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From steam to hydroheat

Rock
Rock Member Posts: 46
edited November 2017 in Gas Heating







I had a central air system installed last year with hydro heat(coil in air handler), so far it seems to be pretty good although it hasn't been real cold yet. The original system was a gas steam system. The guy left all the steam pipes as is. The system was modified so much that I can't figure out how to fill the boiler. It has a sight glass gauge for the water fill that the guy shut the valve off on the top and bottom( i opened them back up). I started draining the system to clean out all the rust like i did when it was steam . I drained about 3 gallons and never saw the sight glass drain? I didn't want to drain too much. How much water does a boiler hold and what should the level be? When it was steam I would fill it to the middle of the sight glass. I tried to trace the lines so I could fill it with more water with no success. Where does the supply line go to fill the burner?

Comments

  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,334
    Sorry, but I’m a little confused. Do you still have a steam system?
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    The steam pipes are still hooked up but not used.He used the boiler to heat the water for the hydro heat. He hooked up two pex lines and a circulator pump up going to a coil in the air handler
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,750
    With the steamer you could circulate the lower hot condensate thru the coil. Where are the pex lines connected to the boiler?

    Pictures would explain a lot.
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,334
    edited November 2017
    Where are you located exactly? I see from previous posts you’re on Long Island. My initial though is to restore the steam system and create a condesate zone for the hydro air.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,985
    I really don't like the way that looks. I am thinking he used a steam boiler for hot water and flooded it left the steam controls and added a strap on aqustat.

    Really hope I am wrong
    delta T
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.
    Did he (could he have) plugged the vents and pressurized the system?
    Does the steam heat still work?
    I see two circs. Two hydro coils?
    What is the gray relay on top of the boiler for?
    Is that pex pipe against the flue?
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    This system was originally all steam. First modification was to add a hot water zone, because the new room was lower than the steam pipe( the pipe was to low to pitch back to the system). That's why you see the strap on thermostat( not used any more.
    Second mod was the hydro heat. I told the guy to do the modification but leave the steam in case I wanted to go back to steam again, since I didn't really trust the hydro heat system.
    For now I want to keep everything as is(hydro heat). I want to be able to flush the water out of the system using the sight glass to check the level(he had the valve on to and bottom of the sight glass closed, I think he was afraid of it leaking). How much water should the boiler hold, since it is hot water now and how does the supply line fill the radiator with cold water?
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    Is there a pressure gauge that tells how much pressure the boiler has because he would have had to plug off the radiators as mentioned and fill it up with water.
    So if it's open and un pressurized and you constantly flush it out it's going to be a rust bucket
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,903

    I really don't like the way that looks. I am thinking he used a steam boiler for hot water and flooded it left the steam controls and added a strap on aqustat.

    Really hope I am wrong

    I have a really nasty feeling that you are right. Otherwise how would he keep water in the hydroair coils which, I gather, are higher than the boiler (I think I see the pipes to them with the circulator)? In which case, the entire steam system is flooded, which won't do it any good at all.

    To @Rock : there are ways in which this could have been done. If what @EBEBRATT-Ed and I think we are seeing is correct, this wasn't one of them, or even close.

    I'm sorry -- without looking at it I'd have no idea where you go from here.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,334
    I understand what you WANT @Rock, but it’s more about what you NEED. The boiler needs to be restored to steam and a proper condensate zone(s) created. You would still be keeping the hydro air, it would just be done properly. Then, you could merely flip a switch to engage the steam if/when necessary. I operate Scully’s Plumbing with my brother and father in the Nassau County area of Long Island. Reach out if you’d like to get this corrected, as we’d love to help. To answer your question though, the site glass serves no purpose with your current setup. The system should be FULL. Best of luck.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    Is it possible he filled the boiler only and left the mains dry?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,903
    @Rock -- @Danny Scully is also one of the best, and maybe more in your area.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Danny Scully
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 995
    First, the boiler is not certified to be used for a hot water system. If you do want hydronic heat from it, the steam controls need to be gone as well as the water level glass. You DON'T drain the boiler as you ad air to the system and create problems among some is corrosion and trapped air. Where is the expansion tank? Where is the boiler feed and backflow preventer? We do convert steam systems to hydronic but we replace the boiler or boilers. The near boiler piping should be all new. Removal of the insides of steam traps including the seat are required. It must be a two pipe system!
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    I had this system installed last spring, please read original post. It was working fairley well up to this point except for balancing the air ducts. Now the unit is making steam, its coming out of the radiators. The guy that did the work is no were to be found. I know the job wasn't done right. I would like to know if anyone can walk me thru this so I can fix this my self and make the system work correctly? Please see pictures. Thanks
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,329
    Did you call @Danny Scully as was suggested earlier?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Danny ScullySuperTechdelta T
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    I want to try to fix this my self. I don't want to sink any more money into this system, looking for some guidance
    SuperTech
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,903
    What, exactly, do you mean, @Rock , by "it's coming out of the radiators"? Steam might get to the radiators, but it should never ever come out of them.

    You may not want to sink any more money into that system, but if what I see and read is even close to reality, you need to face that it's probably already sunk, quite possibly beyond recall. Get @Danny Scully if you can.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Danny ScullySuperTech
  • newagedawn
    newagedawn Member Posts: 586
    oh my, now there is a nice homeowner special,....."the bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the joy of the lowest price",....get some help!!!!
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    Up until now there was no heat coming out of the radiators. It was all coming out of the newly installed hydroheat vents. Im thinking the temp of the water in the boiler has changed and instead of hot water, im getting steam. What controls the temp of the boiler?
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,804
    edited March 2018
    "what controls the temp of the boiler?"
    man, if you don't know, we can't tell from this side of the computer.
    You need to get Scully or someone out there to decipher the past botchery.
    The burner might be controlled by the zone controller, or ??
    The last guy in there might have disabled all the steam safety devices to make that thing run, including the low water cutoff.
    You might be sitting on a bomb.
    I am guessing that when you recently flushed what "was" your steam boiler, and which you should not be doing now as a hot water botchery, that you somehow restarted a steam cycle in there somewhere,
    I think you need to confirm the system is filled with water, to the highest point, (air handler coil?),
    is there a manual air vent up there?
    Shut your whole system off, boiler, circs,
    go to your highest point and vent,
    Do you have water there?
    You need to,
    and,
    You need to get Scully or someone out there to decipher this.
    good luck.
    known to beat dead horses
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,903
    "what controls the temp of the boiler"?

    Please do yourself a favour -- and your family and neighbours. Turn that whole system off with the emergency switch and pull and tag the circuit breaker or fuse powering it so that no one will turn it back on.

    Then get someone out there -- we've made a suggestion -- who knows what they are doing to try and figure out what is salvageable and what not, and get a system running for you.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    SuperTech
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,985
    @Rock, I agree this thing is totally hacked. If @Danny Scully or someone else is willing to fix this consider yourself fortunate.

    take out you wallet and get it done.

    You and your family's safety is at stake
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,792
    edited March 2018
    Wow. What a mess. And dangerous too. That's not safe to operate. Please call someone who knows what they are doing. You have been taken advantage of, big time. Next time do some research on who is doing the work and what needs to be done.

    I'm positive that you have a hacked up butchery of an A/C system as well. I highly doubt you have a valid warranty....
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 197
    From being on this site a while I can tell you that there's a great group on here and they are more than happy to offer advice for someone trying to do it themselves. But this particular case is definitely not a do-it-yourself kind of thing which is why they are strongly recommending a pro come in. Money may be tight for a fix. But it shouldn't be that tight to at least cover the cost of a good estimate by a pro that knows what they're doing. Then at least you will know where you stand. Just my 2¢.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
    delta T