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New steam boiler install

This coming week I’ll be installing a new boiler in our home. The old one is a Ballard oil fired which has no identification tags anywhere. I’ve been in this house for 41 years and it has served us well but has started to leak. The replacement is a Force purchased through Ferguson. Model #FORCESTEAM04N-H.
I’ve been reading this forum for a couple of years and watching videos like crazy in order to get a feel for this install. I have a mechanical background.
I have the new boiler set out in our basement and have done the NBP ahead of time the make the swap go a bit faster.
I’ll include some photos and will welcome any helpful comments.
Thanks, Keith



Comments

  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    edit: this is a two pipe steam system.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,847
    Hats off sir.  That’s good clean work and I don’t see anything wrong with it.  Welcome to the homeowner steam install club!

    Since you have 2 pipe I would suggest a good low pressure gauge with a max range of about 1 PSI, I have a 15 ounce on my 1 pipe boiler.  This will allow you to monitor pressure and decide if a Vaporstat may be a needed addition.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    KC_Jones said:

    Hats off sir.  That’s good clean work and I don’t see anything wrong with it.  Welcome to the homeowner steam install club!

    Since you have 2 pipe I would suggest a good low pressure gauge with a max range of about 1 PSI, I have a 15 ounce on my 1 pipe boiler.  This will allow you to monitor pressure and decide if a Vaporstat may be a needed addition.

    Thanks for the compliment. I have a 0-3psi gauge. Waiting on a pigtail to arrive.
    KC_Jones
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,001
    edited November 21
    Great, I think it looks very good, something we seldom see here.

    IIWM:
    I would change out the boiler drain hose bib for a full 3/4" ball valve.
    And add another in the wet return to back flush the return if it is of any length.
    Change the 90 under the relief valve for a tee with plug...easy to check the boiler opening in the future.
    Also I would remove the 3/4 X 1/4 bushing for the pigtail, install a 3/4" tee there with clean out plug. Go up with 1/2" and mount the p-trol and new gauge up higher. Leaving the 0-30 where it is, it is almost worthless for low pressure.
    Gordo
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    JUGHNE said:

    Great, I think it looks very good, something we seldom see here.

    IIWM:
    I would change out the boiler drain hose bib for a full 3/4" ball valve.
    And add another in the wet return to back flush the return if it is of any length.
    Change the 90 under the relief valve for a tee with plug...easy to check the boiler opening in the future.
    Also I would remove the 3/4 X 1/4 bushing for the pigtail, install a 3/4" tee there with clean out plug. Go up with 1/2" and mount the p-trol and new gauge up higher. Leaving the 0-30 where it is, it is almost worthless for low pressure.

    So I understand. A second valve in the wet return to allow me to force some water from a hose backwards in order to help flush out the wet return? If this is what you’re saying I like it as this is an old system and I’m prepared to spend the next few weeks after it’s up and running flushing, filling and skimming until I’m satisfied with the cleanliness of the pipes. Not expecting perfection but I’ll give it a go.
    I want to do what you suggest with the pressuretrol piping and replace it with a vapor stat but that will probably come next year during my first scheduled maintenance.
    The system currently has a Trane No. 2 direct return trap. Is this still required? I’ll attach some photos.



  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,001
    edited November 21
    That return trap is, for me "a horse of a different color", I defer to others about that.
    It is a remnant of coal fired boilers that had little absolute fire control.
    Perhaps because of your expected vaporstat it may not be needed.

    This is a "Steamhead" or Jamie question.

    How about more pictures of the old boiler piping...how many steam mains do you have?
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    Two steam mains.
    I’m not sure if the house ever had coal heat. My neighbors house is from the same era and they have an old coal bunker in the front of the basement. I had our in ground oil tank removed last year it was 1000 gallons!
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31

  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31



  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    I will connect this:
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    To this:

  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    @JUGHNE when I try to open your replies from my notifications I’m told I don’t have permission to do so. Any advice?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,374
    The boiler return trap has steam going to it (piped off the old safety valve) to use steam pressure to help push the condensate back into the boiler.

    Need to see more pictures of that. It should have a vent n top of it
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    @EBEBRATT-Ed
    Here you go:




    No vent on top. Looks like a test port with check valve. The two bungs on the side seem to have the same spacing as a sight glass. When I shake it it rings like a bell as if there’s a changer inside.
    mattmia2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,374
    I am not a vapor expert maybe @Jamie Hall or @Steamhead will comment.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,008
    It looks like steam was coming out that port because something had gone awry like bad steam traps or too high a pressure and instead of fixing it someone put a plug in it.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,008
    Can you show us what is connected to a radiator?
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    mattmia2 said:

    Can you show us what is connected to a radiator?

    Nine radiators all piped like this. Valve at the inlet and trap at the exit. I replaced the cages in the traps about 15(?) years ago.

  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,704

    @JUGHNE when I try to open your replies from my notifications I’m told I don’t have permission to do so. Any advice?

    @mygardenshed, I'll PM you about this.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,008
    Those look like metering valves on the inlet, the whole system is probably designed to work on ounces of pressure.
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    edited November 23
    mattmia2 said:

    Those look like metering valves on the inlet, the whole system is probably designed to work on ounces of pressure.

    You are correct as to the ounces of pressure. The vaporstat range is up to 1 pound.
    I’ll put up a photo in a bit.
    edit: Can steam be metered? I’m under the impression that’s it’s either on or off. These valves do have a pointer on them so maybe they can cut back the flow to the radiator.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,165
    This puppy was a vapour system at one time, and possibly one of the Trane variants. A closer look at those valves on the radiator inlet would by the key to that, but @mattmia2 is right, I'm sure on them.

    That contraption is labelled "Trane" and is, most likely, a receiver "trap". It isn't really a trap. If I'm right, it contains a float so that condensate which got in there could get back to the boiler, but air or water couldn't. There must be a main vent somewhere in the vicinity...

    And it was designed to work on ounces -- not more than 8 or so.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,374
    @Jamie Hall

    Is that trap supposed to have a vent on top where the plugged check valve is? I think the steam connection on top is to help push condensate into the boiler. I will have to dig out my LAOSH
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    Here’s the radiator valves:

  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    The vaporstat:



    mattmia2
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31

    This puppy was a vapour system at one time, and possibly one of the Trane variants. A closer look at those valves on the radiator inlet would by the key to that, but @mattmia2 is right, I'm sure on them.

    That contraption is labelled "Trane" and is, most likely, a receiver "trap". It isn't really a trap. If I'm right, it contains a float so that condensate which got in there could get back to the boiler, but air or water couldn't. There must be a main vent somewhere in the vicinity...

    And it was designed to work on ounces -- not more than 8 or so.

    @Jamie Hall There is a Hoffman No. 4 nearby but it’s on the condensate return
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,008
    Half of me wants to reuse that mercury vaporstat for another 70 years.
    mygardensheddelcrossvpecmsg
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    Had a fairly easy time taking the old boiler apart. Splitting the sections was a bit of grunt work but not bad at all. I have a scra guy in the neighborhood and I’ll get him here tomorrow to haul the car us out.
    Some photos:








  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    The wet return looks very clear. The bottom of the boiler is a different story. There’s no way water was making it back to the full bottom of the boiler. I keep you posted.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,863
    This is definitely a Trane Vapor system.

    The plugged connection to the Return Trap was originally piped to the dry return. See:

    https://heatinghelp.com/assets/documents/26.pdf

    Not sure why it was disconnected, maybe the internal valves failed?

    The trap on the radiator shown is a Hoffman #8, not a Trane. Are all the traps the same type?

    That Hoffman #4 vent is pathetically inadequate for your system. Replace it with a Gorton #2.

    Are there any vents or traps at the ends of the steam mains?

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    @Steamhead
    No, there are no other traps. Only the Hoffman No.4 and the ones at each radiator. Radiator traps are all the same except one.
    Any harm in me placing a 4” block under each leg to make it easier to clean up after maintenance sessions?
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    @Steamhead
    Thanks for that booklet. It shows my system as it once was I’m sure.
    Regarding the No. 2 direct return trap. Can that be eliminated? I’m going to start my piping today. I’ll leave it in the system as it has about a 12” nipple and pipe cap that is being used as a leg. Helps support the wet return.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,008
    There may be water seal loops that act as traps where returns or mains connect together under the water line. You need to make sure the combination of water line heigh is high enough and pressure is low enough that steam can't push through those if they exist.
    Hap_Hazzard
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    mattmia2 said:

    There may be water seal loops that act as traps where returns or mains connect together under the water line. You need to make sure the combination of water line heigh is high enough and pressure is low enough that steam can't push through those if they exist.

    I haven’t seen any loops but I’ll be sure to double check. The steam mains run along the bottom of the joists at about 7’ high. They end and drop down to the wet return with a vertical drop of approximately 2’. Then a straight run downhill to the boiler. This is where I’ll be connecting to the Hartford loop.
    I got the steam mains cut back to where I can start reassembly. I’ve been measuring like a mad man this past week and if those are good I’ll have a fairly easy go.
    I’ll be sure to document my success and or failure.
  • mygardenshed
    mygardenshed Member Posts: 31
    New boiler is up and running. Pulled the chimney liner today, piped the gas and connected the power. Very little trash in the sight glass and it’s very steady, no bouncing. Haven’t heard any water hammer yet. Pressure seems to hold steady at around 10 oz. The 0-3psi gauge is the way to go. Going to swap out our smoke detectors for CO2/smoke tomorrow.
    Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and thank you to all who provided me with guidance and encouragement.
    mattmia2PC7060
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,008
    I'd suggest a standalone low level co monitor. really should get someone to check/adjust the combustion/draft although it is less important with naturally vented gas appliances