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Why No Estimates?

vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
Any thoughts why not one of the six(6)  heating companies I had out bothered to give me an

estimate?  All were more than happy to give me one to

change over to HW when I considered that 2 yrs. ago! I did specify a wet-based boiler which was out of

their experience. I followed up  to see what progress they were making and it was leading into the summer, but not yet AC season. One company's owner was an old-timer who knew all about VaporVacuum sytems, but he had essentially retired.  I really had high hopes for that company as they put in many Smith atmospherics and brought the local steam expert  for consultation. One of the other firms had installed some new burners so I thought they might be interested in the replacement.

This was very frustrating.  We are pretty handy, but would have preferred not to be so hands-on with the install.  I'm having a plumber with steam experience do the install with his prior (now retired) boss (who does steam) helping. I'm sure it will all be fine in the end. I'm just wondering from a professional stand-point, what would keep a company from following through with an estimate.
Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF


  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    I can take a guess

      Maybe they feel they are unqualifyed to upgrade that great old system you have.   
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    edited October 2012
    no estimates

    maybe they are afraid .From my limited knowledge a wet based boiler is not stricty suitable for a vaporvacuume steam boiler.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Not Compatible?Yikes!

    I'm feeling their pain, too especially after reading the wet-based

    boilers might not be compatible with my system. I never actually read

    this before in my research or in my own posts, so I'm really glad you

    mentioned this as a possibility.

    Anyone know why it would not be a good mix?

      I have been concerned over the possible need for a condensate tank

    or feed pump, given the difference in water volume.  What else should

    I be considering here.

    I had thought perhaps it was just out of the installers' comfort zone,

    but noone ever said it could not work with my system. the first time it happened I felt they were more interested in changing to the HW than helping me maintain the steam.

     Except for afew things which I hope to address later, it works well., after doing the suggestions from people on this board....so I'd hate

    to goof it up by installing the wrong boiler.  I'd like to maintain

    and improve it as a vacuum system. Thank you for mentioning this. Colleen
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    edited October 2012
    No estimates

    Hang on a sec. I did say from my limited knowledge. Lets hear from the real steam pros. I service a grand total of 2 steamers
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    Pros are busy

    This is their busiest time of the year. All over the country people are firing up their furnaces for the first time in six months and, in a lot of cases, finding they need some attention. That attention can mean anything from a few adjustments to a new boiler.

    While we're waiting, it might be worth reading some of the threads our resident pros have started. Whenever they install a new boiler, many of them will post the details and pictures. There is often a discussion about why a particular boiler was chosen.

    Steamhead, of All Steamed Up, Inc. in Baltimore has probably installed more wet-based boilers than anyone here, so if you go through his posts, see if he mentions any he did for a vapor-vacuum system. Just find one of his posts and click on his name.

    Or you might try going to one of their web sites. Gerry Gill has a really great site, http://www.gwgillplumbingandheating.com/, and his page on this site, http://www.heatinghelp.com/professional/88/G-W-Gill-Plumbing-Heating, contains a lot of information about his work.

    Our professionals have made an incredible amount of information available for us to read any time we need it. All we need to do is find it. They don't have to answer every question personally, although they are generally happy to when they're not busy.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    Wet base OK

    I'm not a pro, but have a little experience.   I'm sure one of the pros will jump in here if I am wrong.  I find they read many of the posts but don't answer them unless us wallies have failed to answer correctly or they otherwise find the post particularly interesting.

    Your system will not know what kind of boiler is connected to it, whether atmospherice or wet base makes no difference to the system or your house, except that the concrete floor and the earth below an atmospherice boiler will be kept warm and toasty and a lot of heat will go up the chimney when its no firing.  What is critical when selecting a boiler is the water line.  You need to make sure you have an adequate A dimension and B dimension.  B dimension is not importance if you still have your return trap.  Just make sure that you have the correct height according to the Trane information.
    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.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Guess it's OK!

    Thanks for the replies.  I hope I didn't sound like I expected an instant answer!  I know everyone is busy that does this for a living and I more than appreciate this resource and everyone who contributes to it. I only asked about the wet-based as in my rather extensive and actually obsessive reading of this site and some of the pros sites ie. Gerry Gill's, I hadn't run across this. I will check out Steamhead's as I know,he's put in many Slantfins from talking to the people there.  They think a lot of his work. I know Techman said he has limited experience, but sometimes what's obvious to one person is easily missed by another, meaning me. Thanks for you insight, Dave.I'll have to check out my B dimension. I think I'm OK.

    Regarding the lack of estimates...this all took place late last spring...I was planning ahead and thought to hit the sweet spot between  heat and  A/C.  I know sometimes during the busy season folks are just too busy working to give estimates.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    Any boiler that makes steam

    can be used on any steam system..a boiler is nothing more than a pot with a fire under it..its how the boiler is piped and how the steam is utilized that makes or breaks systems.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

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