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Do headers ever loop or "U?"

We've all seen the basic setup of a header: boiler riser, boiler riser, system riser, system riser, equalizer. Every pic I've seen here has that done in a straight line.

I'm hoping to have my near boiler piping redone soon. My boiler has side tappings (Utica) but an earlier boiler was likely "headerless" with two large three inch mains now located behind and in between the boiler risers. The hartford loop's on the right so that means the boiler risers should connect on the left side of the header. There's a wall on that side, so things can get a little tight. Can you maintain the prescribed order but do it in a U or L shaped configuration?
Steaming along slowly in Wharton, Morris County, NJ.


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Many have done headers in an L shape. That isn't a problem as long as you keep the risers out of the boiler at one end of the Header, followed by the risers to the main, followed by the equalizer at the other end. I can't say I've ever seen a U shaped Header, I'm not sure why that would be necessary even.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,670
    Is mine in what you're referring to as "L" shaped?

    If so then yes, that works fine. A U shape may work too as long as it's pitched continuously towards the equalizer.

    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
  • hvacfreak2
    hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    I was wondering about that also , pretty rad CJ.

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

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  • SteamedInWharton
    SteamedInWharton Member Posts: 62
    @ChrisJ, I'd say that looks like an "L" :smiley:
    Steaming along slowly in Wharton, Morris County, NJ.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    I think it's a matter of preference and field conditions that can dictate header design. I don't think many will argue straight is the most straight forward design. Chris and I both did an L shape and if you look it was mainly a function of existing conditions and matching up with piping. Mine was the same way. I can't think of a reason a U shaped header wouldn't work as long as the pitch is correct. I think in that situation though I would try something else first. I can't quite get my brain around having 2 parallel pipes in the header and not being able to work it out with just a single pipe.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    As folks are saying -- keep the pitches good. However, if you can... just sayin', here... it might be better to go up one pipe size, at least for the U configuration, as there is bound to be some loss and turbulence in the bends.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,832
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
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  • SteamedInWharton
    SteamedInWharton Member Posts: 62
    Outstanding @Steamhead
    Steaming along slowly in Wharton, Morris County, NJ.
  • dennis53
    dennis53 Member Posts: 58
    If you have 2 or more system risers, make sure they do not have a 90 between them. The slight pressure loss and turbulence due to the 90 can upset steam flow to the last risers.