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Does the Hartford Loop actually do anything today?

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Comments

  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,706Member, Moderator, Administrator
    I’m enjoying this conversation, Chris. It’s a good one to have. I often turn questions around to see things from another perspective. It’s a habit I developed during my troubleshooting days. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • The Wire NutThe Wire Nut Posts: 403Member
    edited September 14
    Humble home owner here, but as to the question of how often does a return leak, here are some photos of less than 10 year old black pipe returns that I installed when I bought my 1841 stone house 15 years ago, found Heating Help and learned that my steam boiler was installed as if were a hot water system! No header or equalizer, and half buried return with no Hartford loop.

    (Original install)




    When I re-piped the system I installed the wet return close to my concrete floor, little realizing that it was subject to enough moisture and a small flood or two to end up being chewed through.



    (10 years later)





    With Dan and John Cataneo's advice and encouragement, I replaced it with a copper return, elevated, but still below the water line.




    I don't know how many "humble home owners" might notice the same thing until their basement was full of steam and condensate or their boiler exited the roof. So, give me belts and suspenders.

    And, as the "WireNut", I love the idea of using a PLC to monitor and control a heating system. Unfortunately, we don't have many folks outside of the commercial control industry that know how to spec and program them.
    "Let me control you"





    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,355Member
    PMJ said:

    A little more control is long overdue here. More safety is easy on a PLC platform. Good control really needs some feedback from the field about when and where steam is happening anyway (think preheat sensor). With a PLC a time limit is easily put on the combination of an open gas valve and no steam. That is what I do and I sleep better. Some of this really should have happened on a commercial level by now. Disappointing to say the least. Way behind the curve.

    would high water/steam temperature safeties work?

  • kevink1955kevink1955 Posts: 65Member
    Anyone know where the name "Hartford loop" came from, I am guessing it was an insurance company that required it as a condition of insurance
  • PMJPMJ Posts: 827Member
    > @jumper said:
    > (Quote)
    > would high water/steam temperature safeties work?

    Sure.

    My point was that better control needs a PLC platform anyway(like Ecosteam). I use the same PLC it does. You then find that through many of the regular control sensors you can also automatically know bad things are happening. Like put an absolute limit on a straight run of the boiler with no steam at a certain sensor. Control possibilities are limitless and so are the safety checks.

    Many of these things have worked their way into the forced air world. They should have in steam too.
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,972Member
    @kevink1955 That loop was required by the Harford Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company to help stem the number of boiler launchings in the late 19th and early 20th century

    https://inspectapedia.com/heat/Hartford_Loop.php

    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
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 851Member
    I have a 1 pipe with a dry return, but still used a Hartford loop. My rationale:

    1) Acts like a great mud leg from crud returning form the radiators. In 1 pipe, since it’s an “open” system you get a lot more crud. The boiler i ripped out was 2/3rd full on the return pipe. I extended my dry return over 1’ below the boiler return so sediment suspended in the condensate has to go “uphill” to reach the boiler.
    2) Less pipe strain connecting the equalizer seperate of the return header
    3) Adds just a little more water volume to the low volume modern boilers and a little more mass on the water side smooth out shutdown as hte system goes into vacuum... a softer landing so to speak. My vents can whistle when 90’ of 3” header along with all the radiators, collapse into a vacuum.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    edited September 18
    mikeg2015 said:

    I have a 1 pipe with a dry return, but still used a Hartford loop. My rationale:

    1) Acts like a great mud leg from crud returning form the radiators. In 1 pipe, since it’s an “open” system you get a lot more crud. The boiler i ripped out was 2/3rd full on the return pipe. I extended my dry return over 1’ below the boiler return so sediment suspended in the condensate has to go “uphill” to reach the boiler.
    2) Less pipe strain connecting the equalizer seperate of the return header
    3) Adds just a little more water volume to the low volume modern boilers and a little more mass on the water side smooth out shutdown as hte system goes into vacuum... a softer landing so to speak. My vents can whistle when 90’ of 3” header along with all the radiators, collapse into a vacuum.

    Hi Mike,


    I wash my boiler out every fall and there's always plenty of "rust" sediment on the return side of it regardless of the Hartford loop.

    #2 and #3 I completely don't understand?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • LardLard Posts: 21Member
    Returns certainly do fail catastrophically, as seen in the attached picture. Had this been a true return (instead of feeding to a trap/feed tank) and not protected by a Hartford loop, the boiler would have drained completely in a few minutes. The hole was about 1 square inch of area.

    Electronics fail, floats stick, but passive safety prevails.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 768Member
    Lard said:

    Returns certainly do fail catastrophically, as seen in the attached picture. Had this been a true return (instead of feeding to a trap/feed tank) and not protected by a Hartford loop, the boiler would have drained completely in a few minutes. The hole was about 1 square inch of area.



    Electronics fail, floats stick, but passive safety prevails.

    And just so I understand the benefit, how much time would the loop buy you in that case?
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • FredFred Posts: 7,920Member

    Lard said:

    Returns certainly do fail catastrophically, as seen in the attached picture. Had this been a true return (instead of feeding to a trap/feed tank) and not protected by a Hartford loop, the boiler would have drained completely in a few minutes. The hole was about 1 square inch of area.



    Electronics fail, floats stick, but passive safety prevails.

    And just so I understand the benefit, how much time would the loop buy you in that case?
    Maybe an hour or two. Remember the loop is just a couple inches below the normal water line.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    Lard said:

    Returns certainly do fail catastrophically, as seen in the attached picture. Had this been a true return (instead of feeding to a trap/feed tank) and not protected by a Hartford loop, the boiler would have drained completely in a few minutes. The hole was about 1 square inch of area.



    Electronics fail, floats stick, but passive safety prevails.

    Yes,

    Assuming someone just happens to check the boiler in the incredibly short time they have.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,355Member
    Redundant low water safeties? Why not?

    I've seen two pumps on HHW. But nobody replaces dead one. Of course second one fails when nobody is around to notice heat is off. I've even seen motorists continue to drive with a failed brake circuit. The thrill of living dangerously?
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    edited September 18
    jumper said:

    Redundant low water safeties? Why not?

    I've seen two pumps on HHW. But nobody replaces dead one. Of course second one fails when nobody is around to notice heat is off. I've even seen motorists continue to drive with a failed brake circuit. The thrill of living dangerously?

    Curious if a simple, cheap, reliable bimetal switch bolted directly to the block in a good location would serve the purpose? If it gets above a certain temperature it cuts power to the burner.

    No probe or probe circuit to fail and no float to stick.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FredFred Posts: 7,920Member
    edited September 18
    ChrisJ said:

    jumper said:

    Redundant low water safeties? Why not?

    I've seen two pumps on HHW. But nobody replaces dead one. Of course second one fails when nobody is around to notice heat is off. I've even seen motorists continue to drive with a failed brake circuit. The thrill of living dangerously?

    Curious if a simple, cheap, reliable bimetal switch bolted directly to the block in a good location would serve the purpose? If it gets below a certain temperature it cuts power to the burner.

    No probe or probe circuit to fail and no float to stick.
    @ChrisJ , don't you mean "If the gets Above a certain temperature, it cuts power to the burner? The part of the block above the water level would be hotter than below the water level. If it were "below" a certain temp, the burner would likely not fire after any period where there was no call for heat.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    edited September 18
    Fred said:

    ChrisJ said:

    jumper said:

    Redundant low water safeties? Why not?

    I've seen two pumps on HHW. But nobody replaces dead one. Of course second one fails when nobody is around to notice heat is off. I've even seen motorists continue to drive with a failed brake circuit. The thrill of living dangerously?

    Curious if a simple, cheap, reliable bimetal switch bolted directly to the block in a good location would serve the purpose? If it gets below a certain temperature it cuts power to the burner.

    No probe or probe circuit to fail and no float to stick.
    @ChrisJ , don't you mean "If the gets Above a certain temperature, it cuts power to the burner? The part of the block above the water level would be hotter than below the water level. If it were "below" a certain temp, the burner would likely not fire after any period where there was no call for heat.
    Yeah........
    I fixed it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,786Member
    How about this, almost fail safe:
    Commercial range hoods have spring loaded melt-able fuse links, which in addition to activating the fire extinguishers, will release the normally closed gas line fire valve......no power needed.....all simple mechanical devices.

    This would also cover the stuck open gas valve that causes runaway overheating.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 768Member
    Fred said:

    Maybe an hour or two. Remember the loop is just a couple inches below the normal water line.

    Oh I remember :)

    I don't think I'd get an hour, maybe 10-20 minutes. My boiler has 5 gallons in it.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • FredFred Posts: 7,920Member

    Fred said:

    Maybe an hour or two. Remember the loop is just a couple inches below the normal water line.

    Oh I remember :)

    I don't think I'd get an hour, maybe 10-20 minutes. My boiler has 5 gallons in it.
    According to Peerless, the 63-03L steam boiler has holds 9.3 gallons. You'll get an hour or two, maybe even more if you consider the boiler will only run, maybe 30 minutes per hour, if that much.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    edited September 18
    So here's the next question.

    Will a steam boiler explode under most conditions from dry firing?

    Or, is the bad moment when someone tries to add water to it when the block is cherry red? Does someone have to actually try and add water, or is it known to somehow, some way just make it's way back via piping.

    I.E. Will a steamer explode just because it loses all of it's water all on it's own? Does water tend to some how make it's way back to a dry firing boiler under typical conditions?

    There's a video online of a commercial steamer exploding, I think they said a failed, or bypassed LWCO. What caused the actual explosion? Did a feed pump turn on for some reason?

    To me, this is actually a very important question.

    I know this is a separate subject from the Hartford loop. But, I believe it's important and could save a life.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,706Member, Moderator, Administrator
  • LardLard Posts: 21Member
    > @ethicalpaul said:
    > (Quote)
    > And just so I understand the benefit, how much time would the loop buy you in that case?

    The boiler in this case steams around 2-2.5 gallons per minute, water capacity is ~80 gallons, so roughly 20-30 minutes of steaming before things start getting scarier. The big benefit if all other safeties fail in my opinion is less thermal shock/things going pear-shaped slower and less violently. The boiler may be junk, but the structure/lives are intact.

    The BLEVE failure mode I visualize is a sudden dump of *nearly* all of the water in the block. The residual water is still there on all of that hot iron (and in various crevices and possibly entrained in scale) with no other heatsink anymore. This residual water gets very big, very fast—-BLEVE happens.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 768Member
    edited September 19
    > @Fred said:
    > (Quote)
    > According to Peerless, the 63-03L steam boiler has holds 9.3 gallons. You'll get an hour or two, maybe even more if you consider the boiler will only run, maybe 30 minutes per hour, if that much.

    That boiler is still on its pallet in my garage 😅

    I’m running the Utica PEG 112 (Dunkirk design) one more season, but I’m super impressed that you know my boiler model!!

    And I’m really surprised the Peerless holds that much more water—it’s barely more EDR
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    edited September 19

    > @Fred said:

    > (Quote)

    > According to Peerless, the 63-03L steam boiler has holds 9.3 gallons. You'll get an hour or two, maybe even more if you consider the boiler will only run, maybe 30 minutes per hour, if that much.



    That boiler is still on its palette in my garage 😅



    I’m running the Utica PEG 112 (Dunkirk design) one more season, but I’m super impressed that you know my boiler model!!



    And I’m really surprised the Peerless holds that much more water—it’s barely more EDR

    I don't know.
    Impressed, or concerned you have a stalker. :p

    @Fred Why don't you know the water content of my boiler!?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FredFred Posts: 7,920Member
    ChrisJ said:

    > @Fred said:

    > (Quote)

    > According to Peerless, the 63-03L steam boiler has holds 9.3 gallons. You'll get an hour or two, maybe even more if you consider the boiler will only run, maybe 30 minutes per hour, if that much.



    That boiler is still on its palette in my garage 😅



    I’m running the Utica PEG 112 (Dunkirk design) one more season, but I’m super impressed that you know my boiler model!!



    And I’m really surprised the Peerless holds that much more water—it’s barely more EDR

    I don't know.
    Impressed, or concerned you have a stalker. :p

    @Fred Why don't you know the water content of my boiler!?
    @ChrisJ , I don't like hanging out in Jersey, peeping in windows.
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