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Water use on one pipe

clammy
clammy Member Posts: 2,827
I thought I de throw this one out there on a personal experience related to single pipe systems . About 2 years ago (early fall ) i help a fellow tradesman ( plumber) who’s not to well versed in steam to help replace a steam boiler in a rental he owns not a dump but very well kept older home . All went great talked him into peerless 63 03 over Utica fought me on a 3 inch header and replacing all vents and mains but I won . Flash forward to last week he calls me and say the renter has no heat and he wondering what it could be he has a auto feed which he added later hydrolevel svt and wired . Says he went down and it was off on low water wondering why his feeder didn’t feed he found he had mis wired . So to answer how Much water use is normal I would say in 2 1/2 seasons without adding water before she was off on low water . I would call that a tight system not required adding water for all that time I thought that was very good and insightful . Issue was he didn’t wire it right and it didn’t feed 0 on meter . So when you replace your boiler maybe listen to the guy who say replace the radiator and main vents even though there only 5 or 6 years old and not exactly what your installer recommends to use ( anything but Varivent ) because it will increase the price . As I had told him to just replacing the boiler and not the vents is like 3/4 of a job . I though it was kinda funny and very informative on water use at a minimum for single pipe . This job had dry returns back to boiler . Peace and good luck clammy
R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
NJ Master HVAC Lic.
Mahwah, NJ
Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
Precaud

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,187
    Great story, clammy! But 3 inch header on an 03? I might have fought you too :)
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Hap_Hazzard
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 885
    Hey Clammy,

    BET YOU SET THE BOILER OPERATING PRESSURE TO 1 CUT OUT AND .5 CUT IN.

    tHOSE LOWER PRESSURES KEEP THE VENT VALVES WORKING FINE.

    JAKE
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,883

    Hey Clammy,

    BET YOU SET THE BOILER OPERATING PRESSURE TO 1 CUT OUT AND .5 CUT IN.

    tHOSE LOWER PRESSURES KEEP THE VENT VALVES WORKING FINE.

    JAKE

    If you size the boiler right the pressuretrol will never do anything......... I didn't write a book, but...........


    @clammy
    2 1/2 seasons in New Jersey and never added water in a 1 pipe system?
    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
    Precaud
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,827
    The minimum I do on a 0 3 is a single 3 any thing over 3 section gets both and maybe a 3 inch header only if picking up a max of 2 2 main above a 04 and its for sure both riser 05 and up its 4 inch header no if and or butts . I want it dry and I want it slow there should never be a though afterwards that you screwed up being u only want to do it once so do it right . You can sit down and do the formula but after doing this for many many many and a 1/2 years you go w what has worked successfully in the past ,it’s part of not taking short cuts or having to say opps . Just finished doing a 63 03 today w a cohort single 3 inch riser picking up one 2 inch main full 2 inch equilizer 1 1/4 Hartford loop pulled a 4 section Weil every section had leaks above the water line all had large rust carbuncles between the section but not dripping yet just shooting vapor up the liner which was aluminum and will have to be replaced boiler was less the 15 years old of course some one else repaired all the leaks on the mains and rad run outs w copper of yeah it was a awesome copper header it will be residing at the scrap yard . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpaul
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,827
    To jake of course I set it low ,I would have done the rad and main vent but wasn’t my job just a hired gun but it was for a gentleman I ve been doing steamers and hot water boilers for many many years .by the way the definition of many is 10 years so do the math lol most all who aside from ones on this site know me and my style quite well and know I ll freak on them for undersized headers after all these years they know no words are spoken . Jake nice to see you posting and spreading your knowledge
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,883
    @clammy is there a valve to bypass the feeder?
    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
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,827
    No by pass ,renters don’t even touch the boiler would not even know . My buddy wouldn’t add the extra fitting and valves he see no value nor would I fight him on it don’t have time for nonsense or explaining why ,I fight the fights that matter ,the other garbage will bite them sooner then later . You can’t change the world so I just concentrate on what I can change in my little world and if they want slop call some one else I don’t have time for bs or doing hack jobs just ain’t in me I,m German .i let them lay in the bed they make cause it always cost more when some one has to do it over when it could be done correctly the first time and ever thing is nice nice . Doing things right always cost more it’s just a fact of life . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpaulBobC
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,187
    Thanks @clammy I’m just teasing.

    But let me ask your advice once more if I may. How about for the 03L?

    I was going to do two 2” risers but the 2-1/2 or 3” fittings for a header are like triple the price of 2” ones. Would you go for 2” all the way for the 03L?

    (The manual calls for a single 2” riser to a 2” header)

    Thank you sir
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,827
    Paul I would just do a single 3 I know it sounds over kill but I feel w a single 3 inch riser and header the exit velocity is extremely low there’s usually never any surging or sight glass movement . I also always just reduce to a 2 eq and use a full 2 1/2 x2 1/2 x2 tee w a 2 1/2 union on boiler return inlet . I never plug the other inlet instead I use a 21/2 pipe w either a cap or reducing ell and ball valve . I remove the Hartford loop sides reducing bush and drain and install a 2 1/2 x 1 1/4 reducer just enough to get my wand in so when I wand it I let it drain out the other side to a small bucket w a hose fitting on the end to my tiny little giant pump ,I ve mounted a switch on it and as I wand I just kick the pump on and off . I use those little giant pumps w the rubber impellers I ve found they work better w hot fluids and the impellers are cheap ,I also use for hot skimming but I always add a boiler drain after my backflow on the feed . I know most just hook to the hot water heater but I don’t ant to be blamed for it starting to leak being by using the hot water heater your effectively flush th bottom which sometimes will start a leak the calcium and lime have been sealing . Even though the fitting and nipple prices are higher I look at the boiler price and figure at least 1/3 to half that to pipe it correctly depending on things .this method I used for like 20 years and it gives the Customer I feel there’s money worth and a boiler that rarely surges has low exiting velocity meaning dry hot steam usually distribution issue that over main and rad vents cannot seem to help until you have dry steam insulated main this is a over looked issue and really key to better operation and delivery . In closing I have always felt that the manafactures min header specs is just that so there not only in saying use bigger header ,most guys are usually looking to just use 2 it keeps piping costs down to increase what’s in there pocket and usually they ll never come back . Aside from the other pros on this site especially in my area most are just installed all 2 inch ,bushes at the block and if it’s a bigger boiler they will bush both and do2 inch into a 2 inch header . Like I said I’m not out to conquer the world or change the world just my corner and to make my life as trouble free without excitement and dramas . I was taught that any body can do crap work so why not be different not special just different and walk to the beat of your own drum and if people want cheap I’m not that guy just pick up the phone book and call the guy w a full page ad I quite sure one of his Srouji’s Will oblige . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    PrecaudethicalpaulBobC
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,187
    Thanks @clammy, I read every word twice!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787
    With a 3' tall (or greater) 3" riser, I really don't think you'd need a drop header at all, and with a single riser, there's no need for swing arms, so the sheer number of fittings you need to do the job is way less than it would be with two 2" risers.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 369
    As did I. And it will probably take another couple readings before it all sinks in.

    It is so incredibly helpful to us homeowners who maintain our own steam system (whether by choice or necessity) to have experienced pros sharing their techniques AND explain their reasoning for doing things that way.

    I have a general question about water use. A couple weeks ago I turned off the supply valves on either side of the M&M 47-2 water feeder so I could get a clearer idea of water use. With no gauge to measure it, I'm estimating how much water I'm adding via the bypass valve each time, based on how the gauge glass level changes following an LWCO blowdown, and how much water was removed. Based in this, the system appears to be using about a pint per day, but it's not consistent.

    On days where the boiler cycles all day, water use is lower. But on days where it runs say 3 hours in the morning, is off all day, runs 3 more hours before bedtime, then off until the next morning, water use is higher. This is akin to what many of you might call "shoulder-season operation".

    Does this make sense? Is there anything operationally that would cause a system to use more water when it is starting up from cold twice per day?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
    Hap_Hazzard
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787
    It might tend to spit more water out the vents (main and radiator), but you'd tend to notice that. Can't think of any other reason.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 369
    @Hap_Hazzard , there's no spitting of water anywhere, I've watched the main vents for it and it doesn't happen; some steam is released before they close but that's it. But yeah, it makes sense that a tight system won't lose water, period, no matter the operating conditions...
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787
    You can have a tight system and still get some spitting, either because some radiators don't drain fully, or you're producing wet steam.

    You might get a certain amount of spitting on cold runs just because the air being vented is saturated and water condenses in the cold vent, but I don't think this contributes to water loss, because that water would be vented in any case.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,883
    edited February 2020
    You lose water through evaporatorion every time the system breaths air out.

    I notice mine also uses some during the summer. The boiler level won't drop but the first time I produce steam after that cycle it'll be noticably lower because all of the radiators hold some in the bottom and some of it disappeared over the summer.

    I'm also almost positive every time I increased main venting my water usage went up a tiny amount. I'm also pretty sure it went up when I started running 2cph. Not to mention it's very close to a real 2 cph which using a Honeywell thermostat isn't. Set to 1 cph without the Ecosteam it would often fire once every 2-4 hours. So there's a lot more breathing going on.
    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
    Precaud
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 369
    Very interesting, @ChrisJ . That would seem to support what I'm seeing.

    I am using a Honeywell tstat (RTH230B) and agree, the 2cph setting is problematic. Heat seems to be generated internally when the 24V relay actuates. On days where the boiler cycles all day, it works ok. But on shoulder days it is frustratingly erratic, especially in the evening where temps gradually lower into the turn-on point. It short-cycles a couple times, each time waiting a long time before responding when the temperature falls below the set point, and then overshoots on the 3rd round. I've been leaving it on the 3cph setting, just because it responds more consistently/predictably.
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.