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Near Boiler Plumbing suggestions

DIY_Guy
DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
After some studies with the Lost Art of steam heating , I’m realizing just how bad my near boiler plumbing is. This boiler was put on this system somewhere in the 1990’s. Besides having installed a boiler that is way oversized, I see this baby is pumping wet steam into the system for sure, because of it’s near boiler plumbing.
I’ll post some of my pics in the next post, but here are some of the things I’m seeing and I’d love to hear anything you might see, suggest or tips you might have in my quest to repipe this boiler.

Probs:
1. My header pipe turns 90 degrees horizontal before going down to the equalizer
2. The single 3” riser from the boiler has an ell at just 18” from the waterline that goes immediately down to a 2”” header
3. The header is only 18” above the water line!


My proposed solutions are:

1. Adding 3” riser that goes up 25-30 “ from water line
2. Add a dropped 3” header which will feed the existing 2” risers
3. Change header ell to a down facing 90 degree down ell to the equalizer - 3” to 2”

Question:
1. If I do a dropped header it would be easiest for me to do a 45 degree vertical risers from the new header to get back to and reattach to the existing mains. Is that ok?

Thx!

Comments

  • DIY_Guy
    DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
    Side view and front view of existing header.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    From the looks of the picture, the header looks to be about 18" from the top of the boiler. If it is, I'm sure it is at least 24" from the water line. If so,that is not piped badly. I would just take both reducing elbows off and install a full size 3" header and tie that into the full size equalizer.
    It is fine that it elbows and turns at the equalizer.
    DIY_GuyIronman
  • DIY_Guy
    DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
    As I said Fred the ell is at 18” above the waterline. It’s a 12” x3” riser. You can even see the 12 marked on the pipe itself behind the gauge. You are welcome to disagree but the art of steam says a horizontal ell off the the header to the equalizer is a no no, which is why I’m thinking of changing it to a 90 degree down. A full 3” header seems necessary too. The pipe that goes down to the equalizer is 2”, which I’m ok with.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    just curious, what kind of issues are you having?
    kcopp
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,226
    This looks like a non-issue to me on that winky little 20-something-year-old boiler. When it's time to replace it, do the new piping the way you want it.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    Ironman1Matthiasethicalpaul
  • DIY_Guy
    DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
    Issues are mostly small ones. Water in the radiator vents, seems like the steam could move quicker, and I’m wondering if it’s getting slowed down in the header. Main vents are good. Admittedly, I’m mostly just tinkering and learning with this...
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,347
    There's nothing wrong with an Ell in the header as long as it has proper pitch downward.

    How many btus is the boiler? A 2" header may or may not be too small.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • DIY_Guy
    DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
    D.O.E 134,000 421 sq ft steam
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,347
    A 3" header would be what I would have done if I were installing that size boiler. Still, I wouldn't change it now unless it's causing an issue.

    What's your EDR?
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Some insulation on the supplies would help with the spitting.
    What is the pressure, (verified by a known good low pressure gauge), and are the main vents large enough? The air has to get out quickly as the steam begins to push it.—NBC
  • DIY_Guy
    DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
    EDR is around 185. Oversized, I know... Burner is running at 85% efficiency

    Mains are insulated starting after the risers from the header.

    Pressure is around 1lb max. Running a vaporstat with a good low pressure gauge

    Main Vents are new and sized appropriately.

    One of the risers comes off a main pretty close to the boiler and it seems to puff a lot. Some of the radiator vents gurgle. I’m thinking wet steam...and that the steam is battling the boil in the header area.

    To change this would be on my own time and own dime, It’s as much about tweaking and learning for me as anything, so I’m not really weighing cost against energy savings.. although I’d like to think it might improve the system operation to some degree.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,347
    What make/model of boiler and burner? You MAY be able to down fire it some.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • DIY_Guy
    DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
    It’s a Beckett AFG
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,312
    @DY_GUY
    It's not nearly as bad as we usually see.

    If you really want to change it you can. I see no issue with an elbow in the header. Many on this site have built headers that way due to space constraints.

    The real issue is to slow the steam down.....reduce the velocity. If you enlarge the header to 3" you will be fine and get it 24" minimum above the water line.

    But

    185 EDR is very small. Look at it this way Your boiler is 421 sq feet your are only using 185 square feet so the load on the header and the piping is only 185 square feet.

    Does the boiler need to be piped for 421 square feet? It should have been.

    Will it work the way it is with a load of 185 square feet? YES
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,347
    What's boiler make/model? That's necessary to know if it can be down fired.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,226
    I'd add a vaporstat and be done with it. Downfire it if you can. Move the vaportstat to the new boiler when you get one.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • DIY_Guy
    DIY_Guy Member Posts: 38
    Iron man- It’s a slant fin L30 which calls for a 1.10 or 1.25 nozzle. It has a 1.10 on it currently.

    John- It has a new vaporstat. Which I think has helped a lot. With the addition of the big mouth vent I recently added, it’s probably running as well as it ever has.


    Thanks Ed. I should probably mention this steam set up, I believe, used to also heat another floor in the building as well. Perhaps this was part of the original oversizing. My purpose of changing the header is an attempt to dry out the steam. Give it a bit more space to send moisture/water back to the equalizer before shipping it out to the rads. Less moisture in the steam.

    This question may or may not be related to the quality of the steam, but how hot should the dry returns get? These are nearly hot as the risers.