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Greening Steam - Baseline for Residential Home

Major7 Member Posts: 44
So, as they say, we got steam heat. I'm wondering if I could get a bit of advice on the metrics to assess efficiency, and some comments on my current baseline efficiency.

Current state Configuration:
Home (Detroit) built 1930
Single pipe steam
Removed metal covers from all radiators
Bright silver finish on radiators (as purchased)
All radiator vents functional with adjustable vents
Two (2) Main vents non functional (I will fix that)
114K BTU heat provided boiler 9YO Utica boiler
3 floors + heated basement 2,424 sqft on main floors
Stat - Ecobee 3 with 3 remote sensors on 2nd and 3rd floors

Current State Performance, 43F outside temperature:
Temperature variation whole house: 3 degrees - worst case. 2 degrees - typical
Boiler pressure: 0.25 psi on 3PSI gage
Sight glass bounce: 1" typical, 1.5" worst case
Cold boiler stats:
Boiler on to moving air in radiators: 9m
Boiler on to felt heat in main floor radiators: 12m
Boiler on to 1 degree ambient change on main floor: 21m
Boiler on to 1 degree ambient change average whole house: 31m

Future state performance goal:
2 degrees temp variation worst case over whole home
Boiler on to 1 degree change: 20m (arbitrary)


  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,439
    edited October 2016
    There's some things you didn't mention.

    That 9 minutes greatly depends on how cold the boiler is. For example from an ice cold start mine takes about 20 minutes, from a warm start as low as 1 minute to get steam to the radiators. All of mine get steam within a few seconds of each other.

    Gauge glass bounce should be about a 1/2" in each direction or less, no wider than two fingers put together. Your piping and how clean your water is will effect this.

    I believe all of your other times are going to be effected by the starting temperature of the boiler as well. It's best to start timing everything once steam is felt in the header, or entering the beginning of each main. You can't change how long it takes to start producing steam, so best to just get it out of all of your numbers.

    Can you share some pictures of your system? The boiler, it's piping, a few of the radiators etc.
    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
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,663
    post a couple more pictures of the boiler and the piping right above it - from a couple different angles,
    what I saw attached didn't look quite right,
    and your efficiency starts there
    known to beat dead horses