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Rookie in Minnesota

DoesterDoester Posts: 15Member
edited November 2018 in Strictly Steam
Hi All! Great to have found this resource!
We just moved into a one pipe steam heated home in Minnesota. and I HAVE QUESTIONS!
I've been reading Dan's books (and have a couple more on my Christmas list) but am looking for a little hand holding as a newbee. Unfortunately I don't see any contractors listed within 100 (or 200) miles. So i'm wondering if there are any recommendations for contractors in the Minneapolis area. I'm a little scared of getting a "knucklehead" and not knowing it.
FYI current state of my system is "ok". it works! but gets a little noisy (both expansion and hammer, depending on its mood).
Most of the basics described in 'We got Steam Heat' seem proper. Its a 4000 sq ft 1872 home. boiler is 1974. its been well maintained, i think. we have 16 radiators, all with their own personality. I've replaced 14 of the extremely old air vents, 2 are stuck/broke. also trying this weekend to replace the 3 corroded main vents (wish me luck).
I've notice my pressure gage bounces pretty good and so does the water in the sight glass (half inch or so). Is Skimming something a homeowner can do himself?
Anyway, let me know if anyone from Minnesota is on and if they have a 'coach' recommendation for me!


  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 12,132Member
    Skimming is easy, if tedious -- provided someone left you a skim port. If not, not so much. Photos of the boiler and we can identify that.

    Half an inch of bounce isn't that much. I wouldn't fuss about that, although a perfectionist might. What is the pressure gauge, though? Seems a little odd that it's bouncing around, unless it's a 0 to 3 psi...
    Br. Jamie, osb

    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
  • PumpguyPumpguy Posts: 413Member
    Try calling the folks at State Supply Co. in St. Paul. 1-800 772 2099. They have been selling to the hydronic industry for decades if not generations.

    They should be able to suggest a knowledgeable contractor in your area.

    That said, I would also suggest you post his findings and recommendations here for a second opinion.

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 6,556Member
    If you system works reasonably well and you study Dan's books you can probably tweak a few things a little at a time yourself and get it running well
  • DoesterDoester Posts: 15Member
    edited December 2018
    Hi Thanks Jamie and all! Attached is some pictures. Am I setup with a skim port? One other question is it looks like the horizontal is long on my Hartford loop? I don’t hear any water hammer, so more a curiousity. Also below is a link to the pictures and a video. Sounds like the “bounce” in the gauge and water glass isn’t too much. Is it odd to get my pressure gage goes to 30? Thank you again and let me know any other thoughts. VERY appreciated!
  • DoesterDoester Posts: 15Member
    And here is my boiler info and one main vent. (Again, 4000 sq ft, 1872 Victorian in Balmy Minnesota). I didn’t tackle the main vents this weekend. I ordered some Hoffman 4A valves for main, then a bigmouth based on this forum recommendations). Going to need a big pipe wrench I think!!!
  • DoesterDoester Posts: 15Member
  • FredFred Posts: 8,278Member
    That pipe, in your last picture (first set) with the valve on it and open after it turns down is your skim port. Yes, the Hartford loop connection to your Equalizer is long but if it's not giving you any problem, best to leave it alone until the next time the boiler needs to be replaced. When is the last time the pigtail (looped pipe that your Pressuretrol and gauge is mounted on) was taken off and cleaned? The blue Teflon tape looks reasonably fresh but when the Pressuretrol is mounted on the top of that MM #67 low water cut off, it should be cleaned about twice each heating season. The pigtail will get clogged fairly easily when it is mounted on that Low Water Cut-Off.
    Water in the sight glass looks nice and clean.

    Hoffman #4 vents are way too small for main vents. Depending on the length and diameter of your main(s) larger vents, like the Gorton #2 or the Big Mouth are much better options.

    Also, steam boilers are not sized based on Sq. Ft. of the house but rather the connected total EDR of the radiators. You may want to calculated the connected EDR of all your radiators and compare that number to the Sq. Ft. of Steam on the boiler name plate to determine if the boiler is sized properly.
  • DoesterDoester Posts: 15Member
    edited December 2018
    Thanks Fred! The low water cutoff is newly replaced, so it’s ok for now. Is there any special procedure to clean the pigtail? Or just unscrew and clean it with system off?
    Thanks very much for advice. I’ll order more of the bigmouths
    And yep, calculating my EDR is on my to do list!!
  • FredFred Posts: 8,278Member
    @Doester , just power down the boiler, take the Pressuretrol off a couple times a season and take the pigtail off and wash it out.
  • DoesterDoester Posts: 15Member
    Thank you Fred!!!
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