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DIY Steam Boiler Install

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Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    Thanks @EBEBRATT-Ed -- I have read about such situations. NJ law seems pretty solid that homeowners can do stuff. There are limits, but I know someone who ran his own water line from the street and a replacement interior gas line under permit, so we have a wide berth.

    One interesting thing is that some years ago here, you had to call the electric company to "pull your meter" like if you wanted to do your own panel upgrade.

    But the guy from the electric utility told me when I called to have that done, that the electricians in this area complained about that because they felt it was taking work away--ie: the homeowner gets the risky part done by the utility, then gets the easy part of the panel upgrade, and has the utility come back to put the scary meter back on.

    So the utility told me to pull my own meter if I wanted to, then do the work, then put the meter back into service, then call them back after I was done so they could put a new meter on my house (because they no longer trust a meter that has been in the homeowner's hands, can't blame em). I lived to tell the tale!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    edited December 2020
    @ethicalpaul. You know someone else that ran a new water service line?!?


    I also did all of my gas piping under permit as well as the boiler and water heater.

    The electric meter, neighbor was told the same thing so we opened them did our work and then they came out and resealed the meter
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,120
    In NJ a homeowner on a single family structure can file for the permits and can perform the work themselves as per state codes and laws. I always suggest to clients or potential clients that they should contact there insurance company first to let them know that they would be performing the work themselves. 

    Creative Solutions Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Lic #12683
    Co-Owners: Fred Drescher, Jr & Eliezer "Ezzy" Travis
    201.499.0223
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    I'll get right on that :lol:
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550

    I'll get right on that :lol:

    I'll call mine right after you call yours.

    The work is done correctly with a proper permit and passed inspection. I'm not seeing what the problem is honestly.

    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
    Canuckerethicalpaul
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 319
    After reading this and with my recent accomplishments working with old pipe....I think I'm going to attempt my own install when the time comes.

    I'm not allowed as a homeowner in my area to pull my own electrical or plumbing permits but I'll lean on some buddies for that.

    I do plan to correct my near boiler piping to be more similar to yours.  I might tackle that in the spring.
    ethicalpaul
  • Precaud
    Precaud Member Posts: 368
    Insurance company? What's that?
    1950's Bryant boiler in a 1-pipe steam system at 7,000 ft in northern NM, where basements are rare.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,651
    Precaud said:

    Insurance company? What's that?

    My family has owned a condo at the beach since 1977 (1 unit in a 4 unit building), the insurance company is, by far, the most difficult to deal with. They do a yearly inspection on the property and almost always find something that needs done, basically boils down to this, "Fix it or we cancel you". Some stuff I understand, some, not so much, but if we want to maintain insurance the work has to be done.

    In our case, no calls need to be made, they have, on occasion, just shown up, taken pictures, and sent a report of "deficiencies" along with the aforementioned cancellation notice.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ethicalpaul
  • jimmythegreek
    jimmythegreek Member Posts: 52
    great job Paul, better than the majority of the hacks out there would do, with the exception of the talented fellas on this site. Forgive me if already done or mentioned, but the one pic I saw quickly viewing the thread had no floor line off the pressure relief valve. In NJ they will fail you if the line is not run down to the floor level, within 6" I believe. nice touch with the sight glass fittings
    ethicalpaul
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 194
    Very nice install Paul! Thank you for sharing it.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    Thanks guys!

    @jimmythegreek I appreciate the heads up on the PRV. That was an in-process photo and I do have it running to a few inches off the floor.

    The one I replaced didn’t have one though 😂
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    Thanks guys!

    @jimmythegreek I appreciate the heads up on the PRV. That was an in-process photo and I do have it running to a few inches off the floor.

    The one I replaced didn’t have one though 😂

    My area wants a copper line only, apparently they will fail iron.
    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
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,885
    I cant see an argument in favor of that. The end must not be threaded, but the code just says the pipe must be rated for the working temp of the system.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,182
    Iron corrodes closed with a dripping relief. Non ferrous remains more open even in long term neglect situations.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    mattmia2ChrisJCanucker
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    Sounds like a very theoretical issue. I’d think the boiler would rot out before a vertical 3/4” steel pipe would corrode shut from a drip but what do I know?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,182
    Actually I see it very regularly on pressure relief valves. They are often piped off the backside of the boiler. It is perhaps more of an issue on hot water boilers than steam boilers. But I have seen it with both. In my state iron is allowed on boilers but since I often work with domestic water I carry over the non-ferrous regulation that I use on pressure relief valves for water heaters.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Yes, I'm with Charlie in this one. I've seen the relief valve piping rusted shut on boilers. Rather scary when you are coming into a space with a boiler that is a bomb... running 20 to 30 psi over the rated pressure.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Charlie from wmass
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    Sorry, I was thinking strictly steam
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,182
    I have walked into large steam boilers with 1 1/2" discharge partially blocked due to a faulty relief dripping for probably years before I got there. Codes tend to be implemented after a few deaths, theoretical is seldom good enough to reach the code book. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,872
    I was combustion testing a 4 million btu steam boiler which had 5 psi on the gauge when I got there. It had been running fine with no issues except they reported the burner was "rumbling" hence the combustion test.

    I was behind the boiler for a while and walked to the front and the pressure gauge was on 30psi. That was a shocker. I shut it down, thinking the gauge was bad and went to my truck for a gauge. Put the new gauge on a spare tapping . Nope it only had 25 on it now. Safety valve not working. Pigtails plugged on two pressure controls.

    The supply houses were closed by this time so I took the pressure controls out, could not clean the brass pig tails (I later cut them apart) cleaned the connections to the boiler and reinstalled the pressure controls with some 1/4" fittings (temporally). Took the blow down pipe off the safety valve and pried the safety valve free. Turned on the boiler and checked the operation of the safety's. The safety valve dripped a little but worked.

    Went back the next day and installed a new safety valve and new brass pigtails.

    Safety valves are taken for granted

    If you have a plugged pigtail the safety valve................. should save you.

    If you have a bad safety valve the pressure control...........should shut you down


    If you have both issues at once you have a time BOMB.

    For this reason in my opinion every boiler commercial or residential that regurelly builds steam pressure during normal operation and cycles on pressure should have 2 pressure controls on separate tappings with separate pigtails
    Charlie from wmass
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,182
    @EBEBRATT-Ed that is one of the reasons why if I add a vapor stat to a system I also leave the standard pressuretrol in place on a separate tapping. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    For this reason in my opinion every boiler commercial or residential that regurelly builds steam pressure during normal operation and cycles on pressure should have 2 pressure controls on separate tappings with separate pigtails


    Sounds like they didn't do enough maintenance on their little boiler for it to matter even if there were 20 pigtails. They all would have been clogged.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,182
    If boilers are installed with safety devices off of different ports at different elevations they do not all tend to clog at the same time.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,872
    @Charlie from wmass
    Absolutely true that would be commonsense. But the one I worked on had two controls and both pigtails were plugged at the same time.

    I figure the manual reset plugged and no one new the difference until the operating control plugged and they had no working pressure controls.

    Lack of maintenance and shame on the yearly boiler inspector

    If I had not run across that job at that exact time it would have been in the Springfield newspapers the next day.

    It was only 1-2 miles from you
    ethicalpaulCharlie from wmass
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,186
    Nothing quite gets your attention like an unscheduled launching of a boiler or hot water tank.

    In the old days it was stack heaters used for hot water heating that used to leave nice round holes in your roof and the sudden need to change your pants.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    Precaud

  • Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,182
    @EBEBRATT-Ed I was actually under the impression that urban areas would be better about boiler inspections than the rural area I grew up in. I have found that that is a complete misnomer on my part. And it's not just the Springfield area it is all cities that I have worked in so far. 
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Limey68
    Limey68 Member Posts: 17
    Dave0176 said:
    It’s clocking about 88.9k BTU (corrected) with a specification of 88.5 so that seems pretty good. 

    From dead cold the Psycho Gard low water test kicked in before it started to steam but just barely so I think in the winter it will do its check mid-steam so I’ll be interested to see what that’s like
    Looks good Paul. I normally throw the cycle guards in the garage and replace them with a safe guard 450.
    I’ve seen several negative comments about the Cycle (Psycho) Gard low water, can someone elaborate? I have the same model Peerless boiler (Installed in May this year) and after sitting there watching things happen the Cycle Gard shuts the boiler off at “odd” times. 
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,429
    I've forgotten who told me this one- maybe @DanHolohan , maybe @Firedragon or @Tim McElwain :

    "If you make the maintenance easy, it's more likely to get done"

    But this is why we install tees under pressure controls, with plugs in the bulls. Every time we come, we remove the plugs and blow into the openings to see if the pigtails are clear. If so, we replace the plugs until next time. No need to take anything apart unless the pigtails are plugged.

    As far as I know, we're the only company in the area who does this. And we do find plenty of plugged pigtails that haven't been checked in years.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2Charlie from wmassZman
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,262
    Not guilty.
    Retired and loving it.
    Charlie from wmassCanuckerErin Holohan Haskell
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    edited December 2020
    Limey68 said:


    I’ve seen several negative comments about the Cycle (Psycho) Gard low water, can someone elaborate? I have the same model Peerless boiler (Installed in May this year) and after sitting there watching things happen the Cycle Gard shuts the boiler off at “odd” times.
    The Cyclegard will periodically shut down power to the boiler in order to check the water level. The green light comes on during this checking.

    The timing depends on the model. The model number communicates the times. I think mine is a 1560 because every 15 minutes it checks for 60 seconds.

    Out of the box, it does this check regardless of whether the unit is calling for heat. So you'll see the light activating even when the boiler is just sitting there.

    You can wire it to the burner in order to use their "SmartCycle" option which synchronizes the clock to the start of a burn cycle (I think that's what it does). That way you don't get it shutting down 2 minutes after a call for heat starts. I haven't wired this yet so mine shuts down at "odd times" :)
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    I'd install that Cycle guard right in the garbage can my self.
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,182
    Never had an issue with cycle guard.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    I became a believer when I was testing my old Utica and its probe LWCO didn't stop the boiler even as I was draining the water out of way below the sight glass (I was testing it)

    When I stopped the boiler and restarted it, it saw the lack of water and lit the bulb. I theorize that the boiling water kept the probe wet way longer than I wanted it to.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Limey68
  • Limey68
    Limey68 Member Posts: 17
    I’ve seen several negative comments about the Cycle (Psycho) Gard low water, can someone elaborate? I have the same model Peerless boiler (Installed in May this year) and after sitting there watching things happen the Cycle Gard shuts the boiler off at “odd” times.
    The Cyclegard will periodically shut down power to the boiler in order to check the water level. The green light comes on during this checking. The timing depends on the model. The model number communicates the times. I think mine is a 1560 because every 15 minutes it checks for 60 seconds. Out of the box, it does this check regardless of whether the unit is calling for heat. So you'll see the light activating even when the boiler is just sitting there. You can wire it to the burner in order to use their "SmartCycle" option which synchronizes the clock to the start of a burn cycle (I think that's what it does). That way you don't get it shutting down 2 minutes after a call for heat starts. I haven't wired this yet so mine shuts down at "odd times" :)
    Yep I have the same model on my 63-03L, think I will go with the smart cycle option so it doesn’t shut down so soon
    ethicalpaul
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    I became a believer when I was testing my old Utica and its probe LWCO didn't stop the boiler even as I was draining the water out of way below the sight glass (I was testing it) When I stopped the boiler and restarted it, it saw the lack of water and lit the bulb. I theorize that the boiling water kept the probe wet way longer than I wanted it to.


    How low was the water?
    How much was left in the boiler?
    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
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,963
    I don't know how much because it was below the sight glass. There were some gallons left, it wasn't dry, but I shut it down at that point so I don't know how low it would have gone before it shut down.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,872
    @Charlie from wmass

    When a new commercial boiler over 250000 gets put in in MA it has to be inspected. I was always under the impression that the state did the first inspection and after that the insurance Co. I have been told this is not or no longer true, I have been on inspections with the state guys and they don't miss anything.

    The insurance companies .......not so much

    The last boiler I opened up for inspection the insurance co inspector asked me why we opened it up!!!! he walked in the boiler room and turned and walked out didn't look at anything "all set" was all he said

    The plugged pigtails were in the old armory complex at 1 Allen St
    ethicalpaulCharlie from wmass
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