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Flooding Steam Boiler

dcomiskeydcomiskey Posts: 10Member
edited February 2018 in Strictly Steam
Test

Comments

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,715Member
    If you look at the installation book there would be piping diagrams for the boiler. Also would show the pipe sizes needed for the boiler risers and if you need to use both of them.

    You may not find your piping setup in the book........that is where to start. IMO
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,117Member
    It's piped completely wrong. Your installer has difficulty with reading and pictures.
    That boiler requires the use of both risers and a 3" header. The Hartford loop connection is supposed to be a close nipple, what you have could cause water hammer.

    The flooding could be a slow return, too high pressure, poor piping, feeder/LWCO issue. The people you have working on it obviously don't know steam so they will probably have serious difficulty diagnosing and fixing.

    Have you paid them in full yet?
    Where are you located?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,715Member
    Also, better pictures of the sides of the boiler without shadows and far enough back to see the complete side piping would help.

    The article you posted mentions near boiler piping being critical and also speaks of the broken union test for the feeder.
    The instructions for that LWCO would describe that in more detail.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,548Member
    JUGHNE said:

    If you look at the installation book there would be piping diagrams for the boiler. Also would show the pipe sizes needed for the boiler risers and if you need to use both of them.

    You may not find your piping setup in the book........that is where to start. IMO

    Understatement of the year?

    The other thing to check is you probably got a new autofeeder. Which may either be malfunctioning or simply set up improperly.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Posts: 892Member
    Don't shoot the messenger. Sorry to say this but that piping stinks. Water is probably being carried out to the system do to that poor piping. In addition boiler was probably not cleaned properly. The water is being carried out to the system and the low water cutoff is sending a signal to the feeder to feed because there is not enough water in the boiler. After some time all of that water returns to the boiler and hence a flooded boiler. The poor feeder is this doing it the job.
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 136Member
    https://file.ac/9IIdhbTJLLQ/Independence I&O.pdf Page 18. Install is wrong. Not a surprise that it floods.

    Also, steam heat really doesn't require that much pressure at all. Most systems run happily at less than 1PSI. A constantly hissing vent might be a sign that it's too small and not able to fully vent the mains in the time of a cycle.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,715Member
    The installer comment about the main vent indicates they are really out of their league.
    They should have inspected your venting system and updated it.

    Is this 1 or 2 pipe (radiator connections)?
    More pictures of your vents or anything that looks to be more than just a pipe or fitting would be helpful.

    Stay with us.......don't run away.....we are here to help. :)
  • FredFred Posts: 7,874Member
    Lord Help us! What is wrong with these installers? Is there a section in the phone book or on the Internet specific to "Let us show you how not to install a steam boiler?"
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 136Member
    @Fred Must be. It's the only explanation.

    @dcomiskey May I recommend the books "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" or "We Got Steam Heat"? They are a excellent introduction to steam heat, and will help you avoid being burnt in the future.
  • dcomiskeydcomiskey Posts: 10Member
    Thanks for all the comments. It's a two-pipe system, and I'm in Indiana. I've already paid in full for the install, so I'm going to have to figure out a solution on my own. I've seen plenty of Burnham Independence steam boilers that only use the one pipe coming out of the boiler, but maybe those were all piped poorly. I'll have a look at the new LWCO instructions to see if I can change the settings at all. Are there any smaller changes I can make that might help?
  • FredFred Posts: 7,874Member
    @dcomiskey , the fact they only used one riser, out of the boiler is the least of the problems. There is no Header, the equalizer is off of the pipe that feeds the Main, because there is no header. It should be at the end of a header, after the main(s). The Hartford loop should be tied into the equalizer with a close nipple. Yours is too long and will likely cause hammer. I don't see a skim port so the boiler was probably never skimmed. I'm not even sure the Hartford loop is below the Normal water line??
  • Have a look at the installation manual for the mandatory required piping instructions for your model, and see how the layout of what you have differs.
    Contact the local Burnham rep to see what needs to be done for them to honor any warranty in a couple years when it fails.—NBC
  • dcomiskeydcomiskey Posts: 10Member
    Fred said:

    @dcomiskey , the fact they only used one riser, out of the boiler is the least of the problems. There is no Header, the equalizer is off of the pipe that feeds the Main, because there is no header. It should be at the end of a header, after the main(s). The Hartford loop should be tied into the equalizer with a close nipple. Yours is too long and will likely cause hammer. I don't see a skim port so the boiler was probably never skimmed. I'm not even sure the Hartford loop is below the Normal water line??

    Thanks for the information, Fred. Does the header help dry out the steam? Does that short horizontal 3-inch pipe not count as a header? I don't have water hammer, so that's not a problem. But if repiping a header would help keep water out of the main run, I might pressure the installer to redo it.

  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,117Member
    edited January 2018
    Does your contract state they would pipe it according to manufacturers specification? If it does they have violated the contract and that is your leverage.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • dcomiskeydcomiskey Posts: 10Member

    Don't shoot the messenger. Sorry to say this but that piping stinks. Water is probably being carried out to the system do to that poor piping. In addition boiler was probably not cleaned properly. The water is being carried out to the system and the low water cutoff is sending a signal to the feeder to feed because there is not enough water in the boiler. After some time all of that water returns to the boiler and hence a flooded boiler. The poor feeder is this doing it the job.

    Thanks for the information. Does the header help dry out the steam? Does that short horizontal 3-inch pipe not count as a header? If repiping a header would help keep water out of the main run and obviously should have been done, I might pressure the installer to redo it. I'm trying to get multiple opinions to bolster my argument with the installer.
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 136Member
    edited January 2018
    @dcomiskey Yes, proper near-boiler piping is essential to producing dry steam. EDIT: And no, that short section is not a header. Also, only using one tapping, especially the one opposite the LWCO, can tilt the water line further away from the LWCO, leading to the LWCO seeing an even lower water line. I seriously recommend that you have the installer re-pipe the boiler to the manufacturer's specs.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,855Member
    Another installer that can't or won't read. What else is new? They are so smart they think they know everything.

    The really sad part is it is seldom more work to do it right then to do it worng
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,715Member
    The books mentioned above will tell all the stories pertaining to your install.
    The book that came with the boiler or that you down load will also clearly point out the piping for your boiler.
    Plus another critical item is the minimum height of the header above the water line and the use of "swing elbows/joints" for the piping is important.

    If you post more pictures more can be surveyed.
    You want all the ducks lined up...... so to say.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,874Member
    dcomiskey said:

    Fred said:

    @dcomiskey , the fact they only used one riser, out of the boiler is the least of the problems. There is no Header, the equalizer is off of the pipe that feeds the Main, because there is no header. It should be at the end of a header, after the main(s). The Hartford loop should be tied into the equalizer with a close nipple. Yours is too long and will likely cause hammer. I don't see a skim port so the boiler was probably never skimmed. I'm not even sure the Hartford loop is below the Normal water line??

    Thanks for the information, Fred. Does the header help dry out the steam? Does that short horizontal 3-inch pipe not count as a header? I don't have water hammer, so that's not a problem. But if repiping a header would help keep water out of the main run, I might pressure the installer to redo it.

    No, that doesn't count as a header. The header does help dry out the steam and, if done correctly, it allows the water that drops out of the steam to run back to the boiler, through the equalizer. If you don't have any hammer from that nipple on that Hartford loop, be patient, under the right conditions, you will. Try to have him do it right.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,715Member
    I don't believe it would be out of line if you posted your contract with the installer company. You must blank out the company name (to protect the not so innocent) and any references to dollar amounts. I believe this has been done here before.
    Just the verbiage of the contract is all we might be interested in.

    Trim parts of sticky notes to cover the unwanted info.

    I feel this would be a service to the many homeowners who come here later with your very situation.

    Those here may be able to critique the contract for you to consider legal action.
    Even a letter with the return address and letterhead from an attorney gets attention. (This could even be a divorce attorney...but just an attorney makes one pay attention.....I know).
  • Richard D._2Richard D._2 Posts: 149Member
    A New Steam boiler makes steam faster then a older steam boiler! So a good thing BUT Steam shoots up the smaller riser almost twice as fast as a old system ,so NEAR boiler piping is critical on a new boiler and 2 riser help and if you look in the manual it will state manufacture specs!
    https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/the-importance-of-near-boiler-piping/
    https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?p=steam+boiler+piping+diagram&fr=yfp-t-s&imgurl=https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/posts/23256/Proper%20Steam_boiler_piping.JPG#id=6&iurl=https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/posts/23256/Proper%20Steam_boiler_piping.JPG&action=click
  • Also a new boiler, as well as making steam more quickly, has less water volume, (but enough to fill the pipes and rads), therefore it is imperative not to have a lot of its water blown up into the system with improper piping, while it’s steaming.
    In such a case without an auto fill, the boiler will go from full to empty and back again, causing thermal stresses which shorten its life dramatically.
    Even with an auto fill, the fluctuating water level will be doing a number on the sections, and then with subsequent overfilling of the boiler, before the condensate comes back.—NBC
  • Dave0176Dave0176 Posts: 1,045Member
    I’d imagine the sight glass gauge cocks are full of mud and their holding the all the water in the sight glass. If they haven’t been removed for cleaning since the boiler was installed I’d pull them and clean them.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • dcomiskeydcomiskey Posts: 10Member

    Also a new boiler, as well as making steam more quickly, has less water volume, (but enough to fill the pipes and rads), therefore it is imperative not to have a lot of its water blown up into the system with improper piping, while it’s steaming.

    In such a case without an auto fill, the boiler will go from full to empty and back again, causing thermal stresses which shorten its life dramatically.

    Even with an auto fill, the fluctuating water level will be doing a number on the sections, and then with subsequent overfilling of the boiler, before the condensate comes back.—NBC

    Thanks to everyone who answered. I'm going to ask the installer to repipe the risers and include a header. Can someone explain in very simple terms what I need to request be redone? I realize I have multiple issues here, but given that I'm going to face a lot of pushback, I need to request the most critical thing(s) first. I've attached an image of the contract language, which mentions "There will be some new black pipe and unions if need be." It seems to me that installing the proper risers and header fall under "if need be."
  • FredFred Posts: 7,874Member
    That's the extent of the contract? That doesn't obligate the contractor to do anything other than order, install (as he sees fit), and test that the controls work and drop a $5.00 bottle of Squick into the boiler. He obviously didn't even do a Radiator survey to determine the size of boiler needed. He just replaced it with the same size as was there.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,117Member
    By the letter of the law I don't think you have much recourse here. As Fred says that contract is so vague the contractor could do almost anything he wanted.

    @Fred I was thinking about the sizing also, I'd bet money it's over sized. @dcomiskey to properly size a steam boiler they need to measure all the radiators in the house and size to that, not what was there. There is a chance the old one was correct, but IMHO that is a very slim chance.

    I'd contact them and at least ask why they installed it improperly, as that was intentional.

    In simple terms, open the manual and make it like the picture, exactly like the picture.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Maybe the factory rep could be of help here, in dealing with the installer.
    Maybe they might be on some sort of blacklist or something.—NBC
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,965Member
    Offer to pay for the extra pipe if they will make it a drop header and make sure the header is at least 3" pipe in either case.

    The drop header costs a little extra on the materials side but it usually saves labor.

    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
  • Study all their adverts, and see if any reference is made to “quality”, “experience”, “knowledge”, or “reputable”, so you can judge the effect of the threat of a lawsuit on their reputation.
    The clear details of the factory instructions would be helpful in your case, especially as the difference between what you got, and what is required is so pronounced, that even a judge could see it!
    Were they the cheapest?—NBC
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,715Member
    When you take your car to the reputable mechanic garage for say a brake job, you expect the work to be up to an industry standard. The owner is not expected to know or realize what is involved for that repair. But he expects the brakes to operate properly and last a long time.
    If the brakes fail within a week then it is obvious the mechanic failed to do the repair correctly and is responsible to correct the work he had done.

    Your installer obviously claims to be in the business of boiler replacement, he must advertise as such or you would not have found him.
    Are licensing, permits and inspections required in your area?
    A safety code issue he may have violated could be the placement of the pressure relief valve. Could not see it in your pictures. It could be one of the many things done wrong, but perhaps the only code issue.

    You say you have seen these boilers installed with only one riser used. Looking at page 18, that would apply for the all the boilers smaller than yours.

    Do you know the model number of the old boiler? Or better yet have a picture of it. Did it have only one riser?
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,548Member
    To go back the header, @dcomiskey . It's an almost horizontal (not quite) length of pipe which picks up the riser(s) from the boiler towards the higher end, then has the takeoffs to the building off the top, then at the low end turns down and the equalizer to the boiler return connects to the Hartford Loop. It is always a pipe size larger than the specified size of the riser(s). The whole idea is to allow any water droplets which are in the steam to drop out of the moving steam and flow along the bottom of the header to the equalizer and thence to the return. In the meantime, the steam takes a right angle up to the building.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • dcomiskeydcomiskey Posts: 10Member
    JUGHNE said:

    When you take your car to the reputable mechanic garage for say a brake job, you expect the work to be up to an industry standard. The owner is not expected to know or realize what is involved for that repair. But he expects the brakes to operate properly and last a long time.
    If the brakes fail within a week then it is obvious the mechanic failed to do the repair correctly and is responsible to correct the work he had done.

    Your installer obviously claims to be in the business of boiler replacement, he must advertise as such or you would not have found him.
    Are licensing, permits and inspections required in your area?
    A safety code issue he may have violated could be the placement of the pressure relief valve. Could not see it in your pictures. It could be one of the many things done wrong, but perhaps the only code issue.

    You say you have seen these boilers installed with only one riser used. Looking at page 18, that would apply for the all the boilers smaller than yours.

    Do you know the model number of the old boiler? Or better yet have a picture of it. Did it have only one riser?

    Yes, the installer has been in the boiler installation business for decades. Mostly commercial as opposed to residential like mine, but that shouldn't make a difference. They pulled the necessary permits. You're right that I had no idea what kind of piping was necessary. They obviously seemed to think they could just hook it up to the old setup (that one oddly-shaped riser). The old boiler was the exact same model (Burnham IN 7), although it was 22 years old and therefore somewhat larger. I'm not sure it even had a second port for a second riser, but if it did, it was just plugged. I'm going to pressure the installer to come back and install two risers and a header at the very least, but I'm not optimistic about my chances.
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    You said you were in Indiana? Where about? If you are in Brookville area or close, I know a boiler guy in Cincinnati who will be going that way soon for some work and might be able to fit you in and repipe it.

    Man, I'd go with also threatening to report him to attorney General's office of the state. They handle consumer protection. You have a system that's not functioning, and regardless of what contract says, it's not functioning. There is an installation manual. It's there to help install the boiler. That is its purpose. Installer did not use it, therefore, he did not complete the job. Under the law, you have a reasonable expectation that the service you pay for will be completed to reasonable standards.

    I am so sorry you are dealing with this...
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