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An Epic Tale: I hear the Trane a comin'!

vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
but I still feel like I'm in Fulsom prison. I was going to title this The best mansion steam Odyssey, but that title was already taken and I've already written enough on the trials and tribulations of my system's boiler replacement to feel I actually took part in the Iliad!

This has been a wild ride and reading over my early posts, I'm surprised I haven't been booted off this forum. Everyone has been so nice!!! (Of course, that's to everyone, not just me.) THANKS to each and all who have responded to my endless and detailed queries and dissertations.



As background, this was my first post, and looking back it touches on most of the points being incorporated into the current set-up: twin boilers, greater efficiency and keeping the steam. You can see the old boiler and piping diagram.

<a href="http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/133806/HW-Convert-or-not-on-Trane-Vapor">http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/133806/HW-Convert-or-not-on-Trane-Vapor</a>



This gives the visual of what it looked like INSIDE. Yikes!!! That was a fun day taking it apart. NOT!!! The chisel (thanks to this post: <a href="http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/90421/removing-old-cast-iron-steam-boiler-from-cellar">http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/90421/removing-old-cast-iron-steam-boiler-from-cellar</a>) did work brilliantly to separate the sections and the tire was genius to absorb the impact. These are NEVER before seen pictures...did this thing EVER heat? Yes, until the very end. What a monster. The amazing thing was they gave me $50 for it all at the scrap yard whereas I thought I'd have to pay someone to take it !!! Whew!!! Jstar mentions using stair climber and lift gates, but I don't want to remember how we wrestled these things into the truck with a dolly. Wears me out looking at these pics. Let's take a break, while I find some more pics leading up to these past couple of days!
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
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Comments

  • SWEISWEI Posts: 7,356Member
    It's rollin' 'round the bend

    Keep sending pictures, and good luck!
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    Keeping It

    So are you keeping this as a vacuum system, or ditching it?
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Ditching it!!!!????? Say what???? :)

    Heaven forbid! I'm definitely Keeping the vacuum, other wise it wouldn't be a Trane VapourVacuum system! It's pretty much all original without being too knuckleheaded as i'm only the third owner.There are a few different valves besides the Trane, but most are Dunhams of Hoffmans which were designed for systems such as mine. I will investigate changing the others after the install. From the beginning of this saga, it's been about not only keeping the vacuum, but improving it. Each element was chosen and configured with that in mind. I think the only thing that could have further improved it would have been a multi-staged or modulating burner to more closely approximate a constantly burning coal fire, but I'm already getting staging due to the twinned boilers.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    New ceiling and pad...

    In preparation for this install we had to tear down part of the old ceiling and replace with concrete board and it was falling down piecemeal. Why wait to have it collapse? Then we laid a nice new 4" concrete pad. We actually just did that this week after having to re-orientate it to accommodate the service bay. Here's a pic of the old pad. It was just a bunch of bricks held together with concrete, but it worked (except for the missing part!).
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    Good News

    I'm glad to hear your keeping it! If you're looking to improve the vacuum draw, look into ejectors and steam jet pumps. With a little brain work you can use the boiler steam to draw vacuum on the air returns with no moving parts or electric pumps. I'm testing several designs right now and the concept really does work well. It's amazing how fast the radiators heat doing this. Fill the system with steam, then draw a few bars of vacuum and woosh! Instant heat.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Much Better...

    Ahhh. This is what I call a pad... much better. My helper took a great video of me mixing the concrete in my work clothes and coat and scarf. No time to mess around.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    tightening up...

    Rght now I'll be focusing on tightening things up, Insulating the one line of mains that look to have never been insulated (that probably explains why that last rad is always COLD), and removing the one air erroneously added in a rad behind a built-in cover and repacking/cleaning fixing leaky valves.

    Many of these vacuum systems, including mine, have an equalizer that comes off the mains to the wet return that helps speed up the vacuum. It's different to the boiler equalizer. Does your have this?
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    edited November 2013
    Nope

    No equalizer on mine. The risers are dedicated to the mains and the dry return drops straight to the boiler. Mine does vent the mains into the air return lines though. This seems to speed up the radiator venting since its all a closed system. Everything on my system vents to a single point on top of the condensate tank, except for the small gortonsn and thermo traps I added to the mains to speed them up a bit. It does draw a fast vacuum though even without the equalizers. It's only a matter of a few mins for it to drop from 1 psi to vacuum once the radiators start to cool. Now that I have the leaks fixed it will stop firing, start to cool, then boil again at max vacuum. It's neat to watch it and hear the water be silent then start to boil again.



    EDIT

    Actually, I suppose mine does have an equalizer. The ends of the mains all meet and drop down to the wet return well below the water line. It's at the far end of the mains though, not the near boiler piping. I assume that's what you're talking about?
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Read this thread:http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/139813/Another-Look-at-Vapor-Vacuum

    This fascinating thread from last year (@5/8 down the page) explains this better than I can. The entire thread is worth reading from beginning to end, anyway. http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/139813/Another-Look-at-Vapor-Vacuum



    Mine comes directly off the mains as you can see in the attached pictured coming underneath the insulated main, going back around the wall and straight down to the returns. You can just make out the Trane mercury pot with vent on top to the left. There's just the one vent that closes when pressure is reached.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited November 2013
    New set-up Specs

    After much back-and-forth, we settled on two Slantfin Intredpid TR50s, stage-fired using Riello G400 single-stage power gas conversion burners. It took about two seconds to type that and about six months to figure it all out! We wanted some sort of staging and the efficiencies gained from that as well as a wet-based boiler. I got it all from simplyplumbing.com on the recommendation of ereynolds from this site. Karen was great putting up with my questions and delivering as promised so I'm giving another shout-out if that's allowed.

    These boilers were small compared to the old behemoth, but still 650Lbs each to bring in. This is how we did it. Needless to say, we figured something else out for the install.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited December 2013
    Down with the old; in with the new!

    Or How I spent my Thanksgiving...first, we had to take down the old risers and some of the attached mains which will be altered slightly and reattached. Then we set the two new boilers. The new and improved method was an engine lift! It worked brilliantly taking down the main and moving the boilers. In the second picture one can barely see where the boiler is raised just a fraction to allow for a perfect placement. The last pic is of both boilers in and that take us to Thursday afternoon. Of course when I say "we", it's understood I'm just a bystander trying to stay out of the way!

    Aren't they pretty? I came down at night just to look at them. What is wrong with me?

    P.S. when we temporarily disconnected one of the lines on the coal boiler we discovered it was still full of water!!!!
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    I see

    My system is certainly different. All of my mains combine then drop to the wet return, but it isn't configured like this.



    Did you look at the Keystoker boiler and give it any thought? I've got a call scheduled with them Tuesday to discuss their product. If you did look at them any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited December 2013
    No rest for the weary...

    So after a cup of tea and some oatmeal, we carried on. Finally figured out that the vapor equalizer was more than 2 INCHES out of whack! No wonder the house shook everytime the boiler started up from a set-back! Removed some pipe, as seen above behind the two boilers, to get the pitch right. See attached pic for how much we had to lower this pipe. when we did it emptied about 1/2 gallon of water!



    Then came the fun part!!! I"m sure every pro on this site was either laughing or snickering when I said I planned on reusing all the old pipe and fittings...Yea. How hard could it be to separate 100yr old pipe? Let's just say impossible. We were able to save the mains,the flanges, a fitting or two and some other bits and bobs including the wet returns, but there was some very impolite language being used.



    Cleaning out the wet returns was fun! These sort of messy jobs generally fall to me, since I'm a total lightweight. What is that gunk in there? I had about two buckets total of a black hard coal-type substance and fine rust. I scraped out what didn't fall out.. .They look pretty good now. Here's a reminder of how gunked up they were...almost completely clogged. Again, how did this ever work?

    And that was how I spent my Thanksgiving. :)
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    ?????

    I must have missed that MDN. I don't feel qualified to comment on the Keystoker boiler, but I will say that the prior owners who actually used the coal boiler here found it to be very messy and dirtty. Somehow it spread coal dust throughout the entire house, although it may have been user error. It has an automatic stoker called The Iron Fireman.



    Start another thread and see where it goes.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited December 2013
    Heads Up!!!

    I was going to wait for the beauty shots, but decided to continue with the progress shots since we so rarely see the install process. I'll keep them to a minimum as my friends have told me HH isn't my personal blog. This was quite a few days ago and we were happy to get this much done given the UPS delays, and faulty threader that couldn't be replaced until Monday.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Rise, Rise, Rise.... and equalize!

    After a sleepless night worrying that after all this work, i'd messed things up with the equalizer, I put in a call to Slantfin. We discussed, I sent sent pics etc, and discussed a few other minor changes that I'd hoped were minor. They assured I shouldn't have any problems. Whew!

    I've been trying to thicken my skin for this moment, so please be gentle with any comments, (although I'm not sure if anyone's reading this).
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited December 2013
    A

    We also reconfigured the main a bit rather than go through some screwy piping to get it to fit right. It's like putting together a watch in Switzerland, but with really heavy pipes.



    We also piped in the Hartford Loop. It's short, but that's all the space that was available. My old system had neither an equalizer nor a Hartford loop.



    Thank goodnes it was in the 60s today and we could "warm" up the house.

    I think there's light at the end of the tunnel.
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    Header

    I'm curious as to the reason for mounting the header so high?
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Head bangin'

    There were a few reasons for that decision, MDN. Due to the configuration of the boilers and the available space, we have a header for each boiler connected to the swing joints; they then connect with 45s to the common drop header. The size of the pipes and the 45 with the king valves pushed the header out in front of the boilers. It would have been a head banger to have it lower, although MUCH more convenient to read the gauges. I've read that the main reason for the drop is to separate the steam and water better and that it's the drop itself rather than the length of the drop that matters. Plus, I think we used enough pipe on those risers!
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    I hope so!

    I hope so, Mark. We had the height and the cost of straight pipe isn't much compared to the fittings, so we said, "let;s go for it!"
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    Yup

    Got it. That wasn't hidden criticism in that question. I was just curious if it had any technical basis. I will be doing the same thing with my risers, but my drop header is coming down low to the boiler. I should be able to get a total of 80" of rise out of it. But I only have one boiler and plenty of room to avoid the Frankenstein scar.



    Thanks for the updates. It's neat to see all of the project, not just before and after pics. Nice work!
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Venting, too.

    No criticism received.:) I know you're going to do a new boiler yourself and just want to know. I asked SO many questions and most all of them were answered. I think it all depends on the most convenient layout and the boiler itself. We also wanted to go high to accommodate the venting which comes out of the middle of the boiler. The SmithG8 comes out the back so it's a bit more convenient. Had we used that boiler we may have gone lower. And you're right... with one boiler there's not so many ways to do the header.

    I must say, working with someone 6'4" has also pushed things up a bit high. I keep having to say i'll never reach the water turn-off without a ladder, etc. I do wish my vstat was going to be a bit lower, however.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited December 2013
    We're all wet!

    We finished the wet returns today. I'd like to thank MarkS and Rod for the useful suggestion and diagram for the isolation valves. I know what's there isn't exactly as suggested and won't perform as planned, but we'll change it in the Spring. I guess I should have been paying more attention. There's maybe one other thing I'd change about the general piping, but if it works I'll try not to let it bother me. I didn't think it was "allowable", although seeing everything together makes me realize I should have just asked and not been worried about too many specific questions, as I'm fairly sure it would have been OK. Shoot, what's one more post!

    Down to one helper, but the heavy work is done. Now we just need to figure out the controls and find another burner person, since the one scheduled backed out. That's a total drag because I'm itching to get this system up and running and put it through its paces. Not to mention there's snow scheduled for tonight.



    Btw, are steam systems male or female? I've noticed some Wallies name theirs. Is this common? C
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    No Question

    Mine certainly has the temperament of a woman. At the beginning of the heating season I had increasing urges to call it "The Dirty Old B***h". There is no doubt in my mind they have genders, and mine has been identified.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    New life for Old stuff...and a great Logo!

    Finally got the water hooked back up and to make it a bit more accessible to me, we used a valve from the old set-up. This thing weighs a ton and is so beautiful with such attention to detail..even the washer has the Powell name on it!



    I'm also including a pic of the coal feeder logo just because it's so freakin' cute! I'm really going to clean this area up when all is done and put back up the coal tools with their holders. it's pretty great seeing these two systems side by side: the "baby" Intrepids and "The Behemoth", the Ideal Arco boiler.
    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
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,244Member
    Beautiful

    Beautiful job.

    I love the iron fireman logo.
    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
  • What to do for the Hartford/Gifford loop

    Have you any pictures of the "-loop" question?

    There would only be one equalizer from the header, so how are the loops piped in?

    Still no reply from you for my question, and I checked my spam folder.

    Keep up the good work, and the news of it!--NBC
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited December 2013
    will try again...

    Gee, i'll resend that...it was over a week ago. I sent you an email just now.

    The loop comes up from the wet return to the equalizer which drops down and connects to the boilers exactly as if there were only one boiler.. I'll try and take a pic that shows the whole thing. Try checking my recent thread on Twin Boiler Schematics. DaveQCA pointed out my original mistake and SF verified it. The last drawings are correct.

    Although that part is OK, we're changing a couple of things that didn't get done as desired because we were too tired to think or look at the drawings, I guess. Minor issues concerning clean-out & isolation, taking one boiler off-line. It's nothing affecting the functioning, but nice to have to help with day-to-day and year-to-year maintenance.



    Thanks for the rah-rah. Everything that could go wrong has, so it's nice to hear motivational feedback. I hope to get the jacket on still tonight. 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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    All dressed up....

    It's pretty cold around here so I decided the boiler needed a jacket! don't look too closely as there's a wee mistake that we have to correct.



    Reading old posts and corresponding with some wallies, I considered addition jacket insulation to further decrease stand-by losses. Since wasn't actually any extra space inside the jacket, I'm wondering if anyone adds more insulation outside the jacket?

    Hopefully, they'll be up and running soon.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Getting accessorized!

    Rather than sit around doing nothing, I decided to put the non-electrical stuff on the boiler. That's the Pressure relief valve and a run-out for the steam, the sight-glass and the skim port with valves.

    We are going to change the skim-port slightly at a later date to incorporate NB-C's fantastic suggestion of an auto-skim valve. It's too late to do anything with the equalizer, although that was a good idea also. I'll report back how it works out when we do it. It will probably will be a Summer project as it involves opening the wet returns. I also bought the stuff to make the wand; what a great holiday project.



    I need to search the posts about putting on the ptrol so that I can clean it without having to remove the wiring.



    ALL the piping including the gas line is done. ..just needing the venting, controls and burner setting. I'm a little nearer getting that all done, but no heat for Xmas. I hope everyone has a good one if you celebrate!
    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
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,244Member
    Union

    I would add a union right near the pressure relief to make changing it easier down the road.  They do fail from time to time and that iron pipe won't be fun to deal with years from now.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Thanks...

    Thank you Chris .I think it actually came with one and I didn't realize it until I looked at the picture on SF's site.  I'll be sure to change it out.  I can't wait to finish the wand.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    edited December 2013
    Look what Santa brought!

    Besides buying the parts, I didn't have to do a thing! This is sort of an amalgamation of the wands I've seem here. I almost went with the garden wand, but I was worried about the tip falling off inside the boiler and the copper was actually cheaper. I tried to incorporate the tip gerry Gill mentioned his apprentice making as that seemed practical. We'll see how it works; I'm really liking the handle addition. That was my friend's original design. I'll probably clean up some of the soldering as it's a bit rough, but let's not look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

    So while it's been a cold holiday , I was warmed by the kindness of this gift.
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    Swivel

    I found that a 360 rotating connector between the hose and wand is a must. As you turn the wand while cleaning the hose will loosen if you don't have one. You can get them in the box store garden centers, they are just a swivel connection that goes on the end of a hose. Easy to find.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    I'm down with the swivel.

    Thanks! I checked and while I may have not thought of that, my friend the fabricator did! So Im good with the swivel. I suspect that will come in handy. Happy New Year, everyone. I hope it's a warm one!
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Exhaust venting: DONE!

    It's very cold over here, but moving towards heat. So far no one person to finish boiler, but after being chastised by my Dad for not attempting the venting, we went ahead and did it. I was really intimidated by this part more than anything else, but Slantfin talked me through it and I think it worked out pretty well. The spacing was really tight and I wasn't sure if we could make the requirements. In fact, it ended up spot on with nary an inch to spare. For some reason, (probably because this was a hands on job for me), I feel so pleased with how it ended up.

    I'm still waiting on the spill switches from simplyplumbing.com , but that's a job for the burner person.

    I'm having the wiring upgraded tomorrow and then crossing my fingers that the burner guy will do the controls as well.

    It's not the neatest cementing job, but I didn't have time to study the ins and outs of it all when I decided to just go for it.. I may go back to pretty it up later when it's not so frigid.

    I've noticed noone really talks about the exhaust venting unless it's so egregiously wrong as to be a hazard.
    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
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Nice set-up!

    Hi Mark, I'm taking a closer look at your set-up to ensure I have everything and understand you correctly... I only need the unions for the controls, not the gauges?



    I like the ball valves to isolate the low pressure devices. I've been wondering how folks avoid damaging their low-pressure devices during a blow-down... now I know! Since mine are going on the header, I may have to copy this idea. I will have two Vstats and one vacuum gauge on the header. Can I have the vacuum gauge on it's own outlet or does it need to go on the same line as a vstat? If alone, does it need a pigtail as well? I usually see them together, but I only have the one original vacuum gauge and two Tstats.

    (My pressuretrols and gauges will go on top of their respective boilers.)

    Any help is appreciated, as usual. I may have someone who does commercial work willing to help me out. He did my 1940s commercial Victory fridge and his company does all sorts of work on mechanical systems. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
    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
  • Must be close to lighting off!

    Have you described your control system yet? Will it be a thermostat, or something more complicated?

    I was thinking about vacuum systems in general, and it seems they may need more anticipation than straight atmospherics. When the burner cuts out, there is still steam in the pipes radiating heat, so maybe the standard 1ch for thermostat setting will have to be changed.

    Good luck!!--NBC
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,516Member
    Vaporstats...

    Hi, NB-C

    My controls are going to be as follows.: the pressuretrols and their gauges will each go on top of their respective boilers.

    To control the boilers I have a sort of header coming off of the drop header. You can see it in the above 1st pic of the venting. I will have a lead and lag vstat and the original vacuum gauge...one on each of the outlets, unless I decide to put the gauge with one of the vstats. The Taco relay suggested by Jstar will control the lead /lag switching. He told me how to wire it if I was using a two-stage Tstat, but I have to check if that will work with the vstats alone since I'm not using the 2-stage Tstat. I'm hoping whoever puts in the buners knows. I may add the 2stage tstat later, and have included a place for it on the control header.



    I'm just dense in that I don't really understand how that all works as opposed to just the Vstats and if it replaces the Tstat I have upstairs. I figure I can at least get the system up and running this way and add that later when I understand how it functions. It's not really that expensive if it helps give better control.



    Interesting about the CPH issue and vacuum. The WM pdf I sent you touches on that issue a bit and says 3 is about max for any low pressure system so I can play around with it and see what changes. I'll have to think about it.

    As the steam condenses, the vacuum increases and the steam is produced at lower and lower temps. Running the burner full on would break the vacuum so having only one boiler fire might prevent that. Am I thinking about this correctly? I appreciate any comment or thought on these issues.

    what do you think of the venting. I'm just waiting for the spill switch. Fieldcontrols originally told me the wrong one for the conversion burner, so I had to reorder. I guess I should have just trusted Slantfin's recommendation.
    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
  • MDNLansingMDNLansing Posts: 297Member
    Low Temp Boil

    With modern boilers, you have to think of the vacuum differently. In the old days, low temp boiling made sense as a way to modulate heat in the house. After all, they didn't have mercury switched thermostats in the house. Instead, you would try to run the boiler at a lower temp for longer periods of time. This let you control steam temp. If you drop the boiling point of water to 160 degrees, that also means you are making 160 degree steam. With today's boilers though, throw that all out the window. You're not going to be running the boiler hours on end to modulate temp. It does, however, still have an extreme benefit.



    If you can fire the boiler hot, build some pressure, then shut it down and draw a vacuum, it will continue to boil with the burner off. You can essentially generate steam for longer periods as the vacuum increases. The latent heat of the system will keep the water boiling, steam pumping, and radiators hot for longer. You can use less fuel to generate more heat for longer periods of time.



    The key here is controlling it. I am running on my first prototype home made controller right now, and it's working out great. The biggest benefit I see from the vacuum is being able to fire the boiler up to 14 oz, and continue to boil for 20 mins after the burner shuts down. And that's with my old 1950's boiler, not a new modulating gas gun. When the burner kicks off the rads are only about 1/2 hot, within 2 mins of shutdown they are too hot to touch, and stay that way for 30 mins. They continue to kick off massive heat for about an hour after shutdown. I'm making my own controller, but you don't have to. You can do the same thing with a regular thermostat and some tinkering with the input btu's. Get it hot, build some pressure, then shut it down and let the vacuum take over. It's amazing how long the radiators will hold their temp because you are constantly pushing steam through the system. Even with the burner off.



    Once it's running you'll see what I'm talking about. Best advice I can give you is don't over think it right now. Get the system hot and then start playing with it. Eventually, you'll find a sweet spot that will keep the rads hot all the time and the boilers running as little as possible.Once you get it fired up, start looking for ways to cut the boiler out before the tstat is satisfied. Most people put the tstat in the living room because that's were they want it to be 70 degrees all the time. However, if you think a little outside the box, you can start taking advantage of the vacuum. Before I installed the controller, I put my tstat in the basement, and cranked it up to 78 degrees. Crazy right!?! What I discovered was that moving it to the basement and setting it high would let the system shutdown before the living room hit 70, but would then let the vacuum do it's job. It was always hot in the basement so I couldn't set it at 70, but found that 78 in the basement was the perfect temp for the rest of the house to be 70.
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