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Steam or hot water boiler?

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seniorB648
seniorB648 Member Posts: 3
I’m a small contractor in Maryland, not a lot of boiler experience. Looked at replacement of older gas boiler “Bryant” model #234-5PW input BTU is 160,000. Not sure if this is a steam or hot water system, how would I tell? Thank you!

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  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
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    A steam boiler would have a gauge glass assembly to show you the water level . Glass tube
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,840
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    Where in MD?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • seniorB648
    seniorB648 Member Posts: 3
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    @mr. Scully, with all due respect I certainly have enough experience to replace a boiler it’s not rocket science, only piping. Been in this trade 35 plus years mainly on the plumbing side although I have installed many hot water boilers commercial and residential. @Big Ed there was no sight glass on this unit it’s a two pipe system without separate zones and one circulator pump. Thank you for your help. @ Steamhead this job is in Catonsville just outside of Baltimore, single family house. Thank you!
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,840
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    Was this one of the houses that got flooded recently?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • seniorB648
    seniorB648 Member Posts: 3
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    Yes basement had 2.5’ of water in it.
    Dan Foley
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 644
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    It's really important to know what it is you're replacing before you replace it. That's step #1
    Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,840
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    it’s not rocket science, only piping.

    How about the combustion test?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,972
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    -Combustion test.
    -Piping.There is a lot more to piping then just connecting the pipes. Pipe size, pipe and component orientation etc. Proper piping materials
    - Boiler sizing.
    -Proper circulator selection.
    ETC ETC ETC
    1Matthiasdelta T
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    There’s companies in my area that have been installing boilers for 30-40 years and still doing them wrong.
    Steve Minnich
    Solid_Fuel_Man1Matthias
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    > @Stephen Minnich said:
    > There’s companies in my area that have been installing boilers for 30-40 years and still doing them wrong.

    Couldn't agree more!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,194
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    @mr. Scully, with all due respect I certainly have enough experience to replace a boiler it’s not rocket science, only piping. Been in this trade 35 plus years mainly on the plumbing side although I have installed many hot water boilers commercial and residential. @Big Ed there was no sight glass on this unit it’s a two pipe system without separate zones and one circulator pump. Thank you for your help. @ Steamhead this job is in Catonsville just outside of Baltimore, single family house. Thank you!

    So you did notice it had a circulator, but you still weren't sure it was hot water or steam.

    Odds are good the boiler is grossly oversized... especially since it's Maryland, not Maine. I'll bet it's at least This is you one opportunity for the next 40 years to fix it AND save money on boiler cost and efficiency.

    I'd first use your heating bills to determine your heat loss (more accurate than trying to calculate real insulation values). Go up 1 size from there. Now add up the EDR of your radiators. Determine the EDR for 160F water. (This will guarantee and EWT >150F without needing a protection loop). Add 15% pickup factor for insulated pipes, 30% if in a crawlspace or with uninsulated header.

    Use the larger of the two.

    FYI - my 3200sqft brick Victorian in cold Iowa, if I had hot water instead of steam, would only need a 150,000 BUT input boiler. With steam, I need 200k, to better match radiators and larger pickup factor. Only about a 4-5% difference in efficiency however, steam boiler will just run shorter cycles and lose more heat to the basement... 1/3 of that becomes radiant floor heat for the 1st floor.