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Steam or hot water boiler?

seniorB648seniorB648 Posts: 3Member
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!

Comments

  • Big EdBig Ed Posts: 1,082Member
    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
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,232Member
    Where in MD?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • seniorB648seniorB648 Posts: 3Member
    @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!
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,232Member
    Was this one of the houses that got flooded recently?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • seniorB648seniorB648 Posts: 3Member
    Yes basement had 2.5’ of water in it.
  • GrallertGrallert Posts: 216Member
    It's really important to know what it is you're replacing before you replace it. That's step #1
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,232Member

    it’s not rocket science, only piping.

    How about the combustion test?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Posts: 768Member
    -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
  • Stephen MinnichStephen Minnich Posts: 2,022Member
    There’s companies in my area that have been installing boilers for 30-40 years and still doing them wrong.
    Steve Minnich
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 1,006Member
    > @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!
    Master electrician specialising in boiler and burner controls, multiple fuel systems, radiant system controls, building controls, and universal refrigeration tech.
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 377Member

    @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.
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