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Comments On Boiler Installation

Looking for comments on this header installation. Will there be a likelihood to trap water at the low point after the steam comes out of the boiler and reverses downward? Does this meet manufacturing spec's.


  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,492
    It's hammer time!

    If its what it looks like and there is essentially a trap in the steam main then all that will do is hammer constantly and produce very little heat.  Might even be considered dangerous to an extent.

    Certainly does not meet manufactures minimum specifications. 
    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
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    edited November 2013
    Big Problems with Boiler Piping

    Wow! Well I’ll give you an “A” for originality but other than that what you have won’t work very well (if at all) for steam. You have to realize that there is a lot more to piping a steam system than just joining “A” to “B” with a piece of pipe.  The piping all has a specific purpose and has to be sized and configured  properly to work satisfactorily.

    There are a lot of resources available on this website to help you.  This link will take you to a video on the importance of proper boiler piping:

    There are also a lot of good books on steam heating in the Shop section of this website. I would recommend you get a book called “The Lost Art of Steam Heating” as this tells you what you need to know about steam systems and piping configuration. Here’s a link to it:

    The purpose of the header is to act as a water separator which removes water from the steam producing what is known as  “Dry Steam”.  “Dry Steam” is desired as it is much more efficient than what is known as “Wet Steam”.  The proper sizes of the piping, the heights, configuration and slopes of the pipes are very important to achieve this goal. The configuration of the return piping is important to the efficient operation of the system also.

    Let us know the make and model of your boiler and what problems you are having understanding the Installation instructions and perhaps we can help you. You might also want to take a look at Chris J’s pictures of this own boiler installation which can be reached from the links at the bottom of his poet. Take a look at his boiler piping as this is a great example of how to do it right.

    - Rod
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,182
    This will cost you a fortune

    IF it does mahage to get steam up into your radiators (very doubtful) the cost of fuel will be horrendous. In the installation manual the boiler manufacturer has a minimum required piping diagram, if the boiler is not piped to that standard (or better) your boiler warranty is null and void.

    If you look at that diagram and what you have it will become apparent that something is very wrong, we can give you a link to the boiler manual if you don't have one, just give us the manufacturer and model number. Take that all apart and pipe it per the manufactures requirements, be especially carful to the piping configuration and the pipe sizes. Remember that anything you do over and above the requirements will save fuel.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297
    Under Pressure

    Once that water trap fills with water you'll need 3 PSI just to push the water out. Once you push it out, most of the water is going up the first riser. Gotta redo all of this. The pros here will help, just ask the right questions and read as much as you can.
  • mcsteamy
    mcsteamy Member Posts: 77
    edited November 2013
    No way.

    That cannot possibly be what it looks like.  Ignoring all of the other issues, Is there really a TRAP plumbed into the "header" (or whatever you want to call that hot mess)?   With no way to drain out the water?  Wow.  Just wow.  I really, really hope this is just an impossibly bad camera angle.
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297
    Gotta be

    That's a water trap alright. You can see all of the elbow and the reducing T at the first riser. It couldn't be anything else. Unless there is some sort of high temp sensor on that boiler, this might even be dangerous. I can't see this ever getting up to pressure to shut down, nor over pressure to blow the pressure valve. This boiler might just run non stop until you shut it down.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,492
    edited November 2013

    My understanding is water hammer in a steam system has the potential to shatter cast iron fittings. I have also read articles about guys being killed by it.

    If you try to push steam through that trap I suspect it will hammer and I wouldn't want to be near it.

    Read this when you have time. Obviously this is probably more for high pressure steam but either way the point is it can be very dangerous.

    Here is another small page on it.

    Please always be careful.
    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
  • MDNLansing
    MDNLansing Member Posts: 297

    True that article refers to high pressure steam, but notice this boiler has the same double elbow configuration pointed out in the investigation. And, obviously this boiler has water sitting in the pipe and condensate flowing over it. This is a much smaller scale on every level, but if this boiler fired for a few hours non stop, and it started to hammer in that trap, I'd shut it down and leave. I certainly wouldn't be able to sleep in this house with the heat on and my children in their beds. A 15 lbs PSV on a boiler doesn't stop all explosions. Cracking open the near boiler piping and pouring a few gallons of water on overheated boiler sections would be a very bad thing.

    He hasn't responded since his first post and it's not really clear if the poster installed this, or if he hired someone that did this. Either way, even if he installed it and doesn't want to admit and face the criticism of people here, I hope it gets changed before firing up. If he's been scared away, I hope he read enough to know this isn't done properly.
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