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New Weil Mclain Boiler Installation

davidr
davidr Member Posts: 11
Previous boiler: Columbia Coal fired converted to oil- was about to go forced hot air, but I couldn't give up that great steam heat. Any advice would be appreciated. That old coal fired was like family to me.

Installed by a plumber on the cheap...I know, I know. I had to do what I had to do.

Where: NJ

The gear:
Weil Mclain SG04 Steam Boiler
Pressuretrol set to 2?
Automatic feeder- which he is installing next week- he had the wrong voltage the first time out? I know...
Most piping has A insulation in good condition.
Despite everything- the radiators all heat, but the house is like a yoyo temp wise.
Radiators all have cheap adjustable valves less than 1 year old on them.

Radiators: 6
5 are similar in size and 1 is about half of those, located in the bathroom.

Issues since new install:

Near boiler piping- seems way off- especially where he adds the supply and there is no equalizer or Hartford loop.

Surging.

Obviously the water leak near the wet return connection. He is coming back out to fix.

Pretty severe water hammering- doesn't always seen to be the same areas.

Extremely dirty water. I drain every few days but I fear oxidation issues, etc.

Main vents too--- wet? Really whistle loud under load.

The wet return he cut out(replace with 3/4 copper) had so much gunk in it i have no idea how water even made it back to the boiler -Causes LWCO to trip every 48 hours.to the boiler. Should have I replaced these? One is buried in concrete so that wasn't really an option.

Bedroom radiator sounds like it is leaking at the radiator shut off valve.

I feel like it short cycles, but I read Dan's description on here about how coal had longer cycle times.

I am trying to fix this installation as I hate to ruin a brand new boiler.

I would also like to add a 3 psi gauge, but I want to tackle this other stuff first.

I also have a room that has always nad no heat, I read some stuff about adding a rad- I thought this might also help if this boiler was over-sized for my home.

I am located near an Atlantic Plumbing Supply house.

Simple things I did:
Skimmed boiler.
Drained mud leg?
Added water.
Ordering Steam Master tablets.
Shimmed the rads with quarters to get water going back the right direction.
Got dan's books. Purchased ut yet to receive "Lost Art" and "We've Got." Look forward to using them.

Skillset: Average DIY'er. pictures attached.

MUCH THANKS!
Dave0176
«1

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,983
    It's piped all wrong. Look at the manual.

    I hope you haven't made the final payment............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Local1Plumber
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    That's a hell of a thing for someone to do to a decent steam boiler.
    Local1Plumber
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    There is not a single item that is correct about that piping, other than the piping material. None of the problems will go away until the piping is fixed. Has the contractor seen the installation manual? If not, you should show it to him and make him fix it at his own cost.
    davidr
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,401
    The posters above me have all worked in the industry for a long time and are the best in the business, listen to what they are telling you. That piping is completely wrong, the system will never work correctly with it piped like that.

    Get the installer back and tell him to pipe it like the manuals piping diagram (manual below). Pages 18 and 19 detail how the piping should be done. Note the piping HAS TO BE 2-1/2" threaded steel pipe for the riser and header and the equalizes should reduce down to 1-1/2" after it turns down to the equalizer

    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
    davidr
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,910

    Fire that guy no matter how cheap he was he does not know how to read nor look at pictures .It s a total re do any money you paid this guy no matter how cheap including free was and is a total waste only up side is it s down the basement .Where in jersey .I see this type of job all the time some will never learn .My lastest train of thought is to blame it on the drinkling water and public school both of which i came from and drink LOL peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    Jean-David Beyer
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,409
    If you haven't paid them in full yet then I would use that as leverage to get it done completely over. I agree with everything that has been said. Get them to start completely over, nothing is right. If it was me I wouldn't let them touch another thing unless they are going to fix it properly anything short of that I would kick them to the curb. If you don't think they will do anything for you then call this company one of the best.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/thatcher-heating-and-air-conditioning
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,910
    Being you had a coal fired unit trhat was converted you in all likelyhood need your main venting looked at and possible added most coal fired sysems really lack generous venting back then it didn t matter much being the burner was not automatic so when it wqas loaded and firing you had 8 to 10 hours of heat not so today with automatic controls (t stats) Peace and good luck clammy PS j star is in jersey
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    Shame on him,the installer…But a little blame goes to the owner for not doing his/her homework….Its said most people come here after the fact….Besides the boiler not being correct, I would have serious concerns about make up air and venting, both of those can cause a lot more problems than bad heat and banging pipes….Its sad people cheap out and end up paying for it in safety and comfort…A whole other subject is the wiring……You can not afford to do this type of job the way you did….Your family expects you to keep them safe…I am sure you will do the right thing, after all the good advice you got from the above posters…..
    jonny88
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,387
    No need to coment any more, you need to pipe that boiler the corect way. I'm in linden if that means anything.
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    The installation also needs a permit which based on what I've seen would never pass inspection. The boiler needs to be completely re-piped.
    Above the OP stated that it was skimmed. There is no evidence based on that picture that the plug was ever removed.
    If contractor gives you any resistance, contact municipality. I'd make sure he was licensed, bonded & insured (and that a permit was taken out & an inspection made). Make certain there is a contract in place because this may be the only thing protecting you if things go bad with installer.

    link to NJ Consumer affairs License Verification: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/LVinfo.htm

    complaint form: https://www20.state.nj.us/LPSCA_COMPL/
  • davidr
    davidr Member Posts: 11
    I am located Near 6 Flags.

    As far as it being on me, I won't even get into that on here. However, those that have lent their constructive advice or opinion is greatly appreciated.

    Unfortunately, where I live(near McGuire AFB) limits the number of qualified steam contractors that will come out. I had a no heat situation and did what I could.

    If repiping is all that it needs , then I will repipe it, or hire someone to repipe it.

    Is there anything I need to do the boiler once I have it repiped?

    Thanks again.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,387
    Give me a call, I live in linden, I think your 7 off the turn pike
    I can help you repipe this.
    908 247 7743
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Something was done right. He used solid blocks instead of the cheaper 4X8X16 partition blocks with the legs over the hollows. A big heavy boiler like that will bust a partition block.

    His steel piping skills far outweigh his copper soldering skills. Good solders can spot a hack solder job from across a room. And they often leak.

    I'll bet that leaks on the adapter where it goes into the boiler block. Hackaroo's always start at the top of the fitting and work back, against the flow of heat. Heat rises. You heat from the bottom of the fitting. And you can see where the heat of the torch oxidizes the copper. If you see the solder paste run down one side of the fitting and not turn black, it wasn't hot enough. If you use a rag to wipe the paste and goobers off the fittings, you can tell if the fitting was hot enough. Because if you can't wipe away the excess solder when you take the heat away, the fitting wasn't hot enough. Especially on a fitting going in to a cast iron boiler block that is acting as a heat sink.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited February 2015
    Please tell me if it is accepted practice to feed a boiler with 3/4" copper tube into a tee fitting, the first fitting on the outlet/steam supply side of the boiler?

    What happens when you add cold water to a boiler that is making steam and that cold water dumps on it? My old dead boss told me that very bad things can happen and not to ever be around when someone tries to do it. He said that it was part of the reasons that WE always fed all boilers at the bottom, into the boiler. Or as close as possible, You didn't want any thermal shock from the cold water meeting the hot.

    Even after 50+ years, it still has my attention.

    OBTW, the installer couldn't even get the pressure relief in the right orientation.
  • davidr
    davidr Member Posts: 11
    icesailor--- I actually picked out the block, so he can't even take credit for that.

    The water supply is what bugged me out from the start, good god that made no sense to me. Probably a really good thing that the automatic feeder hasn't been installed yet, as that would have undoubtedly dumped cold water in while steam was being made....

    He did get a permit for this, but it has not been setup for inspection yet.

    Thanks again for all the comments.

    All in all- this shouldn't be a nightmare to fix, right?


  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    davidr said:

    icesailor--- I actually picked out the block, so he can't even take credit for that.

    The water supply is what bugged me out from the start, good god that made no sense to me. Probably a really good thing that the automatic feeder hasn't been installed yet, as that would have undoubtedly dumped cold water in while steam was being made....

    He did get a permit for this, but it has not been setup for inspection yet.

    Thanks again for all the comments.

    All in all- this shouldn't be a nightmare to fix, right?


    Not in my opinion.

    As far as the blocks, I would have personally been happy for you to go and pick out blocks. I just would have used more of them. Depending on how you place them, you can get a nice sized solid base out of it. One that the boiler sits proudly on. 4" makes a nice rise for the boiler. Makes it easier to get a hose on it for draining, and more height room for burner oil filters.

    It also makes the installation look like someone cared what it looked like when done.

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    In addition to what everyone else has said, (and it is a mess!) that Pressuretrol is really close to the waterline. It needs to be raised up and put on a pigtail (looped 1/4" pipe) to keep the steam away from the controls. Direct steam and water will ruin that Pressuretrol. Also, 3/4" return piping is not adequate and, yes, if the returns are clogged, they either need to be cleaned out or replaced. You spent good money for the boiler, doing the install on the cheap has gotten you back to where you were (or worse), with a system that doesn't and won't ever work, like it is. do read the manual and be prepared to oversee the corrections or let one of the Pro's on here fix it for you. They know what they are doing.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    I don't think the job was done on the cheap. It was done on the "Dumb". Not on the part of the owner, but on the part of the installer. Who is clearly over his head on this one. And probably any other steam job he has done.

    He needs to attend MANY Sessions of the Heatinghelp.com Freeschool.

    He has good installation techniques. Just bad installation engineering.

    No matter what, DO NOT!!! screw copper adapters into boilers. Use a nipple and an adapter. The cast iron of the boiler will suck the heat out of a joint and cause a leak. You'll never know it is a leak until it is filled and running. The solder paste will hold back air and/or water until the hot water gets to it and gets washed out. Like happened to this installer.

    Some folks say: When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.

    They also say that some are saving a seat for them. Surprising what you can learn here at The Freeschool classroom. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No quizzes, its free, and no tests.

    Books and literature available at a price. And cheap at twice the price.

    IMO.
  • davidr
    davidr Member Posts: 11
    Well, I have been contacted by a few of the pro's on here and have spoken to one already, which has only reinforced what is being said on here. I need to see what the original guy says when I confront him before I make any decisions one way or the other. I really don't have the cash to have to bring out someone to fix this mess. I never want to take food off the plate of contractors, my father was one and I get it, but unfortunately, it was due to his long illness and passing that has me so jammed up financially at the moment. I don't want to mislead anyone, so my options range from having the original contractor do it, to me trying to give it a go, to selling a kidney and having someone else coming out to do it.

    That being said... I can't speak for the installer, but I always enjoy learning about new things. I am totally on board in getting a lesson in steam. I probably should have next day aired Dan's books.( I hope I got the right books) However, I think I have a decent grasp of the main issue here.

    Let's see---- re-pipe the boiler. I see this to be done in 3 stages.

    Near boiler- including equalizer
    Return piping including Hartford loop- add clean outs wherever possible. Proper sizing as well.

    Add main Venting with 2 #4 Gortons on each. - Could be an issue since it looks like it would need to be re-piped to 3/4 for best results. By far the least of my worries right now.

    HEADER
    I guess I am a little confused on the header and how to properly re-pipe it. I have been rooting around the forum reading and looking at pictures to get an idea of how to re-pipe this. I also watched Dan's video on near boiler piping and I should be able to recite it by now.

    My question lies in the (2) 2"supply lines, spaced about 4" apart.
    The height between them and the top the single 2 1/2" outlet on the boiler is about 26". It's about 34" to the NWL.

    Now I know I need to add the equalizer that is currently missing and that will be 1 1/2", but I am unsure how to design the header.

    Also, should I go bigger out of the boiler instead of just 2 1/2? i am not sure if this makes a ton of difference since the distance is so short, but I am all ears on that...I think this would help slow the steam down?

    RETURN
    I guess, since I do not have access to threading equipment, that using copper would be the easiest for the wet return. Although I really like the idea of using black pipe and using Tee's instead of elbows.

    Oh well, if you go through all that and still feel inclined to give some advice, I am eager to hear it. I would assume that this is a passion for most of you. I hope you'll lend some thoughts, because I am starting to wonder if I should have just added forced air.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    edited February 2015
    Nothing beats steam, especially forced air. Your risers out of the boiler should be the same size piping at the tappings in the boiler. Use both tappings. Go up as high as you can with the risers and elbow the one that will be at the end of the header and then elbow it again so that it goes into the new header. I would use a header pipe that is one size larger than the riser. (so 2" riser, 3" header) put a short nipple on the elbow and install a Tee. Bring the other riser over using elbows and tie it into the Tee at a 90 degree to the Header. Put anothe nipple on the Header, then a Tee and connect your Main (keep the piping to that Main the same size as the Main itself) to the top of the header, Repeat the nipple/Tee if you have 2 Mains, carry the header on over about 12 to 15 Inches add an elbow and drop down to the equalizer(reducing the size of the equalizer pipe anywhere after the downturn from the header. Use reducing elbows or couplings to down-size the equalizer pipe. Do Not use bushings. Carry the equalizer down and add a tee that is about 2 inches below the normal water line of the Boiler. That is where your Hartford lopp with tie in.
    You can do a Drop header also but you should look at some of the Pic's on this site to better understand how to drop the header after going up with your Boiler risers.
    Your Owner's manual should have some decent graphics for the Header installation and may even show how to install a Drop Header
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,409
    Sometimes pictures help. Here is a link to an install of the same model boiler as you have. It's a larger size, but that doesn't matter when it comes to basic piping design.
    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/141630/weil-mclain-sgo-8-with-carlin-201gas
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • davidr
    davidr Member Posts: 11
    Just a rough idea...

    Is a drop header a better idea?

    The 2/1/2" outlet currently is in the same plain as one the the main supply lines, so I am unsure how to pipe without doing what I did in the photo.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    davidr said:

    Just a rough idea...

    Is a drop header a better idea?

    The 2/1/2" outlet currently is in the same plain as one the the main supply lines, so I am unsure how to pipe without doing what I did in the photo.

    No, do as KC suggested and look at the link he posted. From your drawing it looks like you have the Mains tied in between the risers from the boiler. That's not what you want to do. A Drop Header is best but it is important that you fully understand how the piping needs to be configured before you attempt anything.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,983
    KC_Jones said:

    Sometimes pictures help. Here is a link to an install of the same model boiler as you have. It's a larger size, but that doesn't matter when it comes to basic piping design.
    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/141630/weil-mclain-sgo-8-with-carlin-201gas

    That's one of our installs. It's 8 sections, as opposed to yours which has 4 sections.

    There are two main reasons to use a drop header:

    1- where the boiler has two or more risers to the header. The drop header is much easier to put together because of the two elbows on each riser. This "swing joint" greatly eases the job of aligning the pipes, and also takes up expansion and contraction much better.

    2- where one or more steam mains are too low to allow the riser height of 24" above the highest possible water level in the boiler. The drop header allows the use of taller risers, which helps separate water from the steam leaving the boiler.

    Based on what I see, neither consideration would apply in your case. The SGO-4 only needs one riser to the header, and there appears to be plenty of height between the boiler and the steam mains. I would, however, make the riser and header 2-1/2" instead of 2", since this will reduce the steam velocity therein, which will separate water from steam more effectively.



    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • davidr
    davidr Member Posts: 11
    Thanks again for all the help.

    What is the preferred way to make the connection from the 2 1/2" header to each of the 2" mains. I would like to add shut offs there as well.

    So is using a 3" header is overkill?

    Seems like it comes down to personal preference as far a joint sealing. Any advice for this particular project?


  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,176
    3" is better, it's never overkill with a steam system.
    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.......
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    An SGO-4 has an output of 144,00 BTUH. According to my charts, a 3" header is good for up to 141,888 BTUH @ 20ft/sec exit velocity. It's at the top end of the range, but it should be adequate if your pressure is kept low.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    If you sized it correctly just go by the manf specs...that would be the minimum... It is always good to have a steam guy pipe it as he will upsize it to his personal specs...but as a homeowner u may have a slightly difficult time with out the proper tooling
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,561
    Has anyone calculated the connected EDR? The boiler is already there and knowing how close the load is to the boiler may be a factor to consider in how elaborate to go with drop header & sizing. It sounds like an oil burner..right? So nozzle sizing might be considered as needed also. If OP has Dan books on the way he can figure this out.
  • davidr
    davidr Member Posts: 11
    j a said:

    If you sized it correctly just go by the manf specs...that would be the minimum... It is always good to have a steam guy pipe it as he will upsize it to his personal specs...but as a homeowner u may have a slightly difficult time with out the proper tooling

    Yeah, do to finances I may have to re-pipe it myself. Working with 2 1/2" seems manageable, not so sure about the 3". I do have a good workshop area to wrench this down. However, my concerns are:

    How to connect the 2" mains to the header. If the header is 3", how do I reduce down to the 2" mains and the 2 1/2" riser? I would also like to add gateways(or should it be ball valves?) on each main.

    Also I know the equalizer should be the same size until below the NWL. Is there an preferred way to go from 3" to 1 1/2" as the manual calls for?

    Thanks again. I hope to get the original contractor to make good on this, even if I have to train him via the great people here.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Pre-cut nipples are a wonderful thing. Along with unions. You try to make everything so it "Swings" in to place.

    Its like the old TV show, The A Team. I love it when a plan falls into place.
    KC_Jones
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,409
    I did my own replacement last year and managed to do everything with pre-cut nipples all stock sizes. I didn't have to thread anything nor special order any length. Now I am a designer by trade so I was able to lay everything out in the computer ahead of time which took a while. I also have a few extra pieces that I ordered "just in case" because even with an accurate layout I could only do so much and the connection back into the house was a bit of a crap shoot until most of the pieces are in place. If you have time and some basic understanding you could draw it out and probably get yourself really close. You need information on thread insertion, fitting sizes (available from manufacturer) location of all boiler connections etc. It's time consuming and tedious, but possible.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    If you're going to attempt to re-pipe this yourself, I'd suggest buying the Weil-McLain nipple kit from your supply house. It's a bit more money than doing it without it, but, I believe it will make at least the near boiler piping easier & the way the manufacturers spec's it.
    Good Luck!
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    davidr said:

    How to connect the 2" mains to the header. If the header is 3", how do I reduce down to the 2" mains and the 2 1/2" riser?

    If it's a single riser, you connect it at one end using a 3" x 2-1/2" reducing 90. A couple of 3" x 2" reducing tees will take care of the mains. Three 3" nipples and another reducing 90 will complete the header.
    I would also like to add gateways(or should it be ball valves?) on each main.
    Gate valves make great king valves. Just be sure they're rated for steam temps (most are.) You'll need a few unions to make it all work.
    davidr
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    If I'm reading @jstar correctly, you should aim for th 3" header at minimum.
    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
    davidr
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    If you're going to attempt to re-pipe this yourself, I'd suggest buying the Weil-McLain nipple kit from your supply house. It's a bit more money than doing it without it, but, I believe it will make at least the near boiler piping easier & the way the manufacturers spec's it.
    Good Luck!

    Cheap at twice the price.

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    Its time to make a decision....
  • Handi
    Handi Member Posts: 14
    Hello davidr … Look at my post from a day or two ago : " What happened to my vents??" on this wall . I have the identical boiler that I installed Oct. 2005 by myself .. I posted some pic. that you might be able to use for reference .I followed the installation manual pretty close . I was able to bush down my main from
    2 ½" to 2" ( manual says it's ok to do this if there is no counterflow in the mains) .. The only "mistake" I made was to make the equalizer 1¼" instead of the called for 1 ½" .. I did this because it made it a bit easier to follow the size of the condensate return from the Hartford loop .. I have had no issue w/ the system . My only problem is that since the original boiler was an old Columbia that might have been a coal converted to oil - I think like yours - the deadmen did not use vents … Good luck .. with your project .. You should be able to tackle it.. I did mine all by myself in one long weekend ,including bringing the unit into the basement ..
  • davidr
    davidr Member Posts: 11
    You guys rule. So much information. I figured they made reducing fittings but I figured I'd ask anyway. I am looking forward to getting Dan's books to really further my knowledge in this area, although you folks are pretty darn good yourselves.

    The boiler isn't sitting completely level as it runs downhill toward the right front corner, not severe but clearly noticeable. I am unsure if I will have the man power to move this around, so is this a major problem going forward?

    What is the advantage of the Weil kit over buying the pieces separately?

    Thanks again guys.