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New Weil-McLain boiler, no pigtail

Here is my new Weil-McLain EGH-95. After 17 years on city steam, this will be my first winter learning to maintain this big dude.
I’ll be turning it on this weekend and will be getting some guidance from the mechanical company I hired. I have attached some photos. I was wondering if folks here see any issues with my install. Notice that I have no pigtail? I was told by the company I hired that this set up would last longer and would be easier to clean and maintain. What's the opinion on that? Thanks for your time. D.
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Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,488
    A bit unusual, but that should work (in my view -- others may disagree!). The purpose of the pigtail is to keep the gauges and controls from contact with live steam, and that horizontal dropped pipe should do that.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    Jamie, wouldn't that require that the horizontal pipe be filled with water similar to a pigtail? Maybe I am missing something! It is an interesting setup.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    That drop horizontal will probably fill with condensate. Interesting concept. My issue is I don't see a Hartford loop anywhere on that boiler. I can't even see where the returns come back to the boiler??? Am I missing something?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    @Fred In the picture from the front right behind the electronic LWCO it appears there is a tee right there which could be the Hartford loop connection. In the same picture there is a pipe coming down from the ceiling that could be the return pipe. I am just guessing though. I think the header is undersized, but it's hard to tell pipe size. For this boiler Weil Mclain states a 3" header with 2" risers. I know those are 3" tappings that have been reduced, but the header does not look like it was up sized like the manual states. Actually looking at the manual again the horizontal run into the header should be 3" also, only the riser is permitted to be 2". See page 17 in the following link.
    http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/assets/pdf/550-142-782_1112.pdf
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    KC, I suppose it's possible that there may be a hartford Loop hidden back there??? I agree with you on the header size. The 95 is a huge boiler. I would have expected 3" risers and a 4" header, but I would have expected more than one main off of that Header too. Doesn't add up to me. I'd like to hear from others.
    KC_Jones
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Weil-McClain hasn't supplied pigtails with their boilers in a long time, at least not their LGBs. They do supply the nipples and fittings needed to create a loop as shown in the picture though.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    It must depend on boiler size the one I just installed came with a brass pigtail.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    They should put a brass Boiler drain valve on that lower drain tapping and a ball valve on that skim port as well. Those plugs will be almost impossible to get out after that boiler runs for a while and I suspect that boiler is going to need a few skims yet this season and will certainly need one in the future anytime a repair is made to any of the system piping, in the future.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    Fred said:

    The 95 is a huge boiler.

    That's for sure this must be a Gigantic house!

    @Fred I was thinking the same thing. Maintenance items like that are nice in the long run for sure. I lived with mine for 12 years without anything and it was difficult to say the least. Let's just say I did the bare minimum maintenance because of it.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    The 95 is rated at 868 square feet of steam. I have an equalivent Burnham 4B rated at 866 sq ft. and my house is 5000 square feet, 15 good size rads and I still feel like my boiler may be a bit oversized but I could probably use another rad or two, maybe when this boiler dies, unless I go first. It is 31 years old and still going strong (knock on wood).
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    You are on a whole different level from me and my 1500 sqft house! Of course with steam all the principles are basically the same. That does raise the question. Dee did they do a full EDR calculation to size your new boiler? Also I noticed your other posts. Did you end up keeping the zone valves, go with TRV's or just eliminate all of those? After seeing the pics I would be curious how the system runs because with the header size (wrong) I would be worried about wet steam and overall system performance.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • dee davis
    dee davis Member Posts: 24
    @KC_Jones: They did do the EDR calculation for all 22 radiators. I still have the zones for now. I will have to address my traps before adding the TRV's but it is my intention to add them. What issues should I be looking out for with a wrong header size. Does wet steam reveal itself in any other way beside a higher fuel bill?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,488
    It may not even cost you a higher fuel bill -- or not that much higher. The most common way it shows up, though is water hammer -- particularly in one pipe systems -- due to excess water getting into the radiator runouts (and sometimes the mains).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,176
    edited October 2014
    That looks like a counter flow system, either way the piping seems inadequate for that size boiler. I would pipe two 3" risers into a 5" drop header.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    If you are thinking about TRV, I am curious what type of control do you have on the boiler? Is it just a thermostat or an outdoor reset control? Remember a TRV can't "call for heat" it mainly keeps a room from overheating by maintaining a maximum temperature. If the room gets cool or cold it can't turn the boiler on to warm it up, which is probably something you are used to with the old district heat and zone valves. I have a couple TRV's in my house which I bought before I educated myself more. In my application they really don't work all that well. Sometimes yes sometimes no, but as with anything results may vary. I only mention this because I know for 22 rads you are talking a serious expenditure.
    Dave0176 said:

    That looks like a counter flow system, either way the piping seems inadequate for that size boiler.

    Perhaps a couple pictures of the back of the boiler would clear things up a bit?! I think she mentioned it's a 2 pipe system which shouldn't be counter flow should it?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,176
    edited October 2014
    Dave0176 said:

    That looks like a counter flow system, either way the piping seems inadequate for that size boiler.

    KC_Jones said:

    If you are thinking about TRV, I am curious what type of control do you have on the boiler? Is it just a thermostat or an outdoor reset control? Remember a TRV can't "call for heat" it mainly keeps a room from overheating by maintaining a maximum temperature. If the room gets cool or cold it can't turn the boiler on to warm it up, which is probably something you are used to with the old district heat and zone valves. I have a couple TRV's in my house which I bought before I educated myself more. In my application they really don't work all that well. Sometimes yes sometimes no, but as with anything results may vary. I only mention this because I know for 22 rads you are talking a serious expenditure.

    Dave0176 said:

    That looks like a counter flow system, either way the piping seems inadequate for that size boiler.

    Perhaps a couple pictures of the back of the boiler would clear things up a bit?! I think she mentioned it's a 2 pipe system which shouldn't be counter flow should it?
    Your right I didn't see she had said that, I guess the condensate pump low water cutoff controller should've given that away.

    Piping is still waaay undersize.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,176
    Opps
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    Yes definitely undersized, it's almost the same size as I have on my Weil and I have an EG-40 which is close to 1/3 the size of hers. Mine is a bit of overkill admittedly, but dang does it work nice! So that is a condensate pump controller? I was wondering...still learning over here.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,176
    KC_Jones said:

    Yes definitely undersized, it's almost the same size as I have on my Weil and I have an EG-40 which is close to 1/3 the size of hers. Mine is a bit of overkill admittedly, but dang does it work nice! So that is a condensate pump controller? I was wondering...still learning over here.

    Yes and the way they work is as the float raises and lowers with the water line, there is an adjustment rod that will engage contacts to start the pump. This adjustment is temperamental or at least the few I've felt with, I've made real small adjustments only to have the dang boiler flood. I mean these are 150 HP scotch marine boilers but.........they all do the same thing.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
    KC_Jones
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    edited October 2014
    I think this question gets asked a lot on this site...does she really need it? I am far from an expert, but it always sounds like the pros want to go gravity as much as possible for simplicity sake. A pump complicates the system, and there are plenty of systems as big if not bigger than hers that don't use them. Again...every house is a little different, but with the undersized piping makes you wonder about the contractor at least a little. Thank you for the insight!!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,176
    KC_Jones said:

    I think this question gets asked a lot on this site...does she really need it? I am far from an expert, but it always sounds like the pros want to go gravity as much as possible for simplicity sake. A pump complicates the system, and there are plenty of systems as big if not bigger than hers that don't use them. Again...every house is a little different, but with the undersized piping makes you wonder about the contractor at least a little. Thank you for the insight!!

    I depends on a lot if things, like if they were able to attain the proper "A" Dimention, maybe some returns are lower then the boiler, you'd have to see the whole system to make that call.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
    KC_Jones
  • dee davis
    dee davis Member Posts: 24
    @Fred: Here is a view behind the probe lwco.
  • dee davis
    dee davis Member Posts: 24
    @KC_Jones: There is an outdoor reset installed. I know that trv's are going to be a big expense for this place. I was hoping that I could install them gradually and keep my zones for a while. I really hate to give up my zones though, but everything I read says they are a bad idea. My risers and header are both at 2 1/2". Here's a few more views. You can see my condensate tank and pump just outside the door in one shot. This also has a water softener hooked up as well which makes me slightly nervous about the chlorides, but at the same time I have really hard water in this town. I'm not sure which is worse to have. The last shot is where my old city line used to come in and where the new steam main connects to my zones. Please ignore the galvanized fittings, I'll get them replaced at some point : )
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    As long as you remember that TRV's can only cool down a room you should be OK. Assuming the system is otherwise balanced, they usually make the most sense for rooms with additional sources of heat (solar gain, wood stoves, cooking heat, etc.)

    Too bad the EGH doesn't come with a two-stage gas valve.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    I hate to bring up another topic...Looking at the picture of the zone valves it appears like the entire house is fed through a 1 or 1/4" line?! The main 2 1/2" comes into a tee and reduces down dramatically and then feeds all the zone valves. I know you can't always tell everything from a picture, but if it is like that will it even work? A pro chiming in on this would be good. I know each size pipe has a rating for what it can handle, but I am pretty sure a pipe that small won't come close to feeding 800+ sq ft of EDR. I don't have Dan's book in front of me so I can't look up the ratings. Also and this is just me, wouldn't it have been a good idea for the contractor to cap off that old district steam pipe? Or was it capped at the street? Just my opinion, but I am not a fan of depending on valves as a permanent solution nor having open pipes in my basement.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • dee davis
    dee davis Member Posts: 24
    No worries on the city steam line. Since I took this image they have cut back that pipe behind the valve and welded it shut.
    KC_Jones
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    What pressure was the district steam operating at? Have you tested the system?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    RobG said:

    What pressure was the district steam operating at? Have you tested the system?

    I was wondering the same thing with relation to the pipe size.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    edited October 2014
    My Burnham is rated at 866 sq. ft. it has two 2.5" risers and a 4" header. The two mains are 2.5" each and the take-offs to each radiator is 1.25" to 1.5". Mine is a one pipe system. I know with a two pipe the steam feeds can be a bit smaller but this just seems wrong. I just don't see how this is going to work properly but I am interested in hearing back from you when they fire it up for the first time. Make sure it runs for a while to make sure it feeds steam throughout the entire system. Check the pressure at the boiler. Also make sure they skim it until the water level stabilizes. That header should be 3" or 4" (4" would be the better option).
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    Fred said:

    My Burnham is rated at 866 sq. ft. it has two 2.5" risers and a 4" header. The two mains are 2.5" each and the take-offs to each radiator is 1.25" to 1.5". Mine is a one pipe system. I know with a two pipe the steam feeds can be a bit smaller but this just seems wrong. I just don't see how this is going to work properly but I am interested hearing back from you when they fire it up for the first time. Make sure it runs for a while to make sure it feeds steam throughout the entire system. Check the pressure at the boiler. Also make sure they skim it until the water level stabilizes. That header should be 3" or 4" (4" would be the better option).

    Judging by the crud already at the top of the sight glass, there is still a ton of cleaning and skimming left to be done. Agreed I would crank all the thermostats and have the contractor there for a few hours to monitor the operation closely. If it's right it should be absolutely silent...if it's wrong you will know it for sure. Steam isn't shy about complaining that's for sure!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • dee davis
    dee davis Member Posts: 24
    City steam ran about 10psi. I never really had any issues beyond water hammer at the beginning of the heating cycle. I assumed that was caused by condensate sitting in the zoned lines. The mechanical guys come over Friday morning. I will bring up all the issues you folks have brought up and report back!
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    Is your contractor planning on running your new boiler at that same pressure? That possibly explains the smaller pipes your house seems to have. I hope they aren't planning on doing that. I can't find it right now, but Dan outlines a scenario in one of his books about putting a drip on zone valves to prevent the hammer when they open. I did find the ratings chart and according to what I am reading in TLAOSH a 2 1/2" pipe can handle 247,680 BTU/Hr which is below your boilers output of 278,000 which is why Weil says 3" header, that 2 1/2" pipe can't handle the output. If I was you I would show the contractor the manual and where it says 3" header. He should install to minimum specs at least. Also you may want to read the warranty for your boiler. http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/multimedia-library/pdf/weil-mclain-pdf/warranty/550141065_0314 - Cast Iron Gas Boiler Res Warranty (EGH).pdf
    page 2 Item F(3) if you have a warranty claim they could deny it because the installation doesn't match their instructions which yours does not. Not trying to scare you, but you should get a proper job for all the money I am sure you are spending. I am also a homeowner and I can't stand seeing other homeowners having problems with contractors. Good luck to you!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    How did things go with the contractor today? Just wanted to check in and see how things went.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • dee davis
    dee davis Member Posts: 24
    Well, This new boiler is running at 4psi. There is hardly any water hammer at all. It’s pretty amazing compared to what I’ve been used to. It takes a little longer to satisfy the zones compared to city steam. About an hour into it I was getting a lot of steam coming from the vent on the condensate tank. I know my traps are bad and I assume they are the culprit. The guy in charge of the job was trying to assure me that my header was the right size for the boiler even though I pointed it out use of a 3in pipe from the manual. He didn’t seem to think it was a problem. I’ll bring it up again with the owner of the company. The job is not finished yet. They are checking/replacing all my traps including the F & T’s and I also asked to have a ball valve put on that skim port and for them to show me how to skim this boiler.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    4 PSI is WAY to high. That boiler should not be run any higher than 1.5 and if tuned properly should be able to go much lower especially with a 2 pipe system. If you haven't seen or read it yet the Empire State building runs on 3 PSI and you are nowhere near that. They higher pressure will basically be like you burning money instead of natural gas. He can assure you all he wants, it's not a matter of opinion it's either right or it's wrong. If you had to show him the manual I would be scared already. It sounds like this contractor does not have a good grasp of steam and also sounds a bit closed minded to learning. If I was you I would be pushing on them to make it correct. As I said a lot of this stuff isn't a matter of someones opinion it's what is right versus what is wrong. I am sure once a few pros see your comment about 4 psi they will be chiming in.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    KC_Jones said:

    4 PSI is WAY to high.

    I think it might depend on how the Dead Men piped the place. If they assumed 10PSI steam, they might have piped the place with smaller pipe than we are normally accustomed to. Looks that way too from some of the pics.

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354

    KC_Jones said:

    4 PSI is WAY to high.

    I think it might depend on how the Dead Men piped the place. If they assumed 10PSI steam, they might have piped the place with smaller pipe than we are normally accustomed to. Looks that way too from some of the pics.

    Let's assume they did that for the city steam. She does not have city steam anymore so the entire system isn't piped for a boiler. To me it's kind of like this. I can take my car and dump some fuel in it it's not designed to run on say alcohol. It will run probably run for a while, but ultimately there will be a problem. If I want to change my fuel I need to change my system. She has had her "fuel" changed and nothing was addressed with the "system". And I might add by your definition the boiler should be run at 10PSI not 4. It has been stated many times on this site and in Dan's books these are systems and you can't change one part of a system without addressing the entire system. She changes to a low pressure boiler ALL the piping should have been looked at not just that which is close to the boiler. I know I am "just a homeowner", but this seems very cut and dry to me. I have a saying that I use at my job "less wrong still isn't right" and I truly believe that.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Many vapor systems have smaller pipes than one-pipe systems, and function in the ounces range with half to three quarters inch pipes.
    I hope you insist that they follow the boiler maker's requirements, and not say something like. "We have been doing it that way since you were knee-high to a grasshopper"!
    In that case, they have done it wrong for many years!--NBC
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    edited November 2014
    I said way early in this post that I don't see how this system can work properly. I still believe that. 4PSI is much to high! It's just wrong.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Never having worked with district steam I am just taking a shot in the dark but I would assume (I know what assumptions do) that there would have been or may still be a pressure reducing valve in the system.