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Amateur looking to learn

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Bufonski
Bufonski Member Posts: 9
edited December 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
New to the steam heat club. Just bought my first house, built in 1896. One-pipe system, 6 radiators, two floors. Have two main vents I've found so far. One in basement, one in crawl space. Very rusty and corroded. I was hoping to get some pics of people's set up. Near boiler piping, main vents, 'y' fittings, etc. Visual info, tips and tricks. Anything to help. I knocked the pressure down yesterday, still have some noise from air venting at radiator vari-valves. If anyone is willing to help, let me know what more info you need from me. Willing to learn!

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  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,649
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    Book-wise, start with this, then this.

    Post pics. Lots of pics. If you use the picture icon (4th from the left above the text box) it'll inline the pic, but if you use the document icon immediately to the left of it, it'll post with a thumbnail that links to a full-size image.

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Post some pictures of your boiler and the piping around it so we can see what you have. Tell us the length and diameter of the steam mains and we can suggest the main vents to replace those old ones with. If they are rusted and corroded, they most likely aren't working which is why the radiator vents are noisy. Vari-Valves vent too fast and those radiator vents should be replaced as well. Vent mains fast, radiators slowly.
  • Bufonski
    Bufonski Member Posts: 9
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  • Bufonski
    Bufonski Member Posts: 9
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    As far as length and diameter of mains, I'll get to that hopefully tomorrow. I bought the We Got Steam Heat one and have peaked inside but haven't gotten in depth with it.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,723
    edited December 2019
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    The near boiler piping is very wrong, but it might work OK for you if the water is clean with no floating oil and not too much water treatment (which can cause foaming and surging).

    The near boiler piping should work to separate your steam from water droplets. Your piping doesn’t do that. I’ve attached a diagram from your manufacturer of how it should look

    Also, there’s no Hartford Loop but it doesn’t do much anyway, but your insurance company probably wants there to be one.

    A nice easy thing to learn is how to measure the total EDR of your radiators to compare it to the 358 sq ft of your boiler. See if your book has radiator sizing charts, I know the Lost Art one does
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Bufonski
    Bufonski Member Posts: 9
    edited December 2019
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    Thank you Paul. This is the kind of help I was looking for. Keep it coming. Do you have a link handy for the manual for my specific boiler model?
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752
    edited December 2019
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    I recently fixed the poor piping on an older version of your boiler. There are pictures on this thread:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/178271/steam-boiler-repiping-photos

    Your near-boiler piping leaves a lot to be desired. I'm surprised it's not making more hammering noises. In any case, it's not making very dry efficient steam, which just means more fuel is being burned to make less output.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,723
    edited December 2019
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    > @Bufonski said:
    > Thank you Paul. This is the kind of help I was looking for. Keep it coming. Do you have a link handy for the manual for my specific boiler model?

    US Boiler who makes Burnham has good literature availability: https://www.usboiler.net/product/independence-gas-fired-steam-boiler.html

    IMO the best way to learn here is to look through old threads of interesting topics and to read Steam Heating, The Lost Art.

    Try to figure out why people answered how they did. After some of that, when you read more threads, try to imagine how you would answer and see how it matches up with the actual answers.

    You’ll start to “see” the systems as their pieces that all work together and you’ll see what kind of problems cause what kind of symptoms. Try to determine what is a symptom and what is a root cause. Sometimes it’s a little tricky.

    For example: water in a steam pipe is a cause of steam hammer. But just removing it won’t solve the problem (after all, there’s often water in steam pipes from condensation). You have to address how it gets there and when it’s there. Is it a sagging pipe? Or is bad near-boiler piping throwing it up there? Or both! You’ll see people say “I drained the water from the radiator (or pipe) and now it works great!” But that is likely a very short-term fix.

    I think of the parts as:
    - fuel delivery
    - combustion
    - the condition of the fire box / heat transfer area
    - controls (operating and safety)
    - the size of the boiler’s EDR compared to the radiators’ EDR
    - boiler water (level, cleanliness, and quality/chemistry)
    - near-boiler piping
    - main piping
    - the venting of the main piping (so important it gets its own part)
    - runouts/risers
    - radiators (including valves, traps, slope)
    - radiator venting (again an important topic of its own)

    There are more parts in complex systems but this covers the stuff I see in residential systems unless I forgot some!

    I sometimes ask questions in threads but I try not to get in the way too much or hijack threads.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Larry Weingarten
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,590
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    I have that exact boiler. When properly piped and vented, it will be silent and economical. Mine is two pipe
  • Bufonski
    Bufonski Member Posts: 9
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    This is amazing. You all have been more helpful than I could have hoped. Seems I have some tinkering to do, and books to read. Since winter is already here in northern PA, this is a summer project. I don't have the knowledge or expertise to do this myself, at least not yet. And if I need new near boiler piping, which it sounds like I do, I don't have the tools to thread steel pipe.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    As has been said, the near boiler piping is wrong and I'm nor sure I even see an Equalizer (at least not where it is suppose to be, at the end of the Header, after the risers to the mains).
    I see what looks like a Drip on one main (unless someone thought that would serve as an Equalizer). Is the main with the drip that drops to near the floor a Counter flow (Main pitches down at the boiler) ?
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 520
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    I would suggest checking out @EzzyT @Dave0176 @JStar and @New England SteamWorks

    All if there installs are top notch and mimicking their piping arrangements is what you want for your own house.

    I like to read @New England SteamWorks website. They have a section on everything that included with their installs;

    Venting
    0-3 psi gauge
    Vaporstat
    Drop headers
    Oversized headers
    Both risers used from boiler
    The list goes on..

    You’ll learn a lot of what you want to do to your own system just by checking out the website

    https://www.newenglandsteamworks.com/