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Another steam boiler install

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Eric_32
Eric_32 Member Posts: 267
Here is our most recent steam job we are just finishing up. This system had several issues and heated very slowly and unevenly. The old Dunkirk was about 9-years old when it sprung a leak internally. It just got them thru the end of last season when we shut it down. The underground wet return was leaking into the floor for who knows how long which caused the demise of the boiler. Not to mention the mess of near boiler piping. 3- 2" mains, two of them off a bullhead tee which was between the two risers on the 3" header. The dry returns tied together above the water line then went below the floor to the leaking wet return.

During the summer we had the homeowner do the leg work on measuring the radiators to get us the EDR. He was very interested in knowing more about the system and wanted the homework. The old Dunkirk was more than double the EDR needed for the house. Here the pictures show the new Burnham PIN-5 , with a 3" dropped header and 2" equalizer. Sized all the radiators for new Gorton vents, as well as the 3- mains, using Gerry Gil's and Steve Pajek's sizing charts .

We just went back about 2-weeks after commissioning, and gave it a first 8 hour skim. Right now after replacing all the radiator vents, we are chasing an issue with the longest main and the last 4- radiators on it not heating up, 3 on the 1st floor and 1 going up to a 2nd floor bedroom. These radiators have not heated up for years according to the HO. We have two vents at the end of the dry return near the boiler, a Gorton #1 and #2 on an antler. It is taking about 20 minutes after steam leaves the header,before it arrives at these vents. The main starts to heat quickly, then about half way it slows to a crawl basically after a tee feeding a 1st floor radiator. Total run of the main is 42' of 2" and 42' of 1¼". The other 2 mains are working fine. We are going to go back later this week to investigate further.

Thanks for looking and any feedback on the issue .
Eric
ChrisJ

Comments

  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,177
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    Install looks great. I would add at least another Gorton #1 at the end of that dry return. Or even remove the #1 and install another #2.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    Any chance of a blockage at that point?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
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  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    NIce install! Think I'd leave a bit more space between the first takeoff and the riser on the header though.

    Red Bull! Is that additive for the boiler water? :D
    ChrisJ
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Try the open vent test to see if more venting could solve the problem.
    Sometimes if the pressure gets too high, and the dry return is coming in low, water can back up in the returns, and cover the vent location, after a period of time. This could explain steam only getting halfway along the main.
    The level rises 1.75 inches for each ounce of pressure!--NBC
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    Eric said:

    The main starts to heat quickly, then about half way it slows to a crawl basically after a tee feeding a 1st floor radiator.

    How big is that 1st floor radiator that's sucking up all the steam? What pressure is the boiler at when steam hits that 1st floor radiator?

  • NYplumber
    NYplumber Member Posts: 503
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    Liking the drop header and king valves!
    :NYplumber:
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,779
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    Absolutely beautiful installation! I'm thinking along the same lines as Abracadabra. Can you supply a drawing showing all radiators, their sizes, piping lengths and what vents you are using? If you vent a large radiator fast, it can easily steal steam for a while.

    Your only opinion may be slowing down the rest of the house depending on what vents you're already using.
    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
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
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    If your the steam, and your looking down the main, do you see the daylight coming sideways from run outs, or do you see the daylight at the end of the main? Also, if your the steam, which main offers the least resistance..without seeing it it sounds like a pipe problem..but..it can be a condensing issue..if some rads are heating (condensing), before steam is through the main, those radiators just became the point of lowest pressure in spite of the other air vents..did that make any sense?
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Eric_32
    Eric_32 Member Posts: 267
    edited November 2014
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    Hi guys.. thanks for the feed back. For the 1st firing, we actually ran this main with a 3/4" open tee, before replacing the radiator vents and adding the Gorton #1 and #2 main vents. The old venting was terrible....

    The time it took steam to reach the open tee was still about the same... about 15-20 minutes, with the boiler actually shutting off on pressure before reaching the end of the main with the open 3/4" tee. This is about 42' of 2" then dropping down to 1¼" dry return and running back to the boiler/main vents 42'. The pressuretrol is set to the lowest possible setting before the screw is disconnected, about 1½- lbs cut off. I can't see how the boiler would shut off on pressure before the end of the main got fully hot??

    This main is supplying a total of 7-radiators: 4 on the 1st floor, 2-on the 2nd floor and 1-on the 3rd floor. I left all of the measurements and paperwork with the homeowner for his records to keep. I do know the majority of radiator vents were Gorton #5 and some #6, the 3rd floor radiator got a Gorton C. We are going back there to figure this out so could get measurements. These 4 last radiators are still cold even after running a good 30-45-minutes, and the tee carrying steam is only a few feet away.

    The 3rd floor has the longest run out about 25-30 ' from the main line, with 20-25' being vertical. It is heating well, it's only a couple of feet before the problem radiators start on the main.

    This main definitely has the most venting and taking the longest to heat. The house is about 115-years old according to property records with the city.

    After blowing into the old radiator vents and the new Gortons, it feels like there no restriction in the venting. The main vents and radiator vents were so easy to move air thru compared to what was there.

    I have woken up at 3 am the other morning and started thinking about this job and what is going on, unable to go back to sleep. I think there is a blockage in in the main., but it seems like it's not backing up condensate, no banging at all.

    I think Iam going to remove the closest 1st floor radiator and radiator valve without heat, put on a temporary ball valve, leaving it wide open, and run it. if I get steam can close the ball valve off. Was also thinking of removing the same rad. and valve, and running a garden hose down the feed line. There is a union on the dry return before the main vents. I will open the union and dump whatever comes out into a bucket, in case it's full of mud, or..... the water may just back up the line and overflow out the supply to the radiator... These are the couple of tests I am thinking of first off. If the line is blocked, will cut it open in the basement and go from there.
  • Eric_32
    Eric_32 Member Posts: 267
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    As far as elevations, we checked the lowest steam carrying pipe... the end of the dry return, it was well over the 28" measurement above the water line, think we had 28" above the top of the boiler.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited November 2014
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    Is there, by chance, a dip in the middle of that long main that may be holding a little water and causing the steam to condense? With 4 radiators not getting steam, I'm not surprised the boiler is cutting off on presssure. As far as it is concerned, it is way over sized for the remaining rads.
  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
    edited November 2014
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    Why don't you just close the king valves on the radiators that are getting hot and leave the one open with no heat, if you do get heat than there is no blockage and may be a sign for more main venting, what you want to do first is make the mains a steam manifold then even distribution to all the risers, in other words "“Vent your mains quickly and your radiators slowly, but completely”
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited November 2014
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    Eric said:


    The time it took steam to reach the open tee was still about the same... about 15-20 minutes, with the boiler actually shutting off on pressure before reaching the end of the main with the open 3/4" tee. This is about 42' of 2" then dropping down to 1¼" dry return and running back to the boiler/main vents 42'. The pressuretrol is set to the lowest possible setting before the screw is disconnected, about 1½- lbs cut off. I can't see how the boiler would shut off on pressure before the end of the main got fully hot??

    Uhm... something doesn't sound right. Does your vapor gauge show 1.5PSI achieved at the boiler? I can't see how the boiler would hit 1.5psi in 20 min with an open 3/4" tee on the end of a 42' 2" main.
    Eric said:

    I do know the majority of radiator vents were Gorton #5 and some #6, the 3rd floor radiator got a Gorton C. We are going back there to figure this out so could get measurements. These 4 last radiators are still cold even after running a good 30-45-minutes, and the tee carrying steam is only a few feet away.

    I've found that gorton #6 and C are way too fast radiator vents and have ended up causing me balancing problems. Even #5 are a tad too fast for my liking. Wish Gorton/MOM came out with something that vented closer to a #4.5 (a hoffman #40 is nice, but at about double the price of a gorton/MOM most owners balk at me using them). I've thought about drilling the orfice of a #4 to something just below a #5.. Anyway I digress.



    This also makes me think your radiator venting is way too fast. The sum total of your radiator venting may be even more than your main venting if you have #6 and #C radiator vents.

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    The MOM vents are very easy to drill because the orifice is easily removable. It's a shame Gorton doesn't do the same. I don't know well a Gorton vent would take having drill chips in it.

    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,779
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    @Abracadabra, I don't know. At this point I don't think radiators could be stealing steam as he had an open 3/4" pipe. No matter what the steam should have wanted to go to that hole before anything else.

    I have a few Gorton 6s and even C's in my system though it took a long time to figure out where I could use them without causing balance issues. I just can't see that being an issue if he had that main venting like that and still couldn't get steam to it. Doesn't seem right.



    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
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    Something may be collapsing the steam, a dip in the main or a partial blockage in the pipe perhaps?

    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
  • Eric_32
    Eric_32 Member Posts: 267
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    Hi guys, we added hangers as needed to correct any pitching on the main.

    Yeah we did that open 3/4" test before we changed the radiator vents to Gortons. I wanted to time the steam to reach the main vent before messing with the old radiator vents. The time results were almost the same both with the old vents and the new Gortons. Will updated this after we go back.

    While changing, we saved the old vents and labeled which room they came from, just in case we had a problem with over venting. If I have to change a rad vent here or there at least we have a starting point to go off of.

    This poor HO has been heating his house like this for years, with a boiler double the size he needed.