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Steam issues, Baldwin, LI

We recently bought a house with a brand new steam boiler. Now that we start running the heat we see a few heating of issues.
I've read the "lost art..." and its clear piping etc. could be better, but how bad is this really?
Can I get this running with a few small fixes (like boiler skim and new main venting) or do I a larger job to fix piping?

- Radiators furthest away are not heating / only after very long continuous boiler run (2-3 hours)
- Most radiator valves keep venting when boiler running
- Boiler running continuously when thermostat calls.
- Water level bouncing in sight glass.
- Water level seems to run low (lower than bottom of sight glass) at some periods during boiler run and then catches back up and repeats.
- Some water hammer. Especially in middle of night when starting.

It takes on a small amount of water every now and then, but the VXT water feeder keeps saying 007, which from the manual seems to be the water meter.
Despite water bouncing and seeming low for (repeated) short periods, the low water cutoff never cuts off.
What I have done so far is to crank the pressuretrol down and pipe insulation is in progress.

....and does anyone know a good steam expert near Baldwin LI?


    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
    edited November 2019
    I'm no steam expert but for starters, remove and clean the pigtail. Lower the main on the Pressuretrol as low as possible without disconnecting from the linkage. The piping is atrocious. Click on "Find a contractor in your area" at the top of the page.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,438
    Agreed. That near boiler piping is pretty awful. Also, I don't see insulation on the mains. Both of those items are going to contribute to the starting up water hammer -- but there may be issues with pipe slope too, out in the system, which you can check.

    The radiator vents staying open (presumably they aren't releasing steam, though) and the far radiators not heating until way out in the cycle suggests three things. First, are there any main vents on the system? If not, that may be part of the problem. Second, what are your radiator vents? If the ones which heat first are too fast -- too large -- those radiators will rob steam from the rest of the system.

    But third... that in combination with the boiler running all the time and not shutting off suggest that you may have that really rare situation where the boiler simply isn't quite big enough to handle the system. It might be interesting to compare the total EDR rating of all the radiators in the system to the rating of the boiler.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,427
    Good morning @carlshouse, I operate Scully’s Plumbing in the Nassau County area of Long Island. Give us a call at 516-887-1122, or visit us online at http://www.scullysplumbing.com, we would be glad to help in any way we can.
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,194
    Adding venting and correcting the near boiler piping should make a big difference. The two mains need to come off the header in series before the equalizer. WOuld be worth repairing with a drop header (do a search on here) and all in black pipe (copper doesn’t belong on a steam system except on wet returns... piping below the waterline. Brass should be used transitioning from copper to black pipe.

    On top of that, I have no idea why someone would use 2” copper. 2” black pipe is easy to get, easy to work with, and you can get long nipples if you don’t have a threader.

    Boiler should run continuously when calling, ideally a properly sized boiler will not build pressure until all radiators are fully heated, which can take almost 2 hours from a cold start. A vapor system, will run below 0.5psi. Many formerly coal fired systems (original boiler 100 years ago) were vapor system.

    Vents should keep venting until radiator is fully heated.