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pressure issue with new Utica PEG112EID

I have a brand new (e.g.: installed new on 1/20/2016) Utica PEG112EID steam boiler which replaced an 8 year old Burnham IN4 boiler that developed a crack and which I had installed new in 2007.

The new boiler is experiencing problems that my last maintenance company could never resolve for the Burnham: it's running over-pressure. The Burnham, before it died, never operated at less than 5psi once it warmed up and for the first two years typically operated at 10-20psi (I'm not joking). The new boiler was installed professionally. I had several bids to replace the Burnham and everyone commented that it was installed incorrectly (copper from the header to the original cast iron; only one line coming off the header; no way to skim the boiler and it never was because I only learned last week that it should have been done and all the annual maintenance was done when I was present).

The new Utica boiler is already starting to show similar problem with excessive pressure. Everyone has told me that it should never be more than 2 psi, and I should expect about .5 psi or less. What I see is that when the boiler starts from a cold state, the pressure gauge will not move from zero for about 15 minutes. The boiler will shut down automatically due to low water test cycle (it's not low, the computer does it as a precaution). It will do this several times. Eventually, when the boiler, pipes, etc. are really hot then the boiler will start to slowly build pressure up to 3psi, then the PressurTrol kills it. The boiler cools in about 1-2 minutes and the cycle happens again, only it takes less time to reach 3psi. I find that after the boiler has done this 5-6 times that the entire heat/run/pressure shutoff cycle will take about 8 minutes.

I had the boiler professionally installed and the service company has already come out twice to review the problem. It seems like the issue only happens after the boiler has been running for 45-60 minute, which of course is after the service guys have seen it run at zero PSI for 30 minutes. I have them coming again tomorrow. The boiler has been skimmed twice (the first time they put about 10 gallons in/out; today was closer to 50 gallons).

I'm in a single family house with a single pipe system.

Any idea what could be causing the excess PSI as the system heats up?
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Comments

  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    Any pictures of the near boiler piping? Is there proper venting at the ends of the mains? Did they size the riser(s) out of the boiler and the header properly? Did the installation company match the Boiler Sq. Ft. of steam to your radiator/convector EDR or did they just install a boiler based on the size of the Burnham? If the boiler is significantly over-sized, it will shut down on pressure. However the pressures you saw on the Burnham are extraordinary and obviously means the pressure control device wasn't working.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,557
    Sounds like a typical lack of venting or oversized boiler or both. Does it run for 45-60 mintues to heat the house on a normal run or is that a recovery? I wouldn't expect run times anywhere near that under normal conditions (unless you are at or below outdoor design temp). This to me points to a lack of main venting. As Fred said pics of the boiler and piping and any main venting you have in the basement. Also the length and size of the mains in the basement will help us estimate how much main venting you need.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,867
    If your old boiler did reach 20 PSI then your pressure relief should have opened and turned the room into a sauna. This you would probably have noticed if you were looking at the gauge. Most likely the gauge was out of calibration. If you didn't have the pressure relief valve installed for some reason and it did go to 20 then you are lucky to be rid of that boiler.

    The usual suspects for your new boiler problems are the piping above/around the boiler, then steam main air venting and also pipe insulation. The pressure control on the boiler should be set down to 2 PSI operation max.

    So many homeowners come here too late with problems on a new boiler changeout. They have paid the contractor the full amount and his reply might be "that's the way steam is".

    However in their favor: they condemned the copper piping on the old boiler.......they must have installed a skim port.....and they are skimming your new boiler!....and they are coming back tomorrow!

    Pictures, please.....boiler..piping....air vents....control settings....skim port.
    KC_Jones
  • todd_ecrtodd_ecr Member Posts: 91
    As others have said, post some pics. I see these boilers piped wrong every day. Here is one I got today...
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,867
    Todd that one would have been so easy to pipe correctly! Especially with copper!! :)
    todd_ecr
  • todd_ecrtodd_ecr Member Posts: 91
    That pic illustrates why copper is no good with steam systems. The white crust coming from those joints is precisely why copper shouldn't be used.
    JUGHNE
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    Wow. You guys respond fast! Thanks. I'll try to answer all the questions.

    Any pictures of the near boiler piping? attached

    Is there proper venting at the ends of the mains? Both mains have vents which are in the original position/never changed when the burnham was installed in 2007 or the Utica yesterday. The vents on the mains were last replaced circa 2010. My system is a single zone and there are no special controls on any radiators to close them based on local room temperature.

    Did they size the riser(s) out of the boiler and the header properly? The installer did a calculation based on the radiators. I'm the homeowner/not a pro. The Burnham was rated for 105000 in/90000 out BTU while the Utica is slightly more at 112000 in/93000 out BTU. All three of the bidders on the project said the Burnham was the "proper" size.

    Did the installation company match the Boiler Sq. Ft. of steam to your radiator/convector EDR or did they just install a boiler based on the size of the Burnham? see above

    If the boiler is significantly over-sized, it will shut down on pressure. However the pressures you saw on the Burnham are extraordinary and obviously means the pressure control device wasn't working. The PressureTrol was replaced 2 times in the first two years and I had a brand new one - which had been calibrated to 2psi by a technical - it last week (still ran steady at 5psi), as was the pressure gauge (once), and practically every other replaceable component (damper, computer x2, gas valve a bunch of times, thermocoupler wire, low water cutoff). In the first two years all of the radiator vents (the system has 8 radiators) were replaced 3-4 times because the steam kept causing them to fail and several of the valves that connect the radiators to the pipes had to be repaired/repacked with graphite rope.


    Sounds like a typical lack of venting or oversized boiler or both. Does it run for 45-60 mintues to heat the house on a normal run or is that a recovery? The Utica (new boiler) only runs for 15 minutes at a time then automatically shuts down for a few minutes (I've been told the computer it has does this no matter the pressure/water level/call for heat/etc.). Assuming the call for heat is still active it will restart after about 2 minutes. I have only had the boiler running for about 24 hours so I'm still learning how it operates.

    I wouldn't expect run times anywhere near that under normal conditions (unless you are at or below outdoor design temp). This to me points to a lack of main venting. As Fred said pics of the boiler and piping and any main venting you have in the basement. Also the length and size of the mains in the basement will help us estimate how much main venting you need. The mains are all 2" cast iron pipe, original to the house as far as I know. I've got to find a tape and I'll measure them out.
  • AbracadabraAbracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    "but copper will never rust!" ;)

    That's a quote from a customer. I need to write of book of those.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 14,836
    On the pressure thing -- to get back to that.

    There is no way -- no way at all -- that that behaviour is acceptable or correct. You have only one pressuretrol, I presume? It cannot be functioning properly, if the pressure gauge is even remotely correct. There are two possibilities, though, and both of them are easy to cope with. First, the pressure gauge is out of whack. That happens; the code-required 0 to 30 gauges are almost useless. Therefore, you should install a new, 0 to 3 psi pressure gauge (keep the old one -- code requires it). Mount it (and the new pressuretrol, read on) on a separate pigtail from the old pressuretrol. Second, install a new pressuretrol, wired in series with the old one and all the other safeties as usual -- again on that nice new pigtail. Set the pressuretrol to cut in at a bit over half a pound, with a differential of one.

    Take the old pressuretrol off while you are at it, and make sure that it's pigtail is really clean and clear and that the opening in the bottom of it is unobstructed. Put it back on, and set it to cut in at, say 1.5 psi, again with a differential of 1

    Then observe what the boiler pressures are doing and report back -- we can worry about oversizing and main venting and all that jazz after we get the boiler pressure under control here.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    There are two mains. One is 50' (in the pic of the piping in my last post, the run that goes off to the left) the other is 40'. Measurements are a little rough and represent from the top of the header where the copper and cast iron meet back to the top of the hartford loop. Both reduce from 2" cast iron to 1-1/2" at about the half way point. Both are vented at the end of the returns, close to the boiler (pics included). I did not include the length of runs to any individual radiator.

    I took a pic of one of the vents on a radiator. All of my radiators have this type of vent. I haven't adjusted the vents since they were installed.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    edited January 2016
    Well, it certainly isn't piped right. As you probably know, using copper above the water line is not good, but asside from that, the risers out of the boiler should both tie into one side of the header, then the risers to the mains should follow that and then the equalizer should fall off the end of the header. With the risers from the boiler set up like it is, steam will collide from both ends of the hearder to the middle and create a lot of wet steam.
    What size are the copper risers to the mains (Diameter)?
    Take a picture of the piping from the rear so we can see how the risers to the mains and the equalizer are tied together.
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    More pictures. I believe that the copper is all 2"/same internal size as the cast iron mains and black steel risers. Pic from the rear is blocked by exhaust but I hope these help.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    edited January 2016
    A lot of turns in that header but it looks like the sequence of boiler risers, main risers, equalizer is correct. 2" risers to the mains should work even though copper is not desirable.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,867
    A Swiss made Wika 0-3Psi gauge took 3 days and $54.10 to get to me in NE from NC. Valworx.com. Would be a great investment for your situation. That new control should be adjustable down to at least 2 Psi.

    There is a book that comes with the new boiler that shows the minimum piping requirements. You should check it out. It may look like all the parts are connected somehow in some fashion, if this was water plumbing it would work . But this is steam/gas and water/liquid combined and the order in which the connections are made is the key factor is separating the two and the final result of good operation.
  • todd_ecrtodd_ecr Member Posts: 91
    Looks ok to me other than the copper for the vertical mains. I would have preferred a full port skim tapping also. Others should be able to chime in on your venting requirements. That isn't an area I'm up to speed on.
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    To respond to Jamie's post: The problems with the Burnham are over. No more crazy pressures. The thing went to the scrapyard yesterday (it was, no joke, 50% full of sludge).

    I'm going to restate the problem I'm trying to fix as I muddied things up by mentioning the problems with the heap that's now trashed:

    My brand new, installed yesterday (1/20/2016) directly from the crate Utica runs at zero/too low to measure PSI for 45-60 minutes, in 15 minute intervals, before the pressure starts to raise and it begins to short-cycle. At 3psi the PressurTrol kills it. It'll cool down, then restart the cycle. Once the Utica has gone cold/not runs for a few hours, it won't go back to non-zero readings on the pressure gauge until it's been running for at least an hour, which it only needs to do in order to raise the temperature of the house by > 3 - 4 degrees. I've seen this happen twice now. Yesterday, just 30 minutes after the installer left because the house was about 15 degrees colder than normal due to the time it took to do the install, and again today about 30 minutes after the technician left from flushing the oil out of the boiler and the house temp had dropped by about 10 degrees (my house is old and has almost no insulation, plus today's high was about 20).

    The pigtail on the Utica is brand new as is the PressureTrol currently installed on the Utica.
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    Thanks Jughne. I'll pick one up.

    I've already reviewed the book several times. While the piping that's been done is not exactly to the book as-performed, it's close to one of the diagrams that Utica included. I watched the guys install this thing, and the lead referenced the book quite a times while setting up the piping.

    The hartford loop is mostly from the install that the Utica replaced. The only change was that the height of the loop is lower. I measured it and it's in-spec according to the Utica manual assuming I'm reading the manual correctly.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    When a boiler runs for that long, trying to recover from a 10 degree set back, it will likely reach pressure and cut off on pressure. If the tstat is not satisfied , it will fire again in a few seconds and repeat that until the Tstat is satisfied. Just make sure the Pressuretrol is set to .5 PSI Cut-in and a Differential of 1 PSI for a Cut-out of about 1.5 PSI, no more than 2 PSI.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,557
    You don't have enough venting, you aren't even in the ballpark to be honest. With a properly sized boiler and proper venting you shouldn't build pressure or very little pressure. The installers said the boiler is the right size, the ONLY way to determine that is to measure every radiator in the whole house. Did they do that? It's a small boiler so if I had to guess, you don't have a problem there (that's a guess though). For 50' of main you will want 2 Gorton #2 vents or equivalent and for the other main I would say a Gorton #2 and maybe 1-2 #1 vents. If you add the venting in all likelihood you won't build any pressure (again assuming a properly sized boiler). The pressuretrol is a safety device not a control, the pressure control IMHO should be proper venting and a properly sized boiler. Also until the skimming is completed you may build extra pressure from surging. The skimming can take many many many hours to complete.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,867
    Pictures came while I was thinking & typing, don't know which is slower.
    The piping is a little different than what would usually be done but has the proper sequence of attachments.....riser..riser...into header....steam take off....steam take off... to equalizer. Must be installed to drain to equalizer.

    Sludge, for the most part, gets into the boiler thru the returns from the old existing piping. Back to your book, there might show drain ports to drain sediment out of the return piping near the floor at the boiler. The best drain valve is a full port ball valve with a hose adaptor/cap installed. I did not notice them but maybe they are there.

    As far as a full port skimming opening: some side supply boilers have reduced push nipples across the boiler. With full port skimming only the first section may flow water out the skim opening. With reduced port skim valve the water then has to then rise thru all sections above the lower level of the reduced push nipples and exit the skim valve. IMO
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    @KC & Jughne: There's a ball valve at the bottom on the water supply side (right) of the boiler which is for draining and for removing sludge and is diagonally opposite from the skim valve at the top of the boiler. The boiler was skimmed over the course of 3 hours today - water was brown/black initially but nearly crystal clear when the technician was done and water was removed from both valves at the end of the skim operation to return the boiler to operating water level. The water in the sight level was very dirty before the skim but is currently almost clear.

    @KC: Yes, the radiators were measured by all three of the bidders/estimators. The all measured, length, width, height, and number of sections. The mains, as far as I know, are original to the house (>90 years old). Without completely replacing them (cost prohibitive) how would I add a second vent to the existing line and should it be added to the beginning of the line, near the header?

    @Fred: The installation company is coming out again tomorrow to look at this. I'll ask that they review the PressurTrol setup to ensure it's correct as I don't have any gauges to measure it's accuracy myself.

    It seems I need to replace the vents on the mains and maybe do some more skimming (it's been skimmed twice already; see my earlier message).
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    @BuilderCG Here is the procedure to recalibrate the Pressuretrol if it needs it. They may not know that it can be recalibrated but it is a simple procedure:
    Inside the Pressuretrol, right below the micro switch, there is a pivot arm. At the end of that arm you will see a screw pin that is activated by the diaphragm at the bottom of the Pressuretrol. If you look very carefully at that screw pin, you will see it actually has a tiny (I mean tiny) hex head on it. It takes a .050 hex wrench and you can turn it clockwise (Towards the bottom of the Pressuretrol to decrease the Cut-out pressure or counter clockwise to increase the cut-out pressure (which none of us want to do but who knows, your Pressuretrol may be really screwed up!). Turn the power to the unit off first. You may find the first attempt to turn that screw a little bit stubborn (relatively speaking) because it has some Locktite on it but it does turn. Don't turn too much, a fraction of a turn goes a long way towards getting it adjusted where you want it (maybe 1/32 inch turn to start with). You may need to play with it to get it exactly where you want cut out to be.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,557
    edited January 2016
    Do a search for vent antler on the forum and you should see pictures of what you will need. You basically use some pipe fittings to make an antler for multiple vents from one tapping on the main. Even replacing those vents with a single Gorton #2 would be a MASSIVE improvement. It sounds like your installer isn't too bad and it's is very surprising they haven't said anything about this. For steam this is a basic and obvious thing. I would also add if you get the venting right, the pressuretrol setting can become meaningless. It should be set correctly, but again with proper venting and proper sized boiler you should almost never if ever shut down on pressure.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    @KC: Is the Gorton vent you mention?

    http://www.supplyhouse.com/Gorton-G2-Gorton-No-2-Straight-Air-Eliminator-3524000-p

    @Fred: I currently have 3 pressuretrols : one installed and 2 spares from the old boiler (only 1 was installed at a time). One of the spares is brand new and was calibrated by a technician last week; I saw him working on it with a small hex driver and he had a set of gauges he used to test it with when it was disconnected from the boiler. Do you think it's okay for me to just swap the pressuretrol from the Burnham onto the Utica?

    Thank you all for your help!
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,345
    Until you get an accurate low-pressure gauge installed, you will not know when the pressuretrol is working properly. We all have our doubts about the accuracy of modern pressuretrols, and so most of us have vaporstats which are more accurate at the ounce pressures these systems run best at.
    The main venting certainly does not have the needed capacity, and the effort of the boiler to squeeeeeze the air in the pipes out of those constipated little vents is causing the back-pressure to rise.
    I'm still confused by the order of the layout of the boiler risers, supplies to mains, and equalizer-are they in that order? I wonder why the equalizer was down-sized.
    You will probably still need to skim the boiler a few more times of several hours each, which you can do yourself.
    When all of these kinks have been ironed out, you will have a system which is silent, even, comfortable, and economical.--NBC
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,170
    The only thing I can add is the Gorton #2 is large (4+" diameter and 7+high), I don't know if you have room for one. You said the mains are 40 and 50 ft long so you need the equivalent of 2ea Gorton #2's on each main. It would probably take ten of the vents you have now to make up a Gorton #2 so you can see why you are massively under vented.

    The Gorton #1'a are a lot smaller but it takes 3ea #1's to make up one #2. Another option is the Hoffman 75 (5" high), it takes 2 of those to make a Gorton #2. these vents are not cheap but they can shave time off each boiler run so they really are worth the money when you consider a boiler might run a thousand cycles in a year.

    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
    KC_Jones
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,557
    Yes that's a Gorton #2 main vent.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    BuilderCG said:

    @KC: Is the Gorton vent you mention?

    http://www.supplyhouse.com/Gorton-G2-Gorton-No-2-Straight-Air-Eliminator-3524000-p

    @Fred: I currently have 3 pressuretrols : one installed and 2 spares from the old boiler (only 1 was installed at a time). One of the spares is brand new and was calibrated by a technician last week; I saw him working on it with a small hex driver and he had a set of gauges he used to test it with when it was disconnected from the boiler. Do you think it's okay for me to just swap the pressuretrol from the Burnham onto the Utica?

    Thank you all for your help!

    If the old one worked on the Burnham and was reasonably accurate, it should be fine on the Utica. My only concern is if this is the Pressuretrol that allowed the Burnham to get up to 10 PSI, it isn't working, unless it was one of the other Pressuretrols.
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    Update on this: I added two Gorton #2, one to each of my main line returns, and paired them with the vents I already had. I also replaced all of my radiator vents with Gorton's. Overall, pressure is *a little* better. After 2+ hours of operation, I'm hitting 2.5 PSI max and getting full 15 minute runs before the computer auto-shuts down (the shutdown is normal). But my water, which was crystal clear on Friday after 2 flushes is still getting dirty fast and a few of the new radiator vents are howling and spitting a little now after the radiators get hot.

    I've read here that the howling may be due to inadequate main line venting so I'm going to add more Gorton' #2 to the mains.

    As for the dirty water, the installer believes the mains - which are 90 years old - are gunked up and thinks this is why the water is getting dirty quickly. The say the mains should be flushed. Does this make sense? Is this something I can DYI?

    I found this Wika 0-3 PSI gauge, but it's only spec'ed for operating up to 140F and I don't want to drop $50 on something that I'll kill with heat so I'm still looking for an accurate gauge.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 14,186
    Before you replace any more vents, keep cleaning that boiler. Dirty water can cause wet steam, and wet steam can cause vents to misbehave like that.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,345
    Don't worry about the steam destroying the Wicca gauge, as the pigtail will keep steam away with its water loop.
    A vaporstat may be your only solution for keeping the pressure down.
    Keep skimming the surface oils off the water in the boiler-it may take many hours of dribbling through the skimming port to get it done.--NBC
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,397
    BuilderCG said:

    Overall, pressure is *a little* better. After 2+ hours of operation, I'm hitting 2.5 PSI max and getting full 15 minute runs before the computer auto-shuts down (the shutdown is normal). .

    1. Is the 2 hours for a normal cycle? Or from a deep set-back?
    2. Before you add more vents:
    a. Remove the vents from your antlers
    b. Fire the boiler after it has been idle for at least 45 minutes.
    c. Reach up above the boiler and grab the copper riser before
    it enters the supply main and hold until too hot to do so.
    Begin timing.
    d. Now grab the base of the vent antler that that riser feeds
    (w/ the vents removed) and hold until you see steam or
    too hot to hold. Stop timing. This is your max venting .
    c. Reinstall vents, wait 45 minutes, repeat. If the elapsed time
    with the vents installed is more, you need more vents. If
    roughly equal, you're good.
    e. Repeat with the other main.
    3. You'll want to get minimum 1" insulation on all your piping, and all your fittings. It makes a big difference. Let's say after the above you are able to vent your mains in 2 minutes. After you insulate everything, that time will drop even lower. The faster the air vents, the shorter the cycle, the greater the fuel savings, and the more balanced the system.
    4. Skimming and flushing can take awhile and many attempts. If you do not have a floor drain (and thus have to use buckets) you can use a pump from the skim port to pump the skimmed water to a sink. If you get the water feed rate sinked up with the pump rate you can then let the pump do the work, which makes the task easier.



    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 14,836
    I direct answer to one of your questions -- steam mains do not get "gunked up". Wet returns, yes, sometimes -- and may need to be flushed out from time to time. But steam mains, no.

    You may want to flush out the wet returns -- but only the wet returns.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    Why is the boiler running for 2.5 hours a cycle? A boiler will build pressure after a long run unless it is perfectly matched to the Radiation, which very few are. In any case, I would expect the thermostat to be satisfied in 30 to 40 minutes on a very cold day. I would also expect the Pressuretrol to shut the burner down at about 1.5 PSI. Why is it getting to 2.5 PSI? Also, what is this "computer" you refer to that shuts the boiler down every 15 minutes? Is it a Cyclegard Low Water Cut-off that is checking the water level at 15 minute intervals?
  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I would also suggest you skim the boiler rather than "flushing it out", if by this you mean draining it from the bottom. That just leaves the oils clinging to the sides of the boiler which then gets redeposited when you refill the boiler. You have to skim above the water line and it may take several sessions over a matter of weeks or even months to get all the oils out. Are you skimming above the water line?
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    Hi all,
    Thanks for the great feedback. Even though I've been running steam for 8 years, I feel like I'm just learning now.

    @Fred: That's a good question about the Pressuretrol. I also wonder why the system doesn't shut down at 2PSI, as that's what it's set at. I haven't switched it for either of my older ones, which I know have been calibrated so I'll probably do that tonight.

    The 15 minute runtime is a feature of this new Utica boiler. The boiler has electronic ignition (no standing pilot) and is computer controlled. After ~15 minutes of runtime, it's programmed to shut off the burner, wait 2 minutes, and check the water level. If there's still a call for heat it will then re-start. I've noticed that this is very consistent and is a major operational deviation from my old Burnham, which would run for hours non-stop. Since I'm so new to running this boiler I'm not sure if the computer or the water sensor that's causing this behavior.

    @Jamie: I've been trying to figure out what the contractor is planning to do on Friday. When you refer to wet returns, do you mean the loop? I've been draining that as part of my skimming.

    I have three drain ports: skim at the top [highest point], bottom of the boiler, and bottom of the loop [lowest point]. I drain all three of them - until the water is clear - as part of each skim. I start at the top and work down. Each skim takes ~2 hours. I've now skimmed every day for 4 days and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight.

    The 2.5 hour run time is normal as that's about how long it takes for my house to warm up 5 degrees (even the old boiler took this long; my house is very drafty and most of my house has no insulation). To save on fuel, we have a programmable thermostat that sets the temp to 65 at night and during the day and 70 when we're home, so we have two 5 degree changes per day. The pressure only starts to build (e.g.the needle only moves) after the first hour and short cycling (less than 15 minute continuous burner operation) will begin to occur within 1.5 hours of running.

    @RI_SteamWorks : Thanks for the procedure. I'll check it tonight if I get a chance.

    @nicholas bonham-carter: Thanks for the info on the gauge. I'll go ahead with the purchase. Since my system has been regularly approaching/exceeding 3 PSI on long runs I'm going to go with the 0-5 PSI gauge.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    @BuilderCG , one of the problems you are trying to fix is the result of your own doing. Steam boilers just don't like setbacks of more than 2 or 3 degrees and you are setting yours at 5 degrees, twice a day. That isn't saving you any money. The combined run time (fuel burn) for those two 2.5 hou recoverys is probably longer that the boiler would run if you had no setback at all. It sounds like the Pressuretrol may need to be recalibrated so that it shuts down at 1.5PSI rather than 3 PSI. I can give you instructions for doing that (or your tech person) if I haven't already done so. If the Tech has done it, he did not do it right as they ccan be calibrated to within a couple ounces, if you are willing to spend some time doing it.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    @BuilderCG , I just looked at the Parts list for the Utica PEG 112 EID, There is nothing in the boiler thattshuts the boiler down every 15 minutes to check the water level. As I suspected, they use the CycleGard Low Water Cut-off (Mounted on the side of the boiler) and that particular device does the shut down to check the water level. Many people have that changed to the SafeGard LWCO, performs the same function but does not shut the boiler down to check the water level.
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,397
    BuilderCG said:

    Any idea what could be causing the excess PSI as the system heats up?

    Fred's correct. Those setbacks aren't helping you at all. A set back like that is going to build pressure. The way to save money is to get your mains vented to the max, insulate those pipes, and run with clean water. Ditch the set back and see what happens. You should be fine, though we'd still like photos of your boiler piping.


    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • BuilderCGBuilderCG Member Posts: 15
    @RI_SteamWorks : the boiler headers have pics above.

    My mains are insulated with 1" fiberglass, with the exception of any T's or curves, which are not currently insulated at all.

    I'm skimming the boiler now (water was black when I started, almost clear now at the skim port after taking about 4 gallons out) and will take pics of my main lines later tonight (gotta get the kid to bed).

    @Fred: You're right. There is a CycleGuard mounted on the control side of the boiler.

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