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First post, new EGH-95!

Hi folks, 
I’ve enjoyed my reading here on the site,  so I thought I’d share some pics of my new EGH-95 Steam boiler, installed two weeks ago. 

The house is around 4,500 square feet,  2.5 stories with 20 radiators and 850 sq.ft of steam, built in 1896 and from what I can tell, uninsulated.  Still, I think there are too many radiators on the ground floor (8!) and last year had the steam feed valves on the largest ones closed with no issues,  but it’s a little too late for that at this point. 

The chimney was unlined and not really possible to line it, so the boiler vents through a Tjerlund power vent.   There is a Saf-Gard lwco,  Vxt-120 feeder,  Two 3 inch risers that lead to a 4 inch distributor with 4 mains. 

Main venting is via 3 Gorton #1s  near the boiler at the end of their long runs (50-70 feet) and one small bullet shaped vent that looks way too small to me.  This main is also pretty slow to heat. 

The reason for the project was an oil to gas conversion.  The old boiler (WM Gold Oil with 830 sq ft of steam) worked fine but was 20 years old and the cost of oil was almost $1k per month in winter here in NJ.     The old boiler also had some questionable stuff like a single 2inch copper riser and a tankless coil that was nearing end of life at 10 years.   Two 50gallon direct vent hot water heaters replaced the tankless coil. 

Now that the new boiler is in place, the heating performance hasn’t improved or deteriorated.   The rads on the first floor get hot fast,  but the second floor has two rads in adjacent rooms that don’t heat up well in a typical 10 min firing time, so I’ll be experimenting with Gorton “D” vents.  The third floor rads seem to work well. 

Glad I found the site as I’m sure I’ll have questions.  Thanks for reading!




ethicalpaul

Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    edited October 13
    Hi and welcome fellow NJ resident! What town? Who installed it? Things look reasonable but I don’t recognize the work, so I’m curious. Here come lots more questions!

    Why do you think there are too many radiators on the ground floor? Does it get too warm in those rooms? What are the radiator vents currently installed? Rather than make your 2nd floor faster, think about making your first floor vent slower, but only think for now—slow changes are key. I take it your radiators have one pipe attached to each one?

     “last year had the steam feed valves on the largest ones closed with no issues”? How many? How many sq ft? Did you close them because the rooms were too hot? What size vents are on those?

    I’m so glad you know your sq ft of radiation. How was this number arrived at? Your new boiler is a little bigger than your radiation, but if that 850 is accurate it’s not bad at all (depending on how many rads you have turned off) Did your contractor talk about options?

    I will say I’m inclined to advise opening those valves and slowing the vents on those first floor rads (or even covering some rads with blankets and/or enclosures), to provide more even slow heat with a better sq ft match to your boiler. I mean, the cast iron is already there—it might as well be emanating comfortable warmth.

    How long are the mains and what size pipe? Can we see photos of each of your main vents in situ? I see two of them. Ideally your installer would have sized/checked/replaced your main vents. They are quite important and can help your steam distribution. Are your mains copper at the end? Are they black pipe anywhere?

    Can we see a pic of how the 4 mains get their steam? I see only a single steam riser off the header. I imagine there is a second header which originally was probably the only header (boilers are physically smaller today vs 1896).

    Can we see pics of your controls? It may be hard because your installer put them 10” from a wall but it would be worthwhile. Do it while the boiler is in the middle of a call for heat if you can, I’m curious what pressure it runs at. Does it cycle on pressure during a heating cycle?

    I’m glad you separated your hot water from the boiler, what a horrible idea it was to ever combine those.

    I recommend buying Dan’s books from this site immediately, you’ll find lots to learn there. We Got Steam Heat is a good starter, but I started right out with The Lost Art Revisited https://heatinghelp.com/store/

    Overall I like what I see, and that is rare because people come here often with problems in a new or old system even though steam systems are very straightforward usually.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,496
    Neat work. You increased to 4" too late, though. The boiler takeoffs should be connecting to a 4" header on the EGH-125. How did you connect the 120-volt water feeder to your 24-volt low water cut off?
    For troubleshooting and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is the Boilers and Hydronic Heating Systems Course Instructor at NYC's Mechanics Institute, a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
    For residential service and installations in New Jersey, please see Toro Plumbing & Mechanical and fill out our contacts page, upload pics, and submit, or call (973-672-1000).
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,424
    Your main venting is surely inadequate for such a large system. How many mains do you have? It appears to be 2, that are tee'd together at the beginning. If each is 50'-70' long I would suggest you need at least 2 Gorton #2 vents per main. Your system is imbalanced and that is why you think there are too many rads on the first floor, they heat first and for a longer period than the rest so you are getting your current performance. This is also wasting fuel, which is a complaint you mentioned.

    After main venting you can look at radiator vents. You mention D vents, and you might need those on the third floor, but I doubt anywhere else, and again don't do that until the main venting is good. This is a process and it starts in the basement and goes up from there. Putting a large vent on a rad to make up for inadequate main venting won't get you what you want.

    Oh and as a function of balancing you need to open up all those closed radiators.
    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    JohnNY said:
    Neat work. You increased to 4" too late, though. The boiler takeoffs should be connecting to a 4" header on the EGH-125. How did you connect the 120-volt water feeder to your 24-volt low water cut off?
    He has an EGH-95, though, he says. It looks like WM suggests twin 2” risers to a 3” header.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,412
    It does look like a nice neat job -- for a change. The only comment I'd add to all of the above is this: don't expect your heating bill to change much, unless your natural gas is considerably less expensive than the oil. You haven't changed the BTUh loss of the house, after all, so you'll need the same total BTUs of fuel over the season as you did before.
    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
  • EzzyTEzzyT Member Posts: 1,031
    edited October 13
    Was the boiler skimmed enough to rid of all the oil?
    As John said that header should've been 4”.
    Creative Solutions Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Lic #12683
    Co-Owners: Fred Drescher, Jr & Eliezer "Ezzy" Travis
    Marketing & Operations: Dawn Drescher
    201.499.0223
    Follow us on Facebook.
    Check us out on Instagram: creative_solutions519
  • ted_pted_p Member Posts: 63
    edited October 13
    JohnNY said:

    Neat work. You increased to 4" too late, though. The boiler takeoffs should be connecting to a 4" header on the EGH-125......

    EzzyT said:

    Was the boiler skimmed enough to rid of all the oil?
    As John said that header should've been 4”.

    Are you guys sure about that?

    @lockdown_lou identifies the boiler as an EGH-95, and looking at the pictures, I think he's probably right. An EGH-125 would have to have 10 intermediate sections between the risers and, looking at Lou's 2nd pic, I can't see where there's room for them.

    On an EGH-95, W-M calls for two 2" risers with a 3" header, which might be considered marginal......



    ....., but Lou's boiler appears to be piped with two 3" risers with a 3" header, which is a BIG upgrade from the minimum, cutting the velocity in the risers by well over 50%, which should result in very dry steam .



    Please pardon me for pointing this out. I'm really not trying to be a smart-****. As the old saying goes, you guys "have forgotten more than I'll ever know" about boilers and steam piping. I just don't want @lockdown_lou to feel worse than he should about his new boiler installation, on account of a simple misunderstanding.


    Grallertethicalpaul
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,496
    I stand corrected. I misread it as EGH-125.
    For troubleshooting and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is the Boilers and Hydronic Heating Systems Course Instructor at NYC's Mechanics Institute, a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
    For residential service and installations in New Jersey, please see Toro Plumbing & Mechanical and fill out our contacts page, upload pics, and submit, or call (973-672-1000).
    ethicalpaulted_p
  • EzzyTEzzyT Member Posts: 1,031
    I still would’ve piped it with a 4” header but that’s just me.
    Creative Solutions Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Lic #12683
    Co-Owners: Fred Drescher, Jr & Eliezer "Ezzy" Travis
    Marketing & Operations: Dawn Drescher
    201.499.0223
    Follow us on Facebook.
    Check us out on Instagram: creative_solutions519
    STEAM DOCTOR
  • lockdown_loulockdown_lou Member Posts: 4
    Hi and welcome fellow NJ resident! What town? Who installed it? Things look reasonable but I don’t recognize the work, so I’m curious. Here come lots more questions!

    Hi ethicalpaul,  
    thanks for your thoughtful post and sorry it’s taken some time to reply. Work is nuts.

    Im in Montclair, NJ and John Heyrich Inc did the work.  

    Why do you think there are too many radiators on the ground floor? Does it get too warm in those rooms? What are the radiator vents currently installed? Rather than make your 2nd floor faster, think about making your first floor vent slower, but only think for now—slow changes are key. I take it your radiators have one pipe attached to each one?

    Yes, it’s a one-pipe system the thermostat calls for heat, and the room warms up as soon as the boiler starts to steam.  Then the thermostat kills the boiler before the upper floors have heated the rads.  This results in a temp differential of 2-3 degrees between ground and second floors.   The radiators on the ground floor are enormous.  One is 5 feet wide by 4 feet high and three columns.  

    All rads currently have newish (black) Vari-valves and even with the first floor vents set to “closed” and the second floor set to “open” this happens. 

     “last year had the steam feed valves on the largest ones closed with no issues”? How many? How many sq ft? Did you close them because the rooms were too hot? What size vents are on those?

    Yes,  as above.  I don’t have a Sq feet of steam broken out by floor but the first has about double the radiation of the second floor and the third floor has only 3  3’x3’ rads.

    Im planning on replacing the vents on the huge rads with Gorton #4s to slow them way down. Until the second floor can heat up. I would prefer them off!

    I’m so glad you know your sq ft of radiation. How was this number arrived at? Your new boiler is a little bigger than your radiation, but if that 850 is accurate it’s not bad at all (depending on how many rads you have turned off) Did your contractor talk about options?

    Two different contractors measured each rad in the house, plus the big steam baseboards in the living room, and arrived within 20 sq feet of one another.   The guys I went with insisted that with so much radiation, I needed an Egh-95 and an 85 wouldn’t do.    Since the house wasn’t insulated he didn’t feel comfortable removing rads.  

    I will say I’m inclined to advise opening those valves and slowing the vents on those first floor rads (or even covering some rads with blankets and/or enclosures), to provide more even slow heat with a better sq ft match to your boiler. I mean, the cast iron is already there—it might as well be emanating comfortable warmth.

    How long are the mains and what size pipe? Can we see photos of each of your main vents in situ? I see two of them. Ideally your installer would have sized/checked/replaced your main vents. They are quite important and can help your steam distribution. Are your mains copper at the end? Are they black pipe anywhere?

    here are photos of the vents at the 4 drips.  I know the silver one should be on a taller stalk set back from the drip.



    Its hard to measure the mains as the ceilings are finished!   If I assume all the mains are in the basement ceiling the shortest is about 30 feet and the longest is maybe 80.   3 of them have gorton #1 and one of the longer mains (But small diameter) has a smaller
    vent on top of the drip.

    All 4 Mains are 2inch black pipe Except for 20 feet of new dry return at the end of one main (brand new crimp fit 1.25 inch copper) leading to a vent and a drop to a wet return,  and 10 feet of the same copper at the end of another main.  It was the easy way out for sure but the mains are long and it’s the last few feet.    

    Get this: the new copper ends of the mains replaced a Hoffman watchman condensate pump and two big steam traps (F and T?).  

    The installer removed the condensate pump and replaced it with 40 feet of wet return, 1.25 inch copper.  

    Pics below. 

    Can we see a pic of how the 4 mains get their steam? I see only a single steam riser off the header. I imagine there is a second header which originally was probably the only header (boilers are physically smaller today vs 1896.

    pic of the header with the 4 mains coming off (these are 1.5 inch I think).   They branch off in the drop ceiling into 1.25 and 1” radiator feeds.  

    I haven’t a clue how steam gets to the second or third floors as the basement is finished.  I am assuming there are just really long (like 30 feet long) unvented 1 inch pipe feeding the upper floors. 


    Can we see pics of your controls? It may be hard because your installer put them 10” from a wall but it would be worthwhile. Do it while the boiler is in the middle of a call for heat if you can, I’m curious what pressure it runs at. Does it cycle on pressure during a heating cycle?

    pic of controls:  including full size skim port.  Not shown is the VXT auto feed.


    I’m glad you separated your hot water from the boiler, what a horrible idea it was to ever combine those.

    I recommend buying Dan’s books from this site immediately, you’ll find lots to learn there. We Got Steam Heat is a good starter, but I started right out with The Lost Art Revisited https://heatinghelp.com/store/

    Overall I like what I see, and that is rare because people come here often with problems in a new or old system even though steam systems are very straightforward usually.
    Answers to your questions in your quoted text, pics embedded too, thanks for your interest!
    ethicalpaul
  • lockdown_loulockdown_lou Member Posts: 4
    JohnNY said:
    Neat work. You increased to 4" too late, though. The boiler takeoffs should be connecting to a 4" header on the EGH-125. How did you connect the 120-volt water feeder to your 24-volt low water cut off?

    You are exactly right, I rechecked and it’s a vxt 24.

    its definitely an egh-95. 

    Thanks!
  • lockdown_loulockdown_lou Member Posts: 4
    EzzyT said:
    Was the boiler skimmed enough to rid of all the oil?
    As John said that header should've been 4”.

    Skimmed for around 2 hours and the guys added some chemical to the water that turned it green.  Some kind of flocculant.   I’m sure it will need another skimming before the heating season really kicks in.  It just hasn’t really run in yet as it’s so warm in northern NJ this oct.    water gets pretty brown/red when it’s on a boil, then settled back to green very quickly. 
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    OK hi there neighbor (Cedar Grove resident here)!

    Here is what I would do if it were mine:

    1. Get the main venting squared away. All balance issues rely on this so there's no point in moving forward until this is done. I would do it like this for each main vent (so four times for you):
    - Run the system until steam reaches the chosen vent
    - Kill the boiler for 5 minutes
    - Run the system again, but this time, set a timer and see how long it takes for steam to reach the chosen vent
    - Remove the vent, and run that test again. This will tell you how long steam takes to reach that vent without the restriction of the vent.
    - If there is a large time difference (like more than a minute) then you need a larger (or working) vent in that spot.

    What vent to try? I like the Maid o' Mist #1 and the Gorton #1 the same, but the MoM is way less $. I would buy a couple of those so you can swap them right in after you do this test and see how they do compared to the open vent port. People here tend to think they are often too small but I have found they vent way over their weight class. To go larger means to spend like 4x more money per vent. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Jacobus-Maid-O-Mist-J1-1-3-4-x-1-2-Main-Vent-Valve-3563000-p

    People might recommend the Barnes and Jones Big Mouth vent, which can definitely vent a ton of air fast, but in my experience, it takes a long time to close against the steam, if ever. If you want to try one you can try mine and if you like it I'll probably forget you borrowed it :lol:

    2. After (and only after) the main vents are all venting nice and fast, then slow down every radiator that makes its space too hot during a normal call for heat. Do this process slowly, because every time you modify one radiator's venting, it affects the rest of the system. Change one or two and observe for a week. As I said before, I wouldn't close the supply valves because who doesn't want emitters of comfortable warmth during the winter? Just get them very slow. #4 MoM or Gorton vents are great, and if the radiator is still too hot for its space then start trying blankets or enclosures. The best reason MoM is better than Gorton (besides price) is that you can swap out the orifice on the top between them. They even sell one that comes with all the sizes.

    Try not to worry too much about how large these radiators are. If the steam is slowed enough, that doesn't matter at all.

    3. After slowing down all the "too hot" radiators above, then look at the 2nd and 3rd floor ones that are too cold (too slow). See if swapping in new fast vents helps. Again, do it slowly, one at a time. Try a #6. If a radiator is still too slow to get steam, try a #C or #D. (#D is equivalent to a #1 Gorton/MoM main vent for reference, so that's a lot of venting). If you have MoM, you can just remove the orifice at the top and it becomes equivalent to a #D

    Be patient, this process might take you all winter, but if you do it carefully, you should have even heat in all your rooms.

    One last note here. You said in your original post that "the main is slow to heat". I assume you meant from "cold" state. It does take time for steam to heat a cold main, so that's why in the tests above, I said to run it first and then shut it down and then run it again to time it.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,865
    PS: next time your installer comes over, ask him to show you how to remove the pressuretrol in order to clear/check the pigtail (should be done annually).

    It looks like he might have put that on in such a way that it can't be removed without removing all the other controls/pipes or cutting the pigtail.

    Looks like you can remove the gauge to maybe blow it out but it's not optimal--if it gets really blocked you want to be able to remove the pigtail to flush it out.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
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