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The Subtlety of Steam Heating

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 651
edited March 2022 in THE MAIN WALL
The Subtlety of Steam Heating

You may think steam is just, well, steam. But there’s a lot more going on when it comes to steam heating a building. This article will help you become a better troubleshooter.

Read the full story here

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  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    The embargo ? Well we went into overtime to develop the Vega and Pinto I believe...now I don't remember which one they thought the aluminum block with some type of impregnation would prevent the cylinders from wearing out ? If I recall correctly that is.. Good Story @DanHolohan
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 922
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    Excellent, factual and concise story of how steam is produced and how it should be distributed. Most of my work was in schools, hospitals and institutions of higher learning (if you were there to study and learn). There are many stories and descriptions on this forum of near boiler piping and why that piping should be as large as possible or at least as large as the MFG recommends and done exactly as it should be. There are all kinds of horror stories of the unskilled doing it the wrong or fast way. I saw these well engineered systems every day in boiler systems that were designed by an engineer who's specialty was steam. If steam systems are your "love", learn how to do it correctly the first time. Love the story and thanks for writing it.
    reggi
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    Thanks for reading me!
    Retired and loving it.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,554
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    reggi said:

    The embargo ? Well we went into overtime to develop the Vega and Pinto I believe...now I don't remember which one they thought the aluminum block with some type of impregnation would prevent the cylinders from wearing out ? If I recall correctly that is.. Good Story @DanHolohan

    The Vega straight four had an aluminium block. Superb little car -- I had two of them (one of the very first, and a couple of years later a Cosworth Kammback version). it used a silicon nitride wear coating on the cylinder walls which could, and did, prevent the cylinder walls from wearing out (the very similar Buick small V8 also did, as did the early Rover versions of that engine, and all the racing versions).

    There were two problems with it -- both related to cooling. One was that the original cooling system radiator was only just big enough, and the engine could overheat. Momentary overheating didn't hurt it -- but if you ignored the idiot light for any length of time damage could be done, including a very slight warp of the block which threw the cylinders out of round. Not a problem in cast iron -- just bore it oversize -- but you can't do that with the all aluminium block. So rings didn't seal and these engines burned oil. It was the operator's fault, of course -- the idiot light is there for a reason -- but we all know how that works out. The other problem was again from the aluminium. Some of the older coolant mixes caused corrosion, and the corrosion products blocked the radiator and passages. Again, not a problem if you used the GM recommended product, but it was a little more expensive and folks used the cheaper stuff.

    The Cosworth Vega used the same block, but a Cosworth double overhead cam head and fuel injection, for 280 honest horses at the wheels. If you can find one today they are worth somewhere in the low 6 figures...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    LS123reggi
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 472
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    I have had lived in houses that were hyro rads, some electric, but the current house has a steam. It was designed back in 40s. your post above help me understand better why the boiler last to the date, why it is nearly 5 feet tall and large heating chamber where water would be converted to dry steam, why the system still work considerably efficiently. Now I also understand why new boilers are so small and would last 20 , 30 years (based on my neighbors having to replace their steam / hydro boilers).... always wondered about near boiler piping stuff that I see in the heating help forum and why the steam boiler we have, has one pipe to send steam out to the rads, and one above ground return line with Hartford loop....Thank you and appreciate for this information!
    Thank you!
    @LS123
    mattmia2reggi
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    @Jamie Hall That's quite a memory you have there !
    Once you live it , you always own it.. good times 👍
    Cars were so darn simple back then you lifted the hood and knew what everything was... and other than yours.. you could climb right in to work on them....
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    LS123
  • Illinoisfarmer
    Illinoisfarmer Member Posts: 52
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    But following instructions is a choice.

    Please make the right one.

    ^ That. Right there. The most profound - yet simple thing I've seen in a long time. Really next level stuff. Thank you Mr. Holohan.

    Also, I'm stealing that saying! :)
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,553
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    It’s yours. Thanks.  
    Retired and loving it.