Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Firing rate

I have a single pipe steam system with 460 square feet EDR run by a Peerless ECT-05 Boiler fired by a recently installed Carlin Gas Burner (recent conversion) drilled to fire at 150 to 175 BTU/hr. I have no knocking or wet steam issues and all vents are functioning. The issue is this: the system is very slow - a couple hours to heat the eight radiators and then the radiators are not heated from top to bottom i.e. the system does not seem to fully charge and my theory is that I am not producing steam at a sufficient rate to keep up with the condensate. Another reason I think this is because the water in the glass only drops about 3/4 of an inch when the system is running. So:
1. Is the amount of water showing in the glass any indication of the volume of steam I am producing?
2. My pressure gauge (a 30 Psi job) never budges no matter how long the system runs (what kind of gauge will give me a more accurate measure and will that gauge register pressure as soon as I make steam or only when steam has filled the system?)

Comments

  • Post23Preservation
    Post23Preservation Member Posts: 13
    I'll check the firing rate again - thank you for the heads up on the gauge. No rot hole (boiler is 2007) and three main line vents on all three branches ( pretty big building: 1867 church)
  • Post23Preservation
    Post23Preservation Member Posts: 13
    One pipe system - pressuretrol at 1psi. I'll check the firing rate, get a gauge and get back to you. Thanks for the input.
  • Post23Preservation
    Post23Preservation Member Posts: 13
    Correction: one main line vent per branch (three branches). So I will take that advice as well and measure the piping as well to make sure there is enough venting. Do I measure just the mains and do elbows and so forth affect this air calculation? If you could just give me that formula or tell me where I might look for that it would be great. Need to make sure that air gets out of the way of my beautiful steam!
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    If you really want some education and you have 10 bucks burning a hole in your pocket I would suggest getting this e-Book from the store. It's all about venting and explains how to calculate air and helps size vents. Good info and your 10 bucks goes to charity! Basically you measure the length of pipe and there are charts that tell you how much air per length by diameter. That will give you cubic feet of air that needs moved. Then you can look at the capacity of the vents you want to use and figure out how many you need. Here is a link to the book in the store.
    http://store.heatinghelp.com/product-p/300.htm
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Typically, the rule of thumb is 1 Gorton #2 (or equalivent) for every 20 feet of 2" Main and 1 Gorton #2 for every 12 feet of 2-1/2" Main. Don't wory about elbows, justtotal length. If you don't have the heigth for Gorton 2's, it takes 3 Gorton 1's to equal a Gorton 2 or 2 Hoffman 75's
  • Post23Preservation
    Post23Preservation Member Posts: 13
    I'll follow up with my measurements and let you know how i get on with your suggestions after the weekend. Just FYI, I have 4" inch mains which make long runs so its a big system
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    4" mains and only 1 vent, yeah even if it was the biggest vent available (Gorton #2) you don't have enough.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • bob_46
    bob_46 Member Posts: 813
    Is all the piping insulated ?
    bob
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542

    I'll follow up with my measurements and let you know how i get on with your suggestions after the weekend. Just FYI, I have 4" inch mains which make long runs so its a big system

    a 4" main has .09 Cubic feet of air per foot of pipe. The gorton #2 can vent 1.1 Cubic feet per minute. You may need the equalivent of 1 Gorton 2 for every 11 feet of pipe. The limitation is going to be the size of the vent opening in the Main. If it's a 1" pipe, the most you can vent there is about 4 Gorton 2's. Anything over that will just be wasted money.
  • Post23Preservation
    Post23Preservation Member Posts: 13
    Just finished insulating mains. Also just bought the recommended valve and venting manual. Keep you posted
  • Ok - here is the latest. 1. There is no banging or water loss in the system. 2. The radiators get smokin' hot about 70% while the last 30% of each radiator remains cool (this is true even if the radiator vent is entirely off 3. the boiler is not being turned off prematurely by the thermostat or the pressuretrol (which is set to cut out at 1psi.) 3. My new 3PSI gauge indicates that I am never building pressure in the system - the needle moves a bit but never climbs. SO: despite the fact that my building heats, I want to fill the radiators from top to bottom and the system never shows a build of pressure. In short the system never fully charges no matter how long the boiler runs. why?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    One possibility is that the trermostat is being satisfied before those radiators can heat all the way across. Try putting a smaller vent on the radiator that is in the room with the thermostat (or turn the vent upside down to close it) and let the boiler run and see if they get hot all the way across. It's is not unusual for rads to only get hot part way across, depending on outside temps. That's not a bad thing. My rads only get hot all the way across on the coldest days of the year. Probably 90% of the time they don't heat all the way across But the house reaches temperature (which is the goal).
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692

    3. the boiler is not being turned off prematurely by the thermostat or the pressuretrol (which is set to cut out at 1psi.)

    You say prematurely, but is the thermostat shutting it down when you reach set point? I agree with Fred you really shouldn't heat the whole radiator unless you are at design temperature. For me that is 7° and I am pretty much never there. At 25-30° my boiler runs maybe 20 minutes per hour and never heats any rad more than halfway.

    My new 3PSI gauge indicates that I am never building pressure in the system - the needle moves a bit but never climbs. SO: despite the fact that my building heats, I want to fill the radiators from top to bottom and the system never shows a build of pressure. In short the system never fully charges no matter how long the boiler runs. why?

    You don't want pressure....what you are seeing on your gauge should make you happy. Low pressure steam moves faster than high pressure steam, your system sounds well matched. I am curious about the comment "no matter how long it runs" Have you tried turning the thermostat up to say 80 and see what happens? Or are you saying the boiler is firing 24/7 and this is what you are seeing?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Post23Preservation
    Post23Preservation Member Posts: 13
    edited February 2015
    Yes, I turn the thermostat way up so that it remains unsatisfied - the boiler runs, radiators heat and the pressure gauge remains very near zero. If I set the thermostat to the set point of 65, yes then it becomes satisfied and shuts off the boiler. Just wondering why that pressure gauge doesn't creep up a few ounces. Good news about not having to heat the radiators the whole way but I did think that if I could heat them through once they would spend a lot longer "radiating" after the boiler stops firing. Also, not to beat a dead horse but what is the point of the gauge if the needle just bounces along at zero?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    The point is if something goes wrong such as a pressuretrol failure, or a clogged pigtail you can see a higher pressure than normal and do something. The 0-30...who knows what it may or may not read. The low pressure gauge allows you to actually monitor what is going on. If you are hitting your set point you are fine. My example of 80, if it's cold enough outside could theoretically be impossible. Remember in theory your boiler is sized to heat the space on a certain day to a certain temperature. You can't just run it as high as you want. That could be what you are seeing. IF it is what you are seeing then count yourself lucky because it means you have a well matched system which is good for your bank account. Keep us posted on your venting. If you get that main venting in order you will see a speed difference in the system. It should heat much more quickly than it does now. Good luck with everything and keep us posted!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    If you are running the boiler for extended periods of time, like turning the thermostat up from 65 to 75 degrees, it should build a few ounces of pressure unless it is so amazingly matched to the total radiator EDR, or it is undersized for the attached Radiation or it has a crack or hole in the boiler block or elsewhere in the system.
    I know you said that the boiler doesn't have a hole or crack because it was installed in 2007 but that is still 8 years old and sometimes things happen. Check the chimney for excess steam coming out of the top of it when the boiler is running.
    My boiler only builds about 2 ounces of pressure on a normal cycle but it does build that little bit of pressure. That gauge you installed is for you to be able to see what the boiler is doing and, as an example, without it, we could not have this conversation.
  • Thank you gents - I'll keep you updated and really value your input.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Have you measured the edr of your rads and compared it to your boiler rating? If we know how well that compares we can eliminate that as a source of any problems.
    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
  • yes.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    Are you sure you do not have a hole in the boiler? Have you clocked the gas meter? 2007 it could be a leaker. Gas manifold pressure? Was a combustion analyzer used to tune the burner?
    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
  • Here a little refinement: building and rads heating nicely - zero H2o loss and the pressure gauge is actually being sucked BELOW zero - and there are no cracks in the boiler and I don't see steam coming out the chimney. It is true that the chimney was recently lined and has a foot foot long draw... So weird
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Sounds like your boiler is well matched to the radiation in the house. Check the total radiator EDR to the net sq. ft. of steam output of the boiler. It could be slightly under sized. Can't be leaking or steaming water away. Be happy with the low pressure!
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    How was the burner tuned? Too much combustion air makes for weak heating.
    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
  • 50 foot long draw ( not "foot foot") what might cause. Pressure gauge to do that? Also. When I close all the radiators ( shut them off entirely) the pressure gauge begins to creep up toward zero
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    If you don't mind reading there is some discussion about vacuum in the gauge in this link. Most of it is theory though as not everyone sees the same thing and not everyone completely agrees on reasoning. A lot of us (me included) have seen the vacuum phenomenon so you aren't alone there.
    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/152691/going-commando/p1
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • The gauge simply wasn't zeroed properly so I thin I am in fact registering several ounces of pressure. Moreover, I. An get that pressure to creep up by lowering the EDR (closing some radiators) SO - maybe I can turn my attention to venting and thermostat location in order to hit the sweet spot!
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Sounds like you are getting there!