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Total Re-pipe by Home Owner

R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
'Just completed a total re-pipe over the summer. I've been wanting to do it since '05, ...finally got some time and enough nerve to do it myself. Wow, what a difference in performance. You follow the rules (and manual) and it works like a charm, ...and is completely silent -- (Thx Dan for LAOSH and your youtube vids). I added a valve at each wet return drop on a dirt pocket which simplifies cleanouts. Cleaning out all the cutting oil took some doing, wasting condensate, running, draining, wanding.

Previous pipes were all over the place and weren't insulated, but now when the pipes get warm they stay warm and the system runs far less Already seeing a 25% reduction in fuel. After insulating, the heat from the "HMS Titanic" dropheader doesn't drive me out of the basement. Lol.

Comments

  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,708
    Well Done!!
  • acwagneracwagner Member Posts: 91
    Looks nice! I've contemplated doing something similar. Did you re-pipe mostly to correct past wrongs or to give yourself more headroom in your workshop?
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 330 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
    @acwagner It was pretty much 50/50. Tripping over the wet return, smashing my squash on a branch that traversed the woodshop, and the racket and the poor performance the piping made all contributed to the want to fix it.
  • unclejohnunclejohn Member Posts: 987
    At first I had my doubts as to homeowner work but then I saw the drill press and band saw and some thingamajigs as well. But please tell me you didn't insulate the pipes as well.
  • Man, that's nice work!

    Well done.

    Lots of people that have messed up piping always wonder if it's worth the money to have it redone correctly. So if you could periodically update this thread with your actual savings that would be terrific. Also a few pics of the original install.

    I also try to explain that a re-pipe isn't a simple undertaking. It's major surgery. I think your project and post amply demonstrates that! Thanks for sharing.
    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,709
    thats an outstanding job! :)
    Better than what i see most pro's around here do.
    If your looking for a job :)
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 3,624
    Great looking job, you should be in the business.
    I am sure we are all jealous of your clean and well organized basement.

    Is that chrome plated brass cold water feeder line?
  • R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
    @unclejohn : Thx, I did do the insulation myself, ...I can't get over the difference it makes. (When my Wife saw the 3" dropheader she started to wonder if I'd lost my mind). From some quickscatch calcs I guess it to be about 5500 Btuh that cranked out some serious heat prior to the wrap job.

    @New England SteamWorks Thanks for the compliments. I'll get back to you at the end of the heating season with the gas usage numbers, I've got the last three years to compare them to. I'll post some more pics of the before and during.

    @gerry gill Thx as well, also special thanks for the "Wand" youtube and the paper you and Steve Pajek wrote on Balancing Steam Systems. (well written, easily understood with plenty of examples.) Without the wand I'd probably still have a quart of ridgid cutting oil in the boiler.

    @JUGHNE Lol, ...yes that is chrome plated brass on the feeder. It was left over from an outdoor shower job I did several years back. (I'm certainly not a plumber-it was for a friend) Thx.


  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 2,840
    That's a job to be proud of. Well done.

    Most of the installations we see are done by installers who #1 know everything and #2 can't read or won't read the boiler manual or lAOSH

    I am sure that took a lot of effort both in the actual work and in the "figuring out"

    Now your reaping the rewards

    The next homeowner that posts here who can't get his old piping apart to fix a leak......were just gonna send him your way
  • R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
    @EBEBRATT-Ed Thx Ed. Its a very satisfying feeling knowing that "I did it". ... not exactly a project for the faint of heart diy-er but well worth the effort. (Plus it looks really cool.) Hopefully the next four or five future owners of the house don't see it as an antiquated, obsolete albatross and rip it out for "modernity's" sake.

    Its also very gratifying to get compliments from all of you who, unknowingly, actually contributed to this project over the years with your posts. (I've been here like Boo Radley, lurking in the shadows, soaking up knowledge for 12+ years). Keep up your craft Men. Thx.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,548
    That is a great looking job, the fuel savings must be very gratifying after all that work.

    Is that a bottle of steam master tablets I spied on top of the boiler?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • GrallertGrallert Member Posts: 170
    Nice work well done.
  • R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
    @BobC ...funny you should mention the Steam master. Every time I added 2 tabs the waterline started bouncing all over and then the pressure went to about 4-5 ounces and it pushed the water out of the boiler. weird. ...maybe the system was still a bit oily but I thought that product was supposed mitigate those symptoms (I picked up 5 bottles from the supply house ...I know, ...overkill. kinda my modus operandi, ha!) After the last cleanout I left it out and things seem to be perfect, 0 pressure,
    1/4 inch of normal bounce in the water gauge. I'm going to keep an eye on it and may skim in a month and then try adding it again. Everyone seems to swear by the stuff. Thx for the comment.
  • hmljhmlj Member Posts: 8
    Hoping I can manage something like this after I've put in my required observation time here. Nice job!
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,708
    edited December 4
    I don't know how much value the Steamaster tablets add. I put a couple tablets in at the start of the heating season and then no more. Many have found that they can use only one tablet in their boilers. More than that and they experience the issues you saw.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,548
    i have a smith G8-3 which is about the smallest wet based boiler made. I've been using Steamaster since 2012, one tablet is fine for me.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
    @BobC

    Well, ... I guess that would imply I have a 3 lifetime supply, ..lol.

    How do you find it on the corrosion control? My gauge is looking a bit orange-y. I realize its all new steel and will take a while to develop that sort of protective patina layer. We're a long way off from sludge.
  • Tour_du_Steam_NewbTour_du_Steam_Newb Member Posts: 1
    > @R Dougan said:
    > Thx, I did do the insulation myself, ...I can't get over the difference it makes.


    Hi i’m Wanting to embark on putting my insulation in myself, wondering if you can msg me on where you sourced materials and any techniques you had to learn along the way as well as what you wrapped with and the r value of the insulation?
    Do you plan to need to get under there to inspect periodically?
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,548
    @R Dougan It seems to be working as the gauge glass is clear with a light violet hue and when I drain a bit from the mug leg I get a little brown water but it clears up within a quart or so. The PH is between 9 and 10 last I checked.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,709
    R Dougan said:

    @BobC ...funny you should mention the Steam master. Every time I added 2 tabs the waterline started bouncing all over and then the pressure went to about 4-5 ounces and it pushed the water out of the boiler. weird. ...maybe the system was still a bit oily but I thought that product was supposed mitigate those symptoms (I picked up 5 bottles from the supply house ...I know, ...overkill. kinda my modus operandi, ha!) After the last cleanout I left it out and things seem to be perfect, 0 pressure,
    1/4 inch of normal bounce in the water gauge. I'm going to keep an eye on it and may skim in a month and then try adding it again. Everyone seems to swear by the stuff. Thx for the comment.

    yeah, steamaster is a great product BUT, it doesn't play well with oil. Best not to use the first season until all oil is gone from the boiler.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
    @gerry gill Oh, ... would their surgemaster product or something like squick be better? Or should I maybe just leave it alone, ...it is running extremely well. My big concern is the corrosion. Thx.

    Bob D.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 5,708
    Whatever you do, don't add Squick to your system. That is basically a cleaning agent and it can really cause an unstable water line. Once you are comfortable that you have all the oils out and a stable water line, try one Steamaster tablet, if you feel you need to use something. Keeping the system tight and not have to add fresh water is the very best prevention against corrosion.
  • R DouganR Dougan Member Posts: 21
    Thx Fred.
  • KoanKoan Member Posts: 387
    Excellent work!

    I had the same issue with Steam Master tabs on a 50 yr old American Standard boiler, but it was resolved with lots and lots of skimming. I also tested for oil using the glass gauge blowdown trick - when this would work and show there was no oil in the system, the Steam Master tablets no longer caused any foaming. https://heatinghelp.com/blog/the-teachings-of-fremont/
  • gerry gillgerry gill Member Posts: 2,709
    i think the first season is best to just use water.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Dennis1679Dennis1679 Member Posts: 16
    edited December 12
    Now retired, but I rarely used Steam Master or any products in the hundreds of systems I installed or serviced. The most important thing to do is skim cleaning. And the l3 inch drop header, but you’ve already done those things. It’s an outstanding job. My employees and some customers thought I was crazy with the 3, 4 or 5 inch drop headers, so your wife is not alone in saying that.
    GREAT JOB!!!
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