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Steam system fire

Went to give quote on steam boiler replacement. There was a fire in the house and boiler suffered extensive water damage. Is there reason to suspect that steam piping was damaged by fire? Fire was contained to basement, boiler room area( fire was related to dryer). I could pressure test. Just want to get thoughts. Thanks.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,927
    I wouldn't think so, unless the fire was hot enough to get the iron up to near a dull red. Which seems unlikely. That is, if it was black iron or steel. However, that said, I would double check for warpage or bending of longer pieces (not necessarily sags; it could go in any direction)

    There is a possibility of cracking if a piece was restrained while very hot and hit with cold water, but that seems unlikely.

    The boiler, of course, is likely to be junk -- or even if the block isn't the trim most likely is -- and if the block doesn't look like junk, it should be pressure tested.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,485
    Thanks. Boiler is toast. Literally. Older boiler, controls melted, lots of water damage... Ditto for the water heater. Quick visual inspection of steam pipes didnt show anything out of the ordinary.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,927
    I forgot to mention -- trap elements and valve packings or flexible gaskets may have been damaged.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,331
    Pics?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,516
    I suppose there is some possibility it could have burned the dope out of the joints too, although if you got to temps that were softening iron or decomposing pipe dope, there probably wouldn't be a structure left to heat.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,485
    Not the best of pictures. No traps. Valves in boiler room will be replaced. There was one solder joint that seems to have unsoldered
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,331
    @STEAM DOCTOR , before you take the job, check what kind of circuit breaker panel the house has. You didn't say whether the dryer was gas or electric; if the latter, there have been quite a few electric dryer fires related to Federal Pacific breakers. If the panel is Federal Pacific, do not touch anything until it is completely replaced.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,485
    Gas dryer.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,331
    OK- good idea to check this anyway. We always do, and won't touch anything fed from a FP panel.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,886
    That wire lath, electrical and plumbing metal would have melted long before the steel pipe was compromised!

    As stated packing and gaskets will need to be changed.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,485
    edited December 2019
    Assuming potential damage to electrical system. Will need electrician to certify before I touch anything electrical (hook up boiler..).
  • Don't forget to check out the combustion air possibilities too.--NBC
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 995
    The dryer fire is usually caused by lint be it gas or steam. Any gas appliance that was in a fire or flooded, must be replaced. The gas piping must be pressure tested. The gas valve on the hot water tank and boiler are toast and cannot be reused.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,516
    Wasn't the main issue with FPE breakers with 2 pole breakers that they would jam if only one pole had an overload (such as what would happen if the element broke and grounded in an electric dryer)?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,331
    They all had problems no matter what type they were. The only solution is to completely replace them. Go here for more:

    https://inspectapedia.com/fpe/FPE_Stab_Lok_Hazards.php
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Ironman
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,868
    Leave yourself an "out" in the contract that says you're not covering any piping or components beyond the near boiler piping unless specified.

    Also confirm whether you need to re-line the chimney because of the cooler flue gas temps of the new boiler.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,485
    Absolutely. Standard for all contracts. Especially in situation such as this one. New boiler and old boiler will be similar. I always advice having chimney checked out. Don't take any responsibility for existing chimney. Give them number of Chimney company that I trust and advise them to call.
  • Shalom
    Shalom Member Posts: 165
    I had a FPE Stab-Lok panel in my old house. I once plugged in a broiler upside down (it was an old Munsey toaster oven that you stood one way up for a toaster and the other way for an oven) and the tray fell on the element and shorted it out. The voltage dropped so far that the fluorescent light on the ceiling went out, but the breaker never tripped.

    The other problem with the Stab-Lok panels was that they switched on toward the outside of the box, where every other panel switched on toward the center. The result of this was that every time you switched the breaker on, you were loosening it from the bus bar, whereas other brands of breaker turning it on pushed it in harder. Eventually they loosened up to the point of arcing.

    We sold that house 20 years ago, and somehow it hasn't burnt down yet.