Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Still need Help

Loyd
Loyd Member Posts: 29
Wondering if this piping looks good
Boiler losing water/spitting vents
There's no crying in baseball, but there sure is with steam heat.
«1

Comments

  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    The header looks like it's pitched the wrong way. Can you put a level on it to see if it's collecting water near that cap on one end?
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    How's the waterline in the sightglass look? Is it pretty stable when it's steaming? Was boiler skimmed after the new header piping was installed? How's the pH of the water?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    edited July 2015
    I have been in contact with Loyd and suggested that she start a new thread with just pictures of the near boiler piping. She had a previous thread with pictures but not the entire set up of NBP.
    I thought a new thread just concerning the NBP would be a good start to correct what is probably a wet steam problem. It has been fairly quiet on the wall for steam systems so I have studied the pictures from the previous posting. Now these additional pictures are here for all to see.

    This is a IN10-I boiler, install in the fall of 2014. Book calls for 2 x 2" risers with 3" header, 3" feed to steam main, 2" drop to Hartford tee/wye and 1 1/2" to wet return.
    So we have 2 x 2" risers with swing 90's into 4" header. Then this header "drops" with 90's into lower header of same size.
    { is this dropping of the first half of the header an accepted practice in the trade??}

    Then the lower header has a 3" vertical riser to steam main. The lower header then has an equalizer (2")dropped to the Hartford tee via a reducing 90 ell.
    {this seems good, yes?}

    Now then the vertical steam main swing 90 ells into the bull of a Tee, (looks to be a **** type). If you use the last picture looking at the front of the boiler, then that tee's left run is a steam main. The right run goes to feed what looks to be a cross fitting. Coming towards you, out of the cross fitting, on the right foil wrapped line is another steam main. Then out of the opposite side of the cross with swing 90's in the third steam main for the house running diagonally across the basement.
    And out of the end run of the cross is a 90 ell pointing down with the 1" copper equalizer/drip going down into the wet return.......now does the description given for the contents of this last paragraph not seem to be correct??

    For the sake of argument let us assume that all three of these headers slope to drain towards both equalizers/drips.

    From what has been the standard it seems there should be 3 separate steam main risers from the header before the equalizer drop 90 ell.

    I am on a road trip to that area , St Paul MN, and have but a few hours to look at this system. I & Loyd would be thankful for any input and advice from pros and steamer homeowers to be able to advise the HO on corrections. Posting HO indicated that they have plumber willing to turn the wrenches but he needs direction.

    Posting HO have read many of Dan's steam books, but are not hands on people (yet).
    There are other issues with air vents, locations of air vents, end of main dry returns etc. but I believe they should begin at the NBP.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,827
    I've certainly seen worse. As long as all those pipes are pitched properly so water does not collect in them, I'd say the problem is elsewhere.

    Check the burner's input rate- if it's too high, this can cause excessive carry-over.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    So if we assume that all three steam mains slope down away from the boiler header it might work OK?
    Should each steam main then have it's own end of steam main drip leg down into the wet return, which runs around the perimeter of the basement near floor level, and therefore also its own air venting system for each steam main. Somehow I'm thinking that each steam main needs to live in its own pressure world and should be isolated from any other main, (by means of each dropping down into the wet return to isolate one from the other 2 mains). Two of the mains are now tied together above the wet return and share one air vent. The third main has an air vent located about in the middle of the main run.
    As I measure the pipe/size mains I can determine how much venting is needed per main.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    It does look like the Header(with the end cap) is pitched in the wrong direction. I do think each of those mains should tie individually into the Header. Is this a counterflow system? Even the mains look pitched back towards the Header and that drip leg off of one of the mains at the boiler. How do the other mains return? Maybe I'm confused by the pictures???
    How much pressure are they running the system at? Is the Pressuretrol working? Is the pigtail clogged?
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    how old is the boiler?
    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
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    ok I see it is 12 years old. Has the boiler been flooded yet? That is a common age for leaks if the system has other issues in piping.
    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
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542

    ok I see it is 12 years old. Has the boiler been flooded yet? That is a common age for leaks if the system has other issues in piping.

    I'm thinking the water loss is the result of the spitting vents (maybe from too much pressure) but you are right to flood the boiler. Hate to see them do a lot of pipe work if the boiler block is leaking.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    edited July 2015
    I did make it to the site while on a family gathering, it's about a 1072 mile round trip and was a shame to be able to poke around for only 4 hours.....but anyway.

    The "lower" header is sloped quite a bit the wrong way away from the large equalizer. (good eyes for JStar & Fred).

    The boiler risers are 2", the horizontal header is all 4", the equalizer and Hartford loop to boiler inlet/return is all 2".
    The single steam main riser is 3" into the bullhead tee above that feeds one 2" main and then feeds the cross fitting that does the other 2" main and the strange 1 1/2" diagonal across the basement "helper" main .

    It is a Parallel Flow/Up-Feed 1 pipe system that does 3 floors. One of the mains has wrong slope at header but then corrects itself after first take off.

    Too hot to fire boiler, no central AC to cool down--315,000 MBTUH input, IN10-I built in 07/2014. Installed in fall of 2014. This is new, run for one winter.

    There has been a lot of attempts to fix things since the dead men installed the coal boiler a long time ago. 1890--1900??

    There is a 1 1/2" diagonal about 40' long added from header to far corner of basement and tied in to steam main, this might have been an attempt to correct that overloaded 2" steam main. Only the pictures (hopefully attached) can begin to explain this.

    The picture on the right is the cross fitting connection of the steam main/upper header. The right is the 2" steam main the left is the 1 1/2" "helper" main that angles across basement, the 1" copper equalizer/drip drops down and connects to old iron pipe that comes off the top of the wet return at floor. The old iron pipe appears to have been maybe part of original installation, so this drip pipe was there for long time thru 2 to 3 boiler change outs.

    The picture on the left shows the other end of the 1 1/2" helper main. It has no take offs, just point A to B. Note that has a welded crossover pipe in addition to the threaded connection.
    The 1 1/2" is on the bottom and the steam main is on the top as the 2" main 45 ells up, so this is actually a run out for 2 risers.
    There is a Hoffman 75 hiding there and the vertical riser (not shown)is 1 1/4" copper going up to the 2nd floor.

    Any ideas on what they were trying to accomplish?? That is not a dead man weld original to first install.




  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Do you think someone thought that crossover pipe would act like a drip leg/wet return? Sounds like a repipe of the header and that portion of the Main, to correct the pitch and some repiping to correct wet returns, ideally replace the copper risers with iron pipe and add proper venting is in order.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Fred said:

    Do you think someone thought that crossover pipe would act like a drip leg/wet return? Sounds like a repipe of the header and that portion of the Main, to correct the pitch and some repiping to correct wet returns, ideally replace the copper risers with iron pipe and add proper venting is in order.


    Bingo! that's my thought.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    edited July 2015
    In the "crossover" picture the drop pipe goes into the wet return which I think was meant to be a drip for the 2nd floor riser. The copper 1 1/4" 2nd floor riser will have to remain as it is buried behind new custom kitchen cabinets.

    To the right of the crossover is another riser off the top of main/runout pipe (old steel) to 2nd floor and then to the right of that is a end of main drip for the 2" steam main, see picture.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    End of 2" main drip
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    I see the end of Main drip but it looks like that 2" main pitches both ways at that riser. I still think the intent was to drip that 2" main (on the opposite end) into the lower pipe so it could drip into the return that has the Hoffman vent mounted on it.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    Are you referring to the steel riser above the laundry shelving?
    If so that is a pretty short distance to get a slope down in either direction. Maybe they cut crocked threads....possible?

    I was thinking that the left copper riser would drip into the far left drop to the wet return. and the steel riser would have to counterflow to the steam main drip. Hard to tell with the foil covering the insulation.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    I guess I'm thinking both risers are suppose to drip to the far left drop to the wet return and the drop on the right is a drip for the main before it turns up.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    The left riser (copper) go to a 2nd floor bd rm only. The right riser (steel) goes to a 3rd floor bath.

    The left drop into the wet return is the beginning of the wet return that travels around the bsmt to boiler.

    One point is that the return has quite a slope on it, at this starting point the horizontal portion is just about at the water line and eventually pitches down to where it lays on the floor at the boiler. The boiler lowest allowable water level is right at the bottom of the sight glass.

    Am I thinking correctly that they need more vertical height in the wet return at that point to establish more weight in the water column??? (little head created by the horizontal sloping pipe).

    I am suggesting that they replace the entire wet return and lay it on the floor all the way around the basement. There are no wrench marks as evidence that the pipe was ever opened for cleaning. (pipe could be older than me :| )

    Also suggesting that they add a new 2" steam main to the rebuilt header. There are 3 rads stacked on 3 floors with 2 risers within 10 feet of the boiler. There is no drip to wet return for this branch and could be why the first 10' of this main is counterflow back to the header cross that has the 1" copper drip connected to the return. This would eliminate the 1 1/2" helper header across the basement.
    I believe the riser to the 2nd & 3rd floors at that point could be dripped into a new added wet return.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited July 2015
    As long as that wet return is below the water line, it should not need to be lowered all the way to the floor. more vertical height in the wet return should not be needed either as any water in that return will naturally find a level equal to the height of the water level in the boiler. It's really the weight of the water in the boiler block that will equalize the water level in the wet returns. It still may be a good idea to replace (or open and wash out those wet returns if they are that old). I do think the new 2" main will help. Reccommend they double check the boiler operating pressure and wash out that pigtail/all elbows (under the Pressuretrol) and opening into that MM #67 LWCO on a regular basis as well. I had a set up like that on my Burnham Boiler and it would clog up at least twice a heating season and the pressure would get high enough that the system would spit water from the radiator vents. In re-looking at the pictures, it definately looks to me like the Pressuretrol is well below the Normal water level of the boiler. If that's the case, that pressuretrol isn't able to do it's job and probably is water logged and not working at all. Fixing that may well resolve many of their problems, even though the piping isn't ideal.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    edited July 2015
    Fred, thanks for following on this quest. On the wet returns as I have looked at the IBR guide (2000 printing), page 10-27, it shows condensate stacking up in the wet return risers. Really neat colorful pictures to study. I'm pretty sure Dan & company had a hand in this book edition. I also have the green cover one from 1988 and it is OK but dry as dirt.

    Anyway, would there be any problem laying the wet return down on the floor with no slope to boiler?? Better safe now, also more tees are need for potential riser drips. The few wet returns I have dealt with were slugged nearly shut and had pin holes in them after only 30 years.

    I can see that the p-troll pigtail is just about in the mud. Loyd said that no pressure ever showed on the gauge, even when the steam "experts" cranked the pressure up to 4 plus PSI. So maybe they both are plugged.
    Looking at the I & O manual if you have the probe LWCO then the P-troll goes much higher on the install. Apparently the pigtail comes with the #67 and maybe it was "free " to manf.
    So moving the P-troll up to the gauge port would be a good idea?
    Need a tee and a few 1/4" fittings.

    Fred, did you have a skim or "surface blow-off" port tapping on your Burnham boiler and where is it located?

    Thanks
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    @JUGHNE There isn't really an issue with the wet returns laying on the floor. They don't need any pitch. They must be below the water line anyway so they are going to be filled with water all the time anyway. Pressuretrol mounted on top of that MM #67 LWCO is just a bad idea all the way around. That 1/4 opening in the top of the LWCO just constantly plugs up with gunk. I moved mine off of the LWCO and mounted it on a Tee off of the upper boiler block with the Pressure gauge. If that is a 0-30 PSI Pressure gauge, it simply won't show any pressure even when there is pressure there. That gauge is required by most municipal codes but it would be in the HO's best interest to add a 0 -3PSI gauge. All three things, the Pressuretrol and the 2 gauges can be tee'd off of the same boiler port. I doubt that the Pigtail came with the #67. They can be ordered with a quick connect kit but that kit does not include a pigtail. In any case, even if you choose to use the port on the LWCO, an upright pigtail should be used to get the Pressuretrol above the normal water level. It's not going to work properly as it is.

    As far as a skim port is concerned, my Burnham does not have an acceptable upper opening designated for skimming either. I'm not sure why Burnham doesn't add an additional port designated for skimming. What I have done (and I think what Burnham actually recommends) is taken the side (back) mounted Pressure Relief valve off, taken the elbow that the pressure relief valve is mounted on and replaced the elbow with a short nipple and a 3/4" tee. Remounted the pressure relief valve on the top opening of the Tee, and used the end opening as a skim port. It works great. When I am done skimming, I put a 3/4" plug in the end of the Tee and it is ready to go the next time I need to skim.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    Thanks Fred,
    That was my thinking on the wet returns.

    As far as the P-control, I would recommend they move it up to the gauge location. The I&O manual shows that to be a 1/2" with 1/4 bushing for 0-30 psi gauge (w/snubber ).

    I'm headed back to the area for the Dan Holohan presentation just north of the Twin Cities. It might be possible to visit the site to check the pigtail for blockage. This has run for only season but from what you said it could be partially plugged. (or plugged enough to create the check valve effect).

    This is an IN10-I, the I&O manual for section tappings shows on the right side a "L" tapping labeled "Factory Plugged Surface Blow-Off", that sounded like a skim port. So I took a chance and knocked out the jacket plug that was there; there is a 1" or 1 1/4" plug there. It is just a little lower than the pop-off valve and near the front. Book shows it lined up with supply ports.

    Have you looked for a knock out on your boiler in that location?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    That does sound like a skim port. I have looked all over for another port. Definately no tappings on the right or left sides of the boiler. All the front ones are in use and I haven't found any additional ones on the rear. Even if I found one, I'm sure I'd never get the plug out at this point and my set up works well so I'm good with it. Let me know how you make out.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    This boiler jacket has the tin knockouts similar to electrical box KOs.

    Picture is nameplate of boiler.

    HO just sent me the connected EDR that was used to size this replacement last fall.
    Total of 11 column-type CI radiators equals 413 EDR.

    Do we have quite a bit more boiler than we need?
    Evidence of at least 5 rads removed that will never return.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Wow, that boiler is rated at 812 EDR. It is twice what he should have. Even if he could but the 5 rads back in he'd still be about 50% over-sized. He should have had an IN5 or IN6 max installed.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Wait so they calculated the connected EDR then ignored those numbers and put in that monster? Who actually picked the final boiler size? Was it the installer or the homeowner? I would have to guess this is also contributing to the problem. Just speculating here, but with that pressurtrol mounting and that oversized, who knows what pressure it's running at? If it's running high without being aware of it that could certainly be contributing to the issues.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    edited July 2015
    Home owner just sent these EDR numbers, the same person also did the original count so I assume they used the same methodology. Boiler was chosen by a long distance advisor.

    Not me. I am now another (different) long distance advisor.

    If the opportunity presents itself in August, I could double check numbers.

    So does the 812 EDR nameplate already include the 1.33 pick-up factor? AHRI rating of 195 MBH or 812 Sq Ft.
    812 X 240 = 194,880.....so I believe it does.

    315,000 input/260,000 gross output (315,000 X 82%=258,300)
    So after all pipes are hot and the pick-up factor is no longer needed, we have about 260,000 feeding 99,120 load (413 x 240)??

    Any recommendations, anyone? (What's a boy to do?? :/ )

    Thanks
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    Yes it does include the pick up factor. I would seriously consider adding low fire to that set up once they get the other issues taken care of. Who ever the other adviser was seriously didn't know how to size the boiler properly. Even with low fire added they would be over sized, but it would be closer. They would also want to upgrade main venting massively. Get as much venting on those mains as they can.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    I was just beginning to do a search on the wall for 2 staging NG valves.

    But to start with recommendations:

    Redo the header to drop header with tall as possible risers. Most of the 4" fittings/nipples are there already, some only installed a year ago.

    Add a 3rd main not just for capacity but an opportunity to add 2nd & 3rd floor riser drips. (Also correct counterflow portion of that main.

    Provide 3 individual main risers from the header, one for each main. This would remove the double bullhead you can see in the top of the NBP.

    Add drips on 2nd/3rd floor risers where feasible/possible.

    Replace the wet return of unknown age and provide more risers for riser and end of steam main drips. Include clean out ports for flushing.

    Relocate pigtail for control and add maybe 0-3 PSI gauge in addition to the good ol 0-30.

    Add skim port for HO use.

    Add plenty of end of main venting, 1 Gorton 2 per 20' of 2" main.

    Then investigate the 2 stage NG valve. Has anyone done this on a Burnham IN10-I??

    There must be something else I forgot or not thinking of??
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    @JUGHNE The 812 EDR on the name plate does not include the ADDITIONAL 33% pick-up factor. That boiler is way too big. I'm not 100% sure but I think the IN10 comes with a 2 stage gas valve or it is an option that Burnham offers. Even with that low fire, it will still be way too big. Talk about a carbon footprint!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    I knew that about the 812 number but just wanted to check my mental logic. I was hoping for a way to massage the numbers so that the homeowner won't feel so bad; but there we are.

    Look at the I&O this is just a single stage gas valve. Apparently the IN12 has dual gas valves that are energized at the same time.

    Steamhead did say to make sure it was not overfired. There is probably the possibility to tone the burner down a little by gas valve regulator, but not as much as one would like.

    Is there a good contact at Burnham that would understand what I'm talking about? Often after walking thru any voice menu and waiting a while you get the deer in the headlights answer if you are thinking outside the box. The safest answer for them is "no".
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    Robertshaw makes a 700-064 two-stage GCV rated up to 700K, and a 700-053 up to 300K.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    Thanks, JStar.......do you think that 700-0530 rated at 300 would handle the 315K of this boiler? Or is that just pushing the limits and asking for trouble?

    We all hope you stay on the wall.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    I wouldn't take the chance. It probably would work, but I'm not in the habit of taking risks with gas.

    P.S. I'm currently in talks with a larger contractor about merging companies, so I may not be leaving the field at all; just moving on up to a less back-breaking position.
    RobG
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    If you talk to Burnham, you might want to ask them if they would support taking 4 sections out of the block and downsizing the burner/gas valve to an IN6. That probably will also entail new panels and bonnet/flue. Essentially replacing about everyting except the 6 sections of the block. It may make sense to price that option and compare it to the cost of an assembled IN6. Maybe someone out there needs a 1 year old IN10. It's a little smaller than my Burnham which is 866 EDR and is 32 years old but even mine is about 20% over-sized.
    No easy or cheap way out of this one. What were they thinking?

    @JStar say it ain't so!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    It wasn't the Ben Franklin note I was concerned about, rather that the lower firing rate would too high for this 315 load. But to clarify my thinking this just regulates pressure to the orifices which control the actual flow depend upon the applied pressure. Yes?

    It would be really good if you stayed in the field directing the install/replacement. I understand the back busting labor as I look at the specs of the beast that this posting is about and see the shipping weight at 815 pounds, then glancing at assembly that you put all the sections together and lift it on top of the base and don't disturb the seal as you do it!!

    This installation is evidence that direction is needed in the field.
    This is the Twin Cities and HO has had many "steam experts" on site. Most want to just jack up the pressure to 4-5 PSI. HO is fortunate that they have a local plumber willing to turn the wrenches but needs guidance. I am 500 miles away and have limited experience and in a 4 hour visit could see many issues that need addressed.

    While searching on the wall for "drop headers" (100's of entries) I noticed many more steam people here 10 years ago, so where did they go?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,827
    JUGHNE said:

    While searching on the wall for "drop headers" (100's of entries) I noticed many more steam people here 10 years ago, so where did they go?

    ISTR a bunch of them retired.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    1. Eliminate cross connections above the waterline.
    2. Install the proper size of boiler.
    3. Increase venting.
    4. Keep pressure low.
    5. Find home for an In10.
    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
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    Charlie, 1,3 & 4 are doable but 2 & 5 might be a problem.

    Two staging burner might be the workable compromise.

    I have this situation in a school house with 1,080,000 boiler and about 500,000 load. A lot of short cycles. (it is only the school, not the gym ;) ). There is a 5 year plan to change things, but it has been this way for 20 years.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    As long as you shut off the boiler at low pressure the boiler will last for a very long time. Old not approved method was to start removing orifices at the ends and replace them with 1/8" pipe plugs. Of course now we have combustion analysis and we care about the CO numbers and excess air flow.
    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