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Thermometer Heating Survey in my Coop Buildings

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  • Don_197
    Don_197 Member Posts: 184
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    So.......if you average all those (8 months worth.......not a bad baseline......more is better) I come up with 3.92 Therms per degree day. That is your baseline. As to whether that is a good, average or poor number..................someone closer to your locale would know better than I would. (I am in a milder climate)
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Hi All,

    Thanks again to everyone. Can anyone make a recommendation for company that can we can work with in our case? I see a number of companies listed on the website but wanted to see if anyone had any particular suggestions (Brooklyn, NY).
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
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    Maybe JohnNY can help, so do a search for him here. Read any post he was a part of and see if you think he would be a good choice. Important for these situations would be good communication skills on the part of the steam expert,in order to explain things to the rest of your owners.
    Luckily your problems can be solved without major work, (I think), and only require some venting/pressure improvement, and maybe adjusting your control panel.--NBC
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
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    John's company is Gateway Pluming and Heating. See the attached post:

    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/151801/in-case-you-wanted-to-watch-a-video-of-a-plumber#latest

    Rob
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Thank you, I will reach out to John. I also spoke with someone yesterday who is local and was listed on the Find a Contractor tab. This person sounded very experienced and confident in their prior work. They provided a list of references as well. The only thing is he wants $1,000 just to come in and do a survey. The survey would come with a report/proposal I suppose. Is this typical?

    Thanks,
  • Don_197
    Don_197 Member Posts: 184
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    We do not discuss pricing........................
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
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    Well just see what John says. Some sort of payment for time spent on diagnosis would be normal, but as to how much, I do not know.
    Perhaps if the scope of the initial survey were more narrow, it would make it easier to make a start on this.
    From your temperature survey, you know that your fellow owners are suffering discomfort with unbalanced heat, and probably high fuel bills.
    Advice from this website indicates bad pressure, and temperature control, and inadequate main venting, and these items could be checked, and estimated first.
    You could also have a low-pressure (0-48 ounce) gauge installed on one of your radiators so you can see what the pressure is, as I have on mine.--NBC
    vaporvac
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    That is awesome. I've never seen that. I might try that with an extra on I have. Did you put this in the "You know you're a steam wo/man if" post?
    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
  • ChrisL
    ChrisL Member Posts: 121
    edited October 2014
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    I manage a few smaller (12-13) unit buildings from the 20's. One pipe steam, brick construction, no wall insulation, and upgraded windows. My biggest difficulty in having even temps is because of wind exposure. A moderately windy day will give a 5-6 degree difference in temps from apartments on one side versus the other. A real windy day....8-10 degree spread. So just realize that there are limitations when running one boiler. After you get the venting and boiler running properly, the next step would be a more intelligent thermostat/controller and trv's.

    ChrisL
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    NBC,

    Cool... I made one too after seeing yours. Topped out at about 2.5 psi this evening
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    There is a symptom of the problem, which should be addressed before the new control is installed, as it will never be able to cope. If not corrected, the new control will amplify the problem!
    Imagine if someone's car had dragging brakes on one side, and you were expecting the cruise control, and the driver to compensate!!--NBC
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Nicholas,
    I understand what you're saying and thank you.

    I was finally able to get down to the boiler room and attached some pictures of the system and controller as you previously suggested. I have not yet hired any contractors yet but would like to see if we can try and low or no cost options first.

    One thing on the list is to assess the venting of the mains as mentioned above. Also, can you see how to govern the pressure at the boiler?

    As you can see the two vaporstats were registering right around 3 psi during a cycle. For some reason the pressure gauge was registering about 2 psi and the pressuretrol was only registering about 1 psi. The were all connected to the same pipe. Not sure why we have so many.

    One other thing I learned is that hot water from the boiler also heats the potable hot water for the building. So the system is used year-round.

    Also, if you look at IMG_5240, that duct tape is around the return pressure sensor which is connected to the Tekmar. The only problem is that window behind it is open and cold air blows right in on the pipe. As you can see it was covered up with a mat to insulate it but cold air definitely conducts through the pipe....

    I would love to get some feedback about this from some of the experts on here. I'm also curious to see if anything here jumps out as being a major problem or something specific to look into further.

    Thanks again,
    Rob
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    the extra vaporstat may control the high/low fire of a 2-stage burner. starts off on high, and then at 4 ounces, is switched to low fire, for economy. often this feature has been disabled due to bad venting. what is the make and model of the burner?
    making thisture, and the venting work properly will result in big savings.--NBC
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited November 2014
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    Just guessing.. but like NBC said..
    1 - vaporstat for hi/lo control
    2 - vaporstat for safety/cycle control
    3 - vaporstat with manual reset for safety

    Not sure I'd consider these "vaporstats" though since they are running at about 3 PSI. I'd try running the system at a lower pressure first, ensuring adequate main venting. Isn't there anywhere else you can get makeup air? If there isn't, at least place something to divert the cold air down to the floor so it doesn't directly hit the control. This is probably why they've got the "steam established" setting set to as low as it will go on the control. Definitely insulate the pipes in that area. I'm not familiar with the Tekmar but some of the settings seem wrong, ie. occupied temp is 60F? Unoccupied is 40F? Looks like there's no indoor sensors in use (both off) and they are only using a condensate sensor?

    I just went back and read your original post:
    refields said:

    Hi all,
    For years many people complain in the winter that they are either too hot or too cold. Since the comments are subjective and sparse I havent been able to make much sense of it other than (and what would be intuitive) folks closest to the boiler are too hot and people higher up and on the corner units too cold.

    #1 - Insulate all steam mains.
    #2 - Ensure substantial venting. That's a boiler that outputs 4800sq.ft of steam. Looks like a 6" header with 4" and 5" mains. You'll need to find the main vents. If you don't have something in the vicinity of at least 5 gorton #2s on each main (and probably will need more), you aren't venting sufficiently.

    You'll get your most bang for the buck doing these two things. Whenever a building owner calls me about "too hot/too cold" issues in the same building, 99% of the time it's uninsulated mains and poor main venting.

  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    More likely, this venting will need a battery of one inch steam traps, as Steamhead did in Baltimer on a large apartment building.
    The devil here is trapped air, having to be forced out with high pressure, and extra fuel. When the air is allowed to leave with no resistance, the occupants will definitely feel the difference, not only in their skins, but also in their pocketbooks!
    Definitely the two vaporstats are part of the Hi-Lo-Hi burner firing control, and the third vaporstat is a high limit, with a reset button.--NBC
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    NBC,
    The make model is weishaupt WG40N/1-A, ZM-LN - two stage burner.

    the making thisture, and the venting work properly will result in big savings.--NBC

    Sorry I didn't understand could you clarify this?

    Abracadabra,
    I will talk to the building about fixing that issue with the window. There's nowhere else to get return air from down there without creating a new vent through a wall. Maybe we can divert that cool air down with some plexi-glass I will take a look.

    Regarding the venting I know we have vents on the steam mains but dont know if they are working properly. I will go down and take a look at what brand/model they are.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Making this burner feature (the ability to fire at a lower rate when needed) will be a great benefit.
    How wonderful that our computers will try to correct our writing!
    if only they were on the knucklehead patrol!--NBC

  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Abra,

    I couldnt get to all the mains but this is what I found on at least two of them... two Gorton No. 1's
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited November 2014
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    refields said:

    Abra,

    I couldnt get to all the mains but this is what I found on at least two of them... two Gorton No. 1's

    LOL... no where enough venting... Draw a sketch of the mains with pipe sizes and lengths, and I can try to calc up some suggested venting. Oh.. and again.. I see uninsulated mains...
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    You will probably need several dozen of those, spread around the returns!--NBC
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Abra,

    I sketched the basement mains, and venting out. Part of the basement in the left building was converted into an apartment so most of the mains are not visible (enclosed in the ceiling). The building on the right is completely mapped out.

  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    What are the diameters of the pipes? Or are you showing circumference? I don't think you have a 7" diameter pipe, and although I've seen 4.5" pipe which is pretty rare, I don't think I've ever seen a 3.5" diameter pipe.
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Abra,

    Those are the diameters....
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    The 7" pipe is the header, its only a few feet above the boiler before it branches
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    refields said:

    Abra,

    Those are the diameters....

    Inside or outside?

  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    They are outside diameters. It was difficult to reach some of the pipes so I wrapped a tape measure around, divided by pi and rounded to the nearest half inch. It is possible I was off by a half inch in some cases... i.e. 3.5 vs 3, 4.5 vs 4....
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    That will be a lot of air to allow to escape at low back-pressure, plus the amount in the boiler steam chest itself. The radiator vents cannot ever handle that much venting, and you have probably been burning twice as much fuel to squeeeeeeze the air out of their constipated little openings.
    This may call for the use of some large steam traps acting as return vents, in view of the capacity needed. I believe Steamhead used this method in Baltimer.--NBC
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
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    Like this:


    This trap is the equivalent of approximately TWENTY Gorton #2 main vents. We used this to vent the end of 100ft of 6" main. It gets steam in about 5-7 minutes.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    that's what I was thinking about!
    is it cheaper than 20 Gorton 2's?--NBC
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    NIce Joe! What trap is that?
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
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    that's what I was thinking about!
    is it cheaper than 20 Gorton 2's?--NBC

    It's nearly the same cost as 15 Gorton #2 vents. That's a real bargain!

    It's a Nicholson C73HC. They call it the Conqueror. It's essentially the same venting capacity as an open 1-1/4" pipe.
    SWEI
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Hi Abra,
    You mentioned you would try to calc some suggested venting if I sketched out my basement mains. Any ideas? Alternatively, can anyone point me in the direction of the appropriate reference charts or guidance so I can check this out for myself?
    Thanks all,
    Rob
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Now that you know that more venting is required, just put some on some of those traps mentioned above, and reap the savings, and comfort before winter has ended, and the other occupants are either desiccated with heat or frozen into balls of ice.
    Generally, one Gorton 2 is good for 20 feet of 2 inch pipe, and therefore those traps when used as vents have the sort of capacity you need.
    What are your gas bills for last winter?--NBC
  • refields
    refields Member Posts: 45
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    Not sure off hand what our rates are but our monthly therms were:

    Oct. 13 - 777
    Nov. 13 - 2,997
    Dec. 13 - 3,703
    Jan. 14 - 3,813
    Feb. 14 - 3,929
    Mar. 14 - 2,778
    Apr. 14 - 1,687
    May. 14 - 490

    Rob
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    The actual cost would be necessary to calculate the payback time for all the venting you need.--NBC
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    refields said:

    Hi Abra,
    You mentioned you would try to calc some suggested venting if I sketched out my basement mains. Any ideas? Alternatively, can anyone point me in the direction of the appropriate reference charts or guidance so I can check this out for myself?
    Thanks all,
    Rob

    There are plenty of dimensions missing from your sketch. If I had to guess, I'd start with 4 Gorton #2 at each station, ie. the main vent location in the upper left hand corner is about 40 feet of 3 and 4" pipe, and about 35-40? of 2" pipe. That's at least 4 Gorton #2s and more likely closer to 6 or 7. The problem is I'm having to guesstimate at the pipe lengths since you only provided building dimensions. Your sketch also seems to be missing some places I would think would need some main vents. The left side of the building at the end of those two main runs should have main vents. The easy way to do this is to run a cycle with the vent station completely open with a ball valve and time how long it takes steam to get there once steam is felt in the header. Quickly close the ball valve once steam is there and shut down the boiler. Add main vents to that location until your time is nearly the same to the time recorded with the open ball valve. Move on to the next main vent location.