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Help - what do I do?

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Cto
Cto Member Posts: 13
I had posted earlier re issues with my sight glass and overfilling. 

Someone came and basically drained more water than I had courage for and that is fine.  While he was here, he mentioned that my installation (done by someone else was not good).  He wrote the following up and said this is what I need fixed. I've posted picture below. Particularly, he said the header was not pitched, my Hartford loop was not the appropriate height and my boiler should have been set up higher.  He also mentioned the need for a skimming port modification so that it is easier to access.  These sounded like reasonable things. 

I was ready to go along with him until he decided he needed to adjust my vapostat responsive to my concern that the boiler seemed to have overfilled this week when the boiler called for water unnecessarily (maybe because the water was returning slowly). I don't think the issue is resolved permanently but draining some has resolved that for now, I guess. 

He said that he needed to adjust how much water came into the boiler and proceeded to push the thermostat cut out to 5.  He said that this will mean water is added every 15 min vs. 10. I told him I don't think that is what this is for but he disagreed.   The boiler then started short cycling.  I asked him to turn it back to the 10 cut out, 6 cut in it was at originally.  I also expressed concern about constantly adding water because of potential corrosion of the boiler but he did not seem concerned. 

At this point, I have met technicians that seem to have some knowledge and then pretend they have the rest, to my detriment.  I recognize now that the original installers also probably didn't do a great job but now I don't know what, if anything, needs to be fixed.  

I've posted pictures of my current set up, his suggestions. 

Please give me your thoughts. 

 

Comments

  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Oh, my. Where to begin.

    Interesting that he mentioned the header pitch and Hartfor loop but not the lack of an equalizer between them. This is probably why your water is leaving the boiler and making the LWCO call for more water.

    The vaporstat limits how much pressure can build durning a heating cycle. Yours will turn off the boiler when it reaches about 2.3 psi and turn it back on when it drops to 1 psi. This is higher than necessary, but reducing it might make the boiler short cycle, which might not be a bad thing as it will give the water a chance to return to the boiler, but this is not how these things should operate.

    In the short term, turning off the water feeder will keep the boiler from overfilling. As long as there aren't any leaks it will just cycle on low water.

    As soon as you can, you should get someone out there who knows how to pipe a steam boiler, and have them put an equalizer on it.

    Longer term, your system would benefit from having longer risers and a large drop header. These boilers lack a steam chest, and the near boiler piping is absolutely critical to getting dry steam out of them.

    Where are you located?
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaulcross_skier
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
    edited January 2022
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    He said that he needed to adjust how much water came into the boiler and proceeded to push the thermostat cut out to 5. He said that this will mean water is added every 15 min vs. 10. I told him I don't think that is what this is for but he disagreed. The boiler then started short cycling. I asked him to turn it back to the 10 cut out, 6 cut in it was at originally. I also expressed concern about constantly adding water because of potential corrosion of the boiler but he did not seem concerned.


    This paragraph is kind of nonsensical in several ways. Possibly due to unfamiliarity with the terms, or typos?

    - There is no such thing as a "thermostat cut out". I think you mean the Vaporstat's cut-out
    - None of the controls that you are talking about have anything to do with adding water to the boiler.
    - Please use units when you are talking about settings on the Vaporstat. I suggest sticking to PSI on the Main setting and OZ/sq in on the Diff setting. (the vaporstat has two scales on each setting so it gets confusing)
    - I'm sure he wasn't concerned about the additional water...it's not his boiler!
    - That header setup is rather insane
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    cross_skier
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    Well... the good news is that vap9orstat is set OK, although I daresay you could crank the cutout down to 1.5 and be a little happier with the whole thing.

    The man is sort of right on the header. That is, he clearly recognised that there is a problem. There is. That design boiler needs the two side outlets. That's fine. However, they should go up to a header -- one pipe size larger. Well, you have a header, of sorts. it's not one size larger, but we'll let that go.

    However.

    Where it turns up to go to the header of some long gone boiler, it should turn down instead, then reduce in size, then connect to the top of the Hartford loop. It doesn't. Worse, the way the boiler is piped and placed, it can't. So what to do? I would suggest replacing the elbow going up to the old header with a T -- leg of the T pointed up to the old header -- then a nipple, say 6 inch or so, continuing the same size on horizontally, then a 90 down, then reduce in size, then a 45, angle over, another 45 and connect to the top of the Hartford loop. That will clear the feed piping (I don't like the feeder set horizontal, but I dare say it works...). Make sure that the whole header assembly pitches towards the end that goes down to the Hartford loop.

    Then what about that old header? Leave it. It's doing no harm -- and quite possibly a lot of good, as it will further dry the steam. Take the line which comes down from it (and goes to the Hartford loop now) and reconnect it to the wet return just before it ties in to the bottom of the Hartford loop.

    The Hartford loop is, perhaps, a little low -- but it's OK where it is.

    Should the boiler have been set higher? Maybe, but I'd have to go through the whole system to look at the wet returns. If all the wet returns are below the water line, then it's OK.

    While you are doing all that, make sure that the ptich of the mains hasn't been messed up.

    That, in my opinion, is the simplest way to get you good dry steam with the least amount of work. Unconventional -- yes. But it will do a nice job.

    Now on the overfilling. The vapourstat setting, as you have surmised, has nothing to do with the overfilling. The somewhat ... well, just wrong... header, however, may have something to do with it, but I wouldn't care to guarantee that.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Cto
    Cto Member Posts: 13
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    He said that he needed to adjust how much water came into the boiler and proceeded to push the thermostat cut out to 5. He said that this will mean water is added every 15 min vs. 10. I told him I don't think that is what this is for but he disagreed. The boiler then started short cycling. I asked him to turn it back to the 10 cut out, 6 cut in it was at originally. I also expressed concern about constantly adding water because of potential corrosion of the boiler but he did not seem concerned.


    This paragraph is kind of nonsensical in several ways. Possibly due to unfamiliarity with the terms, or typos?

    - There is no such thing as a "thermostat cut out". I think you mean the Vaporstat's cut-out
    - None of the controls that you are talking about have anything to do with adding water to the boiler.
    - Please use units when you are talking about settings on the Vaporstat. I suggest sticking to PSI on the Main setting and OZ/sq in on the Diff setting. (the vaporstat has two scales on each setting so it gets confusing)
    - I'm sure he wasn't concerned about the additional water...it's not his boiler!
    - That header setup is rather insane</
    -

    Ethicalpaul - I mistyped thermostat or rather autocomplete did. As for the controls, that's my point. The tech kept saying the vapostat has to do with the water.
    ethicalpaul
  • Cto
    Cto Member Posts: 13
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    Well... the good news is that vap9orstat is set OK, although I daresay you could crank the cutout down to 1.5 and be a little happier with the whole thing. The man is sort of right on the header. That is, he clearly recognised that there is a problem. There is. That design boiler needs the two side outlets. That's fine. However, they should go up to a header -- one pipe size larger. Well, you have a header, of sorts. it's not one size larger, but we'll let that go. However. Where it turns up to go to the header of some long gone boiler, it should turn down instead, then reduce in size, then connect to the top of the Hartford loop. It doesn't. Worse, the way the boiler is piped and placed, it can't. So what to do? I would suggest replacing the elbow going up to the old header with a T -- leg of the T pointed up to the old header -- then a nipple, say 6 inch or so, continuing the same size on horizontally, then a 90 down, then reduce in size, then a 45, angle over, another 45 and connect to the top of the Hartford loop. That will clear the feed piping (I don't like the feeder set horizontal, but I dare say it works...). Make sure that the whole header assembly pitches towards the end that goes down to the Hartford loop. Then what about that old header? Leave it. It's doing no harm -- and quite possibly a lot of good, as it will further dry the steam. Take the line which comes down from it (and goes to the Hartford loop now) and reconnect it to the wet return just before it ties in to the bottom of the Hartford loop. The Hartford loop is, perhaps, a little low -- but it's OK where it is. Should the boiler have been set higher? Maybe, but I'd have to go through the whole system to look at the wet returns. If all the wet returns are below the water line, then it's OK. While you are doing all that, make sure that the ptich of the mains hasn't been messed up. That, in my opinion, is the simplest way to get you good dry steam with the least amount of work. Unconventional -- yes. But it will do a nice job. Now on the overfilling. The vapourstat setting, as you have surmised, has nothing to do with the overfilling. The somewhat ... well, just wrong... header, however, may have something to do with it, but I wouldn't care to guarantee that.
    Thanks.  Now to find someone who can do this...  

    Is this doing my boiler any harm?  Not that I want to ignore it but it's a big project and I wonder if I can take the time to vet an appropriate individual to do it and not just waste my money.  
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,670
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    If it is not losing water somewhere and adding more to make up for it then any harm is negligible. More cycles would be more wear on the gas valve and an auto damper if so equipped but that might mean it last say 15 years instead of 40. If reducing the pressure calms things down until you can fix the piping then that would help mitigate any potential issues. Definitely make sure you find someone that know what they are doing, doing it wrong twice won't help matters.

    If it hasn't been skimmed, doing that a couple times could make a huge difference. If it has too much additive in it that will also cause it to throw more water up in to the mains.

    It definitely isn't piped the way it should be but I'm not convinced that drum type piping left over from the old system won't do an ok job of slowing the steam down and giving the water a chance to fall back down to the boiler or the equalizer. It definitely isn't ideal but you probably have water quality issues too.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,544
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    I like the idea of using he old header but even if you add an equalizer to the existing boiler header and risers (which are too small) I don't think you can feed the old header and stll have 24" c/l of site glass to the boiler header so unfortunately it's all wrong.

    And you know what no equalizer on the boiler header is doing. If it has the 24" then it's a fairly easy fix
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
    edited January 2022
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    Cto said:


    Thanks.  Now to find someone who can do this...

    That's why I asked where you're located. If you can tell us that we can help you find someone with the right expertise—maybe even someone with experience working with Utica/Dunkirk boilers. (They're really the same thing.)
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Cto
    Cto Member Posts: 13
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    Thanks.  Now to find someone who can do this...
    That's why I asked where you're located. If you can tell us that we can help you find someone with the right expertise—maybe even someone with experience working with Utica/Dunkirk boilers. (They're really the same thing.)
    I am in Northwest Philadelphia.  Mt. Airy/Germantown.  
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Try Rick Hansell. He's familiar with Dunkirks. https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/s-d-hansell-co

    If you're interested in doing your own re-pipe over the summer, I can help you out. I live in King of Prussia. I'm retired, so this is like a hobby for me.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Cto
    Cto Member Posts: 13
    Options
    Try Rick Hansell. He's familiar with Dunkirks. https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/s-d-hansell-co If you're interested in doing your own re-pipe over the summer, I can help you out. I live in King of Prussia. I'm retired, so this is like a hobby for me.
    Thank you.  I would do it myself but I work long hours and don't have the time to do it as much as I would like to.  I do appreciate your offer!  I did reach out to Rick Hansell. 
    Hap_Hazzard
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Cto said:

    I would do it myself but I work long hours and don't have the time to do it as much as I would like to.

    "Work is the curse of the drinking classes." —Oscar Wilde
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    delcrossv