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boiler pressure cut off at 5-6psi , water level is very low... spouting water constantly

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itzik
itzik Member Posts: 40
I have a steam heat oil boiler 4 family in Brooklyn.
Few problems i have that I guess they all connected:
The apartment on the second floor radiators spouting water constantly (not dripping I mean a lot of water)
when I went downstairs I saw the boiler is running and the gauge is all ready over 5psi.
second the water gauge in the glass is all the way to the bottom I almost can not see the water...
now the pressuretrol is one year old working and set on 1.5 psi, also the pigtail is clean...
I did skim the boiler a month ago just to check if there is any oil inside.
The radiators are all pitched in the right angle... I read this amazing blog in order to understand my system and I dont know what else is the problem.
please any advice?
Also anyone in Brooklyn who really know how to figure out problems can be great contact
Thanks
«1

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
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    5 or 6 psi and the pressuretrol set at 1.5? Not good. One obvious question -- how accurate is that pressure gauge? If it is the code required 30 psi gauge, probably not very. But still, your other symptoms also look like high pressure. So...

    Is this the grey box type pressuretrol, with one little scale on the outside? If so, set that little scale down to just above 0.5 psi, which is as low as it will go safely. Then take the cover off and check where the white wheel inside is set. It should be set at 1 (again, as low as it can safely go). If it isn't, set it there. Cover back on.

    You say and I don't doubt you that the pigtail is clean -- but is the opening from the pigtail into the boiler clean? That has been known to clog, so you might check that.

    There are a number of good folks who work in Brooklyn; check "Find A Contractor" above. Most of them are kind of busy just now.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ethicalpaul
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    thanks @Jamie Hall I just talked to my plumber and he over the phone says that I probably have a clog thats why the pressure goes so high and water are coming out of the air vent. I hope he can fix it he is coming tomorrow
  • Spunky424
    Spunky424 Member Posts: 82
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    i had water coming out of my air vents. i mean literally spewing out, and the reason was the boiler needed to be skimmed. after two hours of skimming, it no longer did it, and was working perfectly.
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    @spunk424 I just skimmed it for few hours and I think its better. I have to see after the night when its kicking back.
    As for the pressure is still very high. I took photos of my pressuretroll which is set to 1.5psi and the system is turned off around 5psi and kicking back in around 3psi. any thoughts why? or how to fix it?




  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
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    Maybe it ain't broke. The system, that is. Those 0 to 30 psi gauges are notoriously inaccurate at lower pressures -- you need them for the building inspectors and the insurance, but otherwise they're just sort of decoration.

    What does the gauge read when it's off and cool?

    If you're feeling vaguely ambitious, it wouldn't be that hard to add a 0 to 3 psi gauge on the pigtail for the pressuretrol. Then you'd have a much better idea what the system was really doing.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    @Jamie Hall thanks for the input thats what I was thinking about. Do you think I can add it on the front? here is an image.Also do you know what my backup presuretroll should be set to? its seems like its on 10psi at the moment.
    Thanks
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    When that type of pressuretrol is adjusted down low, the linkage from pressure diaphragm to switch can sometimes become disconnected.
    A vaporstat, and low pressure gauge would be very useful.--NBC
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    @nicholas bonham-carter you mean I can use Vaporstat Controller (Steam) instead of the pressuretrol? As far as I understand its more accurate? is it to code? whats the reason that everyone installing the pressuretrol if its not accurate or becoming disconnected...
    wird I just got a new boiler installed in my other building and they also used the pressuretrol.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
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    Main reason for using a pressuretrol instead of a vapourstat is money. Pressuretrols are a lot cheaper! If this is a normal steam system -- not vapour -- I wouldn't see the point really. As @nicholas bonham-carter said, one does need to be a bit careful not to adjust a pressuretrol to low -- I'd never go below the 0.5 mark.

    And yes, the vapourstat is to code.

    The backup manual is fine where it is. Be no harm to setting it lower, but it does no harm there, either.

    The pressure gauge actually could go on either pigtail, although putting it on the one with the active pressuretrol gives you a better idea of what that one is seeing. I'd probably put a T on the top of the pigtail, with the run going up, then a close nipple on the top and the pressuretrol on that, and probably a 3 inch nipple, a 90, and a close nipple off to one side and put the gauge on that. I hate putting things in front of other things.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,108
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    I was going to suggest the pigtail with the grey p-trol on it. Putting the low pressure gauge with the device that does the controlling seems to make the most sense.
    But the 3/8" flex is already maxed out for length and trying to raise it would be a problem. However if you get two 3/8" flex 90 fittings, (they have a 1/2" locknut on them BTY) and that will give you more length using the same wires. Look at the control on the left to see the fittings in use. I would set that down to 5 PSI IIWM.

    I would take off the p-trol, add a tee, 4"nipple, 90 and close nipple and remount the p-trol there. then up with a nipple off the top of the tee and install the 0-3 or 5 gauge. Use brass or SS ftgs for less headache in the future.....a wish of mankind BTW.
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    thank you all for the suggestions I am going to use them. @Jamie Hall @JUGHNE
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    ok so i skimmed the boiler yesterday and it seems like it helped to stop the leak where it was but it moved it to the last line. I am wondering if i just have to skim it more?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited November 2019
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    Does the pressure still build to 5 PSI? If so, and the pigtail is not clogged, the Pressuretrol probably needs to be calibrated. Those Pressuretrols are notoriously way out of calibration, from the factory. Following is the calibration procedure but you do need a 0-3 PSI or 0_5PSI gauge to get accurate readings:

    If you see the pressure on the low pressure gauge go much over 1.5 to 2 lbs follow this procedure to re-calibrate the Pressuretrol:
    Inside the Pressuretrol, right below the micro switch, there is a pivot arm. At the end of that arm you will see a screw pin that is activated by the diaphragm at the bottom of the Pressuretrol. If you look very carefully at that screw pin, you will see it actually has a tiny (I mean tiny) hex head on it. It takes a .050 hex wrench and you can turn it clockwise (Towards the bottom of the Pressuretrol to decrease the Cut-out pressure or counter clockwise to increase the cut-out pressure (which none of us want to do but who knows, your Pressuretrol may be really screwed up!). Turn the power to the unit off first. You may find the first attempt to turn that screw a little bit stubborn (relatively speaking) because it has some Locktite on it but it does turn. (If you absolutely can't get it to turn, use a small soldering iron to melt the Locktite.) Don't turn too much, a tiny fraction of a turn goes a long way towards getting it adjusted where you want it (maybe 1/32 inch turn to start with) . You may need to play with it to get it exactly where you want cut out to be.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,921
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    @Jamie Hall I would expect the Pressuretrol to be wrong over the 30 PSI gauge.

    The 30 PSI gauges aren't great, but they aren't going to say 5+ PSI at 1-2 PSI. At least not in my experience.
    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
  • Chris_L
    Chris_L Member Posts: 336
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    I agree with @ChrisJ. That has been my experience too.

    It looks like there is a secondary pressuretrol with a manual reset on it. To test the primary--or its pigtail--why not just set the secondary to what the primary should be set to, say cutout at 1.5 psi? If the boiler then shuts off and doesn't come back on until reset, you know the primary pressuretrol has a problem or its pigtail is clogged.

    And watch the pressure gauge to see at what pressure the boiler shuts off. I am guessing much less than 5 psi.
    Grallert
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
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    Boiler pressure should be set at 2.5 Psi cut out and 1 Psi cut in.

    Prefer a vapor stat.

    Check to see if the piping below the floor for the rads that are spiting has good pitch.

    To check this try to raise the rad with a crow bar where the pipe comes thru the floor. if the rads move up put wedges beneath the legs and pitch rads accordingly.

    Before you do this make sure the rad valves are fully open. If you have a wet return disconnect piping and clean out the mud, do this with the piping from the hartford loop and into the boiler. Check to see if there is mud in the bottom of the boiler.

    Jake

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,921
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    Boiler pressure should be set at 2.5 Psi cut out and 1 Psi cut in.

    Prefer a vapor stat.

    Check to see if the piping below the floor for the rads that are spiting has good pitch.

    To check this try to raise the rad with a crow bar where the pipe comes thru the floor. if the rads move up put wedges beneath the legs and pitch rads accordingly.

    Before you do this make sure the rad valves are fully open. If you have a wet return disconnect piping and clean out the mud, do this with the piping from the hartford loop and into the boiler. Check to see if there is mud in the bottom of the boiler.

    Jake

    Hi Jake,

    Why 2.5 PSI?
    Why not 2.25 or 2.75?
    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
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
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    With all due respect I disagree. Entirely. No residential heating system needs to run on more than 1.5 psi. Indeed, there are many systems which run exceedingly poorly, if at all, at any pressure over 0.5 psi (8 ounces) -- any vapour system.

    As it happens, the standard Honeywell pressuretrol can't be accurately set to less than 1.5 for a cutout. And, perhaps our OP's pressuretrol is out of calibration -- the only way I'd want to say that for sure, though, would be by comparison with a good low pressure gauge.

    Which is why I asked what the gauge read when the system was cold.

    If one is considering a vapourstat, though, one should be aware that they come in two broad flavours: a 0 to 4 psi range, meant for conventional steam systems, and a 0 to 16 ounce flavour meant for vapour systems. It is wise to get the correct one for the application.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    @Jamie Hall when its off its on 0-1. ill say 0
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
    edited November 2019
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    itzik said:

    @Jamie Hall when its off its on 0-1. ill say 0

    Step in the right direction! So that pressuretrol may be out of whack... it happens.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    Ok so i skimmed the hell out of this boiler again for almost 6 hours. Then flushed the return until I got clear water my return is 60ft long. then drain all the water again, refilled and skimmed for under 30 minutes. no leaks so far!
    I hope that was the problem. This boiler never got skimmed for over 10 years.
    now my water are rusty, but I guess there is no way solve that as you put water into iron boiler....
    I still would like to address the pressure as I think thats not healthy.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,921
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    itzik said:

    Ok so i skimmed the hell out of this boiler again for almost 6 hours. Then flushed the return until I got clear water my return is 60ft long. then drain all the water again, refilled and skimmed for under 30 minutes. no leaks so far!
    I hope that was the problem. This boiler never got skimmed for over 10 years.
    now my water are rusty, but I guess there is no way solve that as you put water into iron boiler....
    I still would like to address the pressure as I think thats not healthy.

    I run Steamaster in my boiler, no rust.
    If you can find them they work great but only use 1 or 2 pills at the most.

    I hear Rectorseal 8 way is very similar as well.

    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
    BobC
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    I'm a SteamMaster user too. I might give Rectorseal 8 a try when I use up my SteamMaster tabs. It sounds like the same thing in a liquid form, which is easier to manage.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    I'm a Steamaster user too but I have to say, as I put the tablets in, this heating season, in the back of my mind I questioned if they are still effective. There is typically a shelf life to most chemicals and most of us have bottles of the stuff that are several years old now. The dye probably will tint forever but that doesn't necessarily mean the other chemicals are still as effective at doing their job??
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    They're just inorganic chemicals. As long as they're stored in an air-tight container they should be fine.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ChrisJ
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,716
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    anyone look at that armor flex where it meets the Jbox, from the Ptrol ?
    It looks like it's kinked, and then taped over, (metal duct tape)
    could it be shorting wires there,
    and the boiler is just ,
    running ?
    known to beat dead horses
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    @Jamie Hall i am looking into this Vaporstat Controllers, 0 psi to 4 psi L408J1017. its says on the specs not for steam
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Honeywell-L408J1017-Vaporstat-Controllers-0-psi-to-4-psi

    the one 0-16 they are promoting as steam
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Honeywell-L408J1009-Vaporstat-Controller-Steam-0-to-16-oz-in2

    ?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
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    How's that again? That 0 to 4 is fine on steam. Perhaps the note that it is for vapour systems is confusing? Vapour system simply refers to steam systems operating on particularly low pressures.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Harry_6
    Harry_6 Member Posts: 141
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    For my two-cent's worth, if the pigtails and manifold are clear, get a new 0-4 psi vaporstat (ditch the crappy pressuretrol) and 0-3 psi gauge (in addition to the 0-30 psi existing) and call it a day. Set it to .5-1.5 psi and you should be golden.
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    ok I just got in the mail a Vaporstat but how do I set it?
    I see the main probebly need to be on 1.5 psi but what the Diff should be set to?
    I see its says subtractive so should it be set to the lowest number 1?
    or i go by the kpa so its should be set to 6 on the kpa side. kind of confusing....



    @Jamie Hall as for the extra gauge you suggested I should put few days ago you mean something like that


    By the way. I have another pressuretrol in a another building and yesterday I decided to look what it does. Its set for 1.5psi. Its new and the boiler was just installed 4 months ago. Its stoping at 3psi. So far from my experience all of those pressuretrol are not accurate. I hope this vaporstat will do better


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
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    I'd set the vapourstat at 1.5 on the main scale -- to start with -- and I like, for no particular reason, to set the differential at half the coutout, or about 0.7. Just for starters. You can play later...

    That sketch of the fittings for the pressure control and the pressure gauge is exactly what I would do (and have done).

    And yes, it isn't uncommon for pressuretrols and vapourstats to be out of calibration these days. Sadly. They do have calibration adjustments, and someone (I forget who now) has posted the procedure for pressuretrols. You need an accurate low pressure gauge, though, for the procedure.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    0.7?
    @Jamie Hall like that?


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited November 2019
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    No, the Differential should be set at 7 (between the 6 & 8, on the ounce side of the scale. Also, Use the top and bottom wire posts on the Vaporstat for wiring. The center post is not wired.
    Also, here is the procedure to re-calibrate the Pressuretrol. As Jamie said, you need a low pressure gauge to calibrate correctly.

    . If you see the pressure on the low pressure gauge go much over 1.5 to 2 lbs follow this procedure to re-calibrate the Pressuretrol:
    Inside the Pressuretrol, right below the micro switch, there is a pivot arm. At the end of that arm you will see a screw pin that is activated by the diaphragm at the bottom of the Pressuretrol. If you look very carefully at that screw pin, you will see it actually has a tiny (I mean tiny) hex head on it. It takes a .050 hex wrench and you can turn it clockwise (Towards the bottom of the Pressuretrol to decrease the Cut-out pressure or counter clockwise to increase the cut-out pressure (which none of us want to do but who knows, your Pressuretrol may be really screwed up!). Turn the power to the unit off first. You may find the first attempt to turn that screw a little bit stubborn (relatively speaking) because it has some Locktite on it but it does turn. Don't turn too much, a tiny fraction of a turn goes a long way towards getting it adjusted where you want it (maybe 1/32 inch turn to start with) . You may need to play with it to get it exactly where you want cut out to be.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,795
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    No, he means .7 psi. You are at 7 kPa.

    .7psi would be about 11 ounces/sq inch using the far left scale but really anywhere around there should be fine

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    No, he means .7 psi. You are at 7 kPa.

    .7psi would be about 11 ounces/sq inch using the far left scale but really anywhere around there should be fine

    His Main is set at 1.5 PSI. His Differential should be set at 7 ounces.
  • itzik
    itzik Member Posts: 40
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    ok i got it. Its 3 kpa. I just used a convertor.
    Then 3 kpa = 0.5psi = 6.9 oz per sqft
    which make sense all the same.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,921
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    Since everyone is arguing over it,
    Why should is minimal be set 7-14 times higher than what I heat my house with?

    Why not set that at 1-2 ounces?
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,795
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    Fred said:

    No, he means .7 psi. You are at 7 kPa.

    .7psi would be about 11 ounces/sq inch using the far left scale but really anywhere around there should be fine

    His Main is set at 1.5 PSI. His Differential should be set at 7 ounces.
    Hi Fred :)

    That is a fine setting, but I was just being consistent with the statement of @Jamie Hall below:

    > I'd set the vapourstat at 1.5 on the main scale -- to start with -- and I like, for no particular reason, to set the differential at half the coutout, or about 0.7. Just for starters. You can play later...

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
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    The pressure at which the vapourstat should be set, @ChrisJ , will be different for different systems. It depends very much on the system.

    If you have a low pressure gauge, and if you are patient, and if the system really is adequately vented, there is a definite procedure for optimum setting, however, as follows:

    Start with the boiler cold. Turn on the boiler and observe the gauge. The pressure will rise as the boiler starts to make steam. At some point in the proceedings, the pressure will stop rising, or will continue to rise but at a much slower rate. This is the real out in the field pressure which is required, at the pressure gauge (and at the vapourstat, since they should be on the same pigtail)m to cause the steam produced by the boiler to overcome the friction loss in the piping to reach the radiation. Continue being patient. This plateau, or near plateau, will continue until all the radiation is receiving as much steam as it can condense. In almost all cases, the boiler is actually producing more steam than can be condensed, however. Thus, at this point the pressure will start to rise again at a faster rate -- but the energy just goes into compressing the steam. This is the point at which the vapourstat should cut out; for a margin of variability, I like to add a couple of ounces to the pressure at which it starts to rise more quickly (the additional run time will be small). There is one caution on this: some vapour systems will have a device, such as a Hoffman Differential Loop, which also has a minimum trip pressure; the vapourstat setting must be below that pressure. This is not, usually, a problem. Now the cutin pressure can be anything convenient below the cutout -- I use half the cutout as a simple mindless place to go. If the burner control in use has a post-purge and pre-purge, in almost all cases the cutin will be reached before the burner has cycled through the purges and thus is actually irrelevant, provided the system does cut back in!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ethicalpaul
  • Chris_L
    Chris_L Member Posts: 336
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    I just noticed how Honeywell mashed up the pressure units on this vapourstat--oz/in2 and kPa on the Diff and (reverse the order) kPa and PSI (pounds/in2) on the Main. Wouldn't it be clearer to use the same units in the same order on both scales?

    But what I really want to know is if 16 oz/in2 (1 PSI) equals approximately 7 kPa on the Diff scale, and it does according to my converter, why does 1 PSI line up with 5 kPa on the Main scale? Am I missing something?