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False Water Line / 3rd boiler

This site is a great way to get help and good advise! I have been installing steam boilers for 32 years (averaging 1 boiler every 3 years), and my concentration has been strictly the near boiler piping. And because I was working for someone, my only responsibility was to get the boiler in and properly piped; the system layout was never a concern for me. Now I am completely responsible for the boiler and knowing the system, being self employed. This site is a great place to get advise to help me learn the system side of steam heat! Along with Dan's books! I have already gone back on 2 steam boilers I installed as an employee and found problems with the system arrangement and made the necessary corrections - and the customer's problems disappeared. Thank you guys for sharing your knowledge!!!

The picture is of a steam boiler I replaced and posted on this site. Questions were asked about the return piping, "is it a wet return or a dry return?" I am glad I did not catch the return issue right away because I learned what happens throughout the system when a wet return suddenly becomes a dry return. A good lesson. This was an insurance job because the Detroit area had a massive down-pour and peoples basements flooded with 15 to 30 inches of water. The insurance company paid to have me correct the return piping / install the false water line.

From the mud pipe to the inverted U is 38". From the inverted U to the lowest steam carrying pipe is 29.5".

SeanBeans

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,087
    Good show!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Excellent work!
    Why not get yourself listed here as the person to go to in Detroit? There have been a number of enquiries here about finding a good steam man in Michigan.--NBC
    SWEIZman
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,668
    Nice work ,like the real details like the access to the water side of the boiler and the use of tee s on the return side of the boiler . The near boiler piping being insulated is another detail that some times gets tossed to the $ide.Nice to see some one doing there home work .Also like your straight downward equilizer piping the way i was always told to do it no angles ,one point though i often like to offset the connection to the retrun to allow a bit of a swing instead of the direct connection .I some how feel the it may put undo stress on the return tapping .I often pipe it with a swing like is shown in some manuals when piping a single boiler with mulply returns together for proper flow through the inlet side of the boiler . I think it is shown in some larger smith and peerless steam boilers but i have to say i have seen them piped together but rarely as they shold be in the manual and they where always suffering the fate of expansion withthe pipes losing to cast especially when its copper .Truely shows you have been thinking and learning and doing some fanastic pipe work kudos and bravo ,keep up the excellent work .Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    Clammy: The swing joint you are talking about? Is that off the return pipe screwed into the boiler? Suggesting to point the Tee down and then turning toward the equalizer/hartford?
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,668
    Yes usually i put a tee and put the bull of it facing horizontal and then a nipple and prefferably another tee w the bull facing upward .On a boiler using both return tappings the tee out of the boiler is usually shown facing up w 2 ells before tying together giving you a swing .I would have to look it up in a older it&t or B&g steam fitters books i have am remenbering this from memory it s been awhile .Thanks for asking not many do nor do they like the answers espically if it costs afew more fitting$.For those boilers that your gonna do a water side cleaning on i often like to use full port ball valves w npt to hose adpts it s easier to un plug them and not get gunk all over the floor,plus w a nipple and cap on both return tappings it s very easy to brush out those section of any mud build up on the lower ends of each section ,i used to have some home made brass tubes for blasting the mud out but they are long gone and it s a hard sale on a good water side cleaning if you cant get the plugs out or at least to them .Again thanks for asking peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Very nice installation!
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    Thanks Fred!
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    What size boiler is that? Was there only one tapping on the top? Totally agree with clammy swing it, down at the return….Way to much stress on the boiler If it does go straight and level down…I don’t know how the header could be pitched down without a swing joint….For many reasons boiler tappings do not come out square…
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,841

    Excellent work!
    Why not get yourself listed here as the person to go to in Detroit? There have been a number of enquiries here about finding a good steam man in Michigan.--NBC

    I'll second that.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    I understand facing the first Tee up (off the return - from boiler) as common practice; but my thoughts when piping the return on a steam boiler is to do everything I can to keep the mud out of the boiler. So if a swing joint is necessary wouldn't it be best to point the "bull" down, thus creating another mud pipe to keep mud out of the boiler at all expense. The expense of the extra fittings does not bother me; the customer pays for them. The replacement jobs I get, I get because I spend time with the home owners about their comfort and educate them on how things work; and my competition only gives a price, without education. The customers who are more interested in price than comfort, do not become my customers; plus I don't want their headaches anyways.
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    j a said:

    What size boiler is that? Was there only one tapping on the top? Totally agree with clammy swing it, down at the return….Way to much stress on the boiler If it does go straight and level down…I don’t know how the header could be pitched down without a swing joint….For many reasons boiler tappings do not come out square…

    EG55; No there are 2 tappings, but the manufacture only suggest using one. Never again; will I use just one tap - 2 taps make better dry steam!!!
    There are multiple swing joints on both the header and return. I can also see places where the growth of the pipes is free to do so. I hear what you guys are saying, but this layout is not restricted or trapped from moving. There are all kinds of places for movement and growth.
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    When I first fired this boiler up, I did get a-hell-of-a bang from one of the pipes; sounded like a pipe split open. Scared the bejeezus out of me. It was so loud I couldn't tell where it came from. But since then, nothing; and I've had this system shut down for more than half the day several times. If I was using both sides for return; definitely YES, I would use swing joints.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    When I first fired this boiler up, I did get a-hell-of-a bang from one of the pipes; sounded like a pipe split open. Scared the bejeezus out of me. It was so loud I couldn't tell where it came from. But since then, nothing; and I've had this system shut down for more than half the day several times.

    I'm guessing the false waterline was dry at the time?
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    No, this boiler was first put in without the false waterline. This allowed me to see what happens in the system when a wet return is turned into a dry return. The first floor air vents would vent air - then - suck air, in unison with the water level in the boiler bouncing up and down. It was a great lesson to see it instead of read about it. This was an insurance job, and they paid me to add the false waterline piping. "This is my short version of how it all unfolded."
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    I'll THIRD that....Mad Dog
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • garyanderson
    garyanderson Member Posts: 10
    Great looking job. If have more pictures of the False water line work, should post. Lots of this type of work in great need!
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,510
    One thing I did not catch when I first saw this, is the seemingly small main vent. I wonder if it ever got enlarged.
    If it is a vacuum system, with a Hoffman 76, it is probably ok.—NBC