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Eulogy For 1932 Steam System--Pictures And Blueprints.

JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,086
This school house was rebuilt on the footings remaining from a fire in the winter of 1932. Apparently the boiler and coal room were not involved. Some masonry walls were reused.

It was a time when labor was cheap and available.

Presently it has a 1973 American Standard 1BJ1, 1.8Million in-1/44 out.
From what I could see on the print it had 3780.74 EDR connected.
(EDR's on print included fractions for some CI rads)

With 1.33 pickup that is 1,206,812 BTUH. For 13,464 sq ft of floor space that is 90 BTU per sq foot. It was a warm place to be.

Attic mains with a 5" riser and also a 3 1/2" riser.
2nd floor plans show a 5 X 3 1/2 X 3 1/2 eccentric tee. I have never went up to look.
Could be built up fittings.

Only 1/2 basement level for boiler room (wet area) so dry returns were under the floor.
Some had been replaced. I had suspicion these were wet/dry returns causing air venting problems.

So BJBM vents were added at the end of the sub-mains as they dropped from the attic.

There was always a cond pump on this system as the print shows.
2 6" risers. King valves that may have never been operated, 15' above the floor.
5' threaded pipe into the one on the right.
No real header, as we know it today. Only an 1 1/4" drip/equalizer on the right end.
It seemed to produce dry steam, got the pressure down to 2.75 PSI.

First print shows boiler detail.

Second shows attic express mains with 5" riser feeding the 2 floors of the main building, the 3 1/2" riser feeds the gym level. That elusive tee is shown.

All the EDR's are on this page, the piping/EDR drawn to the outside of the building are for the first floor below.

First floor plan, 7 WC's for girls RR....5 WC's & 4 urinals for boys, but only one hand sink in each RR. Hand washing was not a major priority in the 30's.

"Domestic Science", room #7, with sewing rm #20 ( with one electrical outlet) attached would later be called "Home Economics" and today would be eliminated from schools.

"Manual Training" (room 13 with 2 electrical outlets) would later be called "Shop" and today is almost eliminated from schools.

Most class rooms only had 1 outlet if any.

There is no cafeteria, only dinning rooms. You brought your own brown bag/ lard bucket or went home for lunch.

Room 16 may have been the coal room.

This second floor plan, paper clips show where main air venting was add below on the first floor.
These were easy places to add the venting at the ends of the sub-main feeds in the attic.

Last one of 3 gym rads had the drop modified for a BJBM. These 3 rads did not get orifices as all other rads did. This was the only remaining heat for the gym as the hanging unit heaters were disabled.

Next is the "Music Room", now a storage room. This is after the vents removed. Apparently the left vent was blowing steam and drilled that hole in the plaster.
No one must have noticed it.
This is attached to a drop for a rad long removed.
Whenever a rad was removed the drip trap was forgotten about. All of these abandoned drips (perhaps 6) still had a 1932 (stamped) W&W trap element installed.
30 other drip trap elements were replaced with B&J #1972 cage units.
All rad trap elements (other than gym) were removed and orifices installed in supply valve unions.
They consistently had steam in the dry return and apparently no one could figure out why.

Another set of BM's added in first floor class rm 3/6. Again using an abandoned rad connection. You can see what a few years of steam did to the paint on the wall.
All the BM's were up on a 5' riser to avoid water spitting, however they appear to pass steam. A ball valve was added below to isolate them if there was a constant steam flow.

You can see new windows installed and some closed up.

The first and last orifices in the boiler burners were plugged to get a better handle on short cycling.

That rad did actually heat, lost it's drip connection at sometime.
I had first privilege's on salvage of the steam system, so trap caps and any cage units, vaporstat (0-4 PSI) and any other goodies are now mine.

Two more pages of prints. These are all I had.

This has been a friend to visit for the last 6 years, as I have been in every nook and cranny, other than the attic.

Not all will go to scrap as our power plant needs some hot water rads to heat the building.
That will be another project.
Alan (California Radiant) Forbes


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,721

    Well, before you leave for the last time you have to visit the attic!!!!

    I would suspect maybe a main vent on the steam line in the attic that no longer works, they used to do that on the "express riser MIlls system" I had one of those systems a couple of towns over.

    So, you suspect the buried returns were trapped or not pitched enough to vent? All the condensate should have come out the condensate tank vent.

    Like the old prints. That's back when we had real engineers

    Not that they likely needed all that EDR but at least when they changed the boiler in 73" they sized it for what they had. They must have done the heat loss with the windows open!!!

    I bet the boiler installed in 32' was the one removed in 73. That doesn't happen anymore
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,086
    I might look at the attic when it is laying on the ground. ;)
    The building is to be demoed next summer.
    Three towns combined school districts and built a new schoolhouse.
    Heated with geothermal.....won't be as warm as this was.

    Did they put air vents in the attic on a 2 pipe system?
    The print shows none and does have a lot of details.
    I would think that would be pointed out.

    The buried dry returns had problems, it showed leaks and was replaced in a hurry one winter by others.
    One fall on start up with a little head of steam, a gush of cold water returned to the pump. It apparently had been sitting in some pipes all summer.

    The 32 project was a rebuild around the existing boiler room. The boiler was there before 1932. Who knows how old it was?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,935
    Whatever they put in now will probably be toast in 20 years, max.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,721

    The system I worked on the riser off the boiler went to the attic and circled the attic with supplied dropping down. The end of the main had vents just as you would in the basement
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    The prints are wonderful, done by a real engineer.
    If I am reading this right the boiler is oversized. If this is so, in the 1930s heat supply was calculated with some windows in each location was left open. In those days this was a health concern, away to combat sick air syndrome therefore the boilers were bigger than what we do today, by tightening up the envelope and closing the windows. many older buildings today have had double pained wand triple windows installed. this would make an older building with an older boiler automatically oversized.

    As to the wet dry returns under the floor I say they are wet returns because they are below the condensate pump therefor they will have water in them much of the time and air will not be released from that part of the heating system in a timely fashion.

    I worked on some similar type buildings with 2 pipe steam, never saw air vents on the upper steam piping.

    What I did notice is steam traps in several locations used as vent valves, that is a new one on me, that must have odiferous at the start cycle of the heating start up.

    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,086
    The dry returns are actually just below the first floor (on grade).
    The boiler room and cond pump are 1/2 a floor below that.
    The returns enter the room above the cond pump inlet.
    So the intent was for them to be true "dry" returns venting air thru traps.

    But when replaced some years ago they may not have been installed to drain and perhaps had dips trapping water preventing air removal.
    That was the reason to add air vents in the building at the ends of the sub-mains.

    The original building that burned in 1931 may have been built in the teens or 20's. That boiler survived the fire and was reused in the 32' project.
    This 1973 boiler may have been the 2nd or 3rd one in the building in the last 100? years.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
    Wouldn't mind having some of those old doors.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,086
    All the contents of the building, including doors, will be auctioned off next spring/summer before the building is demoed. After asbestos abatement scrappers may come in for iron.
    Plenty of wall hung CI rads are left.

    This is 175 miles west of Omaha.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,086
    Just to update the Eulogy for the 1932 system.

    Some components (organs) were recovered for donation to another schoolhouse steamer.

    "Amy's Schoolhouse" in Columbus NE was the recipient of some parts.
    Air vents, ball valves, a F&T trap, some newer strainers and 0-4 PSI vaporstat are now or will be installed in that school (at greatly reduced prices).

    And inlet valve orifices may be used as needed.

    Also about 10 of the larger floor mounted CI rads were picked up by our "Village People" for heating in our village power plant. (priced at scrap value)
    Most remaining rads are wall mount as return piping is along the floor below them.

    As I re-read this it was like going thru an old family album. :/
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,188
    JUGHNE said:

    Just to update the Eulogy for the 1932 system.

    Some components (organs) were recovered for donation to another schoolhouse steamer.

    Also about 10 of the larger floor mounted CI rads were picked up by our "Village People" for heating in our village power plant. (priced at scrap value)
    Most remaining rads are wall mount as return piping is along the floor below them.

    As I re-read this it was like going thru an old family album. :/

    Were those the rads sitting in the area of the power plant where the old generator had been scrapped?
  • talon55
    talon55 Member Posts: 3
    love this stuff could spend hours creeping around , I revel in the work that went in and no power tools
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,086

    BTW, PC7060, yes those rads in the power plant are from this school.