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Should it stay, or should it go now?? (Webster Boiler Return Trap)

samglo
samglo Member Posts: 19
Questions for you that are much more knowledgeable than I am:

My system has a Webster 0023 boiler return trap, air elimination/float trap, and check valves on the wet return on both sides of the BRT. There is a pressure equalizing pipe from the BRT connecting to the steam main at the boiler (not exactly an equalizing header as configured, yet). It’s essentially the system shown by Mr. Holohan on page 237, but without the equalizing line between the dry return and the BRT (therefore not an “Alternating Receiver”). A schematic is below.

The original boiler was previously replaced with a W-M EG55 (oversized!), but piping was not changed. It operated well overall and was quiet. All the radiators heated evenly. About 415 square feet of radiation.

The Webster traps seem to be in good condition and move freely. The check valves are challenging for me to inspect because they’re at floor level and I have no drain valve on the wet return (yet). Radiator thermostatic traps are new.

I'm having my boiler replaced and not entirely sure what to do with the air eliminator/float, the boiler return trap, and the two check valves. The steam main and dry return are both 76” above floor level.

What's the norm...remove components and replace with air vent(s) on the dry return where the air elimination/float trap is located? Operate at low enough pressure to not need a boiler feed or condensate pump? Add a boiler feed or condensate pump? Leave as-is and connect the BRT equalizing line to a proper header at the boiler (rather than the steam main)?














Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,893
    My reaction is super simple. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It ain't broke, so far as I can tell from your various threads -- so don't fix it. You don't need a condensate return pump or boiler feed pump, provided you operate the system at sane pressures (that is, no more than a pound or so cutout, if that). For heaven's sake don't add one.

    Be sure to pipe the boiler according the manufacturer's diagrams as a minimum. Throw in some knowledge from The Lost Art while you are at it.

    One caution: over on the right hand side of your drawing you show a short section of return which appears to be horizontal. I expect that that bit of return was meant to be wet. Be sure that your new water line is high enough to keep it so; a very common failing on new installs is that the water line is too low, and uncovers bits of wet return or loops which should be wet, leading to all kinds of hard to solve problems and hammers.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,302
    edited October 2017
    Since your boiler has previously been changed the water line you have now doesn't match what you previously had. It's possible that you don't need the BRT due to you lower water level. Gravaty is helping water return to your boiler

    That being said I would replace the boiler following the boiler mfg. near boiler piping instructions. keep the BRT

    I would make sure that your new boiler has a water line at least as high as the boiler you are replacing. Put it on a concrete pad or blocks if you need to.

    As @Jamie Hall said if it ain't broke don't fix it
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,502

    I would make sure that your new boiler has a water line at least as high as the boiler you are replacing. Put it on a concrete pad or blocks if you need to.

    Or better yet (if atmospheric boiler), add a false waterline.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,502
    And why, btw, are we replacing?
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    It should stay. It can serve as a back up system. It also identifies the system. It doesn't hurt anything to keep it. I'd polish those bad boys up and be chest puffing proud of 'em :)
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    Grallert
  • samglo
    samglo Member Posts: 19
    Thank you all for the input.

    Great catch @Jamie Hall , the sketch was a bit exaggerated, the horizontal piece is only about 14" above the floor so should be OK.

    @New England SteamWorks the "header" and Hartford loop weren't piped properly when this was installed ~25 years ago, and the wet return also started corroding. Between those and the age of the boiler, figured it was time for full replacement instead of just repipe at boiler.
  • samglo
    samglo Member Posts: 19
    Oh and the current boiler was massively oversized, 200000 BTU for 407 square feet of radiators
  • samglo
    samglo Member Posts: 19
    Although with the 1/2" gas line feeding it, i was probably never getting the actual 200000 btu!
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,502
    samglo said:

    the "header" and Hartford loop weren't piped properly when this was installed ~25 years ago, and the wet return also started corroding. Between those and the age of the boiler, figured it was time for full replacement instead of just repipe at boiler.

    :) Sorry. You were being proactive!

    I wish it was otherwise, but we in this business are not normally used to pro-active customers. We usually get the call when it lies in ruins on the floor...

    Bravo.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • samglo
    samglo Member Posts: 19
    @gerry gill I like that idea! I did polish the paint off of the brass tag so I could know what the BRT actually was! It is quite the marvel of modern technology.

    Should the 1" equalizer pipe that goes to the boiler attach to the header or to the steam main? Based on Dan's book, the sketch shows it connecting directly to the riser from the boiler "Take steam to return trap from top of vertical pipe"