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Some advice please Old steam system

RayWohlfarth
RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,480
I was called to look at a job and am contractor #8 to do so. The customer is complaining of noisy operation. They recently replaced the steam boiler a few years ago. I am visiting the site Monday and a bit nervous and excited.
I have enclosed some pics and would like some ideas before I get there. Thank you in advance




Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    What sort of noise-hammering, noisy vents, etc?
    Main vents look somewhat capacious, but only by looking at a low pressure gauge will you see the backpressure, so maybe take a low pressure gauge to put in as a temporary or permanent diagnostic device.
    Don't allow them to bury you there!--NBC
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,480
    Thanks @nicholas bonham-carter I will be sure to post what i found
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,272
    Looks like fun! Watch out for expansion noises -- some customers find them very annoying, and I'd be mightily surprised if that old a system didn't have a bunch...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,512
    Some of those vent risers are covered with the remnants of rusty water.

    I see a little condensate pump in the corner. Does that carry the entire load or is some of the system gravity return? I ask because with a condensate receiver you normally don't need vents.

    Is the boiler header piped right? Can't see the whole thing
    mattmia2
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,373
    Also, the fact the boiler risers are reduced in size above the flanges could be an issue. If the velocity is too high, you're gonna have water being drawn up and carried over to the mains.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,823
    That's a Webster Vapor system. It's designed to run on 8 ounces steam pressure, or less.

    First job is to replace the operating Pressuretrol with a Vaporstat. If the pressure is too high, it can make water spit out of the dry return vents. Add a low-pressure (3 PSI or so) gauge when you do, so you can see what the system is actually running at.

    The condensate pump is almost certainly unnecessary. The only exception is if there is radiation below the waterline.

    See if the returns are pressurized (no traps on the drip lines from the steam mains, resulting in an "A" dimension) or non-pressurized (having traps on steam main drips, resulting inn a "B" dimension). ISTR Webster used both configurations.

    Where is this job located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,110
    As always steamhead is dead on in his diagnosing from afar . It’s always amazes me how guys will do anything for money including working on stuff that they have no clue about especially 2 pipe vapor crazy . Replace everything except pressuretroll to vaporstat and get paided and still have issues and walk seems to be a basic mode of operation that I see from heating guys when it comes to 2 pipers . Most of the time everythings leaking from operating at to high a pressure change out to a pressuretroll and the magic returns . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,480
    Thanks @Jamie Hall I am looking forward to seeing the place.
    @EBEBRATT-Ed I will know more monday. This was just what the contractor sent me.
    @Ironman I noticed that and will do my due diligence once there
    @Steamhead The job is located in Pittsburgh There are traps on the rads and the ends of the line. They used a condensate tank instead of a boiler feed. This is my first job seeing a Webster Vapor System
    @clammy Yep lots of people suddenly become experts on things when money is tight
    Thank you all. Will let you know what I find.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,622
    Looks like someone put dope in the bolts for that trap so it wouldn't seize. One of the redundant controls might be a vaporstat. Why do they have so many shovels?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,823
    Too bad you didn't go there in August, @RayWohlfarth - I could have stopped by on my way back from @gerry gill 's job.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,480
    @mattmia2 LOL I wondered about that too. Hoping its not some place where zombies come to visit
    @Steamhead It would be nice seeing you again. Perhaps whenever the pandemic ever ends LOL
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons