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Winter return repipe project

ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
The more I look at the end of my main, the more I don't like it. It cuts across one side of my basement to the boiler which is centrally located. At 64 inches off the floor, it is a perfect height to smack my forehead. And it adds 10 feet of travel to the main vent that isn't necessary.

Instead I want to drop it right after the last radiator runout, and make it a wet return that runs on the floor. I'll put wooden ramps on either side of it to minimize the trip hazard and protect the line. Have a look at the attached drawing that I think shows everything.

My main question is: copper or steel? I don't mind working with the steel and I don't think either will rot out before I do (ha!)

The existing end of the main is 1" and so is the wet return. Would that be an OK size or should I up it to 1-1/4?

My last question is: does anyone see any reason why not? Thanks all, and let me know if I left anything out.


1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
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Comments

  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 310
    Interesting project. Newbie question: Is it normal/desirable to have the main reduce in size like that as it goes along?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    I’m sure they did it to reduce cost. The theory is that less steam is flowing farther along the main because fewer radiators are getting fed as the main continues. It seems reasonable to me.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,845
    I don't see a problem with that at all, @ethicalpaul . One does sometimes wonder why the old timers ran pipes where they did...

    I like the idea of ramps for the trip hazard. Maybe I'll do that to one of my wet returns...
    Br. Jamie, osb

    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
    ethicalpaul
  • acwagneracwagner Member Posts: 414
    If you go with black pipe, I would do 1.25" just to give added protection against clogging. Also, consider adding in valves (both hook up and isolation) so you can power flush the return.
    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

    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    edited January 7
    acwagner said:

    If you go with black pipe, I would do 1.25" just to give added protection against clogging. Also, consider adding in valves (both hook up and isolation) so you can power flush the return.

    Yes, thank you, I am planning for that!

    I don't see a problem with that at all, @ethicalpaul . One does sometimes wonder why the old timers ran pipes where they did...

    I like the idea of ramps for the trip hazard. Maybe I'll do that to one of my wet returns...

    Thanks @Jamie Hall ! I can understand part of it, they might have been trying to minimize the interference down there. And actually, I greatly prefer the current setup to buried returns :)

    edit: OK I posted the above two as separate posts and the forum software must have combined them?? Pretty cool @Erin Holohan Haskell
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 298
    Make sure you place the vent in the right place.

    Drawing taken from my book Steam the Perfect Fluid for Heating and some of the Problems.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597

    Make sure you place the vent in the right place.

    Drawing taken from my book Steam the Perfect Fluid for Heating and some of the Problems.

    Thank you Mr Myron! I'm going to put it a bit before the pipe heads down to the floor.

    By the way I really like your book having purchased it a couple months ago. You should include this link to it when you generously and helpfully post information from it so more people can know about it. Use this link: https://www.amazon.com/Steam-Perfect-Fluid-Heating-Problems/dp/1434937569?SubscriptionId=AKIAJZNWH5IKPUNFQ5SQ&tag=heatingcom-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=1434937569

    You might consider putting the link into your forum signature as well. And if I can give you more unsolicited advice, see if @Erin Holohan Haskell can change your user name to something more appropriate than "dopey27177" because I would never call you dopey, unless it's your favorite nickname!

    Thanks again!!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    Reducing the size of the main only makes sense for countercurrent mains. In concurrent mains, the water gets deepr as the steam gets slower, so you still need about the same cross-sectional area. The returns can be a lot smaller because they don't carry a biphase flow.

    When I repiped my returns, I only made the last section before the boiler 1¼", and I piped a water line to a ball valve at the far end of that section and put a full port ball valve at the near end, just after the tee for the Hartford. I figured by making the pipe larger, it would reduce the turbulence so the crud would settle there before returning to the boiler, and then I can flush it out now and then by opening the valve and running water through it.

    I'm glad you posted that link to Mr. Myron's book. I've been collecting pieces of it as he's posted them, and I think it's time I ordered a copy. It's really good stuff. Not dopey at all! ;)
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaul
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,305


    You might consider putting the link into your forum signature as well. And if I can give you more unsolicited advice, see if @Erin Holohan Haskell can change your user name to something more appropriate than "dopey27177" because I would never call you dopey, unless it's your favorite nickname!

    Yes, just send me a PM and I can help.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 298

    I chose that name when aol first started up. The reason I took that name was Some one on line called me a smart ****. That handle for some crazy reason took.

    So I figured if I am a smart **** maybe dopey (one of three dwarfs would be funny and I would not be a smart **** any more)

    Thanks for buying the book. I wrote it basically to give back to the industry and people that have steam heating systems to learn some of the basics and maybe fix the simple problems them selves.

    JAKE
    ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,038
    If the return is a 1" dry return you can safely use 1" for the wet return. Wet return will carry many times what a dry return of the same ips will carry. Don't use anything smaller than 1" to resist clogging.

    Steel or copper (copper below the water line only)
    Hap_Hazzardethicalpaul
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 298
    how do you put this link into the profile.

    Jake
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    Do you want to put the link in your signature, so it'll show up in all your posts?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    Try this link, Jake. It will take you to the "edit signature" settings: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/profile/signature
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,305
    edited January 7
    Thanks, guys.

    Jake, we've added your book to your profile. Let me know if you have questions.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    Hap_Hazzardethicalpaul
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 298
    Thanks Erin.

    Your dads books are in one regard are better than mine I have all of his books and learned much from them in my early years.

    His books were written for people like me. I wrote mine for the young mechanics that would never see the heating systems that Dan and ran into.

    I have all of the problem solver issues and other publications wrote.

    Dan Is and was a treasure in this industry.

    Give him my best regards.

    Jake
    ethicalpaulErin Holohan Haskell
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    @ethicalpaul, how high is the main at the point where the last radiator is connected?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    edited January 9
    It's about 66", @Hap_Hazzard

    That's from floor to bottom of pipe. And it's not too exact compared to other dimensions on my drawing because of uneven floor. But it's within an inch or two probably.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    Ah, bummer. It's too bad they didn't put the boiler near a wall and split the main. It would have made it easier to run dry returns back to the boiler—or wet returns, for that matter. You could run them along the wall and not worry about tripping over them or banging your head.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    I'm pretty happy with the layout, it's quite straightforward
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,305
    @dopey27177, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us too.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    Hap_Hazzardethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    It was unseasonably warm in NJ today so after work I started and finished my part-of-main-that-is-after-my-last-radiator (or as Hap would call it, my dry return.

    It went OK and took me about 5 hours. I’ll show some more pictures later, but one thing I never noticed before is that I have some patch mortar in my floor almost exactly below the above-mentioned part of my main. So I think it used to be buried!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Precaud
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    Wait until you see how warm it gets today! Tomorrow too!
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    Oh I know!

    Here’s the result pics.

    I’m going to redo the part closest to the boiler when I replace it this spring—I ran short of the correct parts so things got a little squirrelly 😅

    Note the place for a water line at the point where the wet return begins. Easiest flush ever!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Precaud
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 310
    @ethicalpaul , your project resembles one I'll be undertaking this summer, so I'm watching it with great interest.

    As I was searching the website for various things yesterday, I came across a couple 2018 posts of yours where you were just starting to sort things out in your system. This project appears to be a continuation of that. I'm wondering if you could post a brief list of the changes you've made, to put it into context?

    Also, is it correct that you have ordered a new boiler to replace the Utica?

    Thanks much!
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    He has a brand spankin' new Peerless 63-03L. You can read about it on his profile page.

    One of these days I need to post my journey on my profile page. Too few people actually use that feature.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    edited January 13
    Yep @Precaud, Hap is right, the new boiler is on a pallet in my garage right now. I meant to install it last summer but you know, stuff happens.

    The easiest way to see all the goofy stuff I've done is to click on my name and then over on the right you will see a link for my discussions. I made a new discussion for each project. Edit: I was able to create a link to it: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/profile/discussions/ethicalpaul

    It's hard to believe it's only been really a little over a year that I've been tinkering on my system :sweat_smile:

    If you have any specific questions, you can ask on the appropriate discussion thread is probably the best way, I'll answer anything.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263

    It's hard to believe it's only been really a little over a year that I've been tinkering on my system :sweat_smile:

    I agree. You've really learned a lot in a year! I think I'm a slow learner. It didn't help that I was absent for three years, but when I look at some of my earlier posts... Oh, man. :blush:
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaul
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 310
    edited January 13
    OK, thanks guys. You're right, I haven't explored the profiles page feature yet. I've learned a lot from you both, and am very grateful. :)

    Your new boiler sounds great, @ethicalpaul . Can't wait to see that installment! I hope they delay the start of the warranty for you...
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    Thanks! But the warranty is gone. They don't give the warranty to homeowners who install.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 310
    edited January 13
    Ugh... now that sux.... is that policy industry-wide? Is it even legal?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,410
    edited January 13
    Precaud said:

    Ugh... now that sux.... is that policy industry-wide?

    Weil Mclain is the same as far as I know. Apparently homeowners don't know how to install boilers, I mean look at the crappy job I did. Can you blame them? ;)



    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
    PrecaudethicalpaulCanuckerSeanBeans
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 310
    Yeah a pro wouldn't paint any of the pipes yellow :p

    The header work looks great!
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263

    Thanks! But the warranty is gone. They don't give the warranty to homeowners who install.

    WAT? Are we supposed to have them professionally insalled by people who do work like this?

    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaulPrecaudZipper13SeanBeans
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    Yep!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,410

    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
    PrecaudHap_HazzardethicalpaulCanucker
  • PrecaudPrecaud Member Posts: 310

    He has a brand spankin' new Peerless 63-03L. You can read about it on his profile page.

    Nice unit! So @ethicalpaul , are you going to use the Peerless NBP kit, or roll your own?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    No, I’m going to do a drop header and pipe both supplies. Their kit has a single supply and standard header. I do think their kit would work fine.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Chris_LChris_L Member Posts: 177
    @ethicalpaul, are you planning to use two, 3" boiler risers for a boiler that small? If you are going to reduce the size of the outlets to use smaller risers, why not use just one 3" one instead?

    Have you calculated the steam velocity? A single 3" riser will be slower than two, 2" ones--and very low in either case. I'd be curious to hear your thinking on this.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,597
    I'm doing the two 2" risers for two reasons. I'm going to have sight glasses on them, and I'm going to have a ball valve on one of them so I can run it with one or both and see how the steam looks in either case.

    I'm planning a 2.5" header.

    The boiler is so small it only calls for a single 2" riser and header so I expect it won't be a very exciting experiment, but I want to see if PB's minimum sizing specification results in good steam.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
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