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Steam Mystery

24

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,967
    Grallert said:

    I'm on the edge of my seat here.

    Scooch over, your leg will go to sleep.
    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
    Intplm.luketheplumber
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,918
    I guess the boiler doesn't make any pressure, if the steam won't head towards an open pipe. There isn't enough steam to fill both risers so it stays in the one that's sucking (condensing). Closing off that riser allows the steam to head out the other. Velocity is up because we're down one riser & mfgr'ing/installation oils cause the riser to carry water. Can you tell if the parallel flow riser is carrying a lot of water when it's steaming?

    Check for an underfired boiler (my guess); & verify the attached EDR vs the boiler size (unlikely).

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,967
    ratio said:

    I guess the boiler doesn't make any pressure, if the steam won't head towards an open pipe. There isn't enough steam to fill both risers so it stays in the one that's sucking (condensing). Closing off that riser allows the steam to head out the other. Velocity is up because we're down one riser & mfgr'ing/installation oils cause the riser to carry water. Can you tell if the parallel flow riser is carrying a lot of water when it's steaming?

    Check for an underfired boiler (my guess); & verify the attached EDR vs the boiler size (unlikely).

    Closing a king valve doesn't close a riser, both risers are still open.

    King valves go on the mains. Risers go into the header.
    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
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,666
    I think frank is on to something w the boiler water ,has the boiler been flushed and skimmed I seen some steam boiler do weird things when there’s oils and foaming and priming occurs .i ve seen it on parallel systems and I would imagine on a counter flow system that some stranger things would occur .i had it occur myself on a system I wanded and skim that was very mudded up ,got it steam no surging all good a few days had to go back surging titled water line water leaving boiler lwco cycling .i was a little stumped so I drained the boiler flushed and rewanded and skimmed haven’t been back yet all good ,I guess through the insulating of the piping and cleaning the water side steam production was better and flushed all sorts of crap back including oils producing foaming and priming w loads of carry over into the mains worse then before ,where the oil came from who knows I just did servicing no piping repairs .strange stuff like ghosts near Halloween I would drain ,flush and skim and see if that indeed was the sprit Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    What makes the most sense is the king valve is failed closed. It’s just hard to picture that scenario on a new valve. Next I guess would be the water quality I suppose.

    Naturally, the job is a good 2 hours away with traffic. So I want to be completely prepared when I go.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    ethicalpaul
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,555
    It shouldn't be difficult to disassemble the valve in place. You could try it with the gate left out if you have any doubts about it.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 524
    ChrisJ said:

    Grallert said:

    I'm on the edge of my seat here.

    Scooch over, your leg will go to sleep.
    Damn you're right. Now it'll be up all night
    ratioChrisJCanuckerluketheplumber
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,918

    They said there was a plugged tee at the very end of the counterflow main (which presumably had a vent at one time) so I told them to remove the plug. They did this, and still no steam would enter the Counterflow main.

    I then told them to close the king valve on the parallel flow main. This had the effect of sucking all the water out of the boiler, causing it to go off on low water, and then the water belched out the end of the counterflow main (where the plug was removed).

    The valve on the counter flow main can't be stuck too closed. The fact that water came out once it couldn't get to the parallel flow main means that it went to the parallel flow main because it wanted to, not because it couldn't go the other way (blockage/closed valve). The only reason steam wants to go one way & not another is a pressure difference. The short parallel flow main heated faster & therefore got steam to the radiators before the counter flow main did & after that the counterflow main didn't have a chance of getting steam.

    It still sounds like short of steam, either not enough made or too much condensed.

    Of course, I haven't actually seen this job or anything. I'm just guessing. :smiley:

  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 313
    Maybe it never worked?

    Anecdotally - my building just had a big plumbing project and one of the brand new parts had a leak in it and the contractor had to rush out to get a new one, so a faulty part is certainly possible.
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @ChicagoCooperator said:
    > Maybe it never worked?
    >
    > Anecdotally - my building just had a big plumbing project and one of the brand new parts had a leak in it and the contractor had to rush out to get a new one, so a faulty part is certainly possible.

    Maybe...

    But keep in mind that this is a very small/simple system. I mean, how could it not, when you think about it...

    Except it doesn’t.

    Not headed there until next week, btw.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,122
    > Not headed there until next week, btw.

    Nooooooooo
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,945
    Someone will have cad modeled it by then complete with steam and water flow.
    Grallert
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 313
    Maybe we've hit the size below which steam systems don't work?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,833

    Maybe we've hit the size below which steam systems don't work?

    No such thing!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    AMservices
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336
    @New England SteamWorks Ryan. I'm thinking there is a pretty stubborn clog of rust and sludge at a point where a tee was installed in place of a elbow or a tight bend in the system ?
    The tee could be installed against flow with a plug or nipple length and a cap at an end.
    Had one like this once and couldn't chisel the clog free. Had to replace a few fittings and pipe to get it up and running.
    Harder than rock.!!! Weirdest damned thing !
    Im guessing, but from here. That's my thought.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,283
    Hi, Is there any way to get a boroscope or sewer camera in there to have a look? :o

    Yours, Larry
    luketheplumberCanucker
  • WigglyWalker
    WigglyWalker Member Posts: 25
    Where is the job? I can’t handle not knowing until next week!
  • Bill_Kitsch69
    Bill_Kitsch69 Member Posts: 30
    edited October 2019
    You pulled a vacuum when the water left the boiler. I tried to draw this out on paper. To Ironman's question, is the parallel main taking off the header left or right in the photo?

    The gate can have gotten spun off of (disengaged from) the end of the stem threads of a non-rising stem gate valve in the closed position - hence a closed, aka dropped gate. Any disengagement or broken stem, should be evident by a valve handle that spins eternally, never reaching end of travel. In any event, open the valve and look inside. A closed gate would account for pulling a vacuum on the problem main too.

    Note: In the valve detail, the pitch of the stem threads is backwards, which threw me for a moment. In reality, these are 'lefthand' internal stem threads. (Not to be confused with a semi-circular cotter-pin retainer shaft locknut setscrew with a lefthand thread.)



    Intplm.
  • GordonGauntlett
    GordonGauntlett Member Posts: 2
    I have never seen a single pipe parallel steam system and a single pipe counter flow piping on the same Boiler. It has always been one or the other. The single pipe counter flow has to be piped into the top of the main with the condensate flow through the t back to the boiler without a Hartford Loop? as well you want to be sure all run outs are pitched correctly as to not be full of water. As well as a Steam main vent at the end of the counter flow main?
  • TitaniumHammer
    TitaniumHammer Member Posts: 8
    edited October 2019
    Lets go back to the beginning. What was the EDR for the rads? One would assume around 60-80 per radiator which places you at 360-480. Your boiler is only 196?
    Do you have a valve on the return or a check valve, trap or anything else? Was there another contractor there that got kicked off the job before you that might have done something?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,967

    I have never seen a single pipe parallel steam system and a single pipe counter flow piping on the same Boiler. It has always been one or the other. The single pipe counter flow has to be piped into the top of the main with the condensate flow through the t back to the boiler without a Hartford Loop? as well you want to be sure all run outs are pitched correctly as to not be full of water. As well as a Steam main vent at the end of the counter flow main?

    Pretty much every parallel single pipe system is combined with counterflow. Every runout is counter flow.

    If the piping is sized properly it shouldn't matter.
    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
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 830
    Install the vacuum breaker (reverse check valve) on the parallel flow system piping after the king valve.
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @Intplm. said:
    > @New England SteamWorks Ryan. I'm thinking there is a pretty stubborn clog of rust and sludge at a point where a tee was installed in place of a elbow or a tight bend in the system ?
    > The tee could be installed against flow with a plug or nipple length and a cap at an end.
    > Had one like this once and couldn't chisel the clog free. Had to replace a few fittings and pipe to get it up and running.
    > Harder than rock.!!! Weirdest damned thing !
    > Im guessing, but from here. That's my thought.

    There IS a capped tee. But it is after the drip, and whether the belching condensate came from the Drip or the riser, it still made it past that tee.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @Bill_Kitsch69 said:
    > You pulled a vacuum when the water left the boiler. I tried to draw this out on paper. To Ironman's question, is the parallel main taking off the header left or right in the photo?
    >
    > The gate can have gotten spun off of (disengaged from) the end of the stem threads of a non-rising stem gate valve in the closed position - closed gate. Any disengagement or broken stem, should be evident by a valve handle that spins eternally, never reaching end of travel. In any event, open the valve and look inside. A closed gate would account for pulling a vacuum on the problem main too.
    >
    > Note: In the valve detail, the pitch of the stem threads is backwards, which threw me for a moment. In reality, these are 'lefthand' internal stem threads. (Not to be confused with a semi-circular cotter-pin retainer shaft locknut setscrew with a lefthand thread.)
    >
    > (Image)

    The photo is not the actual job, as noted. Just an example of how we build headers and how this one was built.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @TitaniumHammer said:
    > Lets go back to the beginning. What was the EDR for the rads? One would assume around 60-80 per radiator which places you at 360-480. Your boiler is only 196?
    > Do you have a valve on the return or a check valve, trap or anything else? Was there another contractor there that got kicked off the job before you that might have done something?

    60-80 average too high for average home. 35-40 is average in NE.

    Actual EDR is 210.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @ChrisJ said:
    > (Quote)
    > Pretty much every parallel single pipe system is combined with counterflow. Every runout is counter flow.
    >
    > If the piping is sized properly it shouldn't matter.

    Yeah, we’ve seen many, many hybrid systems. Never an issue.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @Bill_Kitsch69 said:
    > You pulled a vacuum when the water left the boiler. I tried to draw this out on paper. To Ironman's question, is the parallel main taking off the header left or right in the photo?
    >
    > The gate can have gotten spun off of (disengaged from) the end of the stem threads of a non-rising stem gate valve in the closed position - closed, aka dropped gate. Any disengagement or broken stem, should be evident by a valve handle that spins eternally, never reaching end of travel. In any event, open the valve and look inside. A closed gate would account for pulling a vacuum on the problem main too.
    >
    > Note: In the valve detail, the pitch of the stem threads is backwards, which threw me for a moment. In reality, these are 'lefthand' internal stem threads. (Not to be confused with a semi-circular cotter-pin retainer shaft locknut setscrew with a lefthand thread.)
    >
    > (Image)

    They say the valve stopped once all the way open. I will open it up and check, but I have my doubts this is the cause.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • Bill_Kitsch69
    Bill_Kitsch69 Member Posts: 30

    > @Bill_Kitsch69 said:

    > You pulled a vacuum when the water left the boiler. I tried to draw this out on paper. To Ironman's question, is the parallel main taking off the header left or right in the photo?

    >

    > The gate can have gotten spun off of (disengaged from) the end of the stem threads of a non-rising stem gate valve in the closed position - closed, aka dropped gate. Any disengagement or broken stem, should be evident by a valve handle that spins eternally, never reaching end of travel. In any event, open the valve and look inside. A closed gate would account for pulling a vacuum on the problem main too.

    >

    > Note: In the valve detail, the pitch of the stem threads is backwards, which threw me for a moment. In reality, these are 'lefthand' internal stem threads. (Not to be confused with a semi-circular cotter-pin retainer shaft locknut setscrew with a lefthand thread.)

    >

    > (Image)



    They say the valve stopped once all the way open. I will open it up and check, but I have my doubts this is the cause.

    Everything points to a blockage in that main, without more info. Most likely the valve.. I have seen, more than once, the plastic shipping plugs pushed into the valves, and not noticed (believe it or not) when the valve was fitted.
    Intplm.
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @Bill_Kitsch69 said:
    > (Quote)
    > Everything points to a blockage in that main, without more info. Most likely the valve.. I have seen, more than once, the plastic shipping plugs pushed into the valves, and not noticed (believe it or not) when the valve was fitted.

    Except that boiler water had no problem reaching the end of the counter main.

    However, if the boiler water traveled up the drip and not the riser to reach the end of the main, there COULD be a blockage between the riser and the drip I suppose.
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    Intplm.MilanD
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,967

    > @TitaniumHammer said:

    > Lets go back to the beginning. What was the EDR for the rads? One would assume around 60-80 per radiator which places you at 360-480. Your boiler is only 196?

    > Do you have a valve on the return or a check valve, trap or anything else? Was there another contractor there that got kicked off the job before you that might have done something?



    60-80 average too high for average home. 35-40 is average in NE.



    Actual EDR is 210.

    Agreed.
    I have from 16 to 60 in my house and 60 is a huge radiator.
    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
  • Bill_Kitsch69
    Bill_Kitsch69 Member Posts: 30
    edited October 2019

    > @Bill_Kitsch69 said:

    > (Quote)

    > Everything points to a blockage in that main, without more info. Most likely the valve.. I have seen, more than once, the plastic shipping plugs pushed into the valves, and not noticed (believe it or not) when the valve was fitted.



    Except that boiler water had no problem reaching the end of the counter main.



    However, if the boiler water traveled up the drip and not the riser to reach the end of the main, there COULD be a blockage between the riser and the drip I suppose.

    Someone mentioned a rag - been there. Plastic plug, been there. Yes, everything is in common with that drip piped in. No place to go first, but that valve or piping obstructed. Once all is verified clear, then I'd be looking for ways water is trapped, or some kind of air lock is created. My money is on the valve.
    Intplm.
  • Bill_Kitsch69
    Bill_Kitsch69 Member Posts: 30
    edited October 2019
    I am guessing you are @ <1/2 psi steam pressure? Sounds like a job for a vaporstat,

    https://customer.honeywell.com/resources/techlit/TechLitDocuments/65-0000s/65-0287.pdf
  • Dennis1679
    Dennis1679 Member Posts: 19
    edited October 2019
    Size of header and quality of boiler water. Most likely not some mystery clog. Back to basics
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 393
    Not that it would help but does anybody know how to post a poll with five or ten choices? Winner gets bragging rights and maybe we'll learn something.

    @New England SteamWorks why is that it seems odd things come up at the end of the day when the job is so far from the shop? Never happens on the job down the street at 10 am on a Tuesday? Good luck with this one, thanks for listening to all of our theories, no matter how insane they may sound.
    ethicalpaulratioIntplm.Ironman
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,429
    > @New England SteamWorks why is that it seems odd things come up at the end of the day when the job is so far away?<

    Isn’t that just the truth though!!!
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    Intplm.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,122
    OK anonymous survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DJCBWQK
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Intplm.MilanD
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 940
    edited October 2019
    This is weird indeed. What did the pressure do when the parallel flow was closed? Since the water left it does make one think it back fed thru the drip below the water line.

    But still, on general principles, is the counterflow section one pipe size larger and pitched back at least 1” in 10’? That’ll exacerbate a water quality / oil problem big time. But only if velocity is high. If water doesn’t rush back into the boiler once it’s stopped then it isn’t getting out there to begin with.

    So we’re back to a defective king (history has had a few of those, haha) or a varmint/obstruction. Lack of water rushing back on shut down will point to obstruction.
    terry
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    Have someone text over photos. If there is a king valve on each supply then i say the one on the counterflow is closed. The water was pushed up the drip When the other valve was closed.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    MilanD
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 498
    You sure all gate valves are open?

    More than once I have seen gate valves that appeared to be open, but when pressure checked, found the gate had come off the stem, and the valve was in fact closed.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
    Hap_HazzardBill_Kitsch69
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,336

    OK anonymous survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DJCBWQK

    @ethicalpaul .......Excellent that you posted a poll !!
    Thank you. I checked the box for blockage👍🏼
    ethicalpaul