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New Owner, 8 year young boiler

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Hello everybody and I apologize for a lengthy post.
So this is going to be my second winter in the house with steam heating system. I have a 1-pipe steam system with Weil Mclain EG-40 gas fired boiler. The boiler is 8 years old. The boiler is working just fine and all the radiators heat up nicely, quietly, and in timely manner. (knock on wood). I did not know much about steam when I moved in but thanks to you guys I learned quite a bit and that's why I recently had a plumber come in order to redo the wet return piping because it was piped rather weird to say the least. It featured two Hartford loops and some other unnecessary rotted out piping. The plumber explained to me that whoever installed the boiler for the previous owner did not touch any of the old piping from the previous boiler and basically just added new piping for the new boiler, hence I had two Hartford loops and other piping from previous boiler that rotted out because there was no way to clean them because there was no plug to open in order to properly clean the returns. Unfortunately I do not have the pics of old return lines.
The plumber also mentioned that the riser is piped incorrectly, he said he hasn't seen such a setup before. He suggested to redo it if I want to. So, here comes the question; Do I really need to redo the riser if my system works just fine and heats up all 9 radiators quietly and quickly? (knock on wood again)
The pics of the boiler and piping are below:
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Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    That header is definitely piped wrong BUT if it works well it's your choice to correct it.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
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    wouldn't it suck to redo it and have issue's start...o.O old saying, If it aint broke, you cant fix it...but you sure can screw it up...
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    I would say the thing that would bother me is the undersized riser, it isn't even to minimum spec which as we all know is the absolute minimum. How much system efficiency you are losing because of this is hard to say. That would be the only reason to re-pipe it would be if you were burning enough excess fuel that it justified the cost of re-piping. I am guessing the wet steam coming out of the boiler is being offset by the double equalizers of sorts.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    edited November 2015
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    Is this a counterflow system? The reducing tee on the header will trap some water in the header while boiler is steaming.
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,177
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    Don't know how it's working without any issues but if it works??
    That boiler is supposed to have a 2-1/2 riser and a 2-1/2 header 24" above the middle of the gauge glass minimum. Last question is, is the boiler sized right for the radiators, has an EDR been done, not that it would matter at this point since it's already installed.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    I did read the manual and saw that the minimum riser size is 2-1/2. I mentioned this to the plumber but he said it is not a big deal. I may need to change the plumber since he also suggested to repipe the riser in copper...... I am not sure if they did the EDR. The previous owner was pretty much out of this whole thing. She did not really know much about steam...
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    Abracadabra- Nope, this is regular one pipe with a Hartford loop.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Your plumber is correct. It isn't piped right. When you say it is quiet, is it virtually slient? When you say it heats quickly, exactly how long does it take to heat all nine rads? Quiet and quick are relative terms. If you are happy with the way it currently runs, run it that way until an issue arises that requires you to do something with the piping. When that happens, look at the drawings in the owners manual and note how it should be installed and have it piped correctly.
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    It is quiet, especially when I changed the radiator vents. I'd say it takes 20-25 min to heat all the rads.
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    One more question, the water in a sight glass fluctuates by about 0.5 of an inch. Is it normal or a skimming should be done?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    20-25 minutes? When it's what temperature outside? Is that time to get steam to them or for them to heat the room?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Let it be until you have other issues that need correcting. Its been that way for 8 years and seems to be heating OK. Sometimes things work well when they shouldn't and sometimes they don't work when they should. Count your blessings and keep a little cash back for sometime down the road.
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • RomanGK_26986764589
    RomanGK_26986764589 Member Posts: 229
    edited November 2015
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    20-25 min for the rads to get hot. Is it too slow?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    That definitely seems excessive. Once I start making steam (same exact boiler as yours) I can get steam to all rads in less than 5 minutes typically. That is on both floors. I am guessing you might not have enough venting. When it's really cold out like below design temperature I don't even get 20-25 minute total run times. All systems are a bit different granted and can't say with 100% certainty if that is excessive without more data.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    KC Jones - It is a shoulder temp at about 55-60 degrees here in Jersey so I frequently turn off the thermostat because it is warm in the house. So the water in the boiler gets cold. I should time it when the water is hot and boiler is making steam. Also, I put smaller vents in the second floor so they wouldn't heat as fast because the warm air naturally rises from the first floor anyway.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    What size main vents do you have? What are you running on the rads?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    20-25 min for the rads to get hot. Is it too slow?

    From a cold start, cold water that has to boil, piping that has to heat and rads that have to heat, 20 to 25 minutes is not unusual. It should take a lot less time when things are already warm from a previous heat cycle.
    Dave0176
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    I may need to change the plumber since he also suggested to repipe the riser in copper......

    I wouldn't disagree with this, but if they are good with pipe and willing to take direction from you as to how to do it properly you may be able to work with him.

    If 20-25 if is from a dead cold start that would make a bit more sense. Not sure if it takes mine that long (same boiler). I have max preheat time set on the EcoSteam controller at 20 minutes, but it's never taken that long and 5 minutes or less to get steam to all radiators. When I'm warmed up I would say couple minutes to pre heat and 2-3 minutes tops to get steam to all rads.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    The steam arrival time seems very long in comparison to my experience. KC's 5 minutes is more like the average well-vented system should be capable of. So an extra 15 minutes of paying the gas Piper every time heat is needed.
    If the system were well vented, you could leave the thermostat set at a lower temperature all the time, with consequent savings.
    Check your main vents, and enlarge their total capacity, and your fuel consumption will go down.--NBC
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    I have Gorton No 1 air eliminator on the main. rads have made o mist Jacobus vents with different size orifices. #4 vent in the dining room where the stat is. two, #6 and #5vents on the rads in the living room. #5 vents o the second floor except one of the bedrooms where I put #4 vent. #5 vent on the smaller rad in the kitchen and an USAV - 880B vent in the first floor bathroom.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    I can't see your system, but I would bet the farm you aren't even close on main venting. I would guess at a minimum you need triple what you have. The rule of thumb is 1 Gorton #2 for every 20' of 2" main. It takes 3 Gorton #1 vents to equal a single #2 vent. How many mains do you have?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    KC - I really like your install. Just checked your fb installation pictures.
  • RomanGK_26986764589
    RomanGK_26986764589 Member Posts: 229
    edited November 2015
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    KC- What vents do you have on your rads?
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    KC- I have one girdling main that goes around the basement with risers branching off.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    I run Gorton vents, but many people have their preferences. I like the Gorton's because they are silent. I had those USAV things when I moved in, but didn't like the clicking noise. Switched to Hoffman adjustable for a while,but didn't like the sound from them. I finally settled on Gorton. Some people like adjustable some people don't. I don't because I don't want little fingers messing with them, but that really has nothing to do with the vent function or quality. There are many good vents out there, but IMHO those USAV things you will find at big box are the worst. Others will chime in with their preference and reasoning, but as I said this is a personal preference.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    BobCLionA29
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    What does Eco steam exactly do? I heard about it but never researched it.
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    I am slowly replacing all the old vents with Jacobus maid o mists because they're quiet. I guess I am gonna see how it steams this winter and decide whether I need to repipe right away or hold on to it.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    I use the Hoffman 1A radiator vents. They are adjustable. Some do click but most don't. They are a good quality although I think many like the Gortons. The USAV is not a good quality vent. Not very reliable.
    As far as your main venting is concerned, 1 Gorton #1 is not going to be adequate unless your Mains are about 6 to 8 feet long. Mesure the length of the mains and the diameter of the pipe and we can suggest the amount of venting you need to get steam to the radiators much faster.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    The EcoSteam basically acts as a secondary control between the boiler and the thermostat. Essentially the Tstat calls for heat. The EcoSteam will decide how long the boiler should fire to satisfy the thermostat based on building heat loss and boiler firing rate. It shuts the boiler off after that time and allows the heat in the system to "soak in" even if the Tstat is still calling for heat. If the heat doesn't satisfy then after a predetermined time it will allow the boiler to fire again and the cycle continues. The idea here is the cast iron still emits energy after the boiler shuts off and the EcoSteam allows this to happen. Most of the time the Tstat will stop calling for heat during this rest period. It's a pretty neat system, BUT it is only recommended for systems that have already been optimized and have excellent piping etc. I just checked and this year I have had 18 hours of burner on time, 66 heat cycles and 162 minutes of "eco time", that is the time the Tstat was calling for heat, but the EcoSteam had the burner shut down. I maintain a steady 70 in the house. The other thing I like is I can run true 2 CPH since I set the exact time in the EcoSteam. That tends to keep the temperature more even in my house. Oh it has an end of main temp sensor so it doesn't time the heat cycle until steam is actually at the radiators.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    I maintain 70 during the day and 67 at night. But will stop doing so when I install the new stat. I know that setbacks do not bond well with steam.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    You can do setbacks, but the verdict is kind of out about energy savings. I do setback because we like it cooler at night AND waking up to some nice toasty radiators is awesome. I'm not doing it to save energy.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    LionA29
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    Not saving energy either. Just for the comfort of sleeping at night.
    LionA29
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    Is water fluctuation a normal occurrence in a sight glass? It fluctuates about 0.5 of inch.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    That's pretty normal. Surging (dropping to the bottom) or excessive bounce indicates some issue, but 1/2" bounce is fairly normal.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    Thank you. After the return piping was redone, I skimmed the boiler so I was just making sure no additional skimming is needed.
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    KC - I will time how long it takes for steam to get to the rads once the boiler starts steaming. I will post the results.
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    So I timed, it takes 12 min for all rads to heat up.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    So from a hot header to the rads getting steam is 12 minutes? If so that is probably twice the time it should take (roughly). Do you know where your main vents are? If you do, do you know what brand/size they are? If not see if you can find out or take a picture we might be able to tell you. I would guess you are under vented for sure, but I doubt the boiler piping is helping if you have excessive wet steam. Usually you can make some dramatic improvements with proper main venting.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • RomanGK_26986764589
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    Yep, from the hot header to all hot rads in 12 min. I have a long girdling main that goes around the basement with risers branching off. Unfortunately, I have only 1 main went that is Gorton #1 air eliminator. Do you think I could swap it for #2? I don’t think I have any other vents. The rest of the main is tightly insulated with fiberglass.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
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    The rule of thumb is 1 Gorton #2 vent for every 20' of 2" piping. Can't say how much you might need, you need to measure the length and diameter of your mains. 2" pipe has an outside diameter of 2 3/8" for reference. A Gorton #1 is roughly 1/3 of a Gorton #2 vent.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15