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Steam Pros in Southeastern MA or RI?

AnnieT
AnnieT Member Posts: 36
Hi,
Trying to solve water hammer problem and shooting water at valve site in radiators for my mom's house. We had a new boiler installed last year but she was unable to move back in at the time. Now that it's cold, we're noticing problems. My sister's husband filled the water when he shouldn't have and the plumber says that is what's causing the banging and leaking. I'm thinking it's because they need to do another cleaning. The water in the gauge on the boiler is dirty. As a completely uninformed person, I know this isn't right. I'm heading down to take detailed pictures and video the banging. Find out of the pipes need to be insulated and are correctly sloped. All this new information that I know from reading this amazing website. I know the water hammer happens in the beginning of the cycle. It is a one pipe system. My mom is 83 years old and has lived in the house almost all of her life and I grew up there and although the radiators themselves banged and clanged, this water hammer sound is different.

Most of the folks listed on this site for MA are near the Boston area and the house, although technically in MA, is right on the border of East Providence, RI, and RI has no listings on this site. Any help would be appreciated. I've been calling plumbers that friends recommend to ask for references for plumbers with steam heat experience. Of course, now that it's really cold up here, they are all out and busy.

Wish I could go back in time to 60 degree September!! Hindsight is 20/20, Present Sight is an elbow to the eye.

I will say that the steam heat is superior heat. It warms you right to the core as opposed to the forced hot air/woodstove situation I have in my 1790 ancient house. I'm turning into a mummy with the dry air. Yuck.

Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Take a lot of pictures of the boiler and near boiler piping. There is a lot of help available. Remember the banging could be the result of something elsewhere in the system. Just because it bangs in the living room doesn't necessarily mean the problem is in the living room.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    charles garrity, ja phinney and bob gagnon post here regularly. You might give them a call as a lot of folks will travel for steam, or they may know someone in your area.
    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
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Thanks for responding. I will do that and really appreciate the help. I feel like the plumbers keep coming back and charging for visits but never really fixing the problem. They installed the new boiler last year. My dad passed away last year and the boiler went kaput two days later. My mom just wants to go back to a place that has better memories while she is still able to do so. I really want to make that happen but water hammer noise is startling to her. None of the family really knows anything about boilers or radiators as my Dad was the one to tinker with the old boiler and add water when needed.

    I've ordered Dan's book, so maybe I can become that expert now.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    I drive to Carver MA every other week. I could stop by one Friday Morning.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    RobG
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    That would be wonderful! I live in western MA as well, but my
    mom lives in Seekonk, just off
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    oops, just off I95
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Here at the home. Noticed a leaky poorly braised copper pipe. Also 3 radiators leaking at air vent. Psi is set to 3 thank you Charles for pointing out that tip!
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,826
    Well, they certainly didn't waste any time reading the instruction manual..... that piping around the boiler is not right. If the job is still under warranty, they need to get back over there and re-pipe that boiler.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    AnnieT
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    We think it is still under warranty. Problem is...if they did a bad job to begin with
    .will they just keep making mistakes? Im worried about the high psi setting. Should I lower the setting myself?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    AnnieT said:

    We think it is still under warranty. Problem is...if they did a bad job to begin with

    .will they just keep making mistakes? Im worried about the high psi setting. Should I lower the setting myself?

    Find the manual for that boiler, find the page that shows the correct piping. After that hand them the manual and say, "Make it exactly like this". It's hard to screw up when you follow directions. If it was me I would turn the pressure down, it isn't doing you any good to have it high.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Its oil heat..does that make a difference in the setting.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Not at all. Steam is steam. Set the front as low as you can and there is a white wheel inside the cover that should be set at 1.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Thank you..silly question.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    AnnieT said:

    Thank you..silly question.

    The only silly question is the one you don't ask.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Such a helpful community this is. Makes up for being taken advantage of when we were all grieving. Don't even get me started on funeral homes...extortion.
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Changed the psi noticing the radiators really leaking now
    Wonder if its more wet steam due to bad valves.
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Troubled valve
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Nice visit today by an absolute angel of steam heat that saved the day!
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Someone from this site?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Oh yes..I met him thru this site but he wanted me to stay mum on social media..no pics....although id love to give big props where they are due.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    That's how I felt last year when my "knight in steaming armor" rescued me from a "no heat" winter during the polar vortex. The ones who do it right are truly angels.
    Do we at least get to see the changes, etc to the system?
    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
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Yes..I'll send the pics over on thanksgiving
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    I didn't get any pictures taken or posted, sorry...I was cooking and cleaning and dusting off cherished table settings that hadn't been used in ten years because the heat was humming!! It was wonderful and warm. We felt actual steam coming out of the air valve. All thanks to our helpful angel (who is remaining mum for the right reasons) who fixed things up so we could gather again in the old house.

    I also received my copy of The Lost Art of Steam Heating which is so excellent. That picture of the boiler shooting over the houses is what I dreaded when that water hammer noise started. I must have been sharing the feelings of my great grandfather who lived in Somerville and worked on the original Stanley Steamer automobile and probably saw that happen often enough.
  • Don't forget, the steam should not be shooting out of the vents!
    Post back here if this problem persists.--NBC
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    The sad state of the boiler piping.

  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    Sorry these are sideways...but so is the work. After reading Dan's books, one graciously lent by Angel X, the steam heating maven, I'm guessing a great problem is the header. I have the manual on hand and it looks nothing like this. There is no downward slope to the return pipes either after really measuring.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Header (such as it is) completely wrong -- and quite likely undersized. No equalizer at all.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I think your savior is from the western part of the state
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    I believe it needs an equalizer too. Unfortunately, I can't see the manual saying it needs this, but the manual isn't very forthcoming. That's the problem, you should see how scant the information is for skimming the boiler in the manual. If you didn't know, there is no helping out. I'm surprised the Boiler Manufacturers don't ask Dan H. to write a How To Troubleshoot for each manual. Honestly, I'm completely new to this and he writes so it makes sense. I'd love a little how-to for the complete newcomer on how to skim a boiler. What the hell is a nipple (besides the body part) and what the hell valve do I tap. I'm ready and willing to sit for a whole day skimming the oil but nowhere is there a really good video or 1, 2, 3 step schematic that explains it. I'm figuring I have to skim the oil for a good bit to stop some of the hammering. It stopped for a week or so after the first skim and I'm guessing I need to do it every so often. Those jokers that put in the boiler are going to take some time coming back to fix what they did and I've got my Mom scared to go back into her house because of the noise.

    On the lighter side, I was at a building in Northampton, MA that has water heat system but it was fitted on top of original steam heat. The water hammer is intense, according to one of the people that work there. Huge building and the heat has never worked well.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    The reason they don't hire Dan to write the operation and troubleshooting section is the corporation would probably be embarrassed at how little they know about their product. For many companies steam is a backwater to which they assign the malcontents (usually knowledgeable but difficult). Everything gets frozen and what was good enough 30 years ago is good enough today.

    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
    icesailor
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    That's too bad. It really is a sensible, scientific, and green way to heat. If more people knew! If I knew then what I know now. But, you don't know what you don't know until you know it. I might be quoting Yogi Berra.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    A nipple is a threaded length of pipe.

    The green jacket makes me think that might be a Williamson OSB with a tankless coil? If so, the minimum required piping arrangements and sizing are clearly shown on pages 7 through 9 installation manual.

    Side note: The drawings show what looks like threaded pipe and fittings, but there is no mention of steel and only one mention of copper (in the oil piping section) in the whole manual. They really should add a sentence or two regarding that.
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    It is a Williamson OSB, yes. Good eye SWEI. I agree they should add a sentence of two too.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    A nipple is a threaded length of pipe 12 in. or less..After that its a length of pipe
    AnnieT
  • AnnieT
    AnnieT Member Posts: 36
    thank you, j a
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    u welcome