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Past it's prime...

brandonf
brandonf Member Posts: 188
edited December 2018 in Strictly Steam






EDR is 232 for the radiators.
And the mains are about 60 feet.

My cousin and her husband just bought a house. Built in the 1950s. They wanted me to take a look at the steam system. The boiler is pretty sad. I'm surprised it runs.
One-pipe system.
It looks like someone added returns in the basement throughout the years.
I turned down the pressuretrol and set the differential to 1. I set the thermostat to manual temperature no setbacks.
I told them to get a new thermostat because the one they have has no setting for CPH.
We still have to pitch all the radiators.
A lot of the rads have adjustable vents.
It's in Rhode Island. I gave them the number for @New England SteamWorks and specifically told them to trust nobody else with steam.
They are hoping they will get some sort of rebate from the utility for the new boiler, I told them it may not be possible with steam boilers because the so-called efficiency ratings aren't high enough. Although the experts would know better than I would. I made videos too. Will upload the link soon.
Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

"The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
New England SteamWorks
«1

Comments

  • dlipter
    dlipter Member Posts: 59
    What is CPH?
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,746
    Cycles per hour
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 3,790
    > @dlipter said:
    > What is CPH?

    Cycles Per Hour
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,746
    Looking forward to seeing it, @brandonf

    Based on my experience, an otherwise competent home inspector can fall down when it comes to steam. Mine didn’t even fire up my boiler and certainly didn’t have a clue about its weirdly knuckleheaded safety controls.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    A few pictures.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,513
    That boiler doesn't look like its been touched since it was installed. Just from a safety perspective, I would have expected the home inspector to focus on that system and/or at least made note that it should be evaluated by a professional before he could sign off on his inspection documents or before being put into service by the new homeowners.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,746
    No equalizer? Or am I missing it?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Mike_Sheppard
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    All the home inspector said was the damn thing was leaking and they should replace it. Depending on how soon they will do it I'm probably going to be stuck over there for half a day cleaning the pigtail out on the pressuretrol and cleaning the sight glass to hopefully keep it going as long as possible. It looks like it may have had some kind of heat exchanger on it at one time. They probably got rid of it when they converted from oil to gas. How about that lovely gas line? 🤣🤣
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
    ethicalpaul
  • Is it leaking?—NBC
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    If it is leaking it's not very significant. The rotted lower part of the cover is not a good sign though...
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,182
    I'd extend the horizontal nipple the vent is on and replace that wimpy air vent with a big mouth - get it as high as you can.

    good luck,

    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
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,746
    edited December 2018
    The burner rating plate has a weird error on it where the pressure ratings for Natural Gas and Propane are both labeled “Nat. and Pro.” instead of one each. Weird!

    Also, such a large range of BTU on that conversion burner!!! Is that typical?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Fizz
    Fizz Member Posts: 532
    Yes, you can fine-tune the burner to meet specs of boiler out-put as a chart will reflect gas conversion to oil BTU/hr. I actually had mine set between rating on SGO6(boiler in use) and SGO5 boiler rating to more match my attached EDR. Lucked-out, it's fine.
    ethicalpaul
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,325
    What is the existing thermostat? If it's one of the round Honeywells, it's actually better for steam than the newer, fancier ones.
    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
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    > @Jamie Hall said:
    > What is the existing thermostat? If it's one of the round Honeywells, it's actually better for steam than the newer, fancier ones.

    Nope, it's a digital Honeywell. I downloaded the manuals for it and there's no settings for cycles per hour. I guess it's made for hot air or water.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    I just added three videos to the first post.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,181

    Looking forward to seeing it, @brandonf



    Based on my experience, an otherwise competent home inspector can fall down when it comes to steam. Mine didn’t even fire up my boiler and certainly didn’t have a clue about its weirdly knuckleheaded safety controls.

    +1. Mine didn’t want the liability of operating it I think and also knew nothing about them. Actually, the whole inspection was a state of money as they failed to find several incorrect plumbing vents and a couple incorrect electrical issues with oversized fuses, illegal branch circuits, double taps and missing GFCI’s, In hindsight, I should have documented and demanded a partial refund. I normally do my own inspections but was still living 8 hours away at the time.

    My boiler did not have a functioning LWCO, auto fill, too high pressure settings, inadequate venting and tons of steam leaks, 3 radiators not pitches right, one falling off a wall and 3 radiators completely shut off. Must have been a hammering, whistling mess.



    ethicalpaul
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,318
    That looks like a Peerless JO or TW boiler. These boilers have more internal resistance than most, so they need burners that can develop some static air pressure. That Midco E20B burner cannot develop any static pressure so I'll bet the combustion numbers are horrible. Whoever tests this thing needs to be ready to pull the probe if the CO numbers get too high.

    ISTR some New England-area gas utilities sold a lot of those E20 series burners to convert oil boilers. They'd work OK in a boiler that did not have much internal resistance, but are definitely not a one-model-fits-all proposition.

    The rust along the bottom of the jacket is probably due to high humidity or a minor basement flood.

    The boiler itself is pretty well made. If they can't afford a complete replacement, I'd change the burner to a Carlin EZ-Gas and replace the internal float-type low-water cutoff with a probe-type, then add a VXT feeder to monitor water usage.
    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
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    Ohh they want a new boiler. But they're in their mid 20's and are not fans of the sticker shock a new boiler comes with. I told them to call NESW or they would regret it. They are young and impatient but I'm trying to steer them in the correct direction the best I can. Say a prayer for me....lol
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
    ethicalpauladasilvaErin Holohan Haskell
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 1,864
    brandonf said:

    Ohh they want a new boiler. But they're in their mid 20's and are not fans of the sticker shock a new boiler comes with. I told them to call NESW or they would regret it. They are young and impatient but I'm trying to steer them in the correct direction the best I can. Say a prayer for me....lol

    but they'll spend big on kitchens and baths!
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    > @pecmsg said:
    > Ohh they want a new boiler. But they're in their mid 20's and are not fans of the sticker shock a new boiler comes with. I told them to call NESW or they would regret it. They are young and impatient but I'm trying to steer them in the correct direction the best I can. Say a prayer for me....lol
    >
    > but they'll spend big on kitchens and baths!

    You called it. Already bought brand new furniture but plans on demoing the kitchen and bath.
    And they think I'm telling them stuff for my health. I tell them "no I have learned from other people's mistakes." 👍
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
    ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,470
    Some only learn the hard way. They will get a cheaper price and.........you know the rest. They will get and installer who wont read the manual...even if he knows how to read
    Canucker
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > Some only learn the hard way. They will get a cheaper price and.........you know the rest. They will get and installer who wont read the manual...even if he knows how to read

    I'm hoping not. But I'm going to pressure them.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
    Jim_R
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    Well after getting millennial sticker shock on the price of an entire brand new install. And weighing the costs of baseboard heat and a wall mount boiler done obviously without a proper heat load calculation for the house. I have discovered that there is a slightly used steam boiler in the basement to replace the old one. I don't know where it came from. But it looks to be in pretty good shape. Can you guys give me a quick rundown list that I can leave for the installer of everything that should be done? Like:
    24 inch risers
    Drop header
    Vaporstat
    Pressuretrol settings
    Hartford loop
    Skim port
    0-3 pound gauge.
    Boiler drains for blowing down
    Etc.
    I want to leave a slightly snarky list to make sure he gets the point. Because I have a very good feeling it's a fly-by-night plumber doing this install.

    Thanks in advance. I will keep you posted.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    Also the EDR of the radiators is 202. There's about 60 feet of main piping in the basement.
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,530
    You can cook on a fire, and bath in a sink, but when the heats out that’s it buddy. That’s when the sticker shock sinks in........
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,132
    edited February 2019
    There is already a reducer on the steam riser that will accept a copper male pipe adapator, that will probably dictate the header material and size, if there is one.

    Even a used boiler has an install manual somewhere on line.
    Good advice would be to not make complete payment until the install is reviewed here. Many stories here about installs and full payment made. :'(
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,513
    -Take out that Bull Tee in the main, above the boiler and drop both ends of that main into the Header.
    -Figure out if each side of what will become two mains drops into a wet return. One side for sure will. If the other side doesn't make sure that both do. If that main is one continuous loop, separate it in the middle so that both ends drop into the wet return.

    - Take that reducer off of that riser out of the boiler and make the riser a full size riser into the Header
    - Use threaded black iron pipe for everything above the boiler water line
    - Make sure there is an equalizer on the correct end of the Header and that the Hartford loop ties into the equalizer, a couple inches below the Normal water line.
    - flush out the wet returns and, if possible, make sure each end of the wet returns have a full port ball valve or at least a Tee with a plug on the ends to allow for the wet return to be flushed out periodically.
    - Change out those wimpy main vents for properly sized main vents, either Gorton #2's or Barnes and Jones Big Mouths, at the end of each main.
    - Do a combustion test using appropriate equipment to set up the burner.
    - That boiler is still going to be about 25% over sized but it is what it is. Good main venting will be important.
    - Make sure you have a good thermostat. If it is programmable, make sure it is programmed for steam at 1 or 2 cycles per hour.
    SuperTech
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,746
    It will be about as oversized as mine is, and a better boiler design than mine. I think you’ll be fine if the installer can and will follow Fred’s excellent list. Print it out and have him agree in writing to follow it with final payment pending verification.

    Did it fall off a truck somewhere? Look up that Williamson model online to make sure they aren’t paying more for a used one than a new one costs. That model is very affordable IMO. It’s the one I am likely going to buy.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    edited February 2019
    It's very touch n go asking any questions about the boiler.
    They are mid-20s newlyweds who watched way too many renovation and house flipping shows.
    They don't know anything about renovation but they will also get angry when you try to tell them what to do the correct way.
    It's basically like if they don't specifically ask for your help or your opinion, don't offer any help, opinions or friendly tips because they automatically feel like you're saying they're stupid.
    They didn't speak to me for three months after I laughed about how dumb their plan was to start flipping houses after they went to that stupid seminar by that idiot from "Flip This House".
    I was definitely right about that because they can't even get one little Cape cod two bedroom house done in a logical way.
    Some people learn from other people's mistakes.
    These two have to learn by failing on their own.
    I will still be there to help and keep you guys updated as well. 😎
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
    wcs5050ethicalpaulSuperTechAdolfo2
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    I don't know how RI works re natural gas steam boilers, in MA you get a rebate but not seeing anything for RI. You also need to have it installed by a participating contractor in MA, but you'd need to find out about RI. Assuming they have National Grid for gas. Unclear about used equipment. Their best bet, long term, is to use an experienced contractor.

    https://www.nationalgridus.com/media/pdfs/resi-ways-to-save/ri_hehe.pdf

    EDIT: just checked Mass Save and I don't see anything for rebates for steam. It used to be $800 for a steam boiler with 80% eff rating.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • Sailah
    Sailah Member Posts: 826
    Also re 20 year old know it alls. I used to enjoy debating, and "winning" arguments based on facts, probably due to Lincoln Douglass debating in high school.

    Now I just don't have the time. Some people need to learn the hard way and that's not a bad thing. I'll explain it twice if it's family, after that, seeya.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
    Gordyethicalpaul
  • wcs5050
    wcs5050 Member Posts: 126
    anyone comment on that CSST “work”...lol
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    Welp. I've seen much worse. I wished them luck with it. I told them to insulate the pipes. I wash my hands. Lol
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,726
    I like the accelerator part way up to help the steam carry water on up!
  • stlvortac
    stlvortac Member Posts: 7
    That’s a clean sight glass. Kids.. lol
    SuperTech
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,470
    Might as well insulate it then they can tare it off for the repipe!!
    SuperTech
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 188
    It's obvious a plumber did it. He's just not a steam guy. That will cost them in the end. Not to mention the boilers about 25% oversized. At least a steam system is saved for the time being. I'm getting them at least two of Dan's books for housewarming gifts. Get it? "House-Warming". I crack myself up. 🤣
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci
    SuperJ
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited February 2019
    Dumb question not good with steam.... know it's a joke......but is the reducer the "accelerator"
    brandonf
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,513
    Leonard said:

    Dumb question not good with steam.... know it's a joke......but is the reducer the "accelerator"

    Yep! Certainly will increase velocity.
    1Matthias
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