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Could my boiler be oversized?

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  • acwagner
    acwagner Member Posts: 505
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    I think @kenlmad has got it. Definitely repipe the pressure gauge/pressuretrol piping. And, when you're done, be sure to pour some water in to make the water seal before turning on the boiler. I don't believe the gauges and controls are designed to be in direct contact with steam, at least not for extended periods.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    Your logic isn't all bad. It's quite true, for instance, that your radiators can only condense perhaps 180,000 BTUh of steam. If your burner is putting out 520,000 BTUh of heat, however, that heat has to go somewhere. Does it go into steam? OK, that's 340 pounds of water converted to steam that you haven't accounted for. Where is it? If it's at some reasonable pressure (say your boiler relief valve), that's on the order of 5,000 cubic feet of the stuff. Your thought that you are boiling 35 gallons of water would be fine, if you had a place to put it (that's that 5,000 cubic feet) but you don't. It isn't 35 gallons of water that gets into your radiators and tries to condense -- this may be where your thinking is a bit fuzzy -- it's that 5,000 cubic feet of steam.

    The bottom line is this: your numbers say you are creating 520,000 BTUh of heat energy. There are only two places where that can go: boiling water and up the stack. Of that you can use -- at most -- 180,000 BTUh in steam, as that's all you can condense. You can't stick it away in a closet. You have 340,000 plus BTUh of heat energy for which you have given no reasonable explanation so far. If it all goes into steam, or a large portion of it does, you have a massive steam leak. If it all goes up the stack, your stack gas flow and temperatures are going to be ... interesting.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    i just ran down and swapped the controls. It's strange to me how the pipe runs into the sight glass in this configuration. Maybe it's meant to hang straight off and not be folded against the boiler, i don't know. I'm going to order a low pressure gauge tonight and put it on one of those plug spots. If I see pressure above 1.5 then i'll replace the pressuretrols.


  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    Here's my chimney. The boiler is running full boar right now. Not a wisp out of it. I wish my boiler was leaking badly because I have a homebuyers warranty on this house and that would be the best way to get a new boiler.


  • acwagner
    acwagner Member Posts: 505
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    What's the outside temperature? It needs to be below freezing to really see it.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

    ethicalpaul
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    acwagner said:

    What's the outside temperature? It needs to be below freezing to really see it.

    yeah, it's like 40-45 easy. I guess I'll have to test that when it's colder.
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
    edited January 2021
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    @underdog32

    Everything you wrote above is correct regarding energy being in the water. Missing piece is: when 35 gallons boils, the volume of steam created is greater than if you boiled 18 gallons. Twice as much. Steam is what carries the thermal energy to the radiator. However, when more steam is produced than the system can handle, that steam has no place to "go" to, and the constant creation of steam with it having nowhere to go makes the steam compress and thus raises the pressure inside the pipe (more steam in the same volume of space). This raising of the pressure would then trigger an operational pressuretrol, cut off the burners, and the boiler would wait for pressure to drop (latent heat of excess btus compressed in the compressed steam will make it's way to some radiator or a pipe, give off its heat, condense back to water and reduce in volume by factor of 1,600, and by this process reduce that pressure buildup). Then the burner would come on again, and this would go on until the tstat is satisfied.

    So, you must have something not happening that should be happening. Oversized boiler makes excess steam, too much for the system to handle, and the pressure must rise. If it's rising, functioning pressuretrol must trip off the burners and stop the combustion. If it's not tripping and the pressure is building, pressuretrol is bad. If the pressure is not building, that steam has to be going somewhere.

    Can there be a sidewalk icemelt?
    Do you have any burried pipes?
    Are you heating your neighbor's house? 

    Flood the boiler and check for leaks.

    Also, if you have pigtails, you don't need to repipe the control tree, just add pigtails and be done with that.

    I can see this getting qute frustrating. Sorry...

    Edit: I see you repiped the control tree. And added the pigtails. This is fine, but now you have, in essence, 2 pee traps.
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
    edited January 2021
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    OK, so if the boiler ran for 30 minutes, It has used 250kbtu during that time, at 80% efficiency we have 200kbtu that has to be accounted for. What is the 35% pick up factor? Warning, internet expert math below. There is actually only about 16 gallons of water in the boiler, not 35 as I misstated earlier. All this math is based on assumptions. The manual doesn't actually say if it produces 1300sf of steam per hour, or minute, or what, so I'm making guesses based on the fact that the input DOES say per hour.

    water is 8.3lbs per gallon, so
    8.3 * 16 * 180 = 24kbtu to get it to boiling
    we have 176kbtu left. Assuming we turned that all into steam:

    176000 / 970 = 181lbs of steam / 8.3 (per lb of water) = 22gal of water turned into steam, more than all of the water in the boiler

    The 62-14 can create 1300sf of steam. That's probably to the low water cutoff? I don't know, but the water level doesn't dip much more than 25% at any given time, 25% of 1300=325, which happens to be about how much steam I calculated my edr at. So, 325sf of steam = 12lbs or 1.5 gallons of water, meaning at any given time 1.5 gallons of water would be steam over the 30 minutes. If we assume a constant rate then we can assume we used 22lbs over 30 minutes, or 1.3 gallons per minute, pretty close to 1.5. It would probably be closer if i didn't round most of these numbers.

    So how fast can 1.5 gallons boil and condense? How much steam would have to be in the pipes to register 1.5psi on the gauge? I know there was a calculus formula for determining the time for changes in water temperature, but alas, calc 1 was many years ago.

    Anyway, no, there are no buried returns, or mains that I can see

    Based on how much I had to shovel during the last snow storm, the side walks aren't heated.

    My neighbor complains about her heating bill too, but maybe it's just to throw me off her trail?



  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
    edited January 2021
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    Here is a good thread on pick up factor

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/149940/pickup-factor-help-me-understand

    The rest of what you wrote, without going to all the math, shows 250kbtu in 30 min, meaning 500,000 btuh input. 400,000 btu output at 80% efficiency to edr conversion is 400kbtu/240btu = 1,666 edr output including 30% pick up factor (130% of net edr) =1,282 edr (radiator load capacity).  For the boiler to operate without much pressure, your total radiator system edr needs to be in the 1282 edr neighborhood.

    According to this, if you are not generating pressure, your boiler has a hole in it and you are getting makeup water without being aware.

    If you are generating pressure but are unaware, this can be a potentially dangerous situation as explained earlier. In this case you aren't necessarily using water, but are wasting fuel by building unnecessary pressure, superheating the steam while waiting for it to give up its energy, and the water that then just sits in the boiler and does nothing. In this case, cycling on pressure would be more efficient as the boiler would be off while waiting for the pressure to drop before restarting the burners, and so on until the call for heat has been satisfied. 

    Does this make sense?

    I think your neighbor is pulling a fast one on you. They live in the house that belonged to the family that owned yours at some point, and they have one boiler for both houses! 😜
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,341
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    we're looking at somewhere around 1,200 cfm of 1,500 degree Fahrenheit gas -- which, I think, would be noticeable.

    Are you assuming stoichiometric combustion? I'm a car guy and am looking at this with the mindset of an internal combustion engine. If the burner is running extremely rich and sending natural gas up the stack un-burned, could that be the explanation for the missing BTUs?

    Sorry if this is a dumb thought. Just trying to solve the riddle of the missing BTUs.
    I DIY.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    WMno57 said:

    we're looking at somewhere around 1,200 cfm of 1,500 degree Fahrenheit gas -- which, I think, would be noticeable.

    Are you assuming stoichiometric combustion? I'm a car guy and am looking at this with the mindset of an internal combustion engine. If the burner is running extremely rich and sending natural gas up the stack un-burned, could that be the explanation for the missing BTUs?

    Sorry if this is a dumb thought. Just trying to solve the riddle of the missing BTUs.
    Interesting thought -- must admit that it never crossed my mind that the burners would not have been set up properly... thought it's quite possible. I wonder now... just how overrich would it have to be? Flame quality would be horrible, of course!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
    edited January 2021
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    we're looking at somewhere around 1,200 cfm of 1,500 degree Fahrenheit gas -- which, I think, would be noticeable.
    Are you assuming stoichiometric combustion? I'm a car guy and am looking at this with the mindset of an internal combustion engine. If the burner is running extremely rich and sending natural gas up the stack un-burned, could that be the explanation for the missing BTUs? Sorry if this is a dumb thought. Just trying to solve the riddle of the missing BTUs.
    Interesting thought -- must admit that it never crossed my mind that the burners would not have been set up properly... thought it's quite possible. I wonder now... just how overrich would it have to be? Flame quality would be horrible, of course!
    Do you guys think that it's possible for a factory set gas valve which is usually set at what, 3.5" wc, to be so much off as to send 200+kbtu worth of unburned gas up the stack?
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    https://ontime59.com/furnace-flame-tips-correct-incorrect-colors/#:~:text=A healthy natural gas furnace,efficiently and not being wasted.

    According to this random internet article, the flame should be mostly blue. Mine is blue at the base with a lot of orange at the middle to top. I will try to snap a pic tomorrow when i test fire it after installing the low pressure gauge. It'll be tough to get a pic.

    Maybe you guys are on to something.
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    I needed to double check my recollection after spending the last 45 minutes reading about flame health. So on a scale from bueno to no bueno, this is definitely no beuno, si?





  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,113
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    I haven’t read every post but have you had you inlet gas pressure checked and the manifold pressure that flame looks like it operating at a lower then recommend pressure . Have you clocked your gas meter to chk your input . It would seem that your boiler is oversized . Is your gas meter large enough to handle this also would include a properly sized gas line to the boiler? It s seems there more then plenty enough boiler there to heat your home . Have you flooded your boiler to ensure there is not a hole in it espically if your taking on make up water if not you should . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    No bueno. You must be kidding, though -- all this bother and you haven't gotten someone who is actually competent in there to check that the boiler is clean (it must be a sooted mess by now) and adjust the draughts and pressures correctly? That would be step one in any nvestigation == and is, most assuredly, not a do it yourself job.

    Honestly I had simply assumed that that had been done, since it is so completely fundamental.

    Could t be sending that much unburned gas out the stack? I wouldn't think so, but it could surely be sending a goodly chunk of what we are trying to chase down here.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    No bueno. You must be kidding, though -- all this bother and you haven't gotten someone who is actually competent in there to check that the boiler is clean (it must be a sooted mess by now) and adjust the draughts and pressures correctly? That would be step one in any nvestigation == and is, most assuredly, not a do it yourself job.

    Honestly I had simply assumed that that had been done, since it is so completely fundamental.

    Could t be sending that much unburned gas out the stack? I wouldn't think so, but it could surely be sending a goodly chunk of what we are trying to chase down here.

    So, I have paperwork from the previous owner's hvac person that says the boiler was serviced about 3 months before I bought the house. It says that he did quite a few things, but I see no evidence of those things actually being done now.

    I perhaps took it at face value that the boiler being serviced meant that all of this stuff was in order. I'm going to call someone today that was listed on the peerless sight as an installer. I'm not sure how accurate it is because the first person on the list doesn't have peerless listed on their website, the second person died in 2016, so I'm going with the third. I am definitely not calling the name on the service paperwork.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,341
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    and is, most assuredly, not a do it yourself job.

    Oh come on. Easy Peasy. The OP just needs to drag that boiler out of his basement, tie it to the roof rack, and come on over to my place.

    We hook it up to my gas meter, prove or disprove it is too lean due to an undersized meter, and proceed from there.

    @Jamie Hall Your invited too. You can make us some popcorn and roast coffee beans in my Super B grain dryer while we are turning wrenches.






    I DIY.
    luketheplumber
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,341
    edited January 2021
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    Three suggestions.

    1. Find out the BTU size of your gas meter, add up the BTUs of all your gas appliances, and make a list of pipe sizes in your home's gas distribution system. Your local Gas Co can help you with meter sizing.

    2. What if your boiler fell off one truck, and the burner fell off another truck? Determine the BTU requirement of the BURNER.

    3. Fire the Boiler with a basement window wide open. How does the flame look now? We need to rule out lack of combustion air as a problem.

    I DIY.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    Haven't seen a setup like that in years, @WMno57 ! Nice. What's the rest of your spread like?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,341
    edited January 2021
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    @Jamie Hall Thank you. I'm living the dream.

    The Super B grain dryer hasn't run in 20 years and probably should be parted out and scrapped. The farmhouse, small barn, and corn crib are all about 100 years old. Farmhouse is good, barn and crib need roofs.



    Had a decent machine shed, now in need of a little carpentry and tin. Had a windy day a week after I closed. Tree is gone, I'm now shopping for a sissor lift and/or bucket truck and/or scaffolding.



    I'm lucky to have this place. Looked for two years before I found it. Almost didn't look at it because I've always had forced air. Central AC is high on my list of must haves. Knew nothing about hydronics when I bought it. I was needlessly worried about the boiler. I should have worried about the tree.




    I DIY.
    MilanD
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    That tree hurts. Be careful taking it down the rest of the way. Bits and pieces! It may be balanced in some unexpected ways... But it looks as though it didn't do any real structural damage -- and even missed the window!

    You can add central AC when you get around to it -- and might as well use a heat pump and size the ducting and all accordingly. In a way it's nice that you have it to do, rather than trying to retrofit. The heat pump may well be sufficient in the shoulder seasons, and the hydronics is nice to have when it's really chilly out.

    Look around a bit before you scrap that Super B -- they're good units, and there just might be someone looking for just such a thing.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    WMno57
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    So I got the low pressure gauge installed. i ran the boiler for an hour and never saw more than .25psi on the gauge. I had to stop the test and turn it off because it was getting too hot in my house.

    When I fired it up, the middle pipe was too hot to touch in 5 minutes. The outer 2 pipes took another 5 minutes to get hot.

    After the hour, I noticed a drip from one of the pipes that I put together with the header change. It's where I put a nipple into a old T that I had to sawzall the old pipe out of. I don't think i damaged the threads, but I'm going to pull it apart and double check. Maybe I didn't put enough dope on.

    I adjusted the gas regulator a little to see if I could affect change on the flame and nothing tangible happened. I have a guy coming out on wednesday to test stuff. He said problems like that with steam aren't usually combustion, but gas pressure, so who knows.

    I feel like the steam moves really slow. Like it's just slogging it's way through the pipes, but I don't really know how fast steam moves so maybe it's normal. The entire hour went by and the main vent never closed. It just kept pushing out room temperature air the whole time.

    One of the first problems I fixed was that the wet returns were packed with gunk. I flushed them all out real good to open it up and help water get back to the boiler.

    Is it possible there is a layer of that gunk on the bottom of the boiler acting as in insulator preventing the water from heating faster? It seems like all 3 pipes on the top should pretty much heat at the same time. I have opened up the drain ports on both sides a few times and the water runs out pretty clear, but my sight glass gets real dirty water in it when the system is running....it gets clean when it sits.

    This'll be the last update until Wednesday. I'll update on whatever the boiler guy says. He sounds like he knows what he's taking about.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    A couple of thoughts here. And on both of them my apologies because you may have covered part of it above...

    First, are the mains insulated? Because if they aren't, the steam will move slowly -- it has to heat the pipe up before it can move on, and that takes time. 10 feet per minute isn't too bad. It will be faster if the pipes are insulated. Once the pipes are hot, it does zip right along in there -- but as soon as it hits a cold pipe... splurk.

    Second, again -- where is this main vent to which you refer? If this is a main vent on a dry return on a two pipe system, and the rest of the system is working properly, it never will see steam -- and never close. It's not supposed to.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    A couple of thoughts here. And on both of them my apologies because you may have covered part of it above...

    First, are the mains insulated? Because if they aren't, the steam will move slowly -- it has to heat the pipe up before it can move on, and that takes time. 10 feet per minute isn't too bad. It will be faster if the pipes are insulated. Once the pipes are hot, it does zip right along in there -- but as soon as it hits a cold pipe... splurk.

    Second, again -- where is this main vent to which you refer? If this is a main vent on a dry return on a two pipe system, and the rest of the system is working properly, it never will see steam -- and never close. It's not supposed to.

    Yes, they are all insulated out of the boiler room. A few in the boiler room are not yet insulated, but maybe only 10 ft total.

    Yes, the main vent is on the dry return at the end. I did see steam come out of the old vent at one point, but I can't remember if that was before or after I fixed a trap or 2.
  • acwagner
    acwagner Member Posts: 505
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    @underdog32 what do you mean that the middle pipe heats up before the others? Are you talking about the middle riser of the three out of your boiler?
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,341
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    The drip may rust closed on its own. If not, here are some other methods.

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/153370/repair-options-for-leak-at-steam-pipe-tee
    I DIY.
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    acwagner said:

    @underdog32 what do you mean that the middle pipe heats up before the others? Are you talking about the middle riser of the three out of your boiler?

    That's what i mean. The middle riser heats up 5 minutes before the outer two. I could hold my hand on the outside ones, the middle was too hot to touch.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    That may be a function of the geometry of the boiler and the way the water passages inside relate to the fire box... or it may be that that weak fire you have is messing it up.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    That may be a function of the geometry of the boiler and the way the water passages inside relate to the fire box... or it may be that that weak fire you have is messing it up.

    How fast does your WM580 produce steam from cold start?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    That may be a function of the geometry of the boiler and the way the water passages inside relate to the fire box... or it may be that that weak fire you have is messing it up.

    How fast does your WM580 produce steam from cold start?
    You mean Cedric? A solid 5 minutes.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ryanwc
    ryanwc Member Posts: 50
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    Wait, so with the pro coming on Wednesday to test the burner, this 4-page thread died out on Monday? Two months ago?

    Crap. This reminds me of when the power went off at the movie theater 10 minutes before the end of Blood Diamonds.

    Can't somebody call this guy up and tell him he needs to let us know what happened? I'm dying to know.
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 167
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    WMno57 said:

    @Jamie Hall Thank you. I'm living the dream.

    The Super B grain dryer hasn't run in 20 years and probably should be parted out and scrapped. The farmhouse, small barn, and corn crib are all about 100 years old. Farmhouse is good, barn and crib need roofs.
    Had a decent machine shed, now in need of a little carpentry and tin. Had a windy day a week after I closed. Tree is gone, I'm now shopping for a sissor lift and/or bucket truck and/or scaffolding.

    I'm lucky to have this place. Looked for two years before I found it. Almost didn't look at it because I've always had forced air. Central AC is high on my list of must haves. Knew nothing about hydronics when I bought it. I was needlessly worried about the boiler. I should have worried about the tree.




    Well seeing that Spotted Cow we must be neighbors. Since we're pretty close I'll bring over my boiler and some Spotted and get down to the nails. either that or you crossed the border to get to our nectar. Oof Da!
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    ryanwc said:

    Wait, so with the pro coming on Wednesday to test the burner, this 4-page thread died out on Monday? Two months ago?

    Crap. This reminds me of when the power went off at the movie theater 10 minutes before the end of Blood Diamonds.

    Can't somebody call this guy up and tell him he needs to let us know what happened? I'm dying to know.

    So, the first HVAC guy never showed up. I flagged down another guy that was working across the street and asked that he stop over if he had some time. He was a mini-split guy, not a steam guy, but he stopped by and looked at the combustion said it looked fine to him, but he felt he was unqualified to work on a unit that size. I contacted a HVAC guy to get in touch about sizing the boiler after the heating season (which I finally got around to last week). The end of the story is that they sized a new boiler at 495mbtu and a newer 85% boiler might save me some money, but it would take forever to pay back. So, it looks like this steam heating system is going out of service and we'll be using the forced air from now on. I may run it a couple of days over the season so it doesn't go to crap.

    I may look at maybe converting the system to a combi/hot water system at some point but for now, this is how the tale ends. My disappointment is palpable.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    @underdog32 , how did he "size" the boiler?

    What about venting the air? I couldn't find anything in this thread about crossover trap or main vent repairs or upgrades.

    Contacting an "HVAC guy" is not the best move when dealing with steam. Try our find a Contractor page, here:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/

    You might try North Jersey if you can't find someone in NE PA.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    ryanwc said:

    Wait, so with the pro coming on Wednesday to test the burner, this 4-page thread died out on Monday? Two months ago?

    Crap. This reminds me of when the power went off at the movie theater 10 minutes before the end of Blood Diamonds.

    Can't somebody call this guy up and tell him he needs to let us know what happened? I'm dying to know.

    So, the first HVAC guy never showed up. I flagged down another guy that was working across the street and asked that he stop over if he had some time. He was a mini-split guy, not a steam guy, but he stopped by and looked at the combustion said it looked fine to him, but he felt he was unqualified to work on a unit that size. I contacted a HVAC guy to get in touch about sizing the boiler after the heating season (which I finally got around to last week). The end of the story is that they sized a new boiler at 495mbtu and a newer 85% boiler might save me some money, but it would take forever to pay back. So, it looks like this steam heating system is going out of service and we'll be using the forced air from now on. I may run it a couple of days over the season so it doesn't go to crap.

    I may look at maybe converting the system to a combi/hot water system at some point but for now, this is how the tale ends. My disappointment is palpable.
    That's a little like junking a car because someone can't figure out what tires to use. Very sad. Honestly, I doubt that you'll be happy with forced air -- and a combi/hot water system is very unlikely to be satisfactory -- as well as being much more expensive than reviving the steam would have. Pity you didn't get hold of someone knowledgeable -- there are at least two guys I know who would have come to look.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    ryanwc said:

    Wait, so with the pro coming on Wednesday to test the burner, this 4-page thread died out on Monday? Two months ago?

    Crap. This reminds me of when the power went off at the movie theater 10 minutes before the end of Blood Diamonds.

    Can't somebody call this guy up and tell him he needs to let us know what happened? I'm dying to know.

    So, the first HVAC guy never showed up. I flagged down another guy that was working across the street and asked that he stop over if he had some time. He was a mini-split guy, not a steam guy, but he stopped by and looked at the combustion said it looked fine to him, but he felt he was unqualified to work on a unit that size. I contacted a HVAC guy to get in touch about sizing the boiler after the heating season (which I finally got around to last week). The end of the story is that they sized a new boiler at 495mbtu and a newer 85% boiler might save me some money, but it would take forever to pay back. So, it looks like this steam heating system is going out of service and we'll be using the forced air from now on. I may run it a couple of days over the season so it doesn't go to crap.

    I may look at maybe converting the system to a combi/hot water system at some point but for now, this is how the tale ends. My disappointment is palpable.
    That's a little like junking a car because someone can't figure out what tires to use. Very sad. Honestly, I doubt that you'll be happy with forced air -- and a combi/hot water system is very unlikely to be satisfactory -- as well as being much more expensive than reviving the steam would have. Pity you didn't get hold of someone knowledgeable -- there are at least two guys I know who would have come to look.
    You are not wrong. Neither the wife or I are happy with the forced air, but it costs a third of what the steam system costs to run. I'd say it's more like junking a car because it's a 1998 hummer that gets 10 miles to the gallon when you have a 2010 Toyota corolla that gets 30mpg in the garage. I honestly can't figure out where the house uses 500kbtu of steam heat, but apparently it does. The steam system was definitely a more comfortable heat, but kids gotta eat, even in the winter.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with the system. I just think it costs this much to run.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    Steamhead said:

    @underdog32 , how did he "size" the boiler?

    What about venting the air? I couldn't find anything in this thread about crossover trap or main vent repairs or upgrades.

    Contacting an "HVAC guy" is not the best move when dealing with steam. Try our find a Contractor page, here:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/

    You might try North Jersey if you can't find someone in NE PA.

    @underdog32 , you haven't answered my question...............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
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  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,729
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    You are not wrong. Neither the wife or I are happy with the forced air, but it costs a third of what the steam system costs to run. I'd say it's more like junking a car because it's a 1998 hummer that gets 10 miles to the gallon when you have a 2010 Toyota corolla that gets 30mpg in the garage. I honestly can't figure out where the house uses 500kbtu of steam heat, but apparently it does. The steam system was definitely a more comfortable heat, but kids gotta eat, even in the winter.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with the system. I just think it costs this much to run.

    A mistake is about to occur
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el