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.

Overflow trap conflict-what to do


Here's a conundrum and I'm looking for some insight from others out there on this one.  So I'm consulting on a dual steamer installation, and the contractor and subcontractors did a lovely job on the steam headers, etc. but did not install overflow traps on those boilers.  Each boiler has its own feed pump with check valve.  The burners are sequenced electronically.  Not surprisingly the "off" boiler would flood.  I suggested overflow traps and to support my suggestion, I had to contact the Famous And Reputable Boiler Manufacturer's rep to get the sheet that shows the traps' installation since this information is not in the basic I/O manual.

Here's where it gets weird.  The installers welded in the thread-o-lets into the equalizer, and piped the traps. 

But they installed the traps at the normal water level, not above it by 2 or 3 inches the way I certainly expected.  Every installation and installation manual that I have seen in addition to Dan Holohan's "Lost Art of Steam Heating" (and I presume the ASME code) calls for the trap to be above the normal water line by about 2 to 4 inches, depending on water content.

And the biggest problem-- the installers followed the manual.  Here's a couple of screen shots of the Famous And Reputable Boiler Manufacturer's instructions plus a couple of shots of what I would expect to see in their manual. 

Predictably, the feed pumps run way too frequently, and worst of all,

the boilers short cycle at high fire since the pump kicks in several

times in short succession and the water line drops for a moment as the

steam bubble column within the sections collapses and resets the power

burners.  So they boil for a minute, and then post purge, pre purge,

etc. for two minutes.  Obviously a real problem

But the manufacturer clearly states "at normal water line."   I believe this to be in error, but the installer is inclined to believe that it is not their problem.

How would you proceed?  Any thoughts are appreciated.

P.S., I have been remiss by not contributing much to the forum in recent years, but when I read it, I find the questions already answered by a crew of very capable and knowledgeable "regulars" here that I find I have nothing to add.  The art of steam is in good hands here at heatinghelp!


  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    what would be the consequence of

    just 90-ing up and 90-ing out the the float trap from its tapping?
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    Thanks Gerry

    for you input.  I've added that to the options.  Unfortunately, there was only one guy at the equipment company that I was convinced knew his steam and he retired two months ago just after selling this job.  Now there isn't anyone to go to bat for us with the Famous And Reputable Boiler Manufacturer.  Said Manufacturer "doesn't make mistakes."  So there. [with the sound of boiler feed pumps cycling endlessly into the sunset]

    Inasmuch as this scenario has developed the feel of Tim Burton's movie, "Brazil," we are going to do a little work around that involves lowering the water line slightly to solve both the trap level problem and the nasty surging habit these boilers have, even with clean water.  Though the Famous And Reputable Boiler Manufacturer doesn't acknowledge the issue.

    With the help of you and others who wish to be and shall remain anonymous, I've been able to discuss the issues associated with this boiler series with one of the many contractors involved in this installation who is willing to just make it work the way it's supposed to. 

    Happy New Year
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    who is the manufacturer?

    don't want to say?
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    best not to say

    as big companies tend to have lawyers and they like the word 'defamation' these days.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    No need to name names

    since I was really looking for some insight.  Besides, no one from that manufacturer has yet come out to the job site.  The equipment company wants to get a rep out to the site to meet with everyone after the holidays. 

    I prefer to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and this manufacturer has some of what I consider to be some of the best products out there in steam world.  Our problem appears to be with one series of boiler's installation manuals, and I don't know how that happens.  I have no reason to believe that the boiler won't be quite satisfactory once these issues are straightened out.

    Also, our ultimate solution costs nearly nothing to implement.

    Oh, and that defamation/lawyer thing. ;-)
This discussion has been closed.