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The Pit!

This one is a bit of a challenge. An old farm house built without a basement. Just a 6' x 8' pit to house the boiler and the water meter, with very difficult access. As a result, visits to the boiler were far and few between over the years. She just carried on in darkness, solitude, and neglect. Until this winter that is, when she finally packed it in.

Show time!




Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
newenglandsteamworks.com

Comments

  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,039Member
    For this one we need the A-Frame:



    Then one by one, the old sections were winched out.




    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,039Member
    Then we very gingerly lowered in the new boiler. Luckily, it's on the small side for a change! One more section and we'd have been SOL...


    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,039Member
    Working in the pit is quite arduous, as I am sure you can imagine. We had hoped to finish today, but the Nor' Easter knocked out power to the customers' house last night, so for now the new boiler waits in darkness for our eventual return...

    Stay tuned.


    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 640Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Wow!
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • Dan_NJDan_NJ Posts: 57Member
    Is there some drainage down there for skimming? Pump up to ground level? Bucket line?
  • 1Matthias1Matthias Posts: 47Member
    That's amazing. Looks good.
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,039Member
    No, no drainage down there. We will have to pump it up and out.

    I always wanted to try out an in line hydrocarbon filter for skimming.Just pump the water out the skim port and back into the boiler. This would have been a good one to try it out on. Oh well...
    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • leonzleonz Posts: 212Member
    edited March 8
    As I have no experience in plumbing steam systems and
    If you will forgive my question; why are you using a knife gate valve in this installation? Is the elbow off the drop header going to be fitted with a short nipple and bell reducer and then a ball valve to allow eventual condensate drainage?
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,151Member
    I still think that the oils on the boiler water could be removed from the boiler water by the right equalizer piping arrangement, and not allowed to return.
    A drop header will cause the oil which has been thrown up into the risers to remain in the equalizer, where they could be drained off at waterline height, (at rest) by a small valve. If one percent of the oil is placed in this quarantine every hour, then it is only a matter of time before all the oil has been segregated from the boiler.
    This would certainly save the time taken for skimming, and as we know, time is money.—NBC
  • FriendlyFredFriendlyFred Posts: 17Member
    Skimming from a valve on the equalizer may be possible - and certainly oils thrown into the equalizer stay will remain there at the waterline.

    I think your suggestion is to put a valve at the location circled in green.



    A potential drawback to that is the available surface area in the equalizer is much less than the surface area of water in the boiler. It may collect oils bit by bit, but in event of skimming a new boiler - may take longer than current methods.

    There may be a benefit for the equalizer port for 'followup' oil removal after installation - or to draw off collected oils without the downtime of raising the water level to the open skim port.

    ****
    The pit looks like quite a job - the owner must have been hurting for heat on account of the stack of boxes for portable electric heaters in the background. Shame those don't work in a power outage.
  • ShalomShalom Posts: 106Member
    What I want to know is how they got the old one in there. Did they assemble it in the pit, or did they put it there first, and then build the floor over it?

    Also, how did that work for so many years with no maintenance? I doubt any one was going down there with a bucket to clear out rusty water, or even monitor the glass. Did it have an automatic feeder?
  • hydro_newbiehydro_newbie Posts: 37Member
    Shalom said:

    What I want to know is how they got the old one in there. Did they assemble it in the pit, or did they put it there first, and then build the floor over it?

    You haven't read Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel? :smile:
  • leonzleonz Posts: 212Member
    edited March 9
    Thank you Friendly Fred, Now I understand the installation a bit better.

    At first I did not see the large insulation covered tapping at the bottom rear of the boiler.

    So, is it safe to assume the three inch knife gate valve is used to direct the dry steam to either side of the farm house or left open to feed dry steam to both sides/floors of the farm house?

    I look forward to seeing the boilers complete installation.
  • FredFred Posts: 6,465Member
    edited March 9
    @leonz That valve is on the riser to the main. It will rarely be used but a very nice feature to allow it to be closed, along with valves on the returns/Hartford loop, at which point the boiler pressure can be raised to something around 10PSI for a high pressure flush of all the crap that settles in the boiler, as part of the maintenance plan. Looks like the one main feeds the entire house.
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,039Member
    Finished. Nice to be out of The Pit!





    Sorry for the photo quality, but The Pit is not a photo friendly environment...

    It is an interesting set-up given the lack of a basement and no where to run a steam main. Right now there is just one radiator on the 1st floor, the take-off for which you can just see in the photos. On either side are new tees for future expansion. Then it rises up to the first floor and the steam main makes a circuit in the main hallway containing all the take-offs for the 2nd floor.
    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • AMservicesAMservices Posts: 339Member
    Perfect as always.
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 4,206Member
    Nice work on a tough one.
    Bob Boan







    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,174Member
    When are gate valves more appropriate than quarter turn?
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,016Member
    Beautiful...If I were 30 years younger I would hunt down @New England SteamWorks and intern for free.
    steve
  • leonzleonz Posts: 212Member
    Question about the riser on the left that hugs the wall/cinder block pillar.

    Did you run the steam line to it the way you did so in the future someone would have no difficulty in accessing the the boiler controls and to do maintenance?

    What made you decide to do that rather than have another riser to the floor joists above the boiler and then running an elbow and other fittings to the end point?
    Was the pipe insulation diameter for this riser the main reason for the routing of the riser near the block pillar the way you did?

    Is the second gauge that is valved off a tattle tale to check the first gauges accuracy at some time in the future?

    I am enjoying learning more about steam heat all the more.
    Its a lot different than dealing with steam in a pulverized coal power plant that makes electricity.
  • brandonfbrandonf Posts: 58Member
    Super job as always.
  • ShalomShalom Posts: 106Member
    edited March 12
    leonz said:

    Is the second gauge that is valved off a tattle tale to check the first gauges accuracy at some time in the future?

    The left gauge (0-30 PSI) is useless at the pressure this system runs at, but is there to satisfy the code that mandates installing a gauge of twice the capacity of the safety valve (15 PSI).

    The right gauge, with the valve, is a 0-3 PSI unit that tells you more about what's really happening in the boiler, which won't exceed 1.5 PSI, I'm guessing the valve is there in case he wants to close that king valve and blow down the system at 10 PSI, which would be beyond the capacity of this gauge and might break something in it.

    I don't know enough to answer your other questions...
  • questionquestion Posts: 4Member
    Why are there no pigtails on the gauges and presuretrol.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,339Member
    Hard to see, but there looks to be a water loop/trap under the 1/2" manifold that holds the gauges and controls.
    This is built up on site with Tee's and Crosses and clean out plugs.
    Much easier to clean out than pigtails.
    Remove the plugs, run a brush thru.
    If the 1/2" fittings are clean then most likely the 1/4" risers are clean, especially if brass or stainless steel. IMO
  • EzzyTEzzyT Posts: 694Member
    Beautiful install as always @New England SteamWorks
  • gerry gillgerry gill Posts: 2,786Member
    Damn fine looking job under terrible working conditions. Hats off to you sir!
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

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

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,339Member
    Is there a trade term/name for that type of water seal/trap/pigtail?
  • adasilvaadasilva Posts: 56Member
    Awesome job! It's a shame to have to cover up all that piping with fiberglass.
    AD1971
  • AMservicesAMservices Posts: 339Member
    Function before form @adasilva
    I know what you mean though
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 3,897Member
    nice job!
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