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Drop headers

PatNHPatNH Member Posts: 2
Will a drop head add any value to a single outlet boiler? Have low head room and need the drop to add piping above water line.

Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    My opinion: yes, just as much value as it will add to a dual-outlet
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    PatNH
  • Tim McElwainTim McElwain Member Posts: 4,398
    It will also help prevent wet steam and water hammer created because the new steam boilers produce steam much faster and at higher velocity leaving the boiler.
    PatNH
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,894
    Drop headers are useful for two risers, yes, as they alost inevitably give you two swing joints to take the stress off the boiler. They are also handy in low headroom situations. But -- the real reason to use them is the one @Tim McElwain mentioned: much better quality steam.
    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
    PatNH
  • The Steam WhispererThe Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 578
    Yes, we use them on just about every installation. They produce better steam and allow some wiggle room when hooking up the boiler. Even on a single riser installation they may reduce stress on the boiler since the whole piping system is moving as the system heats up and cools down.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Neild5PatNH
  • PatNHPatNH Member Posts: 2
    Thanks guys,  I will be doing this job this morning,  I will send some pics. 
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549
    Just to play devil's advocate here....I'd like someone to show me the difference in the moisture content of a small residential boiler's main distribution pipes piped with a drop header versus a standard header.
    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).
    Precaud
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,272
    The devil probably knows a few things about heating, given the purpose of his domain. Population increases, along with a rise of bad behavior must make the expansion of his system a constant activity!
    I wonder how that could be measured—maybe with a viewing port of Pyrex glass set into a tee in the drop header, or a conventional header.
    The advantage of the drop header is in its capacity to give more mechanical isolation for differences of thermal expansion and contraction between the boiler block, and the header itself, (particularly in the case of welded headers). More wiggle room for fitting the pipes together would be another plus.—NBC
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549
    edited November 10
    Thermal expansion on a single-riser boiler is a non issue. There’s no way to test for wet steam in the field that I know of and that kind of makes many of the performance benefits of a drop header theoretical.   
    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).
  • The Steam WhispererThe Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 578
    I disagree. Thermal expansion is still an issue on a single rider boiler for 2 reasons.... The header drip can still be fixed to the boiler ( Even Weil shows a minimum piping arrangement with threaded joints on the return) and the system piping also tends to move, causing stress on the boiler.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ethicalpaul
  • AMservicesAMservices Member Posts: 543
    Water hammer is a clear sign of wet steam.
    Calculating steam exit velocity is another way we can find if there's carry over.
    We can't always see what's happening inside of pipes. So we have to rely on numbers and our senses.
    A drop header or a over sized header is doing the same thing a steam/liquid separator would do. It gives a larger area for steam to slow down before entering the mains, and if there's any carry over of water to collect then drain back into the boiler.
    Having more swing joints with a drop header makes it easier to work with when connecting big pipe.
  • IronmanIronman Member Posts: 5,926
    You can see what's going on in the header. Remember W/M's demo boiler with the glass header?

    Someone should be able to post the video of it.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,571
    @ethicalpaul
    Has glass tubing on his boiler
    I think the drop header thing can be over done. I have never had a problem piping to the MFG spec along with boiling out with TSP and skimming.

    If I am not mistaken @ethicalpaul piped his boiler with two risers and only 1 was required. With valves on the risers he shut 1 off and had no carryover.

    I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong
    ethicalpaul
  • The Steam WhispererThe Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 578
    Eberatt. I largely concur....I use the drop header mainly for ease of piping and reduced stress on the castings, though I am sure it helps when boilers start getting fouled. Now If I am piping into a vacuum system, I would definitely go well beyond the manufacturer's piping. Using 2x 3 inch risers on a little 200,000 btu boiler is a bit much. I'd rather put that extra money into better venting and other system improvements ( water meter, etc). If its a side tapped utica/dunkirk I go a little more beyond the minimums.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    @ethicalpaul Has glass tubing on his boiler I think the drop header thing can be over done. I have never had a problem piping to the MFG spec along with boiling out with TSP and skimming. If I am not mistaken @ethicalpaul piped his boiler with two risers and only 1 was required. With valves on the risers he shut 1 off and had no carryover. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong
    You are right Ed. What I learned for my 63-03L was that the normal recommended piping was fine if the water quality is ok. Neither the drop header nor the second tapping is necessary for my boiler.

    Any of these is what I found can push water past the header into my main riser:

    - too high water level, like above the top of sight glass
    - too much water treatment / too high ph (this one is very easy to experience)
    - Oil, etc

    Other boilers with more steam flow may benefit from extra capacity, refer to those excellent PDFs that show the steam rates for every model

    here’s one of my videos showing it in action: https://youtu.be/4IymyZB4wlI

    here’s carryover from bad water: 

    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    kcoppStuckWithSteam
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549

    Water hammer is a clear sign of wet steam.
    Calculating steam exit velocity is another way we can find if there's carry over.
    We can't always see what's happening inside of pipes. So we have to rely on numbers and our senses.
    A drop header or a over sized header is doing the same thing a steam/liquid separator would do. It gives a larger area for steam to slow down before entering the mains, and if there's any carry over of water to collect then drain back into the boiler.
    Having more swing joints with a drop header makes it easier to work with when connecting big pipe.

    I agree that having more swing joints kind of helps a little, but the rest is, again, theoretical. And by your logic, the absence of water hammer is what? A clear sign of dry steam? @ethicalpaul 's video is pretty clear evidence to me that second boiler take-offs and drop headers are a frivolous expense on many smaller residential boilers.

    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).
    ethicalpaul
  • AMservicesAMservices Member Posts: 543
    @JohnNY is steam velocity theoretical?
    Im not saying a drop header is always necessary but for some boilers im sure it helps.
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549

    @JohnNY is steam velocity theoretical?
    Im not saying a drop header is always necessary but for some boilers im sure it helps.

    I'm sure you're right too. I'm just saying I'd like some evidence showing that at some point steam velocity is guaranteed to carry water out of a standard header and into the system.

    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).
  • AMservicesAMservices Member Posts: 543
    Ideally the steam velocity should be under 15 feet per second before entering the mains.
    Maximum velocity for 1 pipe riser (the point that condensate can't flow backwards)
    2"-23 fps
    2.5"-26 fps
    3"-29 fps
    4"-32 fps

    If the velocity through the riser or risers out of the boiler is greater then those values, then using a drop header is necessary.

    Page 73. LAOSHR
    "The risers out of the boiler should be from 30 to 50% greater in area then the mains, which they feed"
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549
    @AMservices Isn't that great info? Thanks for posting.
    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).
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    Maybe glass/see through piping should be mandatory. 
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549

    Maybe glass/see through piping should be mandatory. 

    Well, it's really an eye opener at least. Again, I'm just not convinced of the necessity of overdoing a header. At some point, the cost to consumer isn't justified by the performance.

    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).
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    I don't know about mandatory...I'd rather see the manufacturer's minimum be mandatory per code first :lol:

    But if I were an installer, I'd definitely sell a premium option of a sight glass on the riser. As I've said before, it's not even much of an extra expense. The ones in my video are $80 and you get a free union thanks to the tri-clamp.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    AMservicesJohnNYPrecaud
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,894
    I don't think the question should be "are drop headers beneficial". There are two very different considerations here, and for any given application it is going to be a cost/benefit question.

    Drop headers can be useful in two ways.

    First, they make it much easier to create means -- usually swing joints -- to reduce stress on the boiler -- either from the differential expansion of the boiler itself, or from shifting between the boiler and the rest of the system piping. Are they required for this? No. Is some means of reducing stress required? Yes. Are a lot of systems out there piped without such obvious means? Yes -- but one will find looking around the system that the expansion is being allowed somewhere.

    Second, they help in reducing carryover into the system (which is not the only, nor even the most common, cause of water hammer out in the system, by the way). Here again, they aren't really necessary, but they help. In the header, a lot of the effect on water carryover comes from two factors: sheer size, and the way the risers and takeoffs are connected. If the risers and takeoffs are connected on the top, even a small header will work well. Risers on the side, not so well. A single riser at one end on the bottom is fine; two connected on the bottom -- not good, unless the header is very large. Size also matters -- a really big header, approaching the size of the old steam drums, is not likely to be a problem (there's a reason for steam drums on power boilers, especially for turbines!).

    So is a drop header required for all installations? No. The installer needs to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and select the best solution -- on a cost/benefit scale -- for the job.
    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
    AMservicesNoelCanucker
  • hvacfreak2hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    For modern boilers a drop header is probably essential ( but the only sight glass that would matter is the riser (s) to the system imo ). Insulation of the header ( straight or drop ) is a better bang for the buck in my travels.
    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

  • Neild5Neild5 Member Posts: 120
    Maybe glass/see through piping should be mandatory. 
    I am not sure I would want to know what glass pipe would cost on the 5" riser on my system.
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    5" pipe and related work is quite expensive. Probably would not notice the difference. But I could be wrong. 
    ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,571
    It boils down to riser velocity but that isn't all. Two different boilers with the same capacity will act differently.

    But generally keeping the velocity down keeps water in the boiler
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    Neild5 said:
    Maybe glass/see through piping should be mandatory. 
    I am not sure I would want to know what glass pipe would cost on the 5" riser on my system.
    The largest I could find was 4”, suitable for a 3-1/2” npt pipe.

    How many sq ft of steam is your system?!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Neild5Neild5 Member Posts: 120
    Neild5 said:
    Maybe glass/see through piping should be mandatory. 
    I am not sure I would want to know what glass pipe would cost on the 5" riser on my system.
    The largest I could find was 4”, suitable for a 3-1/2” npt pipe.

    How many sq ft of steam is your system?!
    There is 2565 sqft of EDR. It's a 20 unit apartment building from 1927 that went condo in the 90's.   
    ethicalpaul
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549
    Neild5 said:




    Neild5 said:



    Maybe glass/see through piping should be mandatory. 

    I am not sure I would want to know what glass pipe would cost on the 5" riser on my system.

    The largest I could find was 4”, suitable for a 3-1/2” npt pipe.

    How many sq ft of steam is your system?!

    There is 2565 sqft of EDR. It's a 20 unit apartment building from 1927 that went condo in the 90's.   

    A single 5" outlet supplying 2,565 sq. ft. EDR? Is this a Scotch-Marine-type boiler or maybe an atmospheric boiler like a Weil-McLain LGB-9 or similar?
    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).
  • Neild5Neild5 Member Posts: 120
    It is a Peerless TC-II 4 section boiler.  It was just installed by Dave @The Steam Whisperer.
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 2,549
    Beautiful job. Wow.
    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).
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,453
    Great looking job....some serious piping there.
    Is that a pressure transducer installed? Hi/low fire?
  • The Steam WhispererThe Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 578
    It's a full mod burner. We installed it in anticipation that
    TRV's may be installed on the one pipe system.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    JUGHNENeild5
  • Neild5Neild5 Member Posts: 120
    Once it gets up to pressure, the pressure gauge needle looks like it is stuck, it does not move but the burner controller will drop to 40 to 60% fire and varies every second until the thermostat is satisfied. 

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