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What the heck IS this?

GregHahn Member Posts: 2
I was invited to a small greenhouse built in the 1930s. I am pretty sure that the boiler is a water boiler, but the manifolds inside the greenhouse lead me to believe that it was steam.
Customer wants to restore the greenhouse with a new boiler. Looking for info regarding greenhouse heating from the 1930s. Pipe fitters would be very interested in this piping...there are NO unions for assembly. We suspect that one coupler in each line has reverse threads on one end that allowed the manifold to be assembled.
Can anyone tell for certain if this is a steam or hot water boiler? I'm leaning towards water, and it will have to be gravity or natural circulation, as there was no pump.
Thanks all.


  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,966
    Do you have a picture of the boiler piping?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,831
    Pretty sure it's hot-water. If the green unit in the third pic was on the water pipe feeding the system, it's hot-water.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Second to last photo looks a lot like some kind of air vent. Agreed.

    Would rock with a mod/con...
  • GregHahn
    GregHahn Member Posts: 2
    The boiler was already demoed when they called me. This is the best photo of the boiler piping that I have. It goes underground from here. The device on the end of the tee looks to me like a control valve. The two wires go to a thermostat in the greenhouse.
    Thanks everyone. Modcon is looking like the solution, with a pump though. Owner will have nothing to do with changing the emitters to finned tube. he wants it original.
    The operating mechanisms for the windows are simply spectacular. I didn't take a photo of it though. handwheels that rotate long rods to each window, with a lever to control the rate they open. the contractor was asked to re-pane each individual window and restore all of the linkage and panes. It's really something.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Sounds like a fun project. Progress photos would be great :)
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,425
    Here you go, Greenhouse Heating. It pays to wander off the Wall.
    Retired and loving it.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,218
    Ah, back to the days of real pipefitting. No pex, no propress. The couplings in he picture with the lines on them are left-right couplings
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    The guys who built that clearly had some serious pipe-fu.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,924
    I have seen pictures here of L shaped pipe manifolds for steam that had no couplings. Just a header with maybe 5 pipes, 90 ells and then another header, was the header of these manifolds made with left hand threads perhaps purchased that way ?