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Re pipe it and the “pitch”

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GW
GW Member Posts: 4,693
Should I pitch them hard or pitch them soft? I went out to look at Mini installation, could not help but notice the piping. I gently indicated to the lady that the steam piping could be improved upon. But I did not want to push it hard (not the reason I was called). 3 inch down to 2 inch back up to 2 1/2 inch main. Think it’s sucking some water? Would anyone dare hang and efficiency increase number, if it was re-piped? I did not look at the nameplate. I only went down to the basement to look at the panel.


Gary Wilson
Wilson Services, Inc
Northampton, MA
gary@wilsonph.com

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,540
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    Yeah, it's all wrong. No header and undersized pipe. Is she getting water hammer in the boiler supply?

    How steady is the water level? If it pulls water out the water line is usually unsteady.

    Common problem, no one can thread over 2"
    GWHap_Hazzard
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    I did not ask too many questions, she had issues with a radiator valve half closed early on, but after she figured that out she said the system has been OK. I sensed it wasn’t perfect. So I dropped a hint, and we’ll see where it goes. Maybe when she speaks to her hubby, it’ll get some traction. I don’t know

     Sadly, we did a big mini split job two houses down, that boiler was equally gross. I dropped a hint on her too, but I think I cleaned out our checking account with the large five zone ductless install (she was somewhat matter of fact about it) 

    There’s no glory and being in the guy that cleans up somebody’s steam heating system. 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,540
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    @GW
    Nope. When you get above 2" it becomes more difficult to thread. Sometimes you can do it with nipples but sometimes you need to cut.

    I know BE Crowley in Spfld can thread up to 4" (maybe larger)everything there is $$$$. Webb can but you have to go through the ordering process and ......................wait because it come in from the other end of the state

    Don't know about anything else

    My570
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    Ed sorry I wasn’t very clear- I wasn’t asking “can I repipe”, I can certainly nipple it. I was wondering does anyone have practical experience with “how bad” it is. I know it’s ugly and lame but that doesn’t sell an expensive re pipe 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    GW said:

    Ed sorry I wasn’t very clear- I wasn’t asking “can I repipe”, I can certainly nipple it. I was wondering does anyone have practical experience with “how bad” it is. I know it’s ugly and lame but that doesn’t sell an expensive re pipe 

    I think for me on anything like that is -- does it work? As I've said before -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Also, as I've said before, I think we've all seen just how forgiving of -- shall we say odd? -- arrangements steam heat can be. Sure it would be nice to have it all beautiful and according to best practice, but... sometimes money is short, and it's working, so...

    But it's always worth mentioning. A repair may not be done right away -- or even ever -- but it leaves a good feeling "This nice person mentioned that the system was working, but could be better, but wasn't pushy at all" is a real warm fuzzy.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    GWGrallert
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    Good point @Jamie Hall , I agree. That’s why I lobbed a softball at the lady.

    Two or three years ago I saw a boogered up steam system, dropped a hint on the homeowner. They took me up on my offer and we re-piped it. She reported back to me sometime later how happy she was. That felt nice.

    Perhaps steam will remain more of an art than it is a science. It’s just impossible to quantify how wet or how dry the steam is (and how that affects BTU delivery). 

    Unless, there’s a trick out there that I don’t know yet. There’s got to be some old timer out there that knows this topic like the back of his hand.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,540
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    GW

    Agree with @Jamie Hall if it ain't broke.

    The only trick I know is to watch it steam. If the water line is doing a dance and you see water sloshing in the top gauge glass connection then there are issues weather piping or skimming. So if it steams ok and no water hammer what's to fix?

    I have always felt some poorly piped jobs "survive" because of over sized boilers but no one seems to agree with me on this.

    If the boiler is over sized in relation to the load the pipe is only going to pass the amount of steam the load can take. You can't make the radiation or pipe to condense more steam. An over sized boiler can't force more steam down the line . This make the undersized pipe work because while it is large enough for the load it is undersized for the boiler that's presently installed. And with an over sized boiler steam and water separation in the boiler improve because the steam isn't leaving as fast. It's like putting an 80 year old boiler back in.

    I probably didn't explain that right but I know what I mean LOL

    dabrakeman
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
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    Ed that’s a good explanation, thank you. I sort of thought the larger boiler is going to cram more steam/water/energy up the riser. At least in the initial cycle. A little bit of an art I guess. 
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    My570
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
    edited March 2021
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    GW said:
    It’s just impossible to quantify how wet or how dry the steam is (and how that affects BTU delivery). 

    Unless, there’s a trick out there that I don’t know yet. There’s got to be some old timer out there that knows this topic like the back of his hand.
    I wouldn’t say impossible...it’s possible for about $60 in parts. Even less because it contains an integrated union (that you can open by hand)

    https://youtu.be/4IymyZB4wlI


    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,693
    edited March 2021
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    that glass set up is only $60?

    So, let it be or keep pitching re-pipes? Boiler re-piping is most certainly not my main go-to for work flow, just trying to help people spend less fuel when it's possible/practical.

    and, the spirit of the conversation was 'will it save the ho money/fuel', not so much 'how much/is there wet steam' (yet that's the byproduct of the main question)
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    Yeah if you shop around you can get the sight glass for $40 and the npt adapters for $12 each but it might be easier to find them for $80 total.

    $ saved is tough to quantify I think. To me the easier to define benefits are quieter operation, speed of heat transfer to radiators and ease of balancing. 
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Grallert