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Condensate Return Pump: Post Installation Questions

redplumber Member Posts: 7
edited October 2021 in THE MAIN WALL
First of all, I'd like to thank everyone on this forum!

Just a little history: not by my choice, I took over the maintenance of a 100 year old apartment building. I've been learning about everything in the trades, especially plumbing (that's where most of my issues lie). In researching steam heating, I ran across Dan Holohan and I purchased his book: The Lost Art of Steam Heating Revisited. I am no expert, but I am striving to learn as much as I can!

There is a Peerless 211A-08-S-I (1470000 BTU input) boiler that heats the property. It was installed within the last 4 years or so. It's basically "new".

There are 2 condensate return lines with 1 pump on each line (2 pumps total). One is on the north side of the building and one is on the south.

This post is about the one that is on the south side. It is a 1" black steel line that dips underground and runs under 2 apartments and 1 hallway (a public hall open to all residents).

I just replaced the pump that had a tag so old, I could only make out the model because it was stamped on: WC 8 20.

I went to the plumbing supply store, showed them the pictures, and they sold me a hoffman WCS-8-20-B, which they had in stock. I inquired about steel vs. cast iron, but they said that cast iron would require a special order. I opted for getting something now and not having to wait.

Even though the unit is the same model but in steel, the motor is in a different location and the pit was barely large enough to fit everything.

Some details about the installation:

- I used 2" - 1" bushings to reduce the inlet so that I would have enough room.
- I added a watts wye 1" strainer (I believe it's model LF777SI)
- I used a 1-1/4" to 3/4" bushing for the vent. This was about the only space I had.
- I used a 3/4" 90* street fitting on the pump.
- I added a check valve to the pump and connected it to the top loop into the boiler.
- I wired it up and tested it by filling it with water and disconnecting the union.

Some questions I have from you experts:

- Did I install it properly? Is there anything that is obviously wrong?
- Are there any slight improvements that I can add?
- Is the strainer I used acceptable? The return water temp is just over 100 degrees F.
- I couldn't quickly locate a "Plug Cock" or "Plug Valve" that the instructions mention in the diagram. Do I need this? The old pump didn't have it.
- The 3rd hold that I am filling the tank with a hose (please see picture): Do I need that or can I install a plug in it? The old tank didn't have this hole.
- I added an extra 90 degree fitting to the 3/4" pipe that goes into the steam boiler. Is this acceptable?
- The air vent is a lot lower because I ran out of pipe. How tall should the vent be? And can it contain a few 45 degree bends if it bumps into something at the right height?

Thank you so much in advance!


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,527
    I don'r see anything obviously wrong, but a few comments.

    The unused tapping can be plugged (a cap and nipple is better)

    The vent pipe should terminate above the top of the boiler with no air vent on it .....just an open pipe with two elbows to turn it down so no debris can fall in the pump. The vent pipe can have elbows but should drain back to the tank without water pockets.

    Usually in the pump discharge you put some type of adjustable valve to regulate the flow if need be. It keeps the pump motor from overloading. You can use just about anything a ball valve is ok. Check pump motor amps while adjusting

  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    The best thing that you can do is to go online when making any install if any equipment to the building.
    Any manufacturer will send you the install instructions and maintenance instructions for the equipment you will purchase.

    Eberatt gave you the right advise.

  • redplumber
    redplumber Member Posts: 7
    Thank you for you suggestions!

    According to my understanding of the instructions, it shows that the 3rd hold should be connected to a drain with a P-trap. This lead me to ask the questions if plugging this hole is acceptable.

    I will cap the 3rd hole, fix the vent, and add a ball valve. Thank you!
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    The P trap s not needed unless you are tying the overflow directly into the the waste or soil pipe drainge system.

  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 659
    Typical corrode out warranty for cast iron tanks is 20 years. Welded carbon steel tanks typically only have a 3/16" wall and don't have corrode out warranty. I have seen some fail in 10 years.

    The vent should go up to at least boiler water line height then turn down 180* and be open to atmosphere, not piped back to the tank. These are more typically used on 2 pipe systems where this vent line is the only air outlet for the whole system.

    The purpose of the air vent pipe going up to boiler water line height is to allow gravity circulation in the event of power failure. This is a holdover from coal fired boilers days. The overflow would negate this function.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • redplumber
    redplumber Member Posts: 7
    I like seeing updated pics, so here are the final pics with the suggestions.

    One thing I did extra was add a ball valve to the strainer for easy/fast flushing. When I checked the strainer, it brought back a considerable amount of debris (about a pinch of metal flakes) from just a few days of running the system in mild weather. I'm not sure if this is normal for this system, just an observation.

    It seems to be running well. I didn't get a chance to adjust the ball valve on the pump. I'll do so this week and check to make sure the amps are what it's rated for. Thank you again!