Greetings all, what a wonderful site for steam discussions!
Here’s one for you...
I have an old house that had steam installed in the 1920s. One half of the House was built in the 1790’s the rest in the 1910-1920s (when steam was installed). Nat gas, low pressure, one pipe steam.
I bought the home two months ago and noted it was taking on way too much make up water. It’s a13 year older Burnham IN6, and it has failed. 175,000 btu input, correctly sized based on my EDR measurements 425sq ftradiation on a mix of different styles of tube and column rads). Digital water feed meter claims 4 gallons a day.....(Ugh!).
I could not locate any steam or water leaks any where. (Unless a slow one hiding under insulation, or an enclosed wall leak, wet return not buried, all visible). Took off the cover and found a hole rusted through the top of the steam box. (Ugh, see picture). This explains all that extra smoke/steam coming up my (lined) chimney compared to my neighbors... My understanding, it can’t be welded. (Ugh!).
13yrs seems short for a cast iron boiler...
My near boiler piping may have contributed. There is no swivel joint atop the boiler. Pipe runs linked to the near return without a swivel.... steam exit pipe then runs up to a bull T into the middle of a mains pipe that runs across the middle of the basement. Slopes up on one side of T and down on other side of the T. So, it appears to be bi-directional on one side of the mains (steam and return) and unidirectional on the other side of the T (steam an return going same direction. Very little hammer that I have heard. Wet return is all copper, rest is iron pipe, presumably post WWI, possibly pre WWI (~1910).
System has no mains venting, only rad venting. Need these added to improve trim.
All this said, the current system still heats and also makes hot water with an Amtrol unit
But it needs replacement. The sooner the better. I don’t like heating the neighborhood and want to keep all that raw water oxygen from damaging the piping outside the boiler itself...
Having difficulty finding a good steam guy in my area (near Hopewell NJ 08534). 2 HVAC guys I brought in thus far seem Not experienced in steam.
I think all I need to have done is replace the boiler and repair and replace the near piping (with proper swivel this time). Maybe get a new amtrol tank while in the process and tap or tee off two new main vents....(need to calculate proper size).
Dare I replace with a Burnham IN6 again after the last one rusted through in only 13 years? My feed water pH is 7 (although who knows for the past 13 years?)
Picture of hole attached for your viewing pleasure.
Thanks for reading guys....