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Steam Header

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gcort
gcort Member Posts: 6
Hi , I first want to say I'm a DIYer who loves to learn and tackle a lot of projects. Some terms I may not know from the pros. I'm starting to gather the fittings to redo my mother's near boiler piping. It's a Utica boiler with 2 inch outlets. The installer was a friend and replaced the boiler about 6 years ago from oil to gas. The only flaw I see is that he did not read the instructions on the header. One main takes forever to heat because it gets wet steam. The other main was piped off the same pipe but get heat because it's higher than the other and must dry out by the time it gets to it. The previous installer came off only one side of boiler.
My first question is that Mr. Holohan says to stay off the top jacket with the bottom of the header at least 24 inches. I'm starting to run out of head room. It's a 100 year old home. I am definitely going to step up to 2 1/2 inch pipe right from each side and keep it that until hooking back to the two mains separately. I was considering a drop header. I wondering if the bottom of that has to stay 24 inches off top jacket. That may be too difficult because the two verticals running to it would be real high. I wondering if stepping up to 2 1/2 will allow me to lower header off the top jacket? I realize the manufacturers only want 24 inches off the water level.
Second question. How do you guys pitch the headers slightly? I don't work with this big pipe and just asking for a couple of ways to slightly pitch toward the equalizer.
Sorry so long. I'm new. It's just that I know if that header is done close to perfect the heat in the house will finally be correct. Thanks, Greg

Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    In a drop header application, as long as the header is above the water line some amount, it's actual height to the water line isn't critical. Running the risers up roughly as high as possible, is the critical component.

    The drop header is perfect for the low headroom applications such as yours. I had the same issue, with only about 5'-6" from floor to joists.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    cross_skier
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    The length of the risers is probably more important than increasing from 2" to 2½" and much easier to do. They should go straight up at least 24" before the first elbow, but you can take them up to the ceiling if there's nothing in the way.

    Pitching the header isn't hard to do. Steel pipe is flexible, and by the time you add 24" risers, swing arms and drop back down to the header, you'll find the header sags a little on its own, and making the equalizer the right length will give you exactly the pitch you want.

    Your header should be at least 3", but again, more is better, within reason. You should put together a list of all the parts you need, where to buy them and how much they cost. That's when you're going to find out why I said 2" risers are easier to do. You can get 2" pipe at your local plumbing & heating supply or Home Depot. Anything bigger you'll have to order, and you're going to have to get exactly the lengths you need unless you plan to buy (or rent?) a very expensive pipe threading machine.

    There are a lot of details to learn, but the pros here are very helpful and knowledgeable. I repiped my own boiler a few years back, and learned a lot in the process, but still, if I had to do it over, there are some things I'd do differently. The learning never ends.



    This is what my new header looked like before I covered it with insulation. You can see I'm a fan of tall risers, and, if you look closely, you'll see I added hangers to keep the header from sagging too much, so getting the right pitch is no problem.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    Corktown
  • gcort
    gcort Member Posts: 6
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    Thank you guys. I may be over thinking. Both of you commented that those riser height are real important. I think I will run them up real high then back down. I also thinking maybe piping it all in the two inch correctly. I realize dealing with the 2 1/2 as a DIYer will be a tough endeavor.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,703
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    What size boiler is it? Honestly piping both supplies on a Dunkirk would be a bigger deal than going from 2" to 2-1/2" IMO
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Hap_Hazzard
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    Search on this site for "Dunkirk" and "Utica" steam boilers.
    They were also re-branded for Lennox, Bryant, Sears and other suppliers.

    If you look in the outlet ports you will see a tiny diameter header across the top, that is cost savings for them.
    They depend upon those 2 1/2" outlets, usually both of them, to be the steam chest they wished they had....and for the installer/owner to furnish the 2 1/2" fittings/pipe.

    Other brands of boilers of the same btu rating may only require 2" top connections because they did build somewhat of a "steam chest" into their castings....more money to buy. Although they still need good piping risers at the boiler.

    As you price 2 1/2" fittings/nipples you will realize why installers reduce to 2".
    They are low bid....as the boiler itself was.

    From reading here for 10 years, if these side outlet boilers are piped correctly the performance is good.

    Apparently there were a few produced the factory furnished with 2" outlet ports.
    A couple of those showed up here....but the standard is 2 1/2".

    Get the install book, it shows piping for that model.

    Post pictures of existing piping.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    He said the outlets were 2".
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    Yes he did but there may be a reducing bushing buried in there he may not be seeing.
    If not, then only 2" ports, then using both sides would be the way to go. IMO
  • gcort
    gcort Member Posts: 6
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    Thank you. I never realized but I think the installer did go with a lower priced boiler (Utica). I going to have rethink everything. Hopefully with double tapping the boiler and creating a good header I'll be ok. The installer only came off one side and attached two mains to one. The steam just is not dry enough and doesn't go back to the equalizer properly. I only get good heat out of one main.
  • gcort
    gcort Member Posts: 6
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    There are no reducing bushing. The entire system is 2 inch with 1 1/4 returns.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,703
    edited January 2022
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    Unless you are looking at the ports themselves, under the jacket, you may not see a reducer, they can be very low profile.

    I wouldn't say Utica is necessarily lower priced, but I do think that the top-supply designs are superior such as Peerless and Weil-Mclain. Depending on markup and labor and other parts, the boiler cost itself is a rather small piece of the pie, almost not worthy of consideration IMO.

    Not to say a Utica can't do a good job. My original boiler when I bought my house was a Utica that despite a ridiculous non-header, tapped on only one side at 2", still did an OK job for about 30 years and was working when I pulled it.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,533
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    @gcort

    Use the largest diameter risers the tappings will allow and run them as high as possible. If you keep the water in the boiler where it belongs the header has less work to do. Keep the bottom of the drop header 12" above the boiler jacket if possible.

    If you pipe the header right (Pipe size and tapping location) you don't need to pitch it it will be fine
    cross_skier
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    If your drops are far enough apart as they enter the header, you could use a 1/2" shorter nipple on the high end of the header.
    This has worked out for me, plenty of slope on the header towards the equalizer drop.
    That out of plumb/level fitting line then can get corrected with 2 45's on the equalizer drop.
    Corktowncross_skier
  • Corktown
    Corktown Member Posts: 34
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    @Hap_Hazzard, how much does your header pitch from end to the other, and over what distance?

    Thanks ....
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,533
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    In a level header with steam and water flowing in the same direction with the boiler risers, steam takeoffs, and equalizer piped correctly there will not be any water hanging around in the header.

    I have never seen a boiler piped with a pitched header.

    I have never seen in any boiler mfg piping diagram where they say the header must be pitched.

    It just like a drop header. If you want to over do the mfg instructions it's fine with me.

    The only reason to use a drop header is if you don't have enough riser height imho

    If anything I believe in increasing the riser diameter to keep the water inside the boiler where it belongs. Don't let it get into the header
    cross_skier
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    JUGHNE said:

    Yes he did but there may be a reducing bushing buried in there he may not be seeing.
    If not, then only 2" ports, then using both sides would be the way to go. IMO

    I'm pretty sure all Uticas have 2" supply ports.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    JUGHNE said:

    Yes he did but there may be a reducing bushing buried in there he may not be seeing.
    If not, then only 2" ports, then using both sides would be the way to go. IMO

    I'm pretty sure all Uticas have 2" supply ports.
    They do. Dunkirks have 2-1/2" tappings, which knuckleheads reduce to 2". Note that if the boiler is branded "Utica Heating" it's probably a Dunkirk.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Hap_Hazzard
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,004
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    OK, what is the model number of the boiler? Can you post a picture of the label on the boiler showing the heating capacity, etc.?