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New Steam Boiler issues (Megasteam 513)

Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
Greetings!! I am a complete novice when it comes to steam heating but I have been reading up and trying to understand things. My issue revolves around recently getting a new boiler to replace the old Columbia boiler that was leaking. I bought the house in 2016, so I am new to steam heating. Please bear with me. I bought the "We got Steam" book and am going thru it now but I have immediate concerns that I hope someone can assist me with.

The issue I am having is that it seems to me that the boiler is short cycling ( it comes on and heats for roughly 15-20 minutes, cuts off and then comes back on for like 1 1/2 minutes, cuts off and repeats until the thermostat is satisfied) and not all the radiators are getting heat. The ones not getting heat are all on the same main line (I have two mains). Interestingly, one radiator on the same line is getting heat, its just that the other three are not. The other main seems to be heating all radiators without issue, but is the main line that the main vent is spewing dirty water from for a few seconds during heating cycle. Its not a large amount but from what I understand that should not be happening period. Also the company did not, in my opinion, skim the boiler right or well. The sight glass has build up on the top and bottom that cannot be seen through and the water level will bounce at least an inch, occasionally more. So I am assuming it is dirty and needs a proper skimming.

I made an attempt to get the EDR for my house which came out to roughly 415 with 99,6000 BTU's. 4 radiators If I did the math right. The new boiler is a bit over sized +98. The next closest boiler was the Mega steam 396. It was short by roughly -19. There is no insulation on any of the pipes currently, but I am planing on doing that. Did the company install a boiler that was too big for my heating needs and this is why I am having issues? I won't go into the details too much but I don't have a whole lot of faith in this company any longer and don't know where to turn. I am in the Frederick, MD area and would greatly appreciate any suggestions for a reputable, reliable, and trustworthy company.
I have included some pictures.

The first picture of the pressuretrol is what the company set it too. The second is what I set it to upon doing some reading but quickly found out that using this setting my main vents ( both) spew dirty water like a stream. So I reset the settings initially set by the company and now only get a small amount of spew from the one main vent during the heating cycle. I need help please.















Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 11,227
    Just to get started -- that's a subtractive pressuretrol, so the picture with the main at 1 and the differential at 0.5 is the one I would use.

    The running for 15 to 20 minutes, then the cycling you mention is characteristic of a boiler which is somewhat oversize for the radiation being served. That doesn't, in this situation, necessarily mean it's the wrong boiler, as you note that on one of your mains only 1 of your 4 radiators is heating -- getting those to accept steam may reduce that cycling.

    Which leaves the question of why that main is having problems. Can you trace down the main and see if it gets hot for it's full length? Or if there is a point at which it stops heating? Also, you don't mention whether this is one pipe or two -- if one pipe, what are the radiator vents?
    Jamie

    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
  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Jamie,
    Sorry I forgot to mention it is a 1 pipe system. The main with the radiators not heating up does get hot all the way down its length. I can take some more pics but will not be able to do that till this evening. Now one of the radiators that are not heating up is on the first floor while the other two are on the second floor in bedrooms. I touch both radiators and the little bit of pipe coming up from the floor and both remain cold to the touch. What is funny, and what I will show in pictures to come, is that one radiator that runs between the two not heating does get hot.
  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Jamie,
    The old vents were replaced with Vent-Rite Model No. 1 and Legend Valve Model T-60A vents. I believe only 3 radiators have the Vent-Rite model and the rest have the Legend models. Both are adjustable. One of the radiators that are not heating up have the Vent-Rite model installed. The other two have the Legend.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,233
    The short cycling is caused be the CycleGaurd low water cut off. It's a piece of junk!

    Replace it with a "SafeGaurd" and that problem will be gone. Since it's basically the same control without that annoying feature, you don't even have to change the probe.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Ironman,
    Which model would be appropriate for Mega Steam 513. There seems to be a variety of models. Thank you.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,233
    You have to use the 120v model with an oil burner.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Ironman,
    Is this what you are talking about: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Hydrolevel-SAFGARD-550-Electronic-Low-Water-Cutoff-with-Manual-Reset-120V-Water
    Sorry, not trying to be a pain. Just wanting knowledge and advise from seasoned individuals. Thanks again.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,233
    Yes, but get it with auto reset, not manual. That can also control a VXT auto fill control.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Jamie,

    Below are the promised additional pics of the main line that is not heating:







    The first picture is the pipe that runs up to one of the bedrooms closer to the boiler and is not getting heat. The second pic with the line near the window is the only radiator that is heating up. The third is the run length of the pipe minus what is missing from the first pic. The 4th, 5th, and 6th pictures are of the pipe that runs up to another bedroom that is not getting heat.
  • acwagneracwagner Member Posts: 293
    edited November 7
    @Matthewdg73 when I got my Burnham boiler (not a megasteam) it took multiple skimming sessions over the course of several weeks to remove all the oils. My own experience is that one skim session for a new boiler is not enough.

    It looks like they set it up with skim port, so you're in a better position than most. It won't solve all your problems you've listed, but getting the boiler clean will help.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 7,938
    It does seem like the installers followed the parallel flow piping instructions in the boiler manual, and even included a skimming port and valve!
    I’m sure that more skimming will be required, which is a diy job, and quite pleasant with the right reading material to entertain you, as you drain off a pencil sized flow of water from the skim port to drain any oils from the surface. If you feel that any chemicals were added to the water, then drain those out as well. Do you have a floor drain? The skim port could be temporarily piped over to that, although using a bucket will enable you to see the water condition, as you near the end.
    Probably a larger main vent will be needed, as the air must be let out or the steam will not go into the radiators.
    Can you use a magnetic level to determine whether the mains are sloping up or down as they travel away from the boiler?
    When you change the cycle guard LWCO box, take that opportunity to take off the pigtail, and reinstall with brass unions To make it easier to remove and clean it in the future. A low pressure gauge, (0-3 psi) on the pressuretrol pigtail would be VERY useful as you work any bugs out of the system.
    Cleaning the sight glass tube will enable you to see what the level is more easily.
    When the piping has been checked for any sags, you will definitely have to insulate with fiberglass made for that purpose.
    What sort of thermostat are you using?
    Check and see if the Hartford loop height is just under the waterline height.—NBC
  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Nicholas,
    The mains are sloping away from the boiler and what you cant see, and is behind the wall, is the wet return at the end of the mains (for both). Unfortunately I do not have a floor drain but I do have a sump pump very close that could be utilized.

    - I believe the vents on the mains (2) are 3/4" Gortons (one on each main).

    - I am currently using a Nest thermostat located in the dining room.
    - I believe the Hartford loop is within (below) 2" of the NWL, but not positive.

  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Nicholas,
    Another thing interesting is that the middle radiator (the one near the window) in the main is heating up but the one before it and the one after it are not. Baffles me.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 7,938
    The Nest has a checkered reputation here, as most of us are not in favor of temperature setbacks, and there are other better thermostats which offer internet access.
    The cycle guard LWCO may be confusing the Nest as well.
    As an experiment, cross the thermostat wires to make the boiler run constantly, and check how the radiators heat up. With proper main venting, all of them should heat up at the same time. You may have to throttle back the radiator venting as you increase the main venting. this will allow the main supplies to fill with steam first, before the run outs allow steam up into the radiators. Naturally, don’t forget to reinstall the Nest at the end of the test!—NBC
  • Matthewdg73Matthewdg73 Member Posts: 10
    Nicholas,
    I will try what you suggested this weekend. As far as better thermostats go, which ones are preferred or would you suggest looking into? Thx.
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