to do the 'skimming' is the one on the top back right of the boiler.  the pipe between it and the boiler runs into the bottom of the indirect water heater.  i think it goes into the coil?  Im not sure if anyone here can comment on the releif valve on the water tank, but that concerns me also as it is pointing directly at wiring on the boiler.
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    code compliance

    Thank you very much for the info.  I was really concerned about codes.  I found out a week after it was installed that there was no permit pulled so i called the town.  They said they would contact the installer and have him pull a permit and them come inspect after it was pulled.  They did come inspect, but it was only a gas inspector-he put a green sticker on the water tank and signed it.  There is nothing checked in the boxes that say passed or failed though... i also asked him about the releif valve and if everything looked ok and he said that was between me and the installer.  Should some other inspector have come to inspect it?



    I didnt think it was ok for that pipe to be there under the releif valve... can sending all that cruddy water through it do any damage to the valve?



    He did raise the water level with the auto fill, but it was after he started taking water out of the ovrflow pipe connected to that valve, and this is the plumber who did the install. 
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,052
    oh no

    Terrifying installation.

    It should look more like this one in the picture. But then again I'm biased:
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting
    Plumbing in NYC or in NJ.
    Take his class.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,416
    All I can say is...

    Ye gods.



    JohnNY's comment is mild.  You are not in code compliance on pretty much any of the piping, so far as I can make out, never mind quality workmanship.



    Get some competent help... please... soon...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    edited November 2011
    there was a pipe of some kind connected to the pipe from the pressure relief valve to the boiler

    On my hot water boiler, the supply pipe connects first to a T straight through to the rest of the near-boiler piping. To the side of the T is a street elbow connected to the pressure relief valve. The discharge output of the PRV makes a down turn to near the floor. I wish it were 12" above the floor so I could put a bucket there, but code says 6 inches.



    On my indirect fired domestic hot water heater, though, the hot water output is connected to a T straight through to the Temperature-Pressure relief valve with a long stem that presumably reaches into the tank itself. Out the side of the T is the connection to the rest of the house. There is no way to turn off the connection to the relief valve. That was shown in the manual for the indirect, and the inspectors approved it, though they approved a lot of other stuff I do not think they should. So if someone wanted to skim the domestic hot water, they could do it there -- without opening the relief valve.



    It seems to me the only way that relief valve would open is if the controls of the boiler failed and put more than 212F water into the jacket of the indirect long enough to boil the water there. And to do that, the thermostat in the indirect would have to fail calling for heat at the same time. But I know Murphy's laws, and saw the mythbusters "testing" hot water heaters on You Tube.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,863
    Lets be fair...

    The solder joints look good.



    This brings up something I've wondered.  When an install goes wrong like this what do you do?  If you call the same guy back he obviously doesn't know what hes doing or take pride in his work.



    If you call someone else, you are going to pay for the work, again.  What do you do???
    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
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    edited November 2011
    OMG are you guys serious!? ... a couple more pics...

    So im guessing the first thing i need to do is get someone in here to inspect again? 



    That being the case, who do i call?  When i called the town about no permits being pulled they only sent a gas inspector-not sure if that means only a gas permit was pulled or not-and now that i mention it, im not sure which permits and inspections are necessary in mass but i figured with the town calling, they would send the appropriate people...



    I know the near boiler piping is not correct because some kind folks on this site pointed it out to me and i checked the manual which agrees, so...



    yes, what do i do?  Plumbing inspector, electrical inspector, fire inspector...  ???
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    water tank go boom?

    so what your saying is that my boiler might not blow but circumstances being... not so good -and the way mine is piped now- the water heater could?
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    That piping certainly is one of a kind

    I've never seen any boiler piped like that.  Could you tell me the model number so I can try and make some sense of it
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    model info...

    Its a Dunkirk PSB 4 D
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    edited November 2011
    Recipe For Success

    I have read a lot of posts on the subject of the Dunkirk.  They have a unique set of conditions that require that they be piped exactly right or you will have nothing but problems forever.  This post will give you the recipe for success, and the reasons why it must be that way.  http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/132909/A-steam-boiler-repipe
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    edited November 2011
    Here is another one

    Dee just re-did hers this summer  http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/137940/Ive-got-heat-again
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,751
    His first mistake

    looks like he reduced the steam outlet from 2-1/2' to 2". This increases the velocity of the steam leaving the boiler, which can pull water up into the system piping.



    To verify this, measure the outside diameter of the pipe. If the outside diameter is 2-1/4" or so, the inside diameter is 2".



    Skimming won't help this. Proper piping is the cure.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    so what your saying is that my boiler...

    It does not matter that much what I am saying, because I am not a professional in the heating field. I could not figure out a lot of what you are saying (not your fault), and your pictures confuse me more than they help (also not your fault, but that of the plumber who installed your system).



    What I think I was saying is that things might not be quite as bad as the professionals who were very upset at they way your pressure relief valve seems to be installed. I could not really tell from the pictures. It is safe to assume that they are right and there is an explosion risk. Better to assume the turkey who installed your system screwed up the relief valve (if he did), based on the mess elsewhere.



    I had to get a different contractor to maintain my boiler. The installing contractor talked a good game, but made some serious oversights that should not have escaped professionals. And the inspectors detected none of the problems even though two (and possibly three) were in there in plain sight. It is a pity that there are incompetent contractors out there. I wish boiler manufacturers would certify qualified contractors, and not even sell boilers to others. This would be a shame because there may be fully qualified homeowners who could do a perfectly good installation by carefully reading, understanding, and following the installation manuals. Some contractors do not seem to follow these steps. I did not install my boiler, and I would not attempt it myself. But if I did that, I would immediately hire a qualified technician to inspect my work and set up the combustion adjustments of my boiler, so it would go through inspection the very first time. If I trusted the inspectors.



    Nothing in mine needed me to sue my former contractor. I might have been justified for a couple of things, but I ate the cost to spare me the inconvenience and expense of getting a lawyer, going to court, and possibly losing. I have wondered about requiring all technicians to be licensed and tested on the boilers they are offering to service. I see that as a very mixed thing. It might get a bunch of incompetents out of the profession, but it would offer great opportunities for corruption and inappropriate regulations. I have no proposed solution for this. Or each contractor could have a choice in their advertizing: good, fast, cheap: pick any two.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,416
    Gypsy --

    An inspector may -- or very likely may not -- find the problems with your setup.  Unfortunately, you do have a number.  Some of them are serious; some of them not so.



    I'm not going to say don't run it.  It's getting cold out.  And most of the problems which I see and read looking at it are in things which either are really no worse than a major nuisance -- the near boiler piping which is making all the noise -- or are backup safety devices -- the pressure relief valves which, if all goes well, should never have to operate.



    That said, what you need to do -- as soon as is reasonably possible -- is find a guy or gal who really does know steam to come and take a look at the situation, and figure out what is needed to fix it, and then have it done.  You really, seriously, do need to do that.  If you would tell us where you are, I am sure that we can find someone who is close enough to you to be able to help.



    Please...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 826
    edited November 2011
    Dunkirks

    are infamous for producing wet steam, even when piped correctly.  A bit of oil added to the mix and you are in water hammer city.



    Notice, please, in all the examples given to you, is that both boiler outlets are being used to provide a way for the steam to leave the boiler without carrying too much water.



    At least one of the outlets is plugged tee to allow for proper "skimming" later as called for in the manufacture's literature. 



    Then the pipes go up, then are both piped down into a horizontal pipe (called the "header").  This dumps any water to the bottom of the header.  This header is often sized larger than the inlet pipes to allow the water and the steam yet another chance to part company amicably.



    Our example is a boiler, provided by the customer, that we installed in a truck in order to steam crabs!



    Perhaps, in the mean time, the un-used  outlet on your boiler can be pulled and it can be properly skimmed from there.  That should go a long way in providing you dryer steam.
    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
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    we installed in a truck in order to steam crabs!

    Just out of curiousity, where does the condensate go after steaming the crabs? Do you return it to the boiler (risk of crab deposits in the condensate)? Or to you add more makeup water than would be normal in a more usual home heating application (risk of shorter boiler life)?
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 826
    edited November 2011
    Short Answer is

      condensate in the crab pot is dumped.



    Boiler life is short.  Crabs are expensive.
    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
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    measuring the diameters..

    Hi steamhead and thank you for your response.  you mentioned this in another post that i made about issues with this system, and i very much appreciate you pitching in more info... problem with the installation is that i cannot seem to convince the installer that there is anything wrong... its my old system.. its fighting with the new boiler trying to get used to it.. its the cold water returning meeting the steam...my rads need flushing.. theyre pitched wrong... etc... he seems to have an answer for everything and they all mean that he didnt do anything wrong... this is why i was asking in another part of this post about what inspectors i could call... anyway.. measurement info below...



    i have no way to accurately measure the diameter of the pipes, but i do have a tape measure that i wrapped around them.. i measured the vertical pipes coming out of the front of the boiler and the horizontal pipes they are connected to as well as the vertical pipe that goes up to the bullhead... they all seem to be 7 1/2 inches around -measuring the smaller pipes, not the larger pieces joining them together... with the exception of the vertical pipe on the left that looks black in the picture and the smaller section above it.  these are 6'' around.



    the 6 sided fittings coming out of the boiler have 2 1/2 x 2 marked on them, some of the corner pieces are marked with a 2, and the fittings on the smaller pipes on the right are marked with 1 1/2.



    i just started up the boiler again and although it was not surging more than an inch when he was here after he 'skimmed'... it is now, and almost just as much...7'-8'' and right up into the pipe where the pigtail connects...
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    set up in a truck to steam crabs!

    Love it !!!  !!!!!



    i guess that is another problem then?  I dont have any open/plugged outlets.  They are all used either for the boiler piping or the indirect water heater.
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    You need

    the pipe sizing chart.  Measure the circumference like you did then look it up on the chart.
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    youre scaring me mr hall...

    Im in worcester and would love someone to come and take a look at this mess.  i dont know if i can afford to have anyone fix it though unless its going on the original installers tab.. id definitely like someone to come take a look at it though, and maybe offer some info on who i can call for inspections also, just in case that may help.  
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 826
    On the Side

    Opposite of the used outlet, there should be a plugged outlet.  It may be covered by jacket metal or just insulation, but it should be there.
    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
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    thank you

    for the very definitive responses.
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    horizontal piping

    thank you for the info and response.  thats part of the problem i think. i dont have any available horizontal piping to skim from...
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    outlet

    i dont think so, unless it is so hidden that you'd have to cut a hole in the jacket to find it...
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 826
    edited November 2011
    It's There

    underneath the sheet metal.  There should be a knock-out (a removable section) in the cover metal. If you remove that with a hammer and screw-driver, you will be confronted with the 2-1/2" plug underneath the insulation.



    It's much easier to remove that plug sooner than later when the pipe dope tends to get baked on and the steam rusts the threads tight.



    It's either that, or re-pipe the boiler with a tee instead of that 90...like your installer should have done.



    I just checked the on-line instructions for your boiler to confirm the above plug locations.  In those documents, there is a picture of how NOT to pipe in your boiler.  It looks like your installer followed THAT diagram all too carefully.



    I just love the up-side down VXT water feeder.  It will still work.  But....oh my.



    Was your installer the low bidder?
    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
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    how not to pipe your boiler... and ... knock-out

    Thats one of the problems, he piped it wrong.  I checked the whole boiler again, there are two plugs in the back, one is blocked by the overflow pipe for the apparently incorrectly piped pressur valve, but the other one seems available...



    the water feeder is upside down?  i was wondering about that because the wires are on top and the writing on the outside is upside down also... as is the honeywell thing on the other side, but the digital numbers are not upside down... i couldnt figure that.
  • gypsy
    gypsy Member Posts: 84
    posted in the wrong place...

    see above your last post.



    and thank you.
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 826
    How Did You Chose

    your installer?
    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
This discussion has been closed.