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Is Equalizer needed or is it just a Header drip?

JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,055
This is late 1930's school with a 1973 American Standard 1,800,000 BTUH steam boiler.
This is a 2 pipe system with express risers to the top floor.
Thankfully someone has replaced the wet returns.

The risers are 6" up to the header. You can see a 2" equalizer/drip on the end of the header. It looks pretty level and probably isn't dripping much considering the height of the 6" risers. The problem is that it is connected to far end of a 4" wet return from the original boiler. That length of original 4" pipe is showing bubble on the bottom and soon to leak.
I was planning to remove everything from the lower 4" boiler inlet flange and re-pipe.
This is a pumped return system, so the only thing to go back into the 4" inlet which would be reduced to 2" is the cond pump inlet, the LWCO wet connection with the manual fill connection, 1 1/4" drain line and this drip from the header.
Could this drip be reduced to 1 1/4" without any problems? If not then I can do the 2" if needed. Thanks.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,270
    I can't really speak to the size, but I will offer this: the main purpose of the equalizer is not so much to take condensate from the header -- although it does do that -- but to be sure that the pressure on the cold return is the same as the pressure in the header, or very very close to the same. For that purpose the smaller pipe would be fine... but hopefully someone with experience on the bigger systems can comment on the amount of condensate expected!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    If you don't equalize the pressure above and below the water line, as the boiler builds pressure, it will push the water out of the boiler.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,055
    This is a pumped return with a check on the inlet line. So the water would push up the drip/equalizer line. No where else for it to go.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,510
    To me it's a drip and not an equalizer...nothing to equalize.

    Steam traps (I know you don't have one on the header) are sized for dripping mains by adding up the physical weight of the pipe & fittings the pipe (in this case the header) and using the specific heat of steel and applying the temperature rise. This gives you the lb of condensate to drain. If you do the calculation you would find that 3/4" is probably all the drip you need.

    I would stay with your 1 1/4" idea to prevent plugging from scale etc..

    And your right, no Hartford loop needed with a pumped return.
    The drip should be on the boiler side of the check valve
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,055
    Thanks Ed, that was my thought, just wanted a second opinion for some confirmation from one more experienced.

    I am one of those understaffed and under tooled one man shops who likes 1 1/4" more than 2".......also kind of an old guy who will make the 15 YO grandson do most of the work.
    Technically speaking my shadow observer who sweeps the floor. It is really hard or impossible to overwork a teenager today.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,055
    No thumb action when he is working with me, maybe in the truck going down the road but not on the job.
    His parents reinforce that theory and have given permission to kick butt as needed, well maybe a Gibbs head wack is all they would get. This applied to his older sister a couple of years ago.
    They were raised pretty good....small town.
    The other grandkids from the city are cut from a different cloth.