My 80 year old home with a 2 steam pipe system had a new boiler installation around 1990. I assume that the installer wanted to (1) do minimal work and (2) was more adept with copper piping than iron. Regardless, as part of my effort to tune the system, I removed the insulation from the header and found that it is half copper
.Copper Parts in the Header
I assume that the installer did not want to mess with the existing massive 4 inch iron header, and that he couldn't place the boiler right under the header because of some self imposed space constraints. So he piped some 3 inch copper elbows to connect the boiler to the existing iron header: The copper rises vertically 10 inches from the boiler, takes a 90 degree turn for a 10 inch horizontal run, and then hits another 90 degrees for a 12 inch rise to the flange of the original iron header.Goofy Vent
In addition, the arbitrary location of the boiler causes a goofy line for the vent: it rises from the back of the boiler, comes straight to the front, and then turns right for the chimney.
for a sketch and two pictures of the bare header.
I examined the copper parts of the header and found no evidence of exterior corrosion or leaks (unlike the other
copper near boiler piping (but that's a question for another post).
- Should I replace the copper pipes? I assume so because it is only a matter of time before they fail.
- Is the 10" horizontal portion of the risers a detriment to steam travel? If so I will need to move the original header or move the boiler, which is OK: my plan would be to remove the old 4" header and replace it with a header sized according to the boiler's installation manual, as shown here.
- Should I worry about the vent assembly? If so, then I have to move the boiler and re-pipe not only the header, but also the end of the mains.
Any advice or comments are appreciated.