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Switching out steam boiler

CT1988
CT1988 Member Posts: 50
I have an old (Janitrol gas boiler - 153,000 btu - 510 sq ft steam / 815 sq ft water ). I own a fully detached 2 story home (appx 1350 sq ft) with a basement (sq ft not does not include basement as there are no radiators). There is a total of 8 radiators in my house (4 on the first floor and 4 on the 2nd floor). My plumber recommends i get something in the range of 175k btu. From reading this forum, that seems to be way too much for my home. Can someone pls help. As a reference, i live in Brooklyn, NY, so our winters are rather cold.
Thank you.
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Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,508
    One-pipe or two-pipe?
    Add up the EDR of your radiators with the aid of a radiator sizing chart from this site. This total, expressed in squ. Ft. Should equal the label on the new boiler, and it will be interesting to see if the old 510 squ. Ft. Boiler was the right size. Heatloss has nothing to do with the size of the boiler-it's the radiation capacity of the system that matters, (hopefully the radiators were sized to the heat loss. Make sure the new boiler is piped to the Mfg's directions.--NBC
    icesailorZman
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    can you advise where i can find the sizing chart. Thanks
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    thanks! my radiator is inside the wall (with a cover). The measurement i the same right? sorry for all the newbie questions.
  • JudySweetland
    JudySweetland Member Posts: 120
    CT1988 said:

    thanks! my radiator is inside the wall (with a cover). The measurement i the same right? sorry for all the newbie questions.

    You will get quite a bit of help here. I just installed a steam boiler and have had a devil of a time ensuring the installation was done correctly. If your existing boiler is still working i suggest purchasing two books from this site: "We Got Steam Heat" and "The Lost Art of Stem Heating". Not only will these books describe how a steam system operates for the homeowner but will assist you in determining if the installing contractor is worth their salt. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound if cure. I used to think steam heat was akin to a large teapot, it's not there is a whole lot to it and there is a reason it is referred to as an art. Just trying to help you avoid some of the trip wires i experienced!


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,508
    For more information, use the strictly steam group, to get more eyes on any questions you may have.--NBC
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    thanks. I'll take a picture tonight and will post it tomorrow. Thanks for everyone's help.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Fair warning: I've noticed that those ratings published by Columbia can be off by as much as 25%. I would look for Burnham's Heating Helper for better ratings.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    This should do 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
    JStar
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    here are the air vents (radiators or convectors) image
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    how do i calculate the EDR? Is this a radiator or convector? Trying to order a new boiler this weekend. Thanks.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    The picture you posted is a convector. The pdf BobC posted has the information you need to calculate the EDR of the convectors and come up with a total that you can then size the boiler from. Post your results back here if you want a double check. Don't be surprised if your current boiler is oversized and your calculations indicate a smaller boiler....that is a very common situation.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    Got it. I will remeasure at night and will do the calc. What do I do after I add up all the EDRs. Is there an easy formula I can use to convert the EDR into BTUs?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    You can use the EDR as is. Most manufacturers have a sq ft steam rating for their boilers. You take your sq ft calculation and compare it directly to the number the manufacturer lists. You won't find and exact match so get the closest you can without being lower. Again post your results on here and which brand you are looking at and we can double check you.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    so i added up all the numbers and came up with 247.5 sq ft of radiation. obviously, my old one is way oversized. i just want to make sure i did this correctly.

    I.E. kitchen convector is sized 6 in depth 19in. height and 28in Width. Went to the chart and that equates to 21.3 sq ft of radiation. For the most part, i rounded up the next highest and I did this for all the convectors. With this say, if i'm getting a burnham, how many BTU's do I need? Thanks
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,035
    As KC said -- don't bother with the BTU. Use the EDR you've calculated. And it doesn't matter what make boiler; the ratings are reasonably accurate for all makers.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    should i size up slightly and round up to the nearest EDR? I also don't want to buy an undersized boiler. Thanks.
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    very helpful. thank you everyone for your time.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    If you are at 247.5 sq ft and going with a Burnham natural gas atmospheric an Independence IN4 would be plenty for you. So for sure your current is over sized and the one that plumber recommended would have been massively over sized. You will notice a fuel savings with this change. Do you have a contractor picked out already? Are they a steam specialist? Just to be clear picking the boiler is the first step, getting someone who will do a top notch install is the most important. The piping of the boiler and the contractors knowledge of steam are the most critical aspects of a replacement. Keep us posted and post everything along the way, it's easier to find out what is right before the work is done than trying to get it fixed after someone messes it up. We are more than happy to help!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    The OP said Burnham that's the only reason I mentioned it.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    I'm open to any manufacturer tbh. I say burnham only because I'm familiar with that brand. I have a contractor that I've used before and he did the installation on my brothers house. I am buying the boiler and he is charging me for the install job. (so I can actually buy any boiler of my choice).
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    Yes, his boiler is steam. I will ask him to email it to me. Thanks
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    I am very familiar with that particular boiler and the first thing that I notice is the header appears to be the wrong size. It's supposed to be 2 1/2" and that looks like 2" pipe. Also the skim port was not installed so obviously the boiler wasn't skimmed when it was installed which is an absolutely critical step in the process. I can't really see much more from those pictures like is there proper valving installed for draining crud for yearly maintenance etc. With steam the devil is in the details. Just the couple things I noticed would be enough that I probably wouldn't hire that contractor. BTW the header size is very important and the pipe size I am quoting is from the manufacturers MINIMUM specs. Keep in mind that is the minimum and most good steam men will exceed these specs for better operation.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    thanks.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Go with the peerless….My opinion, its the best gas fired steam boiler on the market….I normally keep out of the manufacture recomending business….At times they have all served well…Measure the connected load, and select from there...
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    Hey guys thanks alot for everyone's comments and suggestions. My contractor can't do the install till Feb as he has other projects he needs to finish up. I'll research the forum here as per everyone's suggestions.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    Just make sure you get the details of the installation spelled out in your contract! I can not stress this enough. So many people come on here and have improper installs, but nothing was spelled out in the contract so they don't have much of a leg to stand on to get it fixed. At a minimum you want the manufacturer recommendations. In reality for better operation you should go beyond those recommendations. Use 2 tappings if the boiler has them. A drop header would be good as well especially if you don't have much head room. If you have high ceilings in the basement a drop header might not be worth it. If you post which boiler you end up going with we could look at the manual and give you some recommendations.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    Hey thanks again guys. If you don't mind me asking one more question, that would be great. As you know from my original post, I have a really old boiler. It does not have a auto feed and every few days, I have to let water out of the boiler and check the water level daily. Two weeks ago, when I was sleeping, there was too much water in the boiler and water was leaking from the valves. I check my convector and have gordon valves in all of them. Long story short, it caused quite a mess in my house as water was leaking all night and resulted in a lot of water damage to my walls and ceilings. That's when I called my guy over and recommended that I put in a new system. I was able to get the boiler to turn on again after i drained out 4-5 buckets of water. Last night, the water filled up again and I had to drain another 3-4 buckets of water as the pipes were making some really loud banging/ clanging sounds. Is there anything else I need to look out for after I put in a new system. Again, many thanks for your time and help.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    The question is , how is the water getting into the boiler? I'd fix that first and meanwhile research ,design the system and it's piping. If you have heat now, there's no reason to do a quickie install and regret those decisions later. The time "to loo k out for things" is BEFORE the install. Very hard and expensive to do it later.
    I designed my own system with copious help from this site and have never regretted waiting to do it right even if I spent the polar vortex without heat. Feel free to email me for info on where I ordered my boilers, etc. I researched every detail and would be happy to pass my gleanings along. C
    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,814
    Do you have a hot water coil in this boiler to make your domestic hot water from? Are you replacing the boiler because of this overfill situation or some other reason? The boiler overfilling is either a bad valve on the water feed or a coil in the boiler (if you have one) that is leaking.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    Mainly, i'm replacing the boiler because of this. It's also an older unit and our gas bill is much too high as I'm sure it's not the most efficient unit. I'm not sure about the water coil. There's no autofeed, or so I was told by the previous owner. I have to manually add water but turning on the water.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited January 2015
    How do you get your domestic HW, through the boiler or with a separate hot water tank? If through the boiler you may have a leak in the coil. Someone recently posted on this same issue.: mystery water refill. I'll look for the post to see how he fingered the culprit.
    Here is the thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/153283/my-steam-system-is-throwing-a-temper-tantrum-right-now#latest
    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
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    I have a hot water tank. honestly, i'm not sure it's hooked to up the boiler or not.
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    my contractor recommends weil-mclaim EG 75,000 BTU 83% AFUE. Will this boiler work. This one will be available for immediate delivery. thanks
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    according to their ratings, the 75,000 btu EG30 is listed as 196 sq ft of steam. EG35, (100,000 btu) is 258 sq ft of steam). Based on the calculation on the sizing of the convectors, i need 247 sq ft of steam. With this info, I should get EG35 correct?
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Did your contractor measure the rad? If so, why is he recommending such an undersized boiler? Red flag, although usually it's in the other direction. Is this a boiler that's "left-over"? Could you possibly post some pics of his installs so folks here can see whether this is someone you want working n your system. Did you ever figure out why it was over-filling? I'm going to re-read your 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
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    edited February 2015
    never figured out why it was over-filling. the wife doesn't want to deal with it and wants to put in a new unit. he is suggesting Weil Mclain and suggested 75,000 /100,000/ 125,000 btu as I gave him the EDR stats. he said it's up to me. Sorry, my initial post was stated incorrectly. I looked up the rating and wanted to make sure i'm, getting the right size (100,000 btu / 258 sq ft of steam)
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    He did my dad's boiler (albeit a water-heater and not steam). I thought he did my brothers but that wasn't him. This is my dad's boiler.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    The Btu ratings are essentially useless for steam and the fact that your installer is still hung up on that tells me something...bad. Why is it up to you if he's the expert? If you have 247 EDR you clearly need the larger Eg35. Is this the same installer who did your brother's boiler...that was not correctly done. Are you going to be able to tell him exactly what to do and make sure he follows the manual AT A MINIMUM? I'll have to look at that boiler; have you considered a wet-based" boiler with power burner? These are the most efficient and no more expensive. I'd be happy to drop you an email on my experience since you're buying this yourself and he's installing...yes?
    If you can get through the season there's no sense rushing. Did you ever contact the to referenced contractors or are you set on using this person?
    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
  • CT1988
    CT1988 Member Posts: 50
    He did not do my brothers boiler. I reached out to a few folks but didn't get to reach out to the reference folks here. He did a lot of work on my house and due to the water damaged caused by the first overfill, he is fixing that as well so it's sort of an all in one package. he did do my dad's (pics' attached above). i am buying the boiler and he's doing the install. He suggest the brand because his provider have it in stock and can make delivery (vs other brand) and wife wants this fixed asap as we had another over-filled situation last night.