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Looking for more BTU's...

bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
Greetings All,
I hope everyone is well!
The challenge of improving my one pipe steam system continues. I wish to thank all here who have advised me in the past! I successfully resolved 3 leaking convectors, along with various bits on my boiler with your help!
So, I have one last leak, and heating season is upon us: This photo is of our 2nd floor master bath convector, which has leak at a tubing end. The convector is 5.5" deep, 2.5" tall and 12" wide. The riser feeding it is a 1 1/4 pipe. The cabinet is 23" high, 14" wide and 5.5" deep (though something 6" deep would fit).
I can't tell you the EDR rating on this, and yes, I have Dan Holahan's EDR book... This a way old little Governale and not covered in the book.
This bathroom is likely the coldest room in our home - furthest from the boiler on the second floor (which is always already a few degrees colder than the 1st floor routinely). I have a Gorton D on it now - far as I can go.
My question is, since I have to replace this convector anyway - Can anyone suggest something with some more BTU power? I'm open to any possibilities.
Thank you, Brad


Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,858
    Did it get hot, like steam hot?

    how’s the cavity it’s in? Is it insulated at all or does bitter cold flow into it from the wall?

    do you know the steam pipe size going to it? Mine was 1” which can only supply so many btu

    how wide is the cavity? Can you widen it?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 281
    Some of these ideas may not be possible but: If there is electricity present you could add 1 or 2 small axial fans controlled by a "snap disc" fan control to cycle the fan. Fans similar to those in a desk top computer tower

    I would clean that coil of all dirt and dust to get max air flow and vent as you must to get steam flow as soon as possible.

    You could try and make a new finned tube set with 2 levels or if there is room from the wall out replace this heater with a baseboard convector (about 3.5"deep) or a new bigger wall mounted heater like a Slant Fin TBG series unit. (5.25" deep)
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    Thank you, ethicalpaul - Yes, it does get steam hot.
    Outside the cavity it's insulated same as the rest of the second floor, inside is that reflective board you can see in the photo. I don't feel any cold air entering.
    The supply pipe going into it is 1 1/4".
    I guess widening the cavity is possible, but would require demo of the tiles, walls, 2x's etc.

    Guess I was wondering if there was something taller - different style convector, radiator, etc.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,424
    Careful on the topic of upsizing the emitter. The heat output is a function of volume and time, so just because you upsize the emitter doesn't mean you will upsize the total output. If steam is late getting to that convector, it will still be late getting there with a new convector. If X volume of steam gets there in Y time, then you will still have X volume in Y time and no additional heat output with a bigger emitter.

    Having a D vent on that implies to me that you might not have enough main venting. So, what is your main venting like in the basement?
    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
    ethicalpaulmikeapolis
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,858
    With a 1-1/4 supply you have hope. The most obvious replacement for this I can think of would be those rectangular inset radiators like I used to have in my bathroom. Mine was a 1" supply and it made a nice amount of heat. They come in different widths and they are a challenge to pipe due to the tight area available.

    Like this one:
    https://www.afsupply.com/cast-iron-radiator-w-grill-10-sections-20-h.html?gclid=CjwKCAjw5p_8BRBUEiwAPpJO64_O_Eby7MMkfltOpCAiZHQIeH0-POzb58VhTBdMZghsEVlGOjc5ZhoCCzkQAvD_BwE
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    Pardon the delay, work got in the way...
    Retiredguy, Ethicalpaul, thank you for the suggestions on possible replacements - I'll research those.
    KC_Jones, you've urged me back to the fact that I know there are other probable issues here. So... I'm going to expand and go for it:
    Moved in 7 years ago. The 2nd floor has always been 4 to 5 degrees colder than the 1st floor, I have learned a ton from this forum, and have applied incremental fixes - with very minor improvement.
    I have insulated the mains, changed all vents over time (see chart below), added a 0-5 pressure gage, replaced valve on the MM blowout, checked all convector slopes.
    Below is also a drawing of the piping.


    KC_Jones, a few years back, by cutting a wall hole, I found a main vent on the East side of the main in the basement, an old/not working Hoffman33, which I replaced initially with Gortons, and ultimately a Big Mouth (photo below).


    There is no vent on the West main. There is an elbow there, but it's behind the finished walls (photo below). If a vent is deemed necessary, any suggestions as to how to add a vent there would be welcome!



    Through the vent chart, you can see I systematically moved to smaller vents on 1st flr, and larger on the 2nd flr. This has made a small difference 2nd flr, but not much.
    The boiler steam takes about 3 to 4 minutes to travel from the header to main ends. It usually runs for 2 1/2 to 3 cycles (pressuretrol set to .5 and 1.5) closing on pressure each time, until the 3rd cycle when the thermostat (1st flr) is usually satisfied, at say, 72.
    However, upstairs will be 67-68 at this point.

    For icing on this cake, photo below of my near boiler piping, along with, gulp - the manufacturers take on how it should be done.





    Have at it!
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    OOps... the missing west main vent pics...


  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,193
    The problem with those convectors on a steam system is their lack of thermal mass. The steam comes in, and warms a bit of air, then in between cycles, there is no residual heat, such as is the case with heavy cast iron radiators.
    Is there a conventional Hartford loop on the boiler? I see a super elevated tap off the riser, which of course is not on the piping instructions in the boiler manual.—NBC
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 281
    If you can not get the 2nd floor temp similar to the 1st floor temp by replacing vents and etc. as a last resort, you could add 1 pipe TRV's to the 1st floor rads and moving the thermostat to the coldest room that does not have a TRV. All rooms in the house could have a TRV except the one with the thermostat since the boiler has to cycle on/off to get these to work properly. I have had some success using these TRV's as a last resort when all other measures failed. Some people like them and some people do not. Follow the recommendations of the guys in this forum since they have extensive experience with residential boilers.
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    Retiredguy, thank you - I'll look into those if I can't get some improvement.
    NBC - I believe that is the "loop", and yes, nothing like the piping instructions. Two more pics of how it routes at bottom, left and right:




    Also, don't believe these two docs attached correctly - vent chart and layout:







  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,424
    Considering you are running a lot of D and number 6 vents I would say your main venting is definitely inadequate. Those rad vents are making up for what isn't in the basement and it can make balancing very difficult. Example, I have one #6 vent on my system and it's only because the rad has about 22' of runout from the main. That is the biggest rad vent I run currently.

    I'd be looking at the missing vent location to figure out what could be done. Someone finishing the basement over those pipes didn't do you any favors. You may need to create some sort of access panel so you can get in there.
    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
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    KC_Jones, do you feel the Big Mouth on the east side is inadequate as well, or just that I need to go at that closed up west side and get some venting in there?
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,424
    I think you are good with the one big mouth you have, just add to the other main where one is missing. You'd be shocked how much of a difference getting that main venting can make.

    After you do that, I would suggest you downsize many of your rad vents to get some control of the heat. Small downstairs, and one size bigger upstairs as a start, or switch to adjustable vents. I don't have a lot of experience with adjustable vents so I will leave detailed comment to others.
    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
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    Thanks KC - getting access there is going to be a trick, but I do want to improve things.
    I'm surprised no one ripped into the near boiler piping :)
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,858
    The boiler steam takes about 3 to 4 minutes to travel from the header to main ends. It usually runs for 2 1/2 to 3 cycles (pressuretrol set to .5 and 1.5) closing on pressure each time, until the 3rd cycle when the thermostat (1st flr) is usually satisfied, at say, 72.


    This doesn't add up. Steam is getting even to the end of that main with the plugged main vent port in 3 to 4 minutes?

    If steam is getting there in 3-4 minutes, then it's vented fine (but we know it isn't), and there should shortly after be steam at all your radiators (but it isn't, right?)

    How does your boiler's net sq ft of steam match up against your radiators' total EDR? If you can get that main vented I think your cycling will dramatically decrease. The EDR of all the radiators on that main is not being seen by the steam of the boiler nearly fast enough it seems to me.

    And yes, that piping is a nightmare, but you know that :)
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ted_pted_p Member Posts: 63
    edited October 16
    bdwild said:

    Pardon the delay, work got in the way...

    Retiredguy, Ethicalpaul, thank you for the suggestions on possible replacements - I'll research those.......

    A little help with your research..... :)

    I found that the radiator which @ethicalpaul suggested is the "Cast Ray Radiator" made by OCS Industries, in Queens, NY. I've attached their full catalog, and here's a shot of the product page:



    The 6-section model, which measures 20" high x 13.5" wide x 5" deep, would fit easily in your space, and is rated at 13.5 EDR. Although we don't know the EDR of your current convector, looking at your pics I'd be astounded if it was half of that; plus you'd gain the good feeling of Radiant Heat, in addition to convection.

    So, if after you've solved your venting problems you still want more heat in that bath, this looks like an outstanding option, and a great find on Paul's part.
    ethicalpaul
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,424

    The boiler steam takes about 3 to 4 minutes to travel from the header to main ends. It usually runs for 2 1/2 to 3 cycles (pressuretrol set to .5 and 1.5) closing on pressure each time, until the 3rd cycle when the thermostat (1st flr) is usually satisfied, at say, 72.


    This doesn't add up. Steam is getting even to the end of that main with the plugged main vent port in 3 to 4 minutes?

    If steam is getting there in 3-4 minutes, then it's vented fine (but we know it isn't), and there should shortly after be steam at all your radiators (but it isn't, right?)

    How does your boiler's net sq ft of steam match up against your radiators' total EDR? If you can get that main vented I think your cycling will dramatically decrease. The EDR of all the radiators on that main is not being seen by the steam of the boiler nearly fast enough it seems to me.

    And yes, that piping is a nightmare, but you know that :)
    With the massive rad vents I would suggest it's getting to more than just the end of main in that time frame. This is where the difficulty in balancing with this method can come in.
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,424
    bdwild said:

    Thanks KC - getting access there is going to be a trick, but I do want to improve things.
    I'm surprised no one ripped into the near boiler piping :)

    Well it's completely wrong, but how old is the boiler? If it's relatively old, for me, is it worth a repipe? If it's less than 10 years old, I'd probably think about a complete repipe.
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    "And yes, that piping is a nightmare, but you know that :)"

    LOL! Yes, but only because of all I've learned on this forum!

    I just turned the system on for 1st time this season. Steam hit the right turn elbow above the header, and yes, at 3:15 later it hit the main east end - Ran to the west end and it got hot within 10 secs later. There is a Gorton D in the last convector, living room just above that area - did this to compensate for the lack of a main vent on that side (the original config as I found it).
    In waiting for the pressure to rise, I heard a loud hissing at one point - Turns out that Big Mouth on the east side never closed, one year old, and the second Big Mouth to go on me in 3 years.

    I'll retime 'steam to convectors' once I get the Big Mouth situation rectified.

    I can't speak to the net sq ft of steam to total EDR. I got Dan's book but these convectors are not noted there. Nor are they on the Governale site any longer. If there's another way to calculate that I'd give it a go.

    So a couple questions...
    1. Any suggestions on how to get that plug off the west elbow (without mauling other parts)? Probably been there since day one.
    2. This National US (Crane vintage) boiler might have been installed in 1968, according to a date on some paperwork I found...
    I'm wondering if it is worth correcting the near boiler piping with this unit, or should I be saving for a new boiler and have it done correctly then.


    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,858
    I would agree with KC except that based on your work on your Big Mouth vent pipe, I think you could improve this near piping yourself at your leisure if you find that kind of thing fulfilling.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    Thanks Ted_p and Ethicalpaul - good lead!
    KC_Jones, I believe this thing is old! The 1968 year was not labeled "date installed" or some such - just a date on a loose spec sheet within the install manual.
    It's feeling like it wouldn't be worth the cost of re-piping this unit.
    ethicalpaul
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    Ehticalpaul, I've never done pipes that big (I know, 2-inchers are likely not considered big - just big to me), but I have been wondering if I might attempt the job, post-winter given my wife would throw me out if I started now :#
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,183
    That plug looks newer than original piping and is not buried that deep. I would spray with PB blaster several times after cutting around the thread junction with a dental pick.
    A 8 point socket that fits on the flats very well and a breaker bar should loosen it up. Impact with that socket would work well if you have room.
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    Thanks JUGHNE, doubt I have the headroom for an impact, but I'll give the rest a try.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,997
    @bdwild , do the other rooms in the house have convectors of this type? If not, what do they have?

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    @Steamhead, every room has them - Governale cast iron. 
    I'm in NYC.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,997
    I'd call the bathroom one a fin-tube convector. Same element in all the others?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • bdwildbdwild Member Posts: 25
    @Steamhead, yes. All "fin-tube" all over the house. In other rooms they are much longer (wider?), but the three bathroom units are 12 inches, as in the above photo.
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