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Replacing existing steam system- hoping t get some opinions and advice

seacoast Member Posts: 2
hi, hoping to get some opinions and advice. We are looking to replace the existing unit which was converted over from oil  and is an old vapor vacuum Richardson system.

The proposal we have entertaining is a new Gas Burnham IN series boiler (electronic ignition). connected load steam EDR is 420 square feet.

proposal recommends against a condensate receiver and using a boiler feedtank direct vented to outside along with the proper control to run the unit

The house supply water will be a gas fired direct vent 50 gallon tank. vs. electric or on demand.

There does not seem to be many options to consider, would appreciate opinions/thoughts from you experts out there. thanks


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    New boiler for Richardson system

    I think you can go with a gravity feed on this system. You must limit the pressure with a vaporstat, and pay attention to letting the air escape with as little resistance as possible (2 ounces back-pressure at the most).

    Additional tanks and pumps will always be a headache, especially if not needed.--NBC
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752

    Where are you located? There are a lot of Richardson systems in NJ and PA that we service. There are more options than you think. The key to operting a successful Richardson system is INCREDIBLY LOW pressures. 3-5 ounces or less. It's the perfect system to use a 2-stage gas valve on. The near-boiler piping should be better than what the book recommends to ensure dry steam. If the original air eliminator is still there, you may even be able to run on a vacuum.

    I would also steer clear of any kind of mechanical pumping device and rely on gravity returns.
  • seacoast
    seacoast Member Posts: 2
    location: NH

    Hi, thanks for additional details on the gravity feed, will have to research and ask why that was not recommended. I am located in the NH seacoast area.
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,776
    Feed Tankitis

    You see a lot of feed tanks installed for multiple reasons.

    1.  Many contractors don't understand gravity return, the think in terms of 2 psi and the water won't go back into the boiler.

    2.  Low water content on some boilers combined with large systems in large building sometimes cause a delay in condensate returning to the boiler.  A feed tank rectifies that problem by keeping the boiler water at the right level.  Your little residential system would not have that problem unless you got clogged up return pipes, in which they need to be cleaned out anyway.

    3.  Adding in a feed tank raises the price and profit of the install.  They will have a markup on the tank, and they make a profit margin an the labor as well.  Little  motivation to sell you less when they can sell you more.  Let's see....  we could propose a feed tank or a vaporstat. (you gotta have one or the other).  Let's propose the feed tank at about 10 times the cost.

    4.  Most of all, contractors tend to do things they way they have done in the past.  We are all creatures of habit.  So easy to do some thing that you've done before and so hard to do anything for the first time.  This could be an opportunity for your contractor to learn a new trick!

    JStar's suggestion for a 2-stage set up is very wise advice.  It will make the system run very smooth.  I also strongly recommend that.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.