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Water Hammer from New Boiler - Different Diagnoses

MPSteam Member Posts: 3
edited April 2020 in Strictly Steam
Hi Guys - I had a Williamson GSA 150K boiler that cracked and had it replaced by a Utica peg150eid. I started getting Water Hammer noises a few days and water gushing out of a Steam heater element fin that's in the ceiling of the basement bedroom. Also water hammer noises in a few other pipes. I tried replacing the steam valves for the system based on the recommendation from the technician that installed the new boiler. After consulting, a few other boiler guys, i was told its either caused by incorrect piping for the new boiler or the length of the pipe where the Hartford Loop makes the 90 degree turn. The piping looks wrong based on the Piping Diagram for the model. Attached are some pics of the system. As you can see there are 2 steam headers/mains, and 2 wet returns. The wet returns join in the back of the boiler and head for the hartford loop, Any advice is greatly appreciated.


    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,485
    Holy cow. That piping is hideous. Water is being trapped in the header. No way, no how, that water can make it out of the header. And copper is big no no. Did that guy ever install a steam boiler before? And have him compensate you for replacing valves that didn't need replacing. Sheeeeeeeesh!
  • MPSteam
    MPSteam Member Posts: 3
    Yeah I have the manual and it shows how the piping should be done. I still owe him some money so I'll hold off until its fixed. Do you guys see anything wrong with the way the Hartford Loop piped?

    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,485
    Fixed ain't the word. Ripped out and done again is more like it
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,958
    Well that's a catastrophe.

    Minor detail -- those aren't wet returns. They are either dry returns or extensions of the steam mains. They aren't wet until they get down to the boiler water line.

    Sorry, but as the guys have said -- all the new piping has to come out and be redone. Properly. By the manual. In black iron.

    Also check what the pressuretrol got set at. Bet it's not right...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • MPSteam
    MPSteam Member Posts: 3
    Yeah this is eye opening. I will have to vet out repairmen rather than take the word of a friends recommendation especially when it comes to something as complex as a steam boiler.

    Ok good to know about the wet returns.
    Pressuretrol is set to 1.0
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,765
    The Hartford Loop as in the drawing.......short nipple.......2" below the water line.

    The order of connections as shown on the header must be followed. Those seemly "extra" elbows are needed as shown.
    The header must have slight slope to drain into the equalizer.
    The reduction from header size to equalizer must be done in a vertical pipe so the header drains completely.

    The skim cap and tee is necessary also.

    Black iron pipe is the only accepted material for piping above the water line.

    Depending upon the number of sections (boiler size) you might need a 2 1/2" header.

    All of the above and more are points to show to the installer....they are all in the installation book.

    The use of a drop header would make the corrections much simpler.........this might be above your installer's pay grade although would save his a lot of time.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,010
    Steam boilers are not that complex. It's just attention to details. The sad thing is it's no more work to do it right than to do it wrong.

    The other sad thing is that EVERY stem boiler MFG. has a piping diagram in the install manual.

    The other sad thing is that most installers can't read, are too arogant or are too lazy.

    I can here the conversation now,

    "I have installed thousands of steam boiler with copper pipe and never had an issue". "I know how to pipe it I have been doing this for 40 years", "The manual is wrong, my way is just as good" etc,etc, etc.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    It's a mess. If I still held some of the money back, he'd have to come and do it right, like the installation manual says or I'd have to get someone in that knows how to install a steam boiler, in black pipe, with a proper Header, proper configuration (Riser out of boiler, 2nd Riser out of Boiler, Riser to Main, 2nd Riser to main, equalizer after the risers and a Hartford loop that has a close nipple connecting it to the equalizer.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,740
    Find yourself a pro and have it repipe , replace radiator vents and main vents while your at it . Make sure they install a tee for skimming the boiler and and tee or nipple and cap opposite the side of your skim tap and add a tee also where your equilizer and Hartford loop tie in . The header should be 2 1/2 personally I would do a 3 inch and get the exiting velocity down to about 15 FPS or lower . On a side note a demineralizing filter should be addded to your water feed to lower the chloride and tds level in the feed water and if your losing water due to steam leaks then add a inexpensive water meter and fix all leaks ,leaks equal make up water to much make up water leads to in some cases priming and surging depending on water chemistry . Also make sure your piping is insulated w mim 1 inch wall thickness fiberglasss pipe insulation . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 873
    To mpsteam

    Look at that beautiful drawing if a boiler install.

    How is it that you let the contractor get away with his install.

    I viewed all the comments made and the guys did not miss anything.

    One of the critical items is the size of nipple used in the Hartford loop. Never longer than a shoulder nipple.

    I used to use an x-heavy nipple in that location rather than a standard nipple.
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 607
    edited May 2020
    WOW, this installer must have been laid off from a different type job and this was his first installation. This is why real installers get a bad rap. Also, the guy needs to learn how to solder. What an ugly and horrible job. This should have been posted under Heating Hell and not Strictly Steam.
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,594
    @MPSteam , anything get resolved?