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Boiler Replacement on larger Webster Type R system finally ready to post

Steamhead
Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
We originally looked at this system about a year ago. Two atmospherics tied together, using a condensate pump feeding into a duplex boiler-feed pump. The Burnham was still running but the Utica was toast. Copper steam piping, of course- we've seen this particular piping pattern many times before, just not on this scale.

The house was built in 1928. Much of the first floor radiation is in-wall convectors with outlets closer to the ceiling than the floor, which improved the draft above the elements. The traps for most of these are located in the basement.

I call this a larger system because it has two air traps. We've only seen one other Webster with multiple air traps- that one has three.

We called in a GC friend of mine, who I've known for years, to handle the demo. Thanks, Ed!
All Steamed Up, Inc.
Towson, MD, USA
Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
Oil & Gas Burner Service
Consulting
icesailorLionA29

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    The new boiler is a Weil-McLain 7-80 with a 2-stage PowerFlame burner, and our usual drop header. It switches to low fire at about 12 ounces for now. We're still tweaking the system- we replaced a trap element today that was original to the house.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailorTinmanSWEILionA29
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    One of the two air traps- this is the larger of the two, in the boiler room. We vented the heck out of it. You can see the Return Trap to the left.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Needless to say, What a beautiful job!
    icesailor
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    This view is at the other end of the basement. One of the two steam mains comes in from the right. The pipe coming off the tee above the F&T trap goes thru the wall into the garage, feeds a wall radiator, then goes up to feed two radiators in the bedroom above. We found a failed 1-1/4" Webster F&T here with a Hoffman #75 screwed into the top. This type of trap is impossible to rebuild without breaking something, so we put a 1" six-bolt trap in its place and vented the inlet with a Gorton #2, as well as venting the heck out of the air trap.

    Well, that 1" trap didn't work. Start-up condensate would fill it quickly and force its way out the vent. We realized that with the smaller trap, and the vent placement, we had lost the ΔP across the trap.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    The solution was to go to an 1-1/4" trap and move the vent to the trap's outlet. Now the pressure at the trap outlet is zero, so the small static height of the steam main above the trap produces enough pressure to make the condensate flow.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    The furthest point from the boiler is here in the garage- roughly 150 feet of pipe that starts at 3" and ends up as 1-1/2" at the end, shown here. The owner complained that this area did not heat well. This part of the main is vented and dripped thru what was originally a 3/4" thermostatic trap- we found a Hoffman #17C there, one of the slowest-venting traps on the market, bushed down to 1/2". Replacing this with a Barnes & Jones #122A helped, but it was still slower than it should have been. So we got the fastest-venting 3/4" thermostatic trap we could find- the Nicholson #A43HC. We removed the bushings and piped it in- note that we had to supply the union, since the trap does not come with one.

    Now the steam gets here unbelievably quickly, and the room is warm.

    We still have quite a bit of work to do here- I suspect there are still a bunch of 1928-vintage trap elements in this system. But it runs a whole lot better now!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailorMilanD
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,691
    I am truly in awe of your skills. You are the people that keep this country running. Keep up the good work and my hats off to you!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    icesailorMilanD
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    That's a beautiful install, but your trouble-shooting skills are awe-inspiring. I'd love to hear the owner's response. they probably thought it was always that way cuz it's steam.
    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
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    Nice job!
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 852
    edited February 2015
    Thanks for your comments!

    It never ceases to amaze how much of a difference clean boiler makes in the overall operation of a steam system.

    Dirty water will trump good piping every time!

    On this boiler, we not only added the 1-1/2" pipe in the front as called for in the instructions, but a rear 3" tapping, that is usually bushed down to 1-1/4" for the safety relief, was instead bushed to 2" and the safety relief put on a 2" x 1-1/4" tee and that tee was used to skim the boiler.

    It worked like a charm.

    That 1-1/2" skim was a bit too close for comfort to all that fancy burner stuff, anyway.

    This was all pointed out to the Weil-McLain rep when we had him out to discuss an issue we had with parts missing from one of the boxes.

    He promised to pass on our recommendations to the good folks at Weil. We'll hold our breath.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    JohnNY
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,691
    I was just looking at the pictures again...unless my eyes are tricking me do you have some kind of special or custom pigtails on that vaprostat setup? It's hard to tell, but they look different from anything I have seen before. Again gorgeous install.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 852
    edited February 2015
    @KC_Jones :smile: I am so glad you asked! Yes, you are correct. It is indeed a custom pressure control set-up.

    We regard the official Weil-Mclain instructions for setting up the pressure control tree on the 80 series as radically unsound! It is too near the boiler water line and all kinds of sludge and rust gets into it, rendering the controls inoperative. It is also called out as 1/2" steel. Not good.

    We use the top 1" tapping that normally is wasted on another outmoded system, the float-type level control, and instead re-purpose it for the pressure control tree.

    There is the safety limit (CSD-1 manual re-set), the operating limit (a 16 oz. vaporstat), and the low-high-low control (also a vaporstat). And they are set as high as possible above the water line as you can get and still be tapped to the boiler.

    We also add 1/4" brass street tees between the brass pigtails and the pressure controls so we can quickly test the pigtails for any blockage.

    We also pointed this out to the Weil-McLain rep so they could add it to their instructions as an alternative. We are still waiting for their response.

    I suspect we will wait for a long time.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    SWEI
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I think we need a close-up of those controls.
    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_JonesCorktown
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 852
    @vaporvac :wink: The controls and fittings are in and of themselves nothing special, it is just their positioning vis-a-vis the "official" Weil-McLain series 80 boiler installation instructions. Everything is "off the shelf" and Listed.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
    LionA29
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    You guys almost make me miss working in the big city. I did say almost...
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,288
    great and beautiful craftsmanship of a job.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,077
    Damn nice looking job guys!
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Thanks all. Gerry, you really need to test one of those Nicholson traps- it would blow everything else away.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Randy-LeeBraman
    Randy-LeeBraman Member Posts: 46
    Only thing to say is"true work of art"
  • LionA29
    LionA29 Member Posts: 255
    Awesome work @Steamhead & @Gordy !!
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,295
    Nice Job!! Great attention to detail.

    My favorite picture is the 4' wrench

    Can't tell from the pictures is the Power flame a model J ? A lot of $$$ to get that burner with lo-hi-lo firing but it will be worth it. It will probably be on low fire most of the time.

    Are you getting good combustion #s on low fire? Sometimes that's an issue.
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,415
    Some thread bump, it's been 2 years! :lol:
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    "Standing the test of time"........ o:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    LionA29
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,177
    @Steamhead with that kind of boiler pic porn it's worth a bump. Lol
    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.......
  • Paul S_3
    Paul S_3 Member Posts: 1,257
    beautiful install @Steamhead
    ASM Mechanical Company
    Located in Staten Island NY
    Servicing all 5 boroughs of NYC.
    347-692-4777
    [email protected]
    ASMHVACNYC.COM
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/asm-mechanical-company
  • Double D
    Double D Member Posts: 442
    @Steamhead (in transit) Why did the original install have what looks like an F&T on the inlet of the inlet side of the condensate pump? I assume you're returning the condensate by gravity now.
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 511
    looks like a 5 footer to me
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Double D said:

    @Steamhead (in transit) Why did the original install have what looks like an F&T on the inlet of the inlet side of the condensate pump? I assume you're returning the condensate by gravity now.

    Because you can't fix stupid. All the air and condensate coming back has already gone through a trap. Putting another trap on the inlet just slows things down. If there is steam getting to the tank, the proper solution is to fix the bad trap that's letting steam get by.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 852
    @SeanBeans : You are correct, it is a 60 inch wrench.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc