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Additional gauge for a Burnham Independence Boiler

I have a new steam boiler. The Pressuretrol is on one tapping. The pressure gauge is an internal siphon 0-30 psi on a separate tapping.That tapping is already is reduced to a 1/4-20. I'm thinking of just installing a T in that port so I can break out to an additional 0-3 psi (of course through a pigtail.) Any problems ??


  • VA_BearVA_Bear Member Posts: 50
    Nothing obvious

    Instead of a tee, I would just replace the original with an appropriate gauge and pigtail combination.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,633
    edited November 2013

    Replacing the 30PSI gauge with a 3 PSI gauge would be against code in most areas.  The 30PSI gauge is required and is an important safety device.

    I would install a tee on the siphon your pressuretrol is mounted on and install your gauge on that.  I have attached a picture showing how I installed mine.  The 3.0 gauge is mounted high up because I felt I was having problems with water getting trapped in the gauge.

    All of that said, I think your plan also sounds fine.
    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

    Steam system pictures
    Central air project pictures
  • rmoore007rirmoore007ri Member Posts: 44
    second gauge

    Thanks for the idea but did not want to deal with the Pressuretrol wiring to use its pigtail.

    I used the tapping the original 0-30 gauge was on. Out, up, and each gauge on its own pigtail as shown in the picture. I've studied steam quite a bit and the 0-3 gauge is an utter revelation. With the Pressuretrol that shipped with the boiler you could not really adjust what was going on (yes, I see a vaporstat in my future) . . .

    With the gauge I could adjust the cut-in and cut-out pressures. Cut -out is at 1.4 psi and cut-in is at 0.4. When the furnace first kicks in the gauge needle hovers at .05 psi until all the radiators are heating (I have some balancing to do.) A point seems to occur when probably all or most of the individual vents are closed (maybe 10 minutes) and then the pressure climbs to 1.4 and the furnace cuts out.

    There was no hope of seeing this behavior without the 0-3 gauge. The gauge needle actually flickers a little. Which worried me until I realized that with two floors and 8 radiators it is a pretty dynamic load.

    I'm hoping some of you real one-pipe steam experts will assure me this is what I should be seeing. (I have the Lost Art and Greening Steam and have never read this sort of detail). Thanks all.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,633

    That looks good!

    My 3PSI gauge flickers / flutters some too. I assume its normal as I have not had a problem.

    I believe some guys install what I've heard called a snubber to reduce it depending on how bad it is.

    Is it possible for you to take a video of it in action? Mine barely moves at all but flutters time while steaming.
    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

    Steam system pictures
    Central air project pictures
  • Why a low-pressure gauge is essential

    You will now be able to diagnose many problems in the system, by seeing the exact pressure of the moment. You can see when you need more main venting (NOW), by reading the gauge for the back-pressure of venting during that early phase when the air is escaping. If there were no main vent, and just an empty hole, the back-pressure would be only a couple of ounces, and so the task is to add main vents until you see a very low back-pressure. This is more certain than the measurements of pipes, and of the boiler steam chest, because the balance of steam distribution is defendant on the resistance of the main vents (very low), and the radiators (higher resistance). This way you will be more certain to have the pipes filled first, before the radiators ( which will each fill at the same time).--NBC
  • DsissonDsisson Member Posts: 47
    Me too

    I also have a Burnham Independence. And ironically enough, I installed a 3psi gauge today too and dialed in the pressuretrol to go from .5 to 1.5.

    I just installed on a tee so I have the 30 psi gauge and the 3 psi coming off the second 1/4" tapping.

    Does it need a pigtail? It seems to be working.

    What I need to know is how I determine what the correct cut in and cut out pressures should be. I mean, I've read that .5 and 1.5 are good, but it's also depending on the length of the main. I have 2 mains.
  • rmoore007rirmoore007ri Member Posts: 44
    main vent being changed

    Thanks for letting me know the behavior I see with the gauge is normal.

    I feed two mains. One main is about 15 feet with a Vent-Rite 35 near the end of the return. The second is about 30 feet with a Vent-Rite 35 near the end of the return but will have a Gorton 1 in a few days. I'll make some notes and report.

    I cannot over-emphasize how absolutely ridiculous it seems to not have the 0-3 psi gauge AND to have a Pressuretrol that cannot really be adjusted without the gauge. I understand the 0-30 psi gauge but for a purchase that runs into the thousands there should be a 2nd gauge AND a Vaporstat rather than the Pressuretrol.

    It certainly is not in Burnham's best interest to have the homeowner improving the furnace that came with a National Grid rebate program. Quite frankly if it had come with a 2nd gauge and a Vaporstat I would have gladly paid a little more. In order to get the rebate I had to use a local installer. And they knew next to nothing about steam heat.
  • rmoore007rirmoore007ri Member Posts: 44
    2nd tapping on the Burnham Independence boiler

    The 0-30 psi gauge on the 2nd tapping is an Internal Syphon gauge (labelled that way) so it does not need a pigtail (that is the "syphon") If you have the frequently recommended 0-3 psi gauge model 33020 from you need to put it on a pigtail.
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    You need a Pigtail

    Disisson- You need a pigtail to protect the controls /gauges from live steam. The water in the loop stops the steam from getting to the gauge.  The Burnham gauges have an "internal Syphon" which acts like a pigtail. It still isn't a bad idea to use a pigtail with the Burnham gauge.

    Ideally use a pigtail made of bronze as they don't rust and are less liable to clog up with crud.

    - Rod
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