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what is all this extra stuff?

olsn500 Member Posts: 6
Hello All,

So I want to upgrade my steam heating system with a new boiler as the old one is early 40's, it has a cracked and repaired tank.

I was looking at pipe diagrams for the crown boiler I want (going from 216k btu to 136k as the old boiler is way oversized for the radiators I have),and it doesn't ask for any of the parts that the old boiler has now.

1) Webber Vent Trap 0023

2) Boiler return Trap 0023

3) Webber dirt strainer 024

Since Webber is no longer in business what would I replace each of these items with? Do I need to replace the near boiler pipes and these items? Can I just drop the new boiler in as long as I maintain the water line? Could I replace pipes and clean rebuild old Webber items, modding the two systems together? What type of pipe do I have to use and what are minimum requirements?(black iron, black steel, copper below the waterline only, and galvanized)? How do I work the box that controls steam pressure( it is set to 2 psi and I believe that is high after I replaced the traps)?

As for items already done, I have replaced the non functioning condensation traps on the radiators. Changed the valves where they were sticking so that I could adjust heat in each room. Before I bought the house I had the old owner replace the low water cut off and the gas control valve as I want to use this boiler through the winter. This will give me a year to collect all the parts/data and do the install all at once.

I have contacted all my local HVAC people and received bids, none of which seem at all reasonable (one of them quoted more than my last house cost). Only one of them guaranteed the work. Closest HVAC recommended by this site is 250 or so miles away in Chicago. This is why I have decided to undertake this process. Included are a few pics of the system any advice would be greatly appreciated but I do have to adhere to a budget that if it so requires me to order parts over several years.
New guy


  • olsn500
    olsn500 Member Posts: 6
    missing pic

    sorry for the extra posts, when I hit the go button said server was down so tried again:P
    New guy
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,332
    edited June 2013
    The Webster units stay there

    do not remove them, unless the Return Trap is blowing steam into the dry return, You're a lucky guy, you have a Webster Type R Vapor system.

    See Chapter 15 of "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" for more.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,936
    edited June 2013
    I'll add just a bit...

    Make sure the dirt strainer is clean -- and pipe things so you can keep it that way easily.  As Frank says, keep the rest of the Webster stuff assuming it's working; if it's blowing steam, replacements can be had.

    Follow the new boiler's piping diagrams carefully; if in doubt, ask questions here. 

    What really needs to be added as comments, though: first, match the water levels as closely as you can.  You may need to raise the new boiler on a pad to do this, but it's really important.  Second, plan on using a vapourstat to control the new boiler, rather than a pressuretrol.  These systems work best on very low pressures, and a pressuretrol just isn't sensitive enough to do the job.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • olsn500
    olsn500 Member Posts: 6
    so maybe a boiler swap isnt needed?

    So my boiler is cracked and been repaired, but is'nt leaking. Granted also it is also quite over-sized for my application. This boiler is 80% efficient. Though as long as the condensate traps are working properly, replace the pressuretrol with a vaporstat, the dirt strainer is cleaned, and the return trap isn't puking steam into the return (how would I know this?). Should I just run this unit till it fails? Spend the next few year purchasing parts for the inevitable.
    New guy
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Throw an analyzer on it

    and see what kind of efficiency it's actually operating at.  The Vaporstat would be re-useable on a new boiler, as would any venting or trap work. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,936
    You'll know

    if the return trap is blowing steam -- two ways: first, some of the radiators may heat poorly, if at all, because of the back pressure from the blowing steam.  Second, and actually easier to find out, is if the return is steam hot -- you simply can't put your hand on it (an IR thermometer is more reliable).  it can be warm, even hot or very hot water hot, but not yeouch hot.

    80% isn't bad at all.  However, you may be able to adjust the burner even more closely, but that is a job for a really good burner tech. with the right tools.  There may be such a critter nearby...

    In any event, I'd be inclined to put a vapourstat on it -- as SWEI said, you can reuse it when you get a new boiler anyway, and it will make a difference.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Heat exchanger

    When you refer to the cracked "tank", are you talking about the heat exchanger? If so, how was it repaired?

  • olsn500
    olsn500 Member Posts: 6
    Im sure its the exchanger

    The one guy that seemed rather reputable that I had come in and look at the system pointed out a repair done with some sort of "Hydraulic/Hydronic? epoxy" that he was sure was repairing a crack due to a dry fire and hot fill. Niether of us were inclinded to pick the repair apart as it had been holding for god knows how long. When I get home tonight I'll shoot a pic of the repair and the name plate on the old janitor boiler.
    New guy
  • olsn500
    olsn500 Member Posts: 6
    heres the old repair

    Heres nameplate of boiler and the repair in the heat exchanger. Little internet digging leads me to believe that the sq ft i have of home and the size of my radiators I would only need about a 120k btu boiler at 80% efficiency. This one is well above that. Also what do all these shut off valves do, are they only there for repair purposes? As they were all shut during the home inspection and the boiler appeared to work ok at that time.
    New guy
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    You have plenty of time

    to research this, take your time and learn how steam works so you make the right choice. That patch might go next week or next year, who knows it might last many years. i would get the traps and piping attended to because they have a huge impact on the systems operation and it's operating costs. Once everything is working as it should when you do replace the old boiler it will purr like a kitten.

    Do yourself a favor and buy this book -


    This book will give you all the information you need to understand how these systems work and it will allow you to talk to a contractor. It's very well written and easy to follow and it will save you 10X it's cost in no time.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • I don't see any repair....

    that "putty" looking stuff is furnace cement to seal the clean out plate ( the piece of metal with an arch top) in place.  This is normal on all older and many newer boilers.
    The Steam Whisperer (Formerly Boilerpro)

    Chicago's Steam Heating Expert

    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935
    Looks familiar

    I grew up in a house with a similar boiler. Except it was hot water on a converted gravity system. 
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