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Is my steam boiler oversized?

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steamfan86
steamfan86 Member Posts: 4
edited February 2022 in Strictly Steam
Hello All,
My wife and I bought our house back in 2018. It's roughly 2000 sq ft and we live in metro Boston. We have a steam system powered by a Burnham Independence IN5. I have been trying to increase efficiency and am looking for advice on what my next steps will be.

When I first started down the steamhead path I found this forum and purchased The Lost Art of Steam Heating and started working on what I could. The gas bills have been quite a bit higher than the average home (looking at the reports from National Grid) and we only keep the heat at 67 during the day. When we moved in the radiators at the end of the circuit didn't even heat up so we've come a long way.

Here's a list of improvements I have made to the system so far:
1. Balanced all radiators with Gorton valves
2. Added two Gorton #2s to improve main vent
3. Added TRVs to the upper floor radiators (I realize now this was probably wasted money because of an imbalanced system, oh well)
4. Insulated main in basement
5. Added Vaporstat and low pressure gauge
6. Added Ecobee smart thermostat (with satellite room gauges, not super helpful on single zone I know)

The thermostat is on the first floor and it is always much colder than the second floor (hence the TRVs). After replacing the Pressuretrol with a Vaporstat, I realize the system is now short cycling on pressure as the old pressuretrol was not working when I had it turned all the way down. I have the Vaporstat set to cut out at 1.5 psi and cut in at 0.5 psi. The only time I see short cycling is in the morning when getting the house back up to temp (we turn the heat down to 64 at night as monitored in the master bedroom upstairs). I did not see any short cycling before I added the insulation in the basement.

There are 9 radiators in the house amounting to around 68000 BTU/hr (using 240 BTU/hr sq ft calculation) with one electric baseboard heater in the downstairs bathroom. If I'm reading the stats on the furnace correctly it outputs 86000 BTU/hr which is way oversized for the current demand (made worse when I actually turn on the TRVs).

Another known issue I have is my near boiler piping is inadequate and the steam is quite wet causing light gurgling at many of the vents. I realize this is inefficient, but don't think it adds 20% to my gas bills over comparable homes.

One of the big problems I believe is the previous owners removed two radiators from the first floor (kitchen and half bath) in the northeast corner of the house. There are two capped spots on the main in the basement where those radiators used to be.

So before I spend any more money I'd like to hear your folks thoughts. I think adding load to the system by putting in two more radiators (one in the half bath also removing the baseboard heater and another in the kitchen) and possibly putting a larger radiator in the living room. Would this solve my short cycling issue? Are there any other ideas that I haven't considered? I have seen posts about downfiring the boiler, but consensus seems to be that is a bad idea.

Also, I received a quote to fix the NBP issue (second header and increased height) and it was very expensive, but considering the furnace was installed in 2006 I don't think at this price it would be worth it. What kind of fuel savings would drier steam produce? Is that kind of cost worth it or is this a wait for the boiler to die and fix it then situation?

Near boiler piping

Main venting:

Side of boiler:

Capped risers on main:

Bathroom baseboard heater:

Kitchen planned location for additional radiator:


Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    Well, let's see. First things first -- we never discuss pricing for jobs here; it's one of the few rules we have -- so if you wouldn't mind, kindly remove that price for repiping. You can say it would be expensive...

    So, on the subject of the near boiler piping, it is a very craftsmanlike and neat job. Pity that it's wrong, but you already know that. Whether it would save much in terms of fuel to redo it is unlikely. It might save some, but if you aren't getting much hammering and only a little gurgling... I'd leave it be.

    Now. In terms of sizing boilers, it is much easier -- and more reliable -- to use the boiler's own figures for EDR -- sometimes square feet of steam -- and compare that to the EDR installed in the building. Much more reliable, and saves juggling BTUh numbers back and forth -- which are easy to misinterpret.

    Adding the two radiators back will undoubtedly help with the short cycling -- not that your situation souds too serious. It will also, of course, add some possibly welcome warmth to those spaces. The fact that you see come cycling now, and didn't before you added insulation on the pipes in the basement, isn't surprising -- you are using more of the steam produced for heating.

    You may want to experiment a little further with reducing the venting on the upstairs radiators to help calm them down some.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    steamfan86
  • SteamBoiler
    SteamBoiler Member Posts: 90
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    Hello All,

    The thermostat is on the first floor and it is always much colder than the second floor (hence the TRVs). After replacing the Pressuretrol with a Vaporstat, I realize the system is now short cycling on pressure as the old pressuretrol was not working when I had it turned all the way down. I have the Vaporstat set to cut out at 1.5 psi and cut in at 0.5 psi. The only time I see short cycling is in the morning when getting the house back up to temp (we turn the heat down to 64 at night as monitored in the master bedroom upstairs). I did not see any short cycling before I added the insulation in the basement.

    I am afraid I may not be able to contribute much to your situation other than, I have a 2 pipe steam system that is relatively new to me and I am trying to increase its efficiency as well. I installed a Nest a couple months back and have it set to 68F during the day, drop to 64F at night, and recover at 1F steps starting 4am to 7am to avoid extra long heat calls. My heat calls are typically 20-25 minutes long at night, when it is coldest, and also when recovering from the nightly setback. I have an old Honeywell pressuretrol set to 0.6psi cut-in and 1.5psi additive differential cut-out (had it set to 1psi additive but opened it up to resolve potential thermostat confusion from long heating calls, but really doubt accuracy of pressuretrol as pigtail hasn't been touched in ages).

    Question is, how does your Ecobee handle the short cycling on pressure? I assume when you say short cycling on pressure, system's building up steam too quickly and cuts out earlier than the normal heat call and Ecobee hence issues a longer than normal heat call as it waits for the boiler to come back online?

    Thanks a ton. I had an old mercury tstat that I realize now was just short cycling (though anticipator was set to the steam setting) and heating up my basement and with Nest I can see the heat calls duration and timing and the home's warm, not the basement.
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    It sounds like you are only short cycling on a recovery. You can stage your recovery in a few 30min off/on/off steps with your Ecobee and it should solve your problem. Can I assume you are not tripping the pressuretrol in less than 30min on a warm cycle? There are other ways but this is easy, nothing to wire, nothing to install. You are going from 64 to 67 so start with 62F for 30min to force off and make sure you don't start your recovery during or immediately after a hold cycle. Then go to 67F for 30min, 64F for 30 min, 67F for 30min, 64F for 30min and then go into your 67F hold. I do a 5 degree recovery so I have one more cycle in there which is only really necessary when temps are in single digits or below. Disable the smart recovery feature on the Ecobee.

    Is the end of your main accessible to consider moving your main vents there. I saved about a minute per cycle getting steam to my radiators after moving mine from end of the main return to the actual ends of my mains. That actually adds up.

    Depending upon your obsession level you may want to monitor your efficiency over the long haul and start a database tracking your gas usage per month vs total HDD per month. Just sync it with your billing cycle gas usage. Can get the HDD data easily through www.degreedays.net. Although data quality is not perfect volume helps. I have been tracking data on my system for 12 years and by making single changes per year have developed some confidence on what has worked and what hasn't.

    Have fun.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Setbacks of less than 24 hours are a problem, as the recovery burns up any fuel saved during the setback period, and amplifies any short cycling issues. A lower constant setting would be best, or just set the TRV’s, in the bedrooms to a lower temperature, at night.
    You may be able to have the boiler down-fired a bit to reduce its oversize.
    I don’t see how moving the main vents to the last takeoff could shorten the time of radiator steam arrival. What is your back-pressure of venting, as the main vents are letting the air out of the pipes, and timing? Putting slower vents on the downstairs rads would enable the upstairs to catch up.
    What is the location of the sensor for the thermostat? A more exposed room (without a TRV) enables a quicker response to plunging temperatures.—NBC
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
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    Please post a pic of the boiler label with the model number and technical data.

    You said, "If I'm reading the stats on the furnace correctly it outputs 86000 BTU/hr"

    There are multiple ratings, you may be quoting the IBR rating which is substantially lower than the DOE Heating capacity of 115000BTU/Hr.

    This looks like your boiler:

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.supplyhouse.com/product_files/IN5S-EI-EZ-NG-Brochure.pdf

    My uneducated look at the steam supply is that it has more than the 24" rise above the water line and is properly insulated. If the DOE heating capacity is what I referenced and the steam supply is 2", the steam velocity would be about 33 feet per second which is a bit higher than the guideline for modern boilers of 25 feet per second.

    If you don't have one I suggest you get a copy of the installation manual. They should be readily available.

    Once I have the model number, I might be able to give you more information, but I need to make sure I am looking at the exact model you have.


  • steamfan86
    steamfan86 Member Posts: 4
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    @dabrakeman when going from a cold start it takes well over 30 mins to get up to pressure. The only time I see short cycling is during the large recovery from the overnight setbacks.

    I didn’t see a way to get much more precision with ecobee controls, so I’ll dig through the forum for some ideas. Do you set the schedules in the morning on the half hour so the boiler has time to recover? Or is there some hidden menu I haven’t found?

    My main vents are super fast (about 5 mins from start of boiler to first steam) and the single main I have is 2inch at roughly 60 ft length.

    @SteamingatMohawk Here’s a picture of my boiler label:



  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    The question on cycle time before any notable pressure rise was more related to the warm start than the cold start because as you stage the recovery the 2nd, 3rd... cycles will be warm and will take less time to build steam and potentially pressure within the 30 minutes depending upon how oversized your boiler is (which you want to avoid of course). First disable the smart recovery (menu setting). With it off the boiler simply comes on and off based upon satisfying thermostat. With it on it will try to pre-empt the settings on its own ruining your control. I have an Ecobee 4 and not sure which model you have but I would imagine you also have unlimited number of programmable comfort settings you can put into a daily schedule. When you define a comfort setting you can also specify whether it is "normally home" or "normally away". The difference is that the thermostat treats normally home as your base swing say +/-0.5 deg (set in settings/installation settings/thresholds) and normally away as that + 1 deg additional swing. During the recovery stages use normally home. In the installation settings you will also want to set a minimum run time so the boiler does not ever shutoff before producing any usable heat (Set mine at 14minutes). IT is easiest to create your schedules at the computer online. The below photo gives you an idea of the setback and recovery strategy I use. Unfortunately 30 minute increments is the finest time adjustment available but that works out OK for me. Track how it works out and if maybe your boiler is much more properly sized than mine you could set the first cycle on the recovery to 1hr. (About 45min on a warm cycle on my system does start to generate some unwanted pressure as would an hour cold). Takes a little time to setup the schedule but you will figure it out.

    You have 358sqft on the boiler. What was your total load adding up all your radiators EDR's?


    steamfan86
  • SteamBoiler
    SteamBoiler Member Posts: 90
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    @dabrakeman when going from a cold start it takes well over 30 mins to get up to pressure. The only time I see short cycling is during the large recovery from the overnight setbacks.

    I didn’t see a way to get much more precision with ecobee controls, so I’ll dig through the forum for some ideas. Do you set the schedules in the morning on the half hour so the boiler has time to recover? Or is there some hidden menu I haven’t found?

    I am not dabrakeman (I am not worthy.gif) but I have Nest recovering in controlled fashion from overnight setback from 68F to 64F (10pm) in 1 degree steps per hour starting 4am - 65F at 4, 66 at 5, 67 at 6, 68 at 7am. On lucky nights there are max 1 or 2 heat calls in the setback period. The early hours are the coldest of the day anyway so the setback recovery periods get caught up in regular heat calls that are not any longer than the normal temperature hold heat calls.
    steamfan86
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,540
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    Reduce or eliminate your set back especially when the weather is cold to reduce short cycling. Compare EDR of rads to square ft boiler will do (EDR & Square Ft are the same thing) Add as many rads back in that will help the short cycling. Fix or add vents as well.

    It's a small boiler. The near boiler piping is wrong.

    This is what I would do about that. Catch the boiler in between cycles when it is hot but not steaming. You want it so you can hold your hand on the steam pipe coming out of the boiler. Cut a little insulation off you can tape it back on. Crank the thermostat up and run the boiler until it just starts steaming and you can't touch the supply pipe coming out of the boiler

    Start timing with a stop watch and go to the end of the main at the last radiator take off and see how long it takes the steam to get their.

    If the steam moves fast leave the piping alone. If it's slow have it fixed

    also watch the boiler gauge glass, does it bounce much when steaming?
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    @Steamboiler That is basically the way I had started off back in beginning of last winter. Some mornings it would work fine but others it would still give me cycles too long that started to build pressure. May work fine most of the time for others but I found I needed a tighter control to ensure most every recovery avoided pressure regardless of whether it was 35F at night, below zero or just bad cycle timing luck. Below is a couple examples of what I would occasionally see with the 1 hr incremented temperature setting approach. Of course a 3 degree recovery would be more forgiving than a 5 degree recovery. My latest approach has eliminated these occurrences for me while also trying to optimize how quickly I can recover (i.e. faster on warmer days than colder).

    (note the smart recovery / anticipator was still on at this point so the boiler often started before the recovery and sometimes kept going in anticipation of the next set point rise.




  • steamfan86
    steamfan86 Member Posts: 4
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    @dabrakeman I have 282 sq ft of radiators currently. There is a slight bounce in the sight glass, but not much. 

    I do have have some extra Gortons that are smaller I will swap out upstairs to start to see if we can even it out a bit. 

    I’m going to try 30 minute recovery starting at 7am until 10am stable temp and see how we do tomorrow morning. (Supposed to be like 5 degrees in Boston tonight).

    It will be nice to see if this will help with short cycling in the short term. I plan to get the two radiators and install them myself in March when my bonus money comes. 🤑 Should be a fun thread to start and get some advice. 
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    Could say you are ~27% oversized. I am running 42% oversized on a normal basis with two radiators I normally have shutoff. 23% oversized with them on. I have been beaten up about that already...:) but as you can see I avoid short cycling or more precisely any pressure build much over a few oz even at 42% oversized. It seems your situation should be manageable.

    Yes slowing down the upstairs is advisable if hotter up there than downstairs. I have adjustables everywhere which makes balancing as you see fit easier. If adding in the two radiators you talk about will even your heat out in the house or get more where you want it then by all means do it. Certainly will reduce short cycling propensity.
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
    edited February 2022
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    Thanks, the heating capacity is as I mentioned previously.

    I looked at a different manual. If you have the manual for your boiler, it could state that a second riser is optional, which is consistent with the velocity I calculated.

    It is also consistent with what @EBEBRATT-Ed said, " It's a small boiler. The near boiler piping is wrong."
  • SteamBoiler
    SteamBoiler Member Posts: 90
    edited February 2022
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    @Steamboiler That is basically the way I had started off back in beginning of last winter. Some mornings it would work fine but others it would still give me cycles too long that started to build pressure. May work fine most of the time for others but I found I needed a tighter control to ensure most every recovery avoided pressure regardless of whether it was 35F at night, below zero or just bad cycle timing luck. Below is a couple examples of what I would occasionally see with the 1 hr incremented temperature setting approach. Of course a 3 degree recovery would be more forgiving than a 5 degree recovery. My latest approach has eliminated these occurrences for me while also trying to optimize how quickly I can recover (i.e. faster on warmer days than colder).

    Very cool and I like your approach honestly. The smart thermostats with their ability to schedule on a half hour basis make it easy to adopt multiple approaches to recovery. This morning I had the bad luck to recover from 66F to 67F and as luck would have it my schedule moved from 66 to 67 just as the home was cooling down to 65F from the previous recovery setpoint to 66F. So I got an extra long call of 34 minutes (for me) and my 30psi pressure gauge showed 2psi (rarely moves off the low endpoint). As part of Nest install I have the pressuretrol cut in at 0.5psi and 1.5psi differential cut out (I didn't want Nest to be confused by pressure cut out), but to be honest I don't even know if the pressuretrol works. Two radiators are a little slow so I need to work on my venting before doing anything re: pressure.
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    Your settings are correct for the pressuretrol but you should verify that it is working. Just force a long cycle by turning your stat up and watch your gauge until it shuts the boiler down.    Make sure your pigtail is clean if you have not already checked it.  
  • SteamBoiler
    SteamBoiler Member Posts: 90
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    Your settings are correct for the pressuretrol but you should verify that it is working. Just force a long cycle by turning your stat up and watch your gauge until it shuts the boiler down.    Make sure your pigtail is clean if you have not already checked it.  

    Absolutely on my to-do list and the extra-long cycle this am told me exactly what I needed to do to build pressure and watch the boiler shut down. I will likely also turn down the additive differential a tad, to 1psi, to force a fast turn off. Will wait for spring to clean the pigtail, don't want to mess with it right now :-) be pretty unpopular in the home if I mess it up.

    On your system, when you shut down for pressure, how does Ecobee respond? Does it continue calling for heat? On my system it looks like the pressuretrol is connected directly to the boiler gas valve controls so Nest shouldn't be aware of boiler shut down and should continue calling for heat, but since I haven't seen a pressure shut down (that I am aware of) I don't know how Nest will respond.

    As a side note, my first gas bill with Nest shows about the same gas usage as the same month last year with a 2 wire mercury thermostat but the home's much warmer. The typical heat call with Nest is 20 minutes long - 10 minutes just to get steam to the radiators - and I suspect the mercury thermostat wasn't calling for heat long enough (even though its mechanical anticipator was set to the one for steam). Previously, the basement was always warm - so all the heat was spent in the piping - and now it is the home that's warm.

  • SteamBoiler
    SteamBoiler Member Posts: 90
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    Your settings are correct for the pressuretrol but you should verify that it is working. Just force a long cycle by turning your stat up and watch your gauge until it shuts the boiler down.    Make sure your pigtail is clean if you have not already checked it.  

    BTW I realized that I was inaccurate in my previous post, I have 1.5psi additive so with the cut in of 0.5psi approx total system pressure high limit is 2psi. I realize everyone here recommends 1psi additive but the Nest is new to me so didn't want to confuse it right now with pressure cut off etc. Trying to keep things linear and predictable for now.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
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    Have you given any thought to adding two stage firing?
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    Yes you want your cutout down to 1.5psi. The pressuretrols are only so accurate though so some take a little tweaking to get it close to 1.5psi and still allow the boiler to kick back on. Mine initially at 0.5 and 1 diff wouldn't shut down till 2.5psi. See how yours does. Hopefully it will do better. IF not we can help you tweak a bit.

    Yes all the thermostats will continue to call for heat until satisfied. I never trip on pressure anymore which obviously is your goal as well.

    This is just playing around with the free stuff. :) As @GerryGill states there is two stage firing that could be looked at if your boiler supports it and @PMJ has some methods using a time delay relay to limit boiler burn time and set delay for refire, or, with sensors at your radiators that will shut the boiler off coupled with a timer that will delay time to refire.
  • SteamBoiler
    SteamBoiler Member Posts: 90
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    Yes you want your cutout down to 1.5psi. The pressuretrols are only so accurate though so some take a little tweaking to get it close to 1.5psi and still allow the boiler to kick back on. Mine initially at 0.5 and 1 diff wouldn't shut down till 2.5psi. See how yours does. Hopefully it will do better. IF not we can help you tweak a bit.

    Yes all the thermostats will continue to call for heat until satisfied. I never trip on pressure anymore which obviously is your goal as well.

    I am a little confused about the cut out pressure. I have a 2 pipe steam system. The radiator input valves are always open. The only part of the system that is stressed under pressure are my steam traps (I am pretty sure most are failed open, this is an old home and I have no idea when the last maintenance on the traps was performed, on my to do list). A typical steam trap from supplyhouse.com is rated to 25psi. I will take it as given that pressuretrols are inaccurate, but if cut out is 2psi and is actually 3psi at the boiler, given pressure loss in piping and system, could be 2.5psi at radiator. If cut out is 2psi system vs. 2.5psi at system, why should we care so much about cut out pressure difference of 1psi? I admit I have only been browsing this site for a couple months, is the issue that higher pressures are really masking the need for better venting etc and over time the time taken to push air out is burning up $$$?

    Really appreciate your comments BTW as you are one of the few on this site with a "smart" thermostat and as someone relatively new to steam heating and additionally just making the conversion to a smart thermostat, your input is incredibly helpful.
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    A method that makes all this go away is simply a temp switch on your last radiator that sees steam and two adjustable timers. On a call for heat you fire until that temp switch sees steam, plus an adjustable timer amount to adjust a repeatable partial system fill amount. Then you stop the boiler and wait till that same switch opens again plus a second adjustable timer before the next fire can happen. Through trial and error with the timer settings you figure out times that will heat the place on the coldest days. Most of us have big boilers so the total burn time needed isn't even 50% of the total time. Round numbers my maximum firing rate ends up 8-9 minute burns separated by 18-20 minute wait periods. Two burns an hour and always evenly spaced.

    Once this platform is installed every burn fills the system to the same place, no matter how cold or hot the starting place of the piping. Short cycling is now quite impossible as the burner cannot fire again until an amount of heat from the steam from the previous burn has gone into the space - an amount you determine.

    The idea is simply to limit your system to a maximum fill amount and evenly spaced firings at a net rate that will just heat on the coldest days and no more. Short cycles then become quite impossible, even recovering from setbacks. Setback recovery will be slow and spread out anyway, and with no more pressure ever than you allow with your first timer - whatever it takes to get steam to your last radiator. The better balanced your system, the less pressure will be required.

    I've heard some people do get this done with a smart thermostat and that's great. One thing for sure with the above approach is that you always know exactly what your boiler is doing. I've experimented for many years now with different things and this approach is definitely working the best.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    @Steamboiler I guess I tend to think about it very simply, likely too simply. Energy is conserved. It takes energy to compress air and steam. If you don't have to to heat your house, why "spend" the energy.

    Certainly smart thermostats are nice from the convenience of monitoring or adjusting your system remotely, looking at data and maybe having a few more programming options, but, they really aren't specifically steam smart at all. It is a shame because with a little motivation it would be very simple for them to improve steam compatibility and allow some steam friendly programming options. For instance, why limit programming periods to 30 minute increments, or, if there is already a way to set a min runtime how hard would it be to allow a max runtime etc...

    I do like @PMJ's system though.
  • steamfan86
    steamfan86 Member Posts: 4
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    @PMJ So is this temp switch and timers wired in with the thermostat? Does it trigger when it hits like 200 degrees or something? Very curious to learn how one would set this up.
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    @PMJ So is this temp switch and timers wired in with the thermostat? Does it trigger when it hits like 200 degrees or something? Very curious to learn how one would set this up.
    Yes, 200 or so not critical at all. Just so you know when steam has arrived.

    This circuit goes in between the tstat and the boiler. I use a PLC. The tstat and temp switch are inputs and an output fires the boiler. 

    PM me if you want more detail. 
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • tchack
    tchack Member Posts: 1
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    My boiler is way oversized and was short cycling 2.5 mins on 2.5 mins off on pressure, the pressuretrol was set at .5psi cut in and 1.5 psi cut off.

     I had a small gorton vent as main, replaced it with a big mouth barnes and jones vent, but the short cycling persisted.

     Then I followed @PMJ 's solution initially by adding the Macromatic timer. For a while I did 10 min on and 10 min off and it was not short cycling anymore on pressure.

    But on a cold start on recovery from 3 degree setback at night, it took a long time to meet the thermostat setting, since 10 min on time was not enough to produce steam from a cold start.

    Then I tried a temperature switch from this set (Hilitchi 12 Pcs Normally Close Thermoastat Temperature Control Switch Auto Reset 45 to 135°C Thermostat KSD9700 Assortment Kit) at the end of the main pipe wired in series with the thermostat without the timer. It cut off at 90 deg Celsius and cut in at 70 deg Celsius, but now boiler was short cycling on temp not on pressure. The temperature differential/ hysteresis of 20 deg was not enough to let the radiator cool down. And there was no temp switch available with a higher temp differential.

    I was going to use a PLC with @PMJ's help. Then I stumbled upon a digital temperature controller w1209 on Amazon, which still got a temp differential of only 15 deg Celsius but had a 0 to 10 min time delay at cut in temperature. It has limited abilities of a PLC. And I bought that and installed that in series with the thermostat and its temp sensor on the radiator close to the radiator air vent but not on the vent itself.

    After experimenting on different temp settings and on two different radiators, the setting that's working is 50 deg Celsius cut off with 15 deg differential which sets the cut in at 35 degree Celsius, all the radiators were getting heated without any pressure build up. Also I monitored pressure on a pressure gauge of 0 to 15 inches of water column. I will be buying another digital temperature controller xh-w3001 which has a wider range of temperature differential/ hysteresis to fine tune the system. I thank @PMJ for all the help. Now I can live with a way too oversized boiler. Even though this is a lot in writing, the only hard part was running a wire from the boiler (which is in series with the wall thermostat) to the radiator. It would've been a lot easier if a wireless digital temperature controller or a smart thermostat with wireless temp sensor with programmable cut in and cut off temp was available. Or we may have to build one with adriuno or raspberry pi which is time consuming.
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    Making peace with a big boiler and living happily ever after with such a small investment is a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing @tchack.

    Every burn is continuous to the same partial system fill amount no matter how cold the starting system conditions. Then, the system waits after every burn until a percentage of your choosing of the heat from the steam just produced has actually gone into the space before another burn can happen. Burn lengths and wait periods change themselves as outside conditions change. Measurable pressure is impossible even in setback recovery, and firings will always be evenly spaced producing very even heat.


    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
    tchack