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Questions on single pipe steam

Hi- new homeowner with a single pipe steam boiler- burnham independence that was installed 2012. I did not have an annual maintenance last year but made it through winter without any major issues. House was nice and warm, seemed efficient and kept the heat well. Would greatly appreciate comments on how the burnham is piped, looks rather different from the manual the previous owners left around. There was some banging last winter, maybe 1-2 times a day. I recently adjusted the presuretyrl from 2/1.5 to 1.5/.5. Also any idea what the grey cylinder is next to the boiler? It has a vent to the outside. 

Plan on getting annual maintenance done ASAP, plus insulate the supply mains before start of winter. Thoughts and feedback appreciated. New to steam and learning as I go. Thanks 



Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,063
    That actually looks pretty decent, all things considered. It would have been nice to use both boiler tappings, but it really isn't necessary.

    Pressure control is good.

    Insulation on the steam mains will do wonders for you, and may even help with the occasional bang. Before you do put on insulation, though, double check all the "horizontal" lines to make sure they have some slope -- and that there is a way for condensate to get back to the boiler!

    Also take a look around and make sure that you have some main venting. That it's working well indicates that that may not be an issue -- but there's no harm to making sure.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,198
    The grey thing vented to the outside looks like a fan in a can. It brings combustion air into the basement when the boiler is running, make sure in air inlet outside is kept clear especially when snow difts up against the house in the winter.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,256
    BobC said:

    The grey thing vented to the outside looks like a fan in a can. It brings combustion air into the basement when the boiler is running, make sure in air inlet outside is kept clear especially when snow difts up against the house in the winter.

    Bob

    I suspect in that structure it is more of a code issue than necessary to provide combustion air. That structure looks plenty leaky enough to provide combustion air through infiltration.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,176
    I would remove the pressure control and replace any fittings that are not brass with brass fittings including the pigtail
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 901
    I would suggest two things. The pop safety valve is piped horizontally and should be piped vertically. I would also verify the size of the combustion air duct. It looks like the installed reduced the size.

    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,564
    edited July 14
    Depending on which model Independence that is, @Jamie Hall is probably right about the piping being OK.

    What @RayWohlfarth said about the safety valve, too. The combustion air supply will, again, depend on the boiler size.

    It looks like you have a single steam main that wraps around the basement. Measure the length and diameter of this main so we'll know if the main vent is big enough. Almost all the ones I find are too small- upgrading will make the house heat faster, on less gas.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Northeast_homeowner1
    Northeast_homeowner1 Member Posts: 2
    thanks to all for feedback. Boiler is an independence INI5, 140K BTU.

    Steamhead- you are correct, it is a single steam main that wraps around the basement (it wraps around the chimney that goes through the center of the house). Measurements below:

    supply main is ~35 feet (2 long sides are 12.5' & 13.3', 2 short sides are 6.7' & 3'). Mains are 2.5'' pipe
    vent to chimney is 6'', the fan in the can is 4''

    I only see one main vent in the whole basement, its a Hoffman 75, no idea how old it is.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,063
    The Hoffman 75 is an excellent vent, and is probably working fine. It's also probably not big enough, although it may be close. If you are so fortunate as to have a low pressure gauge on the boiler -- 0 to 3 psi or so -- observe it as the boiler fires from cold. If it rises to no more than half a psi or so and sits there until that vent closes, you're fine. If not -- if it keeps steadily rising -- you need more vent, and chances are swapping the Hoffman for a Gorton #2 will do just fine.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,564

    The Hoffman 75 is an excellent vent, and is probably working fine. It's also probably not big enough, although it may be close. If you are so fortunate as to have a low pressure gauge on the boiler -- 0 to 3 psi or so -- observe it as the boiler fires from cold. If it rises to no more than half a psi or so and sits there until that vent closes, you're fine. If not -- if it keeps steadily rising -- you need more vent, and chances are swapping the Hoffman for a Gorton #2 will do just fine.

    Based on the length and diameter of that pipe- I'd just replace the 75 with the Gorton #2.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
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