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So many questions

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Bufonski
Bufonski Member Posts: 9
edited January 2020 in THE MAIN WALL
I had a post not too long ago, and I was met with overwhelming helpfulness. I found out my near boiler piping was way out of whack. So that has to be fixed. Now, my boiler is 20 years old, and since I moved in 2 months ago I noticed all the radiators spit just a bit of water. What kind of corrosion can I expect from pipes that have had wet steam barreling through them for over 20 years? As far as piping goes, is steel preferable? Black iron? If I'm replacing near boiler piping, should I go ahead and swap the headers while I'm at it? I have no idea.
Also, does anyway do anything with their radiators to mitigate the heat loss through the wall? I've seen foil looking things people use to help reflect heat back into the room. Anyone use those? What about some spare ceramic tile I have? I'm just spit balling here. Thanks all.

Comments

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,741
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    The liquid water in the pipe isn't really a concern from an additional corrosion standpoint, it will be wet from the steam condensing and carrying the condensate from losses in the pipe and from the radiator(assuming it is a 1 pipe system). the concern would be if you're adding water because it is losing water as a result of the wet steam and adding more makeup water than normal, the air dissolved in that makeup water will increase corrosion somewhat.

    You should use black iron pipe for steam supply piping.
  • Bufonski
    Bufonski Member Posts: 9
    edited January 2020
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    Yep my bad. One pipe. Makes sense. I have an automatic feeder and the readout has held steady since I've been here.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Black iron is best for steam piping but you likely haven't done much damage to the mains and radiator run outs as a result of wet steam. The inside of those pipes are damp all heating system anyway. Having said that, have you made sure the pressure is set as low as possible? Pressuretrol set for a Cut-Out of "1" (White wheel inside the Pressuretrol and a Cut-In of .5PSI (scale on the front of the Pressuretrol. I'm assuming you have a Gray box model 404-XX Presuretrol. If you have the one with the clear plastic front, Set the Main Scale at 1.5PSI and the Differential Scale to "1". Also, make sure the Pigtail the Pressuretrol is mounted on is not clogged. If it is, the Pressuretrol can't see the actual system pressure or manage it.
    People use reflective materials and/or insulate behind radiators. Most radiators are oversized for the actual heat loss of the room and you likely don't need to add anything behind the radiators, at least until you address the wet steam issue to see where you are, comfort wise.
  • Bufonski
    Bufonski Member Posts: 9
    edited January 2020
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    Yeah makes sense too Fred. Thanks. Pressure is low. Is the pigtail easy and straightforward to remove, clean, and reinstall? Is that something that should be done periodically for maintenance?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Bufonski said:

    Yeah makes sense too Fred. Thanks. Pressure is low. Is the pigtail easy and straightforward to remove, clean, and reinstall? Is that something that should be done periodically for maintenance?

    It should be done annually. Most are simple to clean. Just turn the power off to the boiler, take the two wires off of the Pressuretrol and turn the Pressuretrol off (turn it with a wrench on the hex fitting that attaches it to the pigtail. Once the Pressuretrol is off, blow into the pigtail. If you can blow through it, you are good. If you can't, take the pigtail off and use a pipecleaner or a small bottle brush to clean it out. Make sure the tapping into the boiler is also clear. Reassemble the pigtail and Pressuretrol/wires and you're done. If someone installed the Pressuretrol very close to the boiler cabinet and you don't have the room to turn it off and don't have the clearance to turn the assembled Pressuretrol and pigtail off as a single unit, you may have to take the 4 screws out of the bottom of the Pressuretrol and lift the box off. Be careful if you have to do that because there is a free floating pellet on the diaphragm, under the box that you don't want to lose. It must be centered on the diaphragm when you reassemble the unit.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
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    If there are things in the way of simply unscrewing the pressuretrol, instead of disassembling the box, I would buy a new copper/brass pigtail, with some unions, and associated fittings; then cut the old pigtail to make it easier to remove, and replace.
    When you say the pressure is low, how accurate is your gauge?—NBC
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    Fred said:

    Bufonski said:

    Yeah makes sense too Fred. Thanks. Pressure is low. Is the pigtail easy and straightforward to remove, clean, and reinstall? Is that something that should be done periodically for maintenance?

    It should be done annually. Most are simple to clean. Just turn the power off to the boiler, take the two wires off of the Pressuretrol and turn the Pressuretrol off (turn it with a wrench on the hex fitting that attaches it to the pigtail. Once the Pressuretrol is off, blow into the pigtail. If you can blow through it, you are good. If you can't, take the pigtail off and use a pipecleaner or a small bottle brush to clean it out. Make sure the tapping into the boiler is also clear. Reassemble the pigtail and Pressuretrol/wires and you're done. If someone installed the Pressuretrol very close to the boiler cabinet and you don't have the room to turn it off and don't have the clearance to turn the assembled Pressuretrol and pigtail off as a single unit, you may have to take the 4 screws out of the bottom of the Pressuretrol and lift the box off. Be careful if you have to do that because there is a free floating pellet on the diaphragm, under the box that you don't want to lose. It must be centered on the diaphragm when you reassemble the unit.

    If there are things in the way of simply unscrewing the pressuretrol, instead of disassembling the box, I would buy a new copper/brass pigtail, with some unions, and associated fittings; then cut the old pigtail to make it easier to remove, and replace.
    When you say the pressure is low, how accurate is your gauge?—NBC

    When we service a steam boiler for the first time, or install one, and the gauge is not mounted on a tee under the pressuretrol, we add a 1/4" brass tee under the pressuretrol and put a plug in the bull. Next time we go back, we simply remove the plug and blow into the tee. This way we don't have to take the pressuretrol off to check the pigtail.

    And every pigtail we install is brass.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting