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Are swing joints overrated???

As a Service Tech for 25 years and a NJ Master Plumber. I've come across a lot of poorly piped Steam boilers which still by some miracle provided home owners with great heat. I've never come across a boiler which cracked because it didn't have swing joints. Which leads me to this theory. Why add the extra fittings if there not going to make a difference. I piped up a boiler recently to prove this theory. All the piping is properly pitched from supply to return so there are no bellies from water hammer.

Now the question is this. Have you ever come across a boiler which cracked without swing joints.(Including Copper Headers)

And by my piping, saving several fittings did I achieve the same dry steam supply and wet steam return for optimal boiler performance. Mind you I am 24" above water line/ header pipe.

Looking forward to all your comments.

Thanks,
Dan
SUPER SERVICE WITH A SMILE!
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Comments

  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    How did you attain any pitch? It's good practice to use swings, why tempt fate?
    RobG
  • SUPER DAN P&H
    SUPER DAN P&H Member Posts: 48
    Pitched towards equilizer
    SUPER SERVICE WITH A SMILE!
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    You will see a day when a lack of swing-joints causes a problem. It's just a matter of when.

    You also have a bullheaded tee at the equalizer which is incorrect. The main needs to take-off from the header with it's own tee, and then travel horizontally before dropping into the equalizer. The way it is now will cause a lot of turbulence and wet steam.
  • SUPER DAN P&H
    SUPER DAN P&H Member Posts: 48
    Cant be seen in this pic but the return piping is within 1" of the floor for the A dimension factor. Thanks again.
    SUPER SERVICE WITH A SMILE!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,538
    edited June 2015
    So you saved 3 90's and 3 nipples on a $xxxx.xx or more job. And the book probably shows swings there and even a young lawyer could see them there as minimum requirement. And use that against you even if the wife didn't like color of the cabinet of the boiler.

    We all see things that are "wrong" but work without issues for 30 years or more.
    I understand what your doing but I would always try to avoid the legal sharks on something that should last 20 plus years.
    Just today I had to help out a hit and run installer on a 90+ furnace he "installed". (small town--childhood buddy/friend??)
    you could see that he never opened the I&O book. You could see 10 things wrong just walking into the room...I was never there, it was a cash in hand fix on my part.

    Also: to achieve pitch towards the equalizer I assume you "bury" one set of nipples deeper than the first riser. But without the extra 90's does that then put some stress on the piping/riser/sections as then your piping is not a true 90 angle above the boiler?? It just seems to me that the geometry of square corners/angles would not be true. Everyone has stretched piping to fit but not always with the severe temp differential involved causing extreme expansion and contraction of steel and cast iron married together. (IMHO, just asking, I'm just really a rookie)
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,320
    Are swing joints over rated? No, I don't think so -- any more than I think crash helmets or seat belts and shoulder harnesses -- or pressure relief valves -- are over rated. But, like those items, most people, most of the time, will never need or even be aware of the benefits.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,656
    JStar said:


    You also have a bullheaded tee at the equalizer which is incorrect. The main needs to take-off from the header with it's own tee, and then travel horizontally before dropping into the equalizer. The way it is now will cause a lot of turbulence and wet steam.

    Something else that is also in the manual. And how much will you save when you do work for a more savvy homeowner that then makes you tear it all apart to do it properly? I would guess your extra profit is now flushed down the toilet? And has already been pointed out the tiny difference in cost between right and wrong in this situation doesn't make any sense to me, especially when it's my money (homeowner).
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,698
    What model Peerless is that?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,660
    I ve seen smaller residental boilers crack but have seen mostly the return side crack where the equilizer ties in mainly because of the way the installer ties it all together .On larger boilers like weil 80 s and such it is way more common espically on welded headers espically ,even on welded headers that had swing joints welded but no unions ,these boiler crack on the block where the supplies ties in It seems when they weld them they save money on the job by not installing unions unknowly not realizing that thge boiler will take the blunt of the stress .I used to work for a oil co that serviced a older rich developement that had many wonderful steam systems you name it it was there websters ,hoffmanns ,paul s ,richardsons just about every thing and loads of cracked weil 78 and 80 seiries with all welded headers and undersized equilzers ,some with swings some with out some in copper dwv the most common thing they all had in common was the installation company did not know how to read and follow instruction if they did they most likly would have not done all the piping in 2 inch .I feel one should follow the instruction espically when it comes to any type of piping weather its steam , hot or chilled water or refregration lines and also properly support all piping also but heck most of there aint enough time and money in the job .The craftmanship and pride i see of late i see makes me ill .Im done w my rant peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,788
    edited June 2015
    Here's what bothers me.

    When a block does crack because you didn't follow the instructions from the manufacturer and the warranty claim is denied. Who's problem is it going to be?


    See the notice Peerless went out of their way to put at the bottom left?




    Are swing joints overrated?
    NOT in my house. If you installed a boiler for me like that you would either be re-piping it properly, or going to court.



    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
    KC_Jonesjonny88
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    What a shame. A homeowner pays a Pro to do a job because he/she thinks they will get a proper installation and all the Pro is concerned about is saving the cost of a couple joints that are essential to the longevity of the boiler. What's worse is the supposed Pro walks away assuming no liability and the Homeowner may have to spend several thousands of dollars again, years before he/she should have because of a premature failure.
    RobGKC_Jones
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,788
    Fred said:

    What a shame. A homeowner pays a Pro to do a job because he/she thinks they will get a proper installation and all the Pro is concerned about is saving the cost of a couple joints that are essential to the longevity of the boiler. What's worse is the supposed Pro walks away assuming no liability and the Homeowner may have to spend several thousands of dollars again, years before he/she should have because of a premature failure.

    I don't know if that's completely true.
    I have a feeling the pro is trying to shave some money off of the bill as well.

    But I still completely disagree with it.
    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
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    I can't see it in the pic.... But swing joints are definitely not overrated....leaks and cracks appear sometime so small they go undetected in steam boilers....I have seen people try to line up the header with the return without a swing....How is it possible to pitch a header and nor stress the boiler ...me I have no clue...once or twice after a near perfect install customer and neighbor told me I had crooked pipes...and may need to purchase a level.... You guys might know my answer....lol
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I'm a firm believer that if you want to experiment, you do it in your own house. Hell, look at Hot Rod, he's a mad scientist. But he does his stuff on his own systems. I would never experiment a theory at a customers house. Either do it by the book or go above and beyond the book. JMHO
    j a_2KC_JonesHatterasguyChrisJ
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Honesty I am sure his intentions were good....But a pic. Tells it all...Reading Thinking and Theory are a weeee bit lacking....will it work, well it will heat the water what happens next is up for grabs
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    ChrisJ said:

    Fred said:

    What a shame. A homeowner pays a Pro to do a job because he/she thinks they will get a proper installation and all the Pro is concerned about is saving the cost of a couple joints that are essential to the longevity of the boiler. What's worse is the supposed Pro walks away assuming no liability and the Homeowner may have to spend several thousands of dollars again, years before he/she should have because of a premature failure.

    I don't know if that's completely true.
    I have a feeling the pro is trying to shave some money off of the bill as well.

    But I still completely disagree with it.
    That's a big assumption. He didn't say he was reducing the bill and even if he were, the "cost trimming" should be done where it has less potential impact. If he cuts the cost of the installation by an amount equal to the price of a couple swing joints and cuts the potential life of the boiler, he hasn't done the homeowner or his reputation any favors. The next installer will likely point out the poor installation and the likely reason the boiler failed AND, if it fails before the normal warranty expires, the manufacturer won't honor the warranty. That's pretty costly IMHO.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,656
    RobG said:

    I'm a firm believer that if you want to experiment, you do it in your own house. Hell, look at Hot Rod, he's a mad scientist. But he does his stuff on his own systems. I would never experiment a theory at a customers house. Either do it by the book or go above and beyond the book. JMHO

    I think this is absolutely the best description on this thread.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Yup agree...wrong place to post a pic of a beautiful boiler Ruined
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Hopefully he's just joshing us....no one in their right mind would do such a thing....Correct?
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    not correct j a .And I hate to admit it but when I worked with my former company my partner who I still think is the best mechanic I have ever seen NYC master plr at 26.Anyhow there came a point where he stopped learning.When he figured the bullheaded tee he thought it was genius.Me to but what did I know until I came here.I agree with a previous poster,experiment on your own house not a customer.I also hate to see copper on a equaliser just my 2 cents as I know a lot do it but just cant bring myself to that point.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,788
    @jonny88
    I've seen some comment on copper for equalizers. I did it, and the only reason I wouldn't again was because of the cost of materials. Other than that, I see absolutely no downside to it if you're doing a copper return.

    And copper vs steel returns is something everyone could argue about forever. Both have positives and negatives. If my equalizer solder joint pops apart, which I doubt it ever will I'll just braze it with 15% silphos.
    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,788
    j a said:

    Hopefully he's just joshing us....no one in their right mind would do such a thing....Correct?

    He has the pictures proudly posted on his company FB page. I don't think he's joshing. :(
    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
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    BTW @ChrisJ who reads the manual?????????
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,788
    edited June 2015
    jonny88 said:

    BTW @ChrisJ who reads the manual?????????




    Almost no one.


    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
    jonny88vaporvac
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    True about reading but if ur a true installer...it should not be a mystery each time u install a boiler..Just me.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I've always used the rule that copper is fine, as long as it is BELOW the water line. Never had a problem.
    jonny88
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Below being the operative word
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    j a its not a mystery but nowadays there is such a selection of boilers not just steam,but mod/cons etc I think its important to read if not sure thats all.I agree if you are putting in the same boiler on a constant basis there is no mystery.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    edited June 2015
    case in point Super Dans boiler goes against all specs which I am sure he is aware of but I bet your less informed homeowner would look at this and think its a thing of beauty.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,656
    jonny88 said:

    case in point Super Dans boiler goes against all specs which I am sure he is aware of but I bet you a less informed homeowner would look at this and think its a thing of beauty.

    Probably why he felt comfortable posting those pics on his Facebook page....most won't know any different.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,788
    The equalizer in most cases is a straight run, no elbows to twist it and only one joint above the water. Like I said, I doubt mine will have any issues with the solder and if it does I'll braze it, problem gone.

    ;)

    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,656

    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ChrisJ
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Yes I was referring to steam...I do encourage readung... But if ur a installer by trade,meaning being in business Reading is fine but scratching you head and calling tech for basic questions...I would sugesst one find another trade....This does not mean the new young installers I to was once there...You guys know what I am saying
    jonny88
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,192
    So now you have posted on the internet that you did not follow the I&O manual and shaved a few bucks off the material cost. You have also admitted to knowing it says to pipe it differently than what you did. I would suggest that Super Dan delete this post and how the owner of the boilers he has installed this way never find a way to recover this thread. I also hope they do not contact one of us other installers on the board with boiler issues as we will be telling them it is simply wrong and needs to be piped properly to achieve dry steam without undue stress on their boiler. They will no doubt simply fall for the old mantra " they just don't make boilers like they used to" when it fails prematurely and start thinking they should have gone with forced air way back when if they are changing boilers every 6 years. Do it right or leave it to those who will.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    ChrisJjonny88KC_JonesZman
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,788
    j a said:

    Yes I was referring to steam...I do encourage readung... But if ur a installer by trade,meaning being in business Reading is fine but scratching you head and calling tech for basic questions...I would sugesst one find another trade....This does not mean the new young installers I to was once there...You guys know what I am saying

    From what I've observed, all steam boilers are piped basically the same, except for those side feed ones. Can't remember the brand? But even those, aside from the tee's on the side, are the same basic idea.

    I think any installer should at least glance at the manual even if he knows what he's doing to get an idea of what the boiler wants. Then of course, upside the header and risers.

    My 125,000 btu input EG-40 is piped the way WM says to pipe a 360,000 btu input EGH-95. Wasteful? I don't know, but I sure can run low pressure with an extra high water line and even with a heavy dose of water treatment.

    The piping pays off in my book.
    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
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,192
    I read every manual for every installation. Why not read it before you start? If you did not bid it high enough to have time to read the manual you are not doing anyone a favor. The day I think I know it all is the day I will hang up my wrenches for good, because obviously dementia has set in.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    ChrisJRobGZman
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Yes some boilers are different, theory is never different.... You know as well as anyone, the job goes far beyond the simple boiler piping... Anyone can buy a kit or look at a picture...and screw pipe.......that has some form.of mechanical brain......the rest may be a little bit more of a challenge for the average Joe..But not impossible
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,698
    ChrisJ said:

    Are swing joints overrated?
    NOT in my house. If you installed a boiler for me like that you would either be re-piping it properly, or going to court.

    And if I had an employee who did it that way, I'd fire him.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ChrisJ
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    edited June 2015
    This thread should be a warning that if you come here with anything less than greatness, you will be torn apart. Standards are very high. Expect to be judged with the harshest of criticisms. And don't believe for a minute that anyone here will feel guilty about that. Even people who install boilers exactly by the book are only doing the least amount required of them.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    So Super Dan you posted and got a lot of responses.So what do you think? You got feedback from some of the best steam experts I think its your call now to defend yourself as you put yourself out there.