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boiler installation questions - # of supplies, header, vents, chimney

HeatCrazy Member Posts: 1
edited February 2015 in THE MAIN WALL

I'm an having a new gas boiler installed (Burnham Independence IN4) and there have been some discrepancies between plumbers about instillation. So I'm wondering if anyone can help clear things up.

1) Do you use only one of the supplies and have one riser or use both and have two risers?

2) Should the header be a larger pipe size than the riser? One said for this size boiler it doesn't matter.

3) I've heard the piping should include a drop header design while others have said there is enough room to go up as high as needed so we don't need to have a drop header. Thoughts and if we can go up as high as needed to not need a drop header, how high should that be?

4) For the vents, everyone says the main vents need to be replaced. I had a plumber say all the radiators should get new vents and the ones at the local big box stores are no good. Another plumber said only the first radiator the steam runs though needs a new vent. So, where do I get the good vents and do all the radiators need new upgraded vents or just the radiators that the steam runs through first?

5) Does the chimney need to be reinspected? One says no because it was inspected in 2008 (I did not own the house at the time) and another said it should be inspected whenever you install a new boiler.

6) Does the return piping need to be replaced? I read somewhere it should be but none of the plumbers have mentioned it.

Thanks for the help!


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,707
    1. The more risers the better.
    2. If you use both risers then an up size header is always better.
    3. How high can you go? Are they referencing the manual for the "minimum" height? The higher the better and if you are high enough then no a drop header isn't worth it, but many install drop header almost all the time because it is the best way to get dry steam which is the ultimate goal.
    4. Did they calculate main lengths and figure out venting requirements? There is A LOT more to venting then just saying replace this vent or that vent. There is actually a eBook for sale on this site ($10.00) that explains pretty much everything about venting.
    5. This question comes up all the time. I don't know it depends on the area you live codes and what kind of chimney you have now. Is it lined? If so what is the lining? Again that isn't a simple question.
    Where are you located? Are you getting quotes from steam experts? Steam is it's own special thing and you really want an expert in there. Have you tried the find a contractor on this website? Let us know what area you are in and we may be able to recommend someone.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    In addition to what KC said, did the contractors survey and measure your radiators so that the right size boiler gets installed. The total EDR of all the radiators should match, as closely as possible, the boiler Net Sq. Ft. of steam output. No additional factors are added to the boiler for pipes or header heating. That has already been built into the boiler. Just match the Radiator EDR (SQ FT. of radiation Total) to the boiler.
    Two risers are better than one and make sure the risers are both piped over to one side of the Header, then the Mains tie into the header individually (Do not let them Tee them together and then tie just one pipe into the Header (Assumming you have more than one Main) After the Mains, the equalizer gets tied into the end of the header and the Hartford loop ties into the Equalizer about 2" below the Normal water line of the boiler.
    If the waterline of the new boiler is lower than the old boiler, Make sure the wet returns remain below the new water line.
    As far as replacement of returns, it is reccommended that wet returns be replaced but , at a minimum, cleaned out really well.

    If hte vents on the radiators work now, they should be fine with the new boiler. Do make sure you get enough venting on each Main. You really can't have too much venting on the Mains. As KC said, buy the Venting book on this site by Gerry Gill and use it as a guide.
    Drop headers are great but if you can go up 30 or more inches above the boiler water line, you'll get the same benefit of a drop header. I think Burnham reccommends 24" minimum but you can go as high as your basement and mains will allow you. Just don't go any lower than the minimum Burnham reccommends. Drop headers make piping a little easier also.
    I would reccommend the header be 1 size larger than the risers and make sure they don't bush the risers down at the boiler. The larger the risers/header, the lower the velocity of the steam and that's what you want.