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New crown boiler install. 3" drop header, inspector not happy!

RDSTEAM
RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
Alright guys, so my uncle spoke to the inspector and he said he doesnt want drop headers in residential. Scroll down and you will see how he wants it piped. In COPPER!!! Whats wrong with is guy? I can pipe a steam boiler in copper with no header and an equalizer tapped off my takeoff but i cant put in a drop header? Why do i even bother trying to do things the right way?



And on top of the awful piping recommendation, he wants me to cap off the other takeoff and use it as a skim tapping. A skim tapping on the top of the boiler?? Is that the 21st century skimmer. Crown comes with a skim tapping already and if it didnt why would i put a skim on top of the boiler?

Comments

  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,054
    I'd recommend you

    change the tee and get their letter. We have a drawing from Peerless that allows the use of a drop header on the 63/64 series and Burnham now puts it in their manual.. Isn't crown owned by Burnham?
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Not sure

    If crown is owned by them. The rep actually said they are going to put the drop header in their oil fired booklets. Not sure why those only but whatever. What i dont understand is that i go above and beyond on the piping and he says no go, but a guy can pipe a boiler in copper, no header and that passes. The inspector drew a diagram how he wanted it......one tapping directly into the main with the equalizer coming off the tapping. Where in the code book does it say anything about piping a boiler. He's a plumbing inspector, check the backflow and lwco and leave.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,896
    Let me see if I have this straight....

    He wants you to come up from the boiler directly into the steam main and tee off to the side of this vertical pipe for your equalizer? 



    If so, he's wrong.



    If possible, scan the drawing he gave you and post it here. Then we'll compare it to Crown's specs.



    A meeting with his supervisor might be the way to go.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,054
    yea, every inspector has a boss.

    I'd call his.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Drawing

    Heres the drawings
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    My only real concern

    Is the bullheaded tee at the end feeding the main and equalizer. Im not worried about the drop header at all but is the bull headed tee really that drastic? Its still creating a balance between supply and return, its not like its feeding the return, just supplying a constant system pressure.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,054
    edited October 2012
    your method is much better but

    to answer your question, yes the tee is a problem because its going to 'ball' up the water at the turn and interfere to some degree with the drying of the steam. Perhaps the picture will help in visualizing this.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    dropped header

    Me, I almost always use a dropped header, with great success, for many, many years...Using both tapping's is the best, one is OK in that size boiler, as you go up in size it really matters, just follow the book.....I assume the inspector is a mechanical inspector and not a plumbing inspector...Get your facts and sit and talk to him...If he wont listen then move up the ladder.  Very simple...Could be a long ladder..Once got called by h/o due building inspector did not like a heating pipe pinned to a wooden beam, said it was a fire hazard,,so I moved  the 45 year old pipe....He never did tell the h/o they just closed up the boiler and drier with no make up air, go figure that one out..I informed the h/o and he just shrugged his shoulders and looked at me like I was nuts, and looking for more work, I was, but not at his house...Could not have got out of there fast enough
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Great pic gerry

    Haven't seen that one yet. That is pretty crazy. I may have to repipe the equalizer but im hoping i still get away with it.
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 951
    The inspector's suggestion is just so wrong.

    What the inspector wants may be pictured in the instruction book, but with a big giant "X" through it with the heading entitled, "WRONG." !!!



    What you have done, despite the bullhead, is a thousand times better than what the inspector wants.  Each time you drop and drain a header, you are effectively adding the height of the drop to the total height from the boiler to the system take-off.  That the system is 2" and you used 3", you've provided a lot of steam/water disengagement area. Funny enough, it will likely work reasonably well once the boiler is cleaned (although a  full size 3" T with a bell reducer to the equalizer would have been a better choice), BUT wet steam is still a possibility under your arrangement. 



    A corrected arrangement with the drop header without the bull T will guarantee dry steam and maximum efficiency under all conditions.  Remember, any wet steam in the system can cause boiler flooding with your new boiler owing to the fact that the water content is quite a bit less than whatever it replaced.  Those Crowns heat up fast and boil furiously but offer pretty good seasonal efficiency when installed properly.  I think you'll be happy knowing you went that one extra step to make it perfect.
    terry
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    The bullheaded tee

    Is definately not how i normally do it but all that was previously done and i figured it was convenient. This is all however a no go unless crown stamps a drop down header drawing. They dont currently have a drop header diagram and the inspector doesnt want one unless crown states its ok in their book. This guy is being a real a-hole.so i'm gonna have to do it the way he wants it as wrong as it is. Just dont expect me to repipe it again when the things bangs like all hell. I tired to do it right but i guess the inspector is the final say. My idiot grandfather ahould have never pulled permits.
  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
    What about the customer???

    Bottom line, How about doing it right by the I/O manual for the PAYing customer?
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    I guess

    The inspector doesn't care about the customer cause he said how he wanted it piped and its one of the worst recommendations i've seen.
  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
    Sure, why not?

    By the book you get happy inspector, happy customer, happy installer, everybody wins... good luck
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Did you see the drawing

    Bio?? Thats how it wants it. First thats not even close to what the book says, second the book says threaded fittings and he says copper. Whats this world of steam coming to?
  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
    It's frustrating

    Understood, you have a better chance of Crown coming out and backing you up all the way if done by I/O, my thinking was just as a customer paying for a professional service/installation, we are all at some point somebody's customer and we want to get our money's worth
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Its beyond frustrating

    You read the books, attend the classes, study, read, draw.....all for what? A glorified plumber to come tell you everything you do and know is not accepted. If he would have just said change the equalizer fine, i was all set to do that and should have done it in the first place but for him to make me take out my drop header and pipe it in copper just has neglect written all over it and thats the last thing i want to give my customers. When i fired it up the first time, the homeowner was suprised because there wasnt even a peep or a click. I can only imagine what its going to sound like now.
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 951
    This is beyond asinine.

    Your kind of situation gets me so angry that I could spit bullets.  The inspector won't see the logic of the dropped header.  The inspector won't even allow the Manufacturer's instructions to be followed.   He wants copper.  He's in some kind of steam heating parallel universe.  For heaven's sake, the guy's an inspector and he won't pick up a book? 



    Do you have a copy of Dan's  "Lost Art of Steam Heating" lying around?  As a little ammo for the inspector's supervisor?  Or do all your local inspectors come out of the same stinky (ol)factory?  It's bad enough that most steam boiler manufacturers only include "adequate practices" and not "best practices."  To individually mandate "worst practices" is beyond the pale.  His drawing is classic "siphon" that will pull water out of the boiler once a drop of water gets entrained with the steam.



    Will the inspector's piping arrangement void the Crown warranty?  And who is responsible for that?



    This is the prime reason steam heat has a huge PR problem for being noisy or costly to run ("prime" being the operative term here, since that's what his installation will do). 



    Think how much damage this inspector has done before he got to you and will continue to do unless he learns something.  I'm sure he'll tell you, "we do it this way all the time." Verbatim.  I've heard it from plumbers and an "expert" steam mechanical contractor.  I get a twitch when I hear it (like the twitch Herbert Lom's inspector Dreyfus develops because of Peter Sellers' inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies).



    If you can get Crown to give you written dispensation for the drop header if you change the equalizer, then I'd try to go over the inspector's head.  It's infuriating that this kind of stuff takes more time than the job itself.



    Courage.



    P.S.  Is the customer reading this thread?
    terry
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Ok it settled. Steam heating is dead in clifton, nj

    GOT THE LETTER!! Certified by Crown that a drop header is perfect. He also told me not to pipe it the way the inspector said. Drawing attached in the letter as well. I told my uncle lets continue the fight. He doesn't want the headache and when it bangs, makes noose and runs like garbage that its not our problem. I can't believe what i' m going through. All to pipe it in the best possible way. Inspector doesn't want drop headers in residential. Makes no sense, steam is steam, from 200 sq ft to 2,000. It still acts the same way.i think i'm gonna start a petition or something.
  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
    Settled

    Wow, I'm Clifton also and I have the same exact boiler, no drop head though, weird



    I'm glad it's working out
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,573
    no headaches

    keep up the fight against ignorance. does your uncle think the homeowner will call the inspector when the water-hammer wakes him up? will he call the inspector when the copper header develops leaks? guess who he will call? just take some asperin, and keep on going.

    what qualifications are they looking for in such an inspector anyway?--nbc
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Bio...

    Another clitononian huh?? I know that the plumbing inspector recently changed over there.
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Is there an end in sight...

    My uncle told me to disconnect myself from the job because he doesn't want any problems with the inspector. I told him crown sent me a letter that says warranty will be voided if its piped as the inspectors drawing shows, he said he didn't care. I can't believe i'm related to these people. What should i do, is there an end to our dying art in the near future. There has to be more boilers piped incorrectly than correctly nowadays. How come no boiler inspectors, we're relying on plumbers with little to no knowledge of steam heating. This is bad for the art, the state, the boiler companies and most importantly the customer.
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Call for help....dan please help the dying art......

    I hope dan has read this topic and has some type of answer for me. Anyone know a way to get in touch with him. I wish there was a class coming up soon in my area.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    I wish there was a class coming up soon in my area.

    Right! Sent that inspector to it!
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Thats

    Funny. Didnt think about that. Give him a complimentary course on the house.
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,777
    diplomacy perhaps?

    Well, this is certainly an example of a frustrating situation.  But, on one level, you have to give the inspector credit.  He was right about the bullheaded tee.  While it may not have caused any apparent problems in the operation as the boiler was being tested, it may have become problematic over time.  In any case, it is wrong and it is a big enough deal that even the best drop header could not compensate for.  However, it appears that from this point, the inspector sort of went into territory that he was unfamiliar with, to the point that he was totally wrong.



    I think marketing Dan's classes to mechanical inspectors would be a great idea.  Most of them unless they happen to be in the big cities where there are a lot of steam systems don't have much experience.  The steam that is taught in engineering school does not deal with the subtleties of very low pressure heating systems.



    RD, In dealing with the current situation with this inspector, you now have a letter from the manufacturer stating exactly what the manufacturer's recommendation is for piping up this boiler.  I imagine that the inspector will back off of his own personal design pretty quickly.  If he is stubborn about it, I would simply ask him if he means to state that he will not allow the boiler to be installed according to the manufacturer's recommendations.  (uhhh, I suspect that will get him thinking about the potential liability that he is taking on)  If he sticks to his guns, I would request that he put his position in writing, specifically stating that he will not allow you to install the boiler in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines.  If he is so stubborn (and stupid) to do that, than it gives you something very specific and clear that you can use to appeal.



    There has to be due process for everything.  Take the issue to his boss.  If there is only one inspector in the whole department and the mayor is his boss, take the appeal there, or to the mechanical inspections appeal board, or whatever.  This guy is not the final word.  It's unfortunate that this guy is causing you extra work and irritation, but sometimes that's the way it is.  So, you just have to tactfully and responsibly work for the correct resolution to the disagreement
    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
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    Dave....

    The inspector is not the one who mentioned about the bullheaded tee. That was crowns reccomendation. I was already figuring repiping that sextion of it, it was just a small lazy part on my end because it was already conveniently completed that way. My uncle told me i was being dramatic and that he didnt want me dealing with the issue anymore, so now i'm off the job for lack of better words and he is going to do it incorrectly as per the inspector. I told him i have a letter from crown stating that warranty will be void if its piped in that manner but he didnt care, according to him his boilers from 30 years ago are still working.....i told him they may be working, but are they noisy, heat unevenly and run like crap......probably. My last option would be to write a letter to the state, requesting of a new mechanical code for smaller residential boilers and inspections. Am i going to far with this??
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,777
    I stand corrected

    Sorry about that, I thought the inspector balked at the bullheaded tee.  Also, Sorry that your uncle wants to give up.  The worst part about the inspectors design is the copper.  Second and third worst, he won't let you put in a second riser even thought the IO manual says it's optional and he won't let you put in a drop header which would be a good thing, at least it won't hurt anything that's for sure!



    I don't think that you will have much luck with the state.  For the most part, the state is simply going to adopt new versions of a nationally accepted mechanical code, such as the uniform mechanical code.  While I'm guessing that the codes don't say that you can put in a dropped header, they don't say you can't.  The inspector then has to be able to understand what is going on in the flow of steam and water in the header, what the purpose of the header is, and then whether proper flow of steam and water is impeded or improved by the dropped header.  From there the answer is simple, provided one understands. 



    Perhaps you could appease your uncle and simply complete the installation as the inspector has required so that he will sign off on the install.  Once that is done, I would file an appeal with his decisions that the boiler cannot be installed as required by the manufacturer.  By the way, before I would install it the inspector's way, I would insist that he put his requirements in writing, with his sketch, and specifically stating that he will not approve an installation according to the manufacturer's recommendations.  I suspect he may be unwilling to put that in writing.  Inspectors generally do not want to be responsible for engineering.



    On the other hand, if you go ahead and install the copper and it is approved and the permit closed....  uh...well, you know the good thing about copper is that it can be removed so easily!  
    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
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    The saddest part

    Is what the art of steam heating has become over the years. I'm only 26 and by the time i'm in my 30's and 40's there may not even be any steam heat outside of NYC. It really is sad. And the steam heating thats used and worked on today is so hacked theres almost no turning back the clock. I guess i was born in the wrong era.
  • ryanr256
    ryanr256 Member Posts: 49
    Uncle agrees w/inspector?

    If your uncle agrees with the inspector then you absolutely must buy him "The Lost Art Of Steam Heating" book from the Shop on this web site . I'm not a pro by any means, yet that book empowered me to fix the issues on my system that someone like your uncle installed 25 years ago. The good thing is that most of it is reversible but why subject the homeowner to that trouble. If he's willing to take shortcuts in his work, I would not want him anywhere near my house. And, I'm not sorry to say that.





    -Bob
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,777
    Don't Give up Just Yet...

    Hey, I'm about twice your age and I have thought the same thing.  But while they are not installing too many new steam systems, there are a LOT of them out there and they are not all in NYC.  The building that I have that has a steam system in it, or rather vapor system, was built in 1909.  In 1975 a new boiler was put in and it has about every piping error that could be made.  A miracle that it has lasted 37 years, still chugging along fine, but terribly innefficient as a result of the piping and being WAY oversized.  I'm getting ready to install a new boiler and if the new one lasts 40 years I'll almost be a 100!  But the building and the heating system (except for the boiler) will be over 140 years old.  I'm guessing that the steam system will be retained at that time too.
    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
  • RDSTEAM
    RDSTEAM Member Posts: 134
    He doesn't agree with him

    But he doesn't want the headache or the inspector on his **** in future jobs. It's his customer so he can do what he wants but if that was my customer theres no way im letting the inspector tell me how to pipe a boiler especially when its wrong. If you know more than me, than by all means but this inspector doesnt know a whole lot about steam heating and thats pretty obvious.
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