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Dead Men Tales: District Steam

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 650
edited February 2022 in THE MAIN WALL


District Steam

In this episode, Dan Holohan time travels back to 1905 when Washington, D. C. was pondering the promise of a soon-to-be-installed district heating system.

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Comments

  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
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    Dan, this one of the best examples of what real engineers are capable of.
    I for one maintained many district heating plants in the New York City Housing Authority, learned that stuff in the Navy, thank you USN.
    I never Knew that district heating started in 1905.
    In my years in the business I dealt with heating engineers that had no clue about steam.
    They designed and specified system upgrades tat knew came from sales engineers tht never worked on stem systems, they sold equipment.

    I only wish that the new engineers that will work with steam systems could do research, compile data, design and write a report as succinct as the engineers of the past.

    Jake
    CLambEdTheHeaterMan
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
    edited February 2022
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    Fixed Thanks
    Now these I came across awhile back and was glad to find them again.
    This was part of a upgrade and is pretty much self explanatory at the time. .

    In fact when I was a kid the plant was still standing and was surrounded with tall pointed iron fencing daggers that meant stay out... but I was drawn to the fence because of the warning signs spaced out along the perimeter.. (Best as I remember)
    DANGER..DO NOT TOUCH FENCE MAY BE ELECTRIFIED ! 
    Well that was something I just had to be told once not to do before my curiosity had me testing it with whatever was laying on the ground close by..
    I got chased because those rails made a good loud sound when getting hit with stones and such...I imagine I wasn't the first kid who decided to test out the fence..
    I eventually tested the fence with a quick swinging tap and that was that.. until I was told the electricity being generated sometimes jumps from the giant towers and big black iron fence was there to catch it and for some reason I believed that story and never tried to touch it again...

    Now what happened to it from what I understand is it wasn't needed for electric generation any longer and the Power company sold the steam plant to a company as there alot of customers including schools and hospitals..
    I'm guessing in the early 60's the company went for a rate hike and was opposed in court and eventually denied as the court found 

    The Electric Company made the investment...on and on and on.. the Steam was use for a waste product originally..as the Company Bought it for Steam only they weren't afforded the argument they were making as that would of been severed by the power company selling it... nothing survived the sale.. none of the rights of the original company..
    In the opinion one judge did note that there has never been a steam generation plant built in Pennsylvania for supplying steam to homes and businesses that wasn't a secondary byproduct of a primary use..such as generating electricity..
    It closed shortly after I believe














    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    mattmia2
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    @dopey27177. Thanks, Jake. District heating goes all the way back to 1820. Here's the story:https://heatinghelp.com/dead-men-tales/keep-an-eye-on-district-heating/
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    More on district heating in the U.S.
    http://waterworkshistory.us/DH/DHsummary.pdf
    Retired and loving it.
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
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    Love the copy of the magazine.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    And though I can't specifically confirm this as being "The Beginning" as other industrial areas probably had to deal with the same growth pains....
    But the plant was able to generate only so much electricity and as industry grew and production increased they reached a point that Daily startup and use was overburdened... In a attempt to relieve the "non-essential" use reserved for life normalcy they struck a deal where certain businesses would stagger their start time to when electric supply was more plentiful and relieve the burden of the the morning start ups ..
    Hence beginning of a second shift or/and third shift just based on the availability of electricity being plentiful to run the plant.
    Now it probably didn't start there but it a interesting bit of information that is documented but I can't put my hands on it right now...We won't even get into the coal they burned right now

    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,304
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    In good old North American industrial times distributing steam was sensible. A larger central 24/7 steam plant was more reliable and much easier than producing one's own steam. There were factories which used purchased steam to produce their own electric and mechanical power.