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Have some questions

Hi so glad I found this forum! I have some questions about mains venting and boiler, I have a one pipe steam system

1: My vents are not at the end of the mains they are at the end of the return near the boiler is this ok?

2: The near boiler piping  at the boiler is not like anything I see on here could it have been done wrong? It been running for about 12 years now, new when I bought the house

3: the last year or so I have to add water to it about every other day no auto feed on it, if I forget to check it the low water cut off kicks in and the wife gets a cold shower not good!!! The boiler supplies hot water for the house no water heater

4:I want to balance the system so all the rads heat even and save some $$ so what is the best place to start   



Thanks for any help you guys can give me

Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    edited December 2013
    Too much water

    having the main vents at the ends of the return is not uncommon, as long as they are big enough to vent the mains quickly your fine. What kind of vent is it and how long and what size pipe is the main?



    The piping should be like the diagram in the installation manual for the boiler to work quietly and economically. What kind of boiler do you have and what pressure is it operating at?  Post some pictures of the boiler and the piping around it.



    Adding water to a boiler any more than once a month is not good, fresh water contains oxygen and that eats cast iron. Not having a water feed on it is a blessing because it makes you pay attention to the boiler. Whenever fresh water is added the boiler should be allowed to make steam, that will drive off any oxygen. Assuming you haven't found any leaks look at the chimney while the boiler is actively making steam on a cold day; if you see a white plume coming out it may indicate a leak into the firebox.



    To balance a steam system you need to vent the mains quickly and the radiators slowly. Is this a single pipe steam system and if so what kind of main vent and radiator vents do you have? If it's a two pipe system have the steam traps been checked to see if they are working?



    The piping in the basement should be insulated so the heat ends up upstairs, not in the basement.



    I'm just south of Boston and my boiler has been on for over 2 months, it's only down about 1/2 inch. I'll add some water today after I drain a little to check the condition of the water.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • bill714
    bill714 Member Posts: 22
    Have some questions

    Hi Bob the mains are about 27' and the pipe is 21/2 in. Not sure what the vents are or even if they are working



    The boiler is a Burmham and I don't know what pressure its at how do I find out?



    The rads have all different vents and are all old so I have to replace them all



    Here are some pictures
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    looks like a V80 series boiler

    but I could be wrong. From your pictures It looks like the near boiler piping is wrong, I don't see any boiler header or equalizer  but that may be because of the angle of the photo. The photo below is a general sketch of how a steam boiler should be piped.



    if each main is about 27 ft long it contains about 0.9 cu ft of air when cold. The vent looks like a a Ventrite 35 but it might be something else. In any case it only vents at about 0.1cfm and you want the air out of the mains as fast as you can. The vents should be replaced with a minimum of 2 ea Gorton #1's or Maid O Mists #1 (0.33cfm each); that would give you a venting capacity of 0.66cfm on each main if you use 2 vents per main. A single Gorton #1 would be better (1.1cfm but it might not fit and they are pricey.



    Try a good hardware store or a heating supply distributor for vents, another good source is pexsupply.com or even Amazon just check the prices so you don't overpay. If you don't know whit size vent to buy for the radiators, look at gettingb the MOM 5l because that vent comes with 5 orifices so you get to choose the vent rate you want -



    http://www.amazon.com/Maid-O-Mist-0220-5L-Steam-Angle-Radiator/dp/B003DV3AGE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388163823&sr=8-1&keywords=maid+o+mist+5l



    The gauge on the front is the pressure gauge, does that move off zero when it's making steam? A steam boiler operates best at only one or two psi, above that it just eats more fuel and causes problems with the vents.



    Check your chimney for any signs of steam while the system is actively making steam.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
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